CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2003): THE CHRISTMAS ALIENS

THE CHRISTMAS ALIENS

Mikey is enjoying the Holiday season by walking through Central Park. Some kids accidentally peg the affable ninja with a snowball, and as payback Mikey asks one of the children to lend him their sled for a bit. The boy complies and Mikey takes off down the hills, doing various crazy tricks until he finally crashes. The kid reclaims his sled and compliments Mike on his skills. As the Turtle brushes off the snow, he finds a stray kitten and decides to bring it along with him. Back at the Turtles’ Lair, Splinter and the rest of the Turtles are preparing for their holiday party. April and Casey arrive – Jones is having quite a struggle hauling the tree into the ninjas’ dwelling. Raph finally offers his buddy a hand and they place the tree on its stand and the guys begin to decorate it. As the decorations are brought out, everyone realizes that Mike isn’t around. Leonardo holds up a train engine ornament and wonders if Mikey is at the toy store yet again.
Mikey is indeed at the toy store again, standing on the sidewalk and admiring all of the cool toys – particularly the red hot Little Orphan Alien doll, which is so popular that its completely sold out and highly sought after. Mike holds the cat up and pets its belly, deciding to name it Klunk. The Turtle then hears something down a nearby alley. Mike puts Klunk inside his coat for protection and investigates, where he finds three armed Purple Dragons (Spike, Sunny, and Two Ton) stealing a truck full of “Lil’ Orphan Alien” dolls that are supposed to go to an orphanage. As Mike attacks, he is met with the clicking of a large gun as the barrel is pointed right at him. As Spike begins to fire, Mike jumps out of the way. The gangsters start driving off, but Mikey grabs hold of an electrical cord dangling from the open doors on the back of the vehicle. Mike holds onto the cord and “water-skis” down the streets and across the tops of parked cars until the punks abruptly stop the truck. The momentum shoots the Turtle underneath the vehicle. Now in front of the stopped truck, Mike dodges more gunshots as he leaps onto the hood, barely escaping yet more shots. Spike and Two Ton get out to search the back of the vehicle. As they peer into the murky space still full of “Lil’ Orphan Alien” dolls, the ninja leaps out and knocks both of them cold. The driver Sunny takes off, but Mike manages to leap and grab an open door and slowly begins moving to the front of the truck. The Turtle is able to reach the cab and grabs Sunny. As he gets behind the wheel, Mikey tosses Sunny out onto a parked police car – which radios in for assistance. Mikey checks on Klunk and the kitty is fine, but it’s not over yet – the villainous Sunny also called for backup and a hot rod full of Purple Dragons is headed straight for the stolen toy store delivery truck!
As the two vehicles are headed straight for each other, Spike takes out a rocket launcher. It seems that the thugs have the upper hand in this game of chicken, but Mike just pins the gas and heads straight for them. As the hoods realize that Mike’s not stopping, they veer off just in time. Back at the Turtles’ Lair we see the party guests arrive. It’s the Silver Sentry, Angel, the Professor and some other homeless folks. Cut back to Mike and his nervous cat as the Purple Dragons are catching up. As Spike fires his rocket launcher, Mike uses a parked tow truck’s ramp to tilt the vehicle onto two wheels and escape the missile. Mikey then hits the brakes, causing the hot rod to attempt another evasive maneuver – but this time the ice is too much for the driver and he loses control. The car flips upside-down onto some parked cars.
Meanwhile, Casey (with the help of Raph and Angel) uses some mistletoe tricks to try to get a kiss from April. O’Neil is not amused by the tactic and so she slaps the bemused Jones. Then Gen, Usagi and the Ultimate Daimyo enter through a shimmering portal. Back on the streets, Mikey is still driving the truck on his mission to take the toys to the orphanage. Unfortunately there is now a bunch of police cars chasing the Turtle, thinking he’s one of the Purple Dragons. The officers have set up a roadblock ahead. With no way out, Mike hits the gas and heads for the blockade at full speed – apologizing as he goes. Mike blasts through the roadblock and now has a few less police cars giving chase.
Inside the Turtles’ Lair the group is having arm wrestling matches with the Silver Sentry. Casey loses badly, and then Casey and Raph team-up to try to defeat the super hero – but both are sent flying across the room. April sits down to give it a shot and Casey admonishes her. To everyone’s surprise, April wins, the force of her thrust sending the Silver Sentry flying into a brick wall, which crumbles with the impact. April stands and scoffs at Casey as she walks off. In the kitchen, O’Neil presents the Silver Sentry with a batch of her special cookies – the bribe she offered him to throw the match.
Cut to Mike as he hits some snowdrifts to create some piles upon the following squad cars. This causes a pileup and gives Mikey time to pull off the road and finally evade the police. Back at the lair, everyone is growing more and more impatient. April states that Michelangelo only has five more minutes before they’ll begin their feast. Mikey finally appears and introduces everyone to his new friend Klunk. Raph growls at Mike, who explains where he was and how they can all help make this holiday better.Cut to the Brown Street Children’s Home, where we see that the entire party has come dressed as elves (with Splinter as Santa). The heroes are handing out the “Lil’ Orphan Alien” dolls and playing with the overjoyed children. Casey is standing beneath some mistletoe when April walks up casually and plants a kiss on his cheek. Mikey looks up at the camera and exclaims “Happy Holidays, everyone!”
A Classic Christmas tale, given Michaelangelo the showcase of the episode was a good thing. also bringing back characters that had appeared throughout the shows run was excellent. This episode was re-released on the new American DVD Cowabunga Christmas dvd.
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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: NINJA TURTLES: THE NEXT MUTATION – THE GOOD DRAGON

When Venus’ life is saved by one of the Dragon Lord’s Rank warriors, the Turtles are forced to re-examine their views on dragons. Now the “good” dragon is trying to escape the Dragonian Spirit Seeker that is stalking him. Venus wants to help him, but Raphael still thinks that the only good dragon is a dead dragon.

The Good Dragon is one of the best episodes of the show, had the show continued to a season two I’m sure the plot lines would of been continued. It was nice to Raphael and Venus working together and the introduction of the first Good Dragon was intriguing and would of been nice to see his character again.

 

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: NEW GIRL – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 2

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MAIN CAST

Zooey Deschanel (Your Highness)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Black Rapunzel)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

CHRISTAMS EVE EVE

GUEST CAST

Megan Fox (Transformers)

However often “Christmas Eve Eve” reminds us of the old gift-giving truism, it’s not just the thought that counts. It’s also the effort and attention to detail that accompany the thought. This year, New Girl presents us with a sweet, silly Christmas episode, full of affection and the implicit knowledge of its characters that is key to the show’s appeal, but it’s wrapped up in a package as clumsy as a gift from Nick Miller, with his “caveman wrapping skills.”

When her roommates try to talk her out of celebrating Christmas this year, Jessica Day, that immovable object of merrymaking, puts her foot down. “Christmas is not cancelled!” she insists. “Christmas gifts are how you show the people you love that you care in a very special, magical, and highly mandatory way.” Her proposed compromise of a Secret Santa gift exchange is intended to lower the stakes (and the stress) of the holiday. Instead, it raises them. Each Secret Santa gift has to be extra-special because it’s the only gift each of them will get this Christmas.

Christmas Eve Eve cleverly plays out different kinds of gift-giving anxieties and the emotional realities that underlie them. Some are simple mishaps, like Jess buying Nick a gift so perfect, he ends up buying it for himself just before the gift exchange, or Schmidt refusing Winston’s package delivery just because it’s addressed to retired Rear Admiral J. Garagareaux.

Some tensions run deeper. Schmidt is certain Winston’s gift will leave ”my Cece” disappointed; Winston gently but firmly insists that his friendship with Schmidt’s wife (“I like to think of her as our Cece”) has its own in-jokes and touchstones. Winston, who knows how to make a thought count, fashions a makeshift bean bag chair from the blandly inoffensive blanket Schmidt snatches at random from a store shelf, and the way Cece’s face lights up proves Winston right. The gift is a private joke referencing a classic Cece-and-Winston mess-around. She loves it and what it says about their friendship.

Jess’s reminder that each present is a tangible expression of love pays off as each unwrapping uncovers another moment of shared history. Schmidt sees that his friends treasure his wife as dearly as he does, and a little more weirdly. Nick’s gift proves that sometimes, the thought that counts is the image an item conjures up for the recipient. As pleased as Schmidt is with his luxurious new socks, it’s the idea of Nick “mispronouncing ‘cashmere’ in a store” that fills him with joy. In this episode, the thought behind each gift is revealing, and not always in the way the giver intends. Jess’ decision to bring Nick and Reagan together for the holiday is commendable, even self-sacrificing, but it isn’t her first impulse. She only cobbles together the plan to fly Reagan in after Nick buys himself the “cool” sunglasses she’d picked out for him. Then there’s the heartbreaking reveal that Jess’ name was left out of the Secret Santa drawing. After her frantic orchestrations and her exhortations to see each present as an expression of love, she’s left with a second-hand gift, one with no shared joke or spark of joy. It’s a nice touch that Jess’ exclusion is her own doing, not a sign of a friend’s thoughtlessness.
Their touching solution recreates and amplifies Jess’ reminiscences of her childhood Christmases. But like the set-up that artificially excludes every relationship outside the loft, this over-the-top ending doesn’t quite ring true. Nick waking Jess with a cup of cocoa, Furguson appearing with felt antlers just as Jess’ dog Frank used to, Jess turning to see “snow” falling outside her window: These moments feel magical and dreamlike, but they fit into the scale of the New Girl universe. Christmas Eve Eve doesn’t sidestep the dreamlike improbability, but escalates it with a city street filled with lights and fake snow, a pre-dawn robed choir, a Motown great appearing to sing and celebrate with these friends. All the elements of this Christmas surprise can be explained individually: Winston arranging the cruisers, Robby’s recently revealed music-industry connections. Even the confetti is set up with a shot of Nick at a shredder. It’s festive and fun and it all falls within the strictest limits of possibility.

A fun festive episode for the holidays and one to watch over Christmas.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: NEW GIRL- THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 1

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MAIN CAST
Zooey Deschanel (Your Highness)
Jake Johnson (Jurassic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (BLack Rapunzel)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Happy Endings)

THE 23rd

GUEST CAST
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Stephen Ammell (Arrow)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Michaela Watkins (Wanderlust)
Winston rolls around the apartment on the rollerskates Jess got him. Schmidt hates Christmas because everybody goes home. They’re all planning on going to his office party tonight. He dresses up like Santa and gets dirty on all his coworkers when they tell him what they want and he uses that information to undermine and manipulate them the rest of the year, in the true spirit of Christmas. Schmidt gets up and we see he’s in skates, too. He tries to tackle Winston at a slow roll. Nick, also in skates, tries to intervene, but they end up in a pile. Jess comes in, needing their help on getting a present for Paul. After only a month, she’s not sure what’s appropriate. She shows Nick the card she made for “Nerdy weird sex that works for both of us”.
On the way from the mall, Jess drives them through a neighborhood decked out with Christmas decorations. She wants to come back at night on the way from the office party to the airport, but Nick is resolved not to miss his flight for the fifth year in a row. CeCe is at work on a set in a bra and panties. Schmidt drops by with a gift. It’s a shoot for a before and after for a Bolivian diet pill. They’re interrupted by Kyle, who frenches CeCe hello. Schmidt explains he designed the perfume for her. It gets awkward. Paul and Jess exchange gifts. He got her tickets to Vienna and passes to a show. She got him an anatomically correct fuzzy heart of a 50 year old non-smoker. It beats. She wants to get him something better, but he tells her it’s fuzzy and quirky and sweet, just like her. He says he loves it several times, then hugs her and says he loves her. She pauses, then goes with “Thank you.” The gang arrives for Schmidt’s office party. They find him wearing only red boxers and dressed as “sexy Santa.”
Jess tells Nick what Paul says and he advises her to tell Paul if she doesn’t feel the same way. She tells him she’ll do it. Instead, Jess hides in the bathroom. Nick sees Paul standing alone outside and goes to talk to him. He asks if Jess talked to him and Paul says yes, so Nick reassures him that just because Jess doesn’t love him now doesn’t mean she won’t one day. Paul says she told him they might have to leave for the airport early. Nick tries to pretend he’s drunk, or joking or anything to rescue the situation, but it’s too late. Jess and CeCe hide in the bathroom. Kyle wants to go to another party. Jess thinks he’s the “living worst” and asks if he even got her anything. He didn’t. CeCe tries her Schmidt perfume, but inhales and hacks ferociously. Winston complains to someone about the rigors of having a job and office life. We see it’s a kid. Schmidt’s boss Gina comes over, it’s her son. She’s impressed he’s talking to Winston since he doesn’t usually talk to people.Schmidt sees Kyle mock CeCe for wearing the mustache Jess gave her. CeCe hears Schmidts mean coworker harassing him and tries to tell him to stand up for himself. He notices the bad smell and she tells him it’s his perfume, but he’s just glad she wore it.
Outside on the awkward balcony, Paul begs Nick to tell him what Jess says. Nick tells him that Jess said the sex was incredible but she doesn’t want to rush into anything. Jess sees them hugging and goes outside. Paul tries to cover for what they were talking about but only comes up with they both like jazz music. Nick confesses he told Paul she doesn’t love him. Jess starts yelling at him and Nick tries to leave, only to find he’s locked out on the balcony with them. Jess tries to talk to Paul gently, saying she feels overwhelmed. She says she got really badly hurt and is trying to not get hurt again. Nick’s cell phone rings and he answers, explaining that he can’t talk because he’s in a weird situation. Jess asks if they can keep going, just slow things down. Paul says he’s not sure he can. Nick pipes up, but Jess shushes him. Schmidt finds Kim in the supply room with a bunch of women and tells Kim he’s done being Santa. “Santa’s dead, I killed him!” Schmidt says. Gina’s son hears and runs screaming. Schmidt tells him she needs to start taking him seriously, so no more Sexy Easter Bunny, Cinco de Sexy or Sexy Martin Luther King Day. Kim says she can’t believe it took him five years to say so. Winston fields a call from Nick’s mom and assures her he’ll make his flight. Gina comes over, panicked that she can’t find her son. Winston helps look, sure somehow it’s Schmidt’s fault.
Back outside in awkwardtown, Paul tells Jess he can’t slow down and if she needs to then he can’t do this anymore. Jess says OK. Nick, the peanut gallery, tells Paul to consider the fact it’s Christmas. Winston interrupts looking for the kid, freeing Nick from his awkward prison by opening the patio door. Winston wanders out front and finds Alvin in an igloo. He assures him Santa isn’t dead. Alvin asks if Schmidt was just being a “d-bag”, because that’s what his mom said. Winston assures him he’ll get extra presents this year. Alvin thanks Winston, but calls him “LeBron.” Gina finds them and gives Winston her card. She says if he ever wants to hang out with Alvin again she’ll pay him a lot of money, like whatever he’s thinking, plus a lot more. The guys, Jess and CeCe drive to the airport. Nick, the driver, sees that Jess is bumming out and makes a detour. They pull into Candycane Lane, but it’s late and the lights are all off. Jess laments her bad timing. Nick goes to knock on the people’s door, shouting that there’s a girl who really wants to see the lights. Everyone joins in, shouting at all the houses to turn on the lights. One by one they all come on, in an explosion of wonderful tacky lights. Back in the car, Nick gets a call from his mom and tells her he’s going to miss his flight. He hands the call off to Winston as the lights go off.
 A really fun first Christmas for the New Girl team, The light up scene at the end was beautiful.

SANTA

David Walton (Fired Up!)
Olivia Munn (Iron Man 2)
The episode begins with Jess, Nick, Schmidt and Winston having some good old Christmas themed loft chats. The gang realise that evening is their last chance to have a ‘holiday hang’ before they go their separate ways before Christmas. They talk about the many parties taking place and agree to try hit them all. At the first party they attend Schmidt and Cece feel awkward and uncomfortable around each other and are not shy of admitting it. Jess freaks out when she sees Sam, who sees her at the last minute. Nicks new girlfriend Angie suggests they have sex, Nick pretends to be okay with doing it at a public place and to be as sexually adventerous as her.
Sam follows Jess to the nex party and tells her he wants her back. She says no. Nick admits to Angie that he is not like her and misuses the word stripper. She leaves the party in anger. Cece gives Schmidt a gift and is hurt when he passes it on to another woman, without even looking at it. At the third party Jess thinks about rejecting Sam. Nick tells her he believes in second chances. Angie turns up Nick apologizes and they are back together. Cece tells Schmidt what the gif was and that she gave it to him as a thank you for him loving her. Jess keeps changing lanes when driving home as she is choosing whether or not to go see Sam. The car is pulled over by a big hearted Santa looking cop, who lets the Jess go free and who the gang dub ‘black Santa’. Jess goes to the hospital to see Sam. They kiss. Schmidt tells Cece he never really gave away the gift. Nick and Angie are missing, everyone assumes they are off having sex.
Another great Xmas episode the two main relationships were the focus of the story and made it a heartwarming ending at the hospital.

CLAVADO EN UN BAR

GUEST CAST
Curtis Armstrong (Southland Tales)
Brian Posehn (The Devil’s Rejects)
In an interesting move, New Girl’s – season 3 midseason return kicked off with a bottle episode at Clyde’s Bar — hence the episode’s title “Clavado En Un Bar,” which is not only a single by Mexican rock band Maná, but literally translates into “Stuck In A Bar.” However, this installment was mainly driven by flashbacks — told in near-realtime, at that — as Jess came to the guys for advice on a big career decision that needed to be made in exactly 20 minutes — well, 19 minutes, according to Coach and his faithful stopwatch. (“I don’t watch movies. I time them.”)
Of course, the majority of this episode was a round robin of origin stories, with each guy recalling their own critical life decisions and how they ended up where they are today. For Winston, this meant recounting his days as a Latvian basketball player. While these flashbacks weren’t all that amusing, the payoff came at the end of his story, when Winston made the realization that he, in fact, had never actually made a decision in his life. I particularly laughed at Coach’s matter-of-fact observation, “You decided nothing. That story contained zero decisions.” Schmidt’s story was perhaps the most bizarre, as we learned about his whirlwind transformation from hospital candy-striper to Christmas tree salesman to marketer. This account took a few too many oddball turns to really be considered funny — more just weird for weird’s sake. This string of flashbacks was made all the more strange by a totally random cue of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” and not it in a clever, anachronistic way. Coach’s flashback, meanwhile, was a bit more entertaining, if only because we learned that his birth name is Ernie.
New Girl’s 3rd run midseason return (which in actuality was probably supposed to be the midseason finale, judging by the Christmas tree subplot and bar decorations) was a strong entry in so far as shaking up the characters’ career paths.

LAXMAS

GUEST CAST
Julian Morris (Cry Wolf)
Billy Eichner (What Happens in Vegas)

LAXmas tries to let all of the show’s characters head off in different directions but finds a way to keep them together for just a little bit longer when all of their flights get delayed. Jess, who has agreed to spend Christmas in London with Ryan and his family, takes the delay as an omen of what’s to come; maybe she’ll be a giant disappointment to Ryan’s parents, even with all of the presents that she’s bought for them (which are stolen by “Reverse Santa” . And Jess isn’t alone in her hesitation to travel for the holidays. Schmidt is reluctantly heading back home to Long Island, a place he’s happy to have escaped from, while Coach can’t get over the guilt of leaving his family behind to go on a Christmas vacation all by himself. Nick and Winston, on the other hand, have an entire plan for their return to Chicago, which involves lots of beer and women. Ultimately, New Girl uses this time at the airport to re-solidify connections between the group before they leave for the holidays. Not only do we have Jess doing everything she can to convince Billy Eichner’s airline worker to book the soonest flights available for her friends (before ultimately bonding with him and scoring Nick and Winston some sweet first class seats), but we also have Schmidt and Cece’s moments in the high-class, gold members’ club before they ditch a jerky Barry Bostwick (with Schmidt embracing his Long Island identity: “New York. Long Island. Billy Joel. Nassau County. Billy Joel. Again. Goodnight Saigon”) and share sodas in the food court.It’s there, in the food court, that we get the first of two standout moments from the episode, when Cece tells Schmidt that “I really like being your friend,” a sentiment that he repeats back to her even though there’s clearly romantic tension between them. Between that exchange and Schmidt’s immediate refusal to even contemplate Bostwick’s character’s proposal , New Girl appears to be on the path of reuniting this dysfunctional couple. The other standout sequence from tonight’s New Girl may have been slightly more predictable, but it still landed for me, as Nick’s reassuring of Jess, telling her to go to England, proves yet again that this series will always come down to these two characters. Sure, the rest of the roommates and Cece join Nick outside the airport in order to fully convince Jess to fly to London and be with Ryan, but it’s Nick Miller who throws away first class and risks getting kicked off the plane entirely in order to stay on the phone with Jessica Day for just a couple minutes more. It’s a heartwarming moment that could be called cheesy if not for the steadily built connection between Nick and Jess.

LAXmas is a Christmas episode that directly references and even insults holiday favorites like Love Actually.  However, the episode’s at its best when it embraces these conventions and puts New Girl’s signature stamp on them, serving as a reminder to fans that this is a show that’s meant to make you laugh but also make you feel. New Girl’s specialty is blending wacky humor with real, genuine emotion, and it pretty much perfects that recipe in “LAXmas”

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: HANNIBAL – Œuf

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MAIN CAST
Hugh Dancy (King Arthur)
Mads Mikkelsen (Doctor Strange)
Caroline Dhavernas (Wonderfalls)
Hettienne Park (Young Adult)
Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix)
Scott Thompson (The Simpsons)
Aaron Abrams (Resident Evil 2)
Œuf
GUEST CAST
Kacey Rohl (Red Riding Hood)
Molly Shannon (Scary Movie 4)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Vladimir Jon Cubrt (Hollywoodland)
Œuf has an asterisk in the Hannibal canon. Scheduled to air April 25, the episode was pulled in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Sandy Hook massacre (the episode was filmed before the tragedy in Newtown), according to a statement by creator Bryan Fuller. Later, “Œuf” was split into web videos in an attempt to bridge any continuity gaps that the missing episode may have created. Soon after, “Œuf” was put on iTunes, Amazon and the like for interested parties.
 Curiously, “Œuf” was not included in the first run of episodes given out to critics before the began its run, and even I wondered if Fuller didn’t have cold feet about airing “Œuf” before the Boston bombings occurred. Seeing a charred child in a fireplace or an angelic little one with a bullet through her head are difficult sights to take even without the added baggage of real-life tragedy . As time passes, wounds are healed and the emotional rawness of the aftermath is forgotten. Sure, holding the episode made sense at the time (I thought it was a good idea), but we’re all good now. So rather than be an episode swept under the rug in the name of good taste, “Œuf” is now a lesser episode in the first season of an excellent series.
Hannibal’s strengths from the beginning has been its subtlety. A lot of procedurals  are not so good at the subtlety of their theme. They don’t need to be. Hell, there’s an episodic conversation in Law and Order: SVU episodes that’s akin to the Danny Tanner/lesson of the week discussion on Full House. But Hannibal has been so good at letting the inner meaning of the episode or arc slowburn. “Œuf” is not one of those episode. This one telegraphs “FAMILY!” throughout. Not only is the Molly Shannon-driven case-of-week about familial bonds (albeit fucked up ones) via created family, but so is the Hannibal-Will driven plot, as well. This is where we see Hannibal beginning to talk to Will about the surrogate fatherhood they share over Abigail. Then there is the dinner scene with Alana, Hannibal and Abigail where they sit down for a recreation of the last meal Abigail had with her real mother and father.
The procedural element of the show, featuring Molly Shannon as mother who kidnaps boys and has them turn on their families a year after their disappearance, was a fantastic premise. What I did really like about the family aspect of “Œuf” was a minor branch of the theme that ended up being its strongest: the interactions of the BAU team. I’ve loved the interplay between Hetienne Park, Scott Thompson, and Aaron Abrams since the beginning. They’re a family too, one bonded together by the horror that they’ve collectively experienced as dispassionate outsiders.
This was great episode and thankfully in the UK we got it aired and then we all get to see it on the Blu-ray/DVD. The only Christmas part of the episode is the scene where we see the remains of a family burnt near a Christmas Tree and decorations. Hannibal is a show that was brilliant and will be missed.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: SUPERGIRL – REIGN

Supergirl-TV-Show-Logo

MAIN CAST

Melissa Benoist (Homeland)
Mehcad Brooks (Dollhouse)
Chyler Leigh (That 80s Show)
Jeremy Jordan (Smash)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries)
David Harewood (Grimsby)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Chasd Lowe (Pretty Little Liars)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Emma Tremblay (The Giver)
Amy Jackson (Gethu)
Briana Venskus (Agents of SHIELD)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)

Reign capped off the first half of Supergirl’s third season, and in the process encapsulated so much of what’s good about this series right now. The series is really thriving on the strength of its new main villain at the moment. First things first – Reign may well be the best thing to happen to this series since its move from CBS to The CW. She’s definitely the best villain Supergirl has had.This episode reinforced how wise it was for the writers to spend the first half of Season 3 fleshing out Samantha as a character before diving into her corruption. The early holiday party scene reinforced how close Kara, Lena and Samantha have grown in recent months. That only added more weight to Samantha’s downfall this week. As Reign, she’s clearly a physical threat to the Girl of Steel. But more importantly, she has the deep, compelling connection to Kara that so few villains in this series have shared.I was actually starting to worry that this episode would end without a major confrontation between the two characters. There was a lot of teasing and comparatively little focus on Reign herself. Fortunately, we got that epic throwdown to cap off 2017. That fight did feel a bit formulaic in a Flash-sort of way. It seems like Barry has had to go through that moment every season where he squares off against his doppelganger speedster villain of the year and gets his butt handed to him. Now it’s Kara’s turn. Still, that battle was handled very effectively. It created a real, palpable sense of danger for Kara, while the tide shifted often enough that it was never quite apparent till the end which combatant would emerge victorious. It actually reminded me a lot of a good professional wrestling match, complete with Reign playing the heel and whacking Kara over the head with rubble while her back was turned. In short, the main conflict this week was pretty swell, and a great way to leave things hanging for the next month.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – BEEBO THE GOD OF WAR

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MAIN CAST

Brandon Routh (Chuck)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Franz Drameh (Edge of Tomorrow)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals)
Amy Louise Pemberton (Suspence)
Tala Ashe (Odyssey)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Dominic Purcell (A Fighting Man)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Neal McDonough (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Wentworth Miller (Prison Break)
Courtney Ford (Supernatural)
Graeme McComb (UnReal)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Jes Macallan (Mistresses)
Thor Knai (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Katia Winter (Arena)
Emily Tennant (Mr. Young)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heores Reborn)
Matt Ryan (Constantine)

I’m sure most of us were expecting a very glum, downbeat midseason finale as the Legends mourned Professor Stein’s passing and struggled to get back into the time travel groove. So it comes as some surprise that this episode wound up being one of the most overtly silly and slapstick in Legends history. And this is the same season where the team reenacted the events of E.T. with a baby Dominator. It’s a real testament to the power of this show, the skill of the writing staff and the chemistry of the cast that such a goofy episode also managed to hit home in such a profound way.Granted, maybe I should have expected a goofy approach to this episode based on the title alone. “Beebo the God of War” certainly didn’t fail to live up to its name. The idea of a group of Vikings worshiping the Arrowverse version of Tickle Me Elmo and rewriting the course of North American history is just bizarre and stupid and wonderful in a way only Legends can really pull off. The Beebo doll and the Viking trappings proved to be an endless source of amusement here, while at the same time serving as a clever way to briefly bring Graeme McComb’s younger Martin Stein back into the picture.There were plenty of great character moments along the way as that conflict grew progressively more chaotic. Naturally, this was a big week for Jax, as he mourns the loss of his partner/father figure and wrestles with his guilt. Ultimately, this felt like a necessary coda to the rest of Season 3’s Stein material. It wrapped up the character’s journey on a happier, more uplifting note. It allowed McComb one last hurrah as a pitch-perfect stand-in for Garber. And it helped Jax move past his guilt and embrace the next phase of his own journey. Seeing Jax bid farewell to his team/family was extremely bittersweet.Above and beyond Jax’s struggles and young Stein’s Back to the Future dilemma, this episode really succeeded in celebrating the team’s status as a dysfunctional but close-knit family. Everyone mourned Stein’s death in their own way, resulting in a steady stream of hilarious and somber moments. Even Agent Sharpe was integrated into the conflict in a fun way. And if it wasn’t obvious that there’s a spark between Sharpe and Sara before, it definitely is now.Wentworth Miller’s return really helped speed things along this week. “Leo” Snart is a real blast – even more entertaining here than he was in “Crisis on Earth-X.” This episode reminded me how much the team dynamic lost when the original Snart was killed off in Season 1. Leo’s antics are a hoot, but the revamped Captain Cold/Heat Wave relationship proved very poignant as well. I’m thrilled that Miller, like Garber, is being given an opportunity to really have fun with his character before saying his final Arrowverse farewell.This episode proved very reminiscent of “Return of the Mack” in how an initially goofy storyline took a dark turn with the appearance of Damien Darhk. The fact that Grainne Godfree was a lead writer on both episodes is probably no coincidence. Fortunately, “Beebo the God of War” avoided falling victim to formula. The appearance of Darhk and his daughter merely served to add stakes to what would otherwise have been a fairly straightforward conflict. And it’s not like Darhk didn’t bring his own brand of hilarity to the table. His tacky Odin costume was simply divine (especially the wig). And you really have to appreciate those little stylistic flourishes, like the final showdown that played out more as a series of Rashomon-style daydreams than a straightforward battle.This episode was a perfect way to cap off 2017 and deliver the final word on Martin Stein.