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: 13 REASONS WHY – SEASON 2

Dylan Minnette in 13 Reasons Why (2017)

MAIN CAST

Dylan Minnette (Don’t Breathe)
Katherine Langford (The Misguided)
Christian Navarro (Bushwick)
Alisha Boe (Paranormal Activity 4)
Brandon Flynn (BrainDead)
Justin Prentice (Izombie)
Miles Heizer (Rails & Ties)
Ross Butler (Riverdale)
Devin Druid (Louder Than Bombs)
Amy Hargreaves (Wonderstruck)
Derek Luke (Biker Boyz)
Kate Walsh (After The Sunset)
Michele Selene Ang (Elementary)
Brian d’Arcy James (Smash)
Matthew Alan (Snowfall)
Brittany Perry-Russell (Family Reunion)
Alex MacNicoll (The Society)
Makenzie Vega (Saw)
Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Supernatural)

2

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Steven Weber (Izombie)
Wilson Cruz (Star Trek Discovery)
Sosie Bacon (Scream: The Series)
Tommy Dorfman (Fludity)
Allison Miller (17 Again)
Tom Everett Scott (Race To Witch Mountain)
Ben Lawson (No Strings Attached)
Robert Gant (Supergirl)
Chelsea Alden (Face 2 Face)
Bryce Cass (Battle Los Angeles)
Brandon Butler (Ring of Silence)
Anne Winters (Mom and Dad)
Jackie Geary (NCIS)
Mason Guccione (Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle)
Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Supernatural)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Anthony Rapp (Star Trek: Discovery)
Meredith Monroe (Hart of Dixie)
Mark Pellegrino (Lost)
Jake Weber (Homeland)
Brandon Butler (Trinkets)
Ajiona Alexus (Runaways)
Josh Hamilton (Alive)
Andrea Roth (Cloak & Dagger)
Sean Blakemore (Bones)
Brandon Larracuente (Bright)
Steven Silver (Council of Dads)
Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls
Parminder Nagra (God Friended Me)
Hank Greenspan (The Neighborhood)
Timothy Granaderos (Runaways)
Samantha Logan (All American)
Kelli O’Hara (Masters of Sex)
RJ Brown (Tycoon)
Cindy Cheung (House of Cards)

“I know some people don’t want us to talk about what happened,” Tyler (Devin Druid) says in voiceover at the start of “13 Reasons Why’s” second season. “But if we don’t talk about it, it’s never going to change. So it’s important for everyone to understand how it all happened. The whole story.”  This is the very first thing viewers of the new season will hear — well, second, if you include the new trigger warning video featuring members of the cast that plays ahead of the premiere. But the warning and monologue are intertwined, because they’re ultimately about the same thing. The warning acknowledges that, while Netflix’s mega-hit series was well-received in its first season, it also drew plenty of controversy over how it treated its sensitive subject material: suicide, sexual assault, drug abuse, and so on.MV5BMThiMjMyMmUtMjcwMC00NjAxLWI0MDMtMmEwN2UzYTExNjIzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzUwMTgwMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,733,1000_AL_But Tyler’s monologue, which we soon learn is delivered from the witness stand, is a defense of season two’s very existence. Yes, the creators (including showrunners Brian Yorkey and Diana son) know of the criticisms. Yes, they know there are questions as to why a season two even needed to happen. But their argument is that the season is necessary — “important,” even. And considering how successful the show has been, the story we see in season two may not even be the end. The trial in question, which has compelled troubled gun aficionado Tyler’s testimony, is a lawsuit against Liberty High School by the parents of late student Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). Hannah’s tapes explaining why she committed suicide provided the narrative arc of season one, with each tape focused on a different person in Hannah’s life. The trial serves the same function this season, with each episode centering on a particular witness’ testimony.13-reasons-why-season2The result is something of an inverse of the first season: instead of Hannah’s voice on the tapes, we hear the other students, teachers, and her parents. They open up parts of the story we didn’t hear in season one, though we’re left to to decide on our own if we trust them as our narrators. Reversing the narrative doesn’t do much to change the core of the series. Clay is the rock of “13 Reasons Why,” the anchor who keeps us chained to Hannah’s story. No matter whether we disagree with Hannah’s actions, get frustrated with the treatment of rapist baseball player Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice), or would perhaps rather follow the complex, challenging story of survivor Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe), Clay keeps us on track. This is about Hannah, the girl he loved but never got up the guts to tell. This is about his journey to make sure her suicide is avenged — whatever that personally means to him. And this is about his relationship to her and her memory, no matter how many forces of doubt come to challenge that.https _blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com_uploads_card_image_771242_269f95fd-56f8-4925-86ec-20d889c7690dMinnette is a marvel, turning in one of the most committed, insular, intense performances you’ll see anywhere on television. The 21-year-old actor reads as a blank slate when he’s still — maybe a hint of a perpetual grimace on his face, but ultimately inoffensive. As a result, Clay is often seen looking pensive, quiet, and expressionless. When he breaks, however, Minnette shines. Clay screams, cries, and generally loses his cool this season, and Minnette captures it all without missing a beat. Every bit of pain seems to leave an extra wrinkle or crag on Clay’s face. Minnette himself makes Clay feel heavier as the season goes on, like having to do any small thing would cause the young man to explode. Minnette plays Clay as a teen on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and you can’t take your eyes off him. A good deal of the cast is good this season — particularly Kate Walsh as Hannah’s grieving-but-furious mother Olivia — but Minnette stands above the pack. His is a tour-de-force performance that goes a long way to making “13 Reasons Why’s” second season feel worth the drama.

REVIEW: ROAD TRIP

CAST

Breckin Meyer (Garfield)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
Paulo Costanzo (Joey)
DJ Qualls (Cherry Falls)
Amy Smart (Just Friends)
Tom Green (Stealing Harvard)
Rachel Blanchard (The Rage: Carrie 2)
Anthony Rapp (Twister)
Fred Ward (Chai nReaction)
Andy Dick (Hoodwinked!)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Jessica Cauffiel (D.E.B.S)
Mia Amber Davis (Holla If I Kill You)
Mary Lynn Rajskub (24)
Ellen Albertini Dow (Wedding Crashers)
Rini Bell (Bring it On)
Matt Walsh (Ted)
John Ross Bowie (The Heat)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Deborah Zoe (Lucky Bastard)

Josh and Tiffany were long time friends and high school sweethearts. They both had to face a long distance relationship when Josh enrolls to University of Ithaca and Tiffany enrolls to the University of Austin. They made a promise to be true to each other and call each other every day. But when Tiffany doesn’t call Josh or answer any of his calls, Josh begins worrying that Tiffany is seeing another man (actually, her maternal grandfather died). To show that he is still in love with her, he makes a daily recorded video log to her. After a one-night stand with his friend Beth, Josh discovers that his sex with Beth has been taped, and, through a series of misunderstandings, the tape was sent to Tiffany instead of his latest blog entry. This prompts a road trip in which Josh and his friends set out for Austin to intercept the tape before Tiffany gets a chance to view it.What you’ll get to see is an hilarious movie that, it has to be said, isn’t all too original. It follows the typical guidelines for teen comedies, but does it all very well.