REVIEW: SWAMP THING: THE SERIES

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CAST

Dick Durock (The Enforcer)
Mark Lindsay Chapman (Lois & CLark)
Jesse Zeigler (Captiva Island)
Carrell Myers (Problem Child 2)
Scott Garrison (Xena)
Kari Wuhrer (Eight Legged Freaks)
Kevin Quigley (Sheena)
Anthony Gaide (Just One of The Guys)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Martha Smith (Animal House)
Marc Macaulay (Monster)
Roscoe Lee Browne (Babe)
Jacob Witkin (Hail, Caesar!)
Summer Phoenix (The Faculty)
Sandahl Bergman (Red Sonja)
Patrick Neil Quinn (Days of Our Lives)
David Ackroyd (After Mash)
Kevin Nash (The Punisher)
Christie Lynn Smith (Bones)
Elizabeth Fendrick (Vacation)
Janet Julian (King of New York)
Heather Thomas (The Fall Guy)
Tyne Daly (Cagney & Lacey)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Cheryl Hines (The Ugly Truth)

I enjoyed the Swamp Thing films but didn’t know what to expect of a weekly show that would have a small budget. Looking back, I feel the series succeeded as often as it failed.

The best episodes were those that focused on Swamp Thing (or ‘Alec’ as he was referred to by the people who knew him). The series started out on shaky footing, and had Swamp Thing act out of character. In the first episode he turns a bad guy into a tree until the writers establish that he would never take a human life. Any episode that had him turn back human was well done.

Most of the episodes made him a Rod Serling of the swamp, taking a back seat to the action. A lot of these weren’t too bad. These boiled down to two plots: bad guys hide out in the swamp, only to have to face their crimes in a nightmareish way, or people with problems wander in the swamp, to become better by facing their fears. The best of these was when Ray Wise (Dr. Holland from the original movie) guest starred as someone who might be an alien and almost kills Swamp Thing.

I enjoyed the show Although it could have been so much more, it was certainly better than many other shows or movies based on comic books.

REVIEW: THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING

 

CAST

Louis Jourdan (Octopussy)
Dick Durock (Stand By Me)
Heather Locklear (Spin City)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 & 2)

The Return of Swamp Thing sees evil scientist Dr. Anton Arcane (Louis Jordan) trying to reverse the extreme ageing that he is undergoing as a result of his experiments. Meanwhile in Los Angeles his stepdaughter Abigail (Heather Locklear) decides to visit him to find out more about her late mother & the events surrounding her sudden death. It turns out that Abigail has the exact genetic make-up that Arcane needs to complete his experiments & give himself eternal life. Arcane also needs a sample of Swamp Thing’s (Dick Durock) DNA to complete the process but getting a sample isn’t going to be as easy as Arcane hoped for as Swamp Thing sets out to put an end to Arcane’s evil experiments…Heather Locklear in The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)I have to say that I really liked The Return of Swamp Thing & for my money just about the best thing Wynorski has ever done (which isn’t saying much in itself). A direct sequel to Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing (1982) it is never actually explained how Arcane survived the events during the climax of the original although it turns out he is suffering from the process that saved him which forms the basis of the plot as he sets out to find a cure & doesn’t care how many people he kills to do just that.The-Return-of-Swamp-ThingBased on the dark Gothic DC comic book character the script by Neil Cuthbert & Grant Morris hasn’t got too much to it & is rather simplistic & underdeveloped but is good fun all the same & you suspect that what the production team were aiming for, a good solid entertaining light hearted fun comic book superhero flick which I think it succeeds at being but like most things in life it’s down to personal opinion. At a little over 90 minutes it’s relatively short, it moves along like a rocket & I was never bored with it which is always a good thing to be able to say.Return-of-STThere are one or two half decent action set-pieces but considering the production team had a budget smaller than the Wes Craven original you could say they worked minor miracles. The character’s are fun although not particularly deep, the dialogue is often amusing & packed full of one-liners & doesn’t take itself too seriously either with Locklear’s character referring to the TV show T.J. Hooker (1982 – 1986) in which she starred. All in all much, much better than I expected & a film that I really liked. Keep watching after the end actor credits as the two kids get an extra little scene.return-swamp-thing-displayOne very impressive aspect of The Return of Swamp Thing is the special make-up effects which are of a very high standard. The Leechman in particularly looks great although he disappears about halfway through, there’s a elaborate Cockroachman & an Elephantman. The Swamp Thing suit is also much better than seen in the original, it’s far more leafy & slimy & more representative of a what a half man half Georgia swamp creature may look like. The Dr. Rochelle mutation at the end also looks good but is dispatched too easily by Swamp Thing & doesn’t put up much of a fight. There are some good fight scenes as well along with a couple of impressive explosions.If you’re a fan of B-movies, as I am, you’re likely to enjoy this. There are plenty of laughs, both intentional and unintentional. The acting is what you would expect, and the effects are really quite good for its day. It’s simply a good Comic Book Movie that will past the time.

REVIEW: WONDER WOMAN – SEASON 3

Starring

Lynda Carter (Supergirl)
Lyle Waggoner (The Carol Burnett Show)

Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Lerner (Elf)
Leif Garrett (The Outsiders)
Lance LeGault (Stripes)
Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist)
Ed Begley Jr. (Better Call Saul)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat)
Michael DeLano (Commando)
Wolfman Jack (Motel Hell)
Joan Van Ark (Knots Landing)
Eric Braeden (Titanic)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th 8)
Mako (TMNT)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
George Cheung (Rush Hour)
Tim O’Connor (Buck rogers)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Fam)
Judge Reinhold (Beverly Hills Cop)
Rick Springfield (Ricki and The Flash)
Barry Miller (Fame)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Bob Hastings (Batman: TAS)
Marc Alaimo (Star Trek: DS9)

Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)Wonder Woman still remains an icon to this day, thanks in many ways to the TV series and the performance of Lynda Carter in the lead role. As I stated in my Season 2 review, not many actresses could have pulled it off. But Lynda, however, had it, and still does. Between Seasons 1 and 2 of Wonder Woman things became a bit more modern. With Season 3 things seemed to change a bit more, and in my mind, for the better. Gone were the comic book-style captions. Although the comic book opening sequence and theme song were fun, it was nice to get something a little more serious for the third year. Diana Prince’s huge glasses also disappeared over time.Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)The Season 3 DVD set maintains a really nice packaging design that maintains the comic book roots of the original series while at the same time not looking cheesy. And, like I said, it’s nice to have all three sets side by side.Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)The set features commentary on the episode “My Teenage Idol Is Missing” with Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter. In the commentary, Ms. Carter talks about where she hoped the show would have ended, about the fads and feminism at the time of the show, and, of course, she talked about that episode’s guest star, then-teenage heartthrob Leif Garrett. (Leif did the rounds on late 70’s television during his pop star years… look for him also on other series such as CHiPs) Although it seemed that Carter had a list of things or a script she may have been referring to, it was really nice to hear her talking about it and even better considering it’s 25 years after the fact and she’s still willing to discuss it. The third season also features some of Wonder Woman’s alternative costumes, like the groovy motorcycle outfit, and she sometimes wears a cape.Wonder Woman (1975)Anyway, for comic book fans, or for fans of the Wonder Woman character, Wonder Woman is a great package, and a great series to own all the way through. I’ve only been able to watch a few of the episodes thus far, but the ones I’ve seen so far – particularly in this third season – I have liked a lot. Episodes that I haven’t watched yet, with titles like “The Boy Who Knew Her Secret,” sound very intriguing and I can’t wait to see more. Bonus! Look for guest stars like Craig T. Nelson, Ed Begley Jr., Joe E. Tata (“Nat” from 90210!), Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing!), Wolfman Jack, Knots Landing couple Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark, Rene Auberjonois, and Rick Springfield – all in the third season

 

REVIEW: SWAMP THING (1982)

 

CAST

Louis Jourdan (Octopussy)
Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
David Hess (Smash Cut)
Nicholas Worth (Darkman)
Dick Durock (Stand By Me)

Ben Bates and Dick Durock in Swamp Thing (1982)In the swamps of Louisiana, Dr. Alec Holland works with his sister Linda on a top-secret bio-engineering project to create a plant/animal hybrid capable of thriving in extreme environments. Government agent Alice Cable arrives just as Holland makes a major breakthrough, and begins to develop feelings for him. However, a paramilitary group led by the evil Dr. Anton Arcane, who is obsessed with immortality, kills Linda while trying to steal the formula for their own purposes.During the attack, Alice escapes and Alec is covered in chemicals, caught on fire, and runs screaming in the swamp, presumably to die. However, he returns as a monstrously mutated plant creature. As the Swamp Thing, Holland battles Arcane’s forces to protect Cable, and eventually takes on Arcane himself, also mutated by the Holland formula.a3ba80290d0168ba313c0cf90d111d904950ba46Swamp Thing doesn’t take itself too seriously but it’s not too tongue-in-cheek to make it look like a camp parody. The production values tend to be a flaky but Swampy’s costume doesn’t look too bad. At the heart of Swamp Thing is a doomed romance which can never fully blossom and the film does have some substance.Swamp-Thing-1982It’s certainly not a rubbish film and fans of the genre will find that this is a stronger film than many others. Swamp Thing himself is an interesting character, a disfigured genius who is very much aware of his sad situation, he isn’t just a green rage machine, he has depth and is a monster capable of great tenderness

REVIEW: WONDER WOMAN – SEASON 2

Starring

Lynda Carter (Supergirl)
Lyle Waggoner (The Carol Burnett Show)
Norman Burton (Planet of The Apes)

Lynda Carter and Beatrice Straight in Wonder Woman (1975)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Beatrice Straight (Poltergeist)
Fritz Weaver (Creepshow)
Jessica Walter (Archer)
Barry Dennen (The Dark Crystal)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
J. Kenneth Campbell (The Abyss)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Denny Miller (Tarzan The Ape Man)
Eve Plumb (The Brady Bunch)
Bob Hastings (Batman: TAS)
Juliet Mills (Avanati)
John Colicos (Battlestar Galactica)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Anne Ramsey (Scrooged)
John Rubinstein (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Frank Gorshin (Batman 60s)
Bubba Smith (Police Academy)
Henry Gibson (Sabrina: TTW)
Rick Springfield (True Detective)
Vaughn Armstrong (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Dick Gautier (Transformers)
Ed Begley Jr.(Veronica Mars)
Jennifer Darling (The Six Million Dollar Man)
John Fujioka (American Ninja)
Chuck Hicks (Dick Tracy)

Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)I was not  born in 1977, so obviously I didn’t catch Wonder Woman when it was first on the air. I remember seeing parts of it on the weekend when my Dad would watch repeats on Saturdays between The Incredible Hulk and In Search Of.Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)Lynda Carter’s image as the character is the one that stuck with me the most. The character has endured over the years with fantastic artists doing her comic – folks like George Perez, Phil Jiminez, and Adam Hughes. But to me, Lynda Carter was and is always going to be the definitive look of Wonder Woman in my mind. Christopher Reeve as Superman is one of the only other times there has been such a perfect transition from comics to film. Carter’s Wonder Woman jumps off the comic book page – literally, if you check out the opening credits.Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)The first, and most impressive, thing I noticed about Lynda Carter’s portrayal of the character on this DVD set is that she really became the character, and believed in it. Not every actress could pull this off. Some might take it the way of feeling ridiculous in the skimpy costume, or laugh at the concept of this Amazonian princess from Paradise Island who goes to the Man’s world and helps rescue doofus Steve Trevor every week. The DVD bonus interviews, which include new material with Lynda Carter, talk about this approach and it made me all the more impressed. Season Two takes Wonder Woman to the 1970’s and makes things more modern. Diana Prince (WW’s alter ego) gets a better fashion sense and we are introduced to new technologies like IRA the computer. Sure, ghosts from the World War II past do spring up, but the episodes seem a bit less silly and more down to Earth this time.Eve Plumb and Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)Lyle Waggoner in Season Two plays Steve Trevor Jr., son of the original Steve Trevor, who he played during the show’s first season. This plot device is very soap opera-like, but it works, in this case. In addition to the second season’s 22 episodes which include a feature-length season premiere, the DVD includes a bonus feature that includes interviews with Ms. Carter and comic book professionals Phil Jiminez (who may be Wonder Woman’s biggest fan, though we know his heart belongs to Donna Troy), Andy Mangels, and Adam Hughes.

 

REVIEW: WONDER WOMAN – SEASON 1

Starring

Lynda Carter (Supergirl)
Lyle Waggoner (The Carol Burnett Show)
Richard Eastham (Battle For The POTA)
Beatrice Colen (High Anxiety)

Lynda Carter in The New Original Wonder Woman (1975)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John Randolph (Serpico)
Red Buttons (The Poseidon Adventure)
Stella Stevens (Say One For me)
Eric Braeden (Titantic)
Henry Gibson (Sabrina: TTW)
Kenneth Mars (Fletch)
Cloris Leachman (Spanglish)
Christine Belford (Christine)
Keene Curtis (Stargate SG.1)
Lynda Day George (Mission: Impossible)
Anne Francis (Forbidden Planet)
Dick Van Patten (Spaceballs)
John Saxon (Black Chirstmas)
Carolyn Jones (The Addams Family)
Debra Winger (The Ranch)
Pamela Susan Shoop (Halloween II)
Robert Loggia (Big)
Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch)
Tim O’Connor (Buck Rogers)
Scott Hylands (Earthquake)
Harris Yulin (Ghostbusters II)
Robert Hays (Airplane)
Charles Cyphers (Halloween)

Lynda Carter, Christine Belford, and Lyle Waggoner in Wonder Woman (1975)Season 1 of Wonder Woman is set in 1942 to the backdrop of the second world war. Following the comics Major Steve Trevor crash lands his plane of the secretive Paradise Island and the all-female residents take part in olympic style games to decide which of their warriors shall be the one to escort him back to man’s world. As we all know it is Diana, daughter of the Queen who wins the coveted role and along with her invisible jet she returns with Steve to America.Lynda Carter and Lyle Waggoner in Wonder Woman (1975)Before leaving her homeland Diana is presented with her costume features a golden belt, the source of her strength, bullet proof bracelets and the golden lasso of truth. Choosing to stay and fight the evil Nazi’s Diana takes up the guise of Diana Prince a yeoman for the US Navy. For much of the first season the show follows the formula of the Nazi’s attacking the US either on home soil or on rare occasions the show would require Diana to travel to Germany in order to resolve conflicts.Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)Many fans would testify that after season one the shift to stories told in the present day would see a downturn in the creativity of the show and eventually lead to its cancellation. So why does a WW2 Wonder Woman work so well? Much of it has to do with the feelings that WW2 evokes with viewers, so at the time in the 70s and with the young target audience there was a very black and white, good vs evil appearance to the show that barely exists in modern media. The time period of the shows setting and also the period of its production allow for a simplistic nature that also capitalises on the 1966 Batman series. They’re very similar in tone and ‘Wonder Woman’ would use the same extreme caricaturisation to portray its villains.Lynda Carter and Hayden Rorke in Wonder Woman (1975)There series is by no means complex, far fetched yes but in no way complex. For a modern audience it’s a great example of how superheroes were portrayed in the age before Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’. There’s an incredibly well defined moral compass which could teach the young audience of today many lessons. For the uninitiated ‘Wonder Woman’ would come across as looking cheap and cheesy but to those of us who grew up with this kind of show it has a great place in our hearts.Lynda Carter and James Olson in Wonder Woman (1975)The writing is strong for its age, it might not hold up against the scripted drama of today but as a nostalgia show it is one of the greats. There are plot hole abound but they come from a need for a great story rather than a tightly woven average story. At the time audiences were taken aback by the scale of the show and that’s what you must remember when watching it back. Lynda Carter will forever be the fans ultimate Wonder Woman and there is little that anybody can say to argue with it. Her presence on screen is excellent and the passion that she throws in to the role is commendable. She continues to ride the coat tales of ‘Wonder Woman’ to the present day and her legacy will run on long after she is no longer with us. If you’ve never watched this show before I highly recommend you check out the first season on DVD. If you have seen the show and yet don’t own it… well I don’t know but you better have a good excuse!

REVIEW: THE BATMAN – SEASON 5

Main Cast

Rino Romano (Spaceballs: TAS)
Alastair Duncan (Providence)
Evan Sabara (The Polar Express)
Danielle Judovits (Toy Story)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate: Atlantis)

The Batman (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

George Newbern (Justice Leegue)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Dana Delany (Superman: TAS)
James Remar (BLack Lightning)
Louis Gossett Jr. (Legend of The Mummy)
Gwendoline Yeo (Desperate Housewives)
Chris Hardwick (The X’s)
Jason Marsden (Young Justice)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Amanda Anka (Buffy: TVS)
John Larroquette (Stripes)
Charlie Schlatter (18 Again)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Miguel Ferrer (Iron Man 3)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Hynden Walch (Teen Titans)
Jerry O’Connell (The Death of Superman)
Patton Oswalt (Caprica)
Diedrich Bader (American Housewife)
Peter MacNicol (Veep)
Chris Pratt (Avengers Endgame)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Dorian Harewood (Terminator: TSCC)

The Batman (2004)Over time the show has definitely grown and it’s safe to say that it’s come into its own. Though this may be the final season it’s definitely one of the stronger ones and in the end this is a ride any fan of the character should take. In the previous seasons of The Batman all sorts of things happened that continue to have an impact upon Gotham in this fifth outing. Batgirl was added to the roster during the third season with Dick Grayson as Robin in the fourth. Several familiar villains were brought into the fold as well but most notably the finale of the fourth season featured an alien invasion and the introduction of The Justice League. That’s right where we pick up this time around with Gotham reeling in the aftermath of the alien attack.Ring_TossDestruction is everywhere and the people are in need of support. Lucky for them Superman comes to town with a massive check from Metropolis but unluckily for Superman Metallo is waiting for his chance to strike. What transpires is a team up between Batman and Superman to take down Lex Luthor who has his eyes set on Gotham. In the meantime Superman falls under Lex’s control thanks to some help from Poison Ivy and kryptonite. Naturally it’s up to Batman and Robin to stop the man of steel and there’s plenty of fighting between the DC legends.Joker_ExpressIf you have been following the series this marks Superman’s first appearance on the show and you’ll notice a trend that follows throughout this year. The previous season’s introduction of characters such as Green Arrow, Flash, Hawkman, and Green Lantern fleshes out The Batman’s roster somewhat and really gives is a Justice League feel.Batman_superman_robinThis season is very entertaining even though the focus shifts from Batman and his universe. At this point in The Batman’s run the creative cast definitely had it going on but you can tell that even in the final moments they were experimenting. I see what the producers were aiming to do with this season and for all intents and purposes it is successful.