REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE VS TEEN TITAN

CAST (VOICES)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Shemar Moore (Birds of Prey)
Jerry O’Connell (Jerry Maguire)
Jon Bernthal (Daredevil)
Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Stuart Allan (Batman vs Robin)
Jake T. Austin (Rio)
Taissa Farmiga (The Final Girls)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder)
Kari Wahlgren (Bolt)
Laura Bailey (Marvel’s Avengers Assemble)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
T.C. Carson (Final Destination 2)
Rick D. Wasserman (Planet Hulk)
The Justice League battle the Legion of Doom (consisting of Lex Luthor, Solomon Grundy, Cheetah, Weather Wizard, and Toymaster). After the Legion is defeated and captured, Weather Wizard runs away, but is possessed by a shadow-like creature that teleports through darkness, revealed to be the demon Trigon, whose supernatural nature allows him to physically harm Superman. Robin disobeys his father’s orders to get civilians to safety, thinking he can help the Justice League fight Trigon. Robin sets the Batwing to crash into Trigon and explode, forcing Trigon’s shade to leave Weather Wizard. Upset that there’s no answer to this occurrence, and in order for his son to learn teamwork, Batman sends Robin to join the Teen Titans. Meanwhile, Trigon’s shade possesses Superman, plaguing him with visions of demonic shadows.
Robin meets the Titans’ leader Starfire and members Raven, Beast Boy, and Blue Beetle, but his lack of respect for the others causes friction. Blue Beetle and Robin fight until Blue Beetle’s suit instinctively uses an energy blast to severely burn Robin. Raven heals him, but during the process her empathic powers link their minds, tapping into each other’s memories. Later, Robin thanks Raven for saving him, but confronts her about an entity he saw in her mind. With Raven unwilling to answer, Damian tries to search up Raven’s background, but no information is kept about her in the Titans’ files. When he confronts Starfire about this, she replies the team isn’t just for fighting crime, but also a surrogate family, as they are all lost souls in a world with no place for them.
Superman finds and brutally beats down Atomic Skull, alerting Wonder Woman and Batman. The latter uses kryptonite to drive Superman back, revealing his possession before Superman flies off. Cyborg tries to locate Superman and a “female with supernatural powers”, whom Trigon is searching for. He and Batman analyse footage of both a transformed Superman and the shadow demon that possessed Weather Wizard, concluding that if the host is damaged or overwhelmed, they will be freed from it. In the meantime, in order to loosen Damian up, Starfire takes the group to a carnival, where Raven encounters demon emissaries and Trigon, in a spirit form, who wants to find her so they can be together. With the help of the other Titans, Raven resists and fights the emissaries until they cannot maintain their presence on the Earthly plane and dissipate.
Afterward, the Titans demand answers from Raven. She reveals that her mother was a member of a cult who married her off to Trigon, who took a human form. Her mother fled after discovering his true nature and was saved by the Azarathians, a people from another dimension, where Raven grew up. After unwittingly summoning her father and thus causing the obliteration of Azarath and her mother, Raven was taken by him so he could conquer Earth, but she trapped him inside a crystal. The Titans offer their support to Raven in defeating Trigon, but the Justice League arrives in order to take Raven away. However, before they can act, Flash, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman are taken over by Trigon’s shadow and turned into demon emissaries. Batman prevents his own possession by injecting himself with a nerve toxin designed for Bane, putting himself in a comatose state and thus causing the shade to abandon him.
The Titans battle the League without success, causing Raven to surrender herself. Just before the League and Raven use a portal to leave, Blue Beetle brings back Cyborg from Trigon’s control. Robin locates Raven in the Middle East, revealing he put a tracer on the Titans after meeting them. Cyborg and the Titans portal to the Middle East, to discover that Superman had unearthed a mystical shrine that Raven uses her powers on so that Trigon can pass though the shrine as a gate. Robin stabs Superman with kryptonite to free him from Trigon, and back to his own self, Superman defeats Flash and Wonder Woman, which frees them both. The Titans save Raven, but not before Trigon returns to his physical form.
Following Raven’s plan, the Titans and Cyborg portal to Hell to retrieve the crystal to lock away her father, while the Justice League attempt to prevent Trigon from reaching innocent civilians. Beast Boy’s biology reacts oddly to the dimension, initially forcing him to take the form of demonic beasts. The Titans battle hordes of guardian demons while Raven gets the crystal, but an undead Ra’s al Ghul shatters it; he was made Trigon’s vassal following his death, since the Lazarus pits were created by him. Ra’s tries to persuade Robin to join him and Trigon so that he may return to life, but Robin, deciding that he is no longer an ‘al Ghul’ but a Titan, refuses, engages his grandfather in combat, and ultimately defeats and kills him. Overcoming her inner doubts and Trigon’s telepathic attempts to dissuade her, Raven uses her powers and her link to Trigon to re-imprison him in a shard of the broken crystal.
Raven informs the Titans that the shard must stay in Hell and be watched always, in case Trigon tries once again to break free. She puts herself forward as Trigon’s keeper, but the Titans assure that her home is with them. Back at Titans Tower, the group – now joined by Robin and Cyborg – are lauded by the Justice League for saving Earth, and Raven wears her father’s crystal prison on her forehead, even as he is angrily demanding his release. In a post-credits scene, Terra is seen approaching Titans Tower, riding a boulder across the sea.
I’m not really a fan of Damian in a leading role, but in a team the character plays out much better. Sort of like how Batman integrates nicely with the Justice League – both characters can add a bit of spice to the mix once they’re able to clearly contrast with other characters. In my opinion this is the first movie in this line that manages to do this, so that is good to see.  There are some parallels between a few appearances in here and in Young Justice – some designs are related without a doubt, some characters share close or relatively close resemblances, but they are different personalities (and have different voice-actors). Wasn’t sure how to take this at first, but they’re likable.  Overall another great animated outing.
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REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS

CAST (VOICES)

Sean Astin (Cabin Fever 3)
Rosario Dawson (Daredevil)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Matt Lanter (Disaster Movie)
Sumalee Montano (Beware The Batman)
Shermar Moore (Birds of Prey)
Jerry O’Connell (Mockingbird Lane)
Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Retribution)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)

In the Atlantic Ocean, the USS California submarine picks up incoming human-like threats approaching the sub by sonar. The sub is attacked, leaving the entire crew dead by the invading hostiles. At S.T.A.R. Labs’ Justice League headquarters, Cyborg, who has recently received environmental upgrades in an operation that replacing his remaining lung, is given news by Colonel Steve Trevor, the liaison for the Justice League, over the sunken sub. Cyborg decides to check it himself, deciding against Trevor’s idea of calling the other superheroes, as he puts it “there is no Justice League”, feeling there is truly no unity to them as they have never come to help each other since Darkseid’s invasion. At Mercy Reef in Maine, Arthur Curry, drunk over the recent death of his father, picks a fight with a group of tough guys over them wanting to eat the lobster Arthur was talking to. He defeats them using inhuman strength and when the last man tries to stab him, his knife breaks into pieces against Arthur’s chest. After throwing him into the ocean, Arthur leaves, unaware that he is being watched by Mera and Dr. Shin. Cyborg uses a Boom Tube to teleport down to the sunken sub and discovers hand prints on the hull and that several nuclear missiles are missing from the launch bays. He is then attacked by the same hostiles that attacked the sub and suffers damage to his servos through his escape, though manages to take a knife-like weapon off one of his attackers when they stab him with it.

Back at their HQ, Cyborg gets help from Flash and Shazam to get Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern, leaving Batman the last one remaining. Green Lantern decides to head to Gotham City to get Batman, who is currently chasing henchmen of the Scarecrow. Green Lantern captures them for Batman, but Batman is angry as he needed them to head to where Scarecrow was and about his plot against Gotham’s City Hall. With the entire team together, they check the raised sub and Cyborg’s assault. They realize the enemy is not related to Darkseid but warriors from Earth’s origin. Thanks to Diana’s knowledge, she reveals these warriors are from Atlantis, beings saved from death after their land sunk into the ocean after being turned into underwater creatures by their king’s mystical trident, after seeing the weapon Cyborg was stabbed with, with the theory of war related to the missing missiles. Using Shazam’s suggestion, Superman and Batman decide to meet Atlantis-expert Dr. Shin, while the others are tasked in finding Atlantis.

At Atlantis, Prince Orm and Black Manta, the latter of whom secretly accompanied Dr. Shin when he was watching Arthur disguised as a man named David, meet with Orm’s mother, Queen Atlanna. They argue over declaring war on the surface world because of the damage during the events of Darkseid’s attack, with Atlanna saying that the volcano that killed Orm’s father the king, was due to Darkseid’s forces while Orm says it was the Justice League’s fight with Darkseid that killed him. Orm also says that the humans polluting the Earth will eventually destroy it and Atlantis in the process, which he believes is a reason to attack them first. Atlanna silences Orm with the Trident of Neptune, the king’s trident of the Atlantean legend with immeasurable powers, which seem electrically based, that can only be accessed by Atlantean royalty and asks Mera to bring Arthur, her other son, to Atlantis.Black Manta uses a craft holographically disguised as a submarine to attack Atlantis using the same stolen missiles, framing the surface for their “unprovoked” attack. Arthur answers the door to Dr. Shin, who tries to tell him that his father contacted him before his death to help Arthur. Moments later, Dr. Shin is killed by Atlantean soldiers sent by Black Manta. Arthur is overwhelmed by the attack, being knocked out and blasted out of his collapsing house, until he is saved by Mera, who dispatches the soldiers by using her control over water and its density, and taken underwater. Batman and Superman enter Dr. Shin’s home discovering that his work is destroyed. Superman recreates a photograph of Arthur Curry and a letter from his father revealing that his son is half-Atlantean.Batman decides they must find him. The attack on Atlantis leads the citizens and Orm to demand for war and to break the seal on war plans created by the former king in the event of conflict with the surface. Queen Atlanna decides that they might need to reveal themselves after centuries of being hidden and contact the Justice League. Arthur wakes up with gills on his neck in underwater Atlantean ruins with Mera, who explains his situation. Atlanna met Arthur’s father and gave birth to him. Due to her being royal, she could not be with him nor Arthur, so she had to leave to be with her king and Orm, though she still loved Arthur greatly and had even been watching Arthur when he was a child. Arthur had once encountered Atlanna when he was swimming by the shore. Now, Atlanna believes Arthur can help Atlantis be the bridge between the two worlds. Mera then dresses him with the kings royal garb, hidden by Atlanna inside the ruins. Arthur, having difficulty process the situation, removes the armor and crown from his garb, leaving only the orange and green Atlantean bodysuit underneath, and heads to surface with Mera following him. Soon, they are attacked by the Trench. The creatures overwhelm Arthur, one of them even biting his hand, making him bleed. The Justice League arrives in time to defeat the Trench. Orm hears from Black Manta that the Trench failed to kill Arthur. Orm and Queen Atlanna argue because Orm wants to start a war as per his late father’s wishes and reveals his knowledge of Arthur Curry. Queen Atlanna reveals to him that she knows he attacked Atlantis. With this news, Black Manta confronts the queen, but is overpowered due to her trident. Orm then stabs her from behind, killing her and taking over Atlantis as the new king.Arthur, Mera, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Cyborg arrive at Atlantis and learn of Queen Atlanna’s death, the Atlantean people being under the impression that a surface dweller killed her. The heroes are then defeated by Orm, who has assumed the mantle of “Ocean Master” and uses the trident to incapacitate and restrain them inside cacoon like pods. Superman even sheds blood when attacked with the trident. The group is sent to be consumed by the monstrous Dark Trench, while Ocean Master leads Atlantis’ army to the surface. Arthur destroys his pod by tapping into the power of the trident and with Superman’s help, as well as his telepathic control over sea creatures, they save the rest and defeat the monster. In Metropolis, a massive tidal wave created by Ocean Master’s trident is used to conceal Ocean Master’s army, which reaches the shores and begins their attack. The military fights back but are powerless until the League arrive. During the fight, Superman saves John Henry Irons, and Wonder Woman saves Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Arthur is attacked by Black Manta, who reveals that he manipulated Ocean Master and plans to kill him when the time is right and take Atlantis for himself. While Black Manta is revealing his plan, Arthur calls a megalodon to attack him, dragging Black Manta underwater.Mera and the League attack Ocean Master but are once again defeated and unable to gain an advantage over him due to his Trident’s power, as Shazam turned to his normal form, Billy Batson, and Cyborg is electricuted and disabled. Wonder Woman successfully disarms him of the Trident, though she is nearly incapacitated by its energy when she holds it. Superman is further wounded with the trident, being pierced in the chest with it. Arthur becomes the last to face Ocean Master, who has an upper hand during the fight until the end due to Orm being unable to use the trident’s true power on Arthur due to his own status as Atlantean royalty. Despite this, Ocean Master manages to defeat Arthur with the trident’s power by not using it directly on it and causing a massive blast of power to incapacitate him. Batman saves Cyborg from dying by electrocuting him with a taser device, and Cyborg reveals that he has video of Ocean Master confessing to killing his mother when they were captured. As Ocean Master is killing Arthur, nearly impaling him on his trident, Cyborg broadcasts Ocean Master’s confession all over Metropolis for Atlantis’ soldiers to see. Stunned by his treachery, the soldiers do not obey Ocean Master’s commands and Arthur uses the distraction to defeat him. He then convinces the soldiers to stand down and declares his desire to bring Atlantis and the surface world together in peace.

Later in Atlantis, Arthur is crowned as king, with the Justice League among the audience celebrating. Batman suggests that, with new threats appearing, they need to solidify the team and Cyborg reveals plans for a watchtower. Arthur joins as Aquaman (which is a nickname everyone on the Internet gave him and he hates), and soon heads with now-love interest Mera against the Trenchers outside Atlantis.  In the post-credits, Ocean Master is incarcerated at Belle Reve, yelling at the guards to release him. He is approached by Lex Luthor who has a proposition for him to consider.maxresdefaultThis was enjoyable, it is nice to see a story about other characters in the DC universe.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE WAR

CAST (VOICES)

Jason O’Mara (Resident Evil: Retribution)
Sean Astin (Cabin Fever 3)
Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Justin Kirk (Weeds)
Shermar Moore (Birds of Prey)
Zach Callison (The Legend of Korra)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)

A series of strange abductions have occurred in Gotham City, Central City, Coast City and Metropolis among others. Video footage suggests that Batman, a wanted, costumed vigilante, is behind the incidents. When a mysterious, burly, cloaked kidnapper abducts a woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) arrives to confront the kidnapper and saves the woman when she is dropped from above. Green Lantern then attacks the kidnapper, revealing it to be a monstrous Parademon. The creature defeats Green Lantern soundly, and as he is about to be killed, Batman appears and attacks the Parademon, trying to interrogate it. The Parademon then attacks both heroes. They escape from the city’s police and chase the creature into the sewers, where it charges a Mother Box and explodes. Batman and Green Lantern examine the box, deduce that it is of extraterrestrial origin, and decide to ask Superman for an answer. Another Mother Box, supplied by The Flash (Barry Allen) is being studied at S.T.A.R. Labs. Doctor Silas Stone, father of Vic Stone, deliberately misses his son’s football game so he can study the box. Arriving in Metropolis, Batman and Green Lantern fight Superman—who has fought a Parademon previously and believes the heroes are working with it. The battle spreads over a portion of the city; it finally stops when Batman calls Superman “Clark”. Superman uses his x-ray vision and recognizes Batman as billionaire Bruce Wayne. The three heroes then begin to collaborate. On planet Apokolips, Darkseid orders Desaad to begin an invasion of Earth in response to the superheroes’ discovery of his plans.

Vic arrives at S.T.A.R. Labs and argues with his father Silas, who believes that football has no importance in a world that is changing with the appearance of metahumans, and states that he will never come to one of his son’s football games due to his devotion to his own work. At the Daily Planet, Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern realize the invasion has begun when the box activates and several Boom Tubes appear throughout the world, including S.T.A.R. Labs. While Vic is holding the Box being studied by his father during their argument, it activates and explodes, creating a Boom Tube. The explosion fuses the technology inside the Box to Vic’s fatally wounded and mutilated body. With several Parademons attacking, Silas is forced to take Vic to an emergency room to save him. Silas loads Vic into a technologically advanced medical bed and uses experimental nano mechanical and tissue grafting technologies on Vic in desperation, though this seems to fail when his heartbeat flatlines. Countless Parademons appear around the world, attacking everyone on sight. The box’s technology spliced with Vic’s body fuses itself with the various technologies, as well as computers, around the room, transforming Vic into Cyborg, with a body now made from technology capable of transforming and adapting itself and obtaining new features, such as weapons. Just as the Flash arrives to save the scientists, Cyborg’s systems reveal details of Apokolips, Darkseid, and the invasion plan. He sees that the Parademons are actually the inhabitants of countless worlds conquered by Darkseid. The inhabitants are captured and spliced with Darkseid’s technology, allowing it to control and repurpose their genetics and physical makeup, transforming them into mind-controlled monsters and together serve as a highly expendable army for conquering other planets. Vic’s body was affected by the same technology but it had not been programmed to create a Parademon, and fused with other materials and instead. At his foster home, teenager Billy Batson sees a Parademon outside and mystically turns into the superhero Shazam. Air Force One is attacked in the air, but is saved by the Amazon princess Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) and Superman. After the heroes gather, Cyborg reveals that the invasion is a prelude to the terraforming of Earth. Darkseid arrives and proves to be a powerful opponent who defeats each hero effortlessly.

Darkseid uses his Omega Beams while fighting Flash and Superman, with the latter being unable to outmaneuver the beam and is hit, incapacitated and captured by a Parademon. Batman stops Green Lantern from going after them on his own, as his ego has caused him to charge at Darkseid without thinking and be quickly defeated and injured to the point where his arm breaks. Batman then persuades him to think about the many lives at stake rather than his own image as a hero and to help the heroes work together after he unmasks himself and reveals that his parents’ murders were what motivated him to fight evil. Batman unmasked deliberately and allows himself to be captured to save Superman. Green Lantern, acting as a leader, assembles everyone and decides that to defeat Darkseid they must destroy his eyes first, stripping him of his power to use his Omega Beams. Bruce is taken through a portal and arrives on Apokolips, proceeding to escape the Parademon and stop Desaad from turning Superman into a Parademon. Because of a brainwashing process being done on him, Superman becomes unstable and highly aggressive, resulting in him crushing Desaad to death and attacking anything in sight, including other Parademons and Batman. Batman reasons with Superman, helping him reassert his own personality. On Earth, after Darkseid’s eyes are disabled, Cyborg connects with the Mother Box to reopen the Boom Tubes and send the tyrant and his army back to their home world. Though the Parademons are gone, Darkseid remains. Superman and Batman arrive and together they force the tyrant into the portal. With the world saved, the once-maligned superheroes gain the public’s trust and are honored at the White House. The President of the United States asks whether they have a name. Shazam abruptly announces the name “Super Seven”, to which the others object. After a short debate the team of superheroes agree to take the name of Justice League.

In a post-credits scene, an Atlantean ship emerges from the ocean and Ocean Master appears carrying the dead body of his king, possibly killed when the Parademons assembled in the sea during Darkseid’s arrival on Earth. He believes that the surface dwellers on Earth are responsible for his death, calling it an act of war from the surface, or which he vows retribution.Everything in the film was pretty much spot on, the characters were portrayed really well and it was highly entertaining.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: UGLY BETTY: THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

CAST
America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Tony PLana (Vampire Bats)
Ana Ortiz (Devious Maids)
Ashley Jensen (Arthur Christmas)
Becki Newton (American Dad)
Mark Indelicato (White Bird In a Blizzard)
Vanessa Williams (Eraser)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girl)
Judith Light (Dallas)
Christopher Gorham (Odyssey 5)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
FAKE PLASTIC SNOW
GUEST CAST
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)
Brett Cullen (Ghiost Rider)
Ava Gaudet (Evil Angel)
Betty is at her desk working on an expense report for Daniel when Henry comes by and asks her if she’s making her Christmas list. He spots mistletoe on her desk. She says it’s just holly, but he kisses her anyway and tells her she’s the girl he’s been looking for. But it looks like this was all a fantasy as Betty wakes up in a shock from this dream and glares at the photo of Walter by her bed before throwing the sheets over her face. Back at Daniel’s place, Sofia wakes up beside Daniel. Worried that she will miss her flight, she says that they need a breather so they can see if what they have is real. He insists that he loves her but Sofia says it’s just hormones and sex. If this is real, he should see other women while she’s gone. If he doesn’t get sweaty palms with them, maybe he does love her. He says that this is crazy but she tells him that this will convince her that he really feels this only for her. Back at the Suarezes, Betty tells Hilda her dream, but Hilda tells her that dreams don’t mean anything and tells her sister should just avoid Henry and everything will be fine. Meanwhile Ignacio, who was arrested by Immigration a few days ago but was let go, comes down and Betty gives him his pills. He has a caseworker coming to work with him next month. Hilda gets in a fight with their neighbor Gina after she runs over her Christmas tree while it’s sitting in the street.
Meanwhile, in Wilhelmina’s office, Marc, in the wake of him now knowing the truth of his boss’ intentions, is bringing Wilhelmina her breakfast and asking if Nico is coming home. He lithely snatches her whole wheat bagel causing her to almost bite his head off before he reminds her that they’re ‘sharing things’ now that he knows her little secret. Over at an office meeting in the conference room, Daniel announces that Betty has been offered a job and she will be accepting resumes for her position. The news brings a round of applause for Miss Suarez. Amanda and Marc wonder if they need to invite her to her own leaving party. Betty is surprised he’s announced this, but he says that her going to work with Sofia is what’s best for her. Amanda is already confident that she’s the best one to take the job. Daniel then takes Betty into his office to tell her that Sofia wants him to have an affair while she’s away. He’s through with being a bachelor and places half a dozen rings across his desk to try to pick out which will be perfect. After leaving Daniel’s office, Betty goes to her desk and opens a gift waiting for her, which turns out to be a notebook. She assumes this is from Daniel and gives him the thumbs up but he doesn’t know what she’s doing, since it didn’t come from him. She walks down the hall to Amanda who tells her flatly that she is the right person to replace her and she’ll prove it: She’ll help Betty plan the Christmas party. Betty reluctantly accepts the offer. A bundle of fake snow arrives and Betty walks it into Henry, spilling it all over both of them. He tries to pull some out of her hair but feel bashful. He then makes a series of unintentional double entendres while Betty tries to hide her excitement when he tells her that he will be ‘on top of her’ for the next few days overseeing the party budget.
Meanwhile, half a dozen lingerie models arrive to pose the new collection for Daniel. They include the first supermodel he was ever with, Aerin. Betty leaves to try to sort through resumes before she rushes in again to stop Daniel from easy temptation and announces that the photographer is ready for the models. Across town later that day, Betty and Walter are at the Christmas party for the store where he works. They have their photo taken with Walter’s boss and his wife. The wife of Walter’s boss tells her that she used to work in Manhattan too, but they’re Queens’ girls and this is where they belong. Betty stares at Walter and his boss with a less than enthusiastic feeling. Betty asks the woman when she knew that her husband was the one. She just knew; when did Betty know Walter was? She’s not sure yet. Upset that Marc wants in on her secret, Wilhelmina gets a call from her mysterious friend who’s concerned about having Marc silenced. Wilhelmina states that he will be permanently silenced very soon. She adjusts the Christmas tree ornaments and walks out revealing Marc hiding behind the tree. He’s terrified and takes a breath of his inhaler. In another part of the MODE building, it’s late in the office and Amanda is still there, rummaging through Daniel’s desk and trying on the rings he bought for Sofia. Her feelings for Daniel aren’t exactly as simple as she wishes they were. One ring gets stuck on her finger. Also later on in another location at the Meade Building, Bradford is being visited by Mr. Greene. He’s managed to find proof that Fey Sommers is really dead after visiting the coroner at the cemetery, which leads to new questions over who the mystery woman really is, now that a relative has claimed Fey’s remains.
The following morning, a worried Marc brings Wilhelmina her whole wheat. She asks him for his home address; she’s sending a special delivery his way. He panics and takes another hit off his inhaler. Amanda updates Betty on all the elaborate party preparations that she’s done. Betty says she appreciates the help, but it doesn’t erase her history with Daniel; she’s not right for the job. Betty goes to her desk when Henry appears with ornaments. She tries to ignore him, but he tells her that he never saw snow until he moved to New York and she’s so charmed that she can’t stop staring at him. They begin to chat and she starts to fantasize about him before freezing up and telling him she has to get back to work. Betty is pushing ornaments into Amanda’s arms when she sees one of Daniel’s rings on her fingers. Betty chases her around the office before they try to get it off together. Betty spits on an appalled Amanda’s finger and starts to pull while she tells her that she doesn’t feel anything for Daniel anymore. Betty falls over pulling and Amanda walks off. Marc arrives at the party. At first, he’s stuck in an elevator with a man who seems to be a hitman. He rushes past him and asks Amanda if she has a gun. Amanda says that no one would sell guns to anyone at the party. Marc rushes off to hide from the wrath of Wilhelmina and Amanda goes to stand by Betty to pester her about the job. Betty thinks that Daniel needs someone who can look after him. Amanda says that she’ll run interference between Daniel and the models just to prove that she can fill Betty’s shoes. After glancing at Betty’s clogs, she takes a swig and stomps off. Betty is left alone while Henry stands across the room flirting with her. Christina is drunk on Santa’s lap and slurs out a wish list of presents for her co-workers, “A heart for Wilhelmina, courage for Marc and brains for Amanda.” Marc runs by while Betty moves around the room and under desks while trying to hide from Henry. She bangs her head and her painful yelp brings her to Henry’s attention. He helps her up with a string of condoms in her hand but he was only there for a corkscrew. Christina walks by them dragging Santa into the bathroom as an appalled Marc runs out. Wilhelmina and the ‘hitman’ spot him and call him into her office. They take Marc to the parking garage and, just when he thinks they’re going to kill him, they flip on a light to reveal a Hummer, delivered to him by the ‘hitman’, who happens to be an auto dealer. He’s relieved to see that they’re just trying to buy his silence.
Daniel goes into his office followed by Erin, who starts making out with him. Amanda promptly interrupts and reminds him that he’s supposed to be engaged. Daniel agrees, telling Erin that he’s in love with someone else. When Erin thinks it’s Amanda, she suggests a threesome (and possibly a ménage à trois), but Daniel explains that’s not what he meant. Erin then leaves. Afterwards, Betty tells Daniel that the only person she’s seen that she could leave to look after him is Amanda. If he’s serious about her going, this is goodbye. He gives her a silver business card holder and tells her that he’s proud of her; she’s destined for bigger things. She hugs him and tries not to cry. Before she leaves, she asks him if the other gifts she’s been receiving were from him. They weren’t. Daniel calls Sofia to tell her that he loves her and his heart doesn’t race for anyone else. Betty walks out to her desk and looks at Henry. They exchange waves before someone walks by and kisses him but he pushes her away. Betty is crushed at the sight and rushes away to the elevator while he runs after her. The ring falls off Amanda’s finger. Back in Queens, Hilda is going through Justin’s gift list when they look out the window and see Gina obscenely defaming their Christmas lawn ornaments. By evening, she returns with a decapitated glowing reindeer and the lights go out. Hilda walks out to find Gina collapsed on the porch. They’ve been competing since they were teenagers and Gina always loses. After Gina admits that her parents are away and she is spending Christmas alone, Hilda takes pity and invites her in for eggnog and brandy. It looks like they buried the hatchet for now.  Later on at MODE, Amanda is trying to clear up after the party. Daniel tells her that Betty thinks she should be his new assistant, but can she do it? They promise to be professionals. Meanwhile, Ted the Texan walks in on Wilhelmina as she’s about to leave and her heart starts to race. Betty gets home and wonders if she’s doing what’s best with her life. She shows Hilda the photo of her with Walter. Hilda says that she should appreciate Walter more. Within moments, Walter arrives with her last present; it was him who was using Daniel to sneak her presents at work. Henry calls but Hilda tells him that Betty is busy and throws away the message that he leaves with her. Walter tells Betty that he’s trying to understand her life in Manhattan, but she feels cold and it becomes clear to her that she doesn’t love him.
Image result for ugly betty fake plastic snowA Great first Christmas for Betty and the gang, Daniel trying to prove that he is in love Sofia was a great story and Amanda looking out for him  was a nice touch. The Henry and Betty scenario was sweet too.
GIVING UP THE GHOST
GUEST CAST
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Ileana Douglas (Ghost World)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
The story begins at the Suarez home, where Betty is sitting down at 2AM eating empanadas. As she goes to get the milk from the refrigerator, she is spooked by seeing the head of Bradford Meade inside. After she closes the door, Bradford is standing behind her and tells her that he is her subconscious and that he asks her why she turned down Daniel’s offer to return to work. Betty tells him that she doesn’t think she’s ready to return. He then disappears after he tells her to think about what Bradford told her before he died. The following day at the burial of Bradford at the cemetery, Claire is allowed to attend but arrives wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and is in shackles. Amanda ponders about whether she would be next in line to take over at the company, but Sheila, who arrived late and hears this exchange, tells her that two years as a receptionist doesn’t qualify. As Betty is delivering a eulogy, Wilhehima and Marc show up, hoping to make her last remarks. After Wilhelmina comments about Claire’s uniform, Claire trips Wilhelmina, causing her to fall into Bradford’s empty grave. Wilhelmina is fired by unanimous decision of Claire, Daniel, and Alexis.
Fumed by her termination from the company, Wilhelmina returns to her office at MODE to remove her belongings but before she goes, she deploys a computer virus called “Medusa X”, featuring a motif similar to the Versace logo, but with Wilhelmina’s head replacing Medusa, that removes all files pertaining to the upcoming issue. When Henry notices the virus in his office, he calls Betty, who was helping the family plan their annual Christmas tree decorations at home, to inform her about what happened. As she leaves, she gives directions to Hilda, Justin and Ignacio on how it’s normally decorated, although Hilda and Justin think that they should make changes to the tradition. Daniel and Betty lead the effort to resurrect the issue with an all nighter work session. Betty says she is back just for the night. But before they can start on the emergency issue, Wilhelmina and Marc interrupt this work session to announce their new magazine: SLATER and recruit many MODE staff. Wilhelmina also made her feelings known about Daniel and Alexis, prompting Alexis and Betty to try to contain their desire to knock her out. As Wilhelmina leaves, Marc tempted Amanda to defect, but she turns him down, thus ending their partnership. Among the all-night chaos, Daniel placed Sheila in charge and in turn finds replacements to do new articles, with Henry being tasked with writing a food column and Amanda volunteering to write the “Hot or Not” section. Unfortunately Sheila is not happy about having Amanda on the team, even as she sees the receptionist eating at her desk and not giving her an article. When Amanda sees a pizza delivery guy’s uniform, she finally comes up with one, but as she shows off her design, Sheila walks up to her and tells her that she actually knew, worked and “made out” with Fey Sommers, and that Amanda is “No Fey Sommers,” and scraps Amanda’s article. At the love dungeon, a distressed Amanda tells Christina that she hopes that when she finds her father, maybe she’ll know what type of talent that she might actually have.
Meanwhile at the Suarez home, the family decoration plans start to go awry when Hilda trips on a string of Christmas tree lights knocking the tree over and starting a small fire. As Betty is scrambling to help Daniel at work, she calls her Hilda about its progress until she figured out what has happened after hearing Justin and Ignacio in the background. Alexis decided to take upon the task of getting the printers to extend the hours, but as she goes to the printer’s office in an effort to charm him, she discovers that he has left the business to a dwarf-like successor, Harvey Milfree. After the two bicker and bluff all night, they end up discussing how both are ‘different’ and how their fathers treated them. Once the conversation is over, Harvey agrees to keep the presses open, much to the delight of Alexis.
The deleted issue also erased the cover spread featuring Cameron Ashlock, a famous actress and singer who has been making a lot of headlines. When Daniel decides that he is going to break her out of rehab, Betty tags along. At the centre where Cameron is staying, the two find her among candles and chanting and after much persuasion, they succeed in convincing her to do a reshoot. Unfortunately, that doesn’t go well as planned as Cameron goes ballistic on the set after Daniel told Betty the only way to do it is by giving her alcohol, which Betty thought was a bad idea. As Cameron is escorted off the shoot, Betty learned that Daniel never gave Cameron a drink, which is how she lost control in the first place. Daniel told Betty he couldn’t do it. Unable to reshoot the cover, Daniel opts for a solid black cover in tribute of the late Bradford Meade with an “In Remembrance of Bradford Meade” theme. Betty and the staff are impressed with this cover as a way to honour the late publisher. Betty then tells Daniel that she will return to MODE permanently, and as Daniel walks away, she sees the spirit of Bradford for one last time by sending him to his final “resting place.” Later, at Wilhelmina’s apartment, she tells the defected MODE staff that she will have the new magazine up and running soon. After they leave, Wilhelmina meets with her father, Senator Slater, to ask for a loan to get her new magazine established. He refuses, saying that the daughter he once knew and loved as Wanda has changed into someone else. After he leaves, Wilhelmina and Marc ponder other options on how to get the financial backing. Finally, knowing that Christmas is a time for family, Betty buys a pink artificial tree to replace the burned up one. As they finally decorate the new tree Ignacio places the angel on top as a remembrance of his late wife.
A great episode and a great way to bring back Alan Dale’s character despite being killed off in the previous episode. It’s also good to see Betty trying to stay the person she has always been and worrying about the woman she may become if she stays at mode. Having Betty being able to help save the magazine shows how much she has grown. We also get to see Wilhelmina go all super villain which is just scary and brilliant at the same time.
BE-SHURE
GUEST CAST
Daniel Eric Gold (War of The Worlds)
Grant Bowler (Lost)
David Rasche (Burn After Reading)
Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid)
The story begins with the family getting ready for breakfast with Ignacio making potato latkes. Ignacio announces that he has invited his new girlfriend, Jean, over for a multi-culti Christmas–Hanukkah dinner. As Betty leaves, Bobby stops by, which upsets Hilda, even though Bobby was there to pick up Justin, while Ignacio holds up a Cabbage Patch Doll to show Bobby, who believes took a display of the baby Jesus 14 years earlier, which Bobby denied. After she leaves, Betty starts to feel queasy as does Hilda later on while she and Archie were visiting Macy’s to drop a letter to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. On Fashion TV, Suzuki reports on Wilhelmina in jumpsuits and Connor in jail. Claire and Daniel discuss hiring a new creative director despite the disagreements over Calvin running the company and Daniel being blamed for hiring Connor, while Marc is suffering from “Stockholm Syndrome”, due to Wilhelmina no longer with the company. Cal later stops by to introduce Daniel their new creative director, a clueless Hollywood mogul named Denise Ludwig, whom Daniel is not happy about and when he tries to reason with Cal as to why he was not consulted, Cal reminded him about who was running the company and it wasn’t Daniel.
919NuAZvl-L._SL1500_As Daniel prays that Connor rots in prison, it looks like Connor and Wilhelmina are getting hot and heavy behind bars, as Wilhelmina have been secretly been making surprise visits daily for the past two weeks, as they hope that as soon as they get the money back Wilhelmina will be back at Mode. When Wilhelmina returns to reclaim her job, Daniel tells her that it was filled. Wilhelmina then leaves, but prior to her visit, Marc suggests to Daniel, who wanted to get even with Cal by recovering the money, by enlisting Wilhelmina in an effort to get the money back. Hours later back at prison, Wilhelmina and Connor are interrupted by a phone call from Daniel. Connor goes to answer Daniel on the other end but Connor refuses to spill the beans and blames him for taking Molly and making Wilhelmina choose between him and the company, saying that he knows where the money is. However this was all planned, as Wilhelmina and Connor set up a scheme in an effort to get the Hartleys out of the company. This also sets up a scheme for Daniel to get the company back in family control, as Marc suggests to Daniel that Wilhelmina might be useful in retrieving the money from Connor. As they went to Wilhelmina’s place, the two agree to get the money back, on the condition that Wilhelmina gets a 50% stake in Meade Publications and non-veto power and that Daniel does not consult Claire. The two agree. In between the meelee, Marc begins to reminisce about Wilhelmina with Amanda, as they looked at Wilhelmina’s empty office and sees her empty chair, which he used to inject Botox into his former boss. Hours later, a deliveryman arrives to give Marc the Botox chair as a gift. Amanda later reaches Claire to tell her that a plane is ready for her flight to Rapid City, South Dakota to see her son Tyler. In Rapid City, Claire arrives at a bar and sees a bartender, who happens to be Tyler, after she asks him for a beer as a way to get to know more about him. As Tyler talks about his life, Claire listens to him, seeing that he has done well for himself and realizes that he has turned out pretty well. Claire then thanks Tyler for having a great conversation and leaves him a 2,000-dollar tip. As Claire leaves, she informs Amanda and tells her that she doesn’t want Tyler to know anything about her. However, as Tyler went to pick up his tip, he is stunned by the large cash that was left for him and sees an envelope that has Claire’s name and address on it.
As they avoid Amanda, who seem to have jumped on the jumpsuit trend thanks to Wili, Betty and Matt talk about the get-together at the Suarezes, then comment on Betty’s glow as she visualizes a future with Matt as Mrs. Suarez-Hartley. During the entire day, Betty still feels queasy and as she arrives to the bus stop, a waiting passenger notices Betty and gives her a seat because he thought that Betty looked like she was expecting and as the flashbacks come into the picture, her vision of her future changed completely as she sees a mirror image of herself as a pregnant woman. At the drug store, Betty asks for the Be-Shure pregnancy test kit from a pharmacist named Jean, without mentioning the name. Unfortunately, Hilda also shows up asking Jean for the same kit, but the siblings don’t see each other even though the two do see Ignacio shopping and try their best to avoid him like the plague. Back at home Betty and Hilda arrive to help Ignacio, while at the same time they separately head to the bathroom to pee so they can see if they are expecting. During the ensuing chaos, both try to keep each other and Ignacio from finding out as they fight for bathroom time. When Ignacio heads upstairs to ask for a band-aid, the sisters panicked as they were hiding something, and after he left the two separately discover a positive on their sticks thanks to a mix-up with their kits and both believed that they might be pregnant. But just as the two try to keep quiet about their double pregnancy, Ignacio welcomes a surprise guest – his Jewish girlfriend Jean, the pharmacist from the drugstore that gave the women the pregnancy test, but doesn’t recognize either of them. And to make matter worse, Archie and Matt also arrives, as does Bobby, who returns the baby Jesus and admits to Ignacio that he stole it.During the entire evening as Jean talked about her Jewish family members and being welcomed into a Christian family setting, the sisters try to keep their cool about the results and as they went back to the bathroom they saw the two sticks, but one turned up positive and the other negative. Betty believes that Hilda might be the one who is carrying but the two are not so sure and as Matt walks in on the two he sees Betty with the stick and is led to believe that Betty is the one with child. Betty tells Matt that she is not ready but Matt stuns Betty by saying he is ready. That’s when the two decide to retest to be sure, so Matt heads to the store. Later that evening, everyone gathers to see the lighting of the Nativity on the lawn. Ignacio invites everyone, including Bobby, back in the house, and when Jean prepares to light the menorah the chaos continued until a box of Be-Shure fell onto the floor, as does Jean’s menorah. Everyone sees this as Betty picks it up and Matt follows her to the bathroom.
In the bathroom, Betty and Matt wait for a few minutes, then a negative sign appears, as Betty breathes a sigh of relief that she is not the one who is pregnant, even though Matt was somewhat disappointed. Ignacio was also relieved as well regardless of the outcome and they returned downstairs to finish the celebration. Hours later after the celebration finished, a devastated Hilda tells Betty that she is afraid to tell Archie about the pregnancy and that he isn’t the father, now that she knows that Bobby is. Betty thinks its time for Hilda to come clean to Archie, when Archie comes by and see Hilda. However, its Archie who decided that it was better to end the relationship, but because he felt that there was someone out there who deserves Hilda and he wasn’t the one for her. After he leaves, Hilda sees Bobby, who wanted to tell her that he wouldn’t come by the place anymore, but Hilda tells him he can come over anytime. She didn’t tell Bobby about him becoming a father yet. As the evening finished, Ignacio was pleased that Jean liked the get-together and was looking forward to a having an Easter-Passover dinner down the road, while outside Betty and Matt talked about visualizing their future together if they ever decide to ever have a family, then they kiss.
Be-Shure sets up a lot of stories for the remainder of the series, as season 4 became the final season. This Christmas episode had many highlights especially the pregnancy story, keeping the audience guessing just which of the sisters is pregnant.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – THE LYIN, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

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THE LYIN, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

MAIN CAST

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Tony Plana (Primal Fera)
Ana Ortiz (Devious Maids)
Ashley Jensen (Gnomeo & Juliet)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Mark Indelicato (Disposal)
Vanessa Williams (Shaft)
Michael Urie (The Decoy Bride)
Image result for ugly betty THE LYIN, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
GUEST CAST

Christopher Gorham (Jake 2.0)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)
Patrick Fabian (The Last Exorcism)
Jowharah Jones (The Client List)
Judith Light (Who’s The Boss?)

It’s Halloween, and in the Suarez household the day starts with both Betty and Hilda asking their dad about his false Social Security card, but he seems too busily immersed in the festivities. Justin on the other hand dresses up as a sailor (he’s channeling Gene Kelly from On the Town). Betty’s idea of celebrating is to dress up as a butterfly for what is supposed to be a work party. Image result for ugly betty THE LYIN, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
At work, Betty shows up in her outfit… only to discover that there is no costume party (it looks like Marc made a series of prank e-mails). Betty is about to have her work cut out for her when Daniel asks her to track down his lost watch, which he left at a girlfriend’s place, but he can’t remember which one. He tells Betty to get Amanda to help her, but it appears that Amanda may be holding back in a jealous fit, for it turns out that she has the watch. Betty finally puts two and two together, and confronts Amanda in the bathroom. Amanda reveals to Betty that she always wanted Daniel for herself but she is tired of his constant one-night stands with other women and admits her hope that he’ll pick her, knowing it’ll never happen. Having got this off her chest, Amanda pulls her self together, and tells Betty to forget what she just said. She gives the watch to Betty, who in turn passes it back to Daniel.
In between the melee, Betty finds herself smitten by Henry from accounting, who has come down to chat to Betty. Earlier in the day, Walter gave Betty a gift of a hollow pumpkin with candy in the middle. He told Betty to eat the candy in the pumpkin until she finds her gift. The gift is the key to Walter’s apartment, with a note asking her to move in with him. With so many things distracting her, Betty has no time to give Walter an answer but does find time to have lunch with Henry after he invites her to the Sushi bar across the street. When Walter turns up at Betty’s work and asks where she is, Amanda tells him. Walter arrives just as Henry is about to let Betty taste the sushi, confronts the two and walks off. In the end Betty tells Henry that she wants to work things out with Walter. She does just that, with Walter nixing the living arrangements and agreeing to continue dating for now.
As for Daniel, his day is spent visiting his mother Claire, who has been in a rehab clinic for over a month for her drinking problems, the result of her troubled marriage to Bradford after his admitted affair with Fey. While Daniel asks his mother about the music box and the night she burned the magazines, Claire asks her son to take her out for lunch at a restaurant. Daniel is leery about taking her to a place that serves alcohol. They go and during the lunch conversation Claire tells Daniel that he is going the same route as his dad, but this wasn’t something Daniel wants to hear…then she tells him to give her the glass of wine so she can have a ‘sip’ (she swallows the whole glass). Claire tells Daniel that the affair between Bradford and Fey had been going on for twenty years. When she and Fey went to confront Bradford in his office to make him choose, she tells Daniel to guess who ended up dead and who ended up in rehab. Later that day Daniel confronts Bradford about the affair. Bradford says that he didn’t want to hurt Daniel or Claire and regrets making that mistake. Daniel discloses to Bradford his knowledge of the burned glasses and license plate from Fey’s music box (which Bradford had hidden away to cover his tracks, but lost). Bradford had told Steve to seek out the person who’s been leaking the info to Daniel with the aim of having his son turn against him.
After leaving the office Daniel is left confused. Amanda runs into him in the lift and suggests seeing him that night, even just to chat. Daniel is too distracted, wants to be alone, and turns down her offer. Meanwhile Wilhelmina’s plan for a date with a younger man takes a turn for the worse when she is called a cradle robber on Fashion TV, and it appears that Marc, who is dressed up as “Halloween Betty” and was jokingly given a raise for it (but not anymore), may have something to do with it. So she makes him find a replacement date that she can take to a major event and gets Christina (Wilhelmina calls her “Carlotta” since she doesn’t know her name) to create a dress for her. When Wilhelmina attempts to try it on she is horrified to learn that she can’t fit into the size-2 designer gown, with Christina blurting out that Slater has gained weight. Wils decides to shed some pounds, using steam and diet, which helps as Christina finally gives her a dress that fits better and just in time to take the same young guy out to the event until her daughter Nico shows up.
Later Wilhelmina talks to the mystery woman about what happened between Daniel and Bradford, which prompts the semi-bandaged person to make plans for the return of Fey Sommers. As Halloween comes to a close, Ignacio finally comes clean to Betty, admitting that he came to the United States illegally, and leaving Betty shocked and stunned by his confession.
A great halloween episode a typically mesmerizing hour reminded us, it’s foolish to make snap judgments about anything (or anyone) in the Bettyverse.

REVIEW: ODYSSEY 5

MAIN CAST

Peter Weller (Robocop)
Sebastian Roche (The Originals)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Tamara Marie Watson (Cold Squad)
Leslie Silva (Fools Rush In)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kenneth Mitchell (Minority Report TV)
John Neville (Harvard Man)
Lindy Booth (Cry Wolf)
George Buza (Mutant X)
Sonja Smits (Videodrome)
Damon D’Oliveira (Earth: Final Conflict)
Barry Flatman (Defiance)
Gina Clayton (Fever Pitch)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Raven)
Jim Codrington (The Border)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Cle Bennett (Flashpoint)
Geoffrey Lewis (The Devil’s Rejects)
Dominic Zamprogna (Stargate Universe)
Bronson Picket (Wild Card)
Ted Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Fiona Highet (Bitten)
Kyle Schmid (Arrow)
Michael Flipowich (Earth: Final Conflict)
Sherry Miller (The Virgin Suicides)

Image result for odyssey 5Before Manny Coto took over as head writer of Enterprise in the fourth season, he had his own SF show on the air. Odyssey 5 was Coto’s brain child, and it was an intriguing program that lasted for only one season on Showtime. (Less actually… it took Showtime a couple of years to broadcast the last four episodes which are included in this set.) It certainly deserved to go on longer. This show about a group of five astronauts who have only five years to save the Earth from destruction was creative and engrossing and had some wonderful actors in the lead roles. The US space shuttle Odyssey was performing a routine mission, snagging a satellite for repairs before docking with the international space station when something very unexpected happened. The Earth imploded. In a matter of moments the Earth went from a blue/green planet to a swirling cloud of dust. The only people who were left alive were the five members of the Odyssey: Commander Chuck Taggert (Peter Weller) and his son Neil (Christopher Gorham), Nobel Prize winning geneticist Kurt Mendel (Sebastian Roche), newscaster Sarah Forbes (Leslie Silva) and shuttle pilot, Angela Perry (Tamara Crag Thomas.) With no place that they can go to they resign themselves to their fate and wait to run out of oxygen.

Moments before the end comes however, the Odyssey is taken aboard an alien spaceship. There they meet The Seeker, an ancient being (machine?) that has been searching for intelligent life. He’s found evidence of many advanced cultures, but whenever he gets to the planets he’s detected, all that’s left is a swirling cloud of dust. The Seeker offers to send the five astronauts back in time five years, so that they will have a chance of averting whatever it was that caused the Earth to die. Naturally they accept but five years isn’t a long time, and they have very little to go on.

They soon discover that there are incredibly intelligent entities living in the internet called Sentients. They have no bodies, since they are just computer code, but they have designed artificial people to carry out their bidding. These ‘Synthetics’ are stronger and faster than real people and can be programmed just like a computer. The only external difference from humans is that they are cold blooded. Trying to discover what the Sentients and Synthetics are up to is hard and dangerous, but it’s even worse than that; there’s no evidence that they are responsible for the Earth’s destruction. It could very well be related to a military project that was on the satellite the shuttle was adjusting, related to the covert group inside NASA known as the Cadre, or something else all together.Image result for odyssey 5This is one of those shows that starts off a little slow, but really draws you in. One of the things I really liked about the show was that they didn’t forget that the Odyssey 5 have home lives. When Taggart skips out on a party his wife had been wanting to go to (in order to stop a Synthetic plot), he not only ends up in the dog house but she also thinks that he has a mistress. Sarah spends a good amount of time taking her son to doctors so they can cure the stomach cancer that killed him in the original time-line. The only thing is that it hasn’t shown up yet and her husband and doctors think she’s crazy. It’s touches like these that add a lot to the feel of the show.

Image result for odyssey 5The ensemble cast is responsible for that to a large extent. All five of the main characters do a very good job portraying their idiosyncratic characters and make them seem like real people. Peter Weller (Buckaroo Banzai, Robocop) has the temperament and attitudes of a military pilot down pat, probably because his father was a pilot (as he discusses in the commentary), but in any case he really nails the part and gives the show it’s focal point. Sebastian Roche also does well as the goofy but brilliant scientist, walking that fine line between making him a caricature and a believably irreverent character. The one person in the cast who impressed me the most though was Leslie Silva. She was magnificent as a mother who had seen her child waste away and die, only to get him back again. You could tell what she was thinking by just a look, and the scenes where she would break down were heart wrenching. This is an enjoyable show. The acting is very good and the plots are engrossing. Though there isn’t a lot of continuity in the first few episodes they refer to past events more and more as the show goes on, which makes the program even more interesting. A fun show that deserved a longer run.

REVIEW: BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – SEASON 1-7

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CAST

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Nicholas Brendon (Children of The Corn III)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Charisma Carpenter (Scream Queens)
Anthony Stewart Head (The Iron Lady)
Davis Boreanaz (Bones)
Seth Green (Austin Powers)
James Marsters (Caprica)
Marc Blucas (Red State)
Emma Caulfield (Supergirl)
Michelle Tractenberg (17 Again)
Amber Benson (The Killing Jar)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Mark Metcalf (Drive me Crazy)
Brian Thompson (Hired To Kill)
Ken Lerner (The Running Man)
Kristine Sutherland (One Life To Live)
Julie Benz (No Ordinary Family)
Eric Balfour (Skylive)
Persia White (The Vampire Diaries)
Mercedes McNab (The Addams Family)
Elizabeth Anne Allen (Bull)
Robin Riker (The Bold and The Beautiful)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Christopher Wiehl (Cold Hearts)
Geoff Meed (Little Miss Sunshine)
Andrew J. Ferchland (The Last Leprechaun)
Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra 2525)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: DS9)
Dean Butler (Little House on The Prairie)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Robia LaMorte (Spawn)
Michael Bacall (Django Unchained)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Ara Celi (American Beauty)
Clayne Crawford (Roswell)
Danny Strong (The Prophecy II)
Kavan Smith (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Sachs (Jurassic Park 2)
Larry Bagby (Walk The Line)
Jason Behr (Roswell)
Will Rothhaar (Kingpin)
Julia Lee (A Man Apart)
Bianca Lawson (The Vampire Diaries)
Saverio Guerra (Becker)
John Ritter (8 Simple Rules)
Jeremy Ratchford (Cold Case)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns)
Jack Conley (Fast & Furious)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Meredith Salenger (Lake Placid)
Charles Cyphers (Halloween)
Wentworth Miller (Legends of Tomorrow)
Shane West (Nikita)
Max Perlich (Blow)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
Carlos Jacott (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
Jason Hall (American Sniper)
K. todd Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Fab Filippo (Guidestones)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Ian Abercrombie (Army of Darkness)
Harry Groener (About Schmidt)
Jack Plotnick (Rubber)
Nicole Bilderback (Dark Angel)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Harris Yulin (Training Day)
Dominic Keating (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
Christian Clemenson (Lois & Clark)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Ethan Erickson (Jawbreaker)
Andy Umberger (Deja Vu)
Katharine Towne (Evolution)
Lindsay Crouse (The Insider)
Phina Oruche (The Forsaken)
Adam Kaufman (Taken)
Walter Jones (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Kal Penn (Van Wilder)
Bailey Chase (Longmire)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Andy Hallett (Chance)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
George Hertzberg (Too Much Magic)
Alastair Duncan (The Batman)
Rob Benedict (Birds of Prey)
Erica Luttrell (Lost Girl)
Kathryn Joosten (desperate Housewives)
Connor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Rudolf Martin (Swordfish)
Tom Lenk (The Cabin In The Woods)
Charlie Weber (Gacy)
Clare Kramer (Bring it On)
Ravil Isyanov (Alias)
Amy Adams (Man of Steel)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
Kali Rocha (Buried)
Kevin Weisman (Alias)
Abraham Benrubi (Open Range)
Cynthia LaMontagne (That 70s Show)
Oliver Muirhead (The Social Network)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
Adam Busch (Sugar & Spice)
Joel Grey (Cabaret)
Karim Prince (Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers)
Wade Williams (Gangster Squad)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men)
Jordan Belfi (Surrogates)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2 & 3)
Ivana Milicevic (Casino Royale)
Lee Garlington (Flashforward)
Jan Hoag (Scream Queens)
Nicole hiltz (Smallville)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
D.B. Woodside (24)
Zachery Ty Bryan (The Fast and the Furious 3)
Sarah Hagan (Freaks and Geeks)
Jonathan M. Woodward (Firefly)
Stacey Scowley (The Brotherhood 2)
Felicia Day (The Guild)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (Arrow)
Ashanti (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Indigo (Broken City)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Dania Ramirez (Heroes)
Julia Ling (Chuck)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer is one of the wittiest, most well developed, and consistent cult fantasy shows on television. Unlike other shows in the genre, it has been able to showcase a wide balance between fantastic character development, humor, topical plotlines, heart wrenching drama, science fiction, and horror- a horn a plenty of styles all in one 44 min episode. While entertaining, everyone probably can’t relate to the technobabble machinations of a Star Trek episode, or the convoluted paranoia of and X-Files episode, but we all went through high school and whether you were average, popular, or an outcast, we know, we remember, all too well, the emotional highs and lows of growing up. Its something everyone can relate to, and its the central fire that keeps Buffy grounded.


But, Buffy began as a humble mid season replacement on a non entity network, and its early days when it was gaining its footing, starting its mythology, seeing how far they could tweek the drama and the horror with a minuscule budget… well, its not nearly the powerhouse it would quickly become in its second season. There are of course, subtle signs of the drama and humor to come, little hints that it was more than a teen show with vampires. And, honestly, if you were going to try and impress someone who had never seen The X-Flies, you certainly wouldn’t show them the first season without saying, “It gets much better.”

KEY EPISODES ARE –


Episode 1: Welcome to the Hellmouth- Buffy Summers, a high school sophomore, transfers to Sunnydale High. There she meets her “Watcher” and learns she cannot escape her true destiny.— Like most pilots, its all about introductions- Buffy the reluctant Slayer, her pals and soon to be Scoobies, spazz with a heart of gold Xander, shy brain Willow, her stuffy Watcher Giles, the mysterious Angel, and the snobbish beauty queen Cordelia. Also, of course, establishes the first main villain, The Master, and the Hellmouth, the demonic portal that would provide the show with its main mythological device keeping the town of Sunnydale infested with all manner of creatures for Buffy to slay

Episode 2: The Harvest:- A Stranger named Angel tells Buffy that if she does not stop the Harvest, the Hellmouth will open and the Master roam free.— Whereas the first episode was focused on introducing the characters and didn’t have much room for tension or action, The Harvest provides a look at Buffy having to accept her role as Slayer as she realizes the deadly consequences if she abandons her destiny.

Episode 5 : Never Kill a Boy on the First Date:

While awaiting the arrival of a warrior vampire called the Anointed One, Buffy’s big date at the Bronze ends with an assault on a funeral home. — Once again, showing Buffy’s attempts to balance a normal life with her secret life as the Slayer. While a little weak and cornball, it also manages to show the villain thread well, how most main Buffy villains will have some sort of evolution, twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing.

Episode 7: Angel: A moment of passion turns to terror as Buffy discovers Angel’s true identity and learns about the Gypsy curse that has haunted him for almost 100 years.— Probably the most weak, ill-defined character early on, this episode finally showcased more about Angel and gave his character some considerable fleshing out. Taking into account the large part his character would play in the Buffyverse, and the leaps and bounds of change he would undergo, his affect on all the characters, particularly Buffy, in one way or another, it makes this one of the seasons better episodes.

Episode 11: Out of Mind, Out of Sight: As Cordelia prepares for Sunnydale High’s May Queen competition, an invisible force starts attacking her closest friends.— Another of the seasons better episodes, and a clever look an always pertinent issue, showing yet another sympathetic foe, those fringe kids who are always ignored, sometimes until it is too late.

Episode 12: Prophecy Girl:

As the Spring Fling dance approaches, Giles discovers an ancient book foretelling the Slayers death at the hands of The Master.— While a tad abrupt, this finale serves up everything one wants, tension, conflict, and turns you don’t quite see coming. Pivotal in the series for all players, but mainly Buffy, showing that she isn’t just an invulnerable buttkicker able to save the day alone, but through banding together her and the Scoobies will take on many a Big Bad to come.

Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is quite possibly the best season of the bunch. Season 2 is by definition, where things get darker and more complex, this was the season that really made Buffy an unpredictably smart series.

The season opens with ‘When She Was Bad’ which deals with the fallout of Buffy’s momentary death in the previous year one finale; this episode is appropriately handled and sees Buffy acting rather out of character after returning from her summer away from Sunnydale. The preceding episodes are a fun affair and help the viewer to settle back into the rhythm of the series with various episodes focusing upon certain characters.

The ‘Big Bads’ of the season appear early on and come in the form of Drusilla and Spike, the former being a rather off-her-rocker vampire and the latter a bleached, leather wearing, cocky undead Englishman! As villains they are a lot of fun and help to shape season 2 as something unique and well constructed. However, come the end of the year things are considerably shaken up in terms of ‘the Big Bads’, with the appearance of Angelus.

Willow, Xander and Giles all find themselves venturing into new territory: dating! Cordelia continues to redeem herself and becomes a fully fledged scoobygang member, whilst Buffy and Angel undergo many changes to their relationship which is mostly the driving force of the season. By the middle of the season the episodes gradually become darker and a more coherent storyarc begins to emerge, starting with the events of ‘Surprise (Part 1)’ which culminate in the emotional and incredibly shocking ‘Innocence’ (Part 2). Said episodes are some of the best in the history of the series and set in motion events that help to lead to the end of the season. The circumstances surrounding this two parter does literally change everything once established between Buffy and Angel; and brings into question their future. The continuity, witty one liners, oblique use of language does continue into this season and helps to boost the chemistry between the actors as they discuss, for example the oddness of some TV movies and sore thumbs. These subtle touches give the season a vibrancy and kooky edge; what makes Buffy such an enjoyable show is the warmth and heart it retains, mostly provided by the actors but also by the wonderfully consistent writing.

The two part finale ‘Becoming’ is well set up as a consequence of the episode ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, which happens to be beautifully moving and tragic respectively. The complexity of the Angelus arc presented here really sets up and supports the actions that lead to the occurrences of the finale. ‘Becoming’ part 1 & 2 with all it’s flashback goodness brings about tumultuous change and throws one through the emotional wringer all the while its still surprising, sad and gut wrenching upon each rewatch. The issues dealt with this season are far more adult and dark than is the usual, and in turn it delivers a wonderfully realized arc which never fails to amaze.


This third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer contains some of my favourite episodes from the entire run of the show and also has the fewest offbeat episodes. This year Buffy and the gang are in their final year of high school but living on the Hellmouth is never easy and in addition to the usual demons and vampires they must deal with the schemes of the Watchers Council, a new slayer and a politician after even more power.

Buffy has really found its feet with this season and I would say that it is this year that the show reaches its peak. All the regular cast members give their usual brilliant performances but the season is really stolen by the new cast members, specifically Eliza Dushku as Faith the new Slayer and Harry Groener as the eccentrically evil Mayor Wilkins, who is probably my favourite of all the Buffy villains.

It is difficult to choose favorite episodes from this season as it includes so many great ones. `Bad Candy’, `Amends’, `Earshot’ and the two part season finally `Graduation’ are all excellent episodes being both funny and enthralling but my favorite episode has to be `Lover’s Walk’ where a lovesick Spike returns to Sunnydale after breaking up with Drusilla in order to find a way to get her back. James Marsters is truly excellent in this episode and livens up the series brilliantly. Another couple of episodes of note are `The Wish’ and `Doppelgangland’ both of which involve a parallel universe where vampires have taken over and feature a vamped up Willow, brilliantly portrayed by Alyson Hannigan who seems to enjoy the role immensely. Although none of the episodes could truly be considered awful, `Gingerbread’ and `The Zeppo’ are the weakest episodes of this season and are slightly painful to watch in places.

Overall this season is truly great, with brilliant writing and a plot that never ceases to be in turns exciting, funny and touching.

With the loss of David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter to the spin-off show, “Angel”, there were voids to be filled in this, the first season out of high school, and Marc Blucas and Emma Caulfield suitably obliged. The fragmentation of the Scooby Gang was for many the core reason why Season Four didn’t match the heights of the previous three: nobody seemed to care enough about each other any more. With Giles out of work, Xander flitting from one deadbeat job to another, and Buffy and Willow settling in to life on campus, there was concern that the old gang would never get back together.


A big risk was taken in introducing a more sci-fi element with the arrival of a secret government demon-hunting operation. But there’s a big difference from other genre shows: the Initiative was never in control of its actions. And that’s the gist of the season: that Buffy and her traditional methods will always be superior, and that it’s through her skills and her friends that evil is defeated, not bureaucracy. Which is why there’s no big finish in episode 22 (the grand climax happens in episode 21), because the most important storyline is about the reaffirmation of friendships, demonstrated in the most bizarre way imaginable in an episode composed almost entirely of dream sequences.


There are some classics (the Emmy-nominated “Hush” was possibly the boldest piece of television attempted before “The Body” the following year). And in the final scene of the season, we get a great setting-up of what’s to come, without knowing any specific details. All in all, a season that left a few minor gripes, but which in the overall scheme of things, has continued the journey of life into adulthood. Now they’re all supposed to be grown up, but the future still holds a great deal of uncertainty, and that can only be good for the show.

Although Season 5  still has comedic moments, it also has many more serious moments. Not to spoil it for those who have not seen the series yet, two major deaths rock the Sunnydale Slayage Crew. These are excellently handled, and in no way seem like they are tying off loose ends.

The episodes are excellent. From fighting Dracula, to multiple Xanders. From a new sister, to an old foe swapping sides. This season is excellent. the first disc houses such gems as the introduction of Dawn, without any back story or any clues into why she is there. These facts are revealed slowly through the next disc, with amusing storylines for Spike, clearly an excellent addition to the principal cast. Anya also comes into her own, and becomes revels in the joys of capitalism.

Through the next disc a departure of a relatively new character, Riley, hurts Buffy tremendously, whilst the appearance of a troll lightens the mood considerably. The fourth disc includes the fun episode where the Watcher’s Council return to Sunnydale, and reveal a shocking secret about the main enemy of this series. Spike also has a choice to make, whether to fall back into the arms of his old flame, Drusilla, or to move on and persue his newest conquest, a source of exasperation for Buffy.

The fifth disc is a solemn affair, with the death of a principal cast member, who had been with Buffy from the beginning. As Buffy and her ‘Scoobies’ attempt to cope, the attacks on them by the villain of the series grow more violent and frequent, leaving a dissuaded Buffy sure that she cannot beat the villain. When his new enemy learns of an importance in the Scooby gang, and this member of the gang get captured, Buffy goes into meltdown. With the help of Willow, Buffy recovers and faces the most terrifying villain ever in the history of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, with a conclusion that is heart wrenching.


“The Gift”, the season five finale, ended with Buffy dead and buried after battling deranged fallen goddess Glory. Dying is kind of old hat for Buffy, and I don’t think I’m giving too much away by revealing that the show’s title character quickly gets over the whole death thing. Although the ensuing gang of biker demons is corny, I thought her return from the grave in the feature-length “Bargaining” hit all the right notes. Her reappearance is heartbreaking and almost horrifying, and it avoids undermining the events that concluded the previous season.

Rather than just toss her back in this mortal coil as if she’d never left, Buffy is distant and depressed, not quite the elated response her friends were expecting to see. The opening of the season offers an evenhanded blend of humor and drama, particularly the early escapades of the Troika. The all-nerd supersquad — robotics whiz Warren (Adam Busch), clumsy sorceror-lite Jonathan (Danny Strong), and summoner Andrew (Tom Lenk). They added a well-needed dose of geeky comedy to the season, which made the bitter pill of the agony Buffy and friends endure later on easier to swallow.

The darker spin the three of them eventually take also resonates more having seen several episodes worth of their giddiness at being supervillains. I also thought the aftermath of Buffy’s return, seen in “After Life”, “Flooded”, and “Life Serial”, worked well as she tried to find her place in the world (and her friend’s worlds) after being plucked from the afterlife. These episodes also manage to strike that perfect balance between humor and drama.

Another early highlight is “Tabula Rasa”, where a spell gone awry robs the Scoobies of their memories.  Of special mention from this chunk of the season, of course, is the musical episode “Once More with Feeling”. The version presented here is the original broadcast, a few minutes lengthier than your average Buffy installment. Although the concept of characters in an established drama singing and dancing for an hour screams ‘gimmick’, it’s not a standalone episode, tying in heavily to the previous episodes of the season and setting up some of what would soon follow. The songs are surprisingly good, particularly impressive considering that they were written by someone without much of a musical background.Image result for buffy once more with feeling

The season closes out with a series of strong episodes. “Hell’s Bells” features the chaos of a wedding between a human raised in a dysfunctional family and his millennia-old former vengeance demon fiancee, the aftermath of which is explored in “Entropy”.

One of the season’s best is “Normal Again”, which questions the reality of what we’ve seen for the past six seasons, and Buffy’s assault on her possibly-delusional friends and family is as chilling as anything seen up to that point on the series. The darkness pervasive throughout much of the season culminates in “Seeing Red”, which has two monstrous turning points. Its fatal closing events lead into the three-episode arc that rounds out the season. Similar to Angelus’ appearances on both Buffy and Angel, the immeasurably powerful antagonist in these final episodes tear down the main characters.

In its final season, Buffy the Vampire Slayer issued a mission statement you might not expect from a series that’s been on the air for seven years: go back to the beginning. After a foray at college and a year spent toiling away in the working world, Buffy’s going back to high school. Several years after its destruction at the hands…or giant coiled tail, whatever…of the ascended Mayor Wilkins, Sunnydale High has been rebuilt from the ground up. The Hellmouth beneath the school happens to lurk directly below the office of Principal Robin Wood (D.B. Woodside), who’s harboring some sort of dark secret that may or may not work to Buffy’s favor. Anyway, Wood continually stumbles upon Buffy as she spirits Dawn off to her first day of school as a freshman and ensuring both Summers girls make the most of the lovingly-crafted Sunnydale High set, Wood offers Buffy a job as a part-time counselor. Holed up in the bowels of Sunnydale High is Spike, who’s been driven mad by a combination of his newly-acquired soul and an entity that’s been haunting him, one that’s soon going to expand its grasp to the rest of the Scooby Gang and the world at large.

These early episodes really do capture the feel of the first few seasons of the series, a very welcome change after the grim year that came before it. This is one of the stronger opening salvos of Buffy. “Him” is played pretty much for laughs, revolving around a football player whose letter jacket makes him irresistible to the fairer sex, compelling Dawn, Buffy, Willow, and Anya to take drastic and wholly over-the-top measures to win his complete adoration.

 

Three of the season’s best episodes run back-to-back. “Same Time, Same Place” follows Willow’s return to the group, still reeling from the near-apocalyptic events of the previous year and further disheartened when she’s apparently abandoned by her friends. Buffy and company really are there for Willow, but the problem is that there are kind of two separate and distinct “there”s. The cannibalistic Gnarl is one of the most effectively creepy creatures of the show’s entire run, and his confrontation with Willow is unsettling and horrifying…and I mean that in the best possible way. “Help” quickly follows, chronicling Buffy’s quest to save the life of an awkward, introverted poet who foretells her own death.

Although I really like all of the first batch of episodes, this season has two particularly strong stand-outs. Following the excellent “Same Time, Same Place” and “Help” is “Selfless”, which features Anya returning to form as a mass-murdering vengeance demon, a decision that awes her demonic coworkers and conflicts her former friends as Buffy must make a difficult decision. The episode makes use of flashbacks from several vastly different time periods and juggles drastically different tones. We see what led young Aud to become the vengeful Anyanka in a hysterical glimpse back at her life with her wench-drenched, troll-hating brute of a husband, Olaf. There’s also a flashback to “Once More, With Feeling”, complete with a new musical number, followed by a brutal, brilliant cut to the present.

The other standout is “Conversations with Dead People”, an inventively structured episode penned by four different writers. The title is a decent enough synopsis, as a number of characters communicate in varying forms with the dearly departed. Buffy allows herself to be psychoanalyzed by a recently-risen Psych major, Dawn is haunted by a poltergeist that takes on a shockingly familiar image, Willow is delivered a message from a lost love one, Spike goes out on the town, and the remnants of last year’s nerdy Troika return to Sunnydale.

In general, season seven feels like Joss Whedon and company had a clear beginning and a clear ending. The Finale does give the show a nice ending, but is left open should the show ever return in any format.