31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: SCREAM: THE SERIES HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (2016)

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MAIN CAST

Willa Fitzgerald (Gotham)
Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow)
John Karma (Premature)
Amadeus Serafini (Smoke)
Carlson Young (True Blood)
Tracy Middendorf (New Nightmare)
Santiago Segura (Silicon Valley)

GUEST CAST

Alexander Calvert (Arrow)
Alex Esola (The Young Pope)
Zena Grey (Snow Day)
Austin Highsmith (Gangster Squad)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
Anthony Ruivivar (Beauty and The Beast)

Everyone seems in good spirits following another of year of murder and torture. The Lakewood teens are just looking for a little break from the Halloween hype and decide to venture off to a remote island where they think a relaxing beach getaway will solve all their troubles. Aside from these teenagers’ total inability to spot a bad plan when it is right in front of their face, there were many changes among the Lakewood crew, some that may even play out for the recently renewed, yet shorter, season three.

I guess if you were paying attention, Stavo and Noah have a lot more in common (creatively) than we thought. Their obsession with the horror genre and death somehow lead them to write/illustrate a book together and therefore have an editor urging for more work. The basis for the trip to the island was their editor, Jeremy’s, idea to help inspire Noah through his writer’s block. Shallow Grove Island (nicknamed Murder Island, mind you) played host to the Whitten mansion where a terrible murder spree occurred in which Anna Hobbs apparently murdered her family and the people they worked for.

The story was eventually proven untrue through some sleuthing and puzzle piecing by Noah. However, this new partnership is one that I’m intrigued by and after Noah’s narration at the end of the episode, the two may continue collaborating in season three. Stavo is finally a part of the Lakewood teens group, instead of being considered as a suspect.

When Emma cozies up with the only remaining descendant of the Whitten family, things start to take a turn. Alex Whitten immediately catches Emma’s eye and most viewers too. He’s mysterious, quiet, good looking, kind. He’s had a troubled life, too with the tragedy of his own parent’s death. Emma relates to his feelings of being in the spotlight because of his trauma and is inspired by how he has made a good life for himself. However, their new romance is tainted by a new set of murders on the island, starting with the man who ran the museum with Anna Hobbs’ mask and murder weapon (garden sheers). Those things were taken and used as the killer’s disguise. Who knew a potato sack mask could be maybe even more creepy than the revamped scream mask regularly on the show?

Then everyone starts dropping like flies, including Stavo and Noah’s arrogant and annoying editor, Jeremy who by the end of the episode, wasn’t such a devastating loss. I thought we’d have to deal with him once season three was back but, apparently not. What this means for their book deal…I don’t know. The Lakewood 6 eventually find a sanctuary at Alex Whitten’s mansion as a storm comes in and prevents them from getting off the island.

I was a little disappointed by the trick factor. I guess this isn’t an M. Night Shyamalan. However, I did like the subtle nod to Shyamalon’s most recent horror film comeback, The Visit. Emma realizes Alex is the murderer on the island when she finds the real Alex Whitten’s mangled body in a chest at the mansion. Yes, Emma gets the final take down of Alex Whitten when she pushes him off a balcony. Emma’s gusto was pretty kickass in this episode and I can’t wait to see more of it. Her character has definitely taken a turn for the better as she has become a person with a lot more strength and gumption. Finally, the Lakewood teens are all reunited and get the hell off that island.

Overall, I was happy with this brief storyline they created for the Halloween special and am excited about the new storylines they introduced that will contribute to the direction of season three. We will have to wait for more answers once season three premieres in 2017. While the season will only be six episodes, that just leaves more opportunity for some jam packed episodes of shock, drama, and a good dose of horror.

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31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: SCREAM: THE SERIES – SEASON 2

MAIN CAST

WIlla Fitzgerald (Gotham)
Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow)
John Karma (Bindlestiffs)
Amadeus Serafini (Smoke)
Carlson Young (Heroes)
Tracy Middendorf (New Nightmare)
Kiana Ledé (Guidance)
Santiago Segura (In The Deep)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Tom Maden (Killer Coach)
Austin Highsmith (Dolphin Tale)
Anthony Ruivivar (Chuck)
Mary Katherine Duhon (Underground)
Bryan Batt (Funny People)
Sean Grandillo (Secrets and Lies)
Karina Logie (Bates Motel)
Tom Everett Scott (Dead man On Campus)
Bobby Campo (The Final Destination)

ScreamEmma returns to Lakewood after several months at a retreat. Her friends begin to question whether she has truly gotten over the killer’s crimes. Meanwhile, Audrey is hiding her connection to the killer, but is getting harassed by someone who knows the truth, and Noah is getting closer to the truth about the murders. Lakewood’s murderous past, both recent and distant, are once again brought to focus – with this killer’s psychotic mind-game intent on targeting the Lakewood Six survivors.

Although there appeared to be many cringe-worthy moments, I personally enjoyed all the pop culture references as it made the show feel more relatable growing up in world where social media is everything (whether we like to admit it or not). It brought the show into a modern era using terms such as ‘viral’ and ‘gif’ which would appear in everyday conversation of young adults and adolescents, making the show even more appealing. Also, the use of Samsung’s and iPhone’s was very well done as it used the proper text tones and ringtones. Even small technical adjustments such as these, make all the difference to getting the audience on the director’s side as it shows familiarity and makes an extremely dramatized show even the slightest feeling that maybe something this insane is possible.

Overall, this show is thrilling and constantly keeps the audience wondering who the killer under the Scream mask is.  Although it appears far-fetched at times, the story is interesting and the characters are lovable as well as having the scare-factor within each episode. I would definitely recommend if the horror genre is something you’re interested in.

REVIEW: STARSHIP TROOPERS

 

CAST

Casper Van Dien (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Denise Richards (Valentine)
Jake Busey (Fast Sofa)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Patrick Muldoon (Stigmata)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Seth Gilliam (Oz)
Marshall Bell (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)

In the 23rd century, Earth has become a space-faring federation. While colonizing new planets, humans have encountered an insectoid species known as Arachnids or “Bugs”, with their home being the distant world Klendathu. The bugs appear to be little more than killing machines, though there are suggestions that they were provoked by the intrusion of humans into their habitats. In the federation, citizenship is a privilege earned by serving through such activities as military service; citizens are granted opportunities prohibited to others. John “Johnny” Rico, his girlfriend Carmen Ibanez and best friend Carl Jenkins attend high school in Buenos Aires. Fellow student Isabel “Dizzy” Flores is in love with Rico, but he does not reciprocate. They enlist in the Federal Service after graduation. Carmen becomes a spaceship pilot assigned to the Rodger Young, while psychically gifted Carl joins Military Intelligence. Rico enlists in the Mobile Infantry expecting to be with Carmen, but is surprised to find Dizzy, who wanted to be near him. At Mobile Infantry training, brutal Career Sgt. Zim leads the recruits. Rico is promoted to squad leader and befriends Ace Levy. He later receives a Dear John letter from Carmen, as she desires a career with the fleet and serves under Rico’s high school sports rival, Zander Barcalow. After a live-fire training incident that kills one of Rico’s squad, he is demoted and flogged. He resigns and calls his parents, but the call is cut off when an asteroid, launched by the Arachnids, obliterates Buenos Aires, killing his family and millions more. Rico rescinds his resignation and remains with the Infantry as an invasion force is deployed to Klendathu.The first strike on Klendathu is a disaster, with heavy casualties. Rico is wounded and mistakenly classified KIA, causing Carmen to believe he is dead. Rico, Ace and Dizzy are reassigned to the ‘Roughnecks’, commanded by Lt. Jean Rasczak, Rico’s former high school teacher. Rico is promoted to corporal and eventually reciprocates Dizzy’s love for him. The Roughnecks respond to a distress call from Planet “P”, where they discover an outpost that has been devastated by Bugs. The distress call ends up being a trap and the Arachnids swarm the outpost. Rico, now Acting Sergeant, euthanizes a mortally wounded Rasczak after a Tanker Bug bites his legs off, and after a Bug stabs Dizzy in the torso, she dies in Rico’s arms as they are rescued by Carmen and Zander. Rico and Carmen reconnect and encounter Carl, now a high-ranking intelligence officer, at Dizzy’s funeral. Carl reveals that there is a reason to believe an intelligent “brain bug” is directing the other Bugs and can learn about the humans. He field-promotes Rico to lieutenant and gives him command of the Roughnecks, ordering the infantry to return to “P” and capture the brain bug.As Rico’s Roughnecks join the mission, the Fleet encounters fire from the Bugs and Carmen’s ship is destroyed. The escape pod carrying Carmen and Zander crashes into the Bug tunnel system near Rico. Unknowingly guided by a psychic suggestion from Carl, Rico takes soldiers Ace and Sugar Watkins into the tunnels to rescue both. They find Carmen and Zander surrounded by several types of Arachnids including the Brain Bug, which places its proboscis into Zander’s skull and drains its contents. Before it can take Carmen’s brain she cuts off the proboscis with a knife Zander gave her. Rico threatens the Bugs with a small nuclear bomb, so the Brain Bug allows them to leave. Arachnids pursue them and Watkins is mortally wounded, and sacrifices himself by detonating the bomb to kill them while the others escape. After returning to the surface, they find that former Sgt. Zim, who had requested demotion to private so that he could serve at the front, has captured the Brain Bug. Carl congratulates Rico and tells him and Carmen that the humans will soon be victorious, now that Intelligence can study the brain bug, which is found to be afraid. A propaganda clip is shown starring Carmen (now a captain commanding a battleship), Ace and Rico as model servicemen, encouraging the viewer to enlist.If you want to see pretty people shooting up aliens, this film will not disappoint, but there is so much more besides. Its very slightly dated now, but still worth the watch.

REVIEW: TROPIC THUNDER

CAST

Ben Stiller (Mystery Men)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Robert Downey, Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Steve Coogan (Hott Fuzz)
Jay Braruchel (Fanboys)
Danny McBride (Land of the Lost)
Brandon T. Jackson (Thunderstruck)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man)
Nick Nolte (Hulk)
Matthew McConaughey (EdTV)
Brandon Soo Hoo Supah Ninjas)
Tom Cruise (Knight and Day)
Tyra Banks (Coyote Ugly)
Martin Lawrence (Bad Boys)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Alicia Silverstone (Clueless)
Jon Voight (Transformers)
Christine Taylor (Zoolander)
Mini Anden (Chuck)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)
Rachel Avery (Scrubs)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Repo Men)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Reggie Lee (Grimm)
Miko Hughes (Full House)

Hook-handed Vietnam veteran Staff Sergeant John “Four Leaf” Tayback’s (Nick Nolte) memoir, Tropic Thunder, is being made into a film. With the exception of newcomer supporting actor Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), the cast—fading action hero Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), five-time Academy Award-winning Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey, Jr.), rapper Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson), and drug-addicted comedian Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) all behave unreasonably. Rookie director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) cannot control them during filming of a large battle scene, and production is reported to be one month behind schedule a mere week into production. Furious studio executive Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) orders Cockburn to resume filming as planned, or have the project shut down.

Acting on Four Leaf’s advice, Damien drops the actors into the middle of the jungle, with hidden cameras and rigged special effects explosions to film “guerrilla-style”. The actors have guns that fire blanks, along with a map and scene listing that will lead to a helicopter waiting at the end of the route. Unknown to the actors and production, the group have been dropped in the middle of the Golden Triangle, the home of the heroin-producing Flaming Dragon gang. Just as the group are about to set off, Damien inadvertently steps on an old land mine and is blown up, stunning the actors. Tugg, believing Damien faked his death to encourage the cast to give better performances, persuades the others that Damien is alive, and that they are still shooting the film. Lazarus is unconvinced but joins them in their trek through the jungle.

When Four Leaf and pyrotechnics operator Cody Underwood (Danny McBride) try to locate the dead director, they are captured by Flaming Dragon. Four Leaf is revealed to have hands; he confesses to Underwood that he actually served in the Coast Guard, has never left the United States, and that he wrote his “memoir” as a tribute. As the actors continue through the jungle, Kirk and Kevin discover that Tugg is leading them in the wrong direction. The four actors, tired of walking and hoping to be rescued, leave Tugg, who goes off by himself and is captured by Flaming Dragon. Taken to their heroin factory, Tugg believes it is a POW camp from the script. The gang discovers he is the star of their favorite film, the box office bomb Simple Jack, and forces him to reenact it several times a day.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Tugg’s agent Rick ‘Pecker’ Peck (Matthew McConaughey) is trying to negotiate with Les an unfulfilled term in Tugg’s contract that entitles him to a TiVo. Flaming Dragon calls the two and demands a ransom for Tugg, but Les instead berates the gang. Despite the threats, Les expresses no interest in rescuing Tugg and tries to convince Rick about the benefits of allowing Tugg to die and collecting the insurance. Les also offers Rick a Gulfstream V jet and money in return for his cooperation.

Kirk, Alpa, Jeff, and Kevin discover Flaming Dragon’s heroin factory. After witnessing Tugg being tortured, they plan a rescue attempt based on the film’s script. Kirk impersonates a farmer towing a captured Jeff on the back of a water buffalo, distracting the armed guards so Alpa and Kevin can locate the captives, but after the gang’s leader (Brandon Soo Hoo) notices inconsistencies in Kirk’s story, the actors, knowing their cover has been blown, begin firing, temporarily subduing the gang. Their control of the gang falls apart when Jeff grabs the leader and heads for the drugs, and the gang regains their guns and begin firing.

The four actors locate Four Leaf, Cody, and Tugg and cross a bridge rigged to explode to get to Underwood’s helicopter. Tugg asks to remain behind with the gang which he considers his family, but quickly returns when Flaming Dragon fires in pursuit. Four Leaf detonates the bridge allowing Tugg to reach safety, but as the helicopter takes off, the gang fires a rocket-propelled grenade at the helicopter. Rick unexpectedly stumbles out of the jungle carrying a TiVo box and throws it in the path of the grenade, saving them. The crew return to Hollywood, where footage from the hidden cameras is compiled into a feature film, Tropic Blunder, which becomes a major critical and commercial success. The film wins Tugg his first Academy Award, which Kirk presents to him at the ceremony.

In a mid-credits scene, Rick is on a plane back to Hollywood with his estranged son.

Brilliant satire on Hollywood and war/action movies. Easily Stiller’s best role as it mirrors his reality. Downey Jr is in his prime! “I don’t read the script, the script reads me”. In smaller roles Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise and excellent as an agent and a film mogul. The film definitely has a “Spinal Tap” edge to it where the jokes keep coming through their subtlety. It is sad that Stiller will always be in cheesy cash cow films but this is the one that he should be remembered for, directing a satirical classic

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 1

CAST
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Julia Ling (Undoing)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
C.S. Lee (Dexter)
Matthew Bomer (Tru Calling)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Anthony Ruivivar (Beauty and The Beast 2012)
Mini Anden (The Proposal)
Jim Pirri (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Matthew Willig (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Gwendoline Yeo (American Crime)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Jonathan Sadowski (She’s The Man)
Kevin Weisman (Alias)
Chuck Bartowski’s (Zachary Levi) life was going no where fast. True, he is head of the Nerd Herd at his local Buy More. But he lives with his sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and her boyfriend Devon (aka Captain Awesome, played by Ryan McPartlin). His best friend is Morgan (Joshua Gomez), a fellow nerd who also works at Buy More.

But things change drastically when Chuck gets an e-mail from former friend Bryce Larkin. The e-mail contains all the files of the intersect, the complete intelligence files of both the CIA and the NSA. And, to make things more exciting, Bryce has destroyed the original files.

All the information gets downloaded into Chuck’s brain, making him a highly valuable government secret. So valuable that he has two bodyguards, Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski), a CIA agent who pretends to be Chuck’s girlfriend, and John Casey (Adam Baldwin), a NSA who moves in next door to Chuck and takes a job at Buy More.

Whenever Chuck sees something from the intersect, he flashes on more information. Unfortunately, these flashes are at random and uncontrollable. And Los Angeles seems to be a hot bed of activity. Even with two agents guarding him, Chuck finds himself in over his head with his new life as a spy. Can he survive and keep his secret?

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. The premise sounds unbelievable. And if you stop and think about it, it is. Fortunately, the show never gives you time to think. They cram everything into these episodes. There’s action and intrigue, developing storylines involving the intersect and Chuck’s past, romance with Sarah that she is not willing to admit is there, and plenty of laughs. Many of the laughs come from the sub-plots focused on the Buy More. But we also get laughs from Chuck’s reaction to his new world. But in case this all sounds disjointed, let me assure you it works beautifully. Everything is balanced and blended so that it seamlessly flows from one event to the next. And the characters are outstanding. Honestly, that is what holds all of this together. Even gruff Casey is fun when it comes down to it.

REVIEW: LIE TO ME – SEASON 1-3

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MAIN CAST

Tim Roth (The Incredible Hulk)
Kelli Williams (Army Wives)
Brendan Hines (Terminator: TSCC)
Monica Raymond (Chicago Fire)
Hayley McFarland (The Conjuring)
Mekhi Phifer (Divergent)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jake Thoams (A.I.)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Arrow)
David Anders (Izombie)
Rance Howard (A Beautiful Mind)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)
Isabella Hoffman (Legends of Tomorrow)
Sasha Roiz (Caprica)
Kristen Ariza (Startup)
Mekenna Melvin (ChucK)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance)
Deidre Lovejpy (Bones)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)
Megan Follows (Reign)
Christine Adams (Agents of SHIELD)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Cheryl White (Major Crimes)
Virginia Williams (Fairly Legal)
Pej Vahdat (Bones)
Jennifer Beals (Flashdance)
Kevin Tighe (Lost)
Currie Graham (Stargate: The Ark of Truth)
D.B. Woodside (Buffy)
Jason Beghe (Californication)
Clea DuVall (The Faculty)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2 & 3)
Melissa Tang (Mom)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Erika Christensen (Flightplan)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
James Marsters (Buffy)
Gretchen Egolf (Roswell)
Marc Blucas (Red State)
David Kaufman (Superman: TAS)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
Sean O’Bryan (The Princess Diaries)
Garret Dillahunt (Terminator: TSCC)
Lennie James (The Walking Dead)
Alicia Coppola (Another World)
Roy Werner (Weeds)
Jason Gedrick (Beauty and The Beast)
April Grace (Lost)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Ricky Jay (Flashforward)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Felicia Day (Dr. Horrible)
Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars)
Ashley Johsnon (Dollhouse)
Howard Hesseman (That 70s Show)
Mark Harelik (The Big Bang Theory)
Melissa George (Triangle)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Bruce Weitz (General Hospital)
Enver Gjokaj (Agent Carter)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Khary Payton (Teen Titans)
Michael Beach (The Abyss)
Yara Shahidi (Ugly Betty)
Alyssa Diaz (The Vampire Diaries)
Kenneth Mitchell (Odyssey 5)
Richard Burgi (Chuck)
Conor O’Farrell (Stir of Echoes)
Catherine Dent (Termiantor: TSCC)
Kenny Johnson (Cold Case)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Carmen Argenziano (Stargate SG.1)
Natalie Dreyfuss (The Originals)
Tiffany Hines (Bones)
Haley Ramm (X-Men 3)
Monique Gabriela Curnen (The Dark Knight)
Jennifer Marsala (Hart of Dixie)
Shawn Doyle (Reign)
Jamie Hector (Heroes)
Audrey Marie Anderson (Arrow)
Brent Sexton (Birds of Prey)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Daniela Bobadilla (Anger Management)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Kathleen Gati (Arrow)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Maury Sterling (The A-Team)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle)
Brandon Jones (Pretty Little Liars)
Jim Beaver (Mike & Molly)
Barry Shabaka Henley (Heroes)
John Diehl (Stargate)
Keith Robinson (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic four)
Frankie Faison (The Silence of The Lambs)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Adam Godley (Powers)
Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps)
Annabeth Gish (Flashforward)
Alexandra Lydon (Mockingbird)
Ashton Holmes (A History of Violence)

We have all told a lie at one point in our lives. While our the lies we have told may be small, one needs to look no further than his or her local news to see that not all lies are harmless. Sometimes though lies seem like a last resort and getting the truth isn’t as simple as a lie detector. Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) would be the first to tell you a lie detector is garbage and he illustrates this point in an early episode in the series.  A lie detector establishes a baseline for truthful statements and then measures body factors like pulse rate, skin conductivity and temperature; any changes from the baseline readings indicates a lie. The problem is as Dr. Lightman shows in his trademark sardonic fashion, do something as simple as introduce an attractive woman in the room and the most honest man will instantly be a liar to the machine. His solution? Himself.


Lie to Me throws viewers into the world of human lie detector, Cal Lightman. His lie detecting skills rely on universal facial expressions and how a well-trained individual can detect a liar from reading “micro expressions.” Lightman heads up the private deception detection firm The Lightman Group and throughout the course of Lie to Me’s thirteen freshman episodes, Lightman and his associates Dr. Gillian Foster, Eli Loker, and new protégé Ria Torres will put their finely trained skills to the test as their group is hired from clients ranging from billionaires worried about potential gold diggers to law enforcement in stopping a copycat serial rapist. As absurd as the notion of Lightman being able to read facial expressions to determine whether a person is lying is, prepare to be blown away, as it’s all based on the very real and groundbreaking research of Dr. Paul Ekman.


Dr. Ekman pioneered the study of micro expressions and universal emotion and serves as a creative inspiration for Roth’s character. The creators have kept Ekman in the loop throughout the creative process and Fox allows Ekman to blog about what is factual and what is exaggerated on the show’s website, which earns this new series bonus points for giving viewers something to think about once the episode ends.

Once Roth is able to establish himself in the role of Lightman and we get bits and pieces of his human side (his relationship with Dr. Foster as well as his teenage daughter). Fortunately, the formula of the show does allow for Lightman’s other colleagues to hold their own as there is almost always a secondary case assigned to the pair not working with Lightman on the primary case. This allows for character bonds to be formed, in some cases from scratch as Monica Raymund’s character, Ria Torres, is a new addition to the team and provides some great dramatic tension from time to time as her ability is natural, which often draws the ire and jealousy of her brilliant boss.


Finally, the most unique positive aspect of Lie to Me comes from viewers being able to play along at home. As we learn little explanations of micro expressions from Lightman, in later episodes it’s fun to try and spot character motivations before they are revealed to us by one of the team.

Back for a second longer season, this show is every bit the show that I so enjoyed in the first season and even a little bit more. As with all shows, the first season suffers from a few growing pains. Actors need to settle into their roles, writers need to discover their characters’ true personalities and basically the show needs to settle. Thats why the second season is often a bit better than the first and Lie to me is no exception to that. The show was smoother, the acting more comfortable and the character relationships had chance to really blossom in a believable manner.

In this second season Cal seems to be much more lively, a great deal more fun to watch. HIs mock nervous energy, dry sense of humour and heart of gold is a more likeable. The other key element I liked in this series was the advancement of the relationships. There’s not any major romantic steps forward in this season, but Cal’s relationship with his daughter is a real high point of the show, as are his relationships with Foster and the rest of the gang. Every character seems to enjoy real chemistry with the others and that’s rare in any show, yet alone a procedural drama.

Overall this is another strong season. The show is funny when it needs to be, fast paced and action packed when thats called for, and finally it is interesting enough to more than keep your attention with every episode. Quite frankly, by the end of this season I would normally be hooked for the long hall. Shame then that there’s only one season left to watch

I was aware going in that this was going to be the final season of the show however it quickly becomes apparent that show runners weren’t similarly informed . The series really didn’t have the feel of a final season and indeed the show seemed to be picking up pace as it approached its final episode with new characters getting screen time and relationships moving forward with the usual pace of a procedural show finding its feet.

Because of this not only did the season not feel like a final season, the finale lacked any kind of closure whatsoever. It’s a shame as this show deserved more than just to fizzle out in what felt like a mid-season break rather than a complete end.

All I can say to finish is that once again a good show has been cancelled early while so many bad shows remain, which is a real shame. However, don’t let the poor ending to this show put you off.

REVIEW: THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

CAST

Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)
Emily Blunt (Looper)
Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Civil War)
John Slattery (Iron Man 2)
Michael Kelly (Man of Steel)
Terence Stamp (Superman 2)
Donnie Keshawarz (Lost)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)
Jennifer Ehle (The Blacklist)

It is the directorial debut of George Nolfi, whose previous credits include the screenplay for the much-derided (though not by this writer) Ocean’s Twelve and the third Boune movie (he co-wrote with series regular Tony Gilroy). His screenplay here is based on the Philip K. Dick story “Adjustment Team,” and as with the best of Dick’s work, it is science fiction in the best sense–keenly interested in ideas rather than ray guns. Nolfi introduces us to New York congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) in an opening montage deliberately played like a campaign ad; the smiling, handsome young Brooklyn politico is seemingly poised to float into a New York Senate seat. But Norris has a bit of an impulse problem, and a sketchy past that comes back to haunt him in the campaign’s eleventh hour. He ends up losing the race, but the night isn’t a total bust: as he’s preparing his concession speech, he meets Elise (Emily Blunt), a beautiful dancer, and the spark is immediate. She disappears, but he is inspired to give a no-nonsense takedown of politics-as-usal that becomes a viral sensation and immediately resurrects his political possibilities.But this is where it gets complicated. Due to circumstances too complicated to summarize here, Norris becomes aware that he is under the surveillance of a team of “adjusters”–dark-suited men in fedoras who occasionally step in to ensure that the lives of everyday people progress according to “the plan,” as set forth by “the chairman.” Are they angels? Is the chairman God? Perhaps; the movie is too interesting to do more than hint. What is certain is that David and Elise meeting again and falling in love is not part of “the plan,” and if David bucks the plan, there will be consequences–particularly once Thompson (aka “The Hammer”) takes over the case, and since Thompson is played by Terence Stamp, we’re inclined to believe he means business. On some level, this could all be seen as fundamentally silly. The dialogue of the adjusters, who are played as varying levels of middle managers (at one point, John Slattery’s Richardson shrugs “It’s above my pay grade”), is full of talk of getting “a briefcase” for “a reset” or even “a full recalibration,” since the “ripple effects” are too great; the adjusters also have the ability to use regular doors to portal from one part of New York to another, as long as they have on their magic fedoras. None of this should work, but it does, primarily because Nolfi basically takes the story seriously, but still maintains a sense of humor that punctures the deadly solemnity that so often sinks this kind of picture.Much of that humor is found in the terrific relationship between Damon and Blunt, who couldn’t be better together; their chemistry is wickedly good, as it must be for the story to work, and when he says “holy shit” at the end of their first scene, you can’t imagine a more appropriate response. Blunt is a perpetually underrated actress, but she puts across exactly the right combination of romantic longing and bad-girl recklessness; you don’t question for a moment that he would spend three years hoping to find her again.The supporting cast is aces (the wonderful Anthony Mackie and always-welcome David Kelly provide able support), and Nolfi’s direction is brisk, confident, and effective. He does so many things so well, all at the same time, that the film is a minor miracle (if you’ll pardon the expression)–it asks the eternal questions of free will within religious dogma, creates a genuine rooting interest in a romantic coupling, and includes an electrifying chase sequence where you actually care about the outcome. The fact that all of this not only works, but works so well, is downright thrilling