REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 5

 

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Erica Durance (The Butterfly Effect 2)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
John Schneider (The Haves and the Have Nots)
John Glover (Shazam)

Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

James Marsters (Runaways)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
Alana De La Garza (Law & Order)
Leonard Roberts (Mom)
Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel)
Camille Mitchell (Izombie)
Johnny Lewis (Aliens vs Predator: Requiem)
Nathaniel DeVeaux (The Core)
Rekha Sharma (Dark Angel)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Brooke Nevin (The Comebacks)
Erica Cerra (Power Rangers)
Angelika Libera (Stealing Sinatra)
Luciana Carro (Two For The Money)
Tom Wopat (Django Unchained)
Jill Teed (Charlie St. Cloud)
Woody Jeffreys (Pathfinder)
Noah Danby (Bitten)
Alisen Down (12 Monkeys)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)
Jerry Wasserman (I Robot)
Chelah Horsdal (Hell on Wheels)
Annie Burgstede (The Young and The Restless)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Sarah Lind (Severed)
Denise Quiñones (Incognita)
Douglas O’Keeffe (Sanctuary)
Leela Savasta (Stargate Atlantis)
Lee Thompson Young (The Hills Have Eyes II)
Christie Laing (Arrow)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Nichole Hiltz (Bones)
G. Patrick Currie (Stargate SG.1)
Emily Hirst (Blade: The Series)
Callum Keith Rennie (Jessica Jones)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Love Happens)
Ian Tracey (Sanctuary)
Kurt Evans (Izombie)
Alex Scarlis (Ameircan Heiress)
Jody Thompson (The 400)
Panou (Flash Gordon)

Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville (2001)In the fifth season of Smallville, one chapter ends as another new and exciting chapter begins as Smallville is taken to new heights as the DC Universe is finally blown open as new characters make their appearances felt.Erica Durance and Alan Ritchson in Smallville (2001)In season five, Clark’s relationship with Lana is at its peak, his friendship with Chloe has never been stronger, and he is finally coming to terms with the discovery of his Kyptonian heritage. But things in Smallville are about to change with the arrival of the mysterious Milton Fine (James Marsters) along with 2 Kryptonians bearing the symbol of ZOD. Whilst his relationship with his friends has never been stronger, Clark finds himself in direct confrontation with Lex Luthor as he is now forced to question whether he and the younger Luthor were ever friends.Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville (2001)Alongside the great continuity drama with the regular leads, this season also sees the arrival of 2 familiar faces from the DC Universe in form of Aquaman and Cyborg who cameo in this season alongside DC villain Brainiac. James Marsters is a very welcome addition to the cast and plays Fine with confidence and arrogance while Michael Rosenbaum continues to steal the show.John Schneider in Smallville (2001)The pinnacle moment of the season also sees the very sad departure of a long staning term cast member in what still rates as Smallville’s saddest moment and greatest tear-jerker.

REVIEW: DARK ANGEL -SEASON 1

Starring

Jessica Alba (Machete)
Michael Weatherly (Bull)
John Savage (American Romance)
Valarie Rae Miller (Crank)
J. C. MacKenzie (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Richard Gunn (Hemlock Grove)
Alimi Ballard (Sabrina: TTW)
Jennifer Blanc (The Victim)

Jessica Alba in Dark Angel (2000)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Stanley Kamel (Domino)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood)
Paul Popowich (Rupture)
Douglas O’Keeffe (The Andromeda Strain)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Smallville)
Lauren Lee Smith (Mutant X)
Kim Hawthorne (Greanleaf)
Stephen Lee (Robocop 2)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Eileen Pedde (Juno)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Robert Lewis (Stargate SG-1)
Natassia Malthe (Elektra)
Steve Makaj (Two for The Money)
Tyler Labine (Tucker and Dale vs Evil)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Ty Olsson (X-Men 2)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Emily Tennant (Jennifer’s Body)
Christine Chatelain (Final Destination)
Abraham Benrubi (ER)
Byronn Mann (Arrow)
A.C. Peterson (Shooter)
Tony Perez (Once Upon a Time)
Lisa Rodríguez (Next Friday)
Brenda James (Slither)
William Gregory Lee (Xena)
Rodney Rowland (Veronica Mars)
George Cheung (Rush Hour)
Mike Weinberg (Home Alone 4)
Nicole Bilderback (Clueless)
Robert Gossett (Batman Returns)
Harsh Nayyar (Gandhi)
Brian Markinson (Wolf)
Lucia Walters (Stargate: Atlantis)
James Kidnie (Robocop: The Series)
Patrick Kilpatrick (Eraser)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Mark Gibbon (Man of Steel)
Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill)
Zahf Paroo (The Good Doctor)
Susan Hogan (Warehouse 13)
Lawrence Pressman (American Pie)
Samantha Smith (Supernatural)
Rekha Sharma (The Core)
Craig Veroni (Cedar Cove)
Lisa Ann Cabasa (Buffy: TVS)
Rob LaBelle (Watchmen)
Shireen Crutchfield (House Party 3)
Ashley Crow (Heroes)
David Kaye (Siren)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Ian Tracey (Sanctuary)
Alex Carter (The Island)
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Robert Floyd (Cold Hearts)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)
James Kirk (She’s The Man)
Rainn Wilson (Star Trek: Discovery)
Kevin McNulty (Snakes on a Plane)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Lorena Gale (Traitor)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Kris Pope (Josie and The Pussycats)
Joshua Alba (Alpha Dog)
Nicki Aycox (Jeepers Creepers 2)

Jessica Alba in Dark Angel (2000)Dark Angel stars Jessica Alba (Idle Hands) as Max, a genetically-engineered supersoldier who escaped from an expectedly top-secret government facility as a child. Despite the passing of a full decade, the agents of Manticore, led by Donald Lydecker (John Savage), remain determined to retrieve their multi-million dollar killing machine. Max ekes out a living in a scarcely-recognizable 21st century Seattle, avoiding capture while trying to locate the brothers and sisters that fled from Manticore with her. Max’s search brings her in contact with underground cyberjournalist Logan Cale (Michael Weatherly), and together, they try to make Seattle a more palatable place while unveiling the secrets of Max’s past.Jessica Alba, William Gregory Lee, and Michael Weatherly in Dark Angel (2000)Just as Max is a genetically-engineered hybrid of various people and creatures, Dark Angel has been stitched together from the remnants of various other genre television series and movies. The most obvious point of comparison is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with its beautiful, sassy, headstrong, ass-kicking female lead, a predominately female supporting cast, and an older male mission-dispensing mentor with an answer to every question and a solution to every problem. Hell, both series have even had a recurring character named Kendra. Similarities can also be drawn to The Pretender, which features a gifted child raised in an isolated institutional setting and pursued in adulthood. Both series take every available opportunity to flash back to childhood and draw parallels to the present. The X-5s also bear a passing resemblance to the powerful young aliens of Roswell. Toss in a dollop of a Mad Max post-apocalyptic future for good measure, and you’re in the general ballpark.Jessica Alba in Dark Angel (2000)By the time I’d waded through the 90-minute pilot and the other two episodes on disc one, I was fully prepared to write Dark Angel off as a loss, resigning myself to wading through another thirteen hours of mediocrity. The feature-length pilot carried a hefty price tag, touted at the time as the most expensive ever produced. I’m not sure how much of that reported $10 million made it on-screen or was siphoned off to line James Cameron’s wallet, but the end result is plodding and dull. Thankfully, Dark Angel improves after these early fumbles, though the quality remains uneven throughout. For every decent episode, there’s one as dismal as Red or Haven. Douglas O’Keeffe has been cast in enough movies and TV series that someone out there seems to think he has some modicum of talent, but not a glimpse of it is on display in his embarrassingly inept performance as Bruno in Red. Bruno isn’t the only carryover from the pilot. A disturbing amount of footage appears in flashback form, making it the most shameless rehash outside of a Silent Night, Deadly Night sequel. Haven consists of 43 of the most painfully boring minutes I’ve spent in front of my television this year, and even the most staunch fans of the series seem to consider it pretty dreadful.Jessica Alba and Douglas O'Keeffe in Dark Angel (2000)Dark Angel was, at least in part, a victim of Fox’s determination to air sci-fi programming on Friday night, a timeslot that has claimed such genre casualties as Firefly, The Lone Gunman, M.A.N.T.I.S., Harsh Realm, Strange Luck, and VR.5. Despite not attracting enough viewers to warrant a third season, Fox’s home video arm has enough confidence in Dark Angel’s fan base to release both seasons of the series in relatively quick succession.Jessica Alba in Dark Angel (2000)Established fans of the series ought to find Dark Angel to be well-worth the modest asking price. As for the uninitiated, I wouldn’t recommend this set as a blind purchase. I’d suggest checking out at least a couple of episodes first, which admittedly might prove to be fairly tough seeing as how Dark Angel has been off the air for years now. If the premise sounds intriguing and you never got around to watching the series during its original run on Fox, I’d recommend this set.

REVIEW: THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN (2008)

CAST

Benjamin Bratt (Catwoman)
Eric McCormack (Free Enterprise)
Christa Miller (Stepfather III)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Viola Davis (Suicide Squad)
Ricky Schroder (The Champ)
Andre Braugher (A Better Way To Die)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Paul Perri (Caprica)
Barry Flatman (Earth: Final Conflict)
Ted Whittall (Beauty and The Beast 2012)
Anna Galvin (Warcraft)
Jonathan Potts (Jason X)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Eve Harlow (Heroes Reborn)
Douglas O’Keeffe (Sanctuary)
Tom McBeath (Bates Motel)
Magda Apanowicz (Caprica)
Kurt Evans (Izombie)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Jesse Moss (Ginger Snaps)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Daniel Bacon (Brain on Fire)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Eric Breker (Jingle All The Way 2)

as

PART 1

A United States government satellite crash lands near Piedmont, Utah, and two teenagers find it and bring it back to town. The town’s inhabitants open it and release a deadly microorganism, which is later codenamed Andromeda by the Army. A team is sent from the Army’s bio-defense department to retrieve the satellite, only to die from the disease themselves. The video footage recorded by the retrieval team and their strange deaths capture the attention of General George Mancheck, the head of the bio-defense department, who activates “Wildfire,” a team of five scientists who are called upon when high-level bioterror threats occur in the United States. The team, headed by its creator, Dr. Jeremy Stone, investigates Piedmont. They retrieve the satellite and rescue a hysterical 60-year-old man and a colicky baby who have survived the Andromeda outbreak.the-andromeda-strain-2008-5027c3a9a7c02In an isolated underground laboratory, the Wildfire team begins their examination of the downed satellite and the two survivors. The laboratory is powered by a small water-cooled nuclear reactor. In the event of a contamination breach, a 15-minute self-destruct sequence would be automatically initiated; however if the activated sequence is deemed unnecessary, Major Bill Keane, designated by the Odd-Man Hypothesis (which states that unmarried men are capable of carrying out the best, most dispassionate decisions during crisis), is the only person able to deactivate the sequence, using his pass key and right thumbprint.the-andromeda-strainThe scientists begin their analysis of the Andromeda strain by recovering a sample from inside the satellite. They initially discover that the microorganism is contained within a delivery system of buckyballs, a technology more advanced than anything known at present. The team theorizes that Andromeda may have an extraterrestrial origin, as it has no DNA or amino acids. The team discovers Andromeda is an airborne microorganism that kills its host by entering the bloodstream through the lungs and coagulating the blood in the body, causing death within 10 seconds via a blood clot in the brain. Those who manage to survive the blood clot become insane, extremely violent and suicidal. It is revealed that the two survivors from Piedmont had not been affected by Andromeda because of their acidotic blood. However, all initial tests with antibiotics and chemical agents regularly used to kill other microorganisms show no effect on Andromeda.the-andromeda-hth

Cable news reporter Jack Nash becomes aware of some of the events related to the fallen satellite and Andromeda. As he investigates further, Chuck Beeter, the Director of the NSA, uses General Mancheck’s aide, Colonel Ferrus, to perform assassinations to prevent knowledge of Andromeda from reaching the civilian population. Nash travels to one of the temporary Army outposts performing quarantine procedures, and witnesses the effects of Andromeda spreading through various modes of transportation. He becomes a target of assassination due to his presence at the outpost, but manages to escape Ferrus and his subordinates.screenshot-03Meanwhile, there is part of a government’s conspiracy who aims to contain the microorganism for further uses, probably bio-weapon related. To handle the situation, General Mancheck deliberately isolated the Wildfire team and cut their contact with the lab’s exterior. However, Jack Nash managed to report to Dr. Stone about Project Scoop, a secret program that was hidden by the government and General Mancheck. Mancheck, being forcefully questioned by Wildfire and fearing for the whole world’s safety being threatened by Andromeda, reveals the truth about the satellite. Project Scoop was one of several attempts to investigate a singularity, or a worm hole, that has mysteriously appeared in the Solar System. Sent specifically to collect biological samples, the satellite malfunctioned upon approaching the worm hole and fell back to Earth. It was picked up and released the deadly agent.image-w1280In an attempt to neutralize the problem, the President of the United States authorizes a small tactical nuclear strike on the quarantine area in hopes of completely irradiating and destroying Andromeda. When the Wildfire team is informed, they realize that they have not reviewed the test results for irradiating Andromeda. They find that the microorganism grows at an exponential rate when irradiated. The Wildfire team alerts the President, and the air-strike is called off before the pilot launches the nuclear missile. However, as the jet continues to fly over the quarantine area, the pilot reports a malfunction of the aircraft’s controls. Through video feed, the Wildfire team and President watch in shock and horror as all plastic components of the aircraft, including the pilot’s visor, disintegrate.andromeda-wildfire-team

PART 2

The nuclear missile is re-armed, the jet and missile crash into the ground, and the missile detonates, irradiating the quarantine area. The team examine the footage of the crash, and realize that Andromeda has mutated again and now becomes a plastic-eating variant.1024x1024As Andromeda grows and mutates into more virulent forms and takes host in anything from mammals and reptiles to the bird population, the Wildfire team continue their tests to find a way to stop Andromeda before it reaches Las Vegas, the closest city to the quarantine zone with an international airport. Further studies reveal Andromeda is actually a sulfur-based compound. A set of tests with phages reveals that one phage has the ability to kill Andromeda. However, repeated tests with this phage prove unsuccessful, causing the Wildfire team to theorize that Andromeda can communicate through an unknown mechanism among its separate parts. By the time they discover a binary code encoded on buckyball casings with potassium and rubidium atoms, the team suspects Andromeda to be a message according to the Messenger Theory. The information included the six-digit number “739528” and the words “Bacillus infernus” encoded in ASCII plus a bitmap image of a symbol with interlocking triangles. Bacillus infernus is the name of an archaebacterium found only at the thermal vents on the ocean floors. At this time, President Scott was championing the new and controversial industry of thermal vent mining, and it was likely that the mining would eradicate the bacteria. Wildfire requests samples of the bacteria to begin testing its effects on Andromeda.1024x1024Tests with Bacillus infernus reveal that the bacterium easily consumes and destroys Andromeda because of Andromeda’s sulfur structure. The Wildfire team begins to grow large amounts of the bacterium in culture vats, intending to release the cultures over the quarantined area once a sufficient quantity is grown. As the team watches the footage video of the crashed fighter jet, Dr. Stone suspects and considers the possibility that Andromeda did not attack until the launching sequence of the nuclear warhead has been halted, which means that it could probably think and so attack the jet to force the warhead to be detonated, hence accelerating its own growth. The team therefore begins to destroy the remaining samples of Andromeda in the lab in an attempt to prevent Andromeda from communicating the nature of the tests with its other parts.2354_11_screenshotAs part of a government conspiracy to preserve Andromeda for future use, Colonel Ferrus blackmails Dr. Barton to keep a sample. The sample mutates and disintegrates the sample casing, setting off the lab’s contamination breach sensor and initiating the self-destruct sequence. The self-destruct sequence also causes the flashing emergency lights to turn on, triggering Chou’s photosensitive epilepsy, which causes him to inadvertently destroy the self-destruct control panel on the lab level of the complex. With the elevators deactivated due to the self-destruct sequence, Keane decides to climb to the control panel on the level above through the lab’s main exhaust vent. However, the pipes and other components in the vent have begun to deteriorate due to the mutation in the Andromeda sample. The pipe Keane climbs suddenly bends, dangling Keane above the radioactive water at the base of the vent. Before falling, Keane manages to throw his badge to Stone. Realizing Keane’s right thumb is also required to shut down the self-destruct sequence, Chou sacrifices his life to enter the radioactive water to cut off Keane’s thumb for Stone. With Keane’s thumb and badge, Stone reaches the control panel and deactivates the sequences; albeit with only seconds to spare.Eventually, the bacteria being dropped eradicate all traces of Andromeda.2354_11_screenshotAs the remaining Wildfire team attends the funerals of their fallen colleagues, both General Mancheck and Colonel Ferrus are secretly assassinated. Dr. Stone reveals some of the events to the public in an interview with Jack Nash. In the final scene, the saved sample of the Andromeda is inserted into a containment compartment with the access code “739528”, held in a vessel marked with a symbol with interlocking triangles. Director Beeter watches over the operation on the computer in his office. The camera then zooms out, revealing Andromeda has been stored within a space station orbiting Earth. The ending implies that the sample saved on the space station is the cause of the outbreak in the future that necessitated sending the virus back to the present via the wormhole, creating an ontological paradox as to the virus’s origin. The ending also implies that Andromeda could really think, since the future outbreak of Andromeda has happened after the bacteria Bacillus infernus, the only thing capable of exterminating Andromeda, was completely destroyed, and so Andromeda avoided unnecessary risks by waiting for its right opportunity.1024x1024This is a well produced and well acted remake of a classic. The director manages to add more tension to an already excellent story.

REVIEW: TARZAN (2003)

 

MAIN CAST

Travis Fimmel (Vikings)
Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break)
Miguel A. Núñez Jr. (Lethel Weapon 3)
Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)

Image result for tarzan (2003)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Fulvio Cecere (Dark Angel)
Tim Guinee (Stargate SG.1)
Johnny Messner (Loaded)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins)
Ona Grauer (V)
Andrew Jackson (Smallville)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Colette Stevenson (Earth: Final Conflict)
Eric Breker (Stargate SG.1)
Douglas O’Keeffe (Dark Angel)
Kathleen Munroe (Stargate Universe)
Sterling K. Brown (Black Panther)
Aaron Abrams (Hannibal)
Gary Hudson (Smallville)

Image result for tarzan (2003)For those of you expecting Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic version of Tarzan, a la Johnny Weissmuller in loincloth, swinging on vines and fighting random crocodiles, this isn’t it. The WB network took a real risk with the jungle lord, and decided to update him for a modern audience. That idea could have backfired in so many ways, but instead, what the viewer gets is an entirely new Tarzan mythology, and surprise! it’s good, too. Extremely good, in fact.
Image result for tarzan (2003)
Tarzan has been transplanted from the jungle to New York City; instead of battling the jungle denizens, he now climbs skyscrapers and hangs from gargoyles while battling the evil machinations of his uncle, the head of Greystoke Industries. Jane is also not the typical heroine in distress; instead, she is a strong, capable NYC police detective, who finds herself increasingly drawn to the mysterious and dangerous Tarzan. Dangerous? Oh yes, I forgot to mention — the Tarzan writers were brave enough to let the hero’s dark side show through, making for a much more intriguing protagonist. This Tarzan is capable of sudden bouts of violence and anger one moment, while the next moment may see him comforting a small child or protecting Jane. While most of his violence has to do with protecting Jane, paradoxically, some of Tarzan’s actions often result in putting Jane in danger. The jungle is never far away from this story, even if it is a jungle made of concrete.
Image result for tarzan (2003)Travis Fimmel, an Australian ex-Calvin Klein model is Tarzan, and Sarah Wayne Callies, another newcomer, plays Jane. Both actors are better than one would expect, lending the Tarzan and Jane romance plenty of heat and spark, without even a kiss, as yet. In fact, some of the most powerful scenes between the two of them, have no dialogue at all — just a glance here, a blush there. But somehow, it works. Fimmel also impresses by doing most of his own stunts, something which no worthwhile show about Tarzan could be without. His Tarzan is strong, proud, fierce, has a child’s innocence, and always battles for what he believes is right. That’s quite a performance to manage, but Fimmel is able to get the job done. Lucy Lawless, Mitch Pileggi and Miguel A. Nunez, Jr all lend their considerable skills in supporting roles. Lucy plays Tarzan’s feisty and smart Aunt Kathleen, Pileggi gives a deliciously Machiavellian take on Uncle Richard, and Nunez (who often has the best lines in the series), plays Jane’s NYPD partner, Sam Sullivan.Image result for tarzan (2003)Although there are only 8 episodes of the series, the WB’s Tarzan is a little undiscovered gem of a show. Each episode improves upon the last, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself quoting some of Sam’s lines from the show or humming one of the terrific songs from a particular episode’s soundtrack. This Tarzan is worth watching, especially if you appreciate great dialogue, plenty of action, and two characters that fight to stay with each other, no matter the odds.