REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 5

Starring

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Rachel Luttrell (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)

Paul McGillion in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Kavan Smith (Mission To Mars)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Leela Savasta (Battlestar Galactica)
Sharon Taylor (Smallville)
Rainbow Francks (Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Michelle Morgan (Deep Six)
Robert Moloney (Man of Steel)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Nicole de Boer (Star Trek: DS9)
Janina Gavankar (True Blood)
Christina Cox (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Apollonia Vanova (Watchmen)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Van Helsing)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Chelah Horsdal (Hell on Wheels)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Daniella Alonso (The Hills Have Eyes II)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Aaron Craven (The Predator)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heores)
David Lovgren (Antitrust)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
Jonathon Young (Sanctuary)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Jody Thompson (The 4400)
Frank Vincent (Goodfellas)
Steve Schirripa (The Sopranos)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)

Robert Picardo and Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Carson Beckett is back for no less than five episodes, and despite heavy use of the Wraith ship set, the stories are good and justify it. The characters are as well written as ever, I really felt the writers stepped it up a notch this season.Jewel Staite in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Robert Picardo is back as Richard Woolsey and promoting him to the role of Commander was a stroke of genus. No disrespect to Commander Weir and Colonel Carter, but in Richard Woolsey, Stargate Atlantis had finally cast its ideal leader. There are also a couple of deadpan in-jokes about his holographic Doctor character hidden in the dialogue, which are extremely funny when you spot them.Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Despite the technology getting more and more advanced, there is less of a reliance on the technology itself selling the story. There is more focus on the characters than before and all the characters get at least one episode where they take centre stage in the story – for example, David Hewlett puts in an incredibly moving performance in The Shrine where McKay is struck down with a fast acting Pegasus equivalent of Alzheimer’s. Very good use is made of the popular Wraith characters Michael and Todd, and the budding relationship between McKay and Keller is a refreshing antidote.

 

REVIEW: THE COLLECTOR (2009)

Starring

Josh Stewart (The Punisher)
Michael Reilly Burke (Lincoln Heights)
Andrea Roth (Cloak & Dagger)
Juan Fernández (Arachnophobia)
Karley Scott Collins (Pulse 2)
Daniella Alonso (Paul BLart: Mall Cop 2)
Haley Pullos (Dead Air)
Madeline Zima (Heroes)

Josh Stewart in The Collector (2009)A man named Larry and his wife return home to find the power is out. They discover a large box upstairs, and are horrified by its contents. They are then attacked by an unseen assailant. Arkin O’Brien is an ex-convict working as a handyman. His latest customers are the Chase family. He is generally well-liked by the Chases, particularly their younger daughter Hannah. While working at the Chase home, Arkin notices several strange insects around the house. After work, Arkin meets his wife, whose debt to several loan sharks is due by midnight. In order to protect her and their daughter, Arkin plans a heist at the Chase home, which houses a valuable ruby. He breaks in, but as he attempts to crack the safe, a masked figure enters in the house and locks the door. Michael, the father, appears injured, and attempts to attack Arkin with a golf club, thinking Arkin is the perpetrator. However, Michael is incapacitated by a trap rigged with the club, and the masked man drags Michael into the basement. Arkin attempts to call 911, but the phone is rigged with another trap, and the windows have been boarded up and lined with razors, making escape impossible.Andrea Roth in The Collector (2009)Arkin retreats to the basement; Michael informs him that his wife Victoria is trapped as well, his older daughter Jill is out, and Hannah is hiding somewhere, and that a gun is in the safe, giving him the combination. Arkin then finds a captive Victoria and has her distract the intruder while he goes upstairs to get to the safe. Upon opening the safe, Arkin gets the gun (which has no bullets) and pockets the ruby. While searching for Hannah, he finds the same box from the beginning of the film. Hearing noises coming from the box, he opens it to find a bloodied Larry, who explains that the masked man is a “collector” of people; he only collects one person in a household and kills everyone else like he did to his wife. For the people he does not collect, he brutally tortures them until death. Horrified, Arkin unsuccessfully tries to escape, while the Collector locks Larry back in the trunk.MV5BNDAxMTY2Mzk4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzIzMjMyMg@@._V1_Arkin goes back downstairs and discovers Michael dead. He goes to Victoria, who had been tortured, and frees her. They try to escape the basement, but after Victoria notices Michael’s corpse, she panics and runs into the Collector, who stabs her multiple times, injuring her, and throws her back downstairs. Shortly after, Jill arrives home with her boyfriend Chad. As the two prepare to have sex on the kitchen table, they notice the Collector watching them. Chad attacks him but is killed when he is pushed into a room filled with several bear traps. Jill is captured, but she manages to make a 911 call before being taken. Using an alarm clock as a distraction, Arkin frees Jill, but she doesn’t trust him and is killed by a trap when she reaches for a pair of scissors. Arkin eventually decides to escape the house, but in the process, he sees Hannah in the window with the Collector coming her way. Refusing to leave her behind, he reenters the house and prepares a trap to kill the Collector with Hannah.0_bLEKXmoIvfeJn6OoHowever, the Collector uses Larry as a decoy, so the trap kills Larry instead. Arkin then sends Hannah down a laundry chute to the basement where she hides. Before Arkin can go down the chute, the Collector attacks and knocks out Arkin. The Collector then takes Arkin captive and brutally tortures him. A police officer responding to Jill’s 911 call tries to arrest the Collector and is killed by the Collector’s dog, but manages to call for backup before dying. The distraction gives Arkin time to free himself, but he discovers Victoria dead and armed explosives in the basement. After killing the Collector’s dog with a flaming bucket and trapping the Collector in one of his own traps, Arkin finally escapes with Hannah. Arkin, seeing several approaching police cars, runs into the road to get their attention but is accidentally hit by one of the cars. While lying injured in the road he sees Hannah being scooped to safety by one of the policeman. An injured Arkin tells a police officer that the Collector was an exterminator also working at the Chase house. The explosives promptly detonate and destroy the house, but the Collector is seen running away from the house unharmed.the-collector-2While Arkin is being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, he discovers that the ruby is still in his pocket. He begs the paramedic to call his wife, but before he can, something unknown suddenly slams into the ambulance, flipping it over. The ambulance doors swing open revealing the Collector, who had escaped from the burning house undetected. After murdering the injured paramedic, he then kidnaps Arkin by dragging him out of the overturned ambulance and locking him in the box before driving away in his van. In a post-credits scene, the Collector is sitting on the box while watching film slides. Inside, Arkin is heard screaming that he will kill him once he gets out; the Collector then kicks the box to shut him up.05-the-collection-071112There are some suspension of disbelief flaws in the film, but I enjoyed the ride too much to really mind in this case. It’s a mean horror film that is strong on mood and takes itself seriously.

REVIEW: IZOMBIE – SEASON 2

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MAIN CAST

Rose McIver (Power Rangers RPM)
Malcolm Goodwin (The Bellman)
Rahul Kohli (Happy Anniversary)
Robert Buckley (Killer Movie)
David Anders (Alias)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Steven Weber (2 Broke Girls)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)
Nick Purcha (Cold Zone)
Adam Rose (IUp In The Air)
Leanne Lapp (Grace Encounters 2)
Bryce Hodgson (Kid Cannabis)
Carmen Moore (Arrow)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Justin Prentice (13 Reasons Why)
Carrie Anne Fleming (Supernatural
David Starzyk (Veronica Mars)
Brian Markinson (Tribal)
Aly Michalka (Two and a Half Men)
Serge Houde (50/50)
Ona Grauer (V)
Lucia Walters (Stargate Atlantis)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Smallville)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon A Time)
Jessica Harmon (The 100)
Robert Salvador (Arrow)
Eddie Jemison (Waitress)
Steven Williams (21 Jump Street)
Rick Fox (Oz)
Kevin McNulty (Timecop)
Natalie Brown (Bitten)
Emy Aneke (The Predator)
Greg Finley (The Flash)
Brooke Lyons (2 Broke Girls)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
Ben Lawson (No Strings Attached)
Lee Garlington (Cobra)
Daniella Alonso (The Hills Have Eyes II)
Fiona Vroom (Power Rangers)
Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Colin Lawrence (Watchmen)
Patrick Gallagher (Glee)
Bradley Stryker (Smallville)
Michael Kopsa (Fantastic Four)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Kacey Rohl (Arrow)
Genevieve Buechner (Caprica)
Ali Liebert (Wonder)
Zak Santiago (Shooter)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Internship)
Sarah Grey (The Order)
Wesley MacInnes (Power Rangers)
Andrea Savage (Veep)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)

Consistently offering clever, witty and fun episodes, iZombie solidified itself as one of the most entertaining series on TV in its second season. Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright had already created an offbeat yet inviting world in Season 1 and in Season 2 they built upon it, putting the characters into more intense and involving situations, all while still maintaining the show’s crucial, knowing sense of humor.The cast continue to be one of the most likeable you’ll find, anchored by the excellent Rose McIver. Okay, it’s one of the show’s reaches that pretty much every brain Liv eats is a very focused, specific type of person, but that’s just part of the deal here. And it gives McIver so much to work with, as she goes all in playing Liv taking on personas as varied as a coach, a stalker, a costumed vigilante or a tough stripper. Every week, McIver is given something different to play and she consistently nails it, with ongoing mileage gotten out of how out there and uncharacteristic Liv gets, depending on her latest brain meal.After his heartbroken ex-fiancé character take a surprising (and awesome) turn at the end of Season 1, Robert Buckley’s Major got a great storyline in Season 2, as he found himself working for Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber), tasked with assassinating zombies – all while actually locking them up instead, which put him in a very precarious position both with Du Clark and the cops and the FBI, who were getting closer and closer to him for his actions in both Season 1 and 2.The fact that those investigating Major’s crimes were Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) and his FBI partner/love interest Dale Bozzio (Jessica Harmon) only increased the tension, even while Clive and Dale made a great pairing – with Harmon effortlessly fitting in on the show, as the somewhat goofy Dale provided a great foil for the somewhat stoic Clive. And in the midst of this, having Clive begin to slowly notice the things that were off about Liv was continually intriguing, since it was inevitable that Clive would one day find out The Secret.Blaine (David Anders) in the meantime had to adjust to life as a human again – for awhile at least, as he never kept his nose clean and eventually became one of the undead again, with Anders always bringing a wonderfully quirky/funny approach to the character. McIver and Rahul Kohli continued to be a delightful duo in all the scenes between Liv and Ravi and Kohli shined throughout the season, though I do hope Season 3 can perhaps give Ravi more of his own storyline at some points beyond the ongoing search for a cure or the burgeoning love triangle between Ravi, Peyton (Aly Michalka) and Blaine. The end of the season, as Ravi began to suspect Major was up to no good – and their big confrontation about it – showed how strong it can be to use the usually comic presence of Ravi in a dramatic manner that would be interesting to explore again.As Season 2 progressed, one really strong element was how it began to bring together several storylines. We began to see Major’s growing interaction with Blaine begin to bring him even more in focus as a suspect for Dale and Clive, while Peyton’s return — it was good to see Michalka, who also fits in great with this cast, get more to do — had her wrapped up with Blaine (in more ways than one) and helping lead us to a new villain on the show, Stacey Boss (Eddie Jemison).

Best of all, the “brain of the week” storylines began to becoming increasingly tied into the main stories as well. And yes, this meant sometimes you had to accept a bit more coincidence on the show, but it still was exciting and gratifying to see how all the different elements were intersecting in different ways and how Liv could learn new info thanks to a new murder victim connected in ways that were sometimes not apparent on the surface.When it came to Big Bads, Vaughn Du Clark certainly delivered. Stephen Weber seemed to be having a ball in the role and was delightfully awful as the energetic, confident mega-douche of a sports drink company CEO. He was also given a great foil in Gilda (Leanne Lapp), his daughter, who was just as corrupt as her dad. Gilda has no qualms about manipulating Major, Liv or anyone else and Lapp brought just the right attitude to the character – even as we saw just how awful Du Clark was as a dad, giving us a tinge of sympathy, or at least understanding, about why she was the way she was, even as it was clear she needed to be stopped. The season also ended in an epic, satisfying manner, with Clive finally finding out the truth, an all-out “Romero Zombie” attack and both Du Clark and Gilda being taken out – all while we met a huge new player on the scene that looks to be upending the show in a huge way.Nearly every week, iZombie continued to deliver in its second season and the show easily overcame any sophomore slump worries. The creators and cast seem to know exactly the right  tone to go for here, offering up a show that has a fun, accessible vibe but can get suitably intense, dramatic and gory when need be. When the CW gave all of their series early renewals last year, iZombie was one of the ones I know I was celebrating the most. Bring on Season 3!