REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED – TASK FORCE X

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MAIN CAST

Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)

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GUEST CAST

Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Juliet Landau (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Donal Gibson (Braveheart)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Chris Cox (Family Guy)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)

mv5bnjk3mti1nzk2of5bml5banbnxkftztywodqzndez-_v1_uy317_cr820214317_al_At Belle Reve Correctional, Floyd Lawton, aka the hitman Deadshot, is being led to execution, displaying defiance for his fate, even towards the priest. Upon entering the execution chamber, however, it is to find another man who hands some official papers over to the warden. After reading them, the warden orders Deadshot to be released and handed over to the newcomer. On the drive away from the prison, Lawton’s savior introduces himself as U.S. Colonel Rick Flagg who wants Deadshot to assist in a top-secret mission. Flagg also reveals that miniature devices have been infiltrated into Deadshot’s body and will kill him if he does not cooperate. The mission is a simple break-in and theft – from the Justice League’s Watchtower HQ.
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They arrive at a warehouse formerly used by Lex Luthor and thus very secure against super-hero surveillance. Lawton is introduced to the rest of “Task Force X”: explosives expert Bette Sans-Souci, a.k.a. “Plastique”; inventor George Harkness, a.k.a. “Captain Boomerang”; and planning expert Temple Fugate, a.k.a. “The Clock King”. With the exception of Flagg, they are all criminals being offered amnesty in exchange for their services. The plan is to infiltrate the Watchtower disguised as members of its support staff, at a time when only three major obstacles are aboard: Green Lantern John Stewart, Captain Atom, and J’onn J’onzz. Flagg warns the other members of Task Force X that there is to be no unnecessary killing. While the others go to the tower, Fugate will stay at base coordinating their progress.
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The first phase goes off perfectly: The squad ambushes a group of four Watchtower staff members before they are teleported up. Once there, Flagg uses a device in a pair of prop glasses in order to cause a computer to break down thus enabling them to proceed without a security check. Deadshot and Plastique then head to the lower levels and into the generator room, while Flagg and Boomerang make their way to the high-security storage area. Plastique sets off a bomb on the reactor to cause a diversion from Boomerang’s breakthrough into the vault. There, Flagg takes control of the “package”: a powerful combat robot called the Annihilator. The damage to the reactor causes a radiation leak and an evacuation is ordered. Captain Atom flies down to contain the reactor explosion and reports to J’onn that it was done intentionally.
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Deadshot and Plastique sprint up to join Flagg and Boomerang and together they and the Annihilator make their way to the bridge. Along the way, they are stopped by Shining Knight, Vigilante, and Atom-Smasher, but manage to defeat them with the Annihilator’s help. Reaching the bridge, they are confronted by J’onn, who easily defeats them until the Annihilator literally tears him in half, disabling him long enough for the team to reach the transporter. J’onn recovers and defeats the Annihilator, but Plastique gets him to stand back by holding a bomb above the throat of an unconscious Atom-Smasher, and he is forced to allow the others to mount the transporter platform. Just as Plastique is about to join them, Captain Atom arrives and tackles her and one of her bombs goes flying. Deadshot detonates it with a shot from his pistol and, in the confusion, three of Task Force X and the Annihilator transport away. Plastique is left behind, severely wounded. J’onn checks the transporter console, which has been sabotaged and blows up before he can trace the coordinates.
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Flagg turns the Annihilator over to Amanda Waller and Tala of Project Cadmus. Before leaving, Waller commends Flagg, telling him his father would be proud of him. Deadshot bids everyone a cheerful goodbye, but Flagg decks him with a punch and informs him that he is to serve in Task Force X for five years before he can go free, otherwise he can go back to prison for execution. Deadshot snidely asks Flagg how Waller is blackmailing him, to which Flagg gives a sneer of contempt and states that he isn’t being blackmailed at all: He is a patriot who serves his country loyally. Aboard the Watchtower, J’onn has discovered that Vance, a member of the bridge crew, passed inside information to Cadmus, using an anti-telepathy device to mask his thoughts. J’onn is tempted to wipe Vance’s mind, but Stewart tells him it would be pointless since Vance has already leaked everything he knows, and they can’t trust any of their staff now.mv5bnjk3mti1nzk2of5bml5banbnxkftztywodqzndez-_v1_uy317_cr820214317_al_Task Force X really does stand as one of the best examples of what Justice League Unlimited had to offer – a show starring a bunch of random characters that found time to tell an engaging story and humanize each of them a bit. Sure, it plays into a grand over-arching plot, but – on its own terms – Task Force X is really just an example of what the DC animated universe did really well. A fun story well told featuring an interesting cast.

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REVIEW: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2004): THE COMPLETE SERIES

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CAST

Edward James Olmos (The Green Hornet)
Mary McDonnell (Independence Day)
Katee Sackhoff (Riddick)
Jamie Bamber (Pulse 2)
James Callis (Flashforward)
Tricia Helfer (Two and a Half Men)
Grace Park (Hawaii Five-O)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Paul Campbell (Andromeda)
Aaron Douglas (The Flash)
Kandyse McClure (Sanctuary)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Nicki Clyne (Saved)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Connor Widdows (Dark Angel)
Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica Original)
Matthew Bennett (Stargate SG.1)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Lorena Gale (The Butterfly Effect)
Donnelly Rhodes (Tron: Legacy)
Jill Teed (X-Men 2)
Tobias Mehler (Wishmaster 3)
Luciana Carro (White Chicks)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Dominic Zamprogna (Oddysey 5)
Bodie Olmos (Stand and Deliver)
Callum Keith Rennie (Legends of Tomorrow)
Eric Breker (Godzilla)
Kate Vernon (Heroes)
Camille Sullivan (The Birdwatcher)
Kerry Norton (Toy)
Leah Cairns (88 Minutes)
Michael Trucco (Sabrina: TTW)
Rick Worthy (Collateral  Damage)
James Remar (The Shannara Chronicles)
Benjamin Ayres (The Vampire Diaries)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Aleks Paunovic (Van helsing)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Fulvio Cecere (The Tortured)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Vincet Gale (Bates Motel)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Colm Feore (Gotham)
Bill Duke (Commando)
John Mann (The Butterfly Effect 2)
Christopher Jacot (Mutant X)
Dana Delany (Body of Proof)
Erica Carroll (Supernatural)
Dean Stockwell (Dune)
Rekha Sharma (V)
Amanda Plummer (Hannibal)
Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Gabrielle Rose (Dark Angel)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Lucinda Jenney (Rai nman)
Mark Sheppard (Supernatural)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Leela Savasta (Stargate: Atlantis)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)
Sonja Bennett (Preggoland)

If you want to watch a brilliantly scripted series, then this is the one for you. In a nutshell, Humanity inhabits the Twelve Colonies of Man, somewhere out there in the galaxy. They created robots, “Cylons”, who did everything we wanted until they rebelled. A massive war broke out which ultimately ended in the Cylons leaving the Twelve Colonies. No-one had heard from the Cylons in 40 years until the events of the Mini-Series where they come back and completely destroy Humanity. The survivors (Around 50,000 people) are forced to flee the Colonies where billions have already died and forced to find a new home with the Cylons constantly in pursuit. The idea is to follow the route of the “13th Tribe/Colony” who went out into the stars and settled on a planet named “Earth”. That’s the basic premise of the story but so much happens over the 4 seasons that I’d feel ashamed to spoil it for others. It’s hard to say what parts of BSG really stood out because all of it was so frakking good but some notable parts are the entire “New Caprica” occupation storyline at the end of Season 2/start of Season 3, the big reveal of 4 out of 5 of the “Final Five” Cylons at the end of Season 3/start of Season 4, the hopelessness that is felt after “Earth” is actually found mid-Season 4 and the final battle at the end of Season 4.

The storyline can be bleak at times and sometimes you do think whether you’d have the strength to carry on if you were in their position but that’s what makes it so interesting to watch. Add in a dash of “God”, “Angels”, “Prophecy” and “Destiny” and you have a perfect recipe for a great story.Highly recommended!

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31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: THE ALPHABET KILLER

CAST

Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Cary Elwes (Liar Liar)
Timothy Hutton (Taps)
Tom Malloy (Love N’ Dancing)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects)
Tom Noonan (Manhunter)
Melissa Leo (Red State)
Martin Donovan (Legends of Tomorrow)

Image result for THE ALPHABET KILLER 2008Megan Paige (Eliza Dushku) is an investigator for the Rochester Police Department investigating the murder of a young girl named Carla Castillo. Her body was found in the nearby village of Churchville, New York with white cat hair on it. Against opposition of her colleagues and boyfriend Kenneth Shine (Cary Elwes), Megan insists that the murder is a work of a serial killer. Despite Megan’s considerable efforts she fails to catch the killer. Stress and obsession of the investigation causes Megan to hallucinate the victim’s image. She ultimately has a nervous breakdown after being kicked off the case and tries to commit suicide.
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Following two years of medical treatment and attending a support group headed by a wheelchair-bound man named Richard Ledge (Timothy Hutton), Megan rejoins the police department in an office job. Following a similar murder of another young girl, Wendy Walsh, whose body is found in Webster with some white cat hair on it, Megan successfully lobbies to rejoin the investigation. Partnered with Steven Harper (Tom Malloy), they try to find links between the girls. Then another girl, Melissa Maestro, is killed in Macedon. They find a number of commonalities between Wendy and Melissa, but fail to connect these to the first victim. The Webster Police Department, which has jurisdiction over the latest murder but are uncooperative, receive a call from 19-year-old Elizabeth Eckers who is being held hostage in a house. Megan is convinced the suspect is not the Alphabet Killer and breaks procedure to preempt a police raid. Megan defuses the situation, but an officer shoots the suspect through a window and kills him. Webster police declare that the Alphabet Killer is dead and announce the discovery of white cat hair in the house. Megan spirals into another nervous breakdown.Image result for THE ALPHABET KILLER 2008
Certain that the Webster police planted the evidence in order to justify killing an innocent, Megan continues the investigation on her own. Megan discovers that all three girls attended St. Michael’s Church in Rochester. Still suffering from hallucinations of the victims, Megan visits the church and tries to question the pastor, but suffers another breakdown and is hospitalized. Megan flees from the hospital and takes refuge in Ledge’s home. There, she finds out that he used to work as the math teacher for the St. Michael’s Church which finally reveals that he is the killer. Before she can act, he leaps from his wheelchair – having only pretended to be disabled – and attacks her. Ledge knocks her unconscious and drives to a remote spot near the Genesee River to kill her. Before Ledge can inject her with a sedative and dump her in the river, Megan breaks free and shoots him with his own gun. Ledge falls into the river just past a large waterfall – though it’s unclear if he is dead. Unsure whether Ledge is dead and confused by her surroundings, Megan is driven by the intense situation to another, longer breakdown.
Image result for THE ALPHABET KILLER 2008Megan is hospitalized and kept under intensive psychiatric care. The final scenes of the film show Megan heavily sedated and strapped to a bed in a psychiatric ward. There is no one else in the room, but in her state, she envisions the spirits of the victims waiting for her to return and seek justice for them. The final scenes of Megan are intercut with scenes of Ledge who, having survived Megan’s attempts to kill him, has altered his appearance. He is shown in church, receiving communion and exchanging glances with a potential victim. It is unclear if these scenes of Ledge are actually occurring or are part of Megan’s psychosis. A title card announces: “In 2006, police exhumed a fireman’s body and posthumously cleared him as a suspect. To date, the Alphabet Killer has not been found.”Image result for THE ALPHABET KILLER 2008This story has plenty of twists to it with a surprisingly starry cast for its straight to video status, however what holds it together is a performance by Eliza Dushku. Add to that a very creepy ending, and you have a very decent film that isn’t an all-time great, but should be better and more remembered that it’s probably gonna be

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE DOOM

CAST (VOICES)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Tim Daly (Superman: TAS)
Susan Eisenber (Justice League)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Bumper Robinson (Marvel’s Avengers Assemble)
Carlos Alazraqui (Happy Feet)
Claudia Black (The Originals)
Paul Blackthorne (Arrow)
Olivia D’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Alexis Denisof (Angel)
Phil Morris (Bottoms Up)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Grey Griffin (Justice League: Cosmic Clash)
Robin Atins Downes (Babylon 5)
Juliet Landau (Buffy)

Assembled by Vandal Savage, the elite members of the Legion of Doom—Bane, Cheetah, Mirror Master, Star Sapphire, Ma’alefa’ak and Metallo—are shown how to beat each and every member of the Justice League of America. Using the specific weaknesses of each hero, the Legion heads out to destroy their counterparts and bring them to their knees so Vandal Savage could implement the next phase of his plan: annihilating the majority of the human race so he can bring about a new world order from its ashes. To make things worse, Vandal Savage didn’t discover how to destroy the Justice League on his own, and when the answer as to who was responsible is revealed, the JLA is rocked to its core with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

Man, I love this movie. It features an all-star cast of all-star superheroes going up against an all-star roster of evil supervillains. Finally, we get to see the villains stick it to the heroes in a big way and not let up until the JLA is down. And I mean really down. It’s not often you see Superman on the brink of death, Batman humiliated and defeated, Flash completely screwed, Green Lantern a broken man, Martian Manhunter totally incapacitated, and Wonder Woman so messed up she doesn’t know what to do or which way to turn.

This flick is based on the “Tower of Babel” Justice League story arc by Mark Waid, who is arguably one of the best comic book writers on the planet. I can’t comment on this flick’s faithfulness to that storyline because it’s been over ten years since I last read it, but I do remember the overall premise and this movie delivered on that.

The heroes and villains look great in this movie, and it does well in showcasing their various powers and abilities. It’s also an exciting movie that is fast-paced, has a sense of atmosphere, a sense of taking place in the overall DC Universe—thanks to other heroes and villains not mentioned above showing up—and gives the JLA a threat that even they might not be able to handle. And that’s the thing with a JLA movie: the threat needs to be so huge and so dangerous that it takes them as a team to solve the issue, and considering each one of them is extremely powerful in their own right, that threat needs to be mega huge, not just physically but psychologically as well. Justice League: Doom has that and delivers it in spades. Also features the voice talent from the Justice League animated series so that totally adds to it as well, giving it a sense of familiarity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 2

CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Julia Ling (Undoing)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Michael Clarke Duncan (Sin City)
Matthew Bomer (Tru Calling)
Melinda Clarke (Gotham)
Nicole Richie (The Simple Life)
Tony Hale (Stranger Than Fiction)
Clyde Kusatsu (American Pie)
Jordana Brewster (D.E.B.S.)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Gary Cole (Crusade)
Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Andy Richter (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)
Jenny McCarthy (Two and A Half Men)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Patricia Rae (Life)
Katrina Law (Arrow)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
Shaun Toub (Iron Man)
Chevy Chase (Christmas Vacation)
Christopher Cousins (The Vampire Diaries)
Ken Davitian (Borat)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Morgan Fairchild (Roswell)

Sarah Walker (Chuck)

For those of you who have not watched Chuck before, I would recommend that you check out Season 1. Although Season 2 is superior in my opinion, Season 1 really lays down all the groundwork for what is to come.
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For those of you who have see Season 1, you will not be disappointed by what the new season has to offer. In S1, Chuck was mainly the passive observer, the guy who flashed on things, and often made situations worse than before. However, at times he was given opportunity to save the day, in something I like to call a ‘Chuck Moment’. Season 1 had a few of them (setting off the fireworks to distract the guards to save Sarah and Casey would be one) but Season 2 is full of them – and better off for it. Now don’t get me wrong, Chuck can still be blundering and innapropriate, but in the new season, he always gets the opportunity to be the hero. The first episode has a particularly good example of this.
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The season starts off very strong, following on with the storyline that involves the governement trying to make a new intersect (and invariably the team have to go on missions to help furthur that cause). In fact, the majority of the season is brilliant television, apart from a few select episodes that are merely good, dotted around the season. The season has a much more coherent storyline, with a smallish story arc near the start, and a solid story arc that takes off around episode 13.
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The character’s pasts are delved into alot more in this season, with a great appearance from Sarah’s father, a conman. Chuck’s past gets more attention however, as the long talked of ex, Jill gets reinvolved in Chuck’s life. Best of all may be the casting of Scott Bacula as Chuck’s father, who does a great job of convincing the audience of his connection to both Chuck and Ellie. Unfortunately, Casey’s past does not get an episode that shows him in a new light, like the Ilsa episode, rather a fairly disappointing face-off between him and his old mentor.
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Morgan’s back, along with the rest of the buy-more crew, and a new face joins the buy-more – that of Emmet (played by Tony Hale, of Arrested Development fame) to provide more comic relief in that bizzare place.

A truly amazing series, with twists and turns abound, and an ending that will only leave you wanting more.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE – COMFORT AND JOY

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COMFORT AND JOY
MAIN CAST
Maria Canals-Barrera (America’s Sweethearts)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
George Newbern (Father of The Bride)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
GUEST CAST
Ian Buchanan (Panic Room)
Mike Farrell (Vanishing Act)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
 
On an alien planet, the Justice League works together to assemble a machine that will prevent it from colliding with another planet, thus saving its population. Their mission is a success, and the League looks forward to the Christmas season – except perhaps J’onn J’onzz and Hawkgirl, who are unfamiliar with Earth’s holidays. Green Lantern, noticing the beauty of the snow-covered planet, decides to stay behind. He tries to show Hawkgirl the fun of playing in the snow, and they get into a furious snowball fight. She responds by showing him her idea of a celebration: taking him to a rough bar on an outlying alien moon. They raise a glass together, then Hawkgirl touches off a massive bar fight.
 Flash makes his annual visit to the Central City orphanage, to ask the kids what they want for Christmas. They eagerly show him a commercial for a toy, “D.J. Rubber Ducky” but Flash finds all the stores sold out. He runs directly to Japan, and manages to get the last one from the factory. Returning to Central City, he is distracted by Ultra-Humanite, on a destructive rampage through a modern art museum. In the ensuing fight, the toy is destroyed when the Humanite falls onto it, and Flash is devastated. Touched, Humanite calls a truce and agrees to fix the toy and surrender himself. He accompanies Flash to the orphanage, though wants to go to jail quickly after this. Flash is surprised to find that Humanite has modified the toy, which previously spoke in rap lyrics and made flatulent noises, to give a musically-accompanied narration of The Nutcracker ballet.
Clark Kent insists that J’onn accompany him home for the holidays. His parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, welcome J’onn, but he still feels slightly uncomfortable. He takes a walk on the streets of Smallville on Christmas Eve, impressed by the cheerful friendliness of the passers-by. Telepathically hearing a little girl question the existence of Santa Claus, J’onn flies up and lands on her roof, reaching down the chimney to eat the cookies she left out. His final stop is a church where inside people are singing carols. Humanite returns to jail, where Flash thanks him for his help. Humanite notes he welcomes any opportunity to bring culture to children. Flash gives Humanite an aluminum Christmas tree, which Humanite finds surprisingly touching. In the bar, John is passed out after the fight; Hawkgirl kisses him on the cheek and wishes him a Merry Christmas. Clark awakes on Christmas Day, and listens with his parents as J’onn, who has reverted to his normal Martian form, sings a hauntingly beautiful song in his native language while caressing Streaky.
A great animated festive episode, Superman acting like a big kid at Christmas was a huge highlight. As was Hawkgirl and Johns celebration of the holidays, It was so nice to see the Justice League team enjoying themselves for the holidays.

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 11-15

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Flashforward)
Alex Borstein (Power Rangers Zeo)
Seth Green (IT)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Mike Henry (Ted)
Jennifer Tilly (Curse of Chucky)
Patrick Warburton (Scream 3)
Adam West (60s Batman)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST (VOICES)

Christina Milian (Bring it On 5)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)
Carrie Fisher (Star wars)
Dana Gould (Mob City)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Christine Lakin (Valetnine’s Day)
Bill Maher (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Ashley Tisdale (Scary Movie 5)
David Boreanaz (Bones)
Gary Cole (Chuck)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Adam Carolla (Two Guys and a Girl)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Jessica Stroup (Ted)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Cheryl Tiegs (The Brown Bunny)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Meredith Baxter (Family Ties)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Chris O’ Dowd (St. Vincent)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher TV)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Jessica Barth (Ted)
Marlee Matlin (My Name Is Earl)
Sara Fletcher (Icrime)
David Herman (Futurama)
Ellen Page (Super)
Ricky Gevais (Ghost Town)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
Martin Spanjers (8 Simple Rules)
Dan Castellaneta (Fantastic Four)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Sandra Bernhard (2 Broke Girls)
John De Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Will Sasso (Anger Management)
Emily Osment (Mom)
Megan Hilty (The Good Wife)
Jessica Biel (New Girl)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Tony Sirico (Goodfellas)
Ashley Benson (Spring Breakers)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Lauran Bacall (The Big Sleep)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
Keke Palmer (Scream Queens)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
David Thewlis (Harry Potter)
Hank Azaria (The SMurfs)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Julie Kavner (Rhoda)
Yeardley Smith (As Good As It Gets)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Maya Rudlph (Bridesmaids)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Ana Gasteyer (What A Woman Wants)
Glenn Howerton (That 80s Show)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Nat Faxon (The Descendants)
Harvey Fierstein (Mulan)
Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)

Season 11 is really the reamaing of episodes of season 9 but by now you get use to the dvd season. great epsiodes and more greats jokes and anyones fair game, be it the spiritual, who get assaulted in “Brian Writes a Bestseller,” as the dog writes a quickie self-help guide, but can’t defend it against Bill Maher’s questions, pretty much any minority and Meg, the family’s socially-awkward daughter, who not only tries to weasel her way into wheelchair-bound Joe’s life, but hooks up with her brother. Nazis, a standard part of the show after so many years, get their moment to shine as well, as the neighborhood pedophile Herbert recognizes Chris’ new friend as a war criminal, setting up an epic old-man fight, and perhaps one of the few times in history where you might find yourself rooting for a kid-toucher.
One of strangest jokes is where Peter is reminiscing about 1985, and notes that it gave us the gayest music video ever, before showing nearly half of David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Streets.” As it plays, you start wondering when we’ll get back to the show, before beginning to question if we’re ever going back. And then you start questioning how the video ever came into existence. Then you ask, how did they get the rights to use it in the show this way? Then you kind of forget you’re watching Family Guy. Then you kind of wish you were watching the video again, but that was the point of the episode doing it to mind screw you.

 This season is a pretty strong one. It has the mean-spirited episode is Screams Of Silence: The Story Of Brenda Q and it’s not only the strangest episode on the season but one of the strangest of the entire series. Basically Glenn’s sister gets into an abusive relationship and he, Peter and Joe decide to take care of the problem. The episode gets increasingly darker as it plays out and the ending, which is presented straight and without any obvious irony or attempt at humor, is pretty grim. The crew should get credit for tackling a serious social issue with at least some semblance of seriousness but is this really the right format to raise an issue like this? Opinions will vary, obviously, but this episode is twisted.

Aside from that, it’s more or less business as usual. There are some fun celebrity cameos here, the most obvious one being Ricky Gervais who provides the voice of a dolphin who helps Peter out and then demands a ridiculous amount of favors in return. The Lottery Fever series opener is a fun one which shows not only how Peter behaves after winning the lottery but how those around him will leach off of him when he does. We get to see Brian take mushrooms before a hurricane hits the town and then watch him trip out and see some seriously bizarre hallucinations. The Back To The Pilot episode also stands out as we see Stewie travel back with Brian in tow to January 31, 1999 (which was the broadcast date of the series’ first episode). This shows how the series has changed over the years and also how in just as many ways it has stayed the same.

Quahog news anchor Tom Tucker gets the spotlight in Tom Tucker: The Man And His Dream in which we learn about his acting career. It seems he played Michael Myers in Halloween IV and once Peter learns that, he and James Woods get involved in resurrecting his thesping profession. In Killer Queen Peter and Chris wind up at fat camp where a serial killer is at work, while back in Quahog, Stewie is terrified by the artwork of Queen’s New Of The World album cover. H. Jon Benjamin from Bob’s Burgers and a bunch of other great credits does a guest voice here. Stewie falls for a girl named Penelope, voiced by Kate Blanchett, in Mr. And Mrs. Stewie but of course that can’t end well even if she shares his love of weapons and math. Tea Party is another stand out. When Peter tries to open his own business and gets shut down, he becomes an advocate for small government and takes hardcore conservative Tea Party ideas to ridiculous extremes with predictably funny results.

All in all, this is a pretty great season. It’s also fairly daring, not that the show has ever really shied away from controversy but they definitely push things on a visual level here. That’s not a bad thing, so long as you’re accepting of the fact that as offensive as the series can be, it’s an equal opportunity offender and it provides a great opportunity to laugh at the absurdity that is all around us on a daily basis.

So how does this season hold up? In a lot of ways, it’s more of the same, but at the same time, by being more of the same there’s a certain expectation of unpredictability that this collection consistently meets and occasionally exceeds. You get to a point in the show where you expect the unexpected, and there’s a whole lot of unexpected to appreciate this time around. The season starts off strong with Into Fat Air where Lois runs into an ex-boyfriend who boasts about his family’s accomplishments. This gets Lois feeling competitive and before you know it, the Griffins are climbing Mount Everest. Shades of Alive run deep in this particularly perverse episode. The show takes on the Nielson Ratings in Ratings Guy. When the Griffins are selected to a Nielson family, Peter goes for a blatant abuse of his power to shape TV to his liking but is then tasked with trying to set things right. It’s actually a pretty amusing take at the fickle viewing habits of the general public. The health care industry and its corporate ties are taken on in The Big C when Peter finds out that his father in law has been keeping the cure for cancer his corporation has discovered secret in the name of making more profits off of treatment. As irreverent as this series gets, this episode will at least get you thinking…

The seemingly obligatory time travel episode in this season is Yug Ylimaf and once again Stewie and Brian cruise back in time and goof off. It’s old hat at this point but there’s comfort in familiarity. We get to learn more about Joe’s disability when the man who shot him and confined him to a live in a wheelchair goes on the lam and Peter, Joe and Quaigmire hunt him down to get revenge. The Jesus, Mary and Joseph! episode lets Peter tell us his own version of the Nativity Story in what is essentially a Christmas episode gone awry. Nothing is sacred, fans know that by now. Quagmire is the focus of The Giggity Wife, an episode that shows what happens when Glenn marries a skaggy old hooker on a trip with Peter and Joe. He realizes quickly that this was a horrible idea but she won’t grant him a divorce. Glenn tries to convince her that he’s actually gay, with Peter’s help. In Chris Cross the elder Griffin son swipes some money from his parents to go out and buy some cool new sneakers. When Meg finds out, she blackmails him but Chris quickly has his fill and decides to go live down the street with everyone’s favorite pedophile, his old friend Herbert. Meanwhile, Stewie convinces Brian to help him track down Canadian songstress Anne Murray. In Call Girl Lois uses her voice to make some extra money as a phone sex operator and in Turban Cowboy Peter befriends a Muslim and then converts to Islam. Phone sex might not be so topical these days, but the Islam episodes pushes some buttons in some clever ways.

As the season comes to a close, in the Bigfat episode we find out what happens when Peter, Joe and Quagmire go on a trip to Canada. Peter goes missing for months and when they finally find him, he’s lost the ability to communicate like a ‘normal person.’ Total Recall is another ‘Rupert’ inspired episode where Stewie and Brian try to get the teddy bear back after a recall is done. Peter and friends try to save their favorite bar in Save The Clam while Peter takes up farming in Farmer Guy, but soon gives that up in favor of dealing meth. Road To Vegas sees Brian and Stewie clone themselves and head to Vegas where they have completely opposite experiences from one another and last but not least, No Country Club For Old Men gets the Griffin’s into a posh country club when Christ strikes up a romance with a girl who comes from the wealthiest family around. This doesn’t sit well with Carter, who winds up getting the boot.

It’s all pretty much non-stop insanity but hey, it wouldn’t be Family Guy if there weren’t a lot of guest voices, right? Right! Popping up throughout this collection are such luminaries as Elizabeth Banks, Ryan Reynolds, Sofía Vergara, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Biel, Drew Barrymore, Will Sasso, Emma Roberts, J.J. Abrams, Sandra Bernhard, Cheryl Tiegs, Anne Murray, Bill Maher, Sharon Osbourne and quite a few others. And we’d be remiss not to mention the mighty Robert Loggia shows up here too. There’s a lot of fun to be had in this set so long as you go in with an open mind and remember that pretty much every one from every walk of life is fair game.  This marks the second time a full season of the show has been released in one set (season 13 12 had the full season 11 on it). In prior years Fox, in its infinite wisdom, would release sets that had half of one season and half of another on it. It has really been a minor point because in terms of following the show, it is not like it ever has season long story arcs that need to be followed. You just have to have seen a prior episode to get a reference if they call back to something. But for those of us who do get the DVDs it has often meant paying the same price for a set with a partial season on it. So it is nice that they have come around to doing what they should have in the first place. It also makes for a pretty funny joke this season in one of the episodes.

As far as the show itself goes, it is pretty standard with what it has been doing the past few years. It can get repetitive with some of the gags (they do like vomit), but I do think they are still entertaining on a consistent enough basis to keep fans of the show entertained. This season has the controversial story line in the middle involving Brian (chances are everyone knows what it is and the cover of the DVD set basically gives it away) that definitely shook the show (and the fans) up. It also sees the return of Cleveland after the Cleveland Show’s cancellation. Like the show always has, it makes fun of pretty much any topic, and because the DVD is uncensored it replaces some of the tamer jokes from the broadcast version with harder edged versions. It is also worth noting that nothing gets bleeped out on the DVDs, so expect all the swearing to be in every episode.

 



For those who get the DVD set, as far as extras go, there are deleted scenes from every episode, a couple episodes showing the full animatics with the dialogue, and a short feature on the Brian storyline with show runners and Seth Green talking about the fan reaction. Pretty standard for what has been included before

This is really season 13, its the season featuring the Simpson/ Family Guy Crossover. The hour in Springfield started off in poignant, self-referential fashion, with Seth MacFarlane and co. recognizing that this was probably a “one time shot.” Cue the slew of Easter eggs and references for fans of The Simpsons, and the fan-service is appreciated for the most part. There are guest appearances from Apu (once in his natural habitat, and once as Stewie’s prisoner), and hilarious scenes with the likes of Cleveland and Quagmire meeting their Simpson counterparts.

The entire premise of this episode (an attempt to put the rumors of any Family Guy vs The Simpsons feud to rest) hinges on each show taking some low blows and wearing it’s respective heart on it’s sleeve. Whether it’s The Simpsons (or Duff Brewery’s) longevity, which invites criticism about it’s consistency, or Family Guy’s (and Pawtucket Brewery’s) questionable originality and knack for what may seem like “pale imitation,” this episode takes stabs at both parties involved. The argument begins in a bar at the start of the third act, and spirals out of control into an absurd, and probably overlong, classic chicken fight.

Other highlights in the set include,

The 2000 Year Old Virgin where Jesus shocks peter by saying that he has never had sex. Determined to change this, Peter enlists the help of Cleveland, Joe and Quagmire so Jesus can lose his virginity for his 2000th birthday.

Stewie, Chris, & Brian’s Excellent Adventure where Stewie and Brian invite Chris on a journey through time to help him pass a test that is his only hope of finishing ninth grade, and the three end up stuck in 1912 aboard the Titanic.

and of course the Fight Irish episode where Peter claims that he could beat Liam Neeson in a fight, but his skills are put to the test when Neeson himself actually shows up. Meanwhile, Stewie is annoyed with Lois when she becomes a class mom and starts paying more attention to other children.

Another classic season with great jokes and great guest stars, The Simpson Guy being the biggest highlight now we can own it on dvd