REVIEW: SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED

 

CAST

Freddie Prinze Jr. (She’s All That)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Matthew Lillard (Scream)
Linda Cardellini (New Girl)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Peter Boyle (Lois & Clark)
Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four)
Alica Silverstone (Batman & Robin)
Zahf Paroo (Firewall)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Callum Worthy (Smallville)
Emily Tennant (Juno)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
J.P. Manoux (Birds of Prey)
Jackson Rathbone (Twilight)
Michael Sorich (VR Troopers)
Bob Papenbrook (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Brenna O’Brien (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Andrew Jackson (Earth: Final Contact)
A.C. Peterson (Shooter)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
Kimani Ray Smith (The Butterfly Effect)
Ingrid Torrance (Once Upon A Time)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)

MV5BNTQ0MTMyNDQwMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjk0MjUyMDI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,948_AL_Mystery Inc. (Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo) attend the opening of an exhibition at the Coolsonian Criminology Museum commemorating their past solved cases with monster costumes on display. However, the celebrations are interrupted by a masked man known as the Evil Masked Figure who steals two costumes using the reanimated Pterodactyl Ghost. The gang are ridiculed by journalist Heather Jasper Howe, who starts a smear campaign against them. Concluding an old enemy is the mastermind, the gang revisit old cases, dismissing the former Pterodactyl Ghost, Jonathan Jacobo, due to his death during a failed prison escape, they guess Jeremiah Wickles, the Black Knight Ghost’s portrayer, is the culprit.
MV5BMjQxNDYyMjEzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTk0MjUyMDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1511,1000_AL_Going to Wickles’ mansion, the gang find a book that serves as an instruction manual on how to create monsters. Shaggy and Scooby-Doo find a note inviting Wickles’ to visit the Faux Ghost nightclub. They are attacked by the Black Knight Ghost, but escape when Daphne holds him off. Shaggy and Scooby sneak into the Faux Ghost, speaking to Wickles, but learn he has resolved his ways. The rest of the gang discover the key ingredient to create the monsters is a substance called “randomonium” which can be found at the old silver mining town. They go to the museum, accompanied by the curator and Velma’s love interest Patrick Wisely, but discover the rest of the costumes have been stolen. Heather Jasper Howe ridicules the gang further by turning the city against them. The gang go to the mines, finding Wickles’s plans to turn it into an amusement park. As they confront Wickles, he states that he and Jacobo were cell-mates who hated each other and that he has no connection to the museum robberies.
Reiwa-The-First-Generation-Ichi-Gata-FightThe gang then find the Monster Hive where the costumes are brought to life as real monsters. Shaggy and Scooby play around with the machine’s control panel, bringing several costumes to life, and the gang flee the city with the panel as the Evil Masked Figure terrorizes the city. Escaping to their old high school clubhouse, the gang realize they can reverse the control panel’s power by altering its wiring. Captain Cutler’s Ghost emerges from the bayou, forcing the gang to head back to the mines, encountering the various monsters along the way. Velma encounters Patrick in the mines, finding a shrine dedicated to Jacobo, but Patrick proves his own innocence by rescuing Velma from falling through a catwalk.
MV5BMTY1MDI3OTI3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzc0MjUyMDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_The gang confront the Evil Masked Figure, but the Tar Monster captures all of them but Scooby, who uses a fire extinguisher to freeze the Tar Monster’s body. He reactivates the control panel, transforming the costumes back to normal. The gang take the Evil Masked Figure to the authorities, unmasking him as Heather, but in turn reveal she is actually Jacobo in disguise, having escaped death and tried to get revenge on Mystery, Inc. by discrediting them. Jacobo’s cameraman Ned is also arrested as an accomplice. Mystery, Inc. are praised as heroes once again in Coolsville. In the Faux Ghost, the gang celebrates their victory with the now reformed criminals whom they unmasked in the past (including Wickles).MV5BMTMyMjYzODg4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjc3MTg2._V1_I originally went to see this movie because Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in it as Daphne. But I discovered that overall this is a fun, comic, family film that I think the majority of people can appreciate. It’s well worth a look and in all honestly is immensely enjoyable.

REVIEW: CRUSADE

Tracy Scoggins, Gary Cole, Daniel Dae Kim, Carrie Dobro, and Peter Woodward in Crusade (1999)

 

Starring

Gary Cole (Tammy)
Tracy Scoggins (Highlander: The Series)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
David Allen Brooks (Castaway)
Peter Woodward (Dystopia)
Marjean Holden (Beastmaster)
Carrie Dobro (A Marine Story)

Peter Woodward in Crusade (1999)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Zeus Mendoza (Passengers)
Tim Thomerson (Trancers)
Alison Lohman (Drag Me To Hell)
Marshall R. Teague (Road House)
Edward Woodward (Hot Fuzz)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
John Novak (War)
Tim Choate (Blow Out)
Joel Swetow (The Orville)
James Parks (The HAteful Eight)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Bill Mondy (THe Dead Zone)
Lance LeGault (Stripes)
Richard Biggs (Tremors)

Science fiction on television tends to fall into a few small groupings; the space epic of shows like Star Trek and its spin offs and the smaller, more intimate shows like Firefly, that seem far more realistic (if a bit less fantastical). As a fan of all such shows, I’ve followed the ups and downs, ins and outs, and trials and tribulations of a host characters in various settings that were written with varying amounts of care and creativity. One of my favorites from the 1990’s was the epic series Babylon 5, a show created by genius writer Joseph Michael Straczynski. The series was set in the year 2257 and detailed the events of an intergalactic meeting place, a sort of United Nations in space, initially designed to be a means to prevent misunderstandings and promote peace. As the series progressed, its focus moved about a bit but the largest arc of shows dealt with the Shadow War.crusade_visitorsEssentially, two races of highly advanced sentient species; the Vorlons, a secretive race that believed in order and obedience, and the Shadows, a secretive race that believed in chaos and Darwinism, sought to continue their struggle for dominance as they had done every thousand years. Each employed highly advanced technology to further their goals and made alliances with some of the younger races that were ascending into dominance by virtue of their expansion into the Universe. Through several seasons of manipulation and intrigue, the war continued until ultimately concluding in a somewhat unique manner as all the players came to the table. The Babylon 5 series continued with the aftermath of the war and tied up many of the threads started during the five season run as well as the handful of television movies that furthered Mr. Straczynski’s vision of the future.MV5BMjIwNTU0Mzc0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzQyMTQ2MjE@._V1_After the fifth and final season wound down, the last TV movie, A Call to Arms, was financed and released by the TNT network. The movie dealt with one of the Shadows’ former allies, The Drakh, trying to enact revenge for what they perceived as the treachery of the humans in ridding the Universe of their former masters. In essence, the Drakh used Shadow technology in the form of a deadly virus to contaminate Earth and doom its population to a slow, lingering death. The new Interstellar Alliance commissioned a unique ship, the Excalibur, to find a cure by searching the Universe for remnants of Shadow technology (or anything else) that might help find a cure. The name of this second five year series (ala Star Trek) was Crusade: The Complete Series.brainonfire-chloegracemoretz-stressed-streetThe main cast of the show included the no-nonsense captain, Matthew Gideon, his telepathic first officer, John Matheson, the gifted doctor, Sarah Chambers, the thief with the past, Dureena Nafeel (brought over from the movie), the gifted archeologist, Max Eilerson, and the mysterious technomage, Galen, with appearances by various others from the original series on an irregular basis. Each seemed patterned after some of the more familiar characters of popular culture and the same holds true for the show itself. Few would argue that the “five year mission” could’ve come from anything other than Star Trek and fans of Japanese anime are quick to point out the similarities between the series and the Americanized version of Space Cruiser Yamato (Star Blazers) with the main cannon of the Excalibur firing a powerful blast that forces a recharge lasting far too long for most military situations and the overall concept of a single ship sent on a mission to save a dying Earth. I’m not going to spoil the show for you by pointing out the rest but fans of Stargate SG-1, King Arthur, and a great many other fantasy shows/books/movies will have a lot to think about as the show borrowed heavily from many sources.

Each episode managed to deal with the usual crisis of the week while developing the characters and big picture at the same time. Fans of the Babylon 5 series will appreciate how some of the events that took place in the series were touched upon as well. From the aftermath of the telepath war in The Well of Forever and The Path of Sorrows, showing how the newly established equivalent of the Psi-Corps could be just as oppressive as anything Bester could come up with; albeit in a more subtle manner; to the routine discussion about the technomages (one of the more interesting groups that were neglected in the original series).

The series didn’t just stick to a set script from the original series either, looking at a variety of themes that have all been done to death but showed some interesting insights into the mind of Mr. Straczynski. From the usual “ends justifies the means” to the “common good versus individual freedoms” to the relativistic morals many of the cast displayed in the weekly dilemmas they faced, the show managed to provide a means for viewers to explore their own ideas in relation to the show rather than spoon feed. Mr. Straczynski did use his sly sense of humor (look for some of his recent work on Marvel’s Spiderman comic book for even more of his anti-corporate, anti-war outlook) in each of the ten episodes he wrote (out of the thirteen), like in Patterns of the Soul or Racing the Night, but also added his usual touches in other episodes.MV5BMTcwODM2NjQxM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTE3ODE3NzE@._V1_What made the vast majority of Babylon 5, Crusade, and the books so interesting was the writing (not the special effects) of both the characters and the situations they found themselves in. Unlike far too many shows of the past, the characters in Mr. Straczynski’s universe are virtually all flawed in some significant manner. This allows the viewer to more fully identify with the characters, much like Joss Whedon’s Firefly; another show that lasted 13 episodes and was cut down by corporate decision making at its worst. TNT cancelled the show before it even aired; doing everything it could to cut short their contract with Straczynski (trying to make creative changes that hogtied him into a corner by making the show use more sex to boost ratings, more space battles to intrigue the non-fans, and a host of conceptual alterations that reportedly drove him half crazy).crusadeIn the end, Babylon 5 fans will have to simply accept that things didn’t work out and for all the promise Crusade had that went unfilled, a movie is currently in the works, The Memory of Shadows which will hopefully tie up the majority of loose ends. Straczynski has indicated that the actual theme of Crusade was not going to be five years of searching for the cure (it was planned to be found in the middle of the second season) so much as dealing with the aftermath in general of the Shadow technology let loose upon the Universe and humankind’s attempts to harness it for their own purpose. Humanity was the race viewed as having the most potential of the major Babylon 5 races to further the positive aspects of life but also considered the most likely to cause harm due to our various character flaws (this being a thinly veiled reference to the USA for the most part) and how various factions tried to capitalize on the advanced technology, regardless of the dangers involved or the cost of using them, would’ve been fleshed out in the fullness of time. The show had plenty of flaws (many relating to those of the first season of Babylon 5) but it managed to provide a different taste of Straczynski” Universe before it slipped into the night.

REVIEW: ANDROMEDA – SEASON 5

 

Starring

Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Lisa Ryder (Jason X)
Gordon Michael Woolvett (Bride of Chucky)
Laura Bertram (50/50)
Lexa Doig (Arrow)
Steve Bacic (Flash Gordon)
Brandy Ledford (Rat Race)

Kevin Sorbo in Andromeda (2000)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Alan Scarfe (Kingdom Hospital)
Kyle Cassie (Deadpool)
Alexander Kalugin (Final Destination 3)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Mark Acheson (elf)
Ken Tremblett (Caitlin’s Way)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Don S. Davis (Stargate SG.1)
Noah Danby (Bitten)
Natassia Malthe (Bloodrayne 2& 3)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
Alex Diakun (Agent COdy Banks)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)
Robin Mossley (Elf)
Monika Schnarre (Waxwork II)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Hiro Kanagawa (Izombie)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Françoise Yip (The Predator)
Kevan Ohtsji (Elektra)
John DeSantis (Arrow)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Sarah Edmondson (Salvation)

Andromeda: The Weight: Part 2 (2004)Andromeda starred Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journey’s) in a science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) with a variety of executive producers Robert Hewitt Wolfe (The 4400, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Majel Rodenberry (Earth: Final Conflict), Allan Eastman (Star Trek: Voyager), Robert Engels (seaQuest DSV), Jay Firestone (Mutant X, La Femme Nikita), and Adam Haight (Mutant X, Highlander: The Raven). With its diverse crew of producers with extensive experience in science fiction and drama productions, Andromeda put in five solid seasons from 2000 to 2005 and totaled one-hundred and ten episodes. The premise of Andromeda is about the adventures of the crew the Andromeda and their efforts to rebuild a massive civilization that spanned the universe.Kevin Sorbo in Andromeda (2000)In season five, the series takes a much different turn in events. At the end of the season four, there was some skepticism as to whether or not the show would continue into a fifth season. Well, the series was picked up for a fifth season, but with a smaller budget. And the budget (or rather lack of) shows in the episodes. The storylines lose the grandeur it once had with the epic space battles and massive story arcs. The series, stories, and character becomes more confined and lose a lot of the appeal found in previous seasons. In a nutshell, watching season five was more of a chore than fun. While there was some decent content, it does not compare to the quality of the past seasons.Andromeda (2000)In the close of season four, the Andromeda came to the space station Arkology to warn the inhabitants about their impending doom. The Magog Worldship was headed right for them and they need to get out of there. The inhabitants were a peaceful people and believed that they could make peace with the Magog. Dylan and the rest tried to tell them peace is not an option. Of course, they did not listen. When the Magog came, the Andromeda and its crew tried its best to stop the onslaught, but they failed miserably. In the close of the two-part season four finale, Dylan took the Route of Ages in a slipstream fighter and found himself transported into an alternative universe.Andromeda (2000)The two-part episode “The Weight” kicks off season five. In it, Dylan gets accustomed to his new life in the alternate universe on a planet called Seefra-1, which is one of nine barren wastelands. When Dylan tries to learn more about where he is, he finds little help. But when he meets a mysterious man named Flavin, he begins to get more clues about his situation. He is trapped in an isolated cluster of planets in another universe. Dylan explores Seefra-1 and later runs into a very disgruntled Rhade. Rhade and the others crew members (who Dylan runs into in later episodes) are unhappy with him for leaving them to die. It was through the efforts of Trance that the Andromeda (badly damaged) and her crew were brought into this alternate reality and not left to die at the hands of the Magog. They also blame him for being stuck on Seefra-1. Dylan returns to Flavin to get more information from him. Dylan learns his place is on Seefra-1; he must help the people in the coming days. Flavin also reveals the true nature of the Route of Ages.Alex Diakun in Andromeda (2000)After the not-so-exciting season premiere, “Phear Phactor Phenom” has the majority of the season four cast back together in some form or another, Dylan, Harper, Beka, Trance, and Rhade. We learn that Rommie was destroyed and Harper had been on Seefra-1 for over three years while the rest of the crew had only just recently arrived. During Harper’s time on the Seefra-1, he was able to rebuild a new android with portions of Rommie’s damaged core. The new character is Doyle, a blonde robot who was initially made to think she is human. The season five episodes proceed with the cast getting reacquainted with each other and Dylan trying to get the Andromeda up and running again. Some have changed with their new situation, most notably Trance who lost portions of her memory.Lochlyn Munro in Andromeda (2000)In the episode “Moonlight Becomes You”, Trance starts to remember who she is and the season starts to focus on the storyline hinted at in “The Weight”. The Seefra system is in jeopardy and the crew must work together to save the inhabitants of the nine wastelands over the next several episodes. But the story really ties into the power that is Trance. Trance is an avatar of the Vedran sun and the actual sun is approaching Seefra-1. When it arrives, the planets in the system (except for Seefra-1) will explode. The episodes “Past is Prolix”, “The Opposites of Attraction”, “Saving Light from a Black Sun”, “Quantum Tractate Delirium”, “One More Day’s Light”, and “Chaos and the Stillness of It” continue to focus on this storyline (uncovering more about Trance, the council of avatars she is a senior member of, and the crew trying to save the inhabitants), which is much more entertaining than the first portion of the season, but it still lacks the same punch the early seasons had.Andromeda (2000)In the two-part series finale “The Heart of the Journey”, the series come to a close by wrapping up the series story arc with the Abyss. While on Seefra-1, Harper receives a message transmission for Dylan. It is from Flavin, who had been killed by the Abyss, telling Dylan he is the last hope for the survival of the known worlds. The Council intends to destroy the galaxies of the known world in order to snuff out the Abyss. They, however, give Dylan and his crew the opportunity to return before their utter demise. Once back in their universe, they find only four days have passed since the Magog Worldship attacked. The Andromeda has to face the Nietzchseans and the Abyss. The situation that appeared dire ends with a happy ending and the destruction of the Abyss in a battle that is far from epic.Emmanuelle Vaugier in Andromeda (2000)Overall, I really did not care for this season. The level of grandeur in the storylines was significantly diminished. The big flashy effects were part of what made the sci-fi series so much fun were gone. The show tended to have very isolated stories with limited character development. In the end, I did not see much in this season that made it worthwhile. Sure, there are some decent episodes, but they fail to compare to the past seasons. Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I give it a rent it recommendation on the pure basis that it concludes the series and there are a few decent episodes to follow.

 

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 8

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Justin Hartley (This Is Us)
Erica Durance (Supergirl)
Aaron Ashmore (Veronica Mars)
Cassidy Freeman (The Vampire Diaries)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)

Alaina Huffman, Justin Hartley, and Alan Ritchson in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Phil Morris (Doom Patrol)
Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Flash)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Charlotte Sullivan (Mary Kills People)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
David Lewis (Childs Play)
Kyle Schmid (Six)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
James Marsters (Runaways)
Ryan Kennedy (Caprica)
Alexz Johnson (Final Destination 3)
Calum Worthy (Ameircan Vandel)
Robert Lawrenson (Sanctuary)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Alessandro Juliani (Man of Steel)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Stephen Lobo (Continuum)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Serinda Swan (Inhumans)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Brendan Fletcher (Arrow)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Monique Ganderton (American Ultra)

Tom Welling and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Technically this season shouldn’t have worked; the show’s main villain and arguably most popular character, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) has now departed; secondly they were introducing a villain which was virtually impossible to bring to the big screen never mind a television series in Doomsday. However whilst a massive void had been created by Rosenbaum’s departure, it was filled suprisingly very well by the main cast of heroes who finally come into their own this season with performances and stories which intelligently test those who have big destinies to embrace in the Superman era to come. Tom Welling finally begins to take his final steps to becoming Superman and is starting to demonstrate how capapble as lead he is while bringing a new found presence to Clark Kent. There is also an increased number of on-screen scenes between Welling and Erica Durance’s Lois Lane and the result is a relationship which is as funny as it is touching and believable.Justin Hartley and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Likewise other support characters like Chloe and Jimmy are tested by the new villain in town, Sam Witwer’s Davis Bloome who is a great unique character to the series who undergoes a menacing and horrific transformation as the season unfolds. There is also a welcome return from Justin Hartley’s Oliver Queen who now becomes a series regular after a successful stint in the sixth season and a brief cameo in the seventh. Queen’s character is also successful to the season’s story as his questionable methods bring him into conflict with Clark who is now trying to figure out what sort of hero he wants to become. The Doomsday story is a well written one in itself and Doomsday is interpreted in a way which is both unique in style yet never undermines the characters standing in the mythology. Sam Witwer is more than capable playing the villain, he lacks perhaps the charisma and flair of Rosenbaum, but the horror given off by his transformations is more than projected out of the screen. The same cannot be said for Cassidy Freeman whose Tess Mercer is terribly aimless and lacking in focus, in terms of a series villain, Rosenbaums absence is felt though not quite fatal.Charlotte Sullivan and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The season is very well executed in tone, humour and story. There are many episodes which take the series much further and there are some more characters from the D.C Universe in episodes such as ‘Instinct’, ‘Legion’ and ‘Hex’. ‘Bride’, ‘Eternal’ and ‘Beast’ are also exceptional drama episodes featuring Doomsday which keeps building up the season to a final climatic battle.Tom Welling and Erica Durance in Smallville (2001)It is unfortunate therefore that what prevents the season from achieving pure greatness is a series of misjudged stories which threaten to undermine every bit of progress Smallville made this season. The brief reintroduction of an old character in ‘Power’ and ‘Requiem’ was a terrible mistake and unpopular with viewers, as was the apparent demise of another important character. Also while the season does a sensational job in building up the tension towards the final episode, the final episode of the season itself is very weak and sadly anti-climactic. This is a shame since many may feel cheated by a poor resolution but on the plus side, the drama remains top notch throughout and the themes explored this season are never forgotten and never betrayed, even in the finale. Smallville has enjoyed a fantastic return to form overall this season and many fans will be left feeling hopefull of the action and drama to come in the ninth season. Well worth buying though this eighth season.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 6

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Erica Durance (Supergirl)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
John Glover (Shazam)

Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Aaron Ashmore (Veronica Mars)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
Justin Hartley (A Bad Moms Christmas)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)
Brendan Penny (The Wedding Chapel)
Amber McDonald (Without a Paddle 2)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
Lucas Grabeel (Family Guy)
Bryce Hodgson (Izombie)
Sebastian Gacki (The Thaw)
Bow Wow (Like Mike)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Heather Doerksen (Van Hesling)
Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Carmen Moore (Flash Gordon)
Tyler Posey (Truth Or Dare)
John Novak (Dr. Dolittle 3)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Tori Spelling (Scary Movie 2)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Lee Thompson Young (Flashforward)
Phil Morris (Doom Patrol)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Jordan Belfi (Entourage)
Peter Flemming (Stargate SG.1)
Greyston Holt (Bitten)
Adrian Hough (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (V)
Benjamin Ayres (The Vampire Diaries)
Michael Eklund (Bates Motel)
Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman)
Barclay Hope (Stargate SG.1)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
A.C. Peterson (Mutant X)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)

Justin Hartley in Smallville (2001)They say timing is everything, and for me the timing of watching season 6 of Smallville for the first time was perfect. Why is that? Because this was the season that introduced their take on Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, and I got hooked on the new show about him this last season on TV.Tom Welling and Justin Hartley in Smallville (2001)Of course, before we can get to new characters, we have a few cliffhangers to resolve. While all kinds of chaos is reigning down on the citizens of Earth thanks to the evil force that has taken over Lex Luther’s body (Michael Rosenbaum), Clark Kent (Tom Welling) can’t do much about it since he’s trapped in the Phantom Zone. While he does escape and manage to save the day, he unwittingly releases the evil prisoners from the Phantom Zone and must spend some time tracking them down this season. As things return to normal, characters explore new options. Lois Lane (Erica Durance) and Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) become roommates and Lois starts a new career as a reporter for a tabloid. They also both get new boyfriends in the two new characters that are introduced.Lee Thompson Young, Kyle Gallner, Justin Hartley, and Alan Ritchson in Smallville (2001)Lois starts dating the previously mentioned Olive Queen (Justin Hartley) while Chloe falls for Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore), a young photographer at The Daily Planet. Lana Lang (Kistin Kreuk), meanwhile, has moved in with Lex and their relationship becomes more serious when she finds out she is pregnant. Chloe learns a very surprising secret and is reunited with her mom as played by TV’s Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter.Tori Spelling in Smallville (2001)Other storylines of the season involve Clark and Oliver’s clashes over how to use their powers for good. Lex is collecting and hiding people with abilities. Those storylines clash when we see the first glimpse of the Justice League Smallville style. This season is really about the young adults. No one is in college any more (did they all drop out after one season or did they all graduate at lightning speed?) While Lionel Luther (John Glover) is still around being unclear in his intensions, Martha Kent (Annette O’Toole) is given very little to do. And before the season is over, one character makes an exit from the show.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 1

Starring

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

Sam Jones III, Allison Mack, and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

John Glover (Shazam)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Disturbing Behaviour)
Adrian Glynn McMorran (Arrow)
Alvin Sanders (Riverdale)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
Chad Donella (Final Destination)
Gabrielle Rose (If I Stay)
Jason Connery (Wishmaster 3)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heores Reborn)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Tom O’Brien (The Accused)
Beverley Breuer (Rverdale)
Eric Christian Olsen (Tru Calling)
Jackie Burroughs (The Dead Zone)
George Murdock (Star Trek V)
Mitchell Kosterman (Stargate SG.1)
Amy Adams (Justice League)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Joe Morton (God Friended Me)
Robert Wisden (Watchmen)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Michael Eklund (Bates Motel)
Kelly Brook (Three)
Cameron Dye (Valley Girl)
Jesse Hutch (True Justice)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Kett Turton (Saved)
Rick Peters (Dexter)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
Kevin McNulty (Snakes on a Plane)
P. Lynn Johnson (The Invisible)
Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
Kavan Smith (When Calls The Heart)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man)
Eric Breker (Godzilla)
Jud Tylor (That 70s Show)
Corin Nemec (Stargate SG.1)
Mark Gibbon (Man of Steel)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Ryan Kelley (Teen Wolf)
Jim Shield (Cold Pursuit)
Brandy Ledford (Andromeda)
Rekha Sharma (Star Trek: Discovery)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (Chloe)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Marguerite Moreau (Wet Hot American Summer)
Adam Brody (Jennifer’s Body)
Kevan Ohtsji (Elektra)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Frank C. Turner (Alone In The Dark)

John Schneider and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Coming only a few years after the somewhat successful, but often corny, Lois & Clark, there were a lot of expectations and fears going into Smallville. Would the series appeal to die-hard Superman fans, or would it just be another WB drama geared toward teenagers?Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Fortunately, Smallville turns out to be super – easily the best on-screen depiction of the Superman character since the original Superman: The Movie. But it does take most of the season to get things rolling. Too many of the shows in Season One are simply “Villain of the Week” kind of deals, with Clark Kent going up against a villain who has one superpower or another (the explanation for why all these genetically altered people are showing up in Smallville is attributed to the meteor shower that hit the town – and brought Clark to Earth).Kristin Kreuk in Smallville (2001)It is obvious, however, in the early going that the relationships between the main characters would develop into something special. Clark is just beginning to discover his super powers (he does not yet have the ability to fly – following the concept that he will not gain all of his super powers until he reaches maturity), and Lex Luthor actually starts out as a good guy, who is slowly turning towards his evil ways. Also noteworthy is the developing relationship between Clark and Lana Lang, a girl whom he is infatuated with, but can’t get close to…not only because he is unsure of himself, but because Lana (whose parents were killed in the meteor shower) sports a necklace with a piece of the meteor as a way of remembering her mother and father. The meteor is, of course, Kryptonite, so Clark both literally and figuratively gets weak in the knees every time he gets close to the woman he loves!Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)But the relationship that is really worth tuning into Smallville for is the one between Clark and his adoptive parents (played by Dukes of Hazzard’s John Schneider and Superman III’s Annette O’Toole). I really like the father figure presented here for a young Clark – a man who both loves his son, yet is afraid about how his special abilities may affect his future. It’s really a relationship that has never been deeply developed in any previous incarnations of the Superman legend, so it’s nice to see a show that focuses on it so strongly.Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)By the time Season One wraps up, all the pieces are in place for Season Two – which really did a great job of exploring Clark’s Kryptonian heritage and had him start asking some real questions about his purpose in life. But until Season Two arrives on DVD (or you catch the reruns on the WB), Season One has enough to keep fans entertained. So keep in mind when viewing these shows that they do indeed get deeper and more meaningful as they go along.Annette O'Toole, John Schneider, and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The overall episodes are fairly strong, and for the most part, presented well on DVD format by Warners. It’s getting a “Highly Recommended” not so much for the overall package, but for the overall strength of the episodes. Sure to bring new fans to the series and appease those who are already big followers of the show, this box set may not leap tall buildings in a single bound, but it has got enough spring in it to make it a worthwhile purchase.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE – SEASON 1-7

515627

MAIN CAST

Avery Brooks (Roots: The Gift)
Nana Visitor (Dark Angel)
Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Terry Farrell (Hellraiser 3)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Cirroc Lofton (Soul Food)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Nicole de Boer (Rated X)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Felecia M. Bell (Nightman)
Marc Alaimo (Total Recall)
Aron Eisenberg (Puppet Master 3)
Max Grodenchick (Apollo 13)
J.G. Hertzler (Roswell)
April Grace (Lost)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
Andrew Robinson (Hellraiser)
Gwynyth Walsh (Taken)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Rosalind Chao (I Am Sam)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Jennifer Hetrick (L.A. Law)
John De Lancie (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Tom McCleister (Angel)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Julie Caitlin Brown (Babylon 5)
Chris Latta (Transformers)
Barry Gordon (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Cliff De Young (Glory)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Harris Yullin (Rush Hour 2)
Louise Fletcher (Heroes)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Stephen Macht (Galaxina)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
John Glover (Smallville)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Daphne Ashbrook (The Love Letter)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Salli Richardson-Whitfield (I Am Legend)
William Schallert (Innerspace)
K Callan (Lois & CLark)
Chris Sarandon (Child’s Play)
John Colicos (Battlestar Galactica)
Michael Ansara (Batman: TAS)
William Campbell (Dementia 13)
Tony Plana (Ugly Betty)
Michael Bell (Rugrats)
Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Salome Jens (Superbot)
Martha Hackett (Leprechaun 2)
Ken Marshall (Krull)
Mary Kay Adams (Babylon 5)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Brett Cullen (Lost)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Tricia O’ Neil (Gia)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Free Enterprise)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Richard Lee Jackson (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Andrew Prine (V)
Tracy Scoggins (Lois & Clark)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Chase Masterson (Terminal Invasion)
Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle)
Andrea Martin (Wag The Dog)
Diane Salinger (Batman Returns)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Robert O’ Reilly (The Mask)
Obi Ndefo (Stargate SG.1)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Jeremy Roberts (Veronica Mars)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Robert Foxworth (Syriana)
Brock Peters (Soylent Green)
Casey Biggs (Broken Arrow)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Robert DoQui (Robocop)
D. Elliot Woods (Agents of SHIELD)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
Ron Canada (Just Like Heaven)
Jeffrey Nordling (Flight 93)
Gerrit Graham (Child’s Play 2)
Cliff De Young (THe Craft)
Jim Jansen (Death Becomes Her)
Tom Towles (Fortress)
Philip Anglim (The Elepehant Man)
Bruce Gray (Cube 2)
Ron Taylor (The Simpsons)
Larry Cedar (Deadwood)
Bill Mondy (Smallville)
Michael Reilly Burke (Mars Attacks)
Heidi Swedberg (Hot Shots)
Amanda Carlin (Friends)
Bernie Casey (Under Siege)
Molly Hagan (Izombie)
Michael Jace (The Fan)
Dennis Christopher (IT)
Joseph Ruskin (The Scorpian King)
Lawrence Pressman (Dark Angel)
Jill Sayre (Hercules and The Amazon Women)
Jonathan Frakes (Sar Trek: TNG)
Tina Lifford (Babe)
Bill Smitrovich (Ted)
Lark Voorhies (Save By The bell)
John Doman (Gotham)
Marshall R. Teague (Babylon 5)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
Clarence Williams III (The Butler)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Charlie Brill (Silk Stalkings)
Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Lawrence Tierney (Resevoir Dogs)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Paul Popowich (Rupture)
Courtney Peldon (Out on a Lamb)
Michelle Krusiec (The Invitation)
Clayton Landey (Staragte: Atlantis)
Kevin Rahm (Bates MNotel)
Mike Starr (Ed Wood)
James Black (Anger Management
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
John Prosky (The Devil Inside)
Hilary Shepard (Power Rangers Turbo)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Charlie Brill (Silk Stalkings)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Marjean Holden (Hostage)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Christopher Shea (Bounty Killer)
Marc Worden (Ultimate Avengers)
Gabrielle Union (Ugly Betty)
Shannon Cochran (The Ring)
Iggy Pop (The Crow 2)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Leslie Hope (24)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Michael Weatherly (NCIS)
Henry Gibson (Sabrina: TTW)
James Darren (T.J. Hooker)
Bill Mumy (Babylon 5)
Kevin Rahm (Bates Motel)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
William Sadler (Roswell)

DS9 is one of my all-time favourite television shows. It edges out Star Trek’s original series just barely as my favourite in the franchise. I am not going to state that it’s the best Star Trek series, because it definitely will not appeal to everybody, but it is my favourite.

DS9 deviates from the Trek franchise formula in an important way – it is based on one location – a Cardassian-built space station near the planet Bejor. So even the architecture of the main set is alien – not another sterile militaristic star ship inhabited by a primarily white European crew – but a true Babel. Bejor has just been liberated from 60 years of occupation by an expansionist militaristic race – the Cardassians. Both Bejorans and Cardassians will play important roles throughout DS9. Since the station does not move much during the show’s seven year run, DS9 has a much stronger sense of place than the other ST series, and is able to develop story arc and character continuity much more powerfully than the others.

All of the major characters and most of the frequent returning characters have their own interwoven story arcs – most of which span the entire series. Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks), the station’s commander, is a somewhat disgruntled Star Fleet officer who has several personal vendettas which have almost driven him from Star Fleet. He is also a single parent and a genius. In the very first episode, Sisko’s arc begins and it is clear that his story will be the frame within which the entire series is organized – though the reasons for this will no become entirely clear until near the end. Also memorable are the gruff, shape-shifting Chief Constable Odo(Rene Auberjunois) who does not know what he is and where he came from; Kira (Nana Visitor) Sisko’s aggressive and intense Bajoran second officer; Garak (Andy Robinson) a Cardassian Tailor and – possibly – spy, who is easily the most well-developed, well-acted and interesting recurring guest star Star Trek has ever had; Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) – the beautiful Trill science officer whose consciousness is enhanced by the memories and personality of a 600 year old symbiotic slug who lives in her stomach and has inhabited dozens of previous hosts; Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) the station’s young, brilliant, adventurous and naive doctor; and Quark (Armin Shimmerman), the greedy, conniving, but entirely lovable Ferengi casino owner.

The characters, cast, and serialized stories make DS9 stand apart from the franchise as the most powerfully plotted, intensely dramatic and politically charged Star Trek ever. The show is, however, not for those with limited attention spans and a disdain for complexity. While it isn’t exactly hard to follow, the dialog is often dense and DS9 – more than any other Trek show – uses non-verbal communication very well. Brooks, Visitor and Robinson – all of whom are masters at this – are particularly non-verbal and make a big impression from the first few episodes.

Throughout the series, there are constant underlying political intrigues and surprisingly little filler. Almost every story connects with the main story arc (Sisko’s and Bejor’s) in one way or another, and no time is wasted with aimless experimentation by the writing team (a problem Voyager and Enterprise both suffered from).

The production is consistently theatrical in scope. The special effects are still – even today – above average for television, and even the new BSG doesn’t approach the scope and coherence of the plot.Highly recommended for bright people looking for something more than typical TV drama normally delivers.