REVIEW: ARROW – SUICIDE SQUAD

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MAIN CAST

Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Susanna Thompson (Star Trek: Voyager)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Jai White (Unviersal Soldier 2)
Ben Browder (Stargate SG.1)
Caity Lotz (The Machine)
Celina Jade (Skin Trade)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (The Accountant)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Eugene Lipinski (Highlander: The Series)
Michael Rowe (Tomorrowland)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Cassidy Darling (Perfect High)

suicide_squadIn the middle of the night, Oliver Queen wakes up from a nightmare. He turns around to Sara Lance, who is sleeping next to him. As he touches her, he realizes there’s blood on his hand. In shock Oliver sees Shado lying in bed next to him. Oliver wakes up having had a nightmare within a nightmare. Without waking Sara he gets up to see Alexi Leonov and asks him to gather information on Slade Wilson. Alexi asked a favor in return but this time Oliver does not comply taking out and injuring his men in order to persuade Leonov at gunpoint to do this favor. Alexi obliges but informs Oliver he is no longer associated with the Solntsevskaya Bratva. In order to stop Slade from getting his revenge he is willing to break with the Brotherhood.Suicide Squad
Meanwhile, John Diggle observes Felicity Smoak at her house, trying to protect her from a possible attack. Felicity points out that Wilson could easily kill her if he wanted to and not even Diggle could prevent him from doing so. Diggle then receives a message from an anonymous source, that asks him for an immediate meeting at Ostrander Hotel, room 1141. Diggle arrives at the hotel only to find out, that message was sent by Lyla Michaels, who waited for him in lingerie after returning from a mission. When they leave the hotel room, they are met by Amanda Waller. She has a mission for both Lyla and John. They shall retrieve a nerve agent from an arms dealer named Gholem Qadir – a man, John Diggle saved during his time in Afghanistan. After the briefing, Waller introduces Diggle to his “team”, which consists of Ben Turner, Floyd Lawton and Mark Scheffer. While John Diggle and Lyla Michaels were arguing outside of A.R.G.U.S. holding cells, an unseen woman offered to help them through their problems, claiming she was a trained therapist. Amanda hit her door to shut her up. Down in the Arrowcave, Felicity informs Oliver about a crime in progress and after some hesitation, Oliver agrees to don his hood and stops the two criminals. From a roof top Slade Wilson in his full-body armor watches the action. Oliver feels spotted and enters the roof top. There he spots an old Deathstroke mask with an arrow driven through an eyehole. Meanwhile, John Diggle and the Suicide Squad have arrived at the Fine Art Auction in Markovburg, Markovia. As planned, Diggle bumps into Qadir, where they quickly conversed before Deadshot provided a fake assassination attempt. Ben Turner poses as John Diggle’s bodyguard and fakes getting shot by Deadshot in order to help Diggle gain Gholem Qadir’s trust. However, when Deadshot tries to leave location, his getaway driver Shrapnel speeds off without him. Shrapnel attempts to escape only to be blown up by Waller who implanted an explosive chip in his head.

mv5bmtaxmtmynzg4mdneqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mdaynjewndex-_v1_In order to thank him for saving his life, Qadir invites Diggle to a Humanitarian Benefit he is holding. To bring Deadshot into the house as well, they copy Diggle’s fingerprints. That night, Diggle and Lyla arrive at the party, bypassing the finger scanner at the door by walking through with Qadir. Deadshot’s finger prints are checked. They match with John’s who is on the guest list. Thus Deadshot is granted access to the Benefit party, too. Lyla plants her purse in the house for Deadshot to pick up. Inside that purse are his eyepatch and one of his wrist guns. Armed he searches for the nerve agent. Thanks to the information of Alexi, Felicity was able to find Slade Wilson’s hideout. When Oliver enters the office he sees videos of Shado being projected onto the wall, and in the chair behind the desk he finds Alexi dead, with an arrow driven through his eye. Oliver realizes he cannot fight Slade without asking for help.
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In Markovia Deadshot finds the nerve agent. However the vessel is in no position to be transported unseen, due to its enormous size. Upon hearing this, Amanda tells him to stay put and orders Diggle, Lyla and Ben to gather at the rallying point as she calls in a drone strike. Diggle, in order to evacuate everybody, revealed the truth to everyone about him. Qadir suddenly recognized Lyla from Afghanistan and threatened to kill her. Bronze Tiger promptly stabbed him through the back, killing him. Diggle refuses to let Deadshot die and persuades him to leave the building for the sake of his daughter Zoey, whom he leaves money in a blind trust and tries to keep her life safe and easy by staying away from her.
Suicide SquadThey flee in a truck only to discover that the drone is locked onto the chip inside Deadshot. Lyla cuts the chip out allowing the missile to explode some distance from them. However, the Markovian government were annoyed at the drone detonation in a no-fly zone, and threatened retaliation against the American government. At A.R.G.U.S. headquarters, Amanda is visited by an “old friend” that turns out to be Oliver. She assumes that he’s still mad at her for an unknown past incident between them, though Oliver coldly assures her that she’s “been moved down the list.” When asked who he wants dead more than her, he reveals that Slade’s alive, which surprised Amanda, as she assumed that Oliver killed him. Instead she shows him some footage of a new player they’ve been tracking calling him “Deathstroke”.mv5bmtaxmtmynzg4mdneqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mdaynjewndex-_v1_

It was a great vehicle for Diggle, once again proving how underutilized Ollie’s right-hand-man is on this show. And hopefully it’s the start of a recurring role for the Suicide Squad on this and DC’s other live-action shows.

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 5

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)
Ryan McPartlin (J.Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (The O.C.)
Vik Sahay (Bones)
NOTABLE GUEST/RECURRING CAST
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Mekenna Melvin (Lie To Me)
Carrie-Anne Moss (Jessica Jones)
Angus Macfadyen (Alias)
Richard Burgi (Starship Troopers 2)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Bo Derek (Sharknado 3)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Jeff Fahey (Lost)
Danny Pudi (Powerless)
Stan Lee (Spider-Man)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Cheryl Ladd (Poison Ivy)
Ben Browder (Arrow)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Mark Pellegrino (The Number 23)

Chuck Bartowski no longer possesses the Intersect, but has matured into a confident and capable secret agent. As he mentors the new Intersect, he also has to deal with the fact he and his team are now independent contractors with bills to pay and rival companies to compete with. When a dangerous agent comes after the Intersect, Chuck has to call upon his resources and training to stop them.

Chuck has always been a curious show, a geek comedy with dramatic and romantic overtones whose tone has often spun on a dime. The show has always done a good job of managing these different tones and styles, keeping everything grounded though Zachary Levi’s earnest-but-sympathetic performance as the title character. In the fifth season, the show experiences several additional such tonal shifts, as Chuck is betrayed by his best friend (but it turns out not to be his fault) and, most surprisingly, has his life almost ruined in the final few episodes of the series. For a show that’s always been quite warm-hearted and entertainingly cheesy, the surprisingly bleak tone of the final few episodes comes as a bit of a shock.

The season  only consists of thirteen episodes. Given the tone of the show, I was confidently expecting some last-minute solution or cure would be found. Instead, we get a highly inconclusive ending. It’s not quite The Sopranos, but the series ending without ever answering the central question poised by the last couple of episodes is an unexpected and possibly even brave choice. Whether it’s the right choice is one that fans will be arguing about for years to come. For myself, Chuck has always been first and foremost an escapist and fun show, not a gritty drama like the new BSG or something from HBO. Ending the show in this manner feels out of character for the series, and a little bit of pointless torture for our main characters who really deserved more of a happy ending.

That aside, the final season of Chuck is entertaining, well-acted and often quite funny.  the ending will be divisive, but certainly the season is worth watching for established fans. In particular, the way Chuck’s character develops across the five seasons, going from nerd to an intelligent, resourceful agent  does pay off very well here.

REVIEW: STARGATE: CONTINUUM

 

CAST

Ben Browder (Farscape)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Claudia Black (the Originals)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
William Devane (Interstellar)
Cliff Simon (The Americans)
Don S. Davis (The 6th Day)
Steve Bacic (Blade: The Series)
Gary Jones (Highlander: The Series)
Jacqueline Samuda (The L Word)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)

SG-1 and Jack O’Neill attend a Tok’ra extraction ceremony for Ba’al, the last of the Goa’uld System Lords. Ba’al claims, however, that he is merely the last clone and that the real Ba’al has a fail-safe plan. The real Ba’al travels back in time to 1939 Earth and massacres the crew of the Achilles, the ship carrying the Stargate to the United States; the captain lives long enough to drop the bomb Ba’al left overboard and keep the ship from being destroyed. In the present, people and objects start disappearing, including Vala Mal Doran and Teal’c. Jack is killed by the clone, but Samantha Carter, Daniel Jackson and Cameron Mitchell reach the Stargate. They are surprised to emerge inside the derelict Achilles, which has drifted to the Arctic — Ba’al’s actions have created a timeline in which the Stargate Program never happened. After escaping from the sinking Achilles, they are rescued by a team led by Colonel Jack O’Neill. Although General Landry believes their story (after intensive interrogation), they are denied permission to change the timeline. In the alternate timeline, Daniel is still trying to convince people about his theories of the pyramids, Carter died in a space shuttle accident and Mitchell does not exist at all because his grandfather was the Achilles captain. The three are separated and given new lives to lead.

A year passes, and SG-1 is called back into action when Goa’uld scoutships appear. Ba’al has brought the other System Lords under his control and now stands ready to conquer Earth, with Qetesh, still residing in Vala’s body, as his queen and Teal’c as his First Prime. SG-1 is brought to President Henry Hayes and General George Hammond, who inform them that, based on SG-1’s accounts, they have recovered the Antarctic Stargate and are excavating the Antarctic Ancient outpost to reach the weapon that saved Earth in the original timeline. SG-1 is sent in F-15s to McMurdo Station to gate to Proclarush Taonas, another Ancient outpost, to retrieve a Zero Point Module to power the Antarctic outpost. Above Earth, Ba’al’s armada arrives. To the displeasure of his subordinates, the other System Lords, Ba’al announces that he will treat the Tau’ri leniently. Suspicious about Ba’al’s thorough knowledge of Earth, Qetesh betrays him and forces him to tell her everything. She orders the destruction of McMurdo and the Ancient outpost in Ba’al’s name, but she kills Ba’al when Teal’c discovers what she is doing. As Teal’c escapes to an Al’kesh, Qetesh orders the fleet to bombard Earth, while she goes to secure Ba’al’s time machine.

Amidst the massive Goa’uld attack, SG-1 is rerouted to Russia, as the Russians had retrieved the Achilles‍ ’ Stargate from the ocean floor. Teal’c arrives at the facility as well, seeking to use the Stargate to reach the time machine before Qetesh. The two sides agree to a truce and arrive together at Ba’al’s time machine: a vast underground supercomputer connected to hundreds of satellites that monitor solar flares that could intersect the wormhole formed by the Stargate; the flares are necessary for time travel. SG-1 must wait for the right flare with which to journey to the past, but when Qetesh’s troops attack, they are forced to dial the Stargate to the year 1929 – ten years before their target date. Sam and Daniel are killed in the firefight, and only Mitchell reaches the Stargate before Teal’c, mortally wounded, blows himself and Qetesh up. After a decade of waiting, an older Mitchell stows away on the Achilles and kills Ba’al and his troops when they come through the Stargate. In the now-restored timeline, SG-1, completely unaware of the previous events, watch the extraction proceed without incident. On Earth, Daniel wonders what Ba’al meant by his fail-safe.

Continuum is a great fun film that is very enjoyable. A great ending to the Stargate SG.1 series. The acting and the script are on a par with the series proper but I must say that I did like Claudia Black’s performances as her Goa’uld persona Quetesh and Cliff Simon as Ba’al is always enjoyable.

REVIEW: STARGATE: THE ARK OF TRUTH

CAST

Ben Browder (Farscape)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Claudia Black (the Originals)
Currie Graham (Agent Carter)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Julian Sands (Robin Hood Beyond on Sherwood)
Sarah Strange (Dark Angel)
Michael Beach (The Abyss)
Gary Jones (Highlander: The Series)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Eric Breker (Walking Tall)
Gabrielle Rose (Proof)

SG-1 discovers a box that they believe contains the Ark of Truth while digging on Dakara, but before they can open it, Ori soldiers arrive, led by Tomin. Daniel tricks them into opening the box, but it is revealed to be a fake. When Tomin is ordered by a Prior to kill them, he refuses, and Mitchell kills the Prior, whose powers were being blocked by the Anti-Prior device. Shocked at the death of their Prior, the Ori soldiers surrender with Tomin returning to Earth with SG-1 where he resides at the SGC for a time.Back on Earth, General Landry and Mitchell meet James Marrick, an IOA representative sent to interrogate Tomin due to the fact that the original IOA representative, Richard Woolsey is now working for the Atlantis Expedition. When Daniel Jackson realizes that the Ark is still in the Ori galaxy, Marrick is assigned to accompany them on board the Odyssey through the Supergate. In the Ori galaxy, a member of the anti-Ori resistance tells the team that according to legend, the Ark is on Celestis, the Ori capital. When SG-1 beams down to the planet, Marrick activates the Asgard computer core which alerts the Ori to the ship’s location.Upon being alerted by Major Kevin Marks of what’s going on, Mitchell and Carter beam back to the Odyssey and discover that Marrick has used the core to build a Replicator, intending to plant it on an Ori ship and let it spread to their entire fleet. When Mitchell attempts to destroy it with an anti-Replicator Gun, the replicator escapes, and Marrick reveals that the IOA removed that weakness from the design, although conventional weapons are sufficient to destroy individual replicators. Marrick implies that a shutdown code has been included as a failsafe, but claims he does not know what it is. He is placed in the ship’s brig and falls victim to the Replicators who later make their way into the brig, resulting in Merrick becoming a Human-Replicator hybrid. With several Ori ships approaching, Mitchell attempts to beam Daniel, Teal’c, Vala, and Tomin up from the planet, but the replicator takes over the system and keeps Mitchell from doing so. With no other option, the Odyssey jumps to hyperspace to escape, leaving the others on the planet.Daniel finds the Ark in a set of catacombs, and after several ground tremors, brings it to the surface. When the team emerges, they are ambushed by Ori warriors, and Teal’c is shot in the back while the others are captured. When they are brought to the city, Vala discovers that the Ori were indeed killed by the Sangraal during the events of The Shroud. Adria has ascended and taken over all of their power. Teal’c, who has been walking toward the city of Celestis since he was shot, collapses due to his wound within sight of the city. He is subsequently revived by Morgan le Fay and continues on to free Daniel. Morgan then arrives in Daniel’s cell (initially in the guise of Merlin) and tells him if he can expose one Prior to the Ark, the others will be turned by a link in their staffs. This will weaken Adria enough for Morgan to stalemate her. In the meantime, a Prior arrives on Earth, offering a last chance to convert to Origin. When General Landry refuses to even listen to him, the Apollo detects a fleet of Ori motherships waiting on the edge of the solar system. On the Odyssey, Marrick is attacked by Replicators who infest his body. In the ensuing battle, Mitchell is able to briefly disable the Replicator connection to Marrick’s brain who then informs Mitchell the shut down code for the Replicators is located on the other side of the crystal used to create them. Mitchell activates an explosive charge which kills Marrick. Mitchell informs Carter who activates the shut-down command, deactivating the Replicators.When the Ark is activated and opened, the Doci is caught by the beam and made to see that the Ori are not gods and spreads this belief to all of the Priors in the Ori galaxy and through them their followers. With Adria now in a weakened state, Morgan is able to engage her in an eternal battle. SG-1 exposes the Prior on Earth to the Ark, transmitting the knowledge about the Ori to all of the Priors in the Milky Way, and thus turning all known Priors in the Universe. In the aftermath, Tomin departs for the Ori galaxy as the new leader of his people, he and Vala agreeing that, while the Ori themselves were liars, Origin itself has a worthwhile message. Tomin asks Vala to come with him, but Vala apologizes and says that she feels her place is with the SGC. Over Daniel’s objections the Ark is taken to Area 51 for study while SG-1 later prepare for another new mission through the Stargate.The Ark Of Truth lives up the hype of fans hoping for an epic end to the storyline that drove the show’s final two seasons. Indeed, The Ark Of Truth proves to be both an epic and fitting end to the Ori storyline. There were major surprise.

REVIEW: STARGATE – SG.1 – SEASON 1-10

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MAIN CAST

Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Don S. Davis (Andromeda)
Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can’t Loose)
Ben Browder (Farscape)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Claudia Black (The Originals)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jay Avocone (Beauty and The Beast 1989)
Vaitiare Bandera (Out of The Blue)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)
Gary Jones (Highlander: The Series)
Alexis Cruz (Dark Wolf)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
Colin Lawrence (X-Men 2)
Adam Harrington (The Secret Circle)
Kevin McNulty (Elektra)
Alan Rachins (Batman: TAS)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Soon-Tek Oh (Death Wish 4)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Crystal Lowe (Poison Ivy 4)
Teryl Rothery (Arrow)
Steve Makaj (IT)
Roger Cross (First Wave)
William Russ (American History X)
Harley Jane Kozak (Santa Barbara)
Gabrielle Miller (Highlander: The Series)
Bobbie Phillips (Two Guys and a Girl)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Tamsin Kelsey (Needful Things)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars)
Keene Curtis (Lois & Clark)
Elizabeth Hoffman (Sisters)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Tony Amendola (The Mask of Zorro)
Katie Stuart (She’s The Man)
Tobin Bell (Boogeyman 2)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
Douglas Arthurs (Act of War)
Bonnie Bartlett (Firefly)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Tobias Mehler (Wishmaster 3)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Chris Owens (Red)
Erick Avari (Heroes)
Tom McBeath (Bates Motel)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 2)
JR Bourne (Arrow)
Christina Cox (Earth: Final Conflict)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Eric Breker (X-Men Origins)
Marshall R. Teague (Armageddon)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Carmen Argenziano (Identity)
Amber Rothwell (Andromeda)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Samantha Ferris (Along Came a Spider)
Mitchell Kosterman (Smallville)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
Britt Irvin (V)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Dion Johnstone (The Core)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Bones)
William deVry (Earth: Final Conflict)
David Palffy (Blade: The Series)
Garwin Sanford (The Fly 2)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Smallville)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
Musetta Vander (Buffy)
Vanessa Angel (Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: TNG)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Willie Garson (White Collar)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Anna-Louise Plowman (Shanghai Knights)
Paul Koslo (The Flash 90s)
Dion Luther (The Net: The Series)
Christopher Cousins (The Vampire Diaries)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Elisabeth Rosen (House of The Dead)
Hrothgar Mathews (Deception)
Bill Dow (Legends of The Fall)
Sean Patrick Flanery (Raging Angels)
John de Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
John Prosky (The Devil Inside)
Colleen Rennison (The Story of Us)
Jacqueline Samuda (The L Word)
Larry Drake (Firefly)
Garry Chalk (Dark Angel)
Bill Marchant (Chappie)
Michael Deluise (Lost)
Jill Teed (Arrow)
Courtenay J. Stevens (Beach)
Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica)
David Kopp (Blade: The Series)
Cliff Simon (Days of Our Lives)
Jennifer Calvert (Earthsea)
Obi Ndefo (Angel)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Danielle Nicolet (3rd Rock From The Sun)
David Hewlett (Splice)
Aleks Paunovic (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Dorian Harewood (Termiantor: TSCC)
Ona Grauer (V)
Blu Mankuma (Tin Man)
Michael Eklund (Arrow)
Dean Stockell (Quantum Leap)
Patrick Mckenna (Robocop: The Series)
John Billingsley (Cold Case)
Michael Adamthwaite (Tru Calling)
Peter Stebbings (Bates Motel)
Gwynyth Walsh (Taken)
George Wyner (Spaceballs)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Ian Buchanan (Justice League Unlimited)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
G. Patrick Currie (Smallville)
Francois Chau (Lost)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Kavan Smith (Sanctuary)
Jolene Blalock (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Christine Adams (Agents of SHIELD)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
David Deluise (Vampires Suck)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Peter Flemming (Love Sick)
James McDaniel (Sleepy Hollow)
Jessica Steen (Armageddon)
William Devane (The Dark Knight Rises)
Torri Higginson (Highlander: The Raven)
Kira Clavell (Ninja Turtles: Next Mutation)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
David Kaufman (Superman: TAS)
Amy Sloan (The Aviator)
James Kidnie (Arrow)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Derek Hamilton (Out Cold)
Charles Shaughnessy (Sabrina: TTW)
Barclay Hope (Paycheck)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Isaac Hayes (South Park)
Mel Harris (Thirtysomething)
Clare Carey (Hercules: TLJ)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
April Telek (Supernatural)
Julian Sands (Gotham)
Louis Gossett Jr (The Punisher 80s)
Maury Chaykin (Andromeda)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Cameron Bright (Running Scared)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Anna Galvin (Caprica)
William Atherton (Die Hard)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
John Aylward (Alias)
Peter Shinkoda (Masked Rider)
Tamlyn Tomita (Highlander: The Series)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Daniella Evangelista (Edgemont)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Eric Steinberg (Terminator: TSCC)
Noah Danby (Bitten)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Sarah Strange (Dark Angel)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Corey Monteith (Glee)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Rudolf Martin (Buffy)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Aisha Hinds (Cult)
Mike Dopud (X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Craig Fairbrass (Termiantor: TSCC)
John Tench (Andromeda)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Jonathan Walker (Flash Gordon)

Most TV shows spun off from movies are uninvolving and uninteresting, and hopefully die and are forgotten.

That wasn’t the case with the spinoff of the 1995 movie “Stargate,” a science fiction movie that spawned an excellent television series, “Stargate SG-1.” The first season is not nearly as brilliant as the ones that followed it, but it’s a welcome change from distant space operas — excellent writing, acting, and a sense of humor about itself and its characters.

The Stargate has been inactive for a year — until it is activated, and a bunch of Egyptian-styled warriors come through and kidnap a young officer. General Hammond (Don S. Davis) pulls Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) out of retirement to learn what really happened on the planet of Abydos, and where these mysterious aliens have come from.
O’Neill and a small team go to Abydos and find Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) who has been learning about a vast network of Stargates over the past year. But when Daniel’s wife Sha’re and brother-in-law Skaara are abducted by the same warriors, O’Neill, Jackson and Air Force scientist Sam Carter (Amanda Tapping) use the Stargate to venture to where they’re being kept. What they find is an alien race who inhabits human hosts, the Goa’uld, and their ruthless slave warriors, the Jaffa. Carter, O’Neill and Jackson are captured by the powerful Apophis — but to escape, they must have the help of an unlikely ally: Teal’c (Christopher Judge), Apophis’ First Prime. Since Earth has now annoyed the Goa’uld, several exploration teams are formed to go through the Stargate and find weapons and allies.
And SG-1 — Carter, O’Neill, Jackson and Teal’c — encounters some very strange problems: a plague that turns people into savages, a people who live only a hundred days, a Viking planet, a Stargate explorer stranded since 1945, a little girl turned into a bomb, the seductive Goa’uld queen Hathor, and coming back as robots. And when the military shuts down the SG program, Daniel reveals that the Earth is about to be destroyed by Apophis’ armies. The first season of “Stargate SG-1” isn’t the most impressive, though the last three episodes hint at the series’ future greatness. And thankfully, it drops the usual space opera stuff — instead we get Stargates, real military, and a very plausible reason why everybody in the galaxy (more or less) looks just like us. It’s graced with kitschy Egyptian-styled sets, lots of shoot-em-up action from Marines and Air Force, and plenty of planets influenced by Earth cultures, like the Minoans and the Vikings. Best of all is the snappy dialogue, mostly from the tart-tongued O’Neill.

When we last left Our Heroes, they were on Apophis’ ship, facing the impending destruction and/or enslavement of everyone on Earth.
So unsurprisingly, the second season of “Stargate SG-1” can only get better from there on. In fact, this is when the clever, innovative sci-fi series really started to gel together, with more intriguing storylines, character arcs, and some new alien allies — basically, it all blooms.
Intending to blow up Apophis’ ship, our heroes get captured by the Jaffa and thrown in a cell — only to be unexpectedly rescued by Bra’tac (Tony Amendola), Teal’c’s old teacher. As Earth mounts a pitiful defense against the Goa’uld, SG-1 joins with a small band of rebel Jaffa to stop Apophis’ invasion — but they may have to leave one of their number behind.
Obviously the Goa’uld make things awkward throughout the season, with the second episode featuring Sam (Amanda Tapping) being possessed by a Goa’uld during a rescue mission — but it seems that it’s part of a rebel Goa’uld faction called the Tok’ra. Teal’c’s (Christopher Judge) son is kidnapped and brainwashed, and Daniel (Michael Shanks) finds that his beloved wife is pregnant with Apophis’ child.
And of course, SG-1 has to deal with lots of other stuff — insectile transformations, black holes, prison planets, Native American “spirits,” invisible bugs, hostile alien orbs, reliving their most traumatic memories in a VR world, and time traveling to 1969. And O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) gets an ancient repository of knowledge downloaded into his head — and he’ll die if they can’t reverse it.
“Stargate SG-1” really got into its stride in the second season — the basic Air-Force-versus-evil-headsnakes story gets expanded out into a bunch of arcs. We get new villains, some surprising new allies, hints about the true origins of the Stargates and the human race, and corrupt factions on Earth who use the spare Stargate for evil ends.

The writing gets even steadier and the alien worlds more interesting — even stuff that sounds goofy, like the planet of singing mushroom-people, somehow works. The drama is stronger, and the sci-fi usage of the Stargate ever more creative, such as when a black hole’s gravity well keeps the gate open, and is slowly sucking Earth through the wormhole.  Of course, all the action and sci-fi is heavily tempered with comedy. Even in grim situations, there’s usually at least a few funny moments, such as Daniel’s tour of the custodial closet. And of course, the dialogue is priceless — most of the good stuff comes from O’Neill, but Teal’c and the others usually get some good ones as well. Of the main cast, Amanda Tapping gets the juiciest role in this season — Sam deals with the impending death of her father, becoming a Goa’uld host, and trying to deal with the feelings it left behind. Including a Tok’ra boyfriend. Yet when we see Sam’s vulnerable sides, Tapping never lets her character be anything but a strong, capable military woman.

But the other actors aren’t neglected — Shanks’ Daniel grapples with the news that his wife is pregnant with Apophis’ baby, while Teal’c faces losing his entire family. Anderson is brilliant as the quirky, capable O’Neill, but he really gets brilliant when Jack’s brain is being overwritten — he has to emote and communicate without a comprehensible word. The second season of “Stargate SG-1” is where the story began to really get great, building up a series of strong story arcs, funny dialogue, and strong characters.

Many people believe that subsequent seasons of Stargate: SG1 get progressively better. So far, no arguement from me. Season 1 was good, 2 was better, and  season 3 is even better. Col. Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), and his SG1 team of the now Maj. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), and Teal’c (Christopher Judge) continued their adventures through the Stargate to various old and new planets. The team, as well as the SGC in general, were tested in many more ways than ever thought possible. The team went to “Hell” in order to save Sam’s dad, who is still a member of the Tok’Ra resistance, Daniel suffered a major loss, and O’Neill was blended, albeit briefly, with a Goa’uld. One of the reasons that I personally liked this year was that many of last year’s conflicts were resolved (Lenea, Destroyer of Worlds), which made room for new plotlines (the Replicators), as well as continuing old ones (the search for the Harsesis child).

This is also the season when SG1 truly realizes that they truly have allies in their fight against the Goa’uld; the Asgard helped form a treaty between Earth and the Goa’uld, the Tok’Ra continue to offer their assistance and wisdom, the Nox have begun to reestablish contact with the SGC, and the Tollan.


Other good episodes include “Into the Fire”, “Fair Game”, “Legacy”, “Learning Curve”, “Point of View”, “Past and Present”, “Jolinar’s Memories”, “The Devil You Know”, “Foothold”, “Urgo”, “Shades of Grey”, “New Ground”, and “Nemesis”. Judging by the increase in quality each season.

he Replicators. The Russians. The Aschen. These are only a few of the new enemies presented this year, in Stargate: SG-1 (okay, so technically, the Replicators were introduced last year). These new baddies made a lot of trouble this year for the SGC in what is definitely the best season yet. We learn more about the Replicators this year when Sam (Amanda Tapping) is brought to an Asgard-controlled planet to help defend the O’Neill, the Asgard’s newest and most advanced ship ever. Also, the Russians retrieve the Giza gate from the bottom of the ocean from when Thor’s ship, the Beliskner, crashed, while the SGC is now using the Antarctica gate. And, 10 years in the future, an advanced race, known as the Aschen, are quietly wiping out the human race by making humans infertile.


These are just a handful of the amazing new stories that occurred this year. It seems that Col. O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), Maj. Carter, Dr. Jackson (Michael Shanks), and Teal’c (Christopher Judge) can never catch a break. This year, not only have their alien enemies become more powerful than ever, especially Apophis (Peter Williams), their enemies on Earth have truly become a threat. Senator Kinsey (Ronny Cox), the man who tried to shut down the SGC in Season 1, has been linked to the rogue sector of the NID, the civillian organization responsible for the theft of numerous alien technologies over the last few years.


The stories this year are better than ever, especially with an increasing number of arcs occurring. Episodes like “Crossroads” and “The Serpent’s Venom” were expertly executed, and had immense emotional effects on our heroes. However, I have to praise the stand-alones this year, especially “Window of Opportunity” and “The Other Side”, which have never been better.

Some other great episodes are: “Small Victories”, “Upgrades”, “Watergate”, “Point of No Return”, “Tangent”, “The Curse”, “Chain Reaction”, “2010”, “Absolute Power”, “Double Jeopardy”, and “Exodus”.

The year began with a cool premiere, “Enemies”,  There were some amazing story developments this year, beginning with the final demise of Apophis (Peter Williams), the Goa’uld System Lord who has been making life difficult for the SGC ever since the first season. Next, the Tollan, an extremely advanced race of humans who are allied with Earth, begin acting suspiciously, the SGC begins recruiting new officers, the motives of the Aschen from last season are revealed, the Tok’Ra are nearly destroyed, and the Jaffa rebellion begins to truly become a problem for the System Lords.

And then, Daniel is brought to a System Lord summit where he has the chance to wipe out the Goa’uld threat forever, that is until he learns of the return of Anubis, an ancient System Lord who was banished for his horrific crimes. Also, we finally learn the origins of the Replicators. Finally, SG-1 must endure a change that they never thought would happen in the episode “Meridian”, and then, Anubis and Osirus (Anna-Louise Plowman) reveal plans to attack the Asgard.


This is a very important season, good episodes include: “Enemies”, “Threshold”, “Between Two Fires”, “2001”, “Wormhole X-Treme”, “Proving Ground”, “Summit”, “Last Stand”, “The Warrior”, “Menace”, “Meridian”, and “Revelations”.

The season begins with SG-1 still trying to find a fourth man. Ever since the death/ascension of Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), they have been unable to find a suitable replacement. Refugee Jonas Quinn (Corinn Nemec) has expressed a desire to join, but Col. O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) never seemed to warm up to the idea. Also, Anubis (David Paffly) has found a machine created by the Ancients that uses one stargate to destroy another, and he used it to attempt to destroy Earth.

Using the new X-302, a craft capable of aerial combat and intersellar travel, O’Neill successfully avoids disaster, but the Antarctica gate is destroyed. After that, we don’t see Anubis for a while, but the threat of his powers is always hanging over the heads of the SGC.


With Jonas as the new member of SG-1, the team embarks on another year of amazing missions. This year, we see the end of the exiled System Lord Niirti, known for her attempts to create a superior human host through genetic experimentation, we are introduced to some technology of the Furlings, one of the members of the intergalactic UN group who rallied against the goa’uld, Earth’s first interstellar capital ship, Prometheus is unvailed, the Replicator threat is ended, and, in one of my favorite episodes, Gen. Hammond (Don S. Davis) discloses the existence of the SGC to representitives of the UK, France, and China.


Some great episodes include “Redemption Pts. 1 and 2”, “Descent”, “Nightwalkers”, “Abyss”, “Shadow Play”, “Allegiance”, “Prometheus”, “Unnatural Selection”, “Smoke and Mirrors”, “Disclosure”, “The Changeling”, and “Full Circle”, the best episode of the season.

That is the season when Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) returns from being an ascended being, albeit on an alien world without his memory (“Fallen”). This required getting rid of Jonas Quinn (Corin Nemec) to get the old gang back together again, which happens when Anubis download Jonas’ memory and the Goa’uld attack Kelowna (“Homecoming”). Wisely, this is not the last appearance of Jonas for the season (“Fallout”) as he becomes another one of recurring guest characters that are a major strength of the series.

There are several Daniel Jackson stories that make a point of giving the actor interesting things to do, such as “Lifeboat,” where his mind becomes a resting place for a bunch of alien minds, “Enemy Mine,” which requires Jackson to show diplomatic skills, and big time flashbacks in “Chimera,” to before Daniel first saw the Stargate.

Overall, Season 7 is really Samantha Carter’s season and Amanda Tapping has several episodes where she pretty much goes it alone. “Space Race” has her joining an alien pilot for a little intergalactic competition, while “Death Knell” finds Carter being hunted by the supers soldiers of Anubis after an attack on Earth’s secret off-world base. In “Grace” Carter literally ends up alone when the Prometheus is attacked and she wakes up to find herself the only one on a ship drifting in deep space. The other characters show up as the angels of her better nature, which is the only way that Sam and Jack are ever going to have an honest conversation.

The whole Anubis/Lost City bit ends up being equal parts time to beat another bigger and badder system lord and find a fitting end point for the series that can also work as a transition to the spinoff.

Stargate has retained a massive level of consistency over the years, staying at the same level of quality, if not getting even a little bit better: it has always retained the humor, the characterization and the excitement and the action that has made it so loved.

Since season seven, there has been more of a focus on characterization and a tad bit more humor: and i for one welcome this, as the characters have always been the best aspect of the show: season eight continues this trend, and also the trend of even better quality than ever before!
Highlights include the opening two parter: New order Parts one and Two which is very exciting with plenty of plot twists. Affinity is another highlight for me as it is an episode with very little action, it is a mystery with a huge focus on characterization and intrigue, and manages to be very intriguing, with, again, some brilliant little character moments. Prometheus unbound is a highlight.

Reckoning parts one and two are possibly the best episodes of stargate ever made; they wrap up most of the major storylines, bringing the end to both the main enemies in the show, and are impossibly epic: there is so much going on, so much peril and a sense of doom, that you are kept on the edge of your seat the whole time, with some humour thrown in for good measure.

Avalon, Part 1 is a great season opener, introduces  new kid on the block Ben Browder,  as the season progresses the character is definitely fleshed out more and he soon fits in nicely with the tightly-knit S.G.1 team.

However, the bottom line is that this is still a character who bares a striking similarity in disposition to Browder’s other well-known TV personality- Farscape’s John Crichton- with that same irreverent humor and easy-going attitude, but it’s a style that clearly works for Browder and it’s difficult not to find that likable. Beau Bridges’ introduction is made with equally good fanfare, his character is one who I found myself liking more readily- he approaches the role of the General of the base differently to Don S. Davis, with more of an every man approach, although he never hesitates to exert the full force of his office against unfriendly aliens, or humans when required.

Largely thanks to the development of this season’s main story-arc with the introduction of God-wannabes the Ori and their powerful minions known as Priors, this ninth season becomes surprisingly mesmerising in very short order. Beginning with the concluding part and then into episode 3- `Origin’, this season soon establishes itself as one of the best `Stargate: S.G.1′ offerings in years. The use of Arthurian legend in this season is spread pretty thickly in the beginning and had me worried that this fantasy element might not work in a predominantly science-fiction-oriented series, but very soon the parallels the writers draw between the Arthurian myth and the familiar Stargate set-up, become very inventive and come to work surprisingly well at contrasting against the new and growing force of evil spreading through the galaxy. In the first five episodes that other recognizable `Farscape’ regular Claudia Black and her seductively disobedient alter-ego Vala are another reason to be enchanted by this season. Vala brings such humor and life to the series that I was really disappointed when she parted company with S.G.1, despite the welcome return of Sam Carter following her brief career change. Thankfully Vala returns towards the end of the season and here’s hoping it’s not the last we see of her.

This season’s other major success is in its stand-alone stories that continue to present unique, punchy and creative sci-fi ideas to its audience. In particular episode 9- `Prototype’ and episode 13- `Ripple Effect’ are a couple of my favourites, the first of which concerns the discovery of a prodigy of Anubis frozen on a distant planet and the second has multiple S.G.1 teams pouring through the Stargate from diverse alternate realities , both of which had me glued to my seat.

Largely thanks to Vala (Claudia Black) who’s as charming as she is side-splittingly, ingeniously, flirtatiously funny and who now becomes a credited member of the main cast, season ten gets off to a brilliant start  as the action picks up right where the previous season left-off with episode 1- Flesh and Blood and doesn’t decrease in pace.

It explores the continued threat of the Ori and their ever-increasing capture and control of worlds unable to mount any effective resistance against such a seemingly omnipotent foe. Episode 3- The Pegasus Project  is also very gripping with a finale that’s both surprising and tantalizing.

episodes 10- The Quest, Part I and 11- The Quest, Part II both of which work well in continuing SG-1’s discovery & unravelling of Arthurian-inspired mysteries surrounding their search for a weapon capable of destroying their enemy. Episode 14- The Shroud  sees Daniel in a unique position to deal a crippling blow to the Ori, which is also solid.

while episode 20- Unending is a wonderful episode- with a story that’s not just dramatic, but explores sides to the main characters never seen before, it ends the season with so much unresolved that it’s difficult to appreciate this tenth season as it should be appreciated as the final outing of SG-1. Obviously a great deal has been withheld to be used in the TV movie The Ark of Truth.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED – SEASON 1-2

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CAST (VOICES)

Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Killing Joke)
George Newbern (Superman/Shazam)
Susan Eisenberg (Justice League: Doom)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals Barrera (Camp Rock)

Image result for justice league unlimitedRECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kin Shriner (Manhunter)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Dana Delaney (Desperate Housewives)
Mike Farrell (Vanishing Act)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Christopher McDonald (Fanboys)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Patrick Bauchau (Panic Room)
Michael York (Logans Run)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Robert Foxworth (Syriana)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Billy West (Futurama)
Jeremy Piven (Mr. Selfridge)
Lori Loughlin (Full House)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
John C. McGinley (Highlander II)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Michael Beach (The Abyss)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Ben Browder (Farscape)
Peter MacNicol (Ghostbusters 2)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Nestor Carbonell (The Dark Knight)
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina: TTW)
Denis Farina (Get Shorty)
Virginia Maden (Sideways)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Farrah Forke (Lois & Clark)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: DS9)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: DS9)
Juliet Landau (Buffy)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Jason Bateman (The Ex)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Nathan Fillion (Slither)
Elizabeth Pena (The Incredibles)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Jeffrey Combs (Gotham)
Amy Acker (The Cabin In The Woods)
Robert Forster (Dragon Wars)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Powers Boothe (Agents of SHIELD)
Seymour Cassel (Rushmore)
James Remar (Flashforward)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Malcolm McDowell (Heroes)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)

The first two seasons of Justice League were fantastic. Packed with action, humor and great storytelling the world of DC’s heroes came to life thanks to the collaborative efforts of the folks behind the rest of Warner Brothers’ successful cartoons. The show focused on the adventures of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, Hawkgirl and J’onn (the Martian Manhunter). They spent most of their time fighting established villains and trying to save the world from impending doom as you’d expect. When Justice League Unlimited (the show’s sequel series) was released it shook up the formula a bit and quite frankly, really felt like a new show.


The reason behind this different atmosphere was the change in the cast. The main seven characters were still kicking around but their ranks had swelled since the end of the original series. The basic premise was that the Justice League felt they could do better with more members. Many hands make light work and all that. Therefore anyone with superpowers that could do some good was offered a spot on the team.

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Not every character gets their chance in the spotlight but it certainly fleshed out the show with some of DC’s more obscure characters. Most of these episodes focus on the original characters though many of the rookies become involved in the storytelling. Being a longtime comic book fan, seeing more of these characters was definitely a thrill. Getting Green Arrow added to the ranks was probably the best addition to the show in my opinion, but Supergirl, Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Black Canary and The Question definitely helped round things out. In all more characters were added to the series than the show actually featured so you can imagine the insanity that ensues. Many of these characters do get washed out thanks to the lack of coverage, but it’s not handled to the point that they become obscure or disrupt the quality of the show.

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There  are several episodes that made an impression on me. “Fearful Symmetry” was a very solid story that told a tale about Supergirl and really fleshed out her character. In it she is basically cloned and begins to have dreams that mirror the actions of her sinister clone. Green Arrow and Question get involved in order to help her out and we got to see some interesting facets of the DC Universe.


For my money “The Greatest Story Never Told” was probably my favorite episode. It doesn’t have a lot to do with anything and it’s a fairly weak story but it features Booster Gold as its main character. In case you are unfamiliar with Booster he’s basically a smartass guy from the 25th century who travels back in time for fame and fortune. He’s accompanied by a wisecracking robot named Skeets and finds himself not feeling the love from his other JLU teammates. In this episode he’s given the noble duty of crowd control while the League fights to save the world. There’s nothing particularly great about the story it’s just that I love Booster’s character and quite honestly, this episode was hilarious all around.
“Kid Stuff” was another fun episode that featured Morgan la Fey’s son getting his prissy little hands on a powerful amulet. The item makes him more powerful than his mother and he casts a spell that sends all adults to another dimension. In order to set things right Morgan turns Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern into kids so they can once again enter the world. As their younger selves the heroes start to let their juvenile side out and it’s funny to see Batman and Wonder Woman banter as if they were childhood sweethearts.

Overall Justice League Unlimited was a great show.  Any comic book fan, or viewer who enjoyed Timm’s other series, definitely owes it to themselves to check this set out. This release offers 26 episodes.


Unfortunately, as with all good things, Justice League Unlimited came to end. The show was cancelled before its time but luckily the crew was able to eek out another thirteen episodes before it went off the air. This season’s collection of superhero antics follows an episodic pattern but keeps an ongoing plot bubbling beneath the surface. The two-part adventures from the earlier sessions of Justice League went away with this season but the fact that characters reference previous episodes helps to keep everything connected.

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In the first episode of the final season of Unlimited Lex Luthor is on the run from the law after breaking out of jail. The affects of being joined with Brainiac are still being felt by him and throughout the episode you’ll often see Luthor talk to himself because he sees Brainiac standing next to him. When Gorilla Grodd offers Luthor a piece of Brainiac old baldy finds it hard to resist. He agrees to join Grodd’s Legion of Doom and work together with fellow supervillains to take down the Justice League. This set up continues throughout the season and you’ll find bits and pieces of it in each of the thirteen episodes.

In the second episode of this season the shadow of the Thanagarian conflict lingers as an archaeologist discovers something an Egypt. Shayera (Hawkgirl) is lured there by Carter Hall who tries to convince her that he is Hawkman. This was a nice throwback to the prior season and early Hawkman comic books but was certainly not the best episode in the set.

One of my favorite episodes from his collection easily has to be “Flash and Substance”. Four villains from Flash’s past team up to take down the red blur and they plan on doing it on the opening night of his new museum. Batman and Orion tag along with Flash in order to ensure that he’s ok. The writing in this particular episode was easily the funniest that Justice League ever produced. I particularly enjoyed the villains all sitting around the table at a dive bar talking about making their mortgage payments and whatnot.


Anyone who has ever considered themselves to be a comic book fan at some point in their lives will find something to love about Justice League Unlimited. From the very first season through the last of Unlimited the series offered quality unlike any other. This is a definitive comic book cartoon and stands shoulder to shoulder with WB’s Superman and Batman animated adventures. If you have been collecting the show to date then you’ll be pleased to know that the thirteen episodes featured here are as good, if not better in some cases, as what came before it.

REVIEW: ARROW – SEASON 1 & 2

CAST

Stephen Amell (The Vampire Diaries)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)
Colin Donnell (Chicago Med)
David Ramsey (Pay It Forward)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Susanna Thompson (Dragonfly)
Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Manu Bennett (Spartacus)
Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Colin Salmon (Limitless TV)
Jamey Sheridan (The Ice Storm)
Annie Ilonzeh (Beauty and The Beast)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Derek Hamilton (Disturbing Behavior)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Kelly Hu (The Vampire Diaries)
Ty Olsson (X-Men 2)
Byron Mann (Dark Angel)
Roger Cross (First Wave)
Euegen Lipinski (Goosebumps)
Michael Rowe (Tomorrowland)
John Barrowman (Reign)
Currie Graham (Agent Carter)
Kyle Schmid (The Covenant)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (V)
Jessica De Gouw (Dracula)
Jeffrey Nordling (Tron: Legacy)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Sebastian Dunn (The Other Half)
Andrew Dunbar (Leprechaun: Origins)
Danny Nucci (Eraser)
Ben Browder (Stargate SG.1)
Christie Laing (Scary Movie 4)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
David Anders (Izombie)
Ona Grauer (V)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
James Callis (Battlestar Galactica
Rekha Sharma (Dark Angel)
Chin Han (The Dark Knight)
Janina Gavankar (True Blood)
Alex Kingston (Flashforward)
Celina Jade (The Man with The Iron Fists)
Seth Gabel (Salem)
J. August Richards (Angel)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Dylan Bruce (Heroes Reborn)
Caity Lotz (The Machine)
Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight)
Kevin Alejandro (Ugly Betty)
Bex Taylor-Klaus (Scream: The Series)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Aubrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes)
Cle Bennett (Flashpoint)
Dylan Neal (Sabrina: TTW)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Spartacus)
David Nykl (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
James Kidnie (Robocop: The Series)
Katrina Law (Chuck)
Nicholas Lea (V)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Animated Series)
Lochlyn Munro (Little Man)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Danielle Panabaker (Sky High)

Image result for arrow pilotAfter turning the story about Clark Kent’s evolution from humble teenager to world’s greatest hero into one of the most successful science fiction TV series of all time, what exactly do you do for an encore? The obvious answer would be a series about a young Bruce Wayne. Or maybe a crime procedural starring the men and women of the Gotham City Police Department. Instead, The CW gave us Arrow, a series that simultaneously explores Oliver Queen’s first months as a vigilante hero and the painful hero’s journey he undertook while stranded on a remote island. Even considering Green Arrow’s popularity in Smallville and Justice League Unlimited, it wasn’t the most obvious choice. Nor was it the choice many DC fans wanted. But ultimately, it was a choice that paid off.

To their credit, they succeeded. Even right off the bat, there were many notable elements that he writers introduced into the Green Arrow mythos. Generally a loner in the comics, here Ollie was given a full family and circle of allies. Some were inspired by characters from the comics, while others were entirely new creations. Probably the most successful new addition was John Diggle as Ollie’s personal bodyguard-turned-ally in his war on crime. Watching the dynamic between Ollie and Diggle morph from cold and hostile to warm camaraderie was a treat. And the two sequences featuring Diggle in the costume rather than Ollie suggested that this show could have a life beyond that of its lead character.Image result for arrow pilotAmell’s performance grew stronger over time, and the subtle ways in which he distinguished his performances during the present-day and flashback scenes stood out.With other characters, it was more a question of the scripts shedding light on motivation and relationships before they really came into their own. This was certainly the case with Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), who was a bit of a hard sell as a sympathetic mother figure until viewers came to understand her role in “The Undertaking.” Similarly, Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) came across as a fairly flat and unimportant character at first. But by the end of the season, Tommy had emerged as the emotional heart of the series and Donnell’s one of the strongest performances.

Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) was endearing, her instant charm made fans fall in love with her making her a regular was the best choice when they headed into season 2. As Laurel, Katie Cassidy was excellent as future Black Canary, dealing with her emotions of seeing her former boyfriend back from the dead and the lost of her sister.  Structurally, the season started out strong and finished even stronger. The writers managed to weave together an overarching narrative as Ollie slowly uncovered the truth of The Undertaking and his own parents’ involvement while contending with various smaller villains and conflicts.

Anchoring the series throughout were the frequent flashbacks to Ollie’s five years on the island. The pilot episode offered a tantalizing glimpse of what had transpired over the course of those five years with the Deathstroke mask discarded on the beach. Various plot twists revealed just how complicated that story is, teaming Ollie with Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) and Shado (Celina Jade) in an ongoing guerrilla war against mercenary leader Edward Fyers (Sebastian Dunn). Particularly once Slade entered the picture and his bond with Ollie became a major focal point, the flashbacks emerged as one of the strongest elements of the show.

Everything in Season 1 culminated in two climactic episodes as Ollie fought for the survival of Starling City in the present and to stop Fyers from sparking an international incident in the past. These episodes offered a satisfying blend of big action scenes and emotional character showdowns. In particular, the final scene between Ollie and Tommy that closed out the season was perhaps the best the show has delivered so far.

Right off the bat, “City of Heroes” set the tone and direction for Season 2. We saw a despondent Ollie still crushed by the death of his best friend, Tommy, and having retreated to the island in a self-imposed exile. Though Colin Donnell only briefly reprised his role as Tommy this season, his character was very much a lingering presence driving the actions of Ollie and Laurel throughout the year. And his death formed the crux of Ollie’s renewed mission. It was right there in the revised opening sequence – “To honor my friend’s memory, I can’t be the killer I once was.” And that, more than Ollie’s battles with Slade Wilson or Sebastian Blood or Isabel Rochev, was the core conflict of the season. It’s easy enough to fight criminals by shooting them dead. But could Ollie muster the strength and the courage not to kill, even if it meant putting himself, his family, and his city in greater danger? It was a struggle, but the most satisfying element of the finale was the way Ollie definitively answered that question and established himself as a better class of vigilante.

Overall, Season 2 was a good showcase for Stephen Amell’s acting talents.  Ollie was haunted by demons and shouldering heavy burdens throughout the year. He suffered more often than he succeeded, and Amell conveyed that pain well. Most impressive was the way Amell was so capable at portraying Ollie at different periods in his life. We saw plenty more of Ollie’s life on the island in the various flashback scenes. Having already spent a year fighting for his life against men like Edward Fyers and Billy Wintergreen, flashback Ollie was closer to the man he is in the present, but not all the way there. And we even caught glimpses of a pre-island Ollie, most significantly in “Seeing Red.” More than the changes in hairstyle or fashion, it was Amell’s purposeful shifts in vocal intonation and body language that differentiated the different versions of Ollie.

Having established himself as one of the better supporting players in Season 1, it was very gratifying to see Manu Bennett step fully into the spotlight and become the big antagonist of Season 2. That’s despite him not even being revealed as the secret mastermind of Brother Blood’s uprising until the mid-season finale, “Three Ghosts.” But it was crucial that the show spend so much time, both this season and last, in building up the brotherly bond between Ollie and Slade and the island. We needed to feel the pain of seeing them broken apart and Slade become a vengeful villain hellbent on tearing his former friend’s life down. And it wasn’t until much later still that we saw how that rift occurred and Slade turn his wrath against Ollie. It’s a testament to both the writing and Bennett’s acting that the character never quite lost his aura of sympathy even as he murdered Ollie’s mother and tried to do the same to Felicity. This was a man driven half-mad by the loss of the woman he loved and an injection of a super-steroid. But conversely, I appreciated how the finale took pains to establish that it wasn’t just the Mirakuru fueling Slade’s anger. Even now, super-strength gone and exiled back to the island, Slade is a clear and present danger to Ollie’s world.

The show introduced Sebastian Blood and Isabel Rochev as Slade’s subordinates, with Blood serving as the most visible villain for much of the season. I really enjoyed Kevin Alejandro’s portrayal of Blood. Alejandro’s Blood was so disarmingly charming that it was often difficult to reconcile him with the masked man kidnapping drug addicts and turning street thugs into super-soldiers. Ultimately, Blood became the sort of villain who does the wrong things for the right reasons. He had an honest desire to make Starling City a better place. And when it became clear to him that Slade Wilson wouldn’t leave a city left for him to rule, Blood did the right thing and aided Team Arrow.

Most of the increasingly large supporting cast were given their moments to shine in Season 2. I was often disappointed that Diggle wasn’t given more to do, but at least he was able to take a starring role in “Suicide Squad.” Diggle’s backseat status was mainly the result of Sara Lance stepping into the limelight early on and eventually becoming the fourth member of Ollie’s vigilante crew. The Arrow had his Canary finally. Sara’s own struggles with the desire for lethal force and reuniting with her family often made for good drama. But among Team Arrow, it was often Felicity Smoak who often had the best material.  Emily Bett Rickards had much better material to work with this year, whether it was her unrequited love for Ollie, her burgeoning relationship with Barry Allen, or her desire to pull her weight alongside her more physically capable allies. The final three episodes all featured some standout moments for Felicity as she established herself as a force to be reckoned with.

Elsewhere, Roy Harper was often a focus as he transitioned from troubled street punk to superhero sidekick. Roy’s temporary super-strength powers were a welcome story swerve and a fitting physical manifestation of his inner rage. His character arc received a satisfying conclusion in the finale when he proved himself worthy and received his own red domino mask, but lost Thea as a result.

As for the various women in Ollie’s life, Felicity and Sara aside, Season 2 was a little more uneven. Moira definitely had an interesting ride. She started out Season 2 fighting for her life while on trial for her role in the Undertaking. Then, in an unlikely turn of events, she was spurred to run for mayor. And finally, her life did end when she became a pawn in Slade’s cruel game. It was a terrific finish for Moira, proving once and for all that, whatever wrongs she committed, she was only ever trying to ensure her children’s survival. Thea was more up and down throughout the season. She was often underutilized, but received a boost late in the season when she learned the truth about her parentage. Laurel’s character  had her own crucible this season, spiraling into into drug and alcohol addiction and losing her job before hitting bottom, rebounding, and playing her part in saving Starling City.

The Mirakuru drug served as a plausible, pseudo-scientific way of introducing super-strength and allowing Slade to transform into Deathstroke. And even when it came time to introduce the Flash midway through the season, Barry Allen never felt too out of place alongside the more grounded characters.

Season 2 really opened the floodgates as far as drawing in characters and elements from other DC properties. Barry Allen’s debut was the most high-profile, but we also saw plenty more of Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S. “Professor Ivo became a recurring villain, along with a very different take on Amazo. And in a welcome twist, it turned out that even the Batman franchise is fair game with this show. Early on we learned of Sara Lance and Malcolm Merlyn’s connection to the League of Assassins. Nyssa al Ghul appeared in a couple of episodes, and we know her father is out there in the world, leading his shadowy organization in the hidden city of Nanda Parbat. Even Harley Quinn had a brief cameo.

And beyond the introduction of all these new elements, the scope of Arrow really opened up in Season 2. The action was bigger and better choreographed. The scale of the conflicts was bigger. The producers simply seemed to have more money to throw around. And whether that was actually the case or just the result of experience and planning, the end result was the same. Arrow became a bigger, more cinematic TV series this season.