REVIEW: COLD CASE – SEASON 1-7

6c59222310c1030bf7d7c98a4d04f352

CAST

Kathryn Morris (Mindhunters)

Justin Chambers (Grey’s Anatomy)

Danny Pino (Law & Order: SVU)

John Finn (True Crme)

Jeremy Ratchford (Angel Eyes)
Thom Barry (Texas Chainsaw)

Tracie Thoms (Looper)

facebook_ColdCase_img

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

D.W. Moffett (Chicago Med)
Michael Reilly Burke (Vice)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Kate Mara (Fanastic Four)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Brett Cullen (Lost)
Bree Turner (The Ugly Truth)
Christopher Shea (Star Trek: DS9)
Isabella Hofmann (The Flash)
Daisy McCrackin (Halloween: Resurrection)
Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights)
Cory Hardrict (Warm Bodies)
Barbara Eve Harris (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Aldis Hodge (Hidden Figures)
Vincent Ventresca (The Invisible Man)
Josh Hopkins (The Perfect Storm)
Lacey Beeman (Coach Carter)
James DuMont (Jurassic World)
Summer Glau (Arrow)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Barbara Tarbuck (Walking Tall)
Jack Guzman (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Laura Regan (Mad Men)
Kathleen Gati (Arrow)
Silas Weir Mitchell (Grimm)
Christina Cox (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
Jeffrey Nordling (Flight 93)
Kaitlin Doubleday (Empire)
Robert LaSardo (Nip/Tuck)
Blake Shields (Heroes)
E.J. Callahan (Bubble Boy)
Chelsea Field (Masters of The Universe)
Marc McClure (Superman)
Ray Campbell (Breaking Bad)
Geoffrey Lewis (The Devil’s Rejects)
Ryan Francis (Hook)
Leslie Silva (Odyssey 5)
Keke Palmer (Scream queens)
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Bruce Gray (Cube 2)
Autumn Reeser (Sully)
Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Robin Riker (Alligator)
Nichole Hiltz (May)
Amber Benson (Buffy: TVS)
Marisol Nichols (Riverdale)
Maggie Grace (Taken)
Katee Sackhoff (BAttlestar Galactica)
Chris Sarandon (Child’s Play)
Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl)
Cameron Dye (Smallville)
Laura Allen (The 4400)
Lee Garlington (Sneakers)
Joel Stoffer (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Michael Paré (Gone)
T.J. Thyne (Bones)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Michael Nouri (Flashdance)
Spencer Daniels (Star Trek)
Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)
Mae Whitman (The Duff)
Robin Weigert (Deadwood)
Indigo (Weeds)
Aloma Wright (Scrubs)
Shirley Knight (As Good as It Gets)
Ian Bohen (Young Hercules)
Jenna Fischer (THe Office)
Rance Howard (Universal Soldier)
Chad Morgan (Pearl Harbor)
Stacey Scowley (Dollhouse)
Nicholas D’Agosto (Gotham)
Cody McMains (Bring It On)
Seamus Dever (Titans)
Roxanne Hart (Highlander)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Susan Chuang (Young Sheldon)
Bruce A. Young (Risky Business)
Nicholas Guest (Trading Places)
Frederick Koehler (Death Race)
Daveigh Chase (Donnie Darko)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Chad Donella (Smallville)
Nicki Aycox (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Josh Randall (Ozark)
Bob Papenbrook (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Patrick J. Adams (Legends of Tomorrow)
Orson Bean (Two and a Half Men)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Phil LaMarr (Supergirl)
Johnny Whitworth (Ghost Rider 2)
Robert Baker (The Originals)
Danielle Harris (Halloween 4)
Michael O’Neill (Transformers)
Scout Taylor-Compton (Halloween 2007)
Brigid Brannagh (Runaways)
Brent Sexton (God Friended Me)
Audrey Wasilewski (Red)
Andrea Savage (Izombie)
Clare Carey (Jericho)
Meredith Salenger (Lake Placid)
Michael B. Silver (Jason Goes To Hell)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Dee Wallace (E.T.)
Sean Blakemore (Bones)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)
Daniel Roebuck (Final Destination)
Bradley Stryker (Smallville)
Barry Bostwick (The Secret Agent Club)
Jeff Doucette (Dr. Dolittle)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Piper Laurie (Carrie)
Tom Bower (El Camino)
Tessa Thompson (Westworld)
Karina Logue (Argo)
Sonya Leslie (No Good Nick)
Sarah Brown (VR Troopers)
Kristin Richardson (Rock Star)
Cheryl White (Major Crimes)
Lindsay Hollister (Get Smart)
Pat Skipper (Halloween 2007)
Nick Wechsler (Roswell)
Mimi Kennedy (Mom)
Christina Hendricks (Bad Santa 2)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Natasha Gregson Wagner (Urban Legend)
Diane Ladd (Joy)
Edwin Hodge (Red Dawn)
April Grace (A.I.)
Jon Huertas (Sabrina: TTW)
Phillip Jeanmarie (Power Rangers: Wild Force)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (The Warriors)
James Handy (Alias)
Christopher Cousins (Breaking Bad)
Michael Mantell (Secretary)
Skyler Gisondo (Santa Clarita Diet)
Michael Welch (Star Trek: Insurrection)
William R. Moses (Mystic Pizza)
Meredith Monroe (13 Reasons Why)
Megan Follows (Reign)
James Jordan (Veronica Mars)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Slammed)
Christine Elise (Cult of Chucky)
Alona Tal (Veronica Mars)
Meagen Fay (The Big Bang Theory)
Shannon Woodward (Westworld)
Priscilla Pointer (Carrie)
Tina Holmes (Half Nelson)
Veronica Cartwright (Alien)
Jeremy Davidson (Roswell)
Brennan Elliott (Curse of Chucky)
Benjamín Benítez (Tru Calling)
Zeljko Ivanek (Heores)
Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead)
Mel Harris (Stargate SG.1)
Bre Blair (Last Vegas)
George Coe (Archer)
John Getz (The Fly)
Thomas F. Wilson (Back To The Future)
Laura Bell Bundy (How I Met Your Mother)
Eric Lange (Lost)
John Rubinstein (The Orville)
Allison Miller (17 Again)
Sammi Hanratty (A Christmas Carol)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
K Callan (Lois & Clark)
Peter Graves (Airplane)
Stacy Haiduk (Superboy)
Tonya Pinkins (Gotham)
Sam Anderson (Angel)
Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3)
Steven Grayhm (White Chicks)
Mageina Tovah (The Magicians)
Susan Walters (The Vampire Diaries)
Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel)
Jeanette Brox (Jack & Bobby)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Will Rothhaar (Killing Kennedy)
Nestor Carbonell (Lost)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood)
Brian Gross (2 Broke Girls)
Elizabeth Tulloch (The Artist)
L. Scott Caldwell (Lost)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Neil Jackson (Westworld)
Enuka Okuma (Impulse)
Mark Famiglietti (Terminator 3)
Susan Blakely (Over The Top)
Jake Abel (Love & Mercy)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Julie Adams (The Fifth Floor)
Rutanya Alda (The Deer Hunter)
Eric Jungmann (Not Another Teen Movie)
Matthew Glave (Argo)
George Newbern (Scandal)
Robert Pine (Red Eye)
Bonnie Root (Coming Soon)
Annie Wersching (Runaways)
Eugene Robert Glazer (La Femme Nikita)
John Aylward (Alais)
David Henrie (How I Met Your Mother)
Bobby Hosea (Xena)
Bruno Campos (Nip/Tuck)
Brian Hallisay (Revenge)
Charles Mesure (V)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Sonja Sohn (The Wire)
Polly Shannon (Street Time)
Jake McDorman (Limitless TV)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Lucinda Jenney (Rain Man)
Ernie Hduson (Ghostbusters)
Sam McMurray (Addams Family Values)
Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica)
Kelly Overton (Van HElsing)
Sam Trammell (The Order)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
Sterling Beaumon (Lost)
Obba Babatundé (How High)
John Diehl (Stargate)
Greg Finley (The Flash)
Chris Mulkey (Cloverfield)
Don Swayze (Drop Zone)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
Darcy Rose Byrnes (Desperate Housewives)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Tom McCleister (Twins)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sean Whalen (Superstore)
Whitney Able (Monsters)
AnnaLynne McCord (Exorcisim)
Drew Powell (Gotham)
Charlyne Yi (This Is 40)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Ellen Albertini Dow (Wedding Crashers)
Angela Sarafyan (Westworld)
Meredith Baxter (Family TIes)
Brad William Henke (Bright)
Michael Massee (The Crow)
Vyto Ruginis (The Fast and The Furious)
Helena Mattsson (Iron Man 2)
Ksenia Solo (Black Swan)
Anthony Starke (Repossessed)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Justina Machado (Six Feet Under)
Kirk Acevedo (Arrow)
Jack Conley (Angel)
Melissa leo (The Fighter)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon A Time)
Randall Park (The Interview)
Shailene Woodley (Divergent)
Monet Mazur (All American)
Justin Bruening (Ringer)
Rodney Rowland (Veronica Mars)
Daphne Ashbrook (JAG)
Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
Jonathan Scarfe (Van Helsing)
Lawrence Pressman (Dark Angel)
Ralph Waite (Bones)
Aisha Hinds (Mr. Brooks)
Jamil Walker Smith (Stargate Universe)
Wings Hauser (The Insider)
Jonathan Keltz (Reign)
Jim Jansen (Gilmore Girls)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Nikki Deloach (Love & Other Drugs)
Deirdre Lovejoy (Bones)
Ian Anthony Dale (The Event)
Patti Yasutake (Star Trek: First Contact)
Keone Young (Crank)
Kim Coates (Goon)
Ryan Kelley (Smallville)
Timothy Omundson (Xena)
Johnny Lewis (The Runaways)
Jeffrey Combs (Fortress)
Diana Scarwid (Wonderfalls)
Lilli Birdsell (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Kevin Cooney (Roswell)
Kathleen Munroe (Alphas)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Joe Nieves (How I Met Your Mother)
Gigi Rice (Mission Air)
Maury Sterling (Coherence)
Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
June Squibb (The Big Bang Theory)
Brea Grant (Heroes)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Molly Hagan (Izombie)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
James Karen (Poltergeist)
Justice Leak (Powers)
Sean O’Bryan (Vantage Point)
B.J. Britt (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Cassidy Freeman (Smallville)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Gods & Heroes)
Jenna Leigh Green (Sabrina: TTW)
Jennifer Hetrick (Star Trek: TNG)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Jake Thomas (A.I.)
Wilson Bethel (Daredevil)
Nicholas Braun (Red State)
Richard Herd (Get Out)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Kim Director (Blair Witch 2)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Joel Murray (Two and a Half Men)
Ed Lauter (Cujo)
Elena Satine (The Gifted)
Nicole Bilderback (Clueless)
Tina Lifford (Babe)
Brad Rowe (Shelter)
Erin Cummings (Bitch Slap)
Patrick Fischler (Happy!)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther)
Tyrees Allen (Robocop)
Jonathan LaPaglia (Seven Days)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Christine Woods (Flashforward)
Bill Duke (Black Lightning)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Lindy Booth (Wrong Turn)
Raymond J. Barry (13 Reasons Why)
Taylor Cole (The Originals)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (New Girls)
Jeff Kober (Sully)
Louis Mustillo (Mike & Molly)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Courtney Ford (Legends of Tomorrow)
David Starzyk (Veronica Mars)
Bailey Chase (Buffy: TVS)
Wynn Everett (Agent Carter)
Brad Greenquist (Ali)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Tyler Blackburn (Roswell, New Mexico)
Jason Gedrick (Luck)
Jeff Fahey (Planet Terrror)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Clayne Crawford (A Walk To Remember)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Brit Morgan (Supergirl)
Spencer Locke (Cougar Town)
Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad)
Manny Montana (Graceland)
Erich Anderson (Friday The 13th 4)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Ryan Wynott (Flashforward)
Johnathon Schaech (LEgends of Tomorrow)
Alexandra Holden (The Hot Chick)
Zach McGowan (Black Sails)
Shalim Ortiz (Heroes)
Darius McCrary (Saw VI)
Tess Harper (Breaking Bad)
Madeline Carroll (Flipped)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Muse Watson (I Know What You Did Last Sumemr)
Channon Roe (Boogie Nights)
Michael Ironside (Scanners)
Jesse Plemons (Game Night)
Daniel Baldwin (Grimm)
Gary Hudson (Smallville)
Jessica Tuck (Super 8)
Shay Astar (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Ashley Johnson (Dollhouse)
Erin Chambers (Stargate: Atlantis)
Tracey Walter (Batman 1989)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Chris Browning (Agent Carter)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
James Earl (Scream Queens)
Steven Culp (Spartan)
Cress Williams (Black Lightning)
Meagan Good (D.E.B.S>)
Vanessa Bell Calloway (Saints & Sinners)
Jamie Hector (Heroes)
Steven Williams (IT)
Loretta Devine (Crash)
Yara Shahidi (Salt)
Robin Shou (Mortal Kombat)
Miles Heizer (13 Reasons Why)
Nelson Lee (Blade: The Series)
Reed Diamond (Bones)
Steven Krueger (Goosebumps)
Lolita Davidovich (Blaze)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Julianna Guill (Captain America: Civil War)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Jud Tylor (That 70s Show)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Gabirelle Miller (Highlander: The Series)
Rick Gonzalez (Arrow)
Sharni Vinson (Bait)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Justina Vail (Seven Days)
Rachel Miner (The Black Dahlia)
Sean Maguire (Meet The Spartans)
Lauren Cohan (Chuck)
Roddy Piper (They Live)
Elya Baskin (Spider-Man 2)
Lauren Bowles (Ghost World)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Glenn Morshower (Transformers)
Jon Gries (Taken)
William Russ (American History X)
Melissa Ordway (Ted)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
John D’Aquino (Quantum Leap)
Peter Jason (They Live)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Darren Criss (Glee)
Rob Benedict (Waiting)
JR Bourne (Ginger Snaps Back)

43WcQo4u92niVu7P9FElTYyLMBBTelevision today often relies on sleazy comedy and bad CGI, with little or no story and too much drama. Cold Case begs to differ. It has the right amount of drama without overdoing it, is very suspenseful at all the right times, captures the nostalgia of different decades with song hits of the times and matching everything from the music, fashion, hair styles and cars to the exact year the crime took place. It is impossible to not immediately like the detectives of the Cold Case unit. There’s Lilly Rush, the main character who at first glance looks like a bimbo but when she talks throughout the show she’s actually an intelligent and skilled member of the team, with a past she shared with her alcoholic mother, absent father and promiscuous sister. She views Lt. Stillman as a father figure, because he was the first one to help her when she was a child and her mother sent her out into a bad situation.imagesScotty Valens is Lilly’s partner, a street-smart and aggressive but nice guy who is a valued member of the group. He is Cuban; his father moved to the States in the 1950’s. He has an extreme dislike for pedophiles because of a past incident with his older brother and a boxing coach, so he is very good at bringing pedophiles to justice. Nick Vera is the overweight joke of the group at first but is actually really caring towards children and wished he could have had a family of his own. He’s great at solving crimes and at playing “No Drugs Tonight” with Scotty and Will. Will Jeffries is Nick Vera’s best friend and excellent at solving murders; he has an extreme dislike towards racism and hit-&-run cases. His own wife was squashed to death by a mystery trucker years ago and he wants some sort of revenge. Kathrine (Kat) Miller is the only other female detective on the team, becoming a permanent addition to the show around Season 3. She is the single mother of her beloved daughter Veronica and a valued detective who knows a lot about the street gangs from her undercover years. John Stillman is in charge, his team affectionately calls him Boss and he is estranged from his family due to his career. He views his team like his family and tries to help each of them as much as possible.highlanderSadly Cold Case was canceled ; it’s one my favorite show of all time. It tackles crimes relating to issues like the barbaric treatment for mental patients in the 50’s and 60’s (lobotomy and electro-shock therapy), homophobia, racism, rape, pedophilia, abortion, religion, suicide, racism, sexism, pollution (check out the episode Breaking News for that) and child abuse. While helping the forgotten victims rest in peace the team is able to find answers to their own problems. The show doesn’t try to sneak romance in too much; most crime shows make the two main characters as lovers but in Cold Case Lilly and Scotty are just best friends. He is there when her mother dies and rescues her from a killer named Ed, whereas Lilly keeps secrets for him revolving around the crime with his older brother. The show has episodes featuring songs by bands like the Fixx, the Doors, Tears for Fears, Joy Division, Nirvanna, the Cure and Depache Mode. There are some totally heartbreaking episodes like Sleepover, Baby Blues, Boy Crazy, the Goodbye Room, Wishing, Committed and the Good Death as well as some suspenseful episodes like Stalker, Officer Down, the Woods and Flashover. All in all this is a beautifully made and amazing show that will hopefully be remembered among fans forever. I think Lilly Rush’s actress is now being considered in the remake of the 1976 slasher film Alice, Sweet Alice (according to Wikipedia anyway), so hopefully we’ll see her in more crime movies and shows. Still, Cold Case I wish had been continued, why it was shut down in the making is a mystery to me but I’m really glad to have the seven seasons around, I’ll remember it forever. It was based off the Canadian crime drama show Cold Squad, but although I live in Canada I honestly think Cold Case was much better. It’s totally worth watching, if you ever have the chance to see it, check it out, you’ll love it, guaranteed!

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: MANDY

Starring

Nicolas Cage (National Treasure)
Andrea Riseborough (Birdman)
Linus Roache (Non-Stop)
Bill Duke (Predator)
Richard Brake (Game of Thrones)
Ned Dennehy (Peaky Blinders)
Olwen Fouéré (This Must Be the Place)
Line Pillet (Alleen Eline)

Nicolas Cage in Mandy (2018)Somewhere near the Shadow Mountains in the year 1983, Red Miller lives with his girlfriend, artist Mandy Bloom, in a cabin near the lake. Red works as a logger, while Mandy has a day job as a cashier at a nearby gas station in the woods. She creates elaborate fantasy art, and Red admires her work greatly. They lead a quiet and reclusive life, and their conversations and behavior hint at a difficult past and psychological hardship. Red appears to be a recovering alcoholic and possible veteran, and Mandy recounts traumatic childhood experiences.Mandy (2018)On her way to work, Mandy walks past a van carrying the Children of the New Dawn, a deviant Manson-esque hippie cult led by Jeremiah Sand. Sand is struck by Mandy’s beauty and orders one of his disciples, Brother Swan, to kidnap Mandy with the help of the Black Skulls, a demonic biker gang with a taste for human flesh and a liquid, highly potent form of LSD.Nicolas Cage in Mandy (2018)At night, Swan drives out to the lake and summons the Black Skulls by blowing a mystical horn. After Swan offers them a low-ranking member of the cult as a sacrifice, they break into the couple’s home and subdue Mandy and Red. The two female members of the cult, Mother Marlene and Sister Lucy, drug Mandy with LSD and venom from a giant black wasp before presenting her to Sand. Sand – a failed musician – attempts to seduce Mandy with his psychedelic folk music, telling her that God had told him to take anything he wanted. Mandy ridicules him, leaving him confused and infuriated. Seeking revenge, Sand stabs Red, who is tied and gagged with barbed wire, then burns Mandy alive in front of him. After nothing but ash remains of Mandy, Sand and his followers leave. Red frees himself, mourns over Mandy’s ashes, goes back inside and falls asleep, exhausted and in shock. After waking up from a nightmare, he consumes a bottle of vodka, tends to his wounds, and shrieks in agony, grief, and rage.Nicolas Cage in Mandy (2018)In the morning, Red fetches “the reaper,” his crossbow, from his friend Caruthers. Caruthers provides him with freshly crafted arrows and information on the Black Skulls. According to Caruthers, the Black Skulls were drug couriers who turned murderously sadomasochistic after they had consumed a bad batch of LSD. Before Red leaves, Caruthers warns him that his odds of survival are poor. Red forges a battle axe and hunts down the bikers. Tracking the gang, he attempts to run down a trailing biker, but is captured in the process. At their hideout, Red manages to break free and kill the bikers. In searching their hideout he consumes some of their cocaine and tainted LSD, causing him to instantly and severely hallucinate.Nicolas Cage in Mandy (2018)Seeking out a radio tower he envisioned earlier, Red encounters The Chemist, a mysterious drug manufacturer, who tells him where to find the Children of the New Dawn. At their makeshift wooden church in a quarry, Red kills Brothers Swan and Hanker with his axe and kills Brother Klopek in a chainsaw duel, sparing only the life of Sister Lucy. Traversing the tunnels beneath the church, Red finds Mother Marlene and decapitates her. He then finds Sand, taunting him by rolling out Marlene’s severed head. Sand begs for mercy, but Red kills him by crushing his skull. He sets the church on fire and watches Sand’s body burn before driving away, envisioning Mandy in the passenger seat of his car, while the landscape behind him now appears fantastical and otherworldly.Brutal, shocking, and beautifully shot, Mandy unashamedly thrives on its unique premise from beginning to end. The film appears to have been heavily influenced by the work of David Lynch, with its surreal imagery and inventive cinematography, further emphasizing the overall dream-like experience. Nicolas Cage is his usual over-the-top self and he demonstrates this several times during the film’s second half. This is certainly not for everyone, but fans of surreal artsy films, graphic violence, and Nicolas Cage will find plenty to enjoy.

REVIEW: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2004) – SEASON 2

Starring

Edward James Olmos (Blade Runner)
Mary McDonnell (Donnie Darko)
Katee Sackhoff (Riddick)
Jamie Bamber (Marcella)
James Callis (Flashforward)
Tricia Helfer (Powers)
Grace Park (Hawaii Five-0)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Aaron Douglas (Chaos)
Nicki Clyne (Saved!)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
Kandyse McClure (Mother’s Day)
Paul Campbell (Knight Rider)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)

Tahmoh Penikett and Katee Sackhoff in Battlestar Galactica (2004)Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Samuel Witwer (Smallville)
Donnelly Rhodes (Legends of Tomorrow)
Rekha Sharma (V)
Callum Keith Rennie (Impulse)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Matthew Bennett (Stargate SG.1)
Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Richard Hatch (InAlienable)
Lorena Gale (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Michael Trucco (Sabrina: TTW)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Graham Beckel (The Loft)
Leah Cairns (Interstellar)
Bodie Olmos (Walkout)
Luciana Carro (Helix)
Kate Vernon (Heores)
Alonso Oyarzun (Reindeer Games)
Jen Halley (Red Riding Hood)
Ty Olsson (War of TPOTA)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Dominic Zamprogna (Stargate Universe)
James Remar (BLack Lightning)
Patricia Idlette (Ginger Snaps 2)
Benjamin Ayres (The Vampire Diaries)
Don Thompson (Watchmen)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Sebastian Spence (First Waves)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Vincent Gale (Bates Motel)
Colm Feore (Thor)
David Richmond-Peck (Sanctuary)
Claudette Mink (Paycheck)
Bill Duke (Black Lightning)
Christopher Jacot (Slasher)
John Heard (Home Alone)
Kavan Smith (Staragte Atlantis)
Stefanie von Pfetten (Cracked)
Erica Cerra (Power Rangers)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)
Colin Lawrence (Watchmen)

Some cynical individual, at some time, blurted out that “there’s always room for improvement” about an accomplishment or achievement that was fine in its own right. In the spectrum of film and television, it’s true that all material can be tightened, focused, and made even more compelling with practice; but oftentimes creative teams fall back into comfort zones and neglect to spit-shine where improvement is needed. Ronald Moore and David Eick, the creators of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series, understand this concept. They accomplished something intriguing, thrilling, and dramatically magnetic with their initial 2003 miniseries and, later, a full subsequent season that grappled the structure of the three-hour introduction — characters, mythos, and stunning production merits through striking photography and convincing computer effects — and ran with it. However, there’s always room for improvement, and Battlestar Galactica’s second season finds a deeper focus and more thrill-inducing pace that fully ratchets the series into the stratosphere of superb science-fiction creations.Nicki Clyne and Aaron Douglas in Battlestar Galactica (2004)The first season constructs a “reboot” of the highest accord, taking the original content from the 1978 television series and shaping it into an edgy and modern production in the vein of “West Wing … in space”. Grecian mythology, military-heavy hierarchal bickering, and the relationships between people on the space ship Galactica — both tender and volatile — are all sparked into action when the Cylons, humanity’s slave-like machines evolved into enlightened yet vengeful beings, attack their creators after 40 years of recoiled hibernation. These attacks, which left around 50,000 humans alive, wiped out sixteen of the individuals in-line for the presidency over the “colonies”, which left Secretary of Education Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell, Dances With Wolves) as the next in line. Somehow, this all gyrates around the weasel-like scheming of Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis, Bridget Jones’ Diary), who inadvertently fell for the whims of a blonde-haired Cylon (Tricia Helfer) and revealed humanity’s defense secrets — and, now, follows orders from the sultry “machine” in the confines of his own mind, with her as little more than an illusion reminding him of his “importance” as one of God’s pawns. Monotheistic God, not polytheistic, but that’ll become important later on.After its thrilling two-part miniseries and a handful of tense cat-and-mouse episodes at the start, the first season (which should be viewed before continuing this review, as the context here relies on the fact that you’ve seen the first season) coasts along a stream of dynamic back-and-forths between Galactica’s Commander Bill Adama (Edward James Olmos, Blade Runner) and President Roslin — leading to a point where Adama is stretched out on the ship’s command center deck, bleeding from gunshot wounds incurred by an assassination attempt. Season Two picks up directly after the shooting, showing how the military hierarchy moves its pieces around Adama’s incapacitation. His XO (second in command) Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) wrestles with his alcohol addiction as he tries to juggle an unwanted leadership position, shrug off his wife Ellen’s (Kate Vernon) passenger-seat manipulation of the Galactica’s workings, and make the colonies understand why President Roslin has been arrested for subordination. On top of that, we’re also watching the way Adama’s ailment affects his son, Captain Lee Adama (Jamie Bamber), as his allegiance to the Colonial fleet sways between loyalty to his father and his belief in what the theologically-focused President Roslin is trying to accomplish.Richard Hatch and Michael Hogan in Battlestar Galactica (2004)But, as Battlestar Galactica veterans know, that core quarrel really only scoops up the top layer of the conflicts that lie underneath the Colonial fleet’s hunt for a safe, habitable planet — whether it be the fabled planet Earth, the newly-discovered planet of Kobol, or beyond. Season Two also finds a deeper focus on Kara Thrace (Katee Sackhoff, “Nip/Tuck”), aka Starbuck, as more than a novel imitation of the classic series’ character, concentrating on the depth of her belief in the gods, her bull-headedness giving way to a need for deeper connections with others, and a particular point where she’s, dare I say it, made hopelessly vulnerable in the episode “The Farm”. This happens on Cylon-occupied Caprica, the colonies’ once-thriving central metropolis, where she and Lieutenant ‘Helo’ Agathon (Tahmoh Penikett, “Dollhouse”) are attempting to locate a way off the planet and back to Galactica with the “Arrow of Apollo” in their possession. There, they interact with a second version of the “Sharon” model of Cylon (Grace Park), pregnant with Helo’s child and rebellious against her kind. Along those same lines, we also see how the cluster of Colonial soldiers stranded on Kobol — deck chief Galen Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) and his “knuckledragger” subordinates, as well as Vice President Baltar — find a way to survive until they’re able to make an escape attempt.Mary McDonnell and Katee Sackhoff in Battlestar Galactica (2004)Though the introductory season of Battlestar Galactica triumphs for establishing the storyline’s intricacies, a broad spectrum of characters, and suspenseful density, Ron Moore and David Eick still had a handful of creaks in the series’ bow that needed repair — such as tighter concentration on the political banter and more focused balancing between space warfare and non-CIC dramatics. Though intriguing to some, including myself, those elements also tended to bog down the pacing to a degree that could deter some from its deliberate concentration on policy. It’s important, and necessary, for a lengthy story to grow beyond its limitations, and the Moore / Eick team hone the introductory season’s successes into a poised, pulsating blend of drama and thrills that bolsters its initial successes forward two-fold. Everything that underscores the series’ quality — superb, straight-faced acting, slickly detailed cinematography ranging from cold and dark to acidic and overblown, and some of the best music on television, period — persists into the second season, now attached to a sense of obvious plot refinement.Jamie Bamber and Katee Sackhoff in Battlestar Galactica (2004)

does it differ? Well, this season knows when and how to play its cards, where the initial season struggles in knowing exactly what to do with the substantially impressive content that it’s generating. The thematic density that it crams into this season is staggering; the complications of martial law (military control of the government), delicateness around following an idealist (dying) leader with religion as their driving force, technology’s advancement and control over our everyday activity, the necessity of black market trade, and, eventually, the power of government-mandated control over population control. All of these elements are timely and meaningful, even allegorical to conflicts present in modern society, and they’re handled with a specific panache in this second season that remains vigilant throughout. But they’re not overtly heavy-handed; sly incorporation allows us to view these elements merely on the surface for service of the story or as deeper insights — whichever suits the viewer.James Remar and Jamie Bamber in Battlestar Galactica (2004)On top of that, Moore and Eick have set sights on how to tie these heady elements in with the bustling activity of operatic space battles, and they’ve succeeded in a way that maintains the series’ accessibility. The hyper-elaborate technobabble prevalent in other series — such as bits and pieces about a ship that “made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs” and about “trionic initiators in the warp coil” — gets tossed aside to allow for a direct focus on human interactions, such as ebbs and flows between father and son in authoritative positions, the fear and fatigue within a crew that’s never given much of a chance to relax, and an affinity with Laura Roslin as she succumbs to terminal breast cancer. Emotion-heavy episodes, such as the excellent “Flight of the Phoenix” where Chief Tyrol finds distraction and a sense of hope in building a new fighter ship from scraps, are there solely for that purpose. They even work in cliché taglines like, “They can run, but they can’t hide”, and hokey plot points like a bona-fide love triangle to convincing degrees — well, with their own spins on the material. In that, the creators rope us into the emotional fabric as if we’re members of the crew, sharing their plights. We’re not forced to try and comprehend scientific jargon, aside from a few scattered discussions about firewalls, viruses, and FTL drives, but instead asked to unswervingly, and powerlessly, hold our focus on the shifts in power aboard the Galactica.Mary McDonnell, Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber, and Katee Sackhoff in Battlestar Galactica (2004)Then, with a flick of the writers’ wrists, they change the way that we perceive just about everything in the series with the episode “Pegasus”. Out of nowhere, another one of the colonial fighter bases, the Battlestar Pegasus, arrives unexpectedly within the proximity of Galactica’s location. Once both have confirmed that they’re friendly ships, we’re introduced to Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes) — a strong, bloodthirsty woman with a very tight, dictatorial grip on her ship. Unlike the Galactica, the Pegasus is competitive, hardened, chauvinistic and far more stringent on policy, which creates a world of conflict once the two commanders begin comparing notes on Galactica’s personnel issues, power rankings, and the lenience in handling a Cylon prisoner. More importantly, Admiral Cain is Adama’s superior officer, and her iron-fist reclaim of power decidedly tears the fleet apart. In a matter of forty-some-odd minutes, the entire power structure of Battlestar Galactica is rearranged and tossed into volatile disarray, left for our characters to plot around and sort out. And it makes for thoroughly gut-swelling television because of it, stretching over an impressive three-episode arc (“Pegasus”, “Resurrection Ship” Parts One and Two).Lucy Lawless and Patrick Harrison in Battlestar Galactica (2004)It’s at this point, once the dust clears from the Pegasus incidents, that Battlestar Galactica begins to really claim a place in the annals of science-fiction as one of its finest creations — even with a few stumbling blocks that it still fights against. Ellen Tigh’s manipulation of Saul while he’s in command of the Galactica borders on the unbelievable, though one can certainly understand the swaying power of a significant other. A few character moments feel shoehorned into the mix, such as Lee’s character history revelations in “Black Market”, where the desire to beef up each and every character overreaches their bounds. And, quite simply, one or two of the episodes still fall a tad flat, whether they’re because of an unattractive character coming into focus, such as the hot-rod stem junkie pilot Kat in the ho-hum filler ep “Scar”, or the show simply attempting to do things that it can’t pull off, like the meandering MTV reality show style footage in “Final Cut”. Each of these faults are minor blemishes on otherwise successful, and thought-provoking, installments into the story arc, proving that even weak Battlestar Galactica episodes can be compelling to a middling degree.James Callis and Tricia Helfer in Battlestar Galactica (2004)With its continual and newly-sprung ideas bubbling at the cusp, Moore and Eick reach a conclusion to the second season, the masterful two-parter “Lay Down Your Burdens”, that focuses on the much-anticipated presidential race alluded to in the first season. Restoration of complete democracy and humanization become the weighty element at play, as the candidates — surprises aplenty — duke it out with the fleet’s concerns of safe planetary habitat and population boom as key driving forces. The interplay between all of the individuals is brilliant; however, it’s the outcome, and the legitimately shocking twist at the end of the finale, that’ll likely send one on a contemplative tailspin. With no less than three cliffhanger episodes in this season, it’s only expected that the finale in itself would be a weighty one, and Syfy’s heavy-hitting series doesn’t disappoint in that regard. It’s a brilliant way to swirl the entire season together, even if everything is turned upside down once again. That’s part of Ron Moore and David Eick’s game, a sci-fi neo-political chessgame that’s well worth playing.

 

REVIEW: HENRY’S CRIME

Starring

Keanu Reeves (John Wick)
James Caan (Elf)
Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Fisher Stevens (Hail, Caesar!)
Peter Stormare (John Wick: Chapter 2)
Bill Duke (Mandy)
Danny Hoch (Maniac)
Currie Graham (Pompeii)
David Costabile (Breaking Bad)
Guy Boyd (Sharp Objects)

Keanu Reeves in Henry's Crime (2010)Working the night shift as a toll collector on a lonely stretch of highway in Buffalo, New York, Henry is a man seemingly without ambition, dreams or purpose; a man sleepwalking his way through life. His wife Debbie is not happy with the situation. One morning Eddie, a friend, drops by to ask Henry to play in a baseball game, as one of the others is ill, and Henry agrees to. As they drive to the game in Henry’s car, Eddie asks Henry to stop at an ATM. But Eddie, and two acquaintances also in the car, instead rob the Buffalo Savings Bank, and Henry is arrested as an accomplice.Keanu Reeves and Vera Farmiga in Henry's Crime (2010)Rather than give up the names of the real culprits, Henry takes the fall and goes to jail. There he is celled with the irrepressible Max, a con man who has grown far too comfortable with the familiarity and security of his “idyllic” life behind bars, but one who also helps plant an idea in Henry’s mind which will change his life forever: for a man to find his purpose, he must first have a dream. Debbie decides to divorce him, and she marries Joe, one of the acquaintances. Upon his release eighteen months later, Henry finds his purpose. Having done the time, he decides he may as well do the crime. Discovering a long forgotten bootlegger’s tunnel which runs from the very same bank to a theater across the alleyway, he convinces the reluctant Max to file for his long overdue parole – to help stage a robbery of the bank.Keanu Reeves in Henry's Crime (2010)Max encourages Henry to become an actor in the theater’s current production of The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov, to assist Max, “volunteering” to work in the theater, in getting access to the tunnel. Meanwhile, Henry finds himself falling for the production’s mercurial leading lady, Julie. Debbie’s husband Joe is recruited to help clearing the tunnel of mud; he informs Eddie, who insists in participating too. Frank, a guard at the bank forced into retirement, helps by informing the robbers when there is a lot of money in the vault. During the actual robbery, Eddie uses a gun to try to take all the money himself, but is overpowered by Max and is left behind in the vault. As the three make their escape, Henry demands Joe stop the car. Henry wishes Max well, and he then returns to Julie.Keanu Reeves and James Caan in Henry's Crime (2010)Time Out described it as a “Quiet Triumph” and I tend to agree. It’s not the best movie ever made but is clever, multi-layered (stories within stories within…) and an interesting, often tongue in cheek, look at acting as a process. It is enjoyable, although slightly uncomfortable in places as Farmiga plays self reliant/involved diva and ego-above-her-status-actress very well and with great aplomb. Caan’s comic relief as the wannabe lifer adds some one liners and fun to a film that has an old-fashioned serious classic quality both in style and direction (something to do with dimensions of camera angles/screen apparently), and the soundtrack is brilliant. Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard lends a certain gravitas to the proceedings, and a backdrop for the real-life storyline, as does Reeves’ deliberate delivery and method metamorphosis from downtrodden bored/boring-but-nice average Joe to cavalier passionate lovestruck criminal-mastermind, which is impressive! I think this film is a slow burner.

 

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 3

Starring

Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Emilie de Ravin (Operation: Endgame)
Rodrigo Santoro (300)
Kiele Sanchez (A Perfect Getaway)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Suicide Squad)

Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Julie Adams (Code Red)
Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider)
M.C. Gainey (Breakdown)
William Mapother (The Mentalist)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
Michael Bowen (Kill Bill)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Chris Mulkey (Whiplash)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
Kim Dickens (Gone Girl)
Bill Duke (Black Lightning)
Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Gods & Heroes)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Aisha Hinds (Cult)
François Chau (The Tick)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Fredric Lehne (Men In BLack)
Zeljko Ivanek (Heores)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Robin Weigert (Jessica Jones)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Shishir Kurup (Coneheads)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Bai Ling (The Crow)
Diana Scarwid (Wonderland)
Cheech Marin (Coco)
Kimberley Joseph (Hercules: TLJ)
Sung Hi Lee (The Girl Next Door)
April Grace (A.I.)
Shaun Toub (Iron Man)
Gabrielle Fitzpatrick (MMPR: The Movie)
Kevin Tighe (My Bloody Valentine)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Patrick J. Adams (Legends of Tomorrow)
Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars)
Daniel Roebuck (Final Destination)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Andrew Connolly (Heroes)
Marsha Thomason (White Collar)
Jon Gries (Welcome To The Jungle)
Doug Hutchison (Punisher: War Zone)
Samantha Mathis (American Psycho)
Carrie Preston (True Blood)
Sterling Beaumon (The Killing)
Sam Anderson (Angel)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
Neil Hopkins (The Net 2.0)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Lana Parrilla (Once Upon A Time)
Malcolm David Kelley (Detroit)
James Lesure (Las Vegas)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)

This season is easily broken down into two separate parts; the first six episodes that aired before an eight week hiatus and then the rest of the season. Even though the first six are considered part of the third season, they feel much more like a prologue. Very little time is spent with the survivors on the beach and the main focus of the story is Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly) and Sawyer’s (Josh Holloway) imprisonment by the Others.Evangeline Lilly in Lost (2004)The second half of the season also featured some of the show’s best episodes to date. Including the brilliantly told “Flashes Before Your Eyes”, which is an interesting twist on Lost’s flashback scenario. Other episodes like “The Man from Tallahassee” and “The Brig” answered long asked questions while “The Man Behind the Curtain” and “One of Us” gave us a much needed back-story on both Ben (Michael Emerson) and Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell).Really, the only weak point of the final sixteen-episode run would be “Stranger in a Strange Land”, an episode that primarily focused on the origins and meaning of Jack’s tattoo. We still don’t really understand the significance and we’re not too sure if the writers do either as they never bring up the subject again for the rest of the season.Terry O'Quinn in Lost (2004)Even “Expos¿”, an episode that featured fan-hated Nikki (Kiele Sanchez) and Paulo (Rodrigo Santoro), told an interesting “Twilight Zone” style story and we couldn’t be happier with the conclusion.If you were to suggest that the theme for season one was man vs. the unknown and that season two’s was man vs. machine it would be fair to suggest that the theme for season three is man vs. man, as the main crux of the season deals with the survivors of Flight 815 dealing with the Others. There is a constant power struggle between the two groups and the narrative frequently shifts back and forth from the Others camp to the survivor’s beach. Intertwined throughout, are personal struggles for several of the characters in both camps and we realize as the story pushes forward that even though they are enemies, their survival appears to be dependant on each other.At the core of this struggle is Benjamin Linus, and it would be a sin not to mention Michael Emerson’s fantastic performance as the enigmatic leader of the Others. He never once falters in portraying a creepy and unnerving nemesis for the survivors of Flight 815 and in particular, John Locke.Evangeline Lilly in Lost (2004)Terry O’Quinn puts in an equally inspired performance and every time these two appeared on screen together, you knew something special was about to happen. Everything culminates in what can be described as one of the best season finales in recent memory. Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof deliver a brilliantly told story that is full of emotion, suspense and action.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE – SEASON 1

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

JL_line-up

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Gary Cole (Fam)
Jason Marsden (Young Justice)
Susan Sullivan (Castle)
Corey Burton (Transformers)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
James Remar (Black Lightning)
Kurtwood Smith (Robocop)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
Garrett Morris (2 Broke Girls)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (50 First Dates)
Xander Berkeley (Terminator 2)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings)
Eric Roberts (The Finder)
William Smith (Laredo)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girls)
Cathy Cavadini (THe Powerpuff Girls)
Bill Duke (Black Lightning)
Virginia Madsen (Better Watch Out)
Keone Young (Crank)
Powers Boothe (Sin City)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Stephen McHattie (300)
David Naughton (The Gathering)
Stephen Root (Barry)
Ted McGinley (No Good Nick)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Udo Kier (Iron Sky)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Jeffrey Jones (Howard The Duck)
William Katt (Carrie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Ian Buchanan (Panic Room)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha)
Grant Heslov (THe Scorpion King)
Michael T. Weiss (The Pretender)
Pam Grier (Jackie Brown)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Dave Thomas (Coneheads)
Cam Clarke (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Michael Bell (Transformers: The Movie)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Tom Sizemore (Red Planet)
Patrick Duffy (Dallas)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)

secret-origins-pan-01They’re the rockstars of the DC universe and they’re a heck of a lot of fun to be around. Giant robot rampaging through the city and Superman alone can’t stop it? Insidious villain plotting to invade the world with an army of zombies and the task is too much for Wonder Woman? Puzzling crime-spree that Batman can’t – er, wait. Strike that last one. Given enough time, Batman can do just about anything. Even so, when the world is in dire need of saving, it’s a job for the Justice League. MV5BMDMyN2UzOWQtZjg4OS00MmFiLTk0MzItNTlkZTk3NTRjZWRmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_This series is the culmination of nearly ten years of animation continuity headed up by animation producer Bruce Timm and friends. It’s very rare for a consistent creative team to play around in what is essentially the same sandbox for so long. From the writers to the directors to the voice actors – Kevin Conroy has been voicing Batman for over ten years now – Justice League is the spiritual conclusion to the DC animated universe that Batman: The Animated Series helped kick off way back in 1992.MV5BM2Y5M2JmYTEtNWRiMy00OTgwLTkwOGMtMzI2ZWIxZmM3ODAwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_The creative team has taken everything they’ve learned in their previous shows (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond) and brought it to the next level. Justice League features seven main heroes and a host of villains. If that wasn’t enough, in its later seasons the series would expand its roster to include virtually the entire DC comic book universe. MV5BOTUyYzZlMDUtOTk2ZC00NGQxLTkxNzMtZmVmMjNjNWNhNGYzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_Obviously, since the show features the world’s greatest superheroes, you’ve got to come up with some pretty challenging foes for them to face. At the same time you’ve got to ensure that the characters maintain unique personas and don’t step over each other’s ground. This is not an easy task, especially when confined to the constraints of a kids’ show. The greatest weakness of the first season is the show’s inability to keep its characters distinct and interesting at the same time. Sure, it’s easy making Batman cool – and it never gets old – but its somewhat more difficult peeling the other characters apart. For example, Superman and Hawkgirl seem to be identical characters in terms of functionality. They both fly, are very strong, and can tear things apart. The only difference is that Hawkgirl uses a mace.MV5BMTYzMjA5NzEyNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTEwOTM2MjE@._V1_The best way to keep characters with overlapping powers interesting is to develop them as individuals. Sadly, the show’s first season seems more interested in flashy action than character development. Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and J’onn J’onzz get some great moments, but The Flash, Superman, and Hawkgirl are left out in the cold. My personal pet peeve this season is that Superman gets dumbed down to the point of uselessness. Bruce Timm admits in the extras that they thought having Superman get beaten up so often would make their villains look even scarier. After all, if something can take down Superman it’s got to be tough. However, after a while Superman gets beat up so often that the “Super” is sapped out of him. If you see anything electrical it’s a guarantee that it will shock ol’ Supes and put him out of action. If you’re willing to forgive a few missteps (I certainly was) then you’ve got a real treat in store for yourself.MV5BODQ1Nzk0OGQtYWNmYy00N2M0LWFmYTgtZjA4MDhjYmVjNjUzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_In a wise move by the show’s producers, the first season (along with the second) is divided into a series of two-part episodes. This gives the show forty-four minute episodes in which to tell more complicated stories than would be possible in the standard twenty-two minutes. The result is a four disc set packed with high-flying superhero fun. From Injustice For All, where our heroes battle an evil society headed-up by a terminally diagnosed Lex Luthor, to The Enemy Below, where the League team up with Aquaman, this entire boxed set is full of great action and enjoyable comic book storytelling.MV5BYjQ4NmY2NzEtMTM1Yi00YzY2LWEyMjItZjlkODE3M2E1N2JmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_If you’re willing to forgive some unbalanced character development then you’ll have a great time with this first season. Justice League is a very entertaining show that any fan of superhero animation should not be without. These guys were the world’s first superhero team and they set the template for everyone that came after. They were the best then, and thanks to this show, they’re the still the best today.

REVIEW: BLACK LIGHTNING – SEASON 2

Black Lightning (2018)

Main Cast

Cress Williams (Reign of The Supermen)
China Anne McClain (Descendants 2)
Nafessa Williams (Brotherly Love)
Christine Adams (Tron: Legacy)
Marvin “Krondon” Jones III (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
Damon Gupton (Bates Motel)
James Remar (Dexter)
Jordan Calloway (Riverdale)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Robert Townsend (The Meteor Man)
Skye P. Marshall (The Fix)
Clifton Powell (Rush Hour)
Bill Duke (Predator)
Kyanna Simone Simpson (White Boy Rick)
Charlbi Dean Kriek (Spud)
Chantal Thuy (Half Magic)
Myles Truitt (Kin)
Erika Alexander (Get Out)
P.J. Byrne (Rampage)
Jennifer Riker (Nashville)
Yolanda T. Ross (Love Triangle)
Birgundi Baker (Empire)
Jason Louder (No Remorse)
Sofia Vassilieva (Supergirl)
Kearran Giovanni (Major Crimes)
RJ Cyler (Power Rangers)
Tonia Jackson (Greanleaf)
Tosin Morohunfola (Love is…)
William Catlett (Giants)
Michael Wright (V)
Tracey Bonner (The Longest Ride)
Madison Bailey (Nightclub Secrets)
Dabier (Reawakened)

Black Lightning (2018)Season 1 of Black Lightning was chock full of social commentary, exceptional scenes of emotional gravitas and the bulkiest superhero costume known to man. Season 2 looks to keep the ball rolling, opening with scenes of police brutality and civil unrest within the black community of Freeland.GaisorgSSThe series’ main strong point has been its grounded characters, and its willingness to deal with real-world issues. The show’s uncompromising depiction of gang violence, police brutality, racism, messages of peace, and the pursuit of black excellence all make a compelling, and sometimes uncomfortable drama. Witnessing a young black man high on Green Light being strangled to death by the police is difficult to watch. The writers are willing to go that far to both ground Freeland and raise awareness of daily injustices.1516190763-screen-shot-2018-01-17-at-120501The Pierce family continue to be the glue that holds the drama together. The interplay between Jefferson (Cress Williams) and Lynn (Christine Adams) is always a treat. Watching these parents bicker about the health of their children, and their ongoing communication issues make the world feel real. It’s not always about super-powered people throwing each other around.BLK216c_0884b_1552942293367_78017539_ver1.0_640_360Jennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain) continues to shine on screen as well. Her ongoing struggle with her new reality as a meta-human and her inability to return to a normal is portrayed beautifully by McClain. Jennifer exudes the angst of a teen trying to fit in, all while her former life slips away. As her powers evolve, it will be interesting to see what makes her accept her destiny as Lightning.light3-1535645974223_1280wThe women of Black Lightning steal the show in the Season 2 premiere. Syonide (Charlbi Dean) and Kara (Skye P. Marshall) have a well-choreographed fight together, all backed by a beautiful soundtrack. Anissa (Nafessa Williams) also puts on a show of strength as undercover Thunder. Her tussle with a den of drug dealers feels like a well-done homage to the much-heralded hallway fight scene from Netflix’s Daredevil. A suited up Black Lightning takes a back seat in the season premiere. The titular character makes a short cameo but never shoots a bolt. Instead, Jefferson takes center stage as he deals with Garfield’s School Board, his family’s adjustment to all these weather-based powers cropping up in their household, and a much-needed confrontation with his friend and ally Deputy Chief Henderson, who has finally worked out his secret identity.Erika Alexander and China Anne McClain in Black Lightning (2018)When The second season of Black Lightning came to a close . Though it was a few episodes longer than the first, The CW seems to be sticking with shorter seasons for this show. That has its advantages. It makes for tighter storytelling. The finale brought us the first real use of Thunder.  In the finale Jenn figured out how to use her powers to fly. I have to admit, that’s probably the coolest visual the series has given us so far. hopefully we do get amore of this in the third season of Black Lightning,  She reaches Tobias first and she’s more powerful than her dad ever was. She wraps him up in energy, holding him to the ceiling. The radiation starts killing him. It would have if Jefferson hadn’t shown up and convinced her not to. He had to grab onto her, nearly killing himself. When Jenn realized her dad would sacrifice himself to stop her from becoming a murderer, she finally relents.black-lightning-season-2-finale-recap-preparing-for-war-2That’s when we get the episode’s coolest fight scene. The Black Lightning-Thunder team up has been great, but seeing Jenn and her father work together to kick Tobias’ ass is the most cathartic moment of the series. He’s taken everything from both of them, and it felt so good to watch Black Lightning kick Tobias over a railing. I laughed out loud when Tobias tried to shoot them both only to find out he had no bullets. That simultaneous “please” from Jenn and Jeff was amazing. And hey, for now it really looks like Tobias has been defeated. He’s been classified as a dangerous metahuman, meaning he’s sent to a black site prison where even his lawyer can’t get him out. I’m generally not an advocate for extrajudicial imprisonment like this (gets real fascist real quick), but at least this lets the show move on to a different story for a while.Black-Lightning-Site-Banner-T2.pngWe find out just what that is right at the end. That teleporting bounty hunter we’ve been seeing? Turns out he works for Markovia. He’s been hired to kidnap Dr. Jace to work on their metahuman weapons program. Agent Odell shows up at the Pierce home to catch the entire family up to speed. He tells them he knows who and what they are and delivers a warning. The Markovians plan to use a metahuman army to become the dominant power in the world. Freeland’s high concentration of Green Light metas makes it a guarantee that it’ll be the first place they’ll attack. It’ll take Black Lightning, Thunder and now Lightning all working together to keep the city standing. So we have our plot for Season Three.black-lightning-jennifer-costumeThe finales end  was just setting up for the big war coming next season. As a result, a lot of story elements set up by the last few episodes ended on a whimper. Lala showed up to kill Tobias only for Tobias to disable him with a second trigger phrase. The police shootings and riots got little more than lip service and were completely forgotten. Dr. Jace and the pod kids…. well, the show kicked those cans down the road to next season. It leads to a finale that feels more like a stopping point than a definitive end to any story. It’s important to set up hooks and maybe even a cliffhanger for the next season, but too much of that leaves us unsatisfied. We get the sense that only surface-level story elements changed. Everything else was either forgotten or put off. Of course this episode at least balanced that out with some fantastic action and the introduction of Jenn as a full-fledged superhero. Bring on Season 3