HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: CHUCK VERSUS THE AISLE OF TERROR

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CHUCK VERSUS THE AISLE OF TERROR

 

CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)

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GUEST CAST

Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Morgan Fairchild (Roswell)

Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorDr. Stanley Wheelwright (Robert Englund) walks through a secured area at Volkoff Industries. When a guard (Roland Kickinger) stops him, Wheelwright claims he is just looking for the fitness centre, but the guard grabs him and demands identification. Wheelwright feigns an asthma attack, and uses his “inhaler” to spray a toxin into the guard’s face. Wheelwright reveals to a security camera that his nerve gas, Atroxium, is fully functional and can send people into permanent nightmares. An observer, Mary Bartowski (Linda Hamilton), walks out and claims that she knows a buyer in Los Angeles.
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Two weeks later, immediately after “Chuck Versus the Couch Lock”, Mary calls her son Chuck and they arrange to meet for the first time in years at Griffith Park. As Chuck walks toward the playground, Mary sneaks up on his backup, Sarah Walker, and they hold each other at gunpoint. Chuck introduces them as his mother and girlfriend, and Mary reveals that she is deep undercover in the Volkoff organization. She claims that there is no evidence of this, because her CIA records were expunged when she went undercover in Project Isis. She informs them that she broke cover so the CIA could obtain Wheelwright and the Atroxium, telling Chuck to explain the information to General Beckman by telling her he flashed on Wheelwright. Chuck is arranged to pose as Volkoff’s most trusted buyer, so Wheelwright can be taken into custody when he tries to sell the Atroxium. Beckman approves the mission, and Casey lets Morgan join the team after his help in “Chuck Versus the Couch Lock”. Later, Chuck informs Casey and Morgan that he has found his mother.
Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorChuck, using his usual cover of “Charles Carmichael”, meets Wheelwright at a restaurant. As Wheelwright starts to talk about price, Mary arrives unexpectedly. To keep her cover intact, Mary reveals Chuck as a CIA agent. Knowing that Chuck is wearing a ballistic vest, Mary shoots at his heart. Sarah approaches them, but Mary shoots at her, as well as a security camera (disabling Morgan and Casey’s security feed on her), and she and Wheelwright escape with the Atroxium.
Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorMary later returns at the Buy More and kidnaps Chuck at gunpoint. As he enters her car, he activates a tracking device on his phone. While she drives, she reveals that although she had to sabotage the mission and kidnap Chuck to maintain her cover, she will still give them Wheelwright, as he is too dangerous. She leads Chuck to Wheelwright’s portable laboratory, where both he and the atroxium are hidden. Mary finds out that Chuck has activated his distress tracking device and flees, and Sarah and Casey arrive to find Chuck, an unconscious Wheelwright, and the Atroxium.
Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorWith Wheelwright in custody at Castle, Chuck and Sarah starts dismantling the atroxium’s container. Suddenly, a timer starts counting down from five minutes. Wheelwright reveals that the only way to disarm it is with his thumbprint. Although he initially refuses to give it, they hold him at gunpoint and point out that he too would be affected if the atroxium where released. He reluctantly gives his thumbprint, but it instead accelerates the countdown, and the toxin is released. Wheelwright reveals that, having been the human test subject for his own toxin, he has learned to suppress fear. Chuck locks down Castle, sealing Sarah safely in a holding cell and chases Wheelwright to the Buy More. Chuck then puts the store on lock-down, but Wheelwright then drugs him with a more concentrated dose from his inhaler which then makes Chuck see even more horrifying visions.
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As Chuck runs through the store, he is further terrorized by the various Halloween decorations. Chuck hallucinates that Mary kills Sarah when Wheelwright finds him and they stumble upon the “Aisle of Terror”, which the scientist uses to torture Chuck into unlocking the store. However, Chuck gains control of the situation and displays various terror-inducing images(for mentally ill patients), making the scientist again susceptible to fear. Wheelwright runs out the aisle and is clothes-lined by Sarah. Chuck manages to suppress the fear by closing his eyes, until Wheelwright gives up the antitoxin. Wheelwright is again taken into custody.
Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorMeanwhile, Casey searches for information on Project Isis with Pierce, an expert on expunged missions. Casey informs Morgan that Mary was telling the truth, just to keep Morgan from telling Chuck the real truth: Project Isis was ended 20 years ago after Mary went rogue. As Mary goes to meet Chuck and Ellie, she is captured by several masked individuals. Chuck attempts to rescue her, and he unmasks one of the captors, revealing her to be Sarah. Sarah tells him that she is protecting his “blind spot” (Chuck’s influenced judgement about his mother), and Mary is taken away. Chuck then reveals to Ellie the truth about Mary being a spy.Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorAs a huge Nightmare on Elm Street fan growing up, I loved seeing Robert Englund, who in the opening few minutes, had me wishing he could play Freddy again, as we saw the effects of Wheelwright’s toxin, which caused “a gigantic nightmare you never wake up from!” The visual of Englund’s jaw opening wide even evoked a similar image in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Englund was a lot of fun switching from the bumbling, soft-spoken doctor to the more openly evil, and sadistic villain Wheelwright truly was. Another classic Halloween themed epsiode.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: CHUCK – CHUCK VERSUS THE SANDWORM

Chuck

CHUCK VERSUS THE SANDWORM

CAST
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
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GUEST CAST

Jonathan Sadowski (She’s The Man)
C.S. Lee (Dexter)
Bonita Friedericy (Next)
David Burke (The Tick)
Ryan McPartin (Fuller House)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Terminator 2)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Julia Ling (Undoing)
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As the episode begins, a secret bunker out in the desert explodes and a disheveled young man fights his way past an armed agent to escape. In Burbank Chuck is approached by Big Mike regarding the pending interviews for the store’s Assistant Manager position, and warns him Morgan is a liability to him. Morgan is supposed to be working a double-shift, so Chuck is asked to track him down. He finds him playing video games out at an arcade built at the Santa Monica Pier, where he flashes on Morgan’s opponent: the young man from the opening, who Chuck identifies as Laszlo Mahnovski. Laszlo recognizes Chuck’s watch and flees.
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Chuck checks in with Sarah, and she confirms they are looking into the situation and gives him a picture of them cosplaying as Han Solo and Princess Leia at Comic-Con, which Chuck laments makes them almost look like a real couple. The next morning Casey angrily confronts Chuck about not being contacted. During a briefing Beckman confirms that Laszlo is a government technology wizard who recently killed and escaped from the team handling him, and is believed to be highly dangerous. Laszlo tracks Chuck to the Buy More and claims he was framed. Laszlo’s situation mirrors Chuck’s own, so he begins to trust the rogue asset and takes him to get something to eat. Laszlo reveals he was recruited at the pier where Chuck first identified him, and that he was responsible for any technology the government needed, including Chuck’s watch. Laszlo is so sheltered he doesn’t even understand the reference Chuck makes to him being like Q. Laszlo then warns him he shouldn’t even trust his own handlers.
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Chuck returns home to find that, as Laszlo predicted, his home has been bugged, even the picture Sarah gave him. Chuck angrily confronts Casey, who acknowledges the bugs are there for Chuck’s protection. Casey asks how he knew, and Chuck admits to having spoken with Laszlo. Chuck returns home again to find Laszlo in his room, and despite Chuck’s continued protests that his handlers can help, the rogue doesn’t believe him. Instead, Chuck agrees to hide Laszlo at the Buy More, where they watch A View to a Kill, as Laszlo has never seen a Bond movie. However, Laszlo interprets Max Zorin as the real hero, as he relates to his being the subject of government experimentation. He then reveals that he designed the Home Theater room and that it’s capable of tapping into military computers. Laszlo upgrades a nuclear-armed B-2 bomber to active status and sends it to bomb San Francisco, in honor of Max Zorin who attempted to destroy Silicon Valley (and inadvertently, San Francisco) in “A View to a Kill”, but relents when Chuck suggests he might enjoy Goldfinger. Meanwhile, Sarah is contacted by Agent Ben Katz, Laszlo’s chief handler, who warns her that Laszlo is dangerous and may be building a bomb.
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She leaves Chuck a voicemail warning him to get to his car and stay there. Chuck complies after checking his mail when Laszlo’s instability was revealed and he ran to get a copy of Goldfinger to distract him, but Laszlo is already there and takes control of the Herder. After a short chase with Casey, Laszlo ejects Chuck from the vehicle. At home, Chuck apologizes to Sarah for not trusting them and she sees that he threw away the fake picture of them together. The Herder’s tracking device reactivates, but when Sarah and Casey track it down they discover that Laszlo had removed it and thrown in onto another vehicle. Chuck flashes on a drawing Laszlo gave him and realizes that he intends to blow up the pier. Chuck arrives in time for Laszlo to activate the Herder’s amplified self-destruct device and begins to taunt Chuck on which wire to cut. When Laszlo makes a reference to Goldfinger—a film that he claimed to have never seen—Chuck realizes Laszlo had been lying to him all along, so he ignores Laszlo’s suggestion to cut the red wire, and cuts the green wire instead. The bomb is disarmed, and Laszlo is taken into custody.
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Chuck was a great series and will always remain a highlight for me, the first Halloween was great and seeing Sarah dresses Princess Leia was an extra highlight.

REVIEW: STARGATE SG.1 – SEASON 7

Starring

Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Amanda Tapping(Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Don S. Davis (Twin Peaks)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)

Michael Shanks in Stargate SG-1 (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can’t Loose)
George Touliatos (This Means War)
Kevan Ohtsji (Elektra)
David Palffy (Blade: The Series)
Michael Adamthwaite (Supergirl)
Eric Breker (Scary Movie 3)
Cliff Simon (Project Eden)
Adrian Hough (the Fog)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Odi Ndefo (Angel)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Peter LaCroix (Atomic TTrain)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (I, Robot)
James Parks (Kill BIll)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Kavan Smith (Mission To Mars)
G. Patrick Currie (Dark Water)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)
Benjamin Ayres (Saving Hope)
Patrick McKenna (Robocop: The Series)
Christine Adams (Black Lightning)
Jolene Blalock (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Kirsten Zien (Elektra)
Carmen Argenziano (House)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Teryl Rothery (Arrow)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Ingrid Kavelaars (Dreamcatcher)
John Novak (War)
Sasha Pieterse (Pretty Little Liars)
Craig Veroni (Dark Angel)
Emily Holmes (Paycheck)
Anna-Louise Plowman (Black Sails)
David DeLuise (Wizards of Waverly Place)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Nels Lennarson (The Cabin In The Woods)
Saul Rubinek (True Romance)
Mitchell Kosterman (Smallville)
David Lewis (Man of Steel)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Kristen Dalton (Jack Reacher)
Brad Greenquist (Ali)
William Devane (Interstellar)
James McDaniel (Sleepy Hollow)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Jerry Wasserman (Alive)
Jessica Steen (Chaos)

Richard Dean Anderson in Stargate SG-1 (1997)That is the season when Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) returns from being an ascended being, albeit on an alien world without his memory (“Fallen”). This required getting rid of Jonas Quinn (Corin Nemec) to get the old gang back together again, which happens when Anubis download Jonas’ memory and the Goa’uld attack Kelowna (“Homecoming”). Wisely, this is not the last appearance of Jonas for the season (“Fallout”) as he becomes another one of recurring guest characters that are a major strength of the series.Don S. Davis, Amanda Tapping, and Michael Welch in Stargate SG-1 (1997)There are several Daniel Jackson stories that make a point of giving the actor interesting things to do, such as “Lifeboat,” where his mind becomes a resting place for a bunch of alien minds, “Enemy Mine,” which requires Jackson to show diplomatic skills, and big time flashbacks in “Chimera,” to before Daniel first saw the Stargate.Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Overall, Season 7 is really Samantha Carter’s season and Amanda Tapping has several episodes where she pretty much goes it alone. “Space Race” has her joining an alien pilot for a little intergalactic competition, while “Death Knell” finds Carter being hunted by the supers soldiers of Anubis after an attack on Earth’s secret off-world base. In “Grace” Carter literally ends up alone when the Prometheus is attacked and she wakes up to find herself the only one on a ship drifting in deep space. The other characters show up as the angels of her better nature, which is the only way that Sam and Jack are ever going to have an honest conversation.Richard Dean Anderson, Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks, and Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)The whole Anubis/Lost City bit ends up being equal parts time to beat another bigger and badder system lord and find a fitting end point for the series that can also work as a transition to the spinoff.

REVIEW: BONES – SEASON 1

Starring

Emily Deschanel (Boogeyman)
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Michaela Conlin (Yellowstone)
Eric Millegan (The Phobic)
T. J. Thyne (Ghost World)
Jonathan Adams (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths)

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sam Trammell (The order)
Chris Conner (Altered Carbon)
Larry Poindexter (17 Again)
Tyrees Allen (Robocop)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
José Zúñiga (Next)
Anne Dudek (Mad Men)
Heavy D (The Cider House Rules)
Alex Carter (Out of Time)
Toby Hemingway (The Covenant)
Marguerite MacIntyre (The Vampire Diaries)
Tom Kiesche (Breaking Bad)
Morris Chestnut (Kick-Ass 2)
Bokeem Woodbine (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Laz Alonso (Avatar)
Robert Gossett (The Net)
Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight)
Heath Freeman (Raising The Bar)
Michael Rothhaar (Eli Stone)
Josh Hopkins (Cold Case)
Alicia Coppola (Another World)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Rachel Miner (Bully)
Jim Ortlieb (Roswell)
Billy Gibbons (Two and a Half Men)
Ty Panitz (Because I Said So)
Harry Groener (Buffy: TVS)
Claire Coffee (Grimm)
Michael B. Silver (Legally Blonde)
Penny Marshall (The Simpsons)
Zeljko Ivanek (Heroes)
Suzanne Cryer (Two Guys and a Girl)
Lawrence Pressman (Dark Angel)
Jaime Ray Newman (The Punisher)
John M. Jackson (NCIS: Los Angeles)
Judith Hoag (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)
Aaron Pearl (Breaking Bad)
Josh Keaton (Avengers Assemble)
Adriana DeMeo (Killer Movie)
Matt Barr (Sleepy Hollow)
Robert LaSardo (Nip/Tuck)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (Crank)
Emilio Rivera (Venom)
Michael Bowen (Kill Bill)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
David Denman (Power Rangers)
Brian Gross (2 Broke Girls)
James Parks (The Hateful Eight)
Clayton Rohner (Ozark)
Mercedes Colon (The Fosters)
Robert Foxworth (Transformers)
Rodney Rowland (Legacies)
Simon Baker (The Mentalist)
Cullen Douglas (Pure Genius)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
Michael Chieffo (Disclosure)
Michelle Hurd (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Scott Lawrence (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Patricia Belcher (Flatliners)
Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad)
Mark Harelik (Trumbo)
Alexandra Krosney (Last Man Standing)
Sumalee Montano (Veep)
Aldis Hodge (Hidden Figures)
Matt Battaglia (Thor)
Kirk B.R. Woller (Hulk)
Loren Dean (Space Cowboys)
Pat Skipper (Halloween)

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)Bones very quickly garnered rave reviews and amassed a loyal following. Bones is loosely inspired by real life forensic anthropologist and author Kathy Reichs. This funny, clever, sometimes gross, and totally addictive crime drama centers around forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperence Brennan (Emily Deschanel), who toils out of the Jeffersonian Institution and, on the side, writes mysteries starring her fictional heroine (and here’s the twist) Kathy Reichs. Because Brennan has an almost supernatural ability to generate accurate assumptions based on her examination of the corpse’s bones, she is often consulted by the FBI on difficult, seemingly unsolvable cases. She is frequently partnered by brash wiseacre FBI Special Agent Seely Booth (David Boreanaz), who seems to hold a bias against science and those who practice in that field. It’s Booth who breezily saddles Brennan with the nickname “Bones.” Naturally intuitive and freewheeling, Booth immediately is at odds with the clinically analytical Brennan. But, despite their personality clashes, and with the aid of Brennan’s gifted and quirky colleagues, the cases do get solved.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)It’s no great secret that the palpable chemistry between Deschanel and Boreanaz is what actually propels the show and is what separates it from the other, more formulaic, dispassionate crime dramas. Every week, fans tune in for the leads’ deliciously caustic banter more so than for the weekly dose of mystery. You see, the mystery jones can be fixed by viewing any other one of the gazillion forensic dramas so currently prevalent on the airwaves. So the mystery is basically the MacGuffin that drives the show forward. But the cantankerous chemistry – that palpable “something” between the two leads as they hilariously bicker and wrangle – is definitely unique to this show.
Emily Deschanel is a find. And David Boreanaz. Yeah, I found it difficult going, at first, watching him in a new role, seeing as how I’m a fan of Buffy and Angel. But it helps that Booth isn’t much like our vampire with a soul. This ex-Army Ranger Special Agent is breezy, personable, and outgoing, not brooding, tortured, and introspective like Angelus. So, the transition, while disconcerting for me, was ultimately smooth enough. Boreanaz brings such command, self-assurance and charm to his character that I bought into it soon enough. My favorite episodes are the pilot episode, where we are introduced to the cast; “The Man in the Fallout Shelter” – the team is quarantied together in the Jeffersonian during Christmas and we learn personal stuff about the characters; “Two Bodies in the Lab” – character development galore in this episode as Brennan dates on-line and is targeted while she works on two cases; “The Superhero in the Alley” – a decomposed body is found wearing a superhero costume; and “The Woman in Limbo” – a gripping, emotional season finale as Brennan discovers shocking facts about her parents.

REVIEW: THE ZETA PROJECT

MAIN CAST
Diedrich Bader (Batman: TBATB)
Julie Nathanson (Sofia The First)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST~
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Ethan Embry (Eagle Eye)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Eli Marienthal (American Pie)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Tom Kenney (Super Hero Squad)
Chad Lowe (Floating)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angel)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Steven Weber (13 Reasons Why)
Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey)
Chris Demetral (Lois & Clark)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Mae Whitman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012)
Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap)
Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory)
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In this Batman Beyond spinoff, Zeta, an assassination & infiltrator robot, rebels against its programming. The authorities think it has been reprogrammed by their enemies, and tries to bring Zeta in for reprogramming. Zeta goes on the run, trying to find his creators and assisted by an orphan girl, Ro.
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As a spin off for a character introduced in Batman Beyond, this cartoon series went beyond the scope of adventure. Zeta was an experimental infiltration robot equipped with weaponry and a holographic self-projector that allows it to assume any identity. However, negating his own programming, he refused to kill. He fled his employers merely attempting to find his creator to prove that he is acting on his own free will. The government doesn’t know that, and hunt him down as they think he is rogue. Along the way Zeta hooks up with Ro, a teenage girl, and they assist each other in their treks.
165770_fullDiedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) lends his voice to the peaceful, naive and near-human robot, sounding the least bit threatening and true to Zeta’s nature. The friendship between the child-like Zeta and Ro is genuinely portrayed. The supporting characters who chase him are great, including the government agents, and a young genius whom at one point reprogrammed Zeta. The Zeta Project is indeed a combination of Short Circuit and The Fugitive, balanced out by fantastic action, excellent characterization, and plenty of comedic moments.  In one episode, Batman Beyond even makes a cool guest appearance. Sadly, KidsWB canceled this exceptional show after 2 seasons, leaving Ro and Zeta’s quest hanging.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED – SEASON 1

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kin Shriner (Manhunter)
George Eads (CSI)
Eric Robert (The Finder)
Dana Delany (Tombstone)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore)
Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Fam)
Fred Savage (The Princess Diaries)
Jason Hervey (Back To The Future)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Patrick Bauchau (Panic Room)
Rachel York (One Fine Day)
Jack Carter (McCloud)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Annimator)
Robert Foxworth (Transformers)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
Cree Summer (Voltron)
Tom Everett Scott (Because I Said So)
Billy West (Futurama)
Lori Loughlin (Full House)
Jeremy Piven (Old School)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Oded Fehr (V)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Tim Matheson (The West Wing)
Grey Griffin (The Book of Life)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Peter MacNicol (Veep)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers)
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina: TTW)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Virginia Madsen (Better Watch Out)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)
Farrah Forke (Lois & Clark)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Robert Englund (2001 Maniacs)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jason Bateman (Office Christmas Party)
Susan Sullivan (Castle)
Michael T. Weiss (The Pretender)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Steve Schirripa (Must Love Dogs)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Nathan Fillion (Serenity)
Elizabeth Peña (The Incredibles)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)

MV5BMTk4NTc5Mzg3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTc5ODM2MjE@._V1_Fantasy now runs your life? Comic books become your vice? And your best friends still have their virginities? Then look no farther, friends, because this collection of episodes is so good you don’t need friends, significant others, or a single reason to emerge from your Geekdrome. But you know what the best part is? It’s not just for geeks – Justice League Unlimited stands tall as the best collection of American action/adventure animation you’re likely to find. While there is, of course, a certain geek charge some may get out of seeing characters like Powergirl and Green Arrow in action (not to mention an episode featuring Nathan Fillion voicing Vigilante and Gina Torres voicing Vixen – come on, how cool is that?), these episodes will entertain because of good characters, good humor, and good storytelling, even if you don’t know your Booster Golds from your Blue Beetles.MV5BMTA3OTAzMDYwMjdeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDMzMDkzNjIx._V1_While the first two seasons of Justice League nicely expanded upon the world first established in the early ’90s with Batman: The Animated Series, it wasn’t until this, the show’s third season (or first, depending on how you look at it) that the format and structure was perfected for the genre. It was an interesting experiment having the previous seasons’ episodes run for one-hour, but with JLU the format is scaled back to stand-alone half-hour stories and, ironically, it fits like a bat-glove. It’s strange, but these shorter episodes actually manage to pack in more than the double-length ones. A lot more. And what a roster of characters to fill a show with! You’ll see everyone from The Atom to Elongated Man. Because this is a full-blown, all-star take on these characters, each character can shine their brightest. When you get Superman, you get the best of Superman. Wonder Woman? The best of Wonder Woman. B’wana Beast? Uh… well, I guess this is the best he’s ever been.MV5BMjIwOTMxMzk2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTU5ODM2MjE@._V1_The surplus of great characters is fun, but what really sells the show are the stories. Or, more specifically, story. No doubt borrowing a page from the work of Joss Whedon – showrunner Bruce Timm admits in a commentary that Whedon was a big influence – these episodes highlight a large and complex season-spanning plot that actually has meaning in today’s world. This is certainly the most mature and thoughtful storytelling you’re likely to get from a cartoon of this type. What elevates the show from great to brilliant is its ability to tell stories that are exciting and also manage to propel the larger narrative forward. For example, Dark Heart – penned by famous comic book scribe Warren Ellis – manages to mix a great science fiction plot (a self-replicating AI) with humor (Wonder Woman, needing both hands to fight, rests The Atom in a very interesting holding place) and its plot still manages to play a part later on down the road in the season’s climax.MV5BMjAwMTU4NDI0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzIwOTM2MjE@._V1_The writing is the best the show has ever seen, no doubt a result of staff writer Dwayne McDuffie coming into his own; his versatility with the characters is fantastic. Comic book writers Warren Ellis and J.M. DeMatteis join in on the fun, and new series director Joaquim Dos Santos infuses the episodes with a dynamic energy that allows the show to compete with the best of today’s cutting-edge, anime-inspired programming. It’s like the entire DC animated universe has been supercharged in the best way possible.MV5BMTk3NjM3NzI3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQwOTM2MjE@._V1_This collection contains two seasons, and both season finales are just fantastic. The Once and Future Thing is an exciting time romp (with a great Western segment) and Divided We Fall is a showstopper of epic proportions. Either finale would make for a better DVD movie than any of what has been released thus far. Then there’s Epilogue – just brilliant. It manages to tie in the entire DC animated universe – including films Mask of the Phantasm and Return of the Joker! – and still say something meaningful about a very important character. The episode isn’t just great animation, it’s great television.MV5BMTk1MDgzMTYzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTUwOTM2MjE@._V1_There really is nothing bad to say about these episodes. The new rock-inspired opening credits do ring a bit too much of cheesy ’80s electronica, but you get used to it, and, after a while, it fits. Of course, the fact remains that if you aren’t into cartoons in the first place you probably won’t be willing to hop on the bandwagon no matter how cool a series is. But if you consider animation to be a legitimate and respectable medium, then this is the pinnacle of the form.  While there are bigger and more influential cartoon shows out there – namely, comedies like The Simpsons – Justice League Unlimited is still one of the best American animated programs you’ll find. With this show the genre has been perfected – it’s fun, exciting, and thoughtful. In other words, this is exactly what superheroes should be.

REVIEW: INDEPENDENCE DAY

CAST

Will Smith (Suicide Squad)
Bill Pullman (The Grudge)
Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park)
Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)
Judd Hirsch (Tower Heist)
Robert Loggia (Psycho II)
Randy Quaid (Kingpin)
Margaret Colin (Gotham)
James Rebhorn (Meet The Parents)
Vivica A. Fox (Idle Hands)
Harvey Fierstein (Kull The Conqueror)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
James Duval (Gone In 60 Seconds)
Lisa Jakub (Mrs. Doubtfire)
Giuseppe Andrews (Cabin Fever)
Mae Whitman (Boogeyman 2)
Bill Smitrovich (Iron Man)
Kiersten Warren (13 Going on 30)
Harry Connick Jr. (The Iron Giant)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Leland Orser (Daredevil)
Devon Gummersall (Roswell)
Raphael Sbarge (Risky Business)
Bobby Hosea (Xena)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)
Thom Barry (Cold Case)
Robert Pine (Red Eye)
Derek Webster (Stargate)
Rance Howard (Nebraska)
Kevin Cooney (Legally Blonde)
Jim Piddock (Mascots)
Tracey Walter (Batman)

On July 2, 1996, an enormous alien mothership that has one fourth the mass of the Moon enters orbit around Earth, deploying 36 smaller spacecraft, each 15 miles (24 km) wide, that take positions over some of Earth’s major cities and military bases. David Levinson, an MIT-trained satellite technician, decodes a signal embedded in the global satellite transmissions that he determines is a timer counting down to a coordinated attack. With the help of his former wife, White House Communications Director Constance Spano, Levinson, and his father Julius, gain access to the Oval Office and warn President Thomas J. Whitmore that the aliens are hostile. Whitmore orders large-scale evacuations of New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C., but it is too late; the timer reaches zero and the ships activate devastating directed-energy weapons, killing millions. Whitmore, the Levinsons, and a few others, narrowly escape aboard Air Force One as the capital is destroyed, along with other locations over which the ships are positioned.On July 3, international military leaders begin ordering individual counterattacks. Their aviation forces attack destroyer ships positioned above the ruins of the cities, but they are protected by force fields. Each destroyer launches a swarm of attack fighters, which wipe out the human fighter squadrons. Captain Steven Hiller, a pilot with the Marine Corps squadron VMFA-314 based out of Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, survives by luring his attacker to the enclosed spaces of the Grand Canyon and sacrificing his plane, forcing the alien to crash-land. He subdues the injured alien pilot and flags down a convoy of refugees, hitching a ride with former combat pilot Russell Casse. They transport the unconscious alien to nearby Area 51 where Whitmore’s group has landed. Through Secretary of Defense Albert Nimzicki, they learn that a faction of the government has been involved in a UFO conspiracy since 1947, when one of the invaders’ attack fighters crashed in Roswell. Area 51 houses the refurbished alien fighter and three alien corpses recovered from the crash.When eccentric scientist Brackish Okun examines the alien captured by Hiller, it regains consciousness and attacks. It telepathically invades Okun’s mind and uses his vocal cords to communicate with Whitmore before launching a psychic attack against him. Whitmore sees visions of the alien’s plans: their entire civilization travels from planet to planet, exterminating all indigenous life and harvesting the planet of all natural resources. After Secret Service agents and military personnel kill the alien, Whitmore reluctantly authorizes a nuclear attack; a B-2 Spirit fires a nuclear cruise missile at an alien destroyer positioned above Houston, but the ship remains intact.On July 4, Levinson demonstrates that the key to defeating the aliens lies in deactivating their force fields, and devises a way to do so by uploading a computer virus into the mothership. He proposes using the refurbished alien fighter to implement the plan, which Hiller volunteers to pilot. The two are able to implant the virus and deploy a nuclear weapon on board the mothership. With military pilots in short supply, Whitmore enlists the help of volunteers with flight experience, including Casse, and leads an attack on a destroyer ship bearing down on Area 51. With the alien’s shields deactivated, the fighters are able to inflict damage but their supply of missiles is quickly exhausted. As the destroyer prepares to fire on the base, the last missile, equipped on Casse’s plane, jams, and Casse decides to sacrifice his own life. He flies his plane kamikaze-style into the directed-energy weapon port, which results in an explosion that destroys the ship. Human resistance forces around the world successfully destroy the other craft using this vulnerability. As humankind is rejoicing in victory, Hiller and Levinson return to Area 51 unharmed and reunite with their families. They and military officers nearby accompany Whitmore and his daughter in watching the wreckage from the mothership burn up, resembling a fireworks display as it enters Earth’s atmosphere.Independence Day is arguably one of the greatest SF disaster movies of all time. With REM’s ‘It’s the end of the world’ sampled near the beginning of the movie, you definitely know that Roland Emmerich’s view about alien encounters is more akin to War of the Worlds than E.T. Filled with stunning special effects, stirring music, unpretentious sentimentality and laced with good natured humour there is no need to bemoan the lack of character development or obvious narrative coincidences. There is no pretence at being a great cinematic masterpiece examining deep philosophical themes. This is a two hour long, ludicrously enjoyable, preposterously pompous, unbelievably incredible ‘backs against the wall’ slice of SF fantasy which still entertains after numerous viewings.