31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)

CAST

Melissa McCarthy (The Boss)
Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)
Kate McKinnon (Masterminds)
Leslie Jones (Trainwreck)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Neil Casey (Fort Tilden)
Andy Garcia (The Unsaid)
Cecily Strong (The Bronze)
Charles Dance (Game of Thrones)
Michael K. Williams (Gone Baby Gone)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Nate Corddry (Mom)
Katie Dippold (The Heat)
Jessica Chaffin (Spy)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Dan Aykroyd (Evolution)
Ernie Hudson (The Wrong Guys)
Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Annie Potts (Pretty In Pink)
Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds)
Justin Kirk (Goats)

Physicists Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) are co-authors of a research book which posits the existence of paranormal phenomena such as ghosts. Erin has disowned the work and become a professor at Columbia University, while Abby continues to study the paranormal at a technical college with eccentric engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). Erin learns Abby has republished the book, threatening her bid for tenure at Columbia. She reunites with Abby and, in exchange for Abby removing the book from publication, reluctantly agrees to assist her and Jillian in a paranormal investigation.

The group witness a malevolent ghost (Bess Rous), renewing Erin’s belief in the paranormal. However, a video of their investigation is posted online, and Erin is denied tenure. She joins Abby and Jillian’s project, but when a new institute director learns its nature, he fires them. They open an office above a Chinese restaurant and call themselves the “Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination.” They build equipment to study and capture ghosts, and hire dimwitted but handsome Kevin Beckman (Chris Hemsworth) as a receptionist.

MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) witnesses a ghost in a subway line and contacts the group. They document the ghost and successfully test Jillian’s proton containment laser, but their findings are again dismissed. They continue to develop their technology and advertise their services as what pundits have dubbed the “Ghostbusters”. Patty joins the team, providing historical knowledge of New York City and a repurposed hearse, “Ecto-1”.

Unbeknownst to them, the ghosts are being summoned by devices built by Rowan North (Neil Casey), an occultist and mad scientist attempting to bring about the “apocalypse”. When Rowan plants another device at a live music venue, the Ghostbusters are called in and capture the ghost in front of the audience. When supernatural debunker Dr. Martin Heiss (Bill Murray) challenges the Ghostbusters, the incensed Erin releases the ghost as proof; it throws Heiss out a window before escaping. The Ghostbusters are brought to see Mayor Bradley (Andy García) and his loyal secretary, Jennifer Lynch (Cecily Strong), who reveals that the city and the Department of Homeland Security are aware of New York’s ghost problem. While privately supporting the team’s work, the mayor’s office and DHS publicly denounce them as fraudsters.

The Ghostbusters realize Rowan is planting his devices along ley lines which intersect at the Mercado Hotel in Times Square, a site with a history of paranormal activity, and discover Rowan building a portal to the ghost dimension in the hotel basement. To avoid capture, Rowan deliberately electrocutes himself to death, after which Jillian deactivates the portal. Erin discovers a copy of her and Abby’s book among Rowan’s possessions, and realizes that he killed himself so that he could become a ghost and command a spirit army. Rowan returns as a powerful ghost, possessing Abby and then Kevin. As Kevin, he opens the portal and releases hundreds of ghosts. The police and DHS are quickly subdued, but the Ghostbusters fight through the army of ghosts to reach the portal.

Rowan takes the form of the ghost in the Ghostbusters’ logo, grows to enormous height, and attacks the city. The team devises a plan to use Ecto-1’s nuclear reactor to close the portal and return the ghosts to their own dimension. The plan succeeds, but Rowan drags Abby into the portal with him; Erin leaps into the portal and rescues her. The mayor’s office agrees to secretly fund the Ghostbusters’ research while continuing to publicly denounce them as frauds. With new funding, the Ghostbusters move to a better facility, a disused fire house. Despite the mayoral smear campaign, New York lights up with thanks and tributes to the Ghostbusters. In a post credits scene, Patty listens to a recording of a ghost encounter and asks the others if they have heard of Zuul.

Don’t listen to the trolls. This was a great re-make of the original classic. The leading ladies did a great job and introduced their own personalities to the parts. The story includes some interesting backstory of the character’s history and how they met. The added details make the characters more interesting. Kate did a fantastic job with the “mad scientist” role. The cameos by some familiar faces was an added bonus. But it would’ve been nice for Slimer to have a bigger role. Overall the movie was funny and entertaining. Would definitely recommend it.

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS II

 

CAST

Harold Raimis (Year One)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Dan Aykroyd (Evolution)
Ernie Hudson (The Wrong Guys)
Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Annie Potts (Pretty In Pink)
Rick Moranis (Spaceballs)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of SHIELD)
Harris Yullin (Training Day)
David Margulies (Ace Ventura)
Kurt Fuller (The Good Wife)
Wilhelm von Homburg (Stroszek)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Roswell)
Cheech Marin (Machete)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groundhog Day)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Max Von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)

After saving New York City from the demi-god Gozer, the Ghostbusters—Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore—were sued by several city and state agencies for the property damage. Rather than face financial ruin, they accepted a restraining order barring them from operating as paranormal investigators and eliminators—forcing them out of business. In the eyes of the city, they are now considered frauds.

Five years later, Ray owns an occult bookstore and works as an unpopular children’s entertainer with Winston; Egon has returned to Columbia University to conduct experiments into human emotion; and Peter hosts a pseudo-psychic television show. Peter’s former girlfriend Dana Barrett has had a son, Oscar, with a violinist whom she married then divorced when he received an offer to join the London Symphony Orchestra. In order to take care of her baby, Dana quit performing and now works as a restorer at the fictional Manhattan Museum of Art, working to prepare a malevolent-looking portrait of a legendary sixteenth-century tyrant named Vigo the Carpathian of Moldavia for an upcoming exhibition. After an incident in which Oscar’s baby carriage is controlled by an unseen force and drawn to a busy intersection, Dana turns to the Ghostbusters for help. Meanwhile, Dana’s colleague Dr. Janosz Poha has become increasingly obsessed with the glowering image of Vigo in the painting and falls under its spell. Vigo, whose spirit inhabits the painting, orders Janosz to locate a child that he can possess, allowing him to return to life on the New Year. Janosz, infatuated with Dana, offers to bring baby Oscar to Vigo in exchange for Dana, a deal which Vigo accepts.

The Ghostbusters’ investigation leads them to illegally excavate First Avenue at the point where the baby carriage stopped. Lowered underneath, Ray discovers a vast river of pink slime filling an abandoned pneumatic transit line. Attacked by the slime after obtaining a sample, Ray causes a city-wide blackout by accidentally kicking a cast iron pipe that breaks, falls, and shorts out an electric cable. After this, the Ghostbusters are arrested by the NYPD. Ineffectually defended by Louis Tully, they are found guilty of violating the restraining order by Judge Wexler, aka “The Hammer.” Before they are taken to Riker’s Island, Wexler angrily berates them. In response, the slime recovered by Ray and taken as evidence explodes, releasing the ghosts of two murderers that the judge had condemned to death that proceed to devastate the courtroom. The Ghostbusters capture the ghosts in return for the cancellation of the restraining order.

Later, the slime invades Dana’s apartment via the bathtub and attacks her and Oscar. She seeks refuge with Peter, and the two begin to renew their relationship. Investigating the ‘psychomagnatheric’ slime and Vigo’s history, the Ghostbusters discover that it reacts to emotions; it can be charged positively or negatively. They suspect that it has been generated by the negative attitudes of New Yorkers. While Peter and Dana have dinner together, Egon, Ray, and Winston explore the underground river of slime. While measuring its depth, Winston gets pulled into the slime flow, and Ray and Egon jump in after him. After they escape back to the surface Ray and Winston begin an angry argument, but Egon realizes that they are being influenced by the slime, so they strip off their clothes. They also learn the river is flowing underground directly to the museum where Dana works.

The Ghostbusters go to the mayor with their suspicions, but are dismissed; the mayor’s assistant, Jack Hardemeyer, has them committed to a psychiatric hospital to protect the mayor’s campaign for governor. Meanwhile, a spirit resembling Janosz as a nanny kidnaps Oscar from Peter’s apartment, and Dana pursues them to the museum alone. After she enters, the museum is covered with a cocoon of impenetrable slime. New Year’s Eve sees a sudden increase of supernatural activity as the slime rises from the subway line and onto the city streets, causing widespread paranormal activity with ghosts attacking citizens. In response, the mayor fires Hardemeyer and has the Ghostbusters released. After heading to the museum, they are unable to breach the slime barrier with their proton packs. Determining that they need a powerful symbol to rally the citizens and weaken the slime, the Ghostbusters use positively charged mood slime and a remix of “Higher and Higher” to animate the Statue of Liberty and pilot it through the streets before the cheering crowds. As they arrive at the museum, the slime begins to recede and they use the Statue’s flaming torch to break through a skylight to attack Vigo and Janosz.

Janosz is neutralized with positively charged mood slime, but Vigo immobilizes the Ghostbusters and attempts to transfer into Oscar’s body. The positive feelings accompanying a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” by the citizens outside weakens Vigo, returning him to the painting and freeing the Ghostbusters. Vigo momentarily possesses Ray, and the other Ghostbusters attack him with a combination of proton streams and positively charged mood slime. This destroys Vigo and changes the painting to a likeness of the four Ghostbusters standing protectively around Oscar. Outside, the Ghostbusters receive a standing ovation from the crowd and, at a later ceremony to restore the Statue, the Key to the City from the mayor.Ghostbusters II hasn’t been particularly well-received, even despite its more family-friendly tone and message about the folly of mean-spiritedness. But it’s just a good sequel, nonetheless, not bad, not superior to the original, maybe on par with the original, but it’s just really good fun.

REVIEW: GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)

CAST

Harold Raimis (Year One)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Dan Aykroyd (Evolution)
Ernie Hudson (The Wrong Guys)
Sigourney Weaver (Galaxy Quest)
Annie Potts (Pretty In Pink)
Rick Moranis (Spaceballs)
William Atherton (Die Hard)
David Margulies (Ace Ventura)
Casey Kasem (Transformers)
Reginald VelJohnson (Family Matters)

Parapsychologists Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, and Egon Spengler are called to the New York Public Library to investigate recent paranormal activity. They encounter the ghost of a dead librarian but are frightened away when she transforms into a horrifying monster. After losing their jobs at Columbia University, the trio establish a paranormal investigation and elimination service known as “Ghostbusters”. They develop high-tech equipment capable of capturing ghosts and open their business in a disused, run-down firehouse. Egon warns them never to cross the energy streams of their proton pack weapons, as this could cause a catastrophic explosion. They capture their first ghost, Slimer, at a hotel and deposit it in a specially built containment unit in the firehouse basement. As paranormal activity increases in New York City, they hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore, to cope with demand.

The Ghostbusters are retained by cellist Dana Barrett, whose apartment is haunted by a demonic spirit, Zuul, a demigod worshiped as a servant to Gozer the Gozerian, a Sumerian shape-shifting god of destruction. Venkman takes a particular interest in the case, and competes with Dana’s neighbor, accountant Louis Tully, for her affections. As the Ghostbusters investigate, Dana is demonically possessed by Zuul, which declares itself the “Gatekeeper”, and Louis by a similar demon, Vinz Clortho, the “Keymaster”. Both demons speak of the coming of the destructive Gozer and the release of the imprisoned ghosts, and the Ghostbusters take steps to keep the two apart.
Walter Peck (William Atherton), a lawyer representing the Environmental Protection Agency, has the Ghostbusters arrested for operating unlicensed waste handlers and orders their ghost containment system deactivated, causing an explosion that releases hundreds of ghosts. The ghosts wreak havoc throughout the city while Louis/Vinz advances toward Dana/Zuul’s apartment. Their romantic encounter opens the gate and transforms them into supernatural hounds. Consulting blueprints of Dana’s apartment building, the Ghostbusters learn that mad doctor and cult leader Ivo Shandor, claiming humanity was too sick to survive after World War I, designed the building as a gateway to summon Gozer and bring about the end of the world.

The Ghostbusters are released from custody to combat the supernatural crisis, but after reaching the roof of Dana’s building, they are unable to prevent the arrival of Gozer, who appears in the form of a woman. Briefly subdued by the team, Gozer disappears, but her voice echoes that the “destructor” will follow, taking a form chosen by the team. Ray inadvertently recalls a beloved corporate mascot from his childhood—”something that could never, ever possibly destroy us”— and the destructor arrives in the form of a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and attacks the city. The Ghostbusters cross their proton pack energy streams (reversing the particle flow) and fire them against Gozer’s portal; the explosion defeats the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and frees Dana and Louis. As thousands of New Yorkers wipe themselves free of marshmallow, the Ghostbusters are welcomed on the street as heroes.There is no set definition of the word “classic” but I’m sure this film qualifies as such or will in the near future, since it was so unique and popular….and remains so today, over 20 years old later. It’s just one of those films that you remember seeing when it came out at the theaters. I doubt if anyone has forgotten the catchy theme song, either. Despite numerous viewings, I still find this very funny as I suspect many people do, because it entertains so well. I know the story is ludicrous and I don’t believe for one second in ghosts so I ignore the “theology” and just laugh at Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson.  Murray, as he tends to do, grabs the spotlight more than the rest and delivers more laughs than any of the cast but my favorite was Moranis as the nerdy “Louis Tully.” I wish his role had been bigger. All the guys, however, plus Sigourney Weaver, the love interest of Murray’s, are fun.A true classic.

REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 1-4

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MAIN CAST

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Vanessa Williams (666 Park Avenue)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Tony Plana (Alpha House)
Ana Ortiz (Devious Maids)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Ashley Jensen (Extras)
Christopher Gorham (Jake 2.0)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)
Gina Gershon (Bound)
Ava Gaudet (Hurt)
Kristen Schaal (Bob’s Burgers)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Sarah Jones (Alcatraz)
Rhys Coiro (Straw Dogs)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Patrick Fabian (Veronica Mars)
Jowharah Jones (The Client List)
Debi Mazar (Goodfellas)
Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider)
Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Martha Stewart (2 Broke Girls)
Teddy Sears (The Flash)
Mini Anden (Chuck)
Courtney Ford (Dexter)
Kathleen Munroe (Stargate Universe)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Kathy Griffin (Pulp Fiction)
Bailey Chase (Buffy)
Lucy Liu (Kill Bill)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Ivana Milicevic (Casino Royale)
Leslie Jordan (The Help)
AnnaLynne McCord (Excision)
Cristián de la Fuente (Valiant Love)
Rachel Roberts (Simone)
Jonathan Slavin (Free Enterprise)
Dale Dickey (My Name Is Earl)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Illeana Douglas (Ghost World)
Alec Mapa (Marley & Me)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
James Van Der Beek (Dawsons Creek)
John Cho (Flashforward)
Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Megan Hilty (The Pirate Fairy)
Victoria Beckham (Spiceworld)
Mo’Nique (Precious)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Candace Kita (Masked Rider)
Annie Potts (Ghostbusters)
Derek Riddell (Micro Man)
Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory)
Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Gabrielle Union (Bring It On)
Kari Matchett (Cube 2)
Eddie Cibrian (Sunset Beach)
Julian de la Celle (The Fosters)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Val Emmich (30 Rock)
Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid)
Grant Bowler (Lost)
Sarah LaFleur (Earth: Final Conflict)
Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray)
Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Daniel Eric Gold (Charlie Wilson’s War)
Brennan Brown (Beauty and The Beast)
David Rasche (Burn After Readiing)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Dreama Walker (Compliance)
Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters)
Yaya DaCosta (In Time)
Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos)
Hamish Linklater (The Crazy Ones)
Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me)
Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Lisa Howard (Earth: Final Conflict)
Adam Rodriguez (Roswell)
Christie Brinkley (Parks and Recreation)
Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit)
Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy Returns)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Dana Ivey (Two Weeks Notice)
Donna Murphy (Spider-Man 2)
Matt Newton (Face To Face)
Ryan McGinnis (Hard Sell)
Bryan Batt (Scream: The Series)

Ugly Betty is a television comedy/drama that airs on ABC. It was produced by Salma Hayek, Silvio Horta, Ben Silverman, Jose Tamez, James Hayman, and Marco Pennette. The show was adapted from the Colombian mini-series “Yo Soy Betty La Fea”. The series is about a plain-old girl who is thrust into the glamorous fashion world and the drama that trails her life and co-workers. It was highly successful during its freshmen season (2006-2007) and nominated eleven times in the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards.

The primary character is Betty Saurez (America Ferrera). Betty is a normal girl from Queens who aspires to be in the fashion business. In the beginning of the series, she is trying to get a job at a fashion magazine. The problem is that no one will even consider her for a job, which is mostly due to the fact she doesn’t physically fit in with the beautiful people. Her life is changed when Bradford Meade (Alan Dale) makes his playboy son Daniel (Eric Mabius) hire her as his assistant. Daniel was recently inducted as editor-in-chief of “Mode” magazine, Meade Publications’ flagship. Bradford hopes that Daniel’s work at Mode will prepare him to take over the company. Unfortunately Daniel’s frat-boy behavior prevents him from focusing on the job. Betty is hired as his assistant, because she is the one girl in New York City he won’t jump in the sack with.Image result for ugly betty fake plastic snowWhen Betty first comes to Mode, Daniel does everything in his power to get rid of her by embarrassing and demeaning her. He soon learns that despite Betty’s looks, she is very capable, intelligent, determined, and an invaluable asset to the company. She plays a vital role in Daniel succeeding as editor-in-chief. Her unique and real outlook on life saves the day on more than one occasion. Challenging Daniel and Betty is Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams). Wilhelmina is the creative director, who believes should have been given the position of editor-in-chief. She works with a mysterious woman to dethrone Bradford and Daniel and take over the company.

Image result for ugly betty the lyin the watch and the wardrobe

Others in the office include Amanda Tanen (Becki Newton), the Mode receptionist who has an eye of Betty’s job and Daniel’s pants, Marc St. James (Michael Urie), Wilhelmina’s assistant who does all of her dirty work, and Christina McKinney (Ashley Jensen), the Scottish seamstress who is Betty’s one friend in the company. These characters are not as developed as the other main characters, but they still bring quite a lot to the table in drama and comedy.

Outside of the office, there are several key characters from Betty’s home life. They include Ignacio (Tony Plana), Betty’s father who has a shady past and several secrets he hopes are never revealed, Hilda (Ana Ortiz), Betty’s older protective sister who sells weight-loss supplements, and Justin (Mark Indelicato), Hilda’s son who is very “different” than other boys and loves fashion just as much as his aunt Betty.

The show’s supporting characters include Walter (Kevin Sussman), Betty’s boyfriend and serious love interest who cheated on her, Henry Grubstick (Christopher Gorham), a Mode accountant who develops strong chemistry with Betty, Sofia Reyes (Salma Hayek), a new editor-in-chief at Meade Publications who is a love interest for Daniel, and Claire Meade (Judith Light), Daniel’s mother who is a drunk and a key to the season’s biggest story arc.

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In Ugly Betty’s first season, there are several storylines that drive it. Even the slightest developments are key and play into a soap opera-worthy story. The writing is done very well and manages to intertwine the storylines to focus on the big picture and character development. This comment is especially worth noting because of the large ensemble cast and the different directions it takes the show. In other words, there is a lot going on, but it is handled and presented in an engaging and entertaining manner that is easy to follow.

Yet for all of Ugly Betty’s strengths, what really keeps the show afloat is Betty. While this character is an imperfect match to the world of high fashion, she is a great fit for this television show. Most of the people working at Mode are overly superficial and fake. Betty, on the other hand, is sincere and real. She is a strong heroine, despite the fact she is constantly tormented and teased by her attractive peers. Her outlandish personality brings something special to everyone at Mode. She is the real strength that drives this show.Image result for ugly betty icing on the cakeAs an overall series, Ugly Betty does very well with its first season. It offers a very fun show with likable characters, engaging over-the-top drama that feels mature, intricate storylines.

In season two, the characters of Ugly Betty go through a whirlwind of drama and comedy. The whirlwind comes from a variety of new developments that include Betty’s complex romance with Henry and a new character Gio, Alexis losing her memory and rekindling friendship with the family, Daniel struggling to keep control of Mode, Mrs. Meade on the run, Hilda dealing with the loss of Santos, and more. It is a very dramatic season with several tidbits of comedy throughout. Overall, it is enjoyable like the season one.

“How Betty Got Her Grieve Back” is the season two premiere episode. In it, a lot of things happen. The biggest development involves Betty’s love life, or rather lack of. She comes to terms with Henry leaving for Tucsan to take care of the mother of his unborn baby. Later in the season, Harry returns to Mode to finish working. Betty and Henry have a complicated romance, as they try to figure out how they can be together with the unborn baby baggage. Also in the premiere, Amanda finds out her mother is Fey Sommers! Throughout the season, she tries to find answers about her parents. And Marc helps her. Wilhelmina also uses the events from the season one finale to her advantage. With Claire behind bars, she moves on Bradford. Daniel struggles with his personal demons about Alexis’ condition.

 

Image result for ugly betty how betty got her grieve backIn the Saurez household, there are two key subplots introduced. The first is about Hilda, Justin, and Santos. Both Hilda and Justin come to terms with Santos death. Hilda goes through a couple phases, which include being boarded in her room and hanging out with aged widows. Justin goes through a rebellious phase, where he tries to take on qualities of his dad (sports and woman). The other development is about Ignacio still stuck in Mexico. Betty goes against her principles to help him acquire US citizenship.As the season continues, there are a lot of new developments — many of which grow from the seeds planted in the season opener. Betty’s love life with Henry gets more complex in “Betty’s Wait Problem”. A new character and love interest named Gio is introduced. Alexis comes out of the coma without memory of the last two years. Daniel, Bradford, and Wilhelmina take advantage of the situation. Daniel and Alexis also struggle with Wilhelmina, who is still trying to take over Mode. Claire resurfaces after escaping from prison, which complicates Wilhelmina’s diabolical plans. The season developments continue with even more wild escapades.Overall, Ugly Betty’s second season is fun and entertaining. It has a similar light-hearted humorous tone with over the top, soap opera plotlines to season one. The major difference is that Betty is no longer trying to prove herself.

The Third Season of the amazing show “Ugly Betty” shows even further strengthening of the programme- from the very good Season One, the show improved to be excellent in Season Two and this season returns to be truly amazing. There’s brilliant character development this season and the plotlines and ongoing storylines in this season are excellent; with some truly outstanding drama and comedy moments.

Following on from the first two seasons, “Ugly Betty” continues the story of New York underdog Betty who dreams of being an editor for a magazine. The show centres around her adventures as the “ugly” and “fat” girl at America’s top fashion magazine ‘Mode’, working with shallow, stick-thin, martini sipping socialites and arrogant, womanizing men. The characterisation remains to be great, and there is some outstanding character developments during this season- especially Mark, Amanda and Justin who are audience favourites- the former infact finally gets a more front-seat role in this season- Mark has been an excellent character since the first episode and this season it feels like he finally gets the screentime and storylines he deserves.Image result for ugly betty the manhattan project

With better comedy, improved writing and great storylines, fans of the show are sure to adore this season- and for those who are tempted to mingle with the show, this certainly satisfy those appetites. An excellent season; a brilliant show; and I highly recommend this boxset.

After four years and 85 episodes, the braces came off and Ugly Betty, the fish-out-of-water PA from Queens, finally became Betty Suarez, publisher of her own magazine in the UK.

The first nine episodes focussed mainly on self-contained storylines. Betty’s struggles to establish herself in her new role as a junior editor as ex-boyfriend Matt, now her boss, is petty and mean to her. An emotionally vulnerable Daniel Meade is drawn into a cult as he tries to deal with Molly‘s death. A ludicrous murder side-plot involving Nico Slater, which triggers Wilhelmina leaving Mode.

A few ongoing plots are also teed up. Amanda starts to think about her future. Claire Meade sets off in search of the son, Tyler, she had with Cal Hartley but was forced to give away. Hilda hooks up with Bobby Talercio, an old high school flame. Each of these becomes significant down the stretch, but are only touched upon initially.


London Calling, starts to set up the finale, as well as giving us a sentimental excuse to welcome back Christina and ex-boyfriends Gio and Henry.

The final episode gives us the closure we had all been waiting for, and does so with style. Hello Goodbye is as much about discovery as it is about departure, with every character getting their turn to take a final bow. Hilda, married and no longer tied to the Suarez house by her salon, gets her dream move to Manhattan. Justin finds contentment with Austin. Amanda finds her father. Daniel steps down as co-editor-in-chief to pursue the opportunity to find himself. Wilhelmina finds redemption, her lost love Connor and then, suddenly, without the need for scheming, she finally achieves her heart’s desire: Mode – a direct result of her altruistic act of saving Claire. Marc is shown the path to becoming creative director by Wilhelmina, and finds love and the possibility of a real relationship with Troy, after a lovely reversal where Justin returns the favour by turning into his mentor.


There is one touching moment at the farewell party where we linger on Betty, Marc and Amanda – the triumvirate who have always been the beating heart of the show – dancing joyfully together, all previous bitchiness put aside as their friendship is finally affirmed.


It was a fitting end, and one which suited the series better than the ending of its Colombian parent, Betty la Fea, would have done, where Betty marries Daniel’s equivalent, Armando. Betty has come a long way since she first walked through the door at Mode

REVIEW: TWO AND A HALF MEN – SEASON 6-8

 

MAIN CAST

Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots)
Jon Cryer (Superman 4)
Angus T. Jones (Bringing Down The House)
Marin Hinkle (I Am Sam)
Holland Taylor (D.E.B.S.)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
Jennifer Taylor (Rumor Has It..)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Rena Sofer (Heroes)
Ryan Stiles (Hot Shots)
Alicia Witt (Two Weeks Notice)
Helena Mattsson (Iron Man 2)
Kelly Stables (The Exes)
Emilio Estevez (Mission Impossible)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
J.D. Walsh (Bones)
Melanie Lynskey (Up In The Air)
Meagen Fey (The Big Bang Theory)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Human Target)
Joel Murray (Mad men)
Will Sasso (Movie 43)
Annie Potts (Ghostbusters)
Steve Hytner (Roswell)
Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Verne Troyer (Austin Powers)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Carl Reiner (The Cleveland Show)
Stacy Keach (The Simpsons)
Courtney Thorne-Smith (Melrose Place)
Graham Patrick Martin (Major Crimes)
Elizabeth Ho (Fifty Shades of Black)
Katherine Lanasa (Lie To me)
Ming Na (Agents of Shield)
Rachel Cannon (The Big Bang Theory)
Rebecca McFarland (Faking it)
Jodi Lyn O’ Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club)
Erinn Hayes (The Watch)
Liz Vassey (Tru Calling)

 

Season six is a busy season for Charlie, Alan, and Jake. There are several new developments, which include Charlie trying out a monogamous relationship again, Alan getting too involved with Judith and Herb, Jake and Evelyn bonding, and more. Along the way, there are plenty of laughs, as the cast continues to work very well together. The show also has excellent writing and plotlines that keep the content fresh.

The season begins with the episode “Taterhead Is Our Love Child”, which marks a new era for Charlie — he starts to think about people other than himself. In this episode, he runs into an old girlfriend. She has a kid named Chuck who is the spitting image of Charlie. Charlie contemplates the effectiveness of condoms, as well as having his own child. It is a fun way to start the season with lots of goofiness coming from the main characters. “A Jock Strap In Hell” is another episode that highlights Charlie’s growth and maturity as a human being. Back in season two, Charlie dated Jake’s 5th grade teacher Miss Pasternak. Unfortunately, after he dumped her, she went a little crazy. In a very awkward, yet comical moment, Charlie, Alan, and Jake run into her at the local drug store. Her life is a mess and she has gone from teacher to stripper. Charlie feels guilt and helps her regain part of her life back. Of course, the situation blows up on everyone. The end result is a riot!

Despite Charlie’s attempts to become a better person, he still hits a few kinks in the journey. One of them is Alan’s receptionist Melissa (Kelly Stables) in “The Flavin’ and the Mavin'”. He wins her over, but ends their relationship after a passionate weekend. Of course, it does not turn out well for Alan. Melissa comes back later in “Thank God for Scoliosis” as Alan’s love interest. They hit it off, but her weed smoking mother complicates things. Going back to Charlie, he makes a huge breakthrough in the romance department. “Pinocchio’s Mouth” introduces Chelsea (Jennifer Taylor), who has an on and off relationship with Charlie. They fight over trivial issues that only would bother Charlie. As the season progresses, Chelsea becomes more permanent and she slowly tames the wild beast.

Another big season development for the Harpers involves Judith and Herb. The married couple has a rocky patch in “It’s Always Nazi Week” and they patch things up in “Best H.O. Money Can Buy”. In the first episode, she kicks him out of the house when he takes some bad advice from Charlie. It is a fun development, as Herb tries to become like Charlie. Meanwhile, Judith fears being alone the rest of her life and puts the moves on Alan. Out of this situation, a sticky mess is made involving Judith, Alan, and Herb. It will be interesting to see what comes of it in season six.

As for the rest of the season, there are a lot of fun things happening for the cast. Some highlights include “Smelled The Ham, He Got Excited”, Evelyn makes a generous offer and the Harper boys pound their heads to find out why, “The Mooch At The Boo”, Alan is caught in his mom’s shoes (and dress) and Jake falls for the neighbor girl whose overprotective father Jerome (Michael Clarke Duncan) is a former NFL player, “The Devil’s Lube”, Charlie contemplates death after his friend dies and almost makes a dramatic life changing decision, “David Copperfield Slipped Me a Roofie”, Alan turns forty and no one really seems to care, “The Two Finger Rule”, Charlie, Alan, Herb, and Jerome hang out at the house–it is a real funfest, and “Above Exalted Cyclops”, Chelsea introduces Rose to the Harper boys. Overall, Two and a Half Men’s sixth season is an absolute riot. The series continues to dazzle and amaze with nonstop comedy.

When we last Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) he had managed to complete a season with a steady girlfriend, Chelsea (Jennifer Bini Taylor), and when we pick things back up, once again, wedding bells for Charlie are on the horizon.  Charlie wastes no time consciously and subconsciously sabotaging his relationship through the reappearance of his previous fiancé, Mia and his general proclivities towards adultery.

Charlie continues to exhibit deplorable behavior and his drinking problem reaches new lows, with the character at one point so hung-over he vomits into an occupied baby carriage. The writers in a turn of originality don’t go for the instant reconciliation of Charlie and Chelsea, nor do they close the door on the relationship. It allows for some character development for the character. Other highlights include some hilarious cameos from Annie Potts as the deranged mother of one of Alan’s girlfriends, and Stacy Keach as Chelsea’s newly out-of-the-closet, man’s man father. Eventually John Amos turns up as Keach’s boyfriend. Last but not least, the dependable supporting trio of Jake (Angus T. Jones), Alan’s now foul-mouthed teenage son, Evelyn (Holland Taylor), Alan and Charlie’s abusive, self-absorbed mother, and Berta (Conchata Ferrell), are always dependable. Season seven brings more laughs but Season 8 would bring an end to the Charlie Sheen era.

Season 8 was filmed at the time Charlie Sheen had his meltdown. What is interesting is that although the real-life Charlie now seems to be a lot like the onscreen Charlie, the onscreen Charlie is a lot happier, a lot more care-free, a comic rather than tragic figure. But enough of the psycho-analysis, what’s the show like, given that this is Charlie’s last season?

Alan and Charlie are of course the classic comedy duo – the uptight dweeb and the anarchic, cool, funny guy – and although it is played very broadly and superficially, they are presented as essentially good, likeable characters. Jake remains a bit-player throughout the season, never really given any room to shine, which is a shame, but well-judged and very funny cameos from Jane Lynch, Ryan Stiles and Judd Nelson help break up the at times repetitive and derivative interplay between the leads.

The season opener is a stand-alone, but after that a series of plots lines are introduced which play out over a number of episodes, which proves much more satisfying. Most enjoyable are the episodes that involve Alan’s developing relationship with Lyndsey, the mother of one of Jake’s class-mates. It is one of those situations that is not milked to death, but is allowed to become at times desperately painful and embarrassing, but also very funny and enjoyable. The season seems to end awfully abruptly with the collapse of Alan’s Ponzi scheme and the various loose ends of Charlie’s relationship with his stalker, this was due to the fireing of Charlie Sheen and paved the way for Season 9 with a new lead.