REVIEW: STAR TREK SHORT TREKS: ASK NOT

shorttreks-head

 

Starring

Anson Mount (Inhumans)
Ethan Peck (10 Things I Hate About You)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Amrit Kaur (Anarkali)

MV5BMDUzYzk1ZDItOThmOS00M2ViLWIyMDctZTNmZGMwZjlhYTU2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDU5MDEyMA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_“Ask Not,” the third episode of the second season of Short Treks, is out now, and after watching the mere seven-minute-long installment, one could only assume this entry is a prelude to the highly rumored but unconfirmed Pike-era Star Trek series. And if that’s not the case, then this episode is largely rendered moot. Focusing on a training simulation for an unknowing Cadet Thira Sidhu (Amrit Kaur), she is forced to confront a prisoner situation with Captain Pike (Anson Mount), a situation that challenges her dedication to Starfleet. It’s a character test, and one she passes much to Captain Pike’s approval. Her passing grade leads to an engineering assignment onboard the Enterprise.MV5BNTkzZmNkMTUtMWMyOC00MGQ3LWI0OGItNzk3YmFhNjg3ZjBkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDU5MDEyMA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_And that’s it. Seven minutes isn’t a long time to do much of anything, except perhaps one thing: introduce a future cast member of a new TV show. While it is certainly possible that Sidhu is a one-and-done character, that would prompt the question: what would her use be here? Whatever loyalty the audience gains for the up-and-coming Sidhu would be wasted on a one-time appearance, and it’s not like she imparts any particularly relevant lesson or serves as the catalyst for a character-building moment for Captain Pike. There is certainly precedent for introducing new characters in Short Treks and having them return in the series proper. Consider the Short Trek episodes “The Brightest Star” and “Runaway,” which introduced Saru’s sister, Siranna, and Xahean, respectfully, both of whom played key roles in Discovery season two. And by the way, what would be the point of designing the Enterprise’s engine room (which is much, much bigger than the old TOS set but luckily contains fewer beer vats than its 2009 counterpart) if the set wasn’t going to be used outside the 30 seconds we see here?MV5BYWU2NWY2ODUtMzRmMy00YWEyLTkyNzAtOTJhZWJhNzZkODIwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDU5MDEyMA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_In any case, fans wanting more of Anson Mount’s Captain Pike certainly get a fair share here, as most of the episode is a two-person show between Pike and Sidhu. Of course, Mount is still fantastic as Pike, while Kaur holds her own against the veteran star. Sidhu’s likability and dedication makes her a character worth rooting for, which would make it further a shame if she wasn’t seen on the Enterprise again. Hopefully, we’ll soon look back on this episode as an interesting, if perhaps too short, introduction to elements of a Captain Pike TV show.

 

REVIEW: STAR TREK SHORT TREKS: THE TROUBLE WITH EDWARD

shorttreks-head

Starring

Anson Mount (Inhumans)
Rosa Salazar (Undone)
H. Jon Benjamin (Wet Hot American Summer)
Lisa Michelle Cornelius (Tangle)
Krista Jang (The Control)

Lisa Michelle Cornelius in The Trouble with Edward (2019)Star Trek fans have been treated to a variety of great episodes that usually fall into two categories: serious or comical. For every “ The Best of Both Worlds,” there’s a “The Trouble with Tribbles.” For every First Contact, there’s the one with the whales. This duality shows how effective Star Trek can be in the right hands no matter the tone. We’re happy to report that the latest Short Treks, called “The Trouble with Edward,” firmly fits into the list of great Star Trek episodes in the comedy category.The Trouble with Edward (2019)Making his first Star Trek appearance is H. Jon Benjamin, whose voice is immediately recognizable to any Archer, Bob’s Burgers, or Family Guy fans. He plays the titular character Edward Larkin, a, shall we say, strange protein specialist onboard the USS Cabot. Joining Benjamin in her debut Star Trek appearance is the charming Rosa Salazar (of Alita Battle Angel fame) as the newly promoted Captain Lynne Lucero, formerly of the USS Enterprise. Thanks to Larkin’s, ah… motivated scientific efforts, Tribbles break out on the Cabot and threaten to overrun the ship and its crew.Rosa Salazar and Lisa Michelle Cornelius in The Trouble with Edward (2019)This is a perfect setup for the confines of the 15-minute runtime. The plot is well-paced, with tight direction and an appropriately limited scope. Within minutes, Lucero is identified as a go-getting rising officer, who can be delightful and personable, yet disciplinary when she needs to be. Likewise, Benjamin uses his veteran comedic chops to excels as the odd and awkwardly funny scientist, stealing the show whenever he is on screen.The Trouble with Edward (2019)Memorializing a Star Trek topic as revered as Tribbles is no small task, and like previous Tribble episodes, the reason why “The Trouble with Edwards” works is because it doesn’t take itself seriously. The audience is totally in on the joke, and are sure to laugh at some of the dry humor injected in the episode by the lovable animals. Tribbles are seen terrorizing the crew, which normally might be terrifying, but in reality you’ll likely stifle a laugh. A tidal wave of Tribbles devours their, ah, father… which is something older episodes would never have been able to accomplish. And who can resist the allure of that tasty Tribble meat? They are like scallops, after all. It’s all great stuff.Rosa Salazar in The Trouble with Edward (2019)Taken together, “The Trouble with Edward” provides some fantastic fan service, especially considering this episode provides the real reason why Tribbles multiply so fiercely. More broadly, it’s a gold standard for pacing, scope, and quality for what Short Treks can be.

REVIEW: STAR TREK SHORT TREKS: Q & A

shorttreks-head

Starring

Ethan Peck (In Time)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Anson Mount (Inhumans)
Samora Smallwood (The Expanse)
Jenette Goldstein (Aliens)

Ethan Peck in Q&A (2019)Between seasons one and two of Star Trek: Discovery, the production team tried a new approach to Star Trek storytelling: Short Treks. These 15-minute mini-episodes proved quite effective in showcasing returning and new characters, so it’s only natural that Short Treks continue for another season. And to help satisfy fans’ lust for more Captain Pike and the Discovery-era Enterprise, “Q&A” is the first of a few Enterprise-centric Short Treks.Anson Mount and Ethan Peck in Q&A (2019)This episode largely takes place in one room – a turbolift holding Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and the recently arrived Ensign Spock (Ethan Peck). When Spock first arrives on the Enterprise, Number One wants him to practice being an inquisitive science officer by asking a lot of questions. Lo and behold, the turbolift inexplicably traps them together, allowing him to do just that.Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck in Q&A (2019)This episode’s main strength is not in its setting. It is just a turbolift after all. But rather, we learn more about Number One than we ever did in her limited appearances in season two. While we’re not exactly sold on Romijn’s interpretation of Majel Barrett’s character from “The Cage,” it is nice to get to know this legendary character besides her love of cheeseburgers. The revelation that she is a nerd for Gilbert and Sullivan is believable and certainly helps illustrate her character’s nature, but the idea that she’d fully showcase this for Spock isn’t so believable – especially since she was clearly embarrassed and ordered him afterwards to forget about it.Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck in Q&A (2019)Meanwhile, the expansion of Spock’s character in this episode will be welcome or implausible, depending on who you ask. We see an emotive Spock here, from the very beginning when he smiles before beaming to the Enterprise, to his extremely positive reaction during Number One’s aforementioned Gilbert and Sullivan routine. While season two of Discovery certainly explained (to great success) why Spock is actually quite emotional and his attempts to quell those feelings, it is also unbelievable that Spock would open himself up to an officer he just met or lose control of his emotions so easily.Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck in Q&A (2019)The smile was forgivable, and even cute considering we know Spock is starting his tenure on the Enterprise, but the latter required much more time than what the 15-minute runtime allows to become earned. And yes, Number One did have that spiel about knowing when to keep your oddities to yourself, and that still doesn’t make the climax of this episode seem anything but forced and undeserved. We’ll chalk this critique up to a story that was trying to fit too much into its runtime.This is an excellent short and its nice to see more development on Spock and Number One, these shorts do well to fill the void between seasons.

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANY LANE

CAST
Amber Heard (Machete Kills)
Anson Mount (Non-Stop)
Whitney Able (Monsters)
Michael Welch (Twilight)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
Melissa Price (The Kid & I)
Luke Grimes (Yellowstone)
At a Texas high school, Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) is an outsider who becomes a “hot chick” over the summer and starts getting a great deal of attention from her male classmates. One of those classmates, Dylan, invites Mandy to a pool party at his house and she accepts with the provision that her best friend, Emmet (Michael Welch) (another outsider and bullying victim), can come along with her. At the party, Dylan attacks Emmett, and holds his head under water in the pool until Mandy intercedes. As revenge, Emmet convinces a drunken Dylan to jump off the roof into the pool, but he hits his head on the cement and dies. Nine months later, Mandy has since befriended many of Dylan’s popular friends, while Emmet has been almost completely ostracized and is subjected to even more intense bullying. Stoner Red is having a small party at his father’s cattle ranch and invites Mandy along, which she accepts after receiving permission from her aunt.
Mandy, Chloe, Bird, Red, Jake, and Marlin, arrive at the ranch, and meet the ranch hand, Garth (Anson Mount). That night, while playing drinking games, Jake gets offended over a joke and storms off to a nearby cattle barn, where Marlin performs oral sex on him. They have another argument, and after he walks off again, Marlin is knocked out with a double-barreled shotgun by an unseen assailant, and has her jaw broken. After getting rebuffed by Mandy while making a move, Jake steals Red’s shotgun and pickup truck and goes off in search of Marlin, before finding her sitting by a lake. The hooded killer is revealed to be Emmet, as he wants revenge for all the humiliation he suffered. He proceeds to shoot Jake in the head and then break Marlin’s neck with the butt of the shotgun, killing them both. While the remaining friends sit on the house porch, Emmet shoots fireworks at them from Red’s truck; Bird gives chase, believing the driver to be Jake. When he realises it is in fact Emmet, they get into a fight, which results in Emmet slashing his eyes with a knife, and then stabbing him to death. The rest of friends, along with Garth, fall asleep in the house.
The next morning, Garth, sensing someone in the house, goes downstairs and finds the words “wake up” spelled out in bloody alphabet magnets on the refrigerator. As the group attempts to flee out the front door, Garth is shot by Emmet and wounded. While Mandy looks after Garth, Red and Chloe try to run to Chloe’s car, but Red is shot in the back by Emmet, who then chases after Chloe in her car. Mandy retrieves the keys to Garth’s Bronco from his shack and finds the bloody knife that Emmet used to kill Bird. She goes outside to find Chloe being chased in her direction; Mandy embraces her, but then stabs her in the stomach, revealing that she is helping Emmet with the murders. She leaves her to bleed to death (her fate is left unknown) and meets up with Emmet. Mandy and Emmet then discuss their suicide pact they had planned but she refuses to go through with it. Refusing to let her back down, Emmet prepares to shoot her but Garth intervenes by wounding Emmet with his shotgun, before being nearly killed. An irritated Emmet chases Mandy into the fields, where they both fall into a ditch filled with cattle carcasses and get into a fight; Mandy manages to hold out against Emmet’s repeated attempts to swipe her with his machete, and finally hacks him to death with his own machete which was stuck to a tree log. She returns to the critically injured but still alive Garth, and they both drive away from the ranch, where Garth thanks Mandy for saving him, incorrectly assuming her to be a victim in Emmet’s murder plot.
A flashback shows the group back at a railroad track, where they took a break from their drive. While they are all goofing off, Mandy is shown balancing on the tracks, watching her future victims
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane isn’t your average slasher film and that’s its biggest strength as it brings something fresh to the table.This is worth seeing for the ending alone as while it does reveal why the killer is doing what they’re doing and things of that nature, it leaves a lot of things open ended.

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 2

Starring

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Cynthia Watros (Finding Carter)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Suicide Squad)
Emilie de Ravin (Operation: Endgame)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Maggie Grace (Taken)
Malcolm David Kelley (Deriot)

Matthew Fox in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Anson Mount (Star Trek: Discovery)
Tamara Taylor (Bones)
Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13)
Kevin Tighe (My Bloody Valentine)
Katey Sagal (Futurama)
François Chau (The Tick)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Sam Anderson (Angel)
Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Kimberley Joseph (Hercules: TLJ)
Brittany Perrineau (Felon)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider)
Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Rick Overton (Willow)
Fredric Lehne (Men In Black)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Lindsey Ginter (Argo)
Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Gods & Heroes)
M.C. Gainey (Breakdown)
Neil Hopkins (D-Sides)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Kim Dickens (Gone Girl)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)
William Mapother (THe Mentalist)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
Evan Handler (Californication)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Wayne Pygram (Farscape)
Gabrielle Fitzpatrick (MMPR: The Movie)
Nick Jameson (Frozen)
Oliver Muirhead (The Social Network)
Michael Bowen (Kill Bill)
April Grace (A.I.)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)

Daniel Dae Kim, Josh Holloway, and Harold Perrineau in Lost (2004)

Attempting to build on the strength of Season One, Lost Season Two introduces several new characters and a new mysterious group to keep viewers enthralled. The introduction of the tail section characters does serve a purpose early in the season as it reinforces the Others as formidable villains. While the survivors on the beach have had it relatively easy, the tailies experience 48 days of hell in which their numbers shrink to a handful. Beyond that, Libby slides into a cute love story with Hurley while Ana Lucia stands around and takes up space until she is shot to death by Michael. Neither contributes a substantial amount to the season or the series besides being canon fodder for Michael.Harold Perrineau in Lost (2004)As for Mr. Eko, he does have a couple of good flashback episodes but it also feels like the writers are never quite sure what to do with him. At some points he’s a passive observer to events unfolding and the later he actively gets involved in the pressing of the button. Those last few episodes in which he finds himself destined to push the button almost seem as if the were a scramble to give the character something substantial to do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Eko but I feel as if his character was completely mismanaged from the outside.Only Bernard, who really doesn’t do much himself, feels like a relevant addition from the tail section as he ties up the loose end regarding Rose’s husband.Daniel Dae Kim and Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)Their reunion alone makes his introduction worth the effort. The best new addition to the Lost cast is the person we see the least throughout the season – Desmond David Hume. His appearance in the first couple of episodes of the season were used solely to introduce the concept of the button but his flashback and story in the two hour finale presented an intriguing new character. He’s a hopeless romantic on a quest to regain his honor and reunite with his true love. Desmond’s story is leaps and bounds more exciting than the rest of the new cast.Locke’s journey this season doesn’t really start to get interesting until the introduction of Henry Gale. For the first half of the season we get to see Locke at his most confident. He’s finally opened his hatch and discovered a bevy of new treasures inside to support his claims that the island and his connection to it are part of some much larger destiny. However, Gale’s arrival brings with it seeds of doubt as John’s world begins to fall apart. This culminates in the discovery of the Pearl Station and Locke’s complete loss of faith in the button and the island. It’s a good journey that has a great conclusion in the finale.Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros in Lost (2004)I really enjoyed Sawyer’s return to form midway through this season. Sure it didn’t make much sense for Sawyer to turn the entire camp against him in “The Long Con” but it was one of my favorite story lines of the season. His return to a nastier, less fan-friendly Sawyer was short lived however as he fairly quickly crept back into the good graces of the rest of the group.Michael’s battle to get Walt back from the Others had him depart midway through the season but his return in the final few episodes of the season were thoroughly entertaining. His murder of Ana Lucia and Libby gave way to an interesting game of deception as Michael is forced to convince the survivors that Henry was behind their deaths. His absolutely disgust in himself for taking a life mixed with the continued desperation he has to reunite with his son makes for some of the best character moments of the entire season. Harold Parrineau does a fantastic job of portraying Michael’s spastic range of emotions in those final few episodes.The real gem of this season and my favorite story arc is the introduction of Michael Emerson as Henry Gale.Naveen Andrews in Lost (2004)He spends most of his time confined in the Swan Station but that doesn’t stop him from being a formidable foe for the survivors of Flight 815. With the survivors fractured and keeping secrets from one another, Henry frequently manages to turn one survivor against the other. He’s favorite prey is John Locke who we already know is quite susceptible to snide comments and underhanded suggestions. Henry turns Locke inside out and uses him against Jack causing the group of survivors to lose focus. Its brilliant to watch unfold and Emerson brings a lot of weight to the role.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY – SEASON 2

Michelle Yeoh, Doug Jones, Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, Anthony Rapp, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Mary Wiseman in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)

Starring

Sonequa Martin-Green (Rivers Wash Over Me)
Doug Jones (The Watch)
Anthony Rapp (Rent)
Mary Wiseman (Longmire)
Shazad Latif (Penny Dreadful)
Wilson Cruz (He’s Just Not That into You)
Anson Mount (Inhumans)

Star Trek: Discovery (2017)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)
Tig Notaro (In a World…)
Michelle Yeoh (The Lady)
Alan van Sprang (Reign)
Rachael Ancheril (Heroes Reborn)
Jayne Brook (Gattaca)
Ethan Peck (In Time)
Sonja Sohn (The Originals)
James Frain (Gotham)
Mary Chieffo (Miss Dial)
Kenneth Mitchell (Captain Marvel)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Melissa George (Triangle)
Hannah Cheesman (Defiance)
Emily Coutts (Crimson Peak)
Patrick Kwok-Choon (Wyatt Earp)
Oyin Oladejo (Pond)
Ronnie Rowe (A Simple Favor)
Arista Arhin (Odd Squad)
Raven Dauda (Gossip)
Julianne Grossman (Superman/Batman: Apocalypse)
Sara Mitich (The Expanse)
Bahia Watson (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Hannah Spear (Versus Valerie)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
Tara Nicodemo (Every Day)
Chris Violette (Power Rangers SPD)
Kenric Green (The Walking Dead)
Yadira Guevara-Prip (Supernatural)

Doug Jones, Anson Mount, David Benjamin Tomlinson, Rachael Ancheril, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Sean Connolly Affleck in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)Star Trek: Discovery’s inaugural season was faced with a seemingly impossible feat. The CBS All Access series was tasked with delivering a fresh new take that appeased a hardcore fan base and remained true to the franchise’s 50-year history, while also appealing to a Trek noob who wouldn’t know Voyager from Deep Space Nine. Although Season 1 stumbled in its efforts to remain tightly within canon while also telling an exciting and cohesive story, the show managed to pull off a commendable first run thanks to a charming bridge crew, a delectably villainous leader in Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) and that unapologetic love of science and adventure which has come to define the franchise as a whole.Anson Mount, Rachael Ancheril, and Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)Building on that, Discovery really hits its stride in Season 2. With the Klingon War on the backburner, the series is finally able to breathe, and as a result, delivers a refreshing sophomore run that just feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off its shoulders. After receiving a distress call from the USS Enterprise, the Discovery crew ditches its plan to pick up a new captain on Vulcan in order to help out fellow Federation officers in need. Starfleet’s most prized ship is offline after suffering a catastrophic meltdown while tracking one of seven red signals that have suddenly appeared in space. With his ship on the sidelines, Captain Pike (Anson Mount) takes the helm of the Discovery for an important rescue mission that was only meant to be temporary. But those ominous signals pose a serious threat to the universe so of course, he’s needed to stay on and uncover that mystery, thus kicking off a thrilling adventure in deep space.Bringing in an iconic character like Pike could have been disastrous but Discovery somehow makes it work. He’s seamlessly woven into the narrative, bringing exhilarating new energy that never overpowers the series’ core cast. Mount’s Pike is dashing, charismatic and genuinely likable, but not without his faults. He’s very much the man Gene Roddenberry envisioned so many decades ago but never feels like a relic of the past. He’s exactly what Discovery, both the crew and series as a whole, needs right now. But he’s also just a fraction of what makes Season 2 such an enjoyable experience.With Discovery learning to let loose and have fun, Season 2 utilizes its arsenal of delightful characters in a way that it never could before. Owing to that is the adorkably wonderful Tilly (Mary Wiseman), last season’s Miss Congeniality whose expanded role is like a much-needed serotonin boost. Brilliant, funny and bursting with nerdy optimism, the new season finds her finally coming into her own as a confident leader, and that transformation is a pure joy to watch unfold. Equally amusing is newcomer Tig Notaro’s Denise Reno, the USS Hiawatha’s brilliant chief engineer whose deadpan humor easily makes her this season’s low-key gem.Anson Mount in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)But among a diverse group of amiable personalities, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) remains the true heart and soul of the series. It’s mostly through her eyes that we learn about the world that Discovery has created, and in Season 2, her story again takes center stage. With the exploration of Burnham’s past comes the inevitable arrival of her adoptive brother Spock (Ethan Peck), and their family drama sets the groundwork for an engrossing journey in the new season.Linked through the same visions of a mysterious red angel, their broken dynamic breathes new life into Spock, a character who’s been explored inside and out, having been around for five decades. But Discovery presents a different Spock, someone on the losing side of an internal battle between reason and logic. He’s not the Vulcan you know from Star Trek: The Original Series, nor does he need to be. With this latest iteration set years before the events of TOS, the show found the loophole it needed to introduce this bearded, disheveled version into official canon — and it’s handled with great care.Ethan Peck in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)By all means, Discovery isn’t perfect. It’s still working to find that natural balance between nostalgia and modernity. But Season 2 takes a carefully bold, gripping, and undeniably fun stab at it and in turn, is a much better show.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 2

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Sam Jones III (Glory Road)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
John Schneider (The Haves and the Have Nots)
John Glover (Shazam)

Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Tom O’Brien (The Accused)
Rekha Sharma (Star Trek: Discovery)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Jerry Wasserman (Watchmen)
Krista Allen (Feast)
Mitchell Kosterman (Stargate SG.1)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Disturbing Behaviour)
Joe Morton (God Friended Me)
Andrew Jackson (Earth: Final Conflict)
Michael Kopsa (Fantastic Four)
Sara Downing (Roswell)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Sean Faris (Never Back Down)
Gwynyth Walsh (Star Trek: Generations)
Richard Moll (Batman: TAS)
Maggie Lawson (Santa Clarita Diet)
George Coe (The Stepford Wives)
Jesse Hutch (Arrow)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Neil Grayston (Wonderfalls)
Patrick Cassidy (Lois & Clark)
Blair Brown (Space Cowboys)
Ryan Kelley (Teen Wolf)
Martin Cummins (Dark Angel)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Mark Gibbon (The 6th Day)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Improvement)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Robert Wisden (Highlander: The Series)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Amara Zaragoza (Perfect Stranger)
Gordon Tootoosis (Lone Star)
Eric Johnson (Flash Gordon)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Byron Mann (Arrow)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Jill Teed (Godzilla)
Eileen Pedde (Juno)
Jason Connery (Wishmaster 3)
Eric Keenleyside (Dreamcatcher)
Barclay Hope (Paycheck)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Shaun Sipos (Texas Chainsaw)
Haig Sutherland (The Flash)
Luciana Carro (White Chicks)
Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries)
Craig Veroni (Dark Angel)
Christopher Reeve (Superman)
Anson Mount (Inhumans)
Michael Adamthwaite (Horns)
Camille Mitchell (Izombie)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Jodelle Ferland (Case 39)
Ingrid Torrance (Scooby Doo 2)
David Lewis (Man of Steel)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)

 

Sam Jones III and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The first season of Smallville got off to a bit of a rocky start, as the program didn’t really find its footing until midway through the season. The show suffered from what fans called “Freak of the Week” syndrome, in which a new Kryptonite-mutated supervillain would emerge in every episode with some pretty weak storylines. The “Bug Boy” and “Coach Firestarter” episodes come to mind pretty quickly, and it makes me shudder just thinking about them. However, the show gradually shifted into telling more stories that advanced Clark Kent’s overall storyline, with multipart episodes that focused on slowly revealing Clark’s origin as Kal-El and his “immigration” to Earth, as well as the ongoing storylines of the supporting cast. Not to say that the show still doesn’t have an occasional “Freak of the Week”, but when they do they are either (1) fewer in frequency or (2) somehow related to the overall show’s story arc.Sam Jones III and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)With that out of the way, let’s talk about the cast. Tom Welling is pitch-perfect as the teenage Clark Kent. With his tall stature and ripped physique, he certainly looks the part, but he also captures the insecurity and awkwardness of youth while portraying an inner nobility and morality for which his character will eventually become renown. As Lana Lang, Clark’s childhood crush and current on-again, off-again love interest, Kristin Kreuk is about as superhumanly lovely as one could imagine. She’s the “girl next door” multiplied by about three million, not only because of her phenomenal physical beauty but also due to her bright-eyed, compassionate, down-to-earth demeanor. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why Clark loves her, or why it rips him apart when he has to push her away in order to keep his powers a secret and keep her from being harmed (people who tend to learn about Clark’s powers generally end up dead or insane.)Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Michael Rosenbaum brings young Lex Luthor to life in what has become my favorite character of the show. Making Lex Luthor and Clark Kent childhood friends is a novel (and daring) conceit by the show’s creators, and it pays off handsomely. Lex adds a darker, more cynical dynamic to Clark’s teenage development that was missing in previous iterations of the character. Rosenbaum, who rather ironically provides the voice for the DC superhero “The Flash” on the Justice League animated series, makes Luthor a dark, sympathetic, and conflicted figure. He’s charismatic enough to make one want to like him, Machiavellian enough to make one worry if they can trust him, and – since we know his eventual fate – an overall tragic figure. We know he’s going to “go bad”; his slow transition from Clark’s trusted friend to worst enemy makes for some truly compelling material.Annette O'Toole and John Schneider in Smallville (2001)The cast is rounded out by John Schneider as Jonathan Kent, Academy Award-nominated songwriter Annette O’Toole (and a former Lana Lang herself from Superman III) as Martha Kent, John Glover as Lionel Luthor, Sam Jones III as Clark’s childhood friend Pete Ross, and Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, whose unrequited love for Clark has emerged as a critical subplot in the development of the series. The group makes for an attractive ensemble, and there’s not a bad apple in the bunch. My only real complaint about the cast could be the little screen time Pete Ross gets (which gets worse in Season Three). As Clark’s best friend since childhood, his relationship with Clark gets laid by the wayside in favor of the Clark/Lex dynamic. Every now and then he turns up to provide some expository dialogue, and while he is featured prominently in a few episodes (especially “Duplicity”), his role in the show has slowly diminished over time.John Glover and John Schneider in Smallville (2001)Smallville: The Complete Second Season picks up from the cliffhanger ending that ended Season One, and slowly grows into a stronger and more self-assured show. Over the course of the season we get introduced to heat vision, red Kryptonite, a trip to Metropolis (with a cameo by The Daily Planet), and, in the episode “Rosetta”, an appearance by the former Man of Steel Christopher Reeve which stands out as one of the series’ best episodes. When I heard bits of John Williams’s amazing film orchestrations woven into the show’s score, I had goose bumps everywhere.Tom Welling and Amara Zaragoza in Smallville (2001)While still a little bumpy at times, Smallville’s second season is a huge step above the first, and remains one of the most entertaining shows on television.