25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE CLEVELAND SHOW: THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

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A CLEVELAND BROWN CHRISTMAS

CAST
Mike Henry (Family Guy)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
Kevin Michael Richardson (Lilo & Stitch)
Nia Long (Boiler Room)
Seth MacFarlane (Ted)
Aseem Batra (Scrubs)
Arianna Huffington (John Q)
Jason Sudeikis (We’re The Millers)
Reagan Gomez-Preston (Jerry Maguire)
Jamie Kennedy (Son of The Mask)
David Lynch (Twin Peaks)
GUEST CAST
Alex Borstein (Power Rangers Zeo)
Stockard Channing (Practical Magic)
Will Forte (The Lego Movie)
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Cleveland and the family go to pick out a Christmas tree at Lester’s lot. Cleveland has his eye on a nice large tree but Rallo insists on a smaller tree. Cleveland finds out that Donna and the family have been lying to Rallo, telling him the reason Robert can’t come around during the holidays is that he is an FBI agent. When Cleveland fills in as Santa Claus at his office holiday party, he has one too many egg nogs and lets the truth slip about Rallo’s father. Rallo fails to connect that it was Cleveland posing as Santa and takes out his hostility on figures of Santa. With Rallo’s admiration for his dad destroyed, Cleveland tries to reconnect father and son in an attempt to save Rallo’s Christmas spirit. He finds Robert at SKANXXX a strip club. Robert doesn’t care at first but later has a change of heart. He shows up at the house dressed as Santa and tells Rallo another lie…he hasn’t been around because he is the real Santa, making Rallo’s Christmas a happy one.
Meanwhile, Roberta becomes an animal rights activist and tries to save a reindeer. When she sets it free, it goes on a rampage.
The first Xmas episode was a good decent comedy hour, and probably out of all the Cleveland show Christmas episodes it’s the best.

MURRAY CHRISTMAS

GUEST CAST
Edward Asner (Elf)
Carl Reiner (Oceans Eleven)
Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express)
Alex Borstein (Power Rangers Zeo)
While performing in a class choir at the Stoolbend Rest Home, Rallo observes one of the residents not paying attention and gets into a verbal battle of wits with him. When the home supervisor suggests they get to know each other better, Rallo’s teacher forces him to spend the weekend at a retirement home to get to know the senior citizens during the holidays, Murray teaches him about Hanukkah. In an attempt to rekindle Murray’s holiday spirit, Rallo helps him escape, but when his new friend’s health begins to suffer, Rallo has to decide whether or not to bring Murray back to the home.
Meanwhile, Cleveland Jr. sees a picture of his dad with a black eye at Christmas and finds out how his grandfather spends “Boxing Day”, by forcing his son to box with him for his gifts to toughen him up. Donna trains Cleveland for a boxing match against his father, which ends with Cleveland landing a surprise blow that triggers a heart attack in Freight Train. When Donna finds Murray’s teeth in the dishwasher Rallo comes clean, which hurts Murray’s feelings and trust. When Cleveland goes to see his father, Freight Train is forced to admit he is getting old and regrets not spending more time with Cleveland even if in the form of more beatings. Rallo decides to go back to the home and free Murray and the rest of the residents for Christmas with the help of Cleveland Jr. and Cleveland. In addition to Christmas at the Brown home with the rest home residents and Cleveland’s parents, Rallo also treats Murray to the last night of Hanukkah
The second xmas episode shows us how other religions celebrate the holidays which was a nice touch. It also introduces us to Murray who would become a recurring character throughout the shows run.

DIE SEMI-HARD

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GUEST CAST
Alex Borstein (Power Rangers Zeo)
John Slattery (Ant-Man)
To help pass time while posing in a holiday nativity scene, Cleveland tells his family his own version of one of his favorite holiday stories, “Die Hard”. After detective Cleveland Brown flies into Los Angeles to meet his wife at her job at Waterman International, he tells his limo driver Rallo about some of his marriage troubles while he hopes to reconcile during the office Christmas party. Meeting with his wife, he takes off his shoes and tries to be romantic but Donna resists his charms and returns to the party alone. Meanwhile, a group of thieves led by Tim posing as terrorists take the party guests hostage and separate Mr. Waterman in order to gain access to the Waterman International vault.
Cleveland tosses his shoes out the window over a nearby poser line when he hears gunshots and arrives as Mr. Waterman is killed. Hearing noise from Cleveland, Tim sends Kendra out to investigate where she is killed by Cleveland. As the terrorists discover Kendra’s body, they hear Cleveland trying to use his radio to call for police and start shooting. Police dispatcher Roberta sends officer Cleveland Brown, Jr. to investigate. As Cleveland dispatches another of the terrorists and escapes into an air shaft, Jr. arrives but is told by a guy that looks like Huey Lewis but is really one of the terrorists that all is well and starts to leave. To get his attention, Cleveland throws a janitor out the window onto Jr. squad car. Jr. frantically backs away as the terrorists fire on his car. As police surround the building, Cleveland taunts the terrorists but slips and gives away his location. As Robert Tubbs struggle to crack the vault, the gift exchange at the party hostages goes on. But when Donny’s gift turns out to be a small package of golf balls in a large box he is shot too. As Cleveland and Jr. exchange banter over the radio, Tim arrives but is taken by surprise. Tim manages to come up with a name on the office list and fools Cleveland who gives him a gun which her turns of Cleveland. Cleveland manages to distract him momentarily and takes out another of the henchmen as he escapes. As Cleveland hides behind a wall of glass and keeps Tim and Lester pinned down, Tim orders Lester to shoot out the glass after noticing Cleveland’s bare feet. Cleveland is forced to retreat through the glass picking up several shards in the process. Despite picking out much of the glass, Cleveland leaves bloody footprints behind him.
Two FBI agents arrive and order the building power to be cut off which results in the vault opening. The terrorists take Cleveland’s friend Holt hostage but kill him after they learn that they also hold Cleveland’s wife Donna. As Cleveland ponders his next move, Lester manages to sneak up on him but is hung from a chain by Cleveland after telling him that the hostages have been moved to the roof with explosives. Arriving on the roof, Cleveland orders everyone off but the FBI agents in a helicopter mistake Cleveland for one of the terrorists and open fire on him. Tim orders the roof blow as Cleveland ties a fire hose around his waist and jumps from the rooftop. The blast engulfs the helicopter as Cleveland shoots his way back into the building. As Cleveland catches Tim and his last henchman, Tim grams Donna and holds her at gunpoint forcing Cleveland to drop his gun. As Tim thinks he’s won, Cleveland draws a second gun taped to his back and shoots Tim and the henchman, forcing Tim through the window. Tim grabs Donna’s wig and holds her by the hair. Cleveland makes Donna undo her wig as Tim falls to his death. Outside as the surviving hostages are freed, Donna and Cleveland reconcile. Lester springs up shooting at the two to be killed by Jr. who also shoots Walt noting that he shoots kids.The scene returns to the nativity scene as only Jr. and Roberta remain awake. Jr. enthusiastically asks about a sequel to be told they will see what the internet has to say first.
Not a huge fan of this special as its just Cleveland doing Die hard, it has some fun moments but as a Christmas special it fails.

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE SORRY

GUEST CAST

David Costabile (Lincoln)

 Nick Offerman (Sing)

When the kids make their Christmas lists, Donna insists that they help by donating old goods. Roberta refuses and insists on getting a job to buy her own gifts. While helping out at the mission, Cleveland finds that the residents eat better food than he gets at home and decides to pass himself off as homeless, telling Donna that he is volunteering at the shelter. He succeeds despite being recognized by Tim and makes the acquaintance of several of the residents where he spins a wild yarn about how he got into his predicament. They help him out and take him under their wings. Cleveland finds that Donna nominated his as a special angel due to his work at the shelter and his con job is exposed on television. Cleveland becomes a pariah in town and tries to publicly apologize but makes things worse. As he wanders back to the shelter, he finds that the residents still accept him but the food has returned to the usual low standards. He sets off with the residents to make others aware of the situation at Grundle’s.
At Grundle’s Department Store, Roberta gets hired as a skimply-dressed elf and Kendra demands to get upgraded from Mrs. Claus to the role of Santa but is passed over in favor of Arch. Kendra finds a sympathetic ear in Roberta but when she points her to a job as Santa at a laundromat, Kendra turns her down, wanting the job at Grundle’s. Arch uses his regular charm as Santa, telling the kids what they’ll get regardless of what they want. Kendra recalls a special present Roberta once wanted and Roberta makes Kendra a special sleigh out of her scooter. But due to being depressed over not getting her dream job, Kendra gives up on Christmas.
When Arch bails on the job and the kids are left without gifts, Kendra gets back her Christmas spirit and takes on the challenge of providing Christmas although she has trouble getting to the store, sliding backwards into the snow and losing the Christmas gifts in the process. Cleveland and the homeless find Kendra frozen in the snow and help her get to the store. Roberta and her co-workers complain about continuing to have to wear their costumes and quit, tossing Mr. Grundle their shorts. Without the presents, Kendra tells the kids at the store to help themselves to the store goods, figuring that they can’t all be arrested. Cleveland tries to apologize again but points out that everyone ignores the homeless after the holidays and strikes a chord, making Donna happy.
A much better special than season 3’s with a funny story merges some good heart warming stuff too. Cleveland song of I’ll be Homeless this Christmas was a funny song. This would be the last Christmas episode for the show as Season 4 became the final season.

REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 10-13

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lisa Kudrow (Friends)
William Daniels (Knight Rider)
Phil Hartman (Small Soldiers)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Kathie Lee Gifford (Hercules)
Ed McMahon (The Tom Show)
Regis Philbin (Jack and Jill)
Jerry Springer (Ringmaster)
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Kim Basinger (Batman)
Brian Grazer (Arrested Development)
Ron Howard (Happy Days)
George Carlin (Dogma)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Dick Tufeld (Lost In Space)
Cyndi Lauper (Bones)
Dolly Parton (Rhinestone)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Jan Hooks (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Elton John (Spice World)
Hank Williams Jr. (A Time To Sing)
John Kassir (Tales From The Crypt)
Isabella Rossellini (Death Becomes Her)
Jack LaLanne (More Wild Wild West)
Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap)
Stephen Hawkings (The Big Bang Theory)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Jack Burns (The Muppet Movie)
Mel Gibson (Mad Max)
Marcia Mitzman Gaven (Small Soldiers)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Tom Arnold (True Lies)
Dick Clark (Spy Kids)
Lucy Lawless (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Penn Jillette (Sabrina: TTW)
Butch Patrick (The Munsters)
Garry Marshall (Life After Beth)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Tim Robbins (Howard The Duck)
Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2)
Britney Spears (Crossroads)
Shawn Colvin (Crazy)
Betty White (Bones)
Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Parker Posey (Blade: Trinity)
Gary Coleman (Diff’rent Strokes)
Willie Nelson (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Roger Daltrey (Highlander: The Series)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
Drew Barrymore (Charlies Angels)
Joshua Jackson (Dawsons Creek)
Patrick McGoohan (Bravehart)
Edward Norton (The Bourne Legacy)
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Charles Napier (the Silence of The Lambs)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Justin Timberlake (The Social Network)
Stacy Keach (American History X)
Kathy Griffin (Hall Pass)
Frankie Muniz (Malcolm In The Middle)
Pierce Brosnan (The World’s End)
Matthew Perry (Friends)
Jane Kaczmarek (Pleasantville)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld)
Paul Newman (Road To Perdition)
Richard Gere (Pretty Woman)
Ben Stiller (Zoolander)
Dana Gould (Stan Against Evil)
Jon Lovitz (Big)
Reese Witherspoon (This Means War)
Dennis Weaver (Gunsmoke)
Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)

The Simpsons just clicks at every level. This family may be dysfunctional but in the end, they are still a family in every way and we are gently reminded of this in almost every episode. Also, the cast of supporting characters that inhabit Springfield is no less funny than the main characters themselves, providing the show with comically colourful and screwball situations that just never get old. Not even after ten outstanding seasons.

SEASON 10 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

10.1) LARD OF THE DANCE

All the girls in Lisa’s class are impressed by the mature, trendy personality of a new student named Alex Whitney, and do everything they can to be just like her. Lisa, who is not as impressed and chooses to be herself, is forgotten by her classmates and becomes jealous of Alex. Lisa’s friends and Alex decide to host a school dance and they buy outfits for it in order to get dates. When Lisa goes to the dance, she discovers that the boys and the girls are at separate ends of the room, too embarrassed to dance with each other. As a result, Lisa is able to prove that Alex and her classmates are only children and not as mature as they try to be. Meanwhile, Homer convinces Bart to drop out of school for what he thinks to be a more promising pursuit: selling grease. However, this endeavor fails when their business results in a scuffle with Groundskeeper Willie.10.3) BART THE MOTHER

Nelson invites Bart over to test a BB gun he won at an arcade center. When Bart uses it and accidentally kills a bird mother, Marge becomes furious with him, thinking that he killed the animal on purpose. Bart feels guilty for what he did and takes it upon himself to nurse the mother’s orphaned eggs. Marge soon finds out about this and becomes proud of him. However, when the eggs hatch, they are found to be lizards that lived in the bird’s nest. Skinner, a member of the Springfield Birdwatching Society, tells Bart that the lizards must die because they kill so many species of birds. Bart refuses and helps the lizards escape. After the lizards devour the pigeon population, which the townsfolk considered to be a nuisance, Bart is honored by Mayor Quimby.10.5) WHEN YOU DISH UPON A STAR

When a parasailing accident sends Homer crashing into the secret home of Hollywood couple Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin, they hire him as their personal assistant, provided that Homer does not tell anyone where they live. The couple starts to become irritated with Homer, who gives them ridiculous suggestions for film screenplays. When he accidentally violates their trust by revealing their location in Springfield, the couple immediately end the friendship. After a chase between the Hollywood stars in their Hummer and Homer in his mobile museum of stuff that belongs to the couple, Homer is ordered by a court of law to remain 500 miles away from any celebrity.10.6) D’OH-IN IN THE WIND

While filling out a Screen Actors Guild form (after starring in an instructional video filmed at the nuclear plant where he works), Homer realizes that he does not know what his middle initial “J” stands for. After finding the answer, “Jay”, on a mural in the hippie commune where his mother once lived, Homer decides to live the hippie lifestyle. He stays with his mother’s old friends Seth and Munchie who now own a juice company. Homer quickly ruins one of their juice shipments by accident, and tries to make up for it by taking crops from their garden and making juice with them. However, some of these crops contained drugs and after people start to have crazy hallucinations from drinking the juice, Chief Wiggum arrests Seth and Munchie.10.7) LISA GETS AN “A”

While sick from school, Lisa becomes obsessed with a video game and forgets to study for a test on the book The Wind in the Willows. Not willing to fail, she calls upon Bart and Nelson to help her cheat, and gets an A+++. Consequently, Springfield Elementary School now qualifies for a basic assistance grant. Tormented by guilt for cheating, she reveals what she did to Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers, who persuade her to keep it a secret so the school can keep the money. At the grant ceremony, Lisa finally bursts out, only to realize the real ceremony had already taken place as Skinner and Chalmers anticipated her actions. Meanwhile, Homer houses a lobster to eat, but becomes emotionally attached to it and makes it his pet. However, he accidentally boils it to death while giving it a hot bath, and eats it sadly.10.9) MAYORED TO THE MOB

After saving Mayor Quimby from rioters at a science fiction convention, Homer becomes Quimby’s bodyguard. When Homer discovers that Mafia leader Fat Tony is providing rat milk to the schools of Springfield, he forces Quimby to expose Tony in return for saving Quimby from falling off a ledge. After Tony is arrested, he threatens to take Quimby’s life. While Quimby is spending an evening at a dinner theater, Homer discovers that Fat Tony is there alongside his henchman, Louie, having been released on bail. Homer foils an attempt by Louie to kill Quimby, and as Homer and Louie fight, Tony is able to savagely beat Quimby with a baseball bat. However, Tony makes sure to only restore Quimby’s fear of the Mafia and not kill him.10.10) VIVA NED FLANDERS

When Springfield’s only casino is demolished, massive dust clouds form, prompting the Simpson family and Ned to go to a car wash to get rid of the dust on their cars. There, Homer sees that Ned gets a senior discount. Thinking that Ned is not a senior and lying about his age, Homer reveals this at church. As a result, Ned is forced to admit to everyone that he is sixty years old and only looks young because he has never done anything exciting in his life. Out of pity, Homer decides to take him to Las Vegas, where, after a night of partying and gambling, they end up marrying two casino barmaids while drunk. As Homer and Ned try to escape from the barmaids the next day, they go on a wild rampage through the casino, until they are confronted by casino security and banned from ever visiting Las Vegas again.10.11) WILD BARTS CAN’T BE BROKEN

Homer, Lenny, Carl, and Barney celebrate a rare victory of the Springfield Isotopes baseball team and end up going on a drunken rampage through town. During this rampage, they vandalize Springfield Elementary School. The next morning, Chief Wiggum suspects that students committed the crime and places all of Springfield’s youth under curfew. The children respond by setting up a pirate radio show in which they reveal the embarrassing secrets of Springfield’s adults. The location from which the children send out the broadcast is soon tracked down and an argument between the children and the adults ensues. As each side is stating their case in a song, the senior citizens turn up to complain about the children and the adults and agree to raise a curfew for everyone less than seventy years old.10.12) SUNDAY, CRUDDY SUNDAY

While buying new tires for his car, Homer meets a travel agent who offers Homer a free bus ride to the Super Bowl, as long as he can find enough people to fill the agent’s bus. A group of Springfield men tag along to what soon becomes a problematic trip after the tickets are discovered to be fake. As a result, they are locked in “Super Bowl Jail”. Thanks to help from Dolly Parton, they break out and attempt to find the football field, until they get lost in the sea of players that run through the corridors of the stadium to the locker room after winning the Super Bowl. Much to their happiness, Homer and his friends end up in the locker room with the players. Meanwhile, Marge and Lisa try to find the missing parts of “Vincent Price’s Egg Magic”, a celebrity-endorsed craft kit.10.13) HOMER TO THE MAX

Homer is delighted with the positive attention he receives after a new television show airs that features a police character also named Homer Simpson. However, when the character is changed from a hero to a bumbling idiot by the show’s producers, Homer is mocked and taunted by those he knows, so he changes his name to “Max Power” to rid himself of the negative attention. The new name earns Max respect, and he and Marge are invited to a party where they meet a lot of famous people who are going to save a redwood forest from destruction by chaining themselves to the trees. However, Max accidentally cuts his tree with his chains while running away from police officers Eddie and Lou. The tree knocks down all the other redwoods in a chain reaction, angering Max’s newfound friends. In the end, Max changes his name back to Homer.10.14) I’M WITH CUPID

After Apu and Manjula have a big fight, Apu showers his wife with elaborate Valentine’s Day gifts to make up for it, making the rest of the men in Springfield look bad in front of their women. His final gift is to write a love note to Manjula in the sky—which Homer (along with a group of other discontented male characters) plans to sabotage. When the plane is about to spray the message “I ❤️ U MANJULA”, Homer manages to destroy the canister at “I ❤️ U ⭐️”, a message that the women of Springfield think was made only for them by their partners. Homer is able to win Marge’s love back by jumping out of the plane covered in roses and landing in front of her in their backyard. Meanwhile, to reconcile Apu with his wife, Elton John performs a private concert for the couple.10.15) MARGE SIMPSON IN “SCREAMING YELLOW HONKERS”

Homer buys an SUV but upon discovery that it was designed as a “woman’s car”, he gives it to Marge. Infatuated with the car, she proceeds to develop a ferocious road rage and ends up losing her license when she fails a driving test and crashes it into a prison. However, her road rage is required when Homer accidentally sets all the rhinoceros in a zoo free. Marge agrees to assist the police in rounding up the animals, but learns there is one missing and sees Homer being carried off by it. She chases the angry rhino into a construction site and deliberately crashes the SUV, making it burst into flames. The rhino instinctively attempts to stamp out the fire, allowing Homer to escape.10.16) MAKE ROOM FOR LISA

When Homer uses Lisa’s room as a cellular phone transmitter to pay off damages he did to the Bill of Rights at a Smithsonian exhibit, Lisa is forced to move into Bart’s room. Lisa becomes furious with her father for having to share a room with her brother. She fears that she and Homer will never be close because of their clashing personalities and begins to develop stress-related stomach aches. To relieve these aches, Homer and Lisa visit a New Age store where the owner convinces them to go on a spiritual journey by lying in a sensory deprivation tank for a prolonged amount of time. On her journey, Lisa discovers that beneath Homer’s bumbling outside, he really does care about her. Reconciled, the two of them watch a demolition derby together, something they equally enjoy. Meanwhile, Marge uses Maggie’s baby monitor to listen in on other people’s phone calls; however, when Milhouse and Bart play a prank on her, Marge knocks Milhouse out, thinking he was a burglar.10.17) MAXIMUM HOMERDRIVE

While at a steakhouse, a trucker named Red challenges Homer to an eating contest. Red wins, but quickly dies of “beef poisoning”, making it the first time he will miss a shipment. Feeling bad for him, Homer takes on the duty of transporting Red’s cargo to Atlanta with his son Bart by his side. After falling asleep behind the wheel, Homer awakes to discover that the truck drove by itself with its Navitron Autodrive system. He informs other truck drivers, who tell him that he cannot let anyone know about the Autodrive system because it would make all truck drivers lose their jobs. Later, when cars that pass by Homer find out about it, a mob of truckers confront him. Homer and Bart escape, finish the shipment on time, and go home on a freight train. Meanwhile, after deducing that only Homer and Bart get to do the fun things in life, Marge and Lisa decide to add excitement to their lives by installing a new doorbell. However, it starts to malfunction after Lisa presses it.10.19) MOM AND POP ART

Homer tries to assemble a barbecue pit quickly, but fails and is left with a mismatched collection of parts stuck in hardened cement. As a result, he vents his rage on the construct, mangling it further. When Homer takes the failed barbecue pit back to the store, an art dealer sees it and describes it as a masterpiece of outsider art. As a result, he gets his own art exhibition and channels his rage into his work. Marge, who had been trying to succeed at art for years, gets jealous of Homer’s easy success. However, when Homer makes new art pieces for a show called “Art in America” that are similar to his first piece, his peers reject him as repetitive. In an attempt to do something groundbreaking, Homer floods Springfield and puts snorkels on the animals. The townspeople declare this a masterpiece and everyone enjoys the new “Grand Canals of Springfield”.10.21) MONTY CAN’T BUY ME LOVE

Billionaire Arthur Fortune captures Springfield’s heart by giving each customer a dollar at the opening of his new store. This embarrasses the unpopular Mr. Burns, who recruits Homer to help him be loved by all. However, their various schemes fail. Feeling disappointed, Burns makes his newest plan, which is to go to Scotland to catch the legendary Loch Ness Monster. After some minor setbacks, Burns is able to capture the monster and sends it to Springfield to be unveiled, where the friendly “Nessie” charms all of the spectators and makes Burns more likable. However, during the unveiling, Burns is blinded by camera flashes and runs into a camera which crashes and starts a fire. As a result, the crowd flees in panic. Following this disaster, Homer cheers up Burns by pointing out that being loved means you have to be nice to people every day but being hated is effortless.10.22) THEY SAVED LISA’S BRAIN

After a riot occurs at a Springfield contest that promises a luxurious trip to the most disgusting and dimwitted contest participant, Lisa, disgusted at the lack of intelligence, writes a letter that appears in the newspaper. Springfield’s branch of Mensa International, consisting of Comic Book Guy, Dr. Hibbert, Principal Skinner, Professor Frink, and Lindsay Naegle, is impressed and invites Lisa to join the group. When the Mensa members lose their gazebo at the park, they go to complain to Mayor Quimby. However, the mayor thinks they are there to confront him about his political corruption so he flees from Springfield. As a result, Lisa and the others are granted power to the city since they are the smartest. The power eventually corrupts them and they are cornered by a mob, only to be saved when Stephen Hawking shows up. Meanwhile, Homer gets erotic photographs of himself taken for Marge, but while she enjoys them a lot, she gets distracted by the interior design Homer did in their basement for the photo shoot and they do not have sex that night.10.23) THIRTY MINUTES OVER TOKYO

When Snake Jailbird steals money from the Simpson family’s bank account through the Internet, the Simpsons go on a budget and save enough to buy a trip to Japan. The Simpsons thoroughly enjoy the country, and Homer defeats one of the mightiest Sumo wrestlers. Impressed, the Emperor of Japan congratulates Homer, but, thinking the emperor is a new challenger, Homer knocks him out. As a result, he is placed in prison. After Marge pays the bail, Homer loses their last money and the family is unable to buy plane tickets home. All seems lost until a Japanese game show allows the Simpsons to compete in order to return to Springfield. Their last task on the show is to retrieve the plane tickets on a suspension bridge over an active volcano, which, once the family falls in, is revealed to be filled with orangeade and not lava. Although the family gets the tickets, Homer scolds the Japanese for their lack of ethics.

Although Season 11 is mostly criticised for not being one of the strongest seasons of The Simpsons. However, it’s not all bad, as some reviewers are making it out to be. Some highs and lows here and there, including some of my personal favourites.

SEASON 11 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

11.1) BEYOND BLUNDERDOME

After destroying an “Elec-Taurus” electric car in a test run, the Simpsons are given free tickets to Mel Gibson’s new film, a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Mel Gibson, however, laments his current role without violence and wants someone to give him criticism. When Homer sees Mel talking with Marge, he gives Mel a brutal review, leading Mel to believe that Homer is the only man brave enough to give suggestions. As a result, he hires him to create a better ending. However, when the ending proves to be too controversial, Mel and Homer end up on the run from studio executives with the film.11.2) BROTHER’S LITTLE HELPER

Bart is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and prescribed a Ritalin-esque drug called Focusyn. At first, the drug makes Bart well-behaved and intellectual, but soon, Bart becomes paranoid, claiming that there are satellites owned by Major League Baseball that are spying on the town. When ordered to stop, Bart refuses, devours a few hundred, and proves his theory right by destroying the satellite with a tank. All is restored when Bart goes back to his ordinary pills.11.3) GUESS WHO’S COMING TO CRITICIZE DINNER?

Homer becomes a food critic for a Springfield newspaper and ends up annoying the restaurant owners of Springfield after he makes negative reviews just to be mean, advice he took from fellow critics. Springfield’s restaurant owners then attempt to kill Homer by feeding him a poisoned éclair.21.6) HELLO GUTTER, HELLO FADDER

Homer becomes a local celebrity after bowling a 300 game, but his fame quickly fades as “yesterday’s news”. After a botched suicide attempt foiled by Otto, Homer decides to spend time with Maggie after seeing Ron Howard spend time with his children. When Homer tries to teach Maggie swimming, he fails due to her mistrust of him, and has to pulled out the beach by Maggie. Eventually, Homer brings Maggie to a bowling game, where she bowls a perfect game.11.7) EIGHT MISBEHAVIN

After Manjula gives birth to octuplets that were the result of fertility drugs, she and Apu unintentionally allow a zookeeper to exploit their babies in exchange for help after corporate sponsors abandon them for a mom that has given birth to nontuplets in Shelbyville. After a failed rescue attempt by Homer and Apu, the zoo keeper agrees to return the babies only if Butch Patrick and Homer ride a tricycle dressed as Eddie Munster on stage while attacked by cobras.11.8) TAKE MY WIFE, SLEAZE

Homer wins a Harley-Davidson motorcycle at a fifties dancing contest and starts his own biker gang, naming it “Hell’s Satans”. However, this attracts the real biker gang called “Hell’s Satans” to crash at their house. However, after a while, they begin to appreciate Marge, who takes care of them, and kidnaps her. Homer tracks them down and scuffles with Meathook, the leader. At Marge’s suggestion, the gang settles down and lives normal lives.11.10) LITTLE BIG MOM

While the Simpson family goes skiing, Marge remains at the ski lodge due to her fear of skiing, only to break her leg from a falling clock. As a result, while hospitalised, Marge leaves Lisa to deal with the slovenly Bart and Homer, who do nothing but take their toll on their house. However, in an attempt to motivate them, she pulls a prank suggested by the ghost of Lucille Ball on Bart and Homer by making it look like they have leprosy. At Ned Flanders’ suggestion, Bart and Homer end up in Hawaii; with them gone, Lisa finishes cleaning the house as Marge arrives home, her cast off. The pair then go to retrieve Homer and Bart, who are enjoying themselves despite the shock therapy.11.11) FAITH OFF

Bart believes he has the power to heal others through faith after removing a bucket glued to Homer’s head. However, when Bart knocks Milhouse’s glasses off in order to cure his myopia, Milhouse is nearly run over by a truck that he thinks is a dog as he cannot see without his glasses. Consequently, Bart, feeling guilty, ends his career as a faith healer. Meanwhile, Homer creates a homecoming game float for Springfield University. However, he soon forgets about it, and accidentally injures the star player, Anton Lubchenko. After getting in trouble with Fat Tony, Homer is saved when Lubchenko sacrifices his leg to win the game; the leg is surgically reattached by Doctor Hibbert, who is relieved at the end of Bart’s healing career. 11.12) THE MANSION FAMILY

Mr. Burns goes to the Mayo Clinic for a checkup after being declared the oldest man in Springfield, leaving the Simpsons to house-sit for him and Homer to take advantage of living as a rich man. However, when Homer wants to throw a party, he goes to Moe’s, where he must buy the alcohol in international waters as it is Sunday before 2 PM. There, they are captured by Chinese pirates. Later, Burns discovers that as a result of having all the existing diseases, he is perfectly healthy as all the germs simply cancel each other out. Consequently, he returns and kicks out the Simpsons, who have not even enjoyed being rich, causing Homer to be extremely bitter and resentful.11.14) ALONE AGAIN, NATURA-DIDDILY

Maude Flanders is killed in a freak accident during a stock car race, devastating Ned and prompting Homer to find a new woman for his grieving neighbor. However, Ned begins losing his faith in God before being prompted back by a Christian rock band.11.15) MISSIONARY: IMPOSSIBLE

Homer gets in trouble with PBS after confessing he does not have $10,000 to give them for their pledge drive–and ends up a missionary on a South Pacific island.11.16) PYGMOELIAN

After getting his face censored out on the Duff Calendar for not being photogenic, Moe gets plastic surgery and becomes the star of a popular soap opera. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa go after Maggie’s pink elephant balloon after it floats away.11.18) DAYS OF WINE AND D’OH’SES

Barney realizes how much of a pathetic drunk he is after watching his birthday party video and decides to give up alcohol forever, which does not sit well with Homer. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa work together to take a memorable photo for a new phone book cover contest.11.20) LAST TAP DANCE IN SPRINGFIELD

Inspired by a movie about a girl who enters a tango contest and wins, Lisa decides to sign up for dance lessons — and ends up taking tap lessons from a former child star. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse hide out at the mall to escape going to summer camp.11.21) IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD MARGE

Otto dumps his fiancee, Becky, at the altar, leaving her to become the Simpsons’ latest houseguest, prompting Marge to go insane when Patty and Selma scare Marge with thoughts of Becky replacing Marge as a wife and mother. Meanwhile, Springfield Elementary gives Bart’s fourth grade class videocameras (after slashing geography out of the budget) and Bart sets out to create a movie.11.22) BEHIND THE LAUGHTER

In a parody of VH1’s Behind the Music, viewers take an inside look at The Simpsons’ rise to fame–and the many scandals, feuds and break-ups that threatened to end the show and split up the family.

The argument will rage long after the boxset of The Simpsons: Season 11 has been released about when exactly America’s finest television animated export actually peaked. Some arguably, with genuine gusto, that it was a year or two before this series was first shown. Most purists though satisfy themselves that it’s the single digit seasons where the best of The Simpsons, but there’s certainly plenty of gold in this set.

12.2) A TALE OF TWO SPRINGFIELDS

While calling Animal Control over a badger taking residence in Santa’s Little Helper’s doghouse, Homer discovers that Springfield has two different area codes–and ends up leading a revolt that splits the town in two.12.3) INSANE CLOWN POPPY

Krusty takes parenting lessons from Homer when, during an outdoor book fair, a girl tells Krusty that she is his long-lost daughter from a one-night stand with a female soldier who fought during the first Gulf War.12.5) HOMER VS DIGNITY

When the Simpsons once again have financial problems, Mr. Burns pays Homer to play pranks on others and humiliate himself in public. Meanwhile, Smithers creates a Malibu Stacy-themed musical.12.6) THE COMPUTER WORE MENACE SHOES

Homer decides to buy a computer after turning up to the Plant to find it closed by e-mail. He then creates his own website and it eventually gains attention when he posts gossip. Homer dubs himself as “Mr. X” to conceal his identity. When he reveals that he is Mr. X, he becomes drugged into a mysterious island where people who know too much are imprisoned after Homer starts writing conspiracy theories such as flu shots.screen-shot-2012-06-06-at-10-36-16-am12.9) HOMR

While working as a human guinea pig (to pay off the family’s lost savings after making a bad investment), Homer discovers the root cause of his subnormal intelligence: a crayon that was lodged in his brain ever since he was a boy. He decides to have it removed to increase his IQ, but discovers that being smart does not necessarily equal being happy.12.10) POKEY MOM

Bart and Milhouse are banned from The Android Dungeon after stopping Comic Book Guy from buying a box of priceless Star Wars memorabilia for $5, but are hired as his replacements when Comic Book Guy has a heart attack and is advised to leave his job in order to make friends.12.12) TENNIS THE MENACE

While making funeral arrangements for Grampa’s future, the funeral planner pitches the idea of a mausoleum that uses the same amount of cement as a full-sized tennis court. This prompts Homer to instead build a tennis court in his backyard, initially mistaking the sport for “Foxy Boxing”. The tennis court makes Marge and Homer popular in town, but it turns out that this is only because Homer’s inferior tennis ability makes them an easy target. Bart on the other hand, shines as a natural.12.13) DAY OF THE JACKANAPES

Krusty announces his retirement due to interference from network executives and the growing popularity of the big-money game show “Me Wantee”, but when Krusty reveals to Sideshow Bob that all of the episodes featuring him have been erased, Sideshow Bob uses Krusty’s biggest fan (Bart) to murder him during Krusty’s farewell show.

12.14) NEW KIDS ON THE BLEACH

A music producer selects Bart, Nelson, Milhouse and Ralph to be members of the next hit boy band, who record subliminal songs about joining the Navy.12.15) HUNGRY, HUNGRY HOMER

When Lisa becomes the target of a female bully, Lisa discovers a scientific reason as to why bullies pick on nerds. Meanwhile, Homer goes into the baby-proofing business, which is threatening the businesses of pediatricians and greeting card salesmen.12.16) BYE BYE NERDIE

When Lisa becomes the target of a female bully, Lisa discovers a scientific reason as to why bullies pick on nerds. Meanwhile, Homer goes into the baby-proofing business, which is threatening the businesses of pediatricians and greeting card salesmen.
12.19) I’M GOIN’ TO PRAISELAND

After finding a sketchbook belonging to his late wife Maude, Ned Flanders opens a Bible-themed amusement park to honor her memory.

The Simpsons season 13 is another great season, full of laughs from our lovable characters Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Everything about the episodes are great, I cannot stress how much I love this season.13.2) THE PARENT RAP

Bart gets in trouble for joyriding in a police car, but feels confident he will be let off by Judge Snyder. However, Snyder goes on vacation before ruling his verdict and is replaced with a coldhearted judge named Constance Harm. She accuses Homer of being a negligent father and sentences him to be tethered to Bart. The two are against it at first but later start to bond. Marge however is unable to take anymore of it and slices the tether off of them both. Homer and Marge then go after Judge Harm only to end up sinking her houseboat. Eventually Bart decides to take punishment and is about to be sentenced to 5 year in juvenile hall, only though Judge Snyder returns and dismisses Harm. 13.3) HOMER THE MOE

Moe becomes depressed and decides to return to bartending school so he can re-evaluate himself. He meets an old teacher, who suggests that Moe try improving his bar, which might make him happier. Moe takes the advice, and turns his bar into a trendy nightclub, which does not sit well with his regular customers Homer, Lenny, Carl, and Barney. 13.5) THE BLUNDER YEARS

After tricking Marge into thinking an advertising spokesman is coming to visit her, Homer takes Marge and the rest of the family to a restaurant. A hypnotist uses his powers on Homer, and makes him remember a horrific childhood incident where Homer found a dead body in a ravine. The Simpson family decides to investigate this and find out where the body came from.13.7) BRAWL IN THE FAMILY

A social worker is assigned to make the Simpson family functional after they get arrested for fighting while playing Monopoly. He helps them learn how to work together and function as a family. The moment is ruined when, Ginger and Amber, the barmaids who married Homer and Flanders while they were drunk in “Viva Ned Flanders”, arrive at the Simpsons’ home, which outrages Marge. 13.9) JAWS WIRED SHUT

A jaw injury from colliding with a new town statue turns Homer into a better listener while recuperating with his jaws wired shut, but once the wires come off, Homer does not go back to being loud and obnoxious and Marge becomes starved for thrills.13.10) HALF-DECENT PROPOSAL

Homer develops a snoring problem, so Marge decides to spend a night with her sisters Patty and Selma. After a night of drinking, Marge sees a news report about her ex-prom date Artie Ziff, who is now very wealthy, and decides to send him an e-mail. Artie is still obsessed with Marge, so he offers the Simpsons $1 million in exchange for Marge spending a weekend with him.13.11) THE BART WANTS WHAT IT WANTS

Bart befriends Rainer Wolfcastle’s daughter Greta. She has a crush on Bart, but he does not seem to realize it and eventually stops seeing her. Seeking revenge, Greta begins dating Bart’s best friend Milhouse, which causes Bart to start missing her. She leaves for Toronto with her father, and Bart convinces his family to follow them there.13.15) BLAME IT ON LISA

When Homer gets the family’s telephone service cut off for refusing to pay for calls made to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Lisa confesses that she was the one who called Rio after sponsoring an orphan who goes missing. She convinces the family to travel to Brazil to look for him. However, once there, they have no luck finding him, and Homer is kidnapped.13.16) WEEKEND AT BURNSIES

Homer is prescribed medicinal marijuana after getting pecked in the eyes by a murder of crows. While his family and friends worry about the drug altering his personality, Homer becomes Mr. Burns’s vice president after cracking up at Burns’s antiquated jokes.13.18) I AM FURIOUS (YELLOW)

Inspired by a cartoonist who speaks at the school as part of a career day assembly, Bart creates a comic book series based on Homer and his anger problems, which turns into a popular Internet cartoon series called Angry Dad. Homer finds out about this and is at first outraged, but after talking to his family, he decides to try to become a less angry person.13.19) THE SWEETEST APU

Homer and Marge discover that Apu is having an affair with the Squishee delivery lady at the Kwik-E-Mart. They decide to keep Apu’s wife Manjula from finding out about it. However, she eventually learns of Apu’s affair by watching store security tapes. She throws Apu out of the house and decides to file for divorce, but soon realizes that she misses him.13.20) LITTLE GIRL IN THE BIG TEN

Lisa tries to fit in with two college students by lying about her age. She finds that the college atmosphere is perfect for her, but her lie is soon discovered and she is shunned by her fellow elementary school students. Meanwhile, Bart is diagnosed with a weakened immune system after getting bitten by a Chinese mosquito and must live in a plastic, germ-free bubble.13.21) THE FRYING GAME

While faced with community service for abusing an endangered insect, Homer begins assisting an elderly woman named Mrs. Bellamy. One night, Mrs. Bellamy is murdered, and Homer and Marge are accused of committing the crime.All in all some great episodes in these 4 sets and they still remain watchable years later.

 

REVIEW: DOOM PATROL – SEASON 1

Doom Patrol (2019)

Starirng

Diane Guerrero (Justice League vs The Fatal Five)
April Bowlby (Two and a Half Men)
Joivan Wade (the First Purge)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Matt Bomer (The Magnificent Seven)
Brendan Fraser (The Mummy)
Timothy Dalton (Flash Gordon)

Doom Patrol (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Julie McNiven (Mad Men)
Julian Richings (Man of Steel)
Kyle Clements (2 Guns)
Alan Heckner (The Mule)
Ashley Dougherty (Dynasty)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Alec Mapa (Ugly Betty)
Lilli Birdsell (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Mark Sheppard (Battlestar Galactica)
Ted Sutherland (Rise)
Will Kemp (Reign)
Alimi Ballard (Sabrina: TTW)
Jasmine Kaur (Ender’s Game)
Lesa Wilson (Stargirl)
Bethany Anne Lind (Flight)
Ethan McDowell (The Gifted)
Jon Briddell (Nightmare Tenant)
Tommy Snider (Baskets)
Max Martini (The Order)
Joan Van Ark (Knots Landing)
Pisay Pao (Z Nation)
Susan Williams (The Accountant)
Devan Long (Bosch)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Haley Strode (Gangster Squad)
Victoria Blade (Chicago Fire)

Penultimate Patrol (2019)When I watched the first episode of Doom Patrol, I was immediately excited by what I saw: a great-looking, well-written story about surprisingly human superhumans with powers that were more than power fantasies. With the finale in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look back and see if the show stuck to its ideas and made good on its promises.
In short, Doom Patrol is an incredibly special show – as a superhero/comic-book show, as a DC Universe show, and as just, you know, a dang TV show.April Bowlby and Joivan Wade in Doom Patrol (2019)At its roots, Doom Patrol is a show about people with disabilities. People with differences that separate them from “normal” people. They hide their disfigurements, struggle, and shame themselves. They stand out not as a matter of choice, but just by existing. And the show, the story, never loses sight of that. Through their adventures, the Patrol meets a sentient, teleporting, genderqueer street, a guy who gets special powers from eating beard hair (it’s gross), and a cockroach with a god complex. They get sucked into a donkey that farts words, end up inside a snowglobe with characters that would freak out the people who made Return to Oz, and break into a government facility that houses, among other things, carnivorous butts.Doom Patrol is a show that fully embraces its weirdness in a way very few shows manage. But throughout this, our characters continue to struggle and fight against the forces that work against them: a reality that wants to write their narratives for them, a government agency that wants to track, monitor, and use them because they don’t fit neatly into the idea of normalcy, and a few overprotective father figures with questionable ideas of what it means to protect their children or their charges.Diane Guerrero in Doom Patrol (2019)Together, the team validates each others’ struggles. Cliff immediately accepts Crazy Jane, and the eventual dive into her mind helps him understand that only she can put herself back together – and that it’s with the strength of her relationships that she can start to try to do it. Larry Trainor was a gay man living in mid-century America. When he was forcibly united with the Negative Spirit, the idea of hiding his real self from his loved ones became very literal, and the disfigurement he held for himself in his mind became real – and toxic. It wasn’t until he started to communicate with the spirit that he was able to find peace with his own truth. Cyborg, who I’ve previously described as a Justice-League-grade hero had to push his way out from under his helicopter-parent father to truly become himself and to find an even ground on which he could communicate with that father. The group went through therapy together, even if there was a rat inside Cliff’s head for it.Brendan Fraser, Diane Guerrero, and Riley Shanahan in Doom Patrol (2019)And while these characters were working through their collective and individual traumas, we got an incredibly good-looking show with stellar character designs and great visual effects. The arc that took the characters to Nurnheim stands out as an especially good-looking part of the show with some wild monsters for the characters to fight off, making them look like a superhero team for the first time.Riley Shanahan in Doom Patrol (2019)And few shows are so compassionate toward their characters. No show is perfect, especially when handling as many sensitive issues – disability, mental and physical trauma, sexual assault, hate, internalized ableism, just to start the list – but I don’t know if I’ve seen any show do it with such aplomb. This is a show about people with very real barriers to living normal lives, not super-geniuses who can take off their power armor, and it lets us into all of their struggles and loves them through it. With reports that suggest the show will see a second season, I can only cross my fingers and hope we’ll see more of these incredible characters.

REVIEW: BONES – SEASON 12

Starring

Emily Deschanel (Boogeyman)
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Michaela Conlin (Yellowstone)
Tamara Taylor (Lost)
T. J. Thyne (Ghost World)
John Boyd (Argo)

Emily Deschanel and Eric Millegan in Bones (2005)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Eric Millegan (Phobic)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Michael Grant Terry (Grimm)
Ravi Kapoor (Flight)
Sara Rue (Mom)
Ryan O’Neal (Love Story)
Carla Gallo (Superbd)
Patrick Gallagher (Glee)
Jed Rees (Deadpool)
Edward Asner (elf)
June Squibb (The Big Bang Theory)
Pej Vahdat (Arrow)
Laura Spencer (Sleepy Hollow)
Joel David Moore (Avatar)
Guy Boyd (Sharpo Objects)
Marsha Thomason (Lost)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Dave Thomas (Rat Race)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder)
Patricia Belcher (Jeepers Creepers)
Brit Shaw (Limelight)
Gerardo Celasco (Moneyball)
Eddie McClintock (No Good Nick)
Wolfgang Bodison (A Few Good Men)
Stephen Fry (V For Vendetta)
Ignacio Serricchio (Lost In Space)
Jaime Bergman (Boa vs Python)
James Earl (Scream Queens)
Fred Stoller (Little Man)
Betty White (The Golden Girls)
Eugene Byrd (Arrow)
Melanie Paxson (Descendants)
Meagen Fay (Thats My Boy)
Tiffany Hines (Nikita)
Cyndi Lauper (Vibe)

David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)One of television’s most beloved crime series draws to a close with even more suspense, fun and sexiness than ever. Brennan’s (Emily Deschanel) uncanny forensic skills help resolve even grislier cases, including a retirement home murder, a possible death by robot, and the slaying of a close friend. Along the way, family tragedy strikes and Booth (David Boreanaz) lands in the crosshairs of a serial killer.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)And a former Jeffersonian accused of murder kidnaps Brennan, prompting a shocking move by Booth. The fascinating storylines, heart and humour of Bones is here in all 12 episodes of the final season. David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)Fans here have just twelve more opportunities to revisit Washington’s (fictitious) Jefferson Institute Laboratory. As ever Brennan and all painstakingly probe gory human remains to identify not only corpses but those who caused their demise. No matter how far-fetched such activities may seem, all are based on work creator Kathy Reichs does in real life.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)There is the usual successful mixture of “yuk factor” and much that is very funny (especially when Brennan and Booth are amongst lumberjacks and lumberjills, not to mention when undercover at a car demolition darby). Far more serious is a very real threat with explosive developments. Not all key characters to survive intact! The Suspense is genuine.David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, and Dave Thomas in Bones (2005)Treats abound. They include the welcome return of former apprentices, one in particularly dramatic circumstances. A care home episode allows veterans to demonstrate their ability still to deliver the goods – Ed Asner in his late eighties, Hal Holbrook over ninety. Elsewhere Betty White, another nonagenarian, mischievously contributes.David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, and Dave Thomas in Bones (2005)All cast are on fine form. Over the twelve years their characters have evolved. That marriage of Brennan and Booth gave Emily Deschamel and David Boreanaz a rich new vein for comedy, they often at odds about the best way to bring up their young (Brennan insisting fairy stories be the violent originals).Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)Modest extras, it interesting to see Kathy Reichs herself participating. Movingly the stars look back over the years, tears evident as they realize this truly is the end. No series can please everyone all the time. (Some may have found much of the music track surplus to requirements.) BONES, though, consistently succeeded more than most. 246 episodes. This final season, shorter perhaps than many would have wished, represents a fitting fond farewell. Thanks go to all responsible for a show that for so long many have looked upon as special.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED – SEASON 1

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

MV5BMTk2NzY1NTU5OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjIwOTM2MjE@._V1_

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kin Shriner (Manhunter)
George Eads (CSI)
Eric Robert (The Finder)
Dana Delany (Tombstone)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore)
Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Fam)
Fred Savage (The Princess Diaries)
Jason Hervey (Back To The Future)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Patrick Bauchau (Panic Room)
Rachel York (One Fine Day)
Jack Carter (McCloud)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Annimator)
Robert Foxworth (Transformers)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
Cree Summer (Voltron)
Tom Everett Scott (Because I Said So)
Billy West (Futurama)
Lori Loughlin (Full House)
Jeremy Piven (Old School)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Oded Fehr (V)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Tim Matheson (The West Wing)
Grey Griffin (The Book of Life)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Peter MacNicol (Veep)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers)
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina: TTW)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Virginia Madsen (Better Watch Out)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)
Farrah Forke (Lois & Clark)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Robert Englund (2001 Maniacs)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jason Bateman (Office Christmas Party)
Susan Sullivan (Castle)
Michael T. Weiss (The Pretender)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Steve Schirripa (Must Love Dogs)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Nathan Fillion (Serenity)
Elizabeth Peña (The Incredibles)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)

MV5BMTk4NTc5Mzg3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTc5ODM2MjE@._V1_Fantasy now runs your life? Comic books become your vice? And your best friends still have their virginities? Then look no farther, friends, because this collection of episodes is so good you don’t need friends, significant others, or a single reason to emerge from your Geekdrome. But you know what the best part is? It’s not just for geeks – Justice League Unlimited stands tall as the best collection of American action/adventure animation you’re likely to find. While there is, of course, a certain geek charge some may get out of seeing characters like Powergirl and Green Arrow in action (not to mention an episode featuring Nathan Fillion voicing Vigilante and Gina Torres voicing Vixen – come on, how cool is that?), these episodes will entertain because of good characters, good humor, and good storytelling, even if you don’t know your Booster Golds from your Blue Beetles.MV5BMTA3OTAzMDYwMjdeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDMzMDkzNjIx._V1_While the first two seasons of Justice League nicely expanded upon the world first established in the early ’90s with Batman: The Animated Series, it wasn’t until this, the show’s third season (or first, depending on how you look at it) that the format and structure was perfected for the genre. It was an interesting experiment having the previous seasons’ episodes run for one-hour, but with JLU the format is scaled back to stand-alone half-hour stories and, ironically, it fits like a bat-glove. It’s strange, but these shorter episodes actually manage to pack in more than the double-length ones. A lot more. And what a roster of characters to fill a show with! You’ll see everyone from The Atom to Elongated Man. Because this is a full-blown, all-star take on these characters, each character can shine their brightest. When you get Superman, you get the best of Superman. Wonder Woman? The best of Wonder Woman. B’wana Beast? Uh… well, I guess this is the best he’s ever been.MV5BMjIwOTMxMzk2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTU5ODM2MjE@._V1_The surplus of great characters is fun, but what really sells the show are the stories. Or, more specifically, story. No doubt borrowing a page from the work of Joss Whedon – showrunner Bruce Timm admits in a commentary that Whedon was a big influence – these episodes highlight a large and complex season-spanning plot that actually has meaning in today’s world. This is certainly the most mature and thoughtful storytelling you’re likely to get from a cartoon of this type. What elevates the show from great to brilliant is its ability to tell stories that are exciting and also manage to propel the larger narrative forward. For example, Dark Heart – penned by famous comic book scribe Warren Ellis – manages to mix a great science fiction plot (a self-replicating AI) with humor (Wonder Woman, needing both hands to fight, rests The Atom in a very interesting holding place) and its plot still manages to play a part later on down the road in the season’s climax.MV5BMjAwMTU4NDI0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzIwOTM2MjE@._V1_The writing is the best the show has ever seen, no doubt a result of staff writer Dwayne McDuffie coming into his own; his versatility with the characters is fantastic. Comic book writers Warren Ellis and J.M. DeMatteis join in on the fun, and new series director Joaquim Dos Santos infuses the episodes with a dynamic energy that allows the show to compete with the best of today’s cutting-edge, anime-inspired programming. It’s like the entire DC animated universe has been supercharged in the best way possible.MV5BMTk3NjM3NzI3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQwOTM2MjE@._V1_This collection contains two seasons, and both season finales are just fantastic. The Once and Future Thing is an exciting time romp (with a great Western segment) and Divided We Fall is a showstopper of epic proportions. Either finale would make for a better DVD movie than any of what has been released thus far. Then there’s Epilogue – just brilliant. It manages to tie in the entire DC animated universe – including films Mask of the Phantasm and Return of the Joker! – and still say something meaningful about a very important character. The episode isn’t just great animation, it’s great television.MV5BMTk1MDgzMTYzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTUwOTM2MjE@._V1_There really is nothing bad to say about these episodes. The new rock-inspired opening credits do ring a bit too much of cheesy ’80s electronica, but you get used to it, and, after a while, it fits. Of course, the fact remains that if you aren’t into cartoons in the first place you probably won’t be willing to hop on the bandwagon no matter how cool a series is. But if you consider animation to be a legitimate and respectable medium, then this is the pinnacle of the form.  While there are bigger and more influential cartoon shows out there – namely, comedies like The Simpsons – Justice League Unlimited is still one of the best American animated programs you’ll find. With this show the genre has been perfected – it’s fun, exciting, and thoughtful. In other words, this is exactly what superheroes should be.

REVIEW: DEAD TO ME – SEASON 1

Dead to Me (2019)

Starring

Christina Applegate (Bad Moms)
Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Endgame)
James Marsden (Westworld)
Max Jenkins (plus One)
Sam McCarthy (Condor)
Luke Roessler (Deadpool 2)
Edward Asner (Elf)

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in Dead to Me (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Diana-Maria Riva (Sabrina: TTW)
Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken)
Keong Sim (GLee)
Telma Hopkins (The Love Guru)
Haley Sims (Flaked)
Gloria Calderon Kellett (One Day At a Time)

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in Dead to Me (2019)Laughter isn’t included in the five stages of grief of the Kübler-Ross model, but perhaps it should be given its own special role in the process. The argument for this can be found in the dark comedy “Dead to Me,” which mines profound loss for laughs, marrying humor and heartache often in a single moment. Created by Liz Feldman, this 10-episode Netflix series deals with the aftermath of the sudden death of a husband and father. You know, the standard premise for a half-hour comedy.Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in Dead to Me (2019)We meet Jen (Christina Applegate) following the hit-and-run that killed her husband, Ted, a few months ago. She struggles to sleep, parent her two sons (Sam McCarthy and Luke Roessler), and just get by between crying jags in her car while playing heavy metal. When she goes to a grief support group, she meets Judy (Linda Cardellini), who recently lost her fiancé. Though Jen’s sarcastic, hard shell shouldn’t gel with Judy’s carefree, boho spirit, the two women bond over Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies, Ani DiFranco, and their similar tragic circumstances. They grow close quickly, and Jen invites Judy to live in the guest house at her Laguna home. But this isn’t just a story about female friendship and connecting after a loss; there’s twist after twist, often revealed through flashbacks to earlier moments in Jen and Judy’s lives.Linda Cardellini in Dead to Me (2019)“Dead to Me” unravels its mysteries slowly, with each episode ending on a new reveal or a cliffhanger that will keep Netflix subscribers glued to their screens. The show takes the opposite approach we might expect; as the season progresses and Jen moves farther from the death of her husband, the series actually gets darker and more serious. There’s still some of the sharp comedy that makes it so addictive in its earlier episodes, but there’s more emphasis on the mystery of who killed Ted. It’s an uneven, uneasy balance, and it makes the viewer long for the funnier first half of the show.Christina Applegate in Dead to Me (2019)But with the more dramatic leanings, we dive deeper into Jen and Judy as characters, and we get valuable insight into how grief, guilt, and secrets can both unite and divide people. These fast friends give viewers a profound picture of how we forgive each other and ourselves, especially after a tragedy. “Dead to Me” is dealing with the big questions of life, even beyond grief. The show and the people we meet on it are consumed with answering what makes someone a good or a bad person, and its clear affection for its flawed characters makes this all the more interesting.ab9ad7c401e2bcc1aad86e4a249fbc9776601d47Both Applegate and Cardellini move between the drama and the comedy with ease. After breaking out in “Freaks and Geeks,” Cardellini has had some dramatic roles, but this feels like a first for Applegate, whose career has been largely focused on comedy since “Married with Children.” These actresses display an impressive range in roles that require them to make us laugh and then minutes later, they’re sobbing. We also buy their closeness; their chemistry makes this friendship feels real, both despite and because of their opposite personalities. The supporting cast is strong as well; TV veteran Ed Asner has a small part as a resident at the retirement home where Judy works, and he’s brimming with enough warmth and empathy to make Lou Grant sneer. James Marsden has a pivotal role that I won’t spoil (and can’t, per Netflix), but it’s more proof that the talented actor should be getting more work and more lead roles and not just playing the runner-up in everything from “X-Men” to “Enchanted.”1The seesawing between grief and humor here won’t work for everyone, but that’s just more fuel for one of the ideas that “Dead to Me” is playing with: we all grieve differently. If you’re that person getting dirty looks for making jokes at a funeral, this show might be just your thing. And if you’re the person doling out those looks, “Dead to Me” may be a way to help better understand the way that other people cope with loss.

REVIEW: SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 3

Starring

Tim Daly (Madam Secretary)
Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives)
David Kaufman (Stargate SG.1)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sharon Lawrence (The Ranch)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Renée Taylor (The Nanny)
Jack Carter (McCloud)
Brad Garrett (Christopher Robin)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Steve Sandor (The Yellow Rose)
Joseph Bologna (Big Daddy)
Bruce Weitz (Half Past Dead)
Victor Brandt (The Batman)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
Diane Michelle (Robotech: The Movie)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
William H. Macy (Fargo)
Peter Gallagher (The Gifted)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mathew Valencia (The New Batman Advntures)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
John Glover (Smallville)
Paul Williams (Smokey and The Bandit)
Henry Silva (Above The Law)
Bob Hastings (The Poseidon Adventure)
Charity James (Space Jam)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Jason Priestley (Tru Calling)
Jason Marsden (Hocus Pocus)
Chad Lowe (Unfaithful)
Melissa Joan Hart (No GOod Nick)
Joely Fisher (The Mask)
Bud Cort (Harold and Maude)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Gilbert Gottfried (Critters: A New Binge)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Carl Lumbly (Supergirl)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 & 2)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Michael P. Greco (Bleach)
George Dzundza (Crimson Tide)
Peter Mark Richman (Defenders of The Earth)
Melissa Disney (Superman vs The Elite)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)
Billy West (Futurama)
Stephen Root (Barry)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
David Warner (Tron)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
Michael Horse (Roswell)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)

3447328-absolute-powerSuperman is everywhere. He’s also been everywhere; for nearly seventy years now the character has been inspiring us with his tales of heroism, adventure, and fantasy. Seventy years is a long time and with a character as popular as Superman it equates to a lot of different interpretations. From the original comic books to a radio series to a handful of television shows, it seems that the Last Son of Krypton has done it all. We are very lucky then to have these DVDs, because in all of that time, throughout all the years, the stories found in Superman: The Animated Series are his best. The fifty-four cartoon episodes (spread across three boxed sets) that make up the complete run of Superman: The Animated Series aren’t just the best take on the character because they’re faithful. Nor is it because they’re animated, for all ages, or very imaginative. It’s for all of these reasons. And several more.3447300-little_big_head_manThe creative team behind the series has plundered the rich mythology of the character and come up with a fantastic take on each and every piece of the Superman universe. For starters, their Clark Kent and Lois Lane interpretation is spot-on. Clark isn’t too much of a goof, nor is he too simple. Similarly, Lois is fiery, funny, and lovely. Seeing the characters come together at the end of Legacy, Part 2 makes for a great cathartic moment. Superman has saved Lois a countless number of times, it is only fitting then that Lois save him when he needs it. The main arc of this season borrows from the comic book universe and brings Darkseid and his homeworld to the forefront. Hinted at earlier in the show, it’s in this third volume that the Lord of Apokolips finally gets his payoff – and his payback. In a trio of two-parters, Apokolips… Now!, Little Girl Lost, and Legacy, Superman fights one of his most ruthless foes in a series of episodes that offer some excellent action, drama, and science fiction fun.maxresdefault (1)While these episodes are very faithful to the mythos, we’ve also got a great selection of original stories that go to prove that with a character like Superman, there is no limit to the stories that you can tell. One of my favorites is Knight Time. When Batman goes missing, Superman pays a visit to Gotham City and tries to find out where his friend has gone. Supes inadvertently ends up masquerading as Batman – dressing up in the Dark Knight’s costume and everything! – and teams up with Robin to solve the mystery of the missing Bruce Wayne. Not only is the episode entertaining, but it’s also got a great sense of humor. Seeing Superman do his best impersonation of Batman is wonderful – Clark doesn’t know which utility pockets contain what, and his attempts at being grim (nodding his head instead of speaking) are great.stas-legacy7Watching these shows you get the feeling that it was during this final stretch of episodes that the show’s producers were finding new ways of playing with the formula that they had designed, and perfected, with both Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. Not only do these Superman episodes have a lot of two-parters, but we’ve also got some great guest-stars; it seems that this show is the precursor to Justice League. We’ve got heroes, Kyle Rayner from In Brightest Day, and villains, Ra’s Al Ghul in The Demon Reborn, and everyone in between – everyone’s favorite master of the sea, Aquaman in Fish Story. We also get an expansion of the Superman supporting cast when Supergirl makes a welcome appearance in the Little Girl Lost two-parter.Superman_TAS_2x27_001The animation is somewhat more limited when compared to the fancy digital effects that more modern shows exhibit, but the handcrafted style gives the show a wonderful atmosphere. If you pay close attention you’ll notice that a lot of effort has gone into the design of the animation – much more so than most animated series. The framing here is frequently packed. Helping flesh out the world are all of the voice actors; everyone from Tim Daly (as Superman/Clark) to Clancy Brown (as Lex Luthor) is perfect in his or her role. The only thing holding the show back, and this is a small point, is the fact that the stories, due to their child-friendly animated nature, are a little more limited than the best television shows tend to be. Even so, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better adventure series – animated or live action.Superman_meets_SupergirlIn one of the episodes found in this collection, Superman pays his final respects to a recently departed friend. In the graveyard, Superman comes to realize something very important: “In the end, the world didn’t really need a Super man. Just a brave one.” This show gives us a character who is both brave and super. It gives us a real hero. It gives us Superman… as good as he’s ever been.