REVIEW: THE GIFTED – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Stephen Moyer (True Blood)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Sean Teale (Reign)
Natalie Alyn Lind (Gotham)
Percy Hynes White (Rupture)
Coby Bell (Burn Notice)
Jamie Chung (Office Christmas Party)
Blair Redford (Satisfaction)
Emma Dumont (Aquarius)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Hayley Lovitt (Ant-Man)
Toks Olagundoye  (The Neighbors)
Joe Nemmers (American Crime)
Jeff Daniel Phillips (Westworld)
Elena Satine (Revenge)
Garret Dillahunt (12 Years a Slave)
Sharon Gless  (Cagney & Lacey)
Jeffrey Nordling  (Nashville)
Zach Roerig (The Vampire Diaries)
Michelle Veintimilla  (Gotham)
Frances Turner (The Exes)
Danny Ramirez (Assassination Nation)
Skyler Samuels (Scream Queens)
Raymond J. Barry (Falling Down)
Ray Campbell (Breaking Bad)
David Norona  (The Mentalist)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)

What ingredients are necessary for a successful show about powered individuals? Cool abilities? Flashy visuals? Likable characters? Interestingly, Fox’s The Gifted manages to have them all despite following some formulaic paths to tell its story. Any worries viewers might have about the young, good-looking, CW-like cast should be tossed aside. Everyone from the headstrong but calculating mutants to the strangely sympathetic government enforcers to the argumentative but caring siblings in the Strucker family have levels of complexity not often seen in comic book shows.It helps that there are powers on display right away that we haven’t seen on previous superhero-as-outcast shows. Of particular interest is Jamie Chung’s character, Claire a.k.a. Blink, whose ability involves creating writhing purple portals that allow her to travel instanteously from one point to another. Having her character join the Mutant Underground as someone still new to her abilities is something we’ve seen in shows like The Tomorrow People or Alphas, but that trope is usually reserved for the main character. Here, her burgeoning powers and escape from the law are merely used to set up one of the big motivations for the mutants to come out of hiding.The Gifted’s main story, arguably, revolves around the Struckers, who live in a world where anti-mutant laws are in effect and the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants have gone off the grid. Public fear of the dangers of super-powered individuals has led to strict government control and prejudice in the form of derogatory terms like “mutey.” Reed Strucker, played powerfully by Stephen Moyer of True Blood, helps prosecute those mutants who use their power to break the law, and the initial concern that he and his wife (Amy Acker of Person Of Interest) share centers around their son Andrew, who’s being bullied at school almost to the breaking point.Viewers can probably guess what happens next, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to watch unfold. The irony of Reed working against mutants and then finding out about his son’s powers being awakened by the strong emotions associated with abuse by his peers is richly nuanced and informs everything the family does afterwards. There are some surprises for the family along the way as well to sweeten the pot, but as Reed seeks help from the Mutant Underground, his discoveries concerning the Magneto-like Lorna a.k.a. Polaris (Emma Dumont of Aquarius) provide a pleasantly paradoxical reluctance and incentive for Lorna’s boyfriend, the light-manipulating Marcos a.k.a. Eclipse (Sean Teale of Reign), to help the Struckers.What they’re escaping from is the Sentinel Services, a group of elite enforcers who apparently go after those with particularly destructive or potentially game-changing abilities. Two things stand out about the introduction of these mutant hunters. First, the lead agent, Jace Turner (Coby Bell of Burn Notice), is oddly sympathetic while being coldly rigid in rounding up mutants; and second, the Sentinel Services have mysterious ways of tracking the seemingly untrackable and bring a lot of high-tech toys to take down those with powers. The combination makes for a very interesting, dynamic enemy opposite quite flawed protagonists — just how we like it.Characters in the background felt strong and full of promise as well. Although Acker’s Caitlin Strucker didn’t have quite enough to do in the pilot, her screen presence has always been unmatched and as the season goes on she becomes a more prominent character and crucial to the mutant underground, her daughter Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind of The Goldbergs), who could have easily disappeared into the background as just another pretty face, is wonderful both when she was fighting with her brother and when she was supporting him with secrets of her own. And a mutant to keep an eye on, just from the sheer awesomeness of his powers, is John (Blair Redford of Satisfaction), who has a number of abilities hinted at by his alias “Thunderbird” that will not be spoiled here.The Gifted has what it takes to be another “X-Men adjacent” hit for Fox Television alongside FX’s Legion. The latter is much more esoteric but does have several things in common with this new mutant offering, including the manner in which Andy Strucker’s (Percy Hynes White of Murdoch Mysteries) powers manifest. The series builds towards a great finale that changes the entire dynamic of the show and leads into what should be an awesome Season 2 later in the year.

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CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

 

CAST
Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Tom Hanks (The Bonfire of The Vanities)
Christopher Walken (The prophecy)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Nathalie Baye (Tell No One)
Amy Adams (Batman v Superman)
James Brolin (The Amityville Horror)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Sarah Lancaster (Chuck)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Jessica Collins (Tru Calling)
In 1963, teen-aged Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) lives in New Rochelle, New York with his father Frank Abagnale, Sr. (Christopher Walken), and French mother Paula (Nathalie Baye). When Frank Sr. is denied a business loan at Chase Manhattan Bank due to unknown difficulties with the IRS, the family is forced to move from their large home to a small apartment. Paula carries on an affair with Jack (James Brolin), a friend of her husband. Meanwhile, Frank poses as a substitute teacher in his French class. Frank’s parents file for divorce, and Frank runs away. When he runs out of money, he begins relying on confidence scams to get by. Soon, Frank’s cons increase and he even impersonates an airline pilot. He forges Pan Am payroll checks and succeeds in stealing over $2.8 million.
Meanwhile, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), an FBI bank fraud agent, begins tracking Frank. Carl and Frank meet at a hotel, where Frank convinces Carl his name is Barry Allen of the Secret Service, and that he was also after the fraud. Frank leaves, Carl angrily realizing a minute too late that he has been fooled. Later, at Christmas, Carl is still at work when Frank calls him, attempting to apologize for duping Carl. Carl rejects his apology and tells him he will soon be caught, but laughs when he realizes Frank actually called him because he has no one else to talk to. Frank hangs up, and Carl continues to investigate, suddenly realizing (thanks to a waiter) that the name “Barry Allen” is from the Flash comic books and that Frank is actually a teenager.
Frank, meanwhile, has expanded his con to include the identities of a doctor and lawyer. While playing Dr. Frank Conners, he falls in love with Brenda (Amy Adams). While asking her father’s permission to marry her, he admits the truth about himself and asks for help with the Louisiana State Bar exam. Carl tracks him to his engagement party and Frank is able to sneak out a bedroom window minutes before Carl bursts in. Before leaving, Frank makes Brenda promise to meet him in Miami two days later so they can elope. Frank sees her waiting for him two days later, but also notices plainclothes agents waiting to arrest him, realizing he has been set up and escapes on a flight to Europe.
Seven months later, Carl shows his boss that Frank has been forging checks all over western Europe and asks permission to go to Europe to look for him. When his boss refuses, Carl brings Frank’s checks to printing professionals who claim that the checks were printed in France. From an interview with Frank’s mother, Carl remembers that she was actually born in Montrichard, France. He goes there and locates Frank, and tells him that the French police will kill him if he does not go with Carl quietly. Frank assumes he is lying at first, but Carl promises Frank he would never lie to him, and Carl takes him outside, where the French police escort him to prison.
The scene then flashes forward to a plane returning Frank home from prison, where Carl informs him that his father has died. Grief-stricken, Frank escapes from the plane and goes back to his old house, where he finds his mother with the man she left his father for, as well as a girl who Frank realizes is his half-sister. Frank gives himself up and is sentenced to 12 years in prison, getting visits from time to time from Carl. When Frank points out how one of the checks Carl is carrying as evidence is fake, Carl convinces the FBI to offer Frank a deal by which he can live out the remainder of his sentence working for the bank fraud department of the FBI, which Frank accepts. While working at the FBI, Frank misses the thrill of the chase and even attempts to fly as an airline pilot again. He is cornered by Carl, who insists that Frank will return to the FBI job since no one is chasing him. On the following Monday, Carl is nervous that Frank has not yet arrived at work. However, Frank eventually arrives and they discuss their next case. The ending credits reveal that Frank has been happily married for 26 years, has three sons, lives in the Midwest, is still good friends with Carl, has caught some of the world’s most elusive money forgers, and earns millions of dollars each year because of his work creating unforgeable checks.
Stephen Spielberg does an outstanding job of orchestrating this wildly unpredictable film.  He’s able to expose the heart of the story with ease in this film, not cheating us out of anything at any point during the entire movie.This is a very well-made movie with top notch performances that definitely deserve recognition.

 

REVIEW: RETURN TO THE BATCAVE

CAST

Adam west (Family Guy)
Burt Ward (The New Adventures of Batman)
Frank Gorshin (Star Trek)
Julie Newmar (My Living Doll)
Jack Brewer (Clueless TV)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
Lyle Waggoner (Wonder Woman)
Lee Meriwether (The Munsters Today)
Betty White (Th Golden Girls)
Amy Acker (The Cabin In The Woods)
Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Brett Rickaby (The Crazies)
Julia Rose (Something’s Gotta Give)
Erin Carufel (Untraceable)

TV reunions can be pretty painful to watch. It usually just seems like a bunch of overly familiar clips, fluffy talking head retrospectives, and maybe some misguided attempts at material that really should’ve been put to rest a decade or three earlier. If you happened to catch Return to the Batcave when it debuted a couple years back, you already know that this 90 minute special isn’t anything like that.
As you could hopefully guess from the title, Return to the Batcave takes a look back at the Batman television series that aired on ABC in ’60s.  The framing story is set in the present, as original stars Adam West and Burt Ward are delivered phony invitations for a charity auto show. Some cackling criminal offscreen swipes the Batmobile from under them, and to ensure that those orphans don’t suffer any more than they already have, he types with a sniffle, Adam and Burt set off to reclaim the Batmobile and Oof! Wham! Pow! whoever’s responsible. (It’s really not much of a mystery, but play along anyway.) Along the way, they stumble onto clues suggesting that the theft has something to do with their past, and as they reminisce about the show, it’s time to cue the flashbacks.
 The sequences set in the here-‘n-now are played with the same sort of campy, goofy sense of humor as the original series, down to the garish set design and Dutch camera angles. The flashbacks are treated a little more seriously, with Jack Brewster and Jason Marsden stepping into the roles of Adam and Burt. The camp may be dialed down, but these flashbacks aren’t dry, monotone re-enactments. They’re teeming with some of the lurid details from any one of the stars’ tell-all books, everything from Burt Ward’s divorce, Adam West’s relentless womanizing, Ward’s excessive man-basket unsettling the religious right, Fredric Wertham’s accusations of homosexuality between the Dynamic Duo, struggles with the censors, Ward almost getting skewered after a disastrous one-night stand, and internal bickering.  Since it’s not just E!’s True Hollywood Story with a bigger budget, everything from the original casting (including some actual footage of Lyle Waggoner testing as Batman) to the series’ numerous guest stars (including Cesar Romero demanding makeup be smothered over his moustache and a food fight with Vincent Price on the set, to rattle off a couple) to Burt Ward getting bruised, battered, and par-broiled during botched stunts (I don’t have a parenthetical reference for this one) is covered.
 This isn’t a shameless, half-thought-out ratings grab — Return to the Batcave manages to capture the spirit of the original Batman series. A lot of the gags in the framing story got a laugh, particularly quips about the structure of these sorts of reunion specials and more subtle ones like Adam West suggesting they drive his car because it’s already been established. I don’t know how many liberties the movie took with reality for the flashback sequences, but they’re certainly interesting enough, spouting off a bunch of stories I hadn’t heard before. If you’re a fan of the original television series, then…well, you probably already saw this when it originally aired…but if not, I guess you have a chance to now. There isn’t much on this DVD aside from the movie itself, but at least it’s cheap.
Return to the Batcave captures a lot of what made the original TV series such a blast to watch, and if you like the show, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll feel the same way about this reunion movie

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 1-9

MAIN CAST
Josh Radnor (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (The Avengers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible’s-Sing Along Blog)
Alyson Hannigan (American Pie)
Bob Saget (Full House)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
David Henrie (Paul BLart: Mall Cop 2)
Marshall Manesh (True Lies)
Joe Nieves (The Bling Ring)
Anne Dudek (Bones)
Charlene Amoia (The Finder)
Samm Levine (Inglourious Basterds)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Camryn Manheim (Scary Movie 3)
Martin Starr (Knocked Up)
Bill Fagerbakke (The Artist)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years)
J.P. Manoux (Scary Movie 5)
Ashley Williams (Warehouse 13)
Virginia Williams (Fairly Legal)
Kelly Stables (Two and a Half Men)
Bryan Callen (The Hangover)
Taran Killam (The Heat)
Diane Salinger (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
George Cheung (Dark Angel)
Eric Allan Kramer (The Incredible Hulk Returns)
America Olivo (Bitch Slap)
Nate Torrance (Get Smart)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Premiering in Sept. 2005, created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and billed as “a love story in reverse,” How I Met Your Mother turns the “Friends” formula on its head by having one of its main characters, Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget), some 30 years after the modern day events of the show, relaying the twists and turns of said events to his two, often disinterested children (David Henrie and Lyndsy Fonseca). It’s a nifty approach to what would otherwise be well-worn material, although the chemistry of the ensemble cast goes a long way towards smoothing over any feelings of seen-it-before-ness. Joining the modern day Ted Mosby (winningly portrayed by Josh Radnor) are his quartet of New York City-dwelling companions: the goofy couple Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), former flame Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) and the scene-stealing maniac Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).
How I Met Your Mother wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining as it is without its cast — it’s unquestionably the show’s biggest strength, although some interesting creative choices by Bays and Thomas run a close second; the pilot episode ends with a mildly shocking twist: The woman that Ted has been avidly pursuing for the past 22 minutes is not, in fact, the mother of his children. It throws you off-balance and guarantees that you’ll tune in for ensuing episodes to see exactly how Ted ends up telling stories to two youngsters 30 years hence. It’s a pretty nifty narrative trick and one which ensured the show had longevity
MAIN CAST
Josh Radnor (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (The Avengers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible’s-Sing Along Blog)
Alyson Hannigan (American Pie)
Bob Saget (Full House)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
David Henrie (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2)
Charlene Amoia (The Finder)
Joe Manganiello (Spider-man)
Joe Nieves (The BLing Ring)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Bryan Cranston (Godzilla)
Jane Seymour (Wedding Crashers)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Kate Micucci (The Big Bang Theory)
Wayne Brady (Everybody Hates Chris)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Lucy Hale (Bionic Woman)
Ryan Pinkston (Bad Santa)
John Ducey (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Meredith Scott Lynn (Roswell)
Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight)
Jessica Barth (Ted)
K Callan (Lois & Clark)
Meagen Fay (Agent Carter)
Candice King (The Vampire Diaries)
Scoot McNairy (Monsters)
The second season of How I Met Your Mother continues with a similar tone to the first season. The show follows a couple dramatic storylines that affect the lives of the cast, all the while doing and saying goofy things. Notably, Neil Patrick Harris repeatedly steals the spotlight as the overzealous, egotistical, and downright fun character Barney Stinson.
In the close of the show’s first season, Marshall’s life was turned upside down. Lily was accepted into an art internship. The catch is that it meant spending the summer in San Francisco. Marshall gave Lily an ultimatum, the internship or their relationship. She picked San Francisco. As season two begins, Marshall is approaching relationship rock bottom. Having lost the woman of his dreams, he quickly spirals down a destructive path. While Ted would normally be there for him, he has his own issues to deal with. At the end of season one, Ted realized his feelings for Robin and pursed her (again). In season two, they test out relationship-waters.
As the second season continues, Marshall pines over Lily and the Ted-Robin relationship blooms. The contrast between Marshall and Ted makes for a hearty chuckle, as they are as night and day. Life for Marshall is not all bad. One day he wakes up and understands it is time to move on. He becomes himself again (as much as he can without Lily) and even tries to meet women. These outings are fantastic, with Barney continually stealing the show (and the women!). Then boom! Lily returns from San Francisco and tries to adjust to life without Marshall, which includes getting a dumpy apartment and moving in with Barney. Marshall and Lily eventually get back on track and conclude the season with a wedding.
In the early half of the season, Ted and Robin’s relationship is roses and daffodils. They are getting along great… in fact too great. They start to get pretty serious, which includes saying I love you to each other, although Robin has some difficulty expressing it. The two decide to move in together, which Barney wholeheartedly disapproves of. “Moving Day” is a really silly story; Barney goes out of his way to stop Ted from moving into Robin’s place.
In addition to the second season’s relationship story arcs, there are some plain old fun episodes. “Brunch” is a great story. Ted reveals the details leading up to when he learned about his parent’s divorce. It is a hilarious sequence of events, with the entire cast shining. “Aldrin Justice” is silly episode where Barney tries to tame a wild beast. He uses sex to persuade Marshall’s tough law professor (Jane Seymour) into grading easier. “Single Stamina” is a simply ridiculous. Barney’s gay, black brother James (Wayne Brady) comes to visit. The fun part about this episode is Brady’s performance, as he does a fine job mimicking Barney’s outrageous personality, except he targets men.
The season’s remaining episodes offer a fun compilation of fun storylines . It is hilarious and entertaining material. In the end, How I Met Your Mother’s second season is a solid collection of episodes.
MAIN CAST
Josh Radnor (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (The Avengers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible’s-Sing Along Blog)
Alyson Hannigan (American Pie)
Bob Saget (Full House)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
David Henrie (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2)
Charlene Amoia (The Finder)
Mandy Moore (Saved)
Enrique Iglesias (Desperado)
Busy Philipps (The Smokers)
Danica McKellar (The WOnder Years)
Christine Woods (FLashforward)
Neil Jackson (Alexander)
Brad Rowe (Shelter)
Abigail Spencer (Cowboys & Aliens)
Betsy Rue (Halloween II)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Maggie Wheeler (The Parent Trap)
April Bowlby (Two and a Half men)
Lindsay Price (Eastwick)
Stephanie Faracy (Sideways)
Kristen Schaal (The Boss)
Sarah Chalke (Scrubs)
Britney Spears (Crossroads)
Marshall Manesh (True Lies)
April Bowlby (Mom)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad)
Bryan Callen (The Hangover)
Taran Killam (The Heat)
James Van Der Beek (Dawsons Creek)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Will Forte (The Lego Movie)
John Getz (The Fly)
Darcy Rose Byrnes (My Name Is Earl)
After a successful first two seasons, How I Met Your Mother dives into new (and old) territory by continuing the story of five New York friends. Season three has a similar tone to past seasons with a great mixture of comedy and drama. The main characters continue to go through the ups and downs of life. Notably, there are stories about the aftermath of the Ted-Robin breakup, Marshall and Lily experience life as newlyweds, Marshall passes the bar and goes to work, Barney learns something about his past and sleeps with a lot of women, and more. It is a very fun season with Neil Patrick Harris continuing to steal the spotlight.

The season opens with “Wait For It…”, which addresses a couple storylines. Towards the end of season two, there were a couple shifts in the romances. Ted and Robin called it splitsville, but remained friends. Robin went on vacation to South America. In season three, Robin comes back with boyfriend Gael (Enrique Iglesias). The introduction of Gael causes complications for Ted, Robin, and the rest of the gang. As the season continues, Ted slowly gets his life back together and the idea of Robin not being an important part of his life. The other key development from the season premiere dealt with Marshall and Lily. They got married at the end of season two and are now a happy couple that still shares an apartment with Ted. As the season progresses, they consider new living situations, which include a crooked house. Included in this development, Marshall passes the New York bar and gets a job as a real life lawyer. His dream job is complicated by the decision of saving the environment or providing for his family. Lily has a surprise in store for him that makes the decision easy. John Cho guest stars as one of Marshall’s boss.

 

The season has many other big developments. Barney gets a case of “The Yips”, where he loses his confidence with women. Barney learns that his first time with cougar Rhonda was not as good as he was led to believe. Afterwards, he doubts his ability to please women. Ted joins him on a few escapades, which include acting as tourists, a wild St. Patrick’s Day, and more. Ted also embarks on a relationship with Stella (Sarah Chalke), which gets pretty serious. Robin dates an old flame played by an overweight James Van Der Beek.

Overall, season three is exciting, hilarious, and just all around fun. There are a lot of dramatic developments that are supplemented with lots of great laughs. Fans of the show will not be disappointed.

MAIN CAST
Josh Radnor (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (The Avengers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible’s-Sing Along Blog)
Alyson Hannigan (American Pie)
Bob Saget (Full House)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
David Henrie (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2)
Charlene Amoia (The Finder)
Sarah Chalke (Scrubs)
Darcy Rose Byrnes (Desperate Housewives)
Virginia Williams (Fairly Legal)
Bryan Callen (The Hangover)
Courtney Ford (The Big Bang Theory)
Candace Moon (Shredder)
Will Sasso (Anger Management)
Khary Payton (Teen Titans)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Amy Gumenick (Arrow)
Joe Nieves (The Bling Ring)
Jordan Masterson (That 70s Show)
Marshall Manesh (True Lies)
Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under)
Brooke D’Orsay (Two and a Half Men)
Laura Prepon (Karla)
Danny Glover (Earthsea)
Rebecca Budig (Batman Forever)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Ron Roggé (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
The Ted-Robyn relationship provided much of the ongoing story arc for the first three seasons; In season Three  Ted embarked on a romance with Stella (guest star–and Scrubs regular–Sarah Chalke) that provides that year with a cliffhanger–will she accept Ted’s marriage proposal? Well, spoiler alert, she does. But this stroke of happiness for our Ted is short-lived; their rushed wedding, in episode five, ends with Stella leaving Ted at the altar following a reconciliation with her ex. Bruised and a little battered, Ted spends the remainder of the season mostly playing the field; this year’s will-they-or-won’t-they involves not Robin and Ted, but Robin and Barney, who slept together at the end of season three, leading to–shockingly and alarmingly–a genuine flush of romantic feelings by the notorious womanizer.
By this point in its run, How I Met Your Mother has settled into a comfortable routine, and I mean that in a good way; the show is in the character-comedy mold of Seinfeld and Friends (its two clearest influences), and like those shows, the situations get funnier, the more familiar we are with the characters. The series’ ingenious structure and inventive narrative tricks also continue to entertain; the hopscotching timelines of the “Three Days of Snow” and “The Front Porch” episodes are outstanding, while the clever flashbacks of “Sorry, Bro” build to some big laughs. Other standout episodes include “I Heart NJ,” which perfectly encapsulates the love/hate relationship between island-dwelling New Yorkers and commuters from the Garden State; “The Best Burger in New York,” a fine portrait of New York foodie-ism (and how to best utilize a Regis Philbin guest shot); and “The Stinsons,” which reveals one of Barney’s more peculiar secrets.
But the season’s finest episode, without question, is “Murtaugh,” centered on Ted’s “Murtaugh List”–i.e., a list of things that would fall under Danny Glover’s Lethal Weapon catchphrase, “I’m getting too old for this shit” (the replacement of “shit” with “stuff” in the story that aged Ted is telling his children is a particularly nice touch). It’s a funny idea (and dovetails nicely with the season-long running theme of aging; there’s 30th birthdays all around this season), well-developed, and the episode’s B-plot includes an homage to Teen Wolf, so what else could you ask for? Radnor and Smulders, continue to develop into engaging, charismatic comic actors. Hannigan and Segal’s chemistry remains one of the show’s biggest assets. But Harris’ Barney Stinson remains the show’s comic gold mine, and the skilled thespian uses the season-long Robin crush to lend some additional pathos to the character. His desperation reaches a fever pitch in the wonderful “Benefits” episode, in which new roommates Ted and Robin end up sleeping together to end domestic arguments, leading jealous Barney to start dropping by with groceries and pitching in on household chores–all the better to keep tempers smooth and to keep the “friends” out of each other’s pants.
How I Met Your Mother remains one of the most consistently, reliably funny series on network television. Season four finds the show continuing in fine form, taking its characters in interesting new directions and providing its talented cast with a prime showcase for their crackerjack comic skills.
MAIN CAST
Josh Radnor (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (The Avengers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible’s-Sing Along Blog)
Alyson Hannigan (American Pie)
Bob Saget (Full House)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
David Henrie (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2)
Charlene Amoia (The Finder)
Joe Manganiello (Spider-Man)
Lindsay Sloane (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries)
Marshall Manesh (True Lies)
April Bowlby (Two and a Half Men)
Matt Jones (Mom)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Sarah Wright (The House Bunny)
Chris Elliott (Kingpin)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eyes)
Bill Fagerbakke (The Artist)
JoAnna Garcia Swisher (The Internship)
Matthew Moy (2 Broke Girls)
Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad)
Harvey Fierstein (Kull)
Rachel Bilson (Jumpe)
Amanda Peet (Identity Thief)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)
Larry Poindexter (Blade: The Series)
Carrie Underwood (Soul Surfer)
Matt Frewer (Taken)
Laura Prepon (That 70s Show)
Anne Dudek (Bones)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Gary Anthony Williams (Mike & Molly)
Michael York (Logans Run)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Malin Akerman (Watchmen)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)
Ted begins his job as a professor of architecture, standing in the middle of a classroom – although the mother was present, it turns out to be an economics class as he’s in the wrong lecture hall. Barney and Robin have had a sexual relationship throughout the summer and Lily locks them in a room, forcing them to come to terms with their relationship. After a rough patch they decide to break up. Robin describes it instead as “two friends getting back together.” Barney immediately goes back to his old ways, using the playbook to score with women. Throughout the season Barney and Robin show feelings of regret over their break-up.
Ted dates a graduate student named Cindy (Rachel Bilson) and it is revealed her roommate is his future wife. Robin meets Don Frank (Benjamin Koldyke), her new co-anchor on her 4 AM TV show. Though she initially dislikes him, the two start dating and eventually she moves in with him. At the end of the season they break up when Don takes a job in Chicago — a job which Robin had previously turned down to stay in New York with Don. Marshall uses his fourth slap on Barney, once again at Thanksgiving. Ted buys a house, which needs to be fixed up badly, but is later revealed to be the future home for Ted and his children.
Lily and Marshall are still unsure about having children. After watching four doppelgangers of their group (Lesbian Robin, Moustache Marshall, Stripper Lily and Mexican Wrestler Ted) they decide to leave the big decision to the universe’s “infinite wisdom” and start trying when they have seen Barney’s Doppelganger. In the season finale, Barney disguises himself to have sex with a girl from every country in the world, and Lily and Marshall mistake him for the final doppelganger. When Marshall finds out, he decides not to tell Lily, fearing she will want to wait even longer to have children. Lily eventually finds out and decides to wait. In the season finale, Lily thinks she sees Barney’s doppelganger as a hot dog vendor, which causes the group to realize she is seeing what she wants to see, and play along. Eventually Barney agrees having babies is not a stupid idea and Lily and Marshall should go forth. The season ends with Lily asking Marshall to “put a baby in my belly”.
Another great season which leaves you wanting to fin out what happens next in season 6.
MAIN CAST
Josh Radnor (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (The Avengers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible’s-Sing Along Blog)
Alyson Hannigan (American Pie)
Bob Saget (Full House)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
David Henrie (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2)
Charlene Amoia (The Finder)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Frances Conroy (Six Feet Unde)
Wayne Brady (Baby Daddy)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heroes)
Geoff Stults (The Finder)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Marshall Manesh (True Lies)
Bill Fagerbakke (The Artist)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Virginia Williams (One Life To Live)
Mikaela Hoover (Super)
Jennifer Morrison (Urban Legends: Final Cut)
Will Forte (MacGruber)
Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad)
Kyle MacLachlan (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Nicole Scherzinger (Men in Black 3)
Joe Nieves (The Blking Ring)
Jorge Garcia (Lost)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
Bill Suplee (Love or War)
Chris Elliott (Scary Movie 2)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Katy Perry (The Smurfs)
Suzy Nakamura (Dodgeball)
Robbie Amell (The Flash)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Nancy Travis (Last Man Standing)
Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Chi McBride (Human Target)
In the season opening, Ted sees Cindy again with a girl who he thinks to be her roommate, but she turns out to be Cindy’s girlfriend whom she later marries. After prodding by Barney, Ted is eventually hired by GNB once more as the architect of the bank’s new headquarters, which was originally scrapped in Season 4. However, he encounters opposition when he meets Zoey Pierson (Jennifer Morrison), a woman who is protesting against GNB for selecting a decrepit hotel, the Arcadian, to be torn down for the headquarters. Over the season, Ted’s encounters with Zoey eventually blossom into a relationship after she divorces her rich husband, the Captain (Kyle MacLachlan), but they break up as he puts his career and friends over love, leading to the Arcadian’s demolition. Ted also resolves not to get back with Zoey.
Having agreed to conceive a baby at the end of the previous season, Lily and Marshall keep having sex, hoping she will get pregnant. Around Christmas, they have a false alarm and later seek fertility testing. The fertility specialist, Dr. Stangel, turns out to be Barney’s doppelgänger, fulfilling their promise with the universe in regard to their decision to have a child. However, tragedy strikes when Marshall’s father passes away, leaving him devastated and the gang comforting him. Marshall tries to get over his father’s death and live again. Despite a pledge to Lily to work harder for their future, Marshall resigns from GNB and follows his dream of being an environmental lawyer. Zoey also hires him as her lawyer in what became a futile battle to save the Arcadian. At the end of the season, Lily reveals that she is pregnant.
Barney finally admits to the gang that Bob Barker is not his real father, especially when his mother decides to sell the house he grew up in and his brother, James, meets his own father. Loretta offers the identity of Barney’s father on a sheet of paper, but Barney tears this up after realizing her efforts as a single mother. At the funeral of Marshall’s father, Barney tells Loretta that he wants to see his father at last. The man, Jerry Whittaker (John Lithgow), is eventually revealed to be someone whom Barney thought was his uncle. Barney, who remembers Jerry as a fun-loving man, is disappointed after learning how Jerry has grown out of his free-wheeling ways. Although he tries to bring back Jerry’s old behaviors, Barney admits that he wants to settle down someday. He is also introduced to Nora (Nazanin Boniadi), a co-worker of Robin, for whom he develops feelings. After an initial falling out, the two reconcile at the end of the season after Barney asks her for coffee.
Robin continues to work at her talk show, Come On, Get Up, New York!, but the presence of a new hyperactive co-host forces her to leave. She is accepted as a researcher in another network, World Wide News. The gang also discovers more of her past as the Canadian pop star Robin Sparkles. Robin also encounters a man (Michael Trucco) she has had a secret crush on since first seeing him when she and Ted were dating, and Future Ted hints that they will see more of him later.
Short scenes during the season premiere and finale feature a wedding set sometime in the future, where Ted will meet his future wife. In the final scene of the season, the groom is revealed to be Barney.
A great new story Arc for the season, all the cast are still on top form and shows you why its a top notch comedy.
MAIN CAST
Josh Radnor (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (The Avengers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible’s-Sing Along Blog)
Alyson Hannigan (American Pie)
Bob Saget (Full House)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
David Henrie (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2)
Charlene Amoia (The Finder)
Joe Nieves (The Bling Ring)
Ashley Williams (Margin Call)
Martin Short (Mars Attacks)
Kal Penn (Superman Returns)
Jimmi Simpson (Westworld)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
Vicki Lewis (Finding Nemo)
Katherine Von Till (Timer)
Jay Acovone (Beauty and The Beast 1989)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Chris Elliott (Kingpin)
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (Batman vs Robin)
Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under)
Bill Fagerbakke (The Artist)
Wayne Brady (Stargate Sg.1)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Katie Holmes (Batman Begins)
Christina Pickles (Masters of The Universe)
Jacob Witkin (Evil Bong)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Danielle Weeks (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Chasty Ballesteros (Final Destination 5)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heroes)
Rebecca Creskoff (Bates Motel)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Ellen D. Williams (Salesgirl)
Marshall Manesh (True Lies)
K Callan (Lois & CLark)
Season seven opens with another flash forward, in which Ted is helping Barney get ready for his wedding to a still unknown bride. In the present, Marshall gets a job in environmental law while Lily progresses with her pregnancy. Barney proves to Nora that he can be a good boyfriend to her, while Robin is revealed to still have feelings for Barney. Robin meets a therapist Kevin (Kal Penn) and they start to date. Meanwhile, after a period of unemployment since leaving GNB, Marshall finally manages to land his dream job at a top environmental law firm. After losing a bet, Barney is forced to wear a tie with a duck pattern on it (nicknamed the ‘Ducky Tie’) which he hates. Marshall allows him to take it off when meeting Nora’s parents on the condition that Barney has three slaps added to the one still remaining from the Slap Bet. Marshall uses two slaps immediately, leaving two left.
While reminiscing about Hurricane Irene, Lily and Marshall reveal they conceived their baby in Barney’s apartment, and Barney and Robin end up sleeping together. Barney and Robin decide to break up with their partners, but Robin reneges on the deal, returning to Kevin and leaving Barney alone and heartbroken. Robin has a pregnancy scare at Thanksgiving and tells Barney the child is his, since she and Kevin had not yet slept together. However, Robin’s doctor informs her that she cannot have children at all. Kevin, who wants children, proposes to Robin who decides that the pair must break up. Ted comforts Robin and reveals he still loves her, but the gesture is unrequited.
Marshall and Lily decide they want to move to Long Island, after Lily’s paternal grandparents offer them their house there. Eventually, they move back to the old apartment in New York City after realizing suburban life is not for them. Ted gives them his apartment because he believes he cannot move on from Robin while living there, while he and Robin become estranged and do not speak for several weeks. Robin is eventually offered a news anchor job and subsequently achieves recognition after preventing a helicopter she is flying in from crashing.
Barney starts dating a stripper named Quinn, to the group’s initial apprehension. The gang begins to meddle in their relationship, but Barney and Quinn outsmart their attempts and win their approval. Quinn moves in with Barney, while Ted buys Quinn’s old apartment. Lily goes into labor and frantically calls Barney and Marshall, who are out at a casino. After many attempts to escape, Barney helps Marshall arrive in time for Lily’s delivery and chooses the middle name for the baby, Marvin Waitforit Eriksen. Ted and Robin’s friendship also recovers as a result of Marvin’s birth. As the season concludes, Marshall and Lily begin their new family with their baby, Barney proposes to Quinn, and Ted contacts his old girlfriend Victoria. Unhappy with
Another highly enjoyable season with two more seasons to go it’s nice to see the show coming to an endgame.
MAIN CAST
Josh Radnor (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (The Avengers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible’s-Sing Along Blog)
Alyson Hannigan (American Pie)
Bob Saget (Full House)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
David Henrie (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2)
Joe Nieves (The Bling Ring)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Ashley Williams (Magin Call)
Michael Trucco (Wishmaster 4)
Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad)
Suzie Plakson(Red Eye)
Chris Elliott (Scary Movie 2)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Ellen D. William (Salesgirl)
Seth Green (Idle Hands)
Peter Gallagher (American Beauty)
Marshall Manesh (True Lies)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars)
James Van Der Beek (Dawsons Creek)
Abby Elliott (2 Broke Girls)
Kyle MacLachlan (Dune)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid)
Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Ted visits Robin on the day of her wedding to Barney, causing him to remember how he and Victoria ran away from her wedding to be together. The summer is spent with Ted, Barney and Robin enjoying their current relationships however all subsequently break up with their partners. Victoria splits up with Ted over his friendship with Robin, Barney and Quinn break up due to their inability to trust each other and Robin breaks up with Nick realizing his immaturity. Robin and Barney kiss but decide not to get together, despite Barney’s wishes. Barney then begins dating Robin’s hated co-worker Patrice (Ellen D. Williams), a relationship later exposed as a ruse to make Robin realize her true feelings for him. In a culminating scene Barney proposes to Robin, who says yes.
Marshall and Lily attempt to get used to being parents, which causes a brief estrangement from the gang as Baby Marvin takes up the majority of their time. Lily’s father Mickey becomes Marvin’s nanny, freeing the two up to spend more time with their friends. The Captain, ex-husband of Ted’s old girlfriend Zoey, offers Lily a job as an art consultant due to her identifying a painting that made a huge profit for him. Lily accepts, happy to finally achieve her dream of having a job in the art industry while Marshall decides to apply to become a judge. The Captain offers Lily a year’s work in Rome, which she accepts with Marshall’s blessing. However, just before Barney and Robin’s wedding, Marshall is informed that his application to become a judge has been granted, a development that would require them to stay in the US.
Ted briefly dates Jeanette (Abby Elliott), a girl who stalked him after he appeared on the cover of New York Magazine due to his design of GNB headquarters. He quickly realizes he’s made a mistake and breaks up with her. Ted’s feelings of loneliness grow, especially as he is now the only single member of the group, and he decides he is truly ready to settle down. He argues with Lily over hiring a DJ or a band for Barney and Robin’s wedding, but is forced to provide a band at short notice when Lily concedes the argument. During a chance meeting on the subway, Cindy offers the services of her roommate’s wedding band; said roommate is Ted’s future wife.
As the week of the wedding approaches, Robin has doubts about marrying Barney and shares an emotional moment with Ted. Guilty, Ted realizes he can’t be around Barney and Robin after they’re married and decides to move to Chicago the day after the wedding. The season concludes with everyone travelling to Barney and Robin’s wedding, including the mother of Ted’s children (revealed on screen for the first time and portrayed by Cristin Milioti), who is seen buying a train ticket to the venue and holding her yellow umbrella.
The Second to last season brings us closer to the endgame and the big reveal of the Mother is the biggest of all the revelations.
MAIN CAST
Josh Radnor (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (The Avengers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible’s-Sing Along Blog)
Alyson Hannigan (American Pie)
Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Bob Saget (Full House)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
David Henrie (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2)
Sherri Shepherd (Precious)
Wayne Brady (Stargate Sg.1)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Marshall Manesh (True Lies)
Robert Belushi (Valentines Day)
Ellen D. Williams (Salesgirl)
Frances Conroy (Six feet Under)
Virginia Williams (One Life To Live)
Katie Holmes (Batman Begins)
Edward Herrmann (The Lost Boys)
Harry Groener (Buffy)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
James Van Der Beek (Dawsons Creek)
April Bowlby (Mom)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Sarah Chalke (Scrubs)
Abby Elliott (2 Broke Girls)
Bill Fagerbakke (The Artist)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Lucy Hale (Bionic Woman)
Jon Heder (Blades of Glory)
Tracey Ullman (Into The Woods)
Chris Elliott (Scary Movie 2)
Kyle MacLachlan (Dune)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Jennifer Morrison (Urban Legends 2)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
Abigail Spencer (Cowboys & Aliens)
With the exception of the very last episode, the entirety of season nine takes place in the 56 hours leading up to Barney and Robin’s wedding.
Marshall, who is stuck in Minnesota, desperately tries to find a way to get to the wedding in time. Meanwhile, in Farhampton, the time is slowly counting down to the wedding, with a new problem arising in almost every episode. It is revealed that Lily is pregnant and that she and Marshall will have a daughter. It was also revealed that Ted’s children are named Penny and Luke. In addition, the 200th episode detailed the Mother’s eight years before meeting Ted, while later episodes gave viewers a glimpse of Ted and the Mother together in flash forward scenes.
In the series finale, it was revealed that after three years of marriage, Barney and Robin decide to divorce. Barney ends up fathering a child conceived through a one-night stand. Marshall eventually becomes a judge, and he and Lily have three children. Ted’s wife, Tracy, dies of illness in 2024, six years prior to Ted telling his children the full story of how they met. Upon finishing the story, at the urging of his kids, Ted decides to ask Robin out. Alluding to the first season, the finale ends with Robin looking out her apartment window to see Ted on the street holding the blue French horn.
Season 9 may have a controversial ending but it’s nice to see a show have a proper ending with so many shows ending early they often fail to finish. How I Met You Mother proved it could stay the distance and the ending will be talked about for years to come.

REVIEW: NO ORDINARY FAMILY

MAIN CAST
Michael Chikilis (Gotham)
Julie Benz (Angel)
Kay Panabaker (Two and a Half Men)
Jimmy Bennett (The Amityville Horror)
Autumn Reeser (Human Target)
Romany Malco (Blades of Glary)
Stephen Collins (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Christina Chang (28 Days)
Tate Donovan (Argo)
Jamie Harris (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jason Antoon (Minority Report)
Reggie Lee (Drag Me To Hell)
Joanna Walsh (Faster)
Guillermo Diaz (The Terminal)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Rahcel Miner (The Butterfly Effect 3)
Max Greenfield (New Girls)
Amy Gumenick (Arrow)
Jackson Rathbone (Twilight)
Cybill Shepherd (Moonlighting)
Bruce McGill (Collateral)
Amy Acker (Dollhouse)
Mimi Kennedy (Mom)
Katelyn Tarver (Dead on Campus)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Jason Wiles (Zodiac)
Luke Kleintank (Bones)
Rebecca Mader (Lost)
Joanne Kelly (Mutant X)
Katrina begin (Zookeeper)
Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Anthony Michael Hall (The Dead Zone)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Eric Balfour (Skyline)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Michael Maize (Eagle Eye)

The Powells are a typical American family living in fictional Pacific Bay, California, whose members gain special powers after their plane crashes in the Amazon. The show is very light hearted and manages to mix comedy with action and drama extremely well. The family are quite cliché and the powers aren’t exactly ‘original’ but they make it work.The cast do a great job portraying their characters, Michael Chiklis (Star of The Shield and Fantastic Four) does a brilliant job as the father while Julie Benz (formerly Rita Morgan in Dexter) puts on a strong performance as the mother of the family. You also have Kay Panabaker and Jimmy Bennett as the kids.

The character development in this series is great and the story is  highly entertaining. The characters relationships are believable and very engrossing. I think the pairing of Jim Powell (Michael Chiklis) and George St. Cloud (Romany Malco) is brilliant. The second prize for most hilarious character in this show has to go to Stephanie Powells best friend and work colleague Katie Andrews (Played by Autumn Reeser), she is incredibly geeky and so socially awkward, hilarious to watch.

It’s light hearted, fun and easy to watch. Yes it has the sci-fi/fantasy element to it which is akin to shows like Chuck, Heroes, Supernatural, Buffy, Smallville etc. But it also has a more family oriented feel to it at times and what this show does brilliantly is applying super powers to every day events. A lot of people have been comparing it heroes but I find it far to light hearted to be compared to heroes. It’s nowhere near as dark and serious and has far more comedy integrated throughout. I’d say it’s more like Chuck than Heroes. It was cancelled after only 1 season but still its very much worth a watch.

REVIEW: ANGEL – LIFE OF THE PARTY

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MAIN CAST

David Boreanaz (Bones)
James Marsters (Caprica)
J. August richards (Agents of SHIELD)
Amy Acker (The Cabin In The Woods)
Andy Hallett (Shallow Hal)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
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GUEST CAST

Sarah Thompson (Cruel Intetions 2)
Mercedes McNab (The Addams Family)
Jonathan M. Woodward (firefly)
Leland Cooke (Maid to Order)
T.J . Thyne (Bones)

LIFE OF THE PARTY

As Halloween approaches, Lorne throws a Halloween party for all the firm’s clients and employees and even gets a reluctant Angel to invite a powerful demon lord, named Archduke Sebassis, to the party. During the gathering, Lorne’s timely advice to his friends starts happening literally, leading to Fred and Wesley getting drunk after Lorne tells them to loosen up, Gunn to embarrassingly relieve himself to “stake out his territory”, Angel and Eve to have sex, and even Spike and the dim-witted Harmony to have fun on the dance floor. The events lead to only more trouble when Lorne’s empathic subconscious begins manifesting itself in a hulking demon (resembling a larger Lorne on steroids). The demon appeared as a result of Lorne’s sleep deprivation after Lorne had Wolfram and Hart remove his sleep: an empath with long-term sleeplessness can write people’s destinies instead of just reading them, and the empath’s subconscious can physically manifest. The episode also reveals that Lorne is proud of his organizational skills, as he feels most of his other talents simply do not match up to what his friends can do.angel505The larger Lorne causes much violence before the gang restores Lorne’s sleep, thus neutralizing the monster. The chaos and destruction has a positive side: the rank and file of Wolfram and Hart express the opinion that it greatly improved the party.
This episode was really good and so funny exspexcially how spike was acting the things that he said were very funny and so was Angel, I exspecially liked the part were Gunn peed on Angel’s chair. This episode was my favorite episode out of the fifth season. I think it was funny that every thing Lorne said would come true and then towards the end when a huge giant Lorne came to life after he fell asleep was a gread addition to this episode.

REVIEW: ANGEL – SEASON 1-5

 

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MAIN CAST

David Boreanaz (Bones)
Charisma Carpenter (Scream Queens)
Glenn Quinn (R.S.V.P)
Alxis Denisof (Dollhouse)
J. August Richards (Agents of SHIELD)
Amy Acker (The Cabin In The Woods)
Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men)
Andy Hallett (Chance)
James Marsters (Smallville)
Mercedes McNab (The Addams Family)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Christian Kane (Just Married)
Josh Holloway (Lost)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Michael Mantell (The Ides of March)
Elisabeth Rohm (Joy)
Obi Ndefo (Stargate SG.1)
Johnny Messner (Anacondas)
Jennifer Tung (Masked Rider)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Andy Umberger (Deja Vu)
Tushka Bergen (Mad Max 3)
Beth Grant (Wonderfalls)
Bai Ling (The Crow)
Jesse James (Blow)
J. Kenneth Campbell (Mars Attacks)
Henri Lubatti True Blood)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
John Mahon (Zodiac)
Kristin Dattilo (Intolerable Cruelty)
Carlos Jacott (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Lee Arenberg (Once Upon A Time)
Jeremy Renner (Avengers Assemble)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Stephanie Romanov (Thirtten Days)
Tamara Gorski (Man With The Screaming Brain)
Julie Benz (Punisher: Warzone)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Alastair Duncan (The Batman)
Sam Anderson (Lost)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Justina Machado (Final Destination 2)
Matthew James (American Crime)
J.P. Manoux (Birds of Prey)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
David Herman (Futurama)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
Daisy McCrackin (Halloween 8)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Brigid Brannagh (Army Wives)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
Tony Todd (Wishmaster)
Jim Piddock (The Prestige)
Julia Lee (A Man Apart)
Gerry Becker(Spider-Man)
Eric Lange (Lost)
Leah Pipes (The Originals)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Brody Hutzler (Days of Our Lives)
Persia White (The Vampire Diaries)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Mark Lutz (Bitch Slap)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Frank Salsedo (Power Rangers Zeo)
David Denman (Outcast)
Justin Shilton (Little Miss Sunshine)
Rance Howard (Chinatown)
Kristoffer Polaha (Ringer)
Jack Conley (Payback)
Jim Ortlieb (Roswell)
Laurel Holloman (Boogie Nights)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Losers)
Sunny Mabrey (Snakes On A Plane)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
John Rubinstein (Red Dragon)
Alexa Davalos (Clash of The Titans)
Kay Panabaker (No Ordinary Family)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Adrienne Wilkinson (Xena)
Gina Torres (Hannibal)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Sarah Thompson (Cruel Intentions 2)
Jonathan M. Woodard (Firefly)
T.J. Thyne (Bones)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Simon Templeman (Black Road)
Roy Dotrice (Beauty and the Beast)
Brendan Hines (Lie to Me)
Tom Lenk (Argo)
Navi Rawat (Feast)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Jaime Bergman (Soulkeeper)
Stacey Travis (Easy A)
Dennis Christopher (Django Uncahined)

When Joss Whedon pitched Angel: the Series, he described it as a detective-style film-noir-themed take on the supernatural, much in the same way Buffy was pitched as a look from the viewpoint of the Horror genre. Buffy’s style took some time to get right, but the aesthetics of this show in its first year are well thought out and crafted; darkness and emotive shadow creep over, tense musical swells linger, and the picture is shot in a large resolution to provide just a bit of grain. I’d be damned if it didn’t seem intentional. Joss also said that where Buffy looked, metaphorically, at the hell of High School, Angel’s show would look at life past it in your early adulthood and the life and relationship issues of that unique, big city world. This metaphor is dominant in the first season, and is one of the main themes.

Angel, as a series, is always and will always be about redemption, but the themes of its respective seasons are about the different facets to it. Exploring what it is, losing the chance at it or the responsibility one pledges to it is all covered over the duration of the show. With season one, it was most direct: How do you get it? At the start of the season we see Angel arrive in LA, see him save lives, but we also watch him slip deeply into apathy about his goal. To understand the importance and worth of a human and life and soul, Angel learns in “City of” (1×01) that one must have a human connection; friends and allies that make his life worth living so his mission can be worth fighting for, and most importantly so that he doesn’t become detached from (and even dangerous to) those he hopes to save.

The season, as I mentioned, does lack a cohesive arc, but it also has a tremendous amount of hugely entertaining and well-written standalones. Many of them focus on Angel’s mission: “helping the helpless.” Angel makes it his goal to not only save lives, but save souls and make life worth living for others, and as a result of this his connections are solidified as he carries this out. He and his group slowly form into a legitimate investigation team which takes cases and makes money off of them, and many of the seasons situations out of which the characters are developed are a result of these cases. Cordelia, who in “Rm w a Vu” (1×05) is still defining herself by her possessions, searches for a place to live. Instead what she finds is a stronger sense of self, and in that a connection to the world of humans rather the one of plastic. Doyle and Wesley both find their own connections, as well. Episodes such as these are the season’s order, in every one of which something new happens that alters the main or supporting characters, or teaches the audience something about them.

This is, in my opinion, what sets shows like Buffy and Angel apart: relevance. More than any other show, each episode contains progressive, ongoing development that charts development in a very realistic way. On a more specific level, this particular season has an extremely strong episode to episode consistency, with each individual showing striking its own tone and exploring the main theme in different ways. A few larger, more exciting events may have helped, but at the same time I appreciate this season for what it is and how it does something a bit different from most other seasons of Buffy or Angel. There’s a lot more to talk about, including the metaphorical basis’ used and what we’re being fed through them, as well as the general ups and downs. The strongest suit this season has is its extremely fluid use of theme. Though the ponderings on connection, redemption and starting a new life are not as intricately detailed, subtle or socially penetrating as the themes of any other season, the careful and consistent way they’re used to develop characters and give the stories real world relevance is masterful. Angel made it his mission to save souls, and we were shown him connecting with people by helping them, failing to help them, or losing them altogether. All the supporting characters followed, gaining their own redemption through helping Angel and the helpless.

With the exception of Wesley being overly bumbling at times, nothing felt out of character this season, and that’s extremely impressive considering the length of a season. Doyle’s sacrifice in “Hero” (1×09), Angel’s re-ignited belief in himself in “To Shanshu in LA” [1×22] or Kate’s decision to see Angel kiss daylight in “Sanctuary” [1×19] were all thematically conclusive, resonant and well built up to.

The preceding season was,strong and coherent. While looking at the tribulations of life after High School in the big city, it managed to do so in a way that developed the characters within another major theme: Connection; Human emotions and growth that make us a part of the world, make us human. By the end of the season, Angel had been given a purpose, both short and long term, and a mission to fight for: Fighting in the final battles and surviving to be made a breathing human being again. Season Two, with a much broader theme, builds logically on that, and asks our vampire hero just what it means to really be human. Much of the season’s development is split in that way, with Angel increasingly being led off into his own world, with his friends developing entirely in a place away from him.screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-18-22-am-e1473430782777While he and the fate that ties him to Darla explore the complexities of human existence, Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn become forced to suffer through and succeed in it on their own. Though not as characterized by pain and hopelessness as much as S3 post “Sleep Tight” [3×16] through to the end of the series is, there’s much darkness and suffering abound, especially for Angel. His epic trials and will for revenge separate him harshly from humanity, only for him to realize that his worst actions are indeed wholly human, and that this is what humanity really can be. Season Two has such interesting ideas in spades, and its theme looks at all the best (“Untouched” [2×04], “Guise Will Be Guise” [2×06], “Epiphany” [2×16]) and worst (“Reunion” [2×10], “Reprise” [2×15]) sides of our existence: forgiveness, self-control, image, obsession, revenge, victory, belonging and the very nature of evil itself. By the time the season closes, Angel’s re-examined entirely what his mission is and how he’s to fight it, and goes from a champion vampire-with-a-soul to simply a genuinely good human being who helps people.fake-dwarvesWith the exception of the brilliant period piece Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?, and a few rare others, the season doesn’t have quite as much use for pure standalones. Its arc employs its best metaphors and situations in the interest of exploring all sides of the characters’ journey, and as such, the season gives the impression that more happens this year than last because of the depth of each phase of the arc: the four episode standalone period, the first part of the Darla arc (“Dear Boy” [2×05] to “Reunion” [2×10]), the second part of the Darla arc (“Redefinition” [2×11] to “Epiphany” [2×16]), another couple of standalones (“Disharmony” [2×17] and “Dead End” [2×18]) and the Pylea arc (“Belonging” [2×19] to “There’s No Place Like Plrtz Glrb” [2×22]).

This is likely why the season finds such a strong and undivided following. While some dispute the worth of the standalones or the Pylea arc, others like them, and everyone loves the story arc; there’s something for everyone. The best aspect of this year of the character’s journey in L.A. is how broad and all encompassing the season is. With the exception of Season Five, I find this to be the best season of the show. It has a few great metaphors, an engaging, unpredictable story arc, fun standalones, important character development, strong drama, and some of the most intelligent moral and social considerations I’ve ever seen on a TV show or in a movie.

Like at the start of Season Two, the writers seemed to have a clear direction in mind at the start of Season Three, and they wisely picked up the story at the logical introductory point: With Angel having conquered his innermost doubts about his own humanity. He begins to live a truly human life. He’s accepted his role in the world as a good person rather than a champion, and recognizes the world as a wide-open, random place with no greater destiny or order about it. It’s the kind of world where even the smallest acts of kindness mean everything, because they mean someone is able to shrug off the horrible burdens of life long enough to make another life better.screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-18-22-am-e1473430782777It opens with a six episode prelude looking at various facets of the responsibilities and obligations of normal human life, and then really begins with “Offspring” [3×07] when Darla returns to L.A. in a very, very pregnant state. Like “Dear Boy” [2×05] was for S2, this is where the beginning of S3 truly lies. With Darla’s death and the birth of baby Connor (“Lullaby” [3×09]) as the emotional forces driving the season, the writers used the question of responsibility and all the ideas that fall under it (justice, deserving, chaos and guilt) to create some truly, gut-wrenchingly impossible situations for our characters to face. If I have to commend this year for one thing alone, it’s the painstaking drama that the writers plunge the characters into throughout the main arc and in the mini-arcs that follow. Although there’s not nearly as much thematic depth as S2 or as much consistency as S1, the tragedies and difficult moral situations our beloved Angel Investigations team members are forced to face moved me deeper than a lot of other episodes in the series.

Aesthetically, S3 also has a much more sprawling scope than the previous two seasons. While the first six episodes were essentially standalones, everything that followed “Offspring” [3×07] was in some way tied to the main plot arc of the show, even when some of its key players disappeared following the epic tragedy of “Sleep Tight” [3×16]. Just when it seemed the story was about to move in another Pylea-like offshoot after the main storyline concluded, Connor and Holtz returned and the plot kept on chugging. This led to some problems, of course, as all season-long arcs eventually do. Tension sometimes tried to take the place of real content and it often showed. It also led to there being an uncomfortable setup/payoff ratio on the episode list. But on the plus side, S3 (and S4, which moves even further in this direction) had a feeling of epic scope that no other seasons manage, so to even think of the better aspects that lie within strikes me. Such a sprawl is one of the reasons many people love S3 even if they haven’t looked very deeply at it.Image result for angel forgiving“Forgiving” [3×17] was another gem, as it looked at the human need to assume we live in an ordered world where someone is responsible for everything that happens. But it’s never that easy, and watching Angel struggle with that was fascinating. The final three episodes (“A New World” [3×20], “Benediction” [3×21], “Tomorrow” [3×22]) made up another interesting stretch where we saw how our characters could be motivated by pain, hatred or love and the effects of all those things.

Having already been on the air for three years, Angel had more then enough time to establish its theme, characters, and relationships. It was in its fourth year that it would bring all of these elements to the forefront and then mix them up in a season that would come to be known for its complex twists and turns.The season begins with our title character trapped at the bottom of the ocean – put there by his son – with the rest of his gang broken up. From this grim beginning, things only get darker – literally. Enter the Beast, a rock-encrusted devil whose arrival is heralded by a rain of fire and promptly blocks out the sun over L.A. All signs are pointing to the apocalypse, and it’s up to Angel and the rest of his demon-fighting crew to put a stop to it. From a storytelling point of view things just keep getting worse and worse and it’s a credit to the writers that they somehow manage to end it all on a positive note.Since Season 2 Angel has been a very arc-heavy show, but in its fourth year it would approach almost 24 levels of continuity and follow-through. In addition to being very cool to watch, the interlinked episodes add up to a season that is one big experience unto itself. It’s as if the entire season is one episode with many chapters.This year we get to watch everything get shaken up. Wedges are slowly driven between certain relationships while jealousy quickly divides others. The great thing about it is that you get to see what has caused all of these problems. Despite their best efforts to hold together, these characters have no choice but to push each other apart. It makes for gripping television.Visually and stylistically the show is very well put together. The directing efforts of Joss Whedon (who is always excellent), Tim Minear (who has grown by leaps and bounds over the course of the series), and even Sean Astin (yes that Sean Astin) give the show a very polished and theatrical feel. The producers repeatedly stated that they were going for an ‘operatic’ feel to the season and they pulled it off very well. The use of darkness and shadow deserves special mention as does the great use of wide shots and the directors’ ability to fill each frame with as much information as possible. Wesley goes from bumbling dork to dark James Bond. Cool! While the twists and turns are great, the really cool thing to the season is the multiple layers that you’ll find within. Just when you think you know who the real ‘big bad’ is or in which direction the show is going, the rug is pulled out from under your feet. The entire season keeps you guessing from start to finish. Of course, our heroes win in the end — but everyone is left wondering if they did the right thing. And that’s what sets the show apart: It’s action with substance.

Nobody, not the producers, not the actors, and certainly not the fans could have predicted where this show would go. Where it could go. After all, this is an hour-long fantasy about a guy who spends so much time sitting in the shadows and brooding so much he would give Batman a run for his money. Or utility belt, as the case may be. So why is it that after five years and over a hundred episodes this show was still one of the freshest on TV? Simple: this is a story about something. What started off as just a Buffy spin-off has ended up as a massive epic that challenges, if not surpasses, its parent show. Unfortunately, the WB didn’t think so. After giving the producers a hard time and insisting on several changes, the network decided to bring the show back for a fifth, and what would be its final year.

 

So, in previous seasons we’ve had operatic apocalypses, quests for meaning, and our hero even went evil for a while. There’s only one place left to go. Into the belly of the beast, into hell itself: a law firm. Based on the out-of-left-field plot twist that was thrown at Angel and the gang in previous season’s finale, the team is now in charge of wolfram and hart the evil law firm that they’ve spent the entire series battling. The trick then becomes changing the system from the inside, all the while making sure that it doesn’t change them.


Unfortunately when the network decided to renew the show for a fifth year, there were conditions. First and foremost, it had to be more stand-alone. No more back-to-back cliffhangers. Next, the budget was cut. And finally, to sweeten the deal, the producers decided to bring over Spike – who was barbequed in the Buffy finale – in the hopes that his fans would follow. Luckily the introduction of Spike worked out well. He added a nice flavor to the show and helped flesh out Angel’s character in a way that nobody else could have. The punky vampire brought out the worst in our hero, which ended up resulting in some great comedy. Even if this Spike was different from whom he became on Buffy, he made for a nice addition.

The most unwelcome change was the standalone mandate. Yes, it can work, but it’s just not as good. The greatest strength of this show has always been its own history and tying the hands of the writers was a mistake. It resulted in a bump in the show’s overall flow. Even though it seems rushed, things tie up nicely and the finale certainly puts the “grand” in grandiose; now there’s a balls-to-the wall showstopper for you. Most people will agree that the show finished with perfect thematic closure. These characters fight an impossible fight knowing they’ll probably lose, but that’s not the point. They fight, not to win, but because that’s who they are. They don’t give up. No matter what.