REVIEW: THE TERMINATOR

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Maggie)
Michael Biehn (Cherry Falls)
Linda Hamilton (Chuck)
Paul Winfield (Star Trek II)
Lance Henriksen (Aliens)
Earl Boen (Marked For Death)
Bess Motta (New Monkees)
Rick Rossovich (Top Gun)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Bill Paxton (True Lies)
Brian Thompson (Hired To Kill)
Marianne Muellerleile (Thank You For Smoking)

In 1984 Los Angeles, a cyborg assassin known as a Terminator arrives from 2029 and steals guns and clothes. Shortly afterward, Kyle Reese, a human soldier from 2029, arrives. He steals clothes and evades the police. The Terminator begins systematically killing women named Sarah Connor, whose addresses he finds in the telephone directory. He tracks the third Sarah Connor to a nightclub, but Kyle rescues her. The two steal a car and escape with the Terminator pursuing them in a police car.As they hide in a parking lot, Kyle explains to Sarah that an artificial intelligence defense network, known as Skynet, will become self-aware in the near future and initiate a nuclear holocaust. Sarah’s future son John will rally the survivors and lead a resistance movement against Skynet and its army of machines. With the Resistance on the verge of victory, Skynet sent a Terminator back in time to kill Sarah before John is born, to prevent the formation of the Resistance. The Terminator is an efficient killing machine with a powerful metal endoskeleton and an external layer of living tissue that makes it appear human.Kyle and Sarah are apprehended by the police after another encounter with the Terminator. Criminal psychologist Dr. Silberman concludes that Kyle is paranoid and delusional. The Terminator repairs his body and attacks the police station, killing many police officers in his attempt to locate Sarah. Kyle and Sarah escape, steal another car and take refuge in a motel, where they assemble pipe bombs and plan their next move. Kyle admits that he has been in love with Sarah since John gave him a photograph of her, and they have sex.The Terminator kills Sarah’s mother and perfectly impersonates her when Sarah, unaware of the Terminator’s ability to mimic victims, attempts to contact her via telephone. The Terminator thus deduces their location, and when they realize he has reacquired them, they escape in a pickup truck. In the ensuing chase, Kyle is wounded by gunfire while throwing pipe bombs at the Terminator. Enraged‚ Sarah knocks the Terminator off his motorcycle but loses control of the truck, which flips over. The Terminator hijacks a tank truck and attempts to run down Sarah, but Kyle slides a pipe bomb onto the tanker, causing an explosion that burns the flesh from the Terminator’s endoskeleton. It pursues them to a factory, where Kyle activates machinery to confuse the Terminator. He jams his final pipe bomb into the Terminator’s abdomen, blowing the Terminator apart, injuring Sarah, and killing Kyle. The damaged Terminator reactivates and grabs Sarah. She breaks free and lures it into a hydraulic press, crushing it. Months later, a pregnant Sarah is traveling through Mexico, recording audio tapes to pass on to her unborn son, John. She debates whether to tell him that Kyle is his father. At a gas station, a boy takes a Polaroid photograph of her which she purchases—the same photograph that John will eventually give to Kyle.The Terminator was the film that cemented Arnold Schwarzenegger’s place in the action-brawn firmament, and both his and the movie’s subsequent iconic status are well deserved. He’s chilling as the futuristic cyborg that kills without fear, without love, without mercy. James Cameron’s story and direction are pared to the bone and are all the more chillingly effective for it. But don’t overlook the contribution of Linda Hamilton, who more than holds her own as the Terminator’s would-be victim, Sarah Connor, thus creating–along with Sigourney Weaver in Alien–a new generation of rugged, clear-thinking female action stars. The film’s minimalist, malevolent violence is actually scarier than that of its far more expensive, more effects-laden sequel.

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REVIEW: HIRED TO KILL

CAST

Brian Thompson (Dragonheart)
Oliver Reed (Gladiator)
George Kennedy (The Naked Gun)
Jose Ferrer (Dune)
Michelle Moffett (Deathstalker IV)
Barbara Niven (A Perfect Ending)
Jordana Capra (The Visitants)
Penelope Reed (Amazons)

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If you watch as many Direct-to-Video Low-Budget action movies as I do, then you know that a majority of them are just alright. Some end up being forgettable, some end up being just plain terrible, and then some will just blindside you out of nowhere and end up being amazing. This is one of those films. Brian Thompson  plays Frank Ryan, a mercenary who’s hired to sneak into South America and rescue an imprisoned rebel leader. To do this, he must go undercover as a gay fashion designer, and will have to hire and train 7 women to be both models and assassins to be able to pull this job off. hired-to-kill-1-oliver-reedYou’ll know in the first 5 minutes whether this film is your cup of tea or not, because right off the bat, it’s blatantly absurd in a very cheesy late 80’s/early 90’s kind of way. None of it is on purpose either, it’s all done straight in a legitimate way, which makes it all the more amazing and hilarious. If you’re into this kind of thing, then Hired to Kill delivers on every level. It’s a film that, while a bit goofy, fires on all cylinders to deliver exactly the kind of action film experience that I just love to death; cheese, action, explosions, nudity, one-liners, awesome and unintentionally hilarious.hired-to-kill-2Brian Thompson just rules so hard in this. From his very first second of screen time, which is literally the very first image of the film, he exudes a cool, tough guy, machismo that is a bit ridiculous, yet so unintentionally silly and hilarious. He seems to just really hate women in general, and because of this, his character is fascinatingly entertaining in an overly macho way, like he’s overcompensating for something. It’s highly amusing, and Brian Thompson sells it like nobody else does. It’s really a shame he never got the chance to do more films like this as an action star. If this film proves anything, it’s that Thompson should have been given more opportunities like this other than typically playing a villain.kiralik-katil-hired-to-kill-1990-dvdrip-576px264-dual-bb66-6I’d never heard of Greek writer/director Nico Mastorakis before this. It seems though that he was a pretty busy guy, throwing out a good 2-3 films per year during the 80’s and 90’s. I think what surprised me a bit was that he didn’t just stick to action. Comedy seemed to be a genre he constantly came back to, as well as horror and thrillers. Yet, if this film is any indication, action seemed to be his calling. As I look into them all though, it seems the “quality” of his work varied greatly from film to film, as is usually the case with these type of filmmakers. hiredblu00004There’s so much to love about this film. Not only does it deliver on the action, but just the premise alone, about training 7 women to become assassins, and heading into South America under the false pretense that they’re famous fashion models, is just ridiculously awesome. There are moments that the film is just so absurd, that they apparently didn’t stop and think how plausible any of it would be. m140705_9fa464583
Hired to Kill has everything you could want in a film like this; nudity, tons of action, explosions, one-liners that rival the best of Schwarzenegger, an absurd but highly enjoyable premise. It’s a nonstop ride of nonsense, cheesy fun, action-packed and entertaining as hell. It’s exactly the type of film you hope it will be.

REVIEW: ALIEN NATION (1988)

CAST

James Caan (Elf)
Mandy Patinkin (Dead Like Me)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
Kevyn Major Howard (Death Wish II)
Leslie Beivs (The Opposite of Sex)
Peter Jason (Red Heat)
Tony Perez (24)
Jeff Kober (Sully)
Keone Young (Crank)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Francis X. McCarthy (The Relic)
Roger Aaron Brown (Cobra)
Earl Boen (Marked For Death)

The year is 1991; one year since an unidentified flying object bearing 300,000 enslaved aliens, the Newcomers, landed in the Mojave Desert on planet Earth. Los Angeles later becomes their new home.Matthew Sykes (Caan), a police detective, loses his partner Bill Tuggle (Brown) in a shootout; the detectives had been trying to stop two Newcomer criminals murdering another Newcomer named Porter at a grocery, in what appeared to be a robbery. The next day, Sykes’ superior Captain Warner (McCarthy), informs his squad that they will have to work with the newly promoted Newcomer detective Sam Francisco (Patinkin). Although biased, Sykes enlists to work with Francisco to investigate a similar homicide with a Newcomer named Warren Hubely, feeling that if he investigates that crime, he will also find opportunities to investigate his partner’s death (which he is officially forbidden to do).While at a crime lab, trying unobtrusively to establish a connection between the two cases, Francisco detects an abnormality on the body of one of the Newcomer criminals who was killed in the robbery. Later, Sykes and Francisco are led to a nightclub to investigate a link in the killings with a Newcomer named Joshua Strader (Kober). However, they end up interviewing his girlfriend instead, after Strader is murdered by a criminal ring led by Newcomer businessman William Harcourt (Stamp) and his henchman Rudyard Kipling (Howard).Harcourt is in the latter stages of launching advanced plans to exploit the alien race by attempting to mass-produce and sell a drug called Jabroka. The drug was used in the past to pacify the Newcomers when they were slaves, but has no effect on humans. The abnormality noticed by Francisco on the body of the Newcomer criminal earlier turns out to have been a visual sign of the drug’s influence. In addition, the Newcomers Hubley, Porter and Strader were involved in the planning phases of the operation, but were later murdered due to Harcourt’s desire to exclude them from any future financial rewards. Ultimately, Sykes and Francisco track down Harcourt, where he is secretly negotiating a timetable for a release of the potent narcotic. The detectives attempt to foil his plans, as they are later led on a car chase with Harcourt and his cohort Kipling through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Following a head-on collision where both parties are injured, Harcourt attempts an escape on foot. Sykes pursues and corners Harcourt onto a desolate drawbridge. Harcourt then purposely overdoses on a sample of the stimulant.600px-an-1100_03a

As Sykes mistakenly believes Harcourt has died, Harcourt is taken away by an ambulance, but later mutates into a significantly larger and more muscular Newcomer intent on causing violence. The duo pursue Harcourt, catching up with him near a fishing pier. Sykes later ends up in a physical confrontation with Harcourt in the open sea. Harcourt dies, as his body disintegrates due to the effects of direct contact with salt water, which is hazardous towards Newcomer physiology. Francisco commandeers a police helicopter, and rescues Sykes from the water. With the Tuggle and Newcomer murder cases solved, the authorities dismantle Harcourt’s illicit scheme.untitledAlien Nation asks questions about ourselves as humans. How would we react if aliens landed on Earth and announced they were escaping a brutal planet full of slavery and have immigrated to Earth? Would we accept them as our own, or would we force them to become outcasts? Would we allow an “Affirmative Action” scenario in regards to Aliens and Alien rights? Would we offer them high-paying jobs and/or top-notch education, depriving humans of those same jobs and quality education in exchange? To me, Alien Nation is one of the more possible (and perhaps likely) scenarios. Aliens delegated to run-down areas of big cities. Token jobs occasionally handed out because it’s forced by the Government to do so. And a general disgust towards Aliens amongst the human population. In that regard, this movie was way ahead of the curve.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: STAR TREK: GENERATIONS

CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
William Shatner (TJ Hooker)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The GIft)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Crowned and Dangerous)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween)
Jacqueline Kim (Xena)
Barbara March (L.A. Law)
Gwynyth Walsh (Taken)
Patti Yasutake (Gung Ho)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
Walter Koenig (Babylon 5)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)

In the year 2293, retired Captain James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott, and Pavel Chekov attend the maiden voyage of the Federation starship USS Enterprise-B, under the command of the unseasoned Capt. John Harriman. During the voyage, Enterprise is pressed into a rescue mission to save two El-Aurian ships from a strange energy ribbon. Enterprise is able to save some of the refugees before their ships are destroyed, but the starship becomes trapped in the ribbon. Kirk goes to deflector control to alter the deflector dish, allowing Enterprise to escape, but the trailing end of the ribbon rakes across Enterprise’s hull, exposing the section Kirk is in to space; he is presumed dead.

In 2371, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D celebrate the promotion of Worf to Lieutenant Commander. Captain Jean-Luc Picard receives a message that his brother and nephew were killed in a fire, meaning the storied Picard family line will end with him. Enterprise receives a distress call from an observatory in orbit of the star Amargosa, where they rescue the El-Aurian Dr. Tolian Soran. The android Data and engineer Geordi La Forge discover a compound called trilithium in a hidden room of the observatory. Soran appears, knocks La Forge unconscious, and launches a trilithium solar probe at Amargosa. The probe causes the star to implode, sending a shock wave toward the observatory. Soran and La Forge are transported away by a Klingon Bird of Prey belonging to the treacherous Duras sisters, who had stolen the trilithium for Soran in exchange for the designs for a trilithium weapon. Data is rescued just before the station is destroyed by the shock wave.

Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), Enterprise’s bartender, tells Captain Jean-Luc Picard more about Soran; they were among the El-Aurians rescued by the Enterprise-B in 2293. Guinan explains that Soran is obsessed with reentering the “Nexus”, an extra-dimensional realm where time has no meaning and anyone can experience whatever they desire. Picard and Data determine that Soran, unable to fly a ship into the ribbon due to the uncertainty that the ship will survive long enough to ensure his success, is instead altering the path of the ribbon by destroying stars, and that he will attempt to re-enter the Nexus on Veridian III by destroying its sun—and, by extension, a heavily populated planet in the system.

Upon entering the Veridian system, Enterprise makes contact with the Duras Bird of Prey. Picard offers himself to the sisters in exchange for La Forge, but insists that he be transported to Soran’s location first. La Forge is returned to Enterprise, but he inadvertently reveals Enterprise’s shield frequency, allowing the Duras sisters to inflict crippling damage on Enterprise. Enterprise destroys the Bird of Prey, but has sustained irreversible damage to its warp core. Commander William Riker orders an evacuation to the forward saucer section of the ship which separates from the star drive. The shock wave from the star drive’s destruction sends the saucer crashing to the surface of Veridian III.

Picard fails to talk Soran out of his plan and is too late to stop him from launching his missile. The collapse of the Veridian star alters the course of the Nexus ribbon as predicted, and it sweeps Picard and Soran away while the shock wave from the star obliterates everything in the system. In the Nexus, Picard finds himself surrounded by the family he never had, including a wife and children, but realizes it is an illusion. He is confronted by an “echo” of Guinan. After being told that he may leave whenever he chooses and go wherever and whenever he wishes, Guinan sends him to meet Kirk, also safe in the Nexus. Though Kirk is at first reluctant to leave, Picard convinces Kirk to return to Picard’s present and stop Soran by assuring him that it will fulfill his desire to make a difference.

Leaving the Nexus, the two arrive on Veridian III minutes before Soran launches the missile. Kirk distracts Soran long enough for Picard to lock the missile in place, causing it to explode on the launchpad and kill Soran. Kirk is fatally injured by a fall during the encounter; as he dies, Picard assures him that he made a difference. Picard buries Kirk before a shuttle arrives to transport him to the wreckage of the Enterprise saucer. Three Federation starships enter orbit to retrieve Enterprise’s survivors.Well in my opinion this is one of the best one of all the next gen films, it offers alot for everyone, not just trek fans, as it has the old and the new in it, and everyone loved Kirk for one reason or another. Patrick Stewart has about the biggest emotional range he has ever had in this film. A great beginning for the Next Generation on the big screen.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE – SEASON 1-4

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MAIN CAST

Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Jolene Blalock (Starship Troopers 3)
Connor Trinneer (Stargate: Atlantis)
Dominic Keating (Heroes)
Linda Park (Jurassic Park 3)
Anthony Montgomery (Leprechaun In The Hood)
John Billingsley (Cold Case)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tommy Lister (The Dark Knight)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Jim Beaver (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Gary Graham (Alien Nation)
Thomas Kopache (Catch me If You Can)
Melinda Clarke (Spawn)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Henri Lubatti (Angel)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Jane Carr (Treasure Planet)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Keith Szarabjka (Angel)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal)
Dennis Christopher (Angel)
John Rubinstein (Legends of Tomorrow)
Fionnula Flanagan (Yes Man)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Rudolf Martin (buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Keone Young (Alias)
Brad Greenquist (Heroes)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
J.G. Herztler (Roswell)
Larissa Laskin (Earth: Final Conflict)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Brigid Brannagh (Angel)
Keith Carradine (The Big Bang Theory)
Robert O’Reilly (The Mask)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Stephen Culp (Scream Queens)
Tucker Smallwood (Traffic)
Maury Sterling (The A-Team)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Emily Bergl (Carrie 2)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead)
Erin Cummings (Spartacus)
Casey Biggs (Broken Arrow)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Bruce Thomas (Army of Darkness)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Robert Foxworth (Beneath Loch Ness)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Lee Arenberg (Once Upon A Time)
Brian Thompson (Hired To Hill)
James Avery (That 70s Show)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)

Out of all the Star Trek series and films, Enterprise is easily the most overlooked, and was the only one since the original to be canceled. This isn’t because it wasn’t as good as the rest, but simply the way it was marketed. The show is in fact a prequel to Kirk’s Enterprise, and does take place before the Federation, but what the show lacks in technology, is more than made up for with realism and some of the best character development in the Star Trek franchise.

100 years after Zefren Cochrane’s warp flight, the human race has had enough of Vulcans holding them back, and have created the first warp five star ship in human history. Over the Vulcan’s objections, Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), the son of the engines designer, has been selected to Captain the ship and explore a galaxy that humans know very little about.
This show is extremely important to the franchise and all Trekkies, as it not only shows humanities first trip out of our solar system and first contact with all the races we’ve come to know over the years, but the show fills in a lot of the gaps from all the other series and films! Enterprise explores the origins of Data’s creator, the Eugenic Wars (which created Khan), the development of many protocols and much of the tech we see on future ships, but most important of all the series shows how the foundation for the Federation and the creation of star fleet all came together.
Enterprise was also unique for it’s character development and realism, in that it takes place in the not to distant future. We get to know the crew intimately, from their fears to their families, and we see them doing and discussing things never before seen in Star Trek. The Enterprise crew has a classic movie night, watches sports on TV, has pets, and they even talk about sex. The cast is lead by Scott Bakula, which was another great move by producers. Casting a veteran science fiction actor, whose been in long running series, automatically gives him that air of experience and authority that Picard had. He’s also a younger man, so with no federation policies in place yet, Archer can be just as much of a risk taker as Kirk was, even more so.
Star Trek Enterprise was extremely enjoyable, and a series people could relate to more than any other in the Star Trek franchise. The show isn’t simply about the future and the Federation, it’s about what it means to be human and how that compares to other species. It shows what we need to do in order to get along with and understand other cultures, but most of all it fills in so many holes from previous films and episodes, that it truly was the missing link.

Unfortunately for Star Trek fans, the show barely made a hundred episodes, because it was on a dying network, that folded shortly after the show was canceled, screwing us Trekkie’s out of three more seasons. As with all the previous series, the story has been continued in books, but in this case, the books were written by the main writers of the series, and do encompass everything that would have happened in seasons five, six, and seven.

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

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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. Hrtzler (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)
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.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – SEASON 1-7

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MAIN CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Joanthan Frakes (Roswell)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The Gift)
Denise Corsby (Dolly Dearest)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Franklin & Bash)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Diana Muldaur (Born Free)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

DeForest Kelley (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral)
John De Lancie (The Secret Circle)
Michael Bell (Tangled)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Elektra)
Brooke Bundy (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 & 4)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Tracey Walter (Batman)
Stanley Kamel (Domino)
Marc Alaimo (Total Recall)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
Robert Knepper (Izombie)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Carolyn McCormick (Enemy Mine)
Katy Boyer (The Island)
Michael Pataki (Rocky IV)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns)
Judson Scott (Blade)
Merritt Butrick (Fright Night: Part 2)
Leon Rippy (Stargate)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th – Part 8)
Seymour Cassel (Rushmore)
Ray Walston (The Sting)
Whoppi Godlberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Chris Latta (G.I.Joe)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Billy Campbell (The Rocketeer)
Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Clyde Kusatsu (Doctor Strange 70s)
Paddi Edwards (Halloween III)
Sam Anderson (Lost)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Mitchell Ryan (Lethal Weapon)
Nikki Cox (Las Vegas)
Lycia Naff (Total Recall)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Robert O’Reilly (The Mask)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Andreas Katsulas (Babylon 5)
Simon Templeton (James Bond Jr.)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Corbin Bernsen (The Tomorrow Man)
Christopher McDonald (Fanboys)
Tricia O’ Neil (Titanic)
Hallie Todd (Sabrina: TTW)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13)
Mark Lenard (Planet of The Apes TV)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Elizabeth Dennehy (Gattaca)
George Murodck (Battlestar Galactica)
Jeremy Kemp (Conan)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
BethToussaint (Fortress 2)
April Grace (Lost)
Patti Yasutake (The Closer)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
Bebe Neuwirth (Jumanji)
Rosalind Chao (Freaky Friday)
Jennifer Hetrick (L.A. Law)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
David Ogden Stiers (Tweo Guys and a Girl)
Gwyneth walsh (Taken)
Paul Winfield (The Terminator)
Ashley Judd (Divergent)
Leonard Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
Malachi Thorne (Batman 60s)
Daniel Roebuck (Lost)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Liz Vassey (Two and a Half Men)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Ed Lauter (The Number 23)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Famke Janssen (X-Men)
Shay Astar (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Alexander Enberg (Junior)
Lanei Chapman (Rat Race)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
Olivia D’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Stephanie Beacham (The Colbys)
Reg E. Cathey (Fantastic Four)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Richard Herd (V)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
Salome Jens (Superboy)
Andrew Prine (V)
Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Richard Lynch (Puppet Master 3)
Robin Curtis (General Hospital)
Julie Caitlin Brown (Babylon 5)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring it On)
Lee Arenberg (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Fionnula Flanagan (Lost)
Mark Bramhall (Alias)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
Penny Johnson Jerald (Bones)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)

When the TNG series premiered in 1987, it wasn’t greeted well by many of the old-time Trek fans, including myself. It didn’t help matters that one of the earliest episodes, “The Naked Now” was a superficial retread of the classic “The Naked Time” from ’66. The new episode should have served as a way of spotlighting several of the new crew, but all it did was show them all in heat. I wasn’t too impressed. What did work was keeping the central theme of exploration (something lost in the offshoots, DS9 & Voyager). The new Enterprise was twice as large as the original, with about a thousand personnel aboard. Capt. Picard (Stewart) was a more cerebral, diplomatic version of the ultimate explorer we had known as Capt. Kirk. Again, Picard wasn’t too impressive in the first two awkward seasons, as some may mistake his caution for weakness. The Kirk-like first officer Riker (Frakes) was controlled by Picard, so the entire crew of Enterprise-D came across as a bit too civilized, too complacent for their own good. It’s interesting that this complacency was fractured by the most memorable episode of the first two years, “Q Who?” which introduced The Borg. All of a sudden, exploration was not a routine venture.

Other memorable episodes of the first 2 years: the double-length pilot, introducing Q; “Conspiracy”-an early invasion thriller; “Where No One Has Gone Before”-an ultimate attempt to define the exploring theme; “The Big Goodbye”-the first lengthy exploration of the new holodeck concept; “Datalore”-intro of Data’s evil twin; “Skin of Evil”-death of Tasha Yar; “11001001”-perhaps the best holodeck story; and “The Measure of a Man”-placing an android on trial. Except for “Q Who” the 2nd year was even more of a letdown from the first. Space started to percolate in the 3rd season. I liked “The Survivors”-introducing an entity resembling Q in a depressed mood, and “Deja Q” with both Q & Guinan squaring off, as well as other alien beings. A remaining drawback was the ‘techno-babble’ hindering many scripts, an aspect which made them less exciting than the stories of the original series. As Roddenberry himself believed, when characters spoke this way, it did not come across as naturalistic, except maybe when it was Data (Spiner), the android. The engineer La Forge (Burton), for example, was usually saddled with long, dull explanatory dialog for the audience.

In the 3rd year, truly innovative concepts such as the far-out parallel-universe adventure “Yesterday’s Enterprise” began to take hold, topped by the season-ender “The Best of Both Worlds,part 1” in which The Borg returned in their first try at assimilating Earth. After this and the 2nd part, the TNG show was off and running, at full warp speed. There are too many great episodes from the next 4 seasons to list here, but I tended to appreciate the wild, cosmic concept stories best: “Parallels”(s7); “Cause and Effect”(s5); “Timescape”(s6); “Tapestry”(s6); and the scary “Frame of Mind”, “Schisms” and “Genesis.” There’s also the mind-blowing “Inner Light”(s5), “Conundrum” and “Ship in a Bottle”(s6), “Second Chances.” The intense 2-parter “Chain of Command” was almost like a film, and the great return of Scotty in “Relics” was very entertaining, though it showed you can’t go home again. The show also continued to tackle uneasy social issues, as in “The Host”, “The Outcast”, “First Contact” and “The Drumhead” as well as political:”Darmok”, “Rightful Heir”, “Face of the Enemy” and “The Pegasus.” The series ended on a strong note, “All Good Things…” a double-length spectacular with nearly the budget of a feature film. But it wasn’t really the end. A few months later, an actual feature film was released “Star Trek Generations”(94). It’s rather ironic that the TNG films couldn’t match the innovation and creativity of the last 4 seasons of the series. “Star Trek Insurrection”(98) for example, is a lesser effort than any of the episodes mentioned above.