REVIEW: TOMORROWLAND: A WORLD BEYOND

CAST

George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven)
Hugh Laurie (House)
Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle)
Raffey Cassidy (Dark Shadows)
Tim McGraw (The Blind Side)
Kathryn Hahn (Anchorman)
Keegan-Michael Key (Due Date)
Chris Bauer (The Devil’s Advocate)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Garry Chalk (Dark Angel)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Michael Rowe (Arrow)

An adult Frank Walker and Casey Newton relate to the audience their experiences, beginning with Frank’s visit to the 1964 New York World’s Fair as a child. In the flashback, he meets David Nix, an official who is unimpressed with Frank’s prototype jet pack. Frank does draw the attention of a young girl named Athena. Seeing his potential, Athena gives Frank a pin embossed with a “T” symbol and tells him to follow her aboard the fair’s “It’s a Small World” attraction. Frank sneaks onto the ride, where his pin is scanned and he is transported into a futuristic cityscape known as Tomorrowland. He falls from a ledge, but straps on his jet pack in mid air and lands safely before Nix and Athena.

The narration then shifts to the present, where Casey Newton sneaks into a decommissioned NASA launch pad in Cape Canaveral, where her father Eddie is an engineer. She sabotages the machines that are dismantling the launch pad and returns home, where Athena, who hasn’t aged a day since 1964, sneaks another pin that is programmed to Casey’s DNA into Casey’s motorcycle helmet. The next night, Casey attempts to break into the NASA compound again, but is arrested. At the police station, she sees the pin among her personal items, and discovers that upon contact, the pin instantly shows her a view of Tomorrowland that only she can see. She briefly explores the vision until the pin’s battery runs out.

Assisted by her brother Nate, Casey finds a Houston memorabilia store related to the pin. Upon meeting the two owners, Hugo (named for early science fiction publisher Hugo Gernsback) and Ursula, Casey is questioned about it, and when she says she knows nothing else about it, they attack her. Athena bursts in and fights Hugo and Ursula, who are both revealed to be robots. The two girls escape as the robots self-destruct, destroying the store. After stealing a car, Athena reveals that she is an Audio-Animatronic robot, and the one who gave Casey the pin, revealing that she needs her help to save the world. Athena drives Casey to Frank’s home in Pittsfield, New York and leaves her there.

The reclusive Frank declines Casey’s request for an audience, but she manages to lure him out of the house and sneak in, locking him out. Frank re-enters through a secret tunnel and tells her angrily that he was thrown out of Tomorrowland and cannot go back. He also asks if she would like to know the exact moment of her death. Casey ponders whether accepting the truth about her time of death would actually be the cause of it, and while she admits that she would like him to tell her, says that she probably would not believe him, preferring to make her own destiny. When she says this, a monitor showing the probability of the end of the world changes its reading from 100% to 99.9994%, which startles Frank. Robot agents appear at Frank’s house ordering him to turn over Casey or be killed.

After evading the robots and reuniting with Athena, the trio uses a teleportation machine that Frank invented, and transport themselves to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. They enter a room with mannequins of Gustave Eiffel, Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison. Frank explains that the four men were the founders of Plus Ultra, a group of inventors dedicated to finding other dreamers and inventors who shared the hope of shaping a better future, which eventually led them to discover a new dimension where Tomorrowland was founded. The trio enter a rocket hidden underneath the tower, which launches into outer space and travels to another dimension, arriving at a now-desolate Tomorrowland. Nix appears to greet them, and takes them to a building linked to a tachyon machine designed by Frank that can show images from the past and future, from which Casey learns that a worldwide catastrophe will happen in the near future. Because of this discovery, Frank lost all hope and was banished from Tomorrowland. Casey does not accept that the world is destined to end, and the future slightly changes as a result, a fact that Frank glimpses, but which Nix ignores before ordering them arrested.

As they await being sent back to Earth, Casey realizes that when the tachyon machine tells the public that the world is coming to an end, it causes the people to accept the apocalypse. This in turn makes the end of the world all the more possible, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Destroying the device could avert the apocalypse. Nix opens a portal to an uninhabited, uncharted island, attempting to exile them to live out the last days of the world there, but Frank refuses, seeing that Nix has simply given up on Earth and intends to allow the apocalypse to happen. A fight ensues and Frank tries to use a bomb to blow up the machine. Mistakenly, the bomb goes off outside the portal and the explosion pins Nix’s leg under debris. Nix retrieves a plasma gun and aims at Frank. Athena, who was able to see it happening beforehand due to the tachyon images, jumps in front of him and is damaged beyond repair, which activates her self-destruct sequence. In her last moments of consciousness, Athena instructs Frank to take her to the machine and reveals that she loved him. Her self-destruction bomb destroys the machine, which kills Nix as well.

Back in the present, Frank and Casey’s audience are revealed to be androids like Athena, who are entrusted with new pins and instructed to bring other “dreamers” to Tomorrowland.This is a great, ambitious, original sci-fi blockbuster from Brad Bird, with a strong vision. It’s a throw back to when the summer blockbuster wasn’t just a glorified advert. A time when summer blockbusters took ordinary people on extraordinary adventures. Adventures to other dimensions, other places and other ‘lands’.

 

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REVIEW: SANCTUARY – SEASON 1-4

MAIN CAST

Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Dunne(Dead Like Me)
Emilie Ullerup (Leprechaun: Origins)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Twilight: Breaking Dawn)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Kavan Smith (Stargate: Atlantis)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Peter Shinkoda (Masked Rider)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Michael Adathwaite (Tru Calling)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Panou (Flash Gordon 2007)
Leah Cairns (Interstellar)
Laura Mennell (Thirteen Ghosts)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Peter Outerbridge (Earth: Final Conflict)
Alex Zahara (The Stickup)
Mackenzie Gray (The Net: The Series)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Sarah Strange (White Noise)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Kirsten Robek (Cats & Dogs)
Katharine Isabelle (Hannibal)
Jonathon Young (Antitrust)
Gabrielle Rose (Jennifer’s Body)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Rekha Sharma (The Core)
Peter Wingfield (Caprica)
Christine Chatelain (40 Days and 40 Nights)
Alex Diakun (Androemda)

Being a big fan of Stargate SG-1 in general and Amanda Tapping in particular, I was quite excited to hear that the actress had signed up to play the lead in (and was executive producer of) a web-based series entitled Sanctuary.  I had meant to download the 8 15-minute webisodes but with one thing and another, never got around to it.  Based on the strength of those shorts, the series was picked up by the horribly named cable network Syfy, had a successful first season, and was renewed for a second (that is scheduled to begin in October.)  E1 Entertainment has now released Sanctuary Season One on DVD in a nice four disc set that fans of SF should consider picking up, especially if you gave up on the series while it was airing after a few episodes.

Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) is a profiler for a local police force in an unnamed metropolitan city.  Being very observant in a Monk-like way, he puts together clues that others often miss and follows them to their logical conclusions, even if those conclusions sound crazy.  He was kicked out of the FBI for his hair-brained hypotheses, and is pretty much shunned by the policemen he works with for the same reason.

While investigating the dead of a civilian and two police officers Zimmerman crosses paths with Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping).  She runs the Sanctuary, a privately funded large gothic building in the middle of town that is host to, Will eventually discovers, a wide assortment of bizarre creatures called ‘abnormals’.  Basically all of Zimmerman’s theories have been correct, there are odd being roaming the world in secret and Magnus’ group helps those that they can and hunts down the ones that are dangerous to humanity.Will signs up and joins the Sanctuary team that includes Magnus, who turns out to be much, much older than she looks, Helen’s kick-ass daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), tech geek Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) and butler and extra muscle when needed Bigfoot (Christopher Heyerdahl).  Searching the globe for abnormals the group discovers mermaids, ancient witches, a human-like race that can compact their bodies to squeeze through the smallest spaces, a vampire, people who can shoot heat rays from their eyes, and even the basis for Sherlock Holmes and the real Jack the Ripper (who just happens to be Magnus’ ex-lover.) Every great team needs a suitable enemy too, and Sanctuary has one in the form of the Cabal, a super-secret, well funded, organization that also investigates abnormal sightings, but they have sinister motive behind what they’re doing and consider the Sanctuary their sworn enemies.
In the second half we’re introduced to Nikola Tesla  who used to be a friend of Magnus’ way back when and who is a vampire.  An intriguing character and easily my favorite in the show, viewers are never sure if he’s lying or telling the truth and whose side he’s really on.  The show picks up for there, no longer being a ‘monster of the week’ program; it starts telling a larger story and is more careful how the plots unravel.  The faux witty banter is toned down considerably and small incidental details actually make sense at this point.  They also go back and correct some of their earlier mistakes such as Magnus’ education.  In the first episode they stated that she attended Oxford in the mid 1800’s, a time when women weren’t allowed to enroll, but in episode 12 a character reveals that she only audited classes at that time, something that makes much more sense. The acting in the program is generally good with Amanda Tapping stealing the show.  She’s playing a character similar to Dr. Samantha Carter, the person she portrayed on Stargate SG-1, but Tapping went out of her way to create a totally different personality for this new character.  Physically she dyed her hair and she also sports a British accent (that sounds pretty good actually.  She was born in England, I guess that helps more than a bit.)  Magnus is also more careful than Dr. Carter and has a totally different demeanor.  I was always enamored of Tapping’s role in SG-1 (she reminded a lot of my wife,) but while watching her here I never thought of her as “that gal from SG-1,” a testament to how well she did in crafting a new individual.

MAIN CAST

Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Dunne(Dead Like Me)
Emilie Ullerup (Leprechaun: Origins)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Twilight: Breaking Dawn)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Agam Darshi (Bates Motel)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jonathon Young (Antitrust)
Christine Chatelain (Riese)
Lynda Boyd (Final Destination 2)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Jason Schombing (Mutant X)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Robert Lawrenson (Underworld: Awakening)
Nicole Munoz (Pathfinder)
Anne Marie Deluise (Highlander: The Raven)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Erica Cerra (Blade: Trinity)
Colin Lawrence (X-Men 2)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Aleks Paunovic (I Spy)
Jason Bryden (Marmaduke)
Ryan Kennedy (Poison Ivy 4)
Chad Rock (The Flash)
Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Shaker Paleja (The Day The Earth Stood Still)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sahar Biniaz (Smallville)
Terry Chen (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Balinder Johal (Killer Punjabi)

Season 2 carried on from where season 1 left off. Dr Helen Magnus and team Sanctuary are trying to discover what happened to Ashley Magnus (Emilie Ullerup) and why she would betray her family and friends and join the Cabal, all while trying to save and protect “abnormals” from those who would do them harm. The main cast of Amanda Tapping (Dr Helen Magnus), Dr Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), John Druitt (Christopher Heyerdahl), Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) and Bigfoot (Christopher Heyerdahl, again) all return for the second season.

There is also new girl Kate Freelander (Agam Darshi).  Who was created to replace Ashley (who is killed in the opening two epiosdes), Although Ashley was a popular characterKate does grow on you more and more with each episode, by seasons end shes is more rounded out character.


I Enjoyed this season even more than season 1 . In this case the stories seem much stronger and have more depth to them than those in the first season. Instead of a season long battle with the Cabal, that story line gets wrapped up in two episodes. Which lets season two create new stories that enrich the characters more.

MAIN CAST

Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Dunne(Dead Like Me)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Twilight: Breaking Dawn)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Agam Darshi (Bates Motel)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Callum Blue (Smallville)
Shaker Paleja (The Day The Earth Stood Still)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sahar Biniaz (Smallville)
Terry Chen (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Balinder Johal (Killer Punjabi)
Robert Lawrenson (Underworld: Awakening)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Seroes)
Chasty Ballesteros (Final Destination 5)
Raquel Riskin (Killer Bash)
Gary Jones (Stargate SG.1)
Peter Flemming (Replicant)
Jonathon Young (Antitrust)
Michael Rogers (Duets)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Martin Christopher (Stargate: Atlantis)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Pauline Egan (Elysium)
Allison Hossack (Kingdom Hospital)
Adrian Hough (Underworld: Evolution)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Vincet Gale (Big Eyes)
Pascale Hutton (Ginger Snaps 2)
Polly Walker (Caprica)
Jody Thompson (Flash Gordon 2007)
Francoise Yip (Andromeda)
Tinsel Korey (The Lookout)
Peter Deluise (21 Jump Street)
Aliyah O’Brien (Smallville)
Sean Rogerson (Bitten)
Douglas O’Keeffe (Dark Angel)
Richard De Klerk (Reign)
Jordana Largy (Flashpoint)
Barclay Hope (Final Destination 5)
Adam Copeland (Highlander: Endgame)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)
Greyston Holt (Bitten)
David Milchard (The Eye)

Season three sees Sanctuary taking a big step forward,and for the most part being very successful. instead of the previous two seasons 13 episode runs,this has 20 episodes,something which allows the writers to expand storylines and explore things further,bringing more depth to this seasons story arc. As always the acting from the entire cast is first rate .There is also plenty of Jonathan Young as Nikola Tesla,whos presence always lifts any episode he appears in,and guarantees some sharp dialogue.This series looks better as well,and steps out of,whenever possible,the confines of a cgi generated world,something which I always believed limited it far too much.Season three sees Sanctuary setting itself up as a major league player,and staking a claim as a show to be taken seriously,and it does it very well.Giving you more than it has before,while leaving you with the impression that there is much more to come,and the desire to find out what.The Sanctuary team deal with the aftermath of the gigantic tidal wave released by Big Bertha while Will’s life remains in balance but soon the errand comes to an end once Will leads one final plea to “Kali” A.K.A. Big Bertha in his near death experience to stop the destruction. Following Will’s return to life two abnormals appear to him to rekindle his memory and in doing so Will remembers an important message that Gregory sent for Helen to find an underground city with great technology and secrets.Later Nikola sends an SOS call and after his rescue continues to help Helen in discovering the secrets of the city which eventually leads them to a Hollow Earth atlas. Soon Adam Worth, a former acquaintance, tricks Helen and causes radiation poisoning (that should kill both Helen and Adam in a few weeks) so that she may show Adam the Hollow Earth. Upon Adam’s interference Helen, Will, Henry and Kate enter the city to save Gregory and find a cure for the poisoning but only to be executed immediately when caught while Adam imprisons John, leaving Tesla and Big-Guy alone in the mysteries. Magnus is then revived by Ranna for answering and Magnus finds out that she needs her to help an abnormal from the events of ‘KALI’, thereby Magnus and the gang is revived and she given the cure and is reunited with her father, together Gregory and Helen save the abnormal and reach the surface back again while John kills Adam. The show returned to its original format, featuring a new short story for every episode until Tesla and Magnus discover a Praxian Stronghold. This is revealed to have been taken by Vampires and as such was a Vampire Stronghold where a whole army of Vampires and their queen were buried to be awakened someday. Magnus views this as a threat and destroys the stronghold, but not before restoring Tesla to a Vampire again.

MAIN CAST

Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Dunne(Dead Like Me)
Emilie Ullerup (Leprechaun: Origins)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Twilight: Breaking Dawn)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Agam Darshi (Bates Motel)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Ian Tracey (Man of Steel)
Pascale Hutton (Flash Gordon 2007)
Francoise Yip (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)
Robert Lawrenson (Human Target)
David Milchard (The Eye)
Greyston Holt (Bitten)
Adam Copeland (Highlander: Endgame)
Pauline Egan (Ambrosia)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Lara Gilchrist (Battlestar Galactica)
Mig Macario (Once Upon A Time)
Sandrine Holt (Terminator Genisys)
Carlo Rota (Stargate Universe)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Martin Cummins (Dark Angel)
Tora Hylands (Primeval: New World)
Charlie Carrrick (Reign)
Jonathon Young (Antitrust)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Adam Greydon Reid (Cult)
Caroline Cave (Saw VI)
Al Sapienza (Margin Call)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)
Jodi Balfour (Final Destination 5)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Kurt Evans (Watchnmen)
Brenda Campbell (Orphan)
Gil Bellows (Flashforward)
Gerard Plunkett (Andromeda)

At the end of the last season things were getting pretty hairy on a couple of different fronts. The subterranean abnormals who live inside the Earth have decided that they want their chance in the sun and three armies march out of caves in different parts of the planet. If that wasn’t bad enough, Magnus is battling an old companion, Adam Worth, who manages to open up a hole in time and slip back to the 1800’s with the aim of curing his terminally ill daughter. This will change the time stream irrevocably, so Magnus follows him on his one-way journey into the past in order to stop him.

This season opens with Magnus in 19th Century London, following Worth. He manages to wound her and escape, so she turns to one person she knows she can trust, he husband at the time, James Watson  Together they have to stop Worth, but even if they do, how will Magnus manage to return to the 21stCentury? She does manage it, but it takes a very long time. Meanwhile Will has been put in charge of the New York Sanctuary by the Sanctuary Network, that mysterious body that runs the various abnormal shelters around the world. He’s having a rough time, as the US military wants to actually  attack the invading army, especially after there’s a revolt in the refugee compound that’s housing several Hollow Earth abnormals in which the subterranean creatures take hostages and threaten to kill them. No one in authority will take Will’s calls, and with Magnus MIA he’s clearly out of his depth.

After that crisis, and Magnus’ return, things are different. The government is very leery of abnormals and they create a department, SCUI, to hunt down the Hollow Earth creatures that are still on the surface. Either imprisoning the abnormals that they capture or using them for experiments it’s a race between the bad military and the saintly Sanctuary to see who can locate and capture the renegade abnormals first.There are some very good episodes in this season. Monsoon, where Magnus is held hostage by some abnormal crooks while in an airport in Africa was a high point. Seeing the unarmed Magnus take out a group of ex-military super-humans was delightful.

The series does wrap up (though there is room for more adventures)  It was nice that the show did get a coda. All in al lSanctuary was an excellent show that lasted four seasons and left room for more stories to be told shold Syfy every decide to bring it back.

REVIEW: MINORITY REPORT: THE SERIES

MAIN CAST
Stark Sands (Chasing Liberty)
Meagan Good (The Love Guru)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Daniel London (Gotham)
Laura Regan (My Little Eye)
Li Jun Li (Damages)
Wilmer Valderrama (That 70s Show)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Michael Copeman (The Fly)
Tina Lifford (Catch and Release)
Alex Paxton-Beesley (Alphas)
Jessica Camacho (Veronica Mars)
William Mapother (Lost)
David Nykl (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sheila Vand (Argo)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Audrey Marie Anderson (Arrow)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)

Compared to recent surge of sci-fi series, Minority Report is looking more refined with clearly better production. However, this doesn’t have the same thrilling spirit from Tom Cruise’s action thriller. The precognition concept has been reduced to typical paranormal investigation.


If you’re not familiar with the source, or understandably forget the story, the show opens with brief narrative about the movie. In near future authority used precog system by plugging three siblings into a machine, a mix between psychic and technology to determine crime before it happened. Unfortunately, Tom Cruise proved that it had flaws and the project was scratched.

One of the siblings, Dash (Stark Sands) now leads a normal witness protection life, but he still has the clairvoyance gift. With the help of a female police officer Lara Vega (Meagan Good) he helps solve crime in a rather timid sci-fi crime drama. The cast is leaning towards light comedy than thriller, which is perhaps intentionally made to suit the series.

The problem is the two leads don’t mesh together well. Stark Sands has the quirky savant look, but he doesn’t possess the on-screen presence for a capable lead.  Meagan Good is attractive for the lead female, but she’s an odd choice for tough female role. While she does look fit, it doesn’t translate to serious femme fatale personality. Its change to more humorous tone is different from the futuristic noir of the movie, it’s not bad and probably better to accommodate TV series. It does rely too much on casual cop spectacle, yet doesn’t really have the draw or chemistry. Not to mention the use of psychics is getting old, the foreshadowing gimmick feels like a puzzle played too many times.

The presentation is impeccable though. It’s obvious that the show invests a lot on making the world looks brightly inviting. The details for gadgetry, environment and investigation are splendid. This world definitely could work for foundation for TV series, although the narrative and characters are not as intriguing. It was originally given 13 episodes but shortened to 10 now that all 10 have aired it looks like this show was put to sleep.

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 1-5

Image result for STARGATE ATLANTIS LOGO

MAIN CAST

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Torri Higginson (Highlander: THe Raven)
Rachel Luttrell (Arrow)
Rainbow Sun Francks (Defiance0
David Hewlett (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones)
Paul McGillion (V)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Dean Anderson (Macgyver)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Garwin Sanford (The Fly 2)
Andee Frizzell (Andromeda)
Craig Veroni (Dark Angel)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Ben Cotton (30 Days of Night: Dark Days)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Courtenay J. Stevens (Ripper)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Callum Worthy (Samllville)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
Dean Marshall (2012)
Colm Meaney (Star Trek:DS9)
Erin Chambers (Standoff)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Corey Monteith (Glee)
Leonor Varela (Blade 2)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
David Orth (The Lost World)
Clayton Landey (Scary Movie 5)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Kavan Smith (Sanctuary)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Claire Rankin (Rogue)
Brenda James (Slither)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Anne Openshaw (Narc)
Aaron Abrams (Hannibal)
Chad Morgan (The Purge 2)
Peter Flemming (Replicant)
William MacDonald (Slither)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Sonja Bennett (Blade: The Series)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Brandy Ledford (Andromeda)
Tamlyn Tomita (Heroes)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
John O’Callaghan (Clutch)
David Ogden Stier (Two Gusy and a Girl)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Bill Dow (Legends of The Fall)
Robert Davi (The Bad Pack)
Leela Savasta (Black Xmas)
Laura Harris (Dead Like me)
Michael Beach (The Abyss)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Sharon Taylor (Legends of Tomorrow)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Aleks Paunovic (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
Jill Wagner (Blade: The Series)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Gary Jones (Highlander: The Series)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Crystal Lowe (Poison Ivy 4)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Emma Lahana (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Michelle Morgan (Heartland)
Nicole de Boer (Star Trek: DS9)
Janina Gavankar (The Vampire Diaries)
Christina Cox (Arrow)
Mike Dopud (Man of Steel)
Jonathan Young (Sanctuary)
Daniella Alonso (Wrong Turn 2)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Anna Galvin (Caprica)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Neil Jackson (Sleepy Hollow)
Ona Grauer (Arrow)

Stargate : Atlantis is far more than just a spin-off from the successful Stargate SG1 series. It stands on its own two feet as a clever, dramatic, funny, entertaining, well-crafted show. In some ways it even surpasses the original, benefiting as it does from the producers’ and crew’s 8+ years of experience in writing and producing the SG1 series. Continuing the mythology of the original show, but with the added twist of a whole new galaxy to explore, this show has something for everyone.

The mix of characters is great and the core cast – and also the regular recurring cast – boasts some excellent actors. Production values are consistently high and, while some episodes are always stronger than others, the writing in season 1 has also been excellent. The first season got things off to a great start, introducing the new team, new allies.. and a new enemy.5195S6CTB0LThere is a great mix of humour and drama in this series and stand-out episodes for me include 38 Minutes, Brotherhood, The Defiant One and the excellent mid-season 2 parter, The Storm and The Eye.

Season one not only established this show as a unique rival to its fellow series `Stargate: SG-1′, but also set the bar very high for a second season with this new breed of adventurers continuing to battle Wraith and other foe in the far-removed Pegasus Galaxy.

Just as with its sister series, `Atlantis’ is adept at balancing a large season story-arc while at the same time providing its audience with inventive one-off stories that act both to attract new viewers to the show and also give the loyal fan-base a break from the on-going threat of the Wraith. This second season is no exception.

The Siege Part III – As last season closed, the cliffhanger had Atlantis under siege by the Wraiths and things were not going well. Atlantis was ready to self destruct and Maj. Shephard was on the way to a suicide mission. As is customary in such situations, the cavalry arrives just in the nick of time in the form of the Earth Ship Daedelus. It has some advanced Asgard technology on board which saves Shepherd and helps to destroy the hive ships attacking Atlantis. Some manage to get away and they are heading back with reinforcements. While the cleanup is going on, a lieutenant is rescued but he has been severely damaged by the wraith. He is irrational and jumpy about the others who do not fully trust him. As the enlarged wraith fleet arrives, Atlantis decides to gamble on deceiving them that a self destruct has really taken place. This occurs just as the damaged lieutenant steals a puddle jumper and flees through the gate.


Runner – A team from Atlantis is investigating a planet with extremely high solar radiation. While there, they find a dead Wraith. There is evidence that he was killed by Lt. Ford, the guy who fled in the first episode of the season. The team heads back to try and get him to come back. They find a surprise. There is another human on the planet who has had a transmitter mounted in his back so that he can be the guest of honor in a sort of trophy hunt. He has managed to elude the Wraith for 7 years before being captured. He is set free by Lt. Ford who is deranged. Now it is a 3 way manhunt with nobody trusting anyone else.

Instinct – While investigating a new planet, the Atlantis team comes across a village that is intermittently plagued by a Wraith. The team agrees to hunt it down but finds something unexpected. They find a local scientist who has been raising a juvenile female Wraith as his daughter. He swears that it is not her who is terrorizing the village. He also maintains that there is another Wraith out there. The science types at Atlantis think they might be able to use the girl to develop a vaccine to fight the virus that causes humans to become Wraiths. It might even turn Wraiths back into humans. The research is promising until the young Wraith girl jumps the gun causing no end of problems.

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Conversion – At the close of the previous episode, LTC Shepherd was injured by the Wraith girl who had tried the experimental virus. Some of their blood mingled. Now he is infected with the parasitic virus that produces Wraiths. Now the race is one to capture an alien bug, get some stem cells and find a cure. The col. is going stir crazy while this happens and is getting more and more volatile. The Lost Boys – The team is following up on a tip and is captured. They are quickly taken to another planet where they find that they have been captured by a force led by the AWOL Lt. Ford. He has been on a rampage and has been taking Wraith “enzyme” from all of his victims. He feeds the enzyme to his followers to give them super strength. He thinks that is the way for humanity to defeat the Wraith. The enzyme prevents him from thinking straight. And, by the way, this one is a cliffhanger.

The Hive – Lt. Ford’s plan to prove the worth of the enzyme is simple. They use a stolen dart and use it to blow up a hive ship. That’s what they were doing at the end of the last episode when they got captured. Remember, Ford doesn’t think all that well under the influence of the enzyme. After the capture, all grow through withdrawal from the enzyme. The longer it has been used, the worse the withdrawal. Help comes from an unexpected source from the least likely hero. Critical Mass – Stargate Command on Earth and Atlantis are plunged into chaos when it is revealed that a Goa’uld operative is hidden in Atlantis. The operative has orders to set a bomb to blow up Atlantis when the Stargate is used to dial Earth. They apparently want to destroy Atlantis to keep the Wraith from getting anywhere near them. The mole is very highly placed.


Michael – Something is not quite right. The episode begins with a man in sick bay. As he is awoken, all of the command staff is notified to be there. He has amnesia and cannot remember anything. He is told that he was a member of a team captured by the Wraith and recaptured by Atlantis. That is not quite the truth which is quite a bit uglier. He was a Wraith upon whom an experimental retrovirus had been tried. The experiment threatens the existence of Atlantis itself.

Allies – A Wraith hive ship arrives. Instead of opening fire, the Wraith ship opens communication. It is being led by Michael, the Wraith upon whom experiments were conducted. He is offering all sorts of Wraith military secrets…for a price. They want the retrovirus used to create Michael. They believe that will give them supremacy over other Wraith. They are a slimy group though and hidden agendas are not beyond the realm of possibility. The alliance is not what it seems. Earth is in trouble in this season ending cliffhanger.


I’ve watched Stargate Atlantis  from the beginning and have more or less enjoyed it from the start.  I really like Joe Flannigan as Sheppard and David Hewlett as Rodney. This season Some help is on the way. We know that Amanda Tapping and her character Samantha Carter will be moving over from the Stargate – SG.1 to become the new head of the Atlantis project. I think she will bring more strength to the role.

Atlantis has emerged as the name not of a location that cannot be moved, but of a truly mobile city that can relocate .  well, to anywhere. The season ends with the city blasting off into space. Season  Three had some great moments. The season finale . was splendid. And the season featured what may be my favorite episode of the entire series so far in “Common Ground,” in which the Genii kidnap Sheppard and enclose him with a wraith who is allowed to feed on no one else.

Christopher Heyerdahl has played the wraitht in this episode he was allowed to give this particular wraith a dignity and complexity not allowed any other wraith with the exception of Michael. He gradually drains the life out of Sheppard out of sheer necessity before the two of them, cooperating as human and wraith never have before, manage to escape from the Genii. Then, in a moment that could lead to interesting plot developments in the future, we discover that the wraiths cannot only drain another creature of life, they can also imbue them with it, and as a sign of comradeship he heals Sheppard.

Season 3 sets up many changes that carry over into the fourth season, with becketts death in Sunday and Wier leaving the show, and Amanda Tapping taking over, its a great season leaving leaving things on a cliffhanger to be resolved in season 4.

Stargate Atlantis ups its game with season four. But it’s not with particularly clever or imaginative stories that the shows writers and producers manage to bring about this change; it’s actually in the areas of character development and action that this season really excels. With the (implied) deaths of inarguably my favourite two characters in season three, I wasn’t expecting their replacements to integrate perfectly, or right away into the Atlantis team, but both actors are given such great material to work with that it’s impossible not to be engaged with their individual story-arcs.

Sam carter is (of course) as brilliant as always, but unlike Doctor Weir, doesn’t appear in nearly as many episodes, or seem to be involved as deeply in the decision-making processes on the base. She just feels like any other member of the team and fits right in almost immediately. Doctor Keller is initially unconvincing in her role as chief medic, but before long she too blossoms into a really intriguing and multi-layered character.


While there are more than a handful of solid Replicator and Wraith-based episodes to enjoy in this twenty-episode season, it’s the character-based stories that stand-out for me as the best examples of this season. Episode 7- `Missing’ , episode 13- `Quarantine’  and episode 16- `Trio’  are each so gripping. The final stand-out story for me would be the concluding episode- `The Last Man’, which  breaks out of the mould of the finale’s of previous seasons and doesn’t involve an unprovoked attack on the city, or a multi-episode build-up. It’s pretty self-contained on the whole and mixes well themes of time-travel, action and season four’s despicable mystery nemesis.

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.


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.

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: STARGATE – SG.1 – SEASON 1-10

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MAIN CAST

Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Don S. Davis (Andromeda)
Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can’t Loose)
Ben Browder (Farscape)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Claudia Black (The Originals)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jay Avocone (Beauty and The Beast 1989)
Vaitiare Bandera (Out of The Blue)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)
Gary Jones (Highlander: The Series)
Alexis Cruz (Dark Wolf)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
Colin Lawrence (X-Men 2)
Adam Harrington (The Secret Circle)
Kevin McNulty (Elektra)
Alan Rachins (Batman: TAS)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Soon-Tek Oh (Death Wish 4)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Crystal Lowe (Poison Ivy 4)
Teryl Rothery (Arrow)
Steve Makaj (IT)
Roger Cross (First Wave)
William Russ (American History X)
Harley Jane Kozak (Santa Barbara)
Gabrielle Miller (Highlander: The Series)
Bobbie Phillips (Two Guys and a Girl)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Tamsin Kelsey (Needful Things)
James Earl Jones (Star Wars)
Keene Curtis (Lois & Clark)
Elizabeth Hoffman (Sisters)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Tony Amendola (The Mask of Zorro)
Katie Stuart (She’s The Man)
Tobin Bell (Boogeyman 2)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
Douglas Arthurs (Act of War)
Bonnie Bartlett (Firefly)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Tobias Mehler (Wishmaster 3)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Chris Owens (Red)
Erick Avari (Heroes)
Tom McBeath (Bates Motel)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 2)
JR Bourne (Arrow)
Christina Cox (Earth: Final Conflict)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Eric Breker (X-Men Origins)
Marshall R. Teague (Armageddon)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Carmen Argenziano (Identity)
Amber Rothwell (Andromeda)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Samantha Ferris (Along Came a Spider)
Mitchell Kosterman (Smallville)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
Britt Irvin (V)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Dion Johnstone (The Core)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Bones)
William deVry (Earth: Final Conflict)
David Palffy (Blade: The Series)
Garwin Sanford (The Fly 2)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Smallville)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
Musetta Vander (Buffy)
Vanessa Angel (Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: TNG)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Willie Garson (White Collar)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Anna-Louise Plowman (Shanghai Knights)
Paul Koslo (The Flash 90s)
Dion Luther (The Net: The Series)
Christopher Cousins (The Vampire Diaries)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Elisabeth Rosen (House of The Dead)
Hrothgar Mathews (Deception)
Bill Dow (Legends of The Fall)
Sean Patrick Flanery (Raging Angels)
John de Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
John Prosky (The Devil Inside)
Colleen Rennison (The Story of Us)
Jacqueline Samuda (The L Word)
Larry Drake (Firefly)
Garry Chalk (Dark Angel)
Bill Marchant (Chappie)
Michael Deluise (Lost)
Jill Teed (Arrow)
Courtenay J. Stevens (Beach)
Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica)
David Kopp (Blade: The Series)
Cliff Simon (Days of Our Lives)
Jennifer Calvert (Earthsea)
Obi Ndefo (Angel)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Danielle Nicolet (3rd Rock From The Sun)
David Hewlett (Splice)
Aleks Paunovic (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Dorian Harewood (Termiantor: TSCC)
Ona Grauer (V)
Blu Mankuma (Tin Man)
Michael Eklund (Arrow)
Dean Stockell (Quantum Leap)
Patrick Mckenna (Robocop: The Series)
John Billingsley (Cold Case)
Michael Adamthwaite (Tru Calling)
Peter Stebbings (Bates Motel)
Gwynyth Walsh (Taken)
George Wyner (Spaceballs)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Ian Buchanan (Justice League Unlimited)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
G. Patrick Currie (Smallville)
Francois Chau (Lost)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Kavan Smith (Sanctuary)
Jolene Blalock (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Christine Adams (Agents of SHIELD)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
David Deluise (Vampires Suck)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Peter Flemming (Love Sick)
James McDaniel (Sleepy Hollow)
Jessica Steen (Armageddon)
William Devane (The Dark Knight Rises)
Torri Higginson (Highlander: The Raven)
Kira Clavell (Ninja Turtles: Next Mutation)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
David Kaufman (Superman: TAS)
Amy Sloan (The Aviator)
James Kidnie (Arrow)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Derek Hamilton (Out Cold)
Charles Shaughnessy (Sabrina: TTW)
Barclay Hope (Paycheck)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Isaac Hayes (South Park)
Mel Harris (Thirtysomething)
Clare Carey (Hercules: TLJ)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
April Telek (Supernatural)
Julian Sands (Gotham)
Louis Gossett Jr (The Punisher 80s)
Maury Chaykin (Andromeda)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Cameron Bright (Running Scared)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Anna Galvin (Caprica)
William Atherton (Die Hard)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
John Aylward (Alias)
Peter Shinkoda (Masked Rider)
Tamlyn Tomita (Highlander: The Series)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Daniella Evangelista (Edgemont)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Eric Steinberg (Terminator: TSCC)
Noah Danby (Bitten)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Sarah Strange (Dark Angel)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Corey Monteith (Glee)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Rudolf Martin (Buffy)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Aisha Hinds (Cult)
Mike Dopud (X-Men: Days of Future Past)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Craig Fairbrass (Termiantor: TSCC)
John Tench (Andromeda)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Jonathan Walker (Flash Gordon)

Most TV shows spun off from movies are uninvolving and uninteresting, and hopefully die and are forgotten.

That wasn’t the case with the spinoff of the 1995 movie “Stargate,” a science fiction movie that spawned an excellent television series, “Stargate SG-1.” The first season is not nearly as brilliant as the ones that followed it, but it’s a welcome change from distant space operas — excellent writing, acting, and a sense of humor about itself and its characters.

The Stargate has been inactive for a year — until it is activated, and a bunch of Egyptian-styled warriors come through and kidnap a young officer. General Hammond (Don S. Davis) pulls Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) out of retirement to learn what really happened on the planet of Abydos, and where these mysterious aliens have come from. O’Neill and a small team go to Abydos and find Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) who has been learning about a vast network of Stargates over the past year. But when Daniel’s wife Sha’re and brother-in-law Skaara are abducted by the same warriors, O’Neill, Jackson and Air Force scientist Sam Carter (Amanda Tapping) use the Stargate to venture to where they’re being kept. What they find is an alien race who inhabits human hosts, the Goa’uld, and their ruthless slave warriors, the Jaffa. Carter, O’Neill and Jackson are captured by the powerful Apophis — but to escape, they must have the help of an unlikely ally: Teal’c (Christopher Judge), Apophis’ First Prime. Since Earth has now annoyed the Goa’uld, several exploration teams are formed to go through the Stargate and find weapons and allies.
And SG-1 — Carter, O’Neill, Jackson and Teal’c — encounters some very strange problems: a plague that turns people into savages, a people who live only a hundred days, a Viking planet, a Stargate explorer stranded since 1945, a little girl turned into a bomb, the seductive Goa’uld queen Hathor, and coming back as robots. And when the military shuts down the SG program, Daniel reveals that the Earth is about to be destroyed by Apophis’ armies. The first season of “Stargate SG-1” isn’t the most impressive, though the last three episodes hint at the series’ future greatness. And thankfully, it drops the usual space opera stuff — instead we get Stargates, real military, and a very plausible reason why everybody in the galaxy (more or less) looks just like us. It’s graced with kitschy Egyptian-styled sets, lots of shoot-em-up action from Marines and Air Force, and plenty of planets influenced by Earth cultures, like the Minoans and the Vikings. Best of all is the snappy dialogue, mostly from the tart-tongued O’Neill.

When we last left Our Heroes, they were on Apophis’ ship, facing the impending destruction and/or enslavement of everyone on Earth.
So unsurprisingly, the second season of “Stargate SG-1” can only get better from there on. In fact, this is when the clever, innovative sci-fi series really started to gel together, with more intriguing storylines, character arcs, and some new alien allies — basically, it all blooms.
Intending to blow up Apophis’ ship, our heroes get captured by the Jaffa and thrown in a cell — only to be unexpectedly rescued by Bra’tac (Tony Amendola), Teal’c’s old teacher. As Earth mounts a pitiful defense against the Goa’uld, SG-1 joins with a small band of rebel Jaffa to stop Apophis’ invasion — but they may have to leave one of their number behind.
Obviously the Goa’uld make things awkward throughout the season, with the second episode featuring Sam (Amanda Tapping) being possessed by a Goa’uld during a rescue mission — but it seems that it’s part of a rebel Goa’uld faction called the Tok’ra. Teal’c’s (Christopher Judge) son is kidnapped and brainwashed, and Daniel (Michael Shanks) finds that his beloved wife is pregnant with Apophis’ child.
And of course, SG-1 has to deal with lots of other stuff — insectile transformations, black holes, prison planets, Native American “spirits,” invisible bugs, hostile alien orbs, reliving their most traumatic memories in a VR world, and time traveling to 1969. And O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) gets an ancient repository of knowledge downloaded into his head — and he’ll die if they can’t reverse it.
“Stargate SG-1” really got into its stride in the second season — the basic Air-Force-versus-evil-headsnakes story gets expanded out into a bunch of arcs. We get new villains, some surprising new allies, hints about the true origins of the Stargates and the human race, and corrupt factions on Earth who use the spare Stargate for evil ends.

The writing gets even steadier and the alien worlds more interesting — even stuff that sounds goofy, like the planet of singing mushroom-people, somehow works. The drama is stronger, and the sci-fi usage of the Stargate ever more creative, such as when a black hole’s gravity well keeps the gate open, and is slowly sucking Earth through the wormhole.  Of course, all the action and sci-fi is heavily tempered with comedy. Even in grim situations, there’s usually at least a few funny moments, such as Daniel’s tour of the custodial closet. And of course, the dialogue is priceless — most of the good stuff comes from O’Neill, but Teal’c and the others usually get some good ones as well. Of the main cast, Amanda Tapping gets the juiciest role in this season — Sam deals with the impending death of her father, becoming a Goa’uld host, and trying to deal with the feelings it left behind. Including a Tok’ra boyfriend. Yet when we see Sam’s vulnerable sides, Tapping never lets her character be anything but a strong, capable military woman.

But the other actors aren’t neglected — Shanks’ Daniel grapples with the news that his wife is pregnant with Apophis’ baby, while Teal’c faces losing his entire family. Anderson is brilliant as the quirky, capable O’Neill, but he really gets brilliant when Jack’s brain is being overwritten — he has to emote and communicate without a comprehensible word. The second season of “Stargate SG-1” is where the story began to really get great, building up a series of strong story arcs, funny dialogue, and strong characters.

Many people believe that subsequent seasons of Stargate: SG1 get progressively better. So far, no arguement from me. Season 1 was good, 2 was better, and  season 3 is even better. Col. Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), and his SG1 team of the now Maj. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), and Teal’c (Christopher Judge) continued their adventures through the Stargate to various old and new planets. The team, as well as the SGC in general, were tested in many more ways than ever thought possible. The team went to “Hell” in order to save Sam’s dad, who is still a member of the Tok’Ra resistance, Daniel suffered a major loss, and O’Neill was blended, albeit briefly, with a Goa’uld. One of the reasons that I personally liked this year was that many of last year’s conflicts were resolved (Lenea, Destroyer of Worlds), which made room for new plotlines (the Replicators), as well as continuing old ones (the search for the Harsesis child).

This is also the season when SG1 truly realizes that they truly have allies in their fight against the Goa’uld; the Asgard helped form a treaty between Earth and the Goa’uld, the Tok’Ra continue to offer their assistance and wisdom, the Nox have begun to reestablish contact with the SGC, and the Tollan.


Other good episodes include “Into the Fire”, “Fair Game”, “Legacy”, “Learning Curve”, “Point of View”, “Past and Present”, “Jolinar’s Memories”, “The Devil You Know”, “Foothold”, “Urgo”, “Shades of Grey”, “New Ground”, and “Nemesis”. Judging by the increase in quality each season.

he Replicators. The Russians. The Aschen. These are only a few of the new enemies presented this year, in Stargate: SG-1 (okay, so technically, the Replicators were introduced last year). These new baddies made a lot of trouble this year for the SGC in what is definitely the best season yet. We learn more about the Replicators this year when Sam (Amanda Tapping) is brought to an Asgard-controlled planet to help defend the O’Neill, the Asgard’s newest and most advanced ship ever. Also, the Russians retrieve the Giza gate from the bottom of the ocean from when Thor’s ship, the Beliskner, crashed, while the SGC is now using the Antarctica gate. And, 10 years in the future, an advanced race, known as the Aschen, are quietly wiping out the human race by making humans infertile.


These are just a handful of the amazing new stories that occurred this year. It seems that Col. O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), Maj. Carter, Dr. Jackson (Michael Shanks), and Teal’c (Christopher Judge) can never catch a break. This year, not only have their alien enemies become more powerful than ever, especially Apophis (Peter Williams), their enemies on Earth have truly become a threat. Senator Kinsey (Ronny Cox), the man who tried to shut down the SGC in Season 1, has been linked to the rogue sector of the NID, the civillian organization responsible for the theft of numerous alien technologies over the last few years.


The stories this year are better than ever, especially with an increasing number of arcs occurring. Episodes like “Crossroads” and “The Serpent’s Venom” were expertly executed, and had immense emotional effects on our heroes. However, I have to praise the stand-alones this year, especially “Window of Opportunity” and “The Other Side”, which have never been better.

Some other great episodes are: “Small Victories”, “Upgrades”, “Watergate”, “Point of No Return”, “Tangent”, “The Curse”, “Chain Reaction”, “2010”, “Absolute Power”, “Double Jeopardy”, and “Exodus”.

The year began with a cool premiere, “Enemies”,  There were some amazing story developments this year, beginning with the final demise of Apophis (Peter Williams), the Goa’uld System Lord who has been making life difficult for the SGC ever since the first season. Next, the Tollan, an extremely advanced race of humans who are allied with Earth, begin acting suspiciously, the SGC begins recruiting new officers, the motives of the Aschen from last season are revealed, the Tok’Ra are nearly destroyed, and the Jaffa rebellion begins to truly become a problem for the System Lords.

And then, Daniel is brought to a System Lord summit where he has the chance to wipe out the Goa’uld threat forever, that is until he learns of the return of Anubis, an ancient System Lord who was banished for his horrific crimes. Also, we finally learn the origins of the Replicators. Finally, SG-1 must endure a change that they never thought would happen in the episode “Meridian”, and then, Anubis and Osirus (Anna-Louise Plowman) reveal plans to attack the Asgard.


This is a very important season, good episodes include: “Enemies”, “Threshold”, “Between Two Fires”, “2001”, “Wormhole X-Treme”, “Proving Ground”, “Summit”, “Last Stand”, “The Warrior”, “Menace”, “Meridian”, and “Revelations”.

The season begins with SG-1 still trying to find a fourth man. Ever since the death/ascension of Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), they have been unable to find a suitable replacement. Refugee Jonas Quinn (Corinn Nemec) has expressed a desire to join, but Col. O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) never seemed to warm up to the idea. Also, Anubis (David Paffly) has found a machine created by the Ancients that uses one stargate to destroy another, and he used it to attempt to destroy Earth.

Using the new X-302, a craft capable of aerial combat and intersellar travel, O’Neill successfully avoids disaster, but the Antarctica gate is destroyed. After that, we don’t see Anubis for a while, but the threat of his powers is always hanging over the heads of the SGC.


With Jonas as the new member of SG-1, the team embarks on another year of amazing missions. This year, we see the end of the exiled System Lord Niirti, known for her attempts to create a superior human host through genetic experimentation, we are introduced to some technology of the Furlings, one of the members of the intergalactic UN group who rallied against the goa’uld, Earth’s first interstellar capital ship, Prometheus is unvailed, the Replicator threat is ended, and, in one of my favorite episodes, Gen. Hammond (Don S. Davis) discloses the existence of the SGC to representitives of the UK, France, and China.


Some great episodes include “Redemption Pts. 1 and 2”, “Descent”, “Nightwalkers”, “Abyss”, “Shadow Play”, “Allegiance”, “Prometheus”, “Unnatural Selection”, “Smoke and Mirrors”, “Disclosure”, “The Changeling”, and “Full Circle”, the best episode of the season.

That is the season when Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) returns from being an ascended being, albeit on an alien world without his memory (“Fallen”). This required getting rid of Jonas Quinn (Corin Nemec) to get the old gang back together again, which happens when Anubis download Jonas’ memory and the Goa’uld attack Kelowna (“Homecoming”). Wisely, this is not the last appearance of Jonas for the season (“Fallout”) as he becomes another one of recurring guest characters that are a major strength of the series.

There are several Daniel Jackson stories that make a point of giving the actor interesting things to do, such as “Lifeboat,” where his mind becomes a resting place for a bunch of alien minds, “Enemy Mine,” which requires Jackson to show diplomatic skills, and big time flashbacks in “Chimera,” to before Daniel first saw the Stargate.

Overall, Season 7 is really Samantha Carter’s season and Amanda Tapping has several episodes where she pretty much goes it alone. “Space Race” has her joining an alien pilot for a little intergalactic competition, while “Death Knell” finds Carter being hunted by the supers soldiers of Anubis after an attack on Earth’s secret off-world base. In “Grace” Carter literally ends up alone when the Prometheus is attacked and she wakes up to find herself the only one on a ship drifting in deep space. The other characters show up as the angels of her better nature, which is the only way that Sam and Jack are ever going to have an honest conversation.

The whole Anubis/Lost City bit ends up being equal parts time to beat another bigger and badder system lord and find a fitting end point for the series that can also work as a transition to the spinoff.

Stargate has retained a massive level of consistency over the years, staying at the same level of quality, if not getting even a little bit better: it has always retained the humor, the characterization and the excitement and the action that has made it so loved.

Since season seven, there has been more of a focus on characterization and a tad bit more humor: and i for one welcome this, as the characters have always been the best aspect of the show: season eight continues this trend, and also the trend of even better quality than ever before!
Highlights include the opening two parter: New order Parts one and Two which is very exciting with plenty of plot twists. Affinity is another highlight for me as it is an episode with very little action, it is a mystery with a huge focus on characterization and intrigue, and manages to be very intriguing, with, again, some brilliant little character moments. Prometheus unbound is a highlight.

Reckoning parts one and two are possibly the best episodes of stargate ever made; they wrap up most of the major storylines, bringing the end to both the main enemies in the show, and are impossibly epic: there is so much going on, so much peril and a sense of doom, that you are kept on the edge of your seat the whole time, with some humour thrown in for good measure.

Avalon, Part 1 is a great season opener, introduces  new kid on the block Ben Browder,  as the season progresses the character is definitely fleshed out more and he soon fits in nicely with the tightly-knit S.G.1 team.

However, the bottom line is that this is still a character who bares a striking similarity in disposition to Browder’s other well-known TV personality- Farscape’s John Crichton- with that same irreverent humor and easy-going attitude, but it’s a style that clearly works for Browder and it’s difficult not to find that likable. Beau Bridges’ introduction is made with equally good fanfare, his character is one who I found myself liking more readily- he approaches the role of the General of the base differently to Don S. Davis, with more of an every man approach, although he never hesitates to exert the full force of his office against unfriendly aliens, or humans when required.

Largely thanks to the development of this season’s main story-arc with the introduction of God-wannabes the Ori and their powerful minions known as Priors, this ninth season becomes surprisingly mesmerising in very short order. Beginning with the concluding part and then into episode 3- `Origin’, this season soon establishes itself as one of the best `Stargate: S.G.1′ offerings in years. The use of Arthurian legend in this season is spread pretty thickly in the beginning and had me worried that this fantasy element might not work in a predominantly science-fiction-oriented series, but very soon the parallels the writers draw between the Arthurian myth and the familiar Stargate set-up, become very inventive and come to work surprisingly well at contrasting against the new and growing force of evil spreading through the galaxy. In the first five episodes that other recognizable `Farscape’ regular Claudia Black and her seductively disobedient alter-ego Vala are another reason to be enchanted by this season. Vala brings such humor and life to the series that I was really disappointed when she parted company with S.G.1, despite the welcome return of Sam Carter following her brief career change. Thankfully Vala returns towards the end of the season and here’s hoping it’s not the last we see of her.

This season’s other major success is in its stand-alone stories that continue to present unique, punchy and creative sci-fi ideas to its audience. In particular episode 9- `Prototype’ and episode 13- `Ripple Effect’ are a couple of my favourites, the first of which concerns the discovery of a prodigy of Anubis frozen on a distant planet and the second has multiple S.G.1 teams pouring through the Stargate from diverse alternate realities , both of which had me glued to my seat.

Largely thanks to Vala (Claudia Black) who’s as charming as she is side-splittingly, ingeniously, flirtatiously funny and who now becomes a credited member of the main cast, season ten gets off to a brilliant start  as the action picks up right where the previous season left-off with episode 1- Flesh and Blood and doesn’t decrease in pace.

It explores the continued threat of the Ori and their ever-increasing capture and control of worlds unable to mount any effective resistance against such a seemingly omnipotent foe. Episode 3- The Pegasus Project  is also very gripping with a finale that’s both surprising and tantalizing.

episodes 10- The Quest, Part I and 11- The Quest, Part II both of which work well in continuing SG-1’s discovery & unravelling of Arthurian-inspired mysteries surrounding their search for a weapon capable of destroying their enemy. Episode 14- The Shroud  sees Daniel in a unique position to deal a crippling blow to the Ori, which is also solid.

while episode 20- Unending is a wonderful episode- with a story that’s not just dramatic, but explores sides to the main characters never seen before, it ends the season with so much unresolved that it’s difficult to appreciate this tenth season as it should be appreciated as the final outing of SG-1. Obviously a great deal has been withheld to be used in the TV movie The Ark of Truth.

REVIEW: HUMAN TARGET – SEASON 1 & 2

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MAIN CAST

Mark Valley (Zeo Dark Thirty)
Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Indira Varma (Game of Thrones)
Janet Montogomery (Black Swan)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tricia Helfer (Powers)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Adrian Hough (Underworld: Evolution)
Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon)
Ali Liebert (Legends of Tomorrow)
Courtney Ford (The Big Bang Theory)
Alessandro juliani (Smallville)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Aleks Paunovic (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
William Mapother (Powers)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Kristin Lehman (Andromeda)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Chris Mulkey (Whiplash)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Ted Whittall (Beauty and The Beast)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate: Atlantis)
Leonor Varela (Blade II)
Kim Coates (Silent Hill)
Autumn Reeser (Sully)
Samantha Ferris (Along Came A Spider)
Lennie James (The Walking Dead)
Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica)
Peter Wingfield (Caprica)
Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation)
Kavan Smith (Stargate: Atlantis)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Mackernzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Armand Assante (The Odyssey)
Christina Cole (Hex)
Robert Lawrenson (Underworld: Awakening)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Timothy Omundson (Xena)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Cameron Daddo (Andromeda)
Tracie Thoms (Cold Case)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting)
David Orth (The Lost World)
Marie Avgeropoulos (The 100)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Carlo Rota (Stargate Universe)
James Remar (Flashforward)
Nicole Bilderback (Buffy)
Steven Brand (The Scorpion King)

Christopher Chance (Mark Valley, Boston Legal), is a bodyguard for hire. His clients come to him as a last resort because their lives are in serious danger and they have no other alternatives. Chance’s mysterious past is only partially revealed as the season progresses–much of it in the season finale. What is known about him is that he’s probably a genius, he can hold his own in a fight, he’s a super-thief, he’s a crackshot with a gun, and the ladies love him.

In each episode, Chance typically assumes a cover to stay close and protect the client. He uses the client as bait to uncover the killer’s identity. In these episodes, Chance assumes a multitude of identities ranging from a prize fighter to a monk. Beyond Batman-like fighting skills, Chance’s best tools are his intelligence and charismatic personality; he holds his own in a conversation on any topic and masterfully fits in with any group of people. Joining Chance are Winston (Chi McBride, Boston Public, Pushing Daisies), his straight-laced handler, and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley, Watchmen), a computer hacker with questionable methods, but indisputable loyalty.Human Target is a throwback to the action series of the 80’s. While an intriguing backstory develops across the entire show, each episode is self-contained and follows a specific case from beginning to end. Viewers can practically jump in on any episode and not miss a beat. This is due in part to the swashbuckling, tongue-in-cheek script that never takes itself too seriously. It is also partly due to the brilliant performances by the main actors, Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley. The three play off each other extremely well. You can’t help but watch this show with a smile on your face as straight-man and former detective, Winston cringes at yet another action by Christopher Chance or Guerrero that gets the job accomplished, but is probably not entirely legal. Guerrero, especially, has morally ambiguous moments that cause those around him to be hysterically uncomfortable. When he makes his appearance on-screen, you know that hilarity and awesomeness are about to ensue. It’s similar to the height of Kramer’s heyday in Seinfeld where the studio audience would erupt when he appeared and he’d completely steal the scene. Laughs are guaranteed with Guerrero and his antics are accentuated into priceless gems by Winston’s reactions.The over-the-top action in each episode is wonderfully shot and rivals the quality of some Hollywood films. The outlandishness of the action is offset by the fact that the actors revel in the absurdity and take all the events in stride. No matter how desperate the situation, Christopher Chance always flashes a wry grin. His antics and expressions are reminiscent of Harrison Ford’s performances as Han Solo or Indiana Jones. The action is intense, but Christopher Chance can handle it and make you laugh while he does.Another testament to the excellent writing is that not a single episode is wasted. Obviously, some episodes are better than others, but all are highly watchable and re-watchable, action-packed, mysteries. Even the product placements are great and fit in with the spirit of the show. In the Tanarak episode, one of the most blatant product placements of all time occurs with a Camaro. It’s done with such blithe satire, instead of feeling the need to bathe after watching more advertisers nauseatingly snake their way into television, you just laugh at the silliness.In every episode, without requiring any background information, you are brought into the characters’ circle and get an immediate feel for their relationships. However, more information could have been provided earlier about Christopher Chance and his cohorts’ origins. Some of the information that was dumped in the final episode of this set could have been dispersed throughout the previous episodes. Instead you are left to fill in massive blanks with assumptions about the characters’ pasts. This is not a huge misstep by the writers because the characters’ mysterious origins are a large part of what makes the show so accessible.  This show is just pure fun to watch unfold and will appeal to practically anyone. Pop a bag of microwave popcorn, kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.In season 2, with Matt Miller (Chuck) taking on executive producer-writer-show runner duties, he promised to flesh things out a bit without changing much of the original allure, which was good news. Mostly, he brought in Indira Varma  (Luther, Rome) as Ilsa Pucci, a widowed billionaire who takes a liking to the boys. And Janet Montgomery (Entourage) as a thief who also gets reluctantly entangled with the trio. So you can see the note Fox put on the show: Let’s leaven the testosterone a bit.And yet, nothing’s really changed. The escapism is sky high. Valley remains as charismatic as ever, with McBride’s disdainful asides and Haley’s chilly creepiness intact. It would be unfortunate if Human Target somehow got soapy or dumber, because good popcorn is rare.

 

REVIEW: MORTAL KOMBAT LEGACY – SEASON 1 & 2

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 CAST

Michael Jai white (The Dark Knight)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager)
Darren Shahlavi (Watchmen)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Matt Mullins (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Erica Cerra (Eureka)
Adrian Hough (Underworld: Evolution)
Aleks Paunovic (This Means War)
Samantha Jo (Agent X)
Jolene Tran (Tricking)
Kirby Morow (X-Men Evolution)
Beatice King (50/50)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Tracy Spiridakos (Bates Motel)
Ian Anthony Dale (Mr. 3000)
Kevan Ohtsji (Crying Freeman)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Brian Tee (Jurassic world)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen rider Dragon Knight)
Casper Van Dien (Starship troopers)
Eric Jacobus (ABCS of Death 2)
Dan Southworth (Power Rangers Time Force)

Origin shorts of some of Mortal Kombat’s icons. The First 2 episodes focus on Sonya, Jax, Kano and a brief appearance from Stryker. This is probably my favourite of the whole show. Great performances from Jeri Ryan, and Michael Jai White. The fight between him and Kano was the best of the DVD.

Johnny Cage’s story is ok, I think it was casted well, and the fights were pretty good, it does also show his motivation for getting into the tournament, also hey managed to put in a couple of his signature moves.

Raiden: . At the beginning of this episode there is a short declaimer saying that this is not the usual MK story but he hope it is still enjoyable. Making Raiden mortal was a big departure.

Kitana and Milleena: This episode was part animated and part live action. The fights were excellent especially  the sparing match between the two “sisters”. This was the best part of the two part episode.

Scorpion and Sub-Zero:  This was much more Scorpion’s origin story. Mini spoiler there is also a brief appearance from Quan Chi as well.

Cyrax and Sektor: was not really expecting much from this story and it is not much of a story but there are 2 very good fights in it one the human Cyrax and Sektor beating the crap out of the earlier cyborg.

I really enjoyed this season much more than the first. The production is better and is more of the Street Fighter Assassins fist style of have each individual episodes adding up to a movie. Having Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa reprise\renew his role as Shang Tsung was brilliant and having him saying the iconic lines from the first movie was not lost on a continuity lover like me. This season, works from the point that there have been previous MK tournaments. Now 10 year have passed and it is time for the new tournament. Again Raiden and Shang Tsung must choose their team respective teams of warriors. The actual fighting in this  season does not start till much later, but from a storyline perspective that was a very good idea. When they start the fights are bloody, brutal and in most cases fatal.

Sadly it was decided not to do a third year so the series is very much incomplete but still highly enjoyable.