REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 23-25

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)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Kiefer Sutherland (24)
Jackie Mason (Caddyshack II)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Aron Ralston (Imagine This!)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Gordon Ramsey (Hell’S Kitchen)
Neil Gaiman (Nightbreed)
Andy Garcia (Ghostbusters)
John Slattery (Mad Men)
Kevin Dillon (The Doors)
Janeane Garofalo (Wet Hot American Summer)
Joan Rivers (Spaceballs)
Dana Gould (Gex)
Ted Nugent (A Nightmare On Elm Street 5)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
David Letterman (I’m Still Here)
Jeremy Irons (Batman V Superman)
Michael Cera (The Lego Batman Movie)
Alison Krauss (Eight Crazy Nights)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder)
Treat Williams (127 Hours)
Bryan Cranston (Argo)
Eric Idle (Transformers: The Movie)
Lady Gaga (Sin City 2)
Ken Burns (Gettysburg)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Jon Lovitz (Big)
Jeff Gordon (Cars 3)
Jennifer Tilly (Curse of Chucky)
Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls)
Steve Carell (Anchorman)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Alex Trebek (The Bucket List)
Fred Armisen (Archer)
Carrie Brownstein (Carol)
Patton Oswalt (Two and a Half Men)
Tom Waits  (Domino)
Valerie Harper (Rhoda)
Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange)
Tina Fey (Muppets Most Wanted)
Wanda Sykes (Clerks II)
Goerge Takei (Star Trek)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Edward Norton (Fight Club)
Tony Bennett (Analyze This)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Jane Krakowski (Alfie)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Justin Bieber (Zoolander 2)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Lisa Lampanelli (Bounty Hunters)
Kristen Wiig (Paul)
Rachel Maddow (House of Cards)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives)
Will Arnett (The Lego Batman Movie)
Leslie Mann (This Is 40)
Judd Apatow (Zookeeper)
Seth Rogen (50/50)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Max Von Sydow (Game of Thrones)
Zach Galifanakis (The Hangover)
Amy Poehler (Inside Out)
Tavi Gevinson  (Scream Queens)

1kqKJBfw73I9q2caApghcLRUZoiTwo and a half decades on, the show’s status as a comedy classic remains untarnished, which is testament to the genius of its creator.

SEASON 23 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

23.1) THE FALCON AND THE D’OHMAN

Homer befriends the nuclear plant’s newest hire – a security guard with ties to the CIA and a painful backstory involving the Ukrainian Mafia. Meanwhile, Marge dreams of appearing on Top Chef and the results to the “Will Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel Stay Together” contests are revealed.23.2) BART STOPS TO SMELL THE ROOSEVELTS

Principal Skinner challenges Superintendent Chalmers to get Bart to be excited about learning something (anything) after Bart’s latest pranks — and finds it in the form of teaching Bart about the life and times of Theodore Roosevelt. However, when Chalmers’ unorthodox teaching methods get him fired, it is up to Bart and the rest of the students who have been motivated by Chalmers to reinstate him.23.4) REPLACEABLE YOU

Homer gets a new assistant named Roz who is secretly out to steal his job. Meanwhile, Bart and Martin create a robot seal that becomes a hit with the elderly crowd at the Springfield Retirement Center.23.5) THE FOOD WIFE

Tired of doing “mom” things and being much less fun for the kids than Homer, Marge takes the family out to an Ethiopian restaurant and enjoys the food so much that she starts a food blog with Bart and Lisa, which hurts Homer’s feelings — and may do more than hurt him when Marge tricks Homer into thinking a rundown building housing a meth lab is a hip, new restaurant.23.6) THE BOOK JOB

When Lisa discovers that her favorite book series (the Angelica Button fantasy series as mentioned in “The Haw-Hawed Couple”) is ghost-written by a group of publishers (with an actress as the “author”), Homer and Bart are inspired to do the same by getting a group of people to write a fantasy novel about ghouls in a prestigious academy — but when an actual publisher plots to turn it into yet another vampire fiction book for tweens, Lisa, Bart, and Homer must save their original work from getting destroyed.23.10) POLITICALLY INEPT, WITH HOMER SIMPSON

Video footage of Homer ranting about being harassed by TSA agents and forced to sit on a grounded plane for seven hours (due to airport incompetence) goes viral and lands Homer on cable television as a political pundit with his own show. But when he stirs up mixed emotions with his planned endorsement of the next GOP Presidential candidate, Marge and Lisa worry that Homer’s opinion and influence might be more powerful than he realizes.23.11) THE D’OH-CIAL NETWORK

Lisa wants more friends and starts her own social network website called SpringFace, but when it turns everyone into an online addict, Lisa begins to realize that adding thousands of friends online did not compare to having real friendships. Meanwhile, Patty and Selma compete against the Winklevoss twins for the 2012 Olympics.23.13) THE DAUGHTER ALSO RISES

Lisa falls in love with Nick, an intellectual romantic, and starts a secret romance with him. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse team up with the gang from MythCrackers to debunk some urban schoolyard legends.23.14) AT LONG LAST LEAVE

In the 500th episode, the Simpsons stumble upon a secret town meeting where everyone is voting to throw them out of Springfield. As a result, they find themselves in an off-the-grid community, and when Homer and Marge try to sneak back into Springfield, they are welcomed with hostility from their former friends and neighbors and begin to appreciate their new and more accepting home.23.15) EXIT THROUGH THE KWIK-E-MART

After being forced to spend some time in a rabbit cage for a prank he didn’t commit, Bart exacts revenge by spraypainting unflattering caricatures of Homer all over town, which become a sensation with real-life graffiti artists Shepard Fairey, Ron English, Kenny Scharf, and Robbie Conal. Meanwhile, Apu’s Kwik-E-Mart is in danger of shutting down when it faces competition from a health-food supermarket.23.17) THEM, ROBOT

To get out of paying for employee drug tests, Mr. Burns fires all of his employees (except for Homer, who is kept on as a scapegoat) and replaces them with robot workers; when a bored Homer ups the robots interactive and AI features, all hell breaks loose.23.18) BEWARE THE CHEATING BART

Bart finds himself the object of affection to a girl who is dating school bully Jimbo Jones. Meanwhile, Homer buys a state-of-the-art treadmill that gets wireless TV and uses the treadmill to binge-watch a “Lost”-style show rather than exercise.23.20) THE SPY WHO LEARNED ME

After a disastrous date night at the movies, Homer suffers a head injury the next day at work and, during his eight weeks off to recover (about which he does not tell Marge), sees visions of a super-suave superspy named Stradivarius Cain, who gives Homer lessons on being the husband of Marge’s dreams. Meanwhile, Nelson uses a Smart Phone to shake down kids for their lunch money, and Bart gets revenge on Nelson by feeding him Krusty Burger’s nutritionally dubious food.23.21) NED ‘N EDNA’S BLEND

Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel elope after months of dating, and Marge later organizes a proper marriage reception for them, which becomes a problem when the many couples of Springfield bring their many personal crises to the party. Meanwhile, Mrs. Krabappel-Flanders helps Rod and Todd make new friends.23.22) LISA GOES GAGA

Eccentric pop star Lady Gaga stops by Springfield to help Lisa (who was voted Springfield Elementary’s least popular student and is now more of an outcast thanks to ghost-writing positive messages on the school’s online forum) and the rest of the town boost their self-esteem.1060026-thumb_500It’s hilarious, comedy, funny, and one of my all time favourite T.V showS .. The series is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by the Simpson family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television, and many aspects of the human condition. Modern Simpsons episodes are often both overstuffed and under-imagined, resulting in two indifferent, inadequately realized stories. Even though the show has dropped in creativity and in the joke department, it’s still worthy.

SEASON 24 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

24.1) MOONSHINE RIVER

The Simpsons return to New York City after Bart discovers that, out of all of the female interests he has had, the only one who continued to like him was Cletus Spuckler’s daughter, Mary who once helped him save a cow, and now that Mary has moved to the Big Apple to be a writer for Saturday Night Live, Bart wants to see her again.24.4) GONE ABIE GONE

Homer puts Lisa’s college fund into online poker as a way to fight back against big banks, and Lisa must become a player to get her college fund back. Meanwhile, Grampa Simpson mysteriously disappears from the Springfield Retirement Castle, and leaves behind clues to parts of his life that the family never knew before, like the time he was married to a black singer named Rita LaFleur, and when he worked in a restaurant with Marvin Hamlisch.24.6) A TREE GROWS IN SPRINGFIELD

Lisa wins a Mapple MyPad for Homer at a school raffle and Homer becomes obsessed with it until he falls and breaks it. Feeling depressed over his life and the loss of his MyPad, Flanders picks up Homer’s spirits when he finds the word “Hope” written on The Simpsons’ backyard tree in sap and everyone sees it as a miracle.24.7) THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD COOL

Homer wants a younger, hipper image, so he starts hanging out with Terrence and Emily, two hipsters from Portland, but Marge and Bart find the couple, their child, and their ilk who take over the unhip town of Springfield to be irritating and pretentious. 24.9) HOMER GOES TO PREP SCHOOL

After a lockdown at a kids’ fun center (caused by a kid chasing after a ball and a negligent worker talking on her cell phone), Homer is traumatized over seeing everyone panic in the chaos, and meets a doomsday prepper who introduces him to some Springfield residents who are preparing for the day when society crumbles from a disaster. 24.10) A TEST BEFORE TRYING

Springfield Elementary School is in danger of shutting down due to low test scores on the latest standardized test, and Bart may be the school’s only hope. Meanwhile, Homer uses a discarded parking meter to rake in some extra money.24.11) THE CHANGEING OF THE GUARDIANS

After surviving a tornado, Marge and Homer seek out guardians for the kids, in case the worst should happen. They first turn to friends and family, including Homer’s half-brother, Herb Powell (who inexplicably has gone broke again), with whom to entrust their kids, but when Bart and Lisa fall in love with a super-cool couple, Mav and Portia, Marge starts to question their potential guardians’ true motivations.24.12) LOVE IS A MANY-SPLINTERED THING

A “special Valentine’s-themed outing” in which Bart’s heartstrings are pulled once again when Mary Spuckler returns to Springfield, but his failure to pay her enough attention strains their relationship.24.14) GORGEOUS GRAMPA

Homer buys a storage locker after watching a reality show, only to discover that it is Grampa’s, from the days when he was Glamorous Godfrey, the most hated wrestler in the business.24.15) BLACK EYED, PLEASE

A new substitute teacher named Miss Cantwell is hired while Miss Hoover is out with severe depression, and Lisa must figure out why Miss Cantwell hates her. Meanwhile, Flanders tries to atone for punching Homer in the eye after Flanders’ parents take a liking to him instead of their own son.24.16) DARK KNIGHT COURT

Lisa must defend Bart after he is accused of pulling an Easter prank on the school marching band. Meanwhile, Mr. Burns fulfills his dream of becoming a superhero, and Smithers pays the townspeople to be supervillains.24.17) WHAT ANIMATED WOMEN WANT

Homer takes a page from 50 Shades of Grey and decides that a sadomasochistic relationship with Marge is the way to go. Meanwhile, Milhouse uses Marlon Brando’s ghost to get advice on how to impress Lisa.24.21) THE SAGA OF CARL

Homer, Moe, Lenny and Carl team up to buy a winning lottery ticket, but when Carl absconds with the winnings and heads to his homeland of Iceland, Homer, Lenny, and Moe set out to get him and the money back.24.22) DANGERS ON A TRAIN

Marge stumbles upon a website for married women to arrange affairs (after mistaking it for a cupcake delivery website) and meets a man named Ben, who falls for Marge after the two bond over a Downton Abbey-esque period drama. Meanwhile, Homer takes home a steam train that used to belong to Springfield’s high-end, outside mall and recruits Reverend Lovejoy, Moe, Lenny, Carl, and Larry the Lush to fix it for his wedding anniversary.UntitledI absolutely love this show. It’s one of my all-time favourite TV shows. Ever. It’s so funny, and it keeps getting better and better. There is a reason why it has been going for as long as it has been.

SEASON 25 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

25.1) HOMERLAND

An FBI agent helps Lisa solve the mystery of why Homer’s personality has changed after attending a nuclear plant convention.25.3) FOUR REGRETTINGS AND A FUNERAL

At the funeral of a beloved Springfielder, four residents remember events in their lives they would like to do over.

  • Homer regrets selling his stock in Apple to buy a bowling ball.
  • Marge blames her taste in music for Bart’s rebelliousness.
  • Mr. Burns remembers his relationship with a Parisienne.
  • Kent Brockman regrets not taking a job as a cable news anchor

25.5) LABOR PAINS

After a night of playing poker with Moe, Lenny, and Carl, Homer finds himself in an elevator with a young mother named Gretchen, who is in labor and needs someone to help her keep calm. Meanwhile, Lisa helps the local football cheerleading team unionize and negotiate for better wages and working conditions.25.6) THE KID IS ALL RIGHT

Lisa makes friends with a new girl in school, who turns out to be a conservative Republican (a George W. Bush one rather than an Abraham Lincoln or Ronald Reagan one) with connections to Springfield’s Republican party.25.9) STEAL THE EPISODE

To combat the poor quality of today’s movie theaters, Homer and Bart begin to illegally download movies and exhibit them in a makeshift theater in the backyard, but Homer ends up arrested when Marge sends the FBI a check and an apology note.25.10) MARRIED TO THE BLOB

The Comic Book Guy falls for a Japanese manga artist, but Homer’s advice and the woman’s father may ruin his chances at true love.25.12) DIGGS

Bart makes friends with a transfer student named Diggs, an expert in falconry who saves Bart from the wrath of the Springfield Elementary bullies – and who intends to take to the sky himself, which makes Bart worry about Diggs’ sanity.25.13) THE MAN WHO GREW TOO MUCH

Lisa discovers that Sideshow Bob has become the chief scientist of a massive chemical engineering company, but the two of them bond over their appreciation for high-culture. Meanwhile, Marge ends up a church volunteer to help horny teenagers become abstinent.25.15) THE WAR OF ART

Marge buys a painting at a yard sale. She decides to auction it off when it appears to be valuable, but it turns out to be a forgery.25.17) LUCA$

Back at school, Lisa sees a boy choking on pizza. She performs the Heimlich maneuver on him, reveals his name is Lucas Bortner and he’s a competitive eater. She doesn’t think that competitive eating is for him, and suddenly gets a crush on him. She then thinks about changing him. Meanwhile, Snake, grateful for Bart’s actions, steals a PlayStadium 4 and leaves it in Bart’s room.25.18) DAYS OF FUTURE FUTURE

A sequel to “Future-Drama” and a continuation of “Holidays of Future Passed,” set 30 years from now. In this futuristic installment, Bart goes to a clinic to rid himself of his feelings for his ex-wife Jenda (who is now dating a xenomorph-esque alien named Jerry), Lisa must choose whether or not to cure her zombie husband Milhouse after he gets bitten by a homeless zombie, and Marge (after putting up with years of Homer dying and being cloned back to life by Professor Frink) loads Homer onto a flatscreen monitor and throws him out of the house.25.20) BRICK LIKE ME

Homer wakes up to a world made out of LEGO bricks and grows to like this new world, where everything fits in and no one gets hurt — until he begins seeing flashes of a previous life and, with help from The Comic Book Guy, discovers how he ended up in the LEGO world.25.21) PAY PAL

Marge swears off befriending any more couples when Homer offends their charming new British neighbors. But when Lisa declares that she, too, doesn’t need friends, Marge reconsiders.25.22) THE YELLOW BADGE OF COWARDGE

Bart is plagued with guilt when he wins the annual “last day of school” race around Springfield Elementary, with an assist from Nelson, who beats up frontrunner Milhouse. Meanwhile, Homer tries to bring back the annual 4th of July fireworks display after it’s canceled for budget reasons.Even in the later seasons The Simpsons showed it still has staying power.

 

 

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REVIEW: THE HANDMAID’S TALE – SEASON 1

CAST

Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Joseph Fiennes (Killing Me Softly)
Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck)
Alexis Bledel (Violet & Daisy)
Madeline Brewer (Hemlock Grove)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
O. T. Fagbenle (The Five)
Max Minghella (Horns)
Samira Wiley (The Sitter)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Amanda Brugel (Suicide Squad)
Ever Carradine (Lucky 13)
Kristen Gutoskie (Containment)
Jessica Gant (Reign)
Tattiawna Jones (Flashpoint)

Mankind is failing, most women are sterile because of industrial pollution (or Mother Nature just having enough of us parasites). Birth rates are plummeting. An ultra religious cult see it as their God given mission to ‘save mankind’. They seize power by staging a fake terrorist attack against the US government, impose marshal law and set about rebuilding American society. They use The Old Testament as their blue print, but with some totally wacky interpretations and distortions. Fertile women become the property of the state. Brain washed and farmed out to the new ruling elite as baby makers, slavery and subjugation is all they can hope for.Margaret Atwood, Canadian hero, social commentator, environmentalist, activist, feminist, tech inventor, business woman and visionary always maintained that this isn’t sci-fi, but ‘speculative fiction’, things that have a chance of happening in the near future. Written in the ’80’s it’s probably more profound now; the Neo Con Christian’s have become a powerful force in US politics. Could there be a Tea Party without the ultra religious Republicans? Probably not. Maybe it takes a next door neighbour from Canada to really see what’s happening with the totally dysfunctional family next door? It has always been a source of debate about how a country so entrenched in the ideas of freedom and liberal philosophy can also be the home of such obvious bigotry and divide? Surely teaching Creationism instead of proved science in some State’s schools is a warning sign? Maggie may well ridicule this dogmatic un-thinking, however it’s far from funny when she points out the possible end game and consequences for society and women in particular.The Series is slightly different from the book, and relies on a lot of flashbacks like the original narration; however this narration helps to smooth over the cracks nicely. So it still sticks faithfully to the principles and main events of the story, albeit in a roundabout ‘more up to date’ way. The subtle creep up and takeover of government and power has been well handled so far. I am enthralled, totally impressed and on tenterhooks with Bruce Miller’s adaption. The direction is also smart. Every image is a perfect composition, nothing is wasted, it’s real art in the hands of skilled camera operators.The feminism is subtle, not the clumsy and overt ‘all men are bad, all women are good little victims’ like of some of the more hardcore feminist literature. Maggie recognises that some women can be bad too, and some men will die to do the right thing, as you will see. Her book made a point that this could only happen if most women were willing parties too, and that a 2,000 year old book of moral tales can hold a massive amount of power when deliberately abused in the wrong hands.It’s also highly commendable that the cast are just ‘normal folk’, no super skinnies, models, hunks or pretty boys are in sight. This makes it all the more believable, it could happen to you and me. The lead, ‘Offred’ (Elizabeth Moss) absolutely nails it. No spoilers, but she will impress you with her canny nouse and determination to survive despite many obstacles and traps. I haven’t seen one bad actor in here so far, they’ve obviously got bags of talent and emotional range. The design and resurrection of ‘The Shaker Movement’, as in the book, harks back to an American and European age of persecution and religious fervor. Adhering to Maggie’s descriptions of the colour coded dress, the production designer’s subtle placement of now highly valuable Shaker furniture here and there helps; the muted drab colours, even in the opulent wealthy homes, take us sub consciously back to the times of Salem, witch trials, mass hysteria and life devoid of ‘modern vices’ like free speech, self determination, free love and modern relationships.It’s a fresh series for me and I am sure most people will love it too.

REVIEW: THE MISSING

CAST

Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)
Jenna Boyd (The Hunted)
Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight)
Val Kilmer (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Max Perlich (Blow)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)

In late 19th-century New Mexico, Samuel Jones reappears hoping to reconcile with his adult daughter Maggie Gilkeson. She is unable to forgive him for abandoning the family and leaving her mother to a hard life and early death. This situation changes when Pesh-Chidin and a dozen of his followers (who have left the reservation) pass through the area, ritualistically killing settlers and taking their daughters to be sold into slavery in Mexico. Among those captured is Maggie’s eldest daughter, Lilly. Maggie’s rancher boyfriend Brake Baldwin was among the settlers killed.

The U.S. Cavalry refuses to help retrieve the captive women as its resources are tied up conducting forced relocation of captive Native Americans. This leaves Maggie, her father, and her younger daughter Dot alone in tracking the attackers. The group unexpectedly meets up with Kayitah, a Chiricahua, and an old friend of Jones, who also happens to be tracking the attackers with his son Honesco, because among the captives is a young Chiricahua woman who is engaged to Honesco. After the two agree to join the group, and Maggie treats Honesco’s injuries, Kayitah informs Maggie that Jones had been a member of their Chiricahua band where he gained the name Chaa-duu-ba-its-iidan (“shit for luck”) during his wanderings.

It is finally with the combined efforts of the two families that they are able to free the women, at the cost of Kayitah’s life, and immediately flee to the mountains with the kidnappers behind them. Knowing they have no other choice but to stand their ground, the group fights off the remaining kidnappers. During the battle, Jones fights El Brujo, the one responsible for kidnapping his granddaughter. When Brujo attempts to kill Maggie with a shotgun, Jones sacrifices his life to save his daughter as both he and Brujo fall off a cliff to their deaths. Maggie shoots at the last remaining kidnappers to scare them off. She realizes her father’s love for her and finally forgives him. Then she goes home with her father´s body, her daughters and the other kidnapped girls.

This is a film that uses the western genre to explore the nature of the father/daughter relationship. Both Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett give superb performances as the estranged pair. The writing and the acting in this film complement each other beautifully, and this film could well make it into the category of “The Great Western”.

 

REVIEW: GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS

CAST (VOICES)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad men)
Henry Rollins (Heat)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Grey Griffin (Justice League: Cosmic Clash)
Kelly Hu (The Vampire Diaries)
David Kaufman (Superman: TAS)
Roddy Piper (They Live)

Billions of years ago, the Oan scientist Krona was obsessed with uncovering the origins of the universe, and he created a machine that’d allow him to pull back the curtain and witness that initial spark of creation. This forbidden quest created an antimatter universe and led to Krona’s transformation into a being of pure energy. The consequences of his actions placed the entire universe — multiple realities, even — in grave danger, prompting Krona’s fellow Oans to rechristen themselves the Guardians of the Universe.

To atone for the havoc that Krona had wrought, the Guardians created an interstellar police force known as the Green Lanterns…creatures from one end of the universe to the other possessing great will and the capacity to overcome fear, each gifted with a power ring that is perhaps the most powerful weapon in creation. Despite the eons that have come and gone since the formation of the Green Lantern Corps, Krona’s destructive grip has yet to be fully eradicated. He’s planted a seed of destruction in the Oan sun that marks the very center of the universe, and the shadow demons he’s unleashed are devouring any Corpsmen they come across. As the Guardians rally the troops for what may be the greatest threat they’ve ever faced, seasoned Green Lantern Hal Jordan fills rookie Arisia Rrab in on the history of the Corps — its proudest moments and greatest figures — all of which will prove key to overcoming Krona once and for all.

Emerald Knights is handled so startlingly well here. Its visuals and storytelling both flow together wonderfully. The five very different stories that make up Emerald Knights all come together in its final moments, feeling very much like parts of a greater whole. It helps that all of the segments woven throughout the movie are consistently engaging. There’s not one I’d point to as a favorite or a disappointment; they’re all great. Even though this anthology by its very nature is continually bounding from one story to the next, Emerald Knights still feels intensely focused. These stories are short but immediately establish a sense of character and purpose, and the fact that there are such dazzlingly well-choreographed fight sequences, strikingly fluid animation, and an appropriate sense of awe and cosmic wonder maintain that initial adrenaline rush. The Lanterns that make up the Corps are on one hand strange and alien, and yet they do come across as a cohesive whole. Its characters are injected with enough personality that I almost forget their inspired, otherworldly appearances, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re brought to life by vocal talent like Firefly’s Nathan Fillion and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss either.

REVIEW: SEPERATE LIVES

CAST

Linda Hamilton (Chuck)
James Belushi (Red Heat)
Vera Miles (The Searchers)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Drew Snyder (Commando)
Mark Lindsay Chapman (Swamp Thing: The Series)
Jackie Debatin (Skeleton Man)

Dr. Lauren Porter’s friend was killed a few years ago. Tom Beckwith, an ex-cop who gave up the profession after his wife died, follows Lauren’s classes in order to become a psychiatrist. He learns that Lauren has a personality disorder after she convinces him to follow her with a camera and film her. On his first tailing, Tom is beaten by a nightclub’s owner who also turns out to be the boyfriend of Lauren’s alter ego, Lena. Tom quits, but Lauren persuades him to reconsider. They confide in each other about their respective families. Tom is having a hard time raising his tomboyish daughter Ronnie alone while Lauren confides she was the only witness for her mother and stepfather’s murders. Her real father, meanwhile, has moved on and is now a happy husband and father again. Tom tries to connect with his ex-colleagues in investigating the murders. He learns that Lauren has an ex-husband, Charles, with whom she stayed on good terms. However, Charles is soon killed.

Tom decides to invite Lauren home for a dinner, where she makes Ronnie understand that despite any personal problems, Tom is still her father and cares about her. Believing the solution can be found at Lauren’s childhood house, Tom drives her there. They discover that Lauren’s dad is the real culprit. He manipulated his daughter, the only witness, by saying that she was as responsible as he was. Tom is shot in the arm but manages to disarm Lauren’s dad, who falls out a window and dies. Tom promises to keep in touch with Lauren, who is committed to an asylum. Before he departs, they kiss.

This is a good movie, but it does feel rather like a TV movie they show on a Saturday night. Both James and Linda did a good job in their roles, but at times the plot was a bit bizarre – but at the same time it made you want to know what was going to happen to them. You’d definitely class this as a B Movie, which surprises me as James Belushi and Linda Hamilton have had great roles in cinema before.

 

REVIEW: GET HIM TO THE GREEK

CAST

Russell Brand (Hop)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Rose Byrne (Spy)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Sean Combs (Made)
Colm Meaney (intermission)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Aziz Ansari (30 Minutes or Less)
Nick Kroll (Date Night)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Karl Theobald (Mortdecai)
Carla Gallo (Bones)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
Kristen Schaal (Norbit)
Kristen Bell (The Boss)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Rachel Roberts (Flashforward)

In 2008, British cheeky chappy rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) releases an album and a titular single — “African Child”, which is a commercial and critical failure. In an interview, despite having been teetotal and free of drugs, along with his pop-star girlfriend Jackie Q (Rose Byrne), she drunkenly declares they have a boring life in an interview. He relapses — which effectively ends his relationship with her, makes him lose custody of their son, Naples, sabotages his career and makes him become a slacker. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) works as a talent scout at Pinnacle Records, a successful record company. He lives with his girlfriend, Daphne (Elisabeth Moss), a doctor. Pinnacle Records is performing badly as a result of poor record sales, and the head of the company, Sergio Roma (Sean Combs), asks for ideas. Green proposes that Aldous Snow play at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on the tenth anniversary of his legendary performance there in 1999.
Sergio sends Aaron to London to escort Aldous to the performance. Before he leaves, Daphne informs Aaron that she has received a job offer in Seattle and that they are moving there, which leads to an argument resulting in an apparent break-up. After retrieving Aldous from his apartment, Aaron learns that Aldous had not been expecting him and that he had thought the concert was not for another two months. They then bar-hop across the city and Aaron futilely tries to get Aldous to catch one of many missed flights. Daphne calls Aaron to apologize for the fight, only to learn that Aaron believes that they are broken up. Throughout his partying, Aaron’s cellphone accidentally calls Daphne periodically, informing her of Aaron’s activities. Aaron and Aldous travel to New York City for Aldous’s appearance on Today. To keep Aldous sober for his performance, Aaron imbibes all of Aldous’s whiskey and marijuana. Minutes before the performance, Aldous realizes he is unable to remember the lyrics to his most recent and unpopular song, “African Child”, and replaces it with an older hit, “The Clap”, to cheers and excitement from the audience.
About to embark on a flight to Los Angeles, Aldous forces Aaron to smuggle heroin in his rectum. During their travels, Aaron learns that Aldous has become depressed and troubled, as he misses his son and has been alienated from his own father Jonathan (Colm Meaney) for years. Aaron suggests he visit him after the show; instead Aldous insists they go to Las Vegas to see Jonathan. Sergio soon arrives, with plans to “mindfuck” Aldous to Los Angeles. Sergio hooks up Aaron with a sexually violent girl named Destiny (Carla Gallo), who takes him to a hotel room and rapes him. After Aaron tells Aldous that he has been raped, Aldous gives him a “Jeffrey”, a joint described as “a Neapolitan of drugs”. Aaron panics and starts to have a bad trip, believing he is having a heart attack. Jonathan makes the trip worse by agreeing that Aaron is having a heart attack while Aldous attempts to calm Aaron down, primarily by the comforting sensation of stroking the furry walls of the hotel suite. Aldous fights with his father; Sergio (who is also high) jumps in the fight, and inadvertently sets the lounge on fire.
Aldous attempts to help Aaron by giving him an adrenaline shot and they run out of the hotel, chased by Sergio, who is hit by a car but comes out unharmed. Aldous and Aaron flee to Los Angeles, where Aaron convinces Aldous to visit Jackie Q. She has been sleeping with Metallica’s drummer, Lars Ulrich (playing himself) and confesses that Naples is not actually his biological son, but instead is a photographer’s son. This makes him even more miserable. Meanwhile, Aaron goes to his home to apologize to Daphne. They are interrupted when Aldous arrives at their house and proposes that he, Aaron, and Daphne engage in a threesome; Daphne (who is mad at Aaron) agrees and Aaron hesitantly goes along. During the threesome, Aaron angrily decides to kiss Aldous, breaking it up. Daphne and Aaron both immediately regret the threesome, and Aaron angrily tells Aldous to go, criticizing Aldous’s overall mental state. Instead of preparing for his show, Aldous goes to the rooftop of the Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, and calls Aaron, threatening to jump. Aaron rushes to the hotel, and attempts to coax Aldous down from the roof.
Instead, Aldous jumps into a rooftop pool several floors down, accidentally breaking his arm. Aldous tells Aaron that he is lonely, sad and embarrassed, but Aaron reminds Aldous that thousands of fans love him and are waiting just to see him. Aldous decides to perform at the Greek Theatre despite his injury, even though Aaron pleads for him to go to the hospital. Upon their arrival, Sergio offers Aaron drugs to give to Aldous so he will not cancel the concert. Aaron, tired of the abuse Sergio has given him, refuses and quits his job on the spot, much to Sergio’s dismay. Aaron walks stage-side with Aldous, trying to convince him to go to the hospital instead. However, Aaron sees how happy Aldous is while performing and heads home to reconcile with Daphne. Months later in Seattle (where Aaron and Daphne have moved), Aldous, sober once again, has returned to fame with a single “Furry Walls” produced by Aaron (now his official producer) based on events from their night in Las Vegas, performing on the VH1 Storytellers program.

Probably one of the most insanely hilarious movies I have ever seen. Who knew that Rose Byrne was actually a comedian all along. Also, I think that Aldus Snow is more a not so alter, alter ego for Russell Brand because it just looks, sounds and feels so genuine. This is not a movie than anyone could ever regret watching .

REVIEW: BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 1-4

Image result for batman the animated series logoMAIN CAST (VOICES)

Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Loren Lester (Flashforward)
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Hot Shots)
Bob Hastings (General Hospital)
Robert Costanzo (Dick Tracy)
Melissa Gilbert (Zoya)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Goes To Rome)
Mathew Valencia (Lawnmower Man 2)Image result for batman the animatedRECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager)
Neil Ross (Centurions)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Lloyd Bochner (Point Blank)
Marc Singer (V)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek:DS9)
Meredith MacRae (Petticoat Junction)
Michael Ansara (The Message)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Mari Devon (Howl’s Moving Castle)
Brock Peters (To Kill A Mockingbird)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Edward Asner (Up)
Josh Keaton (Green Lantern: TAS)
Arleen Sorkin (Days of Our Lives)
Diane Pershing (Centourions)
Ingrid Oliu (Real Women Have Curves)
Henry Polic II (Webster)
Tim Curry (IT)
Diana Muldaur (Star Trek: TNG)
Alan Rachins (LA Law)
Linda Gary (He-Man)
John Vernon (Dirty Harry)
Lindsay Crouse (Buffy)
Paul Williams (Adventure Time)
Aron Kincaid (Freakazoid!)
Heather Locklear (Return of Swamp Thing)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Treat Williams (The Phantom)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Harry Hamlin Clash of The Titans)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
William Sanderson (Blade Runner)
Leslie Easterbrook (The Devil’s Rejects)
John Glover (Smallville)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Helen Slater (Supergirl)
Michael York (Logans Run)
George Dzunda (Crimson Tide)
John De Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Julie Brown (Earth Girls Are Easy)
Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns)
Michael Gross (Familt Ties)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad men)
Jean Smart (Designing Women)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Marica Wallace (The Simpsons)
Marilu henner (Two and A Half Men)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
Stephanie Zimbalist (The Story Lady)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Henry Silva (Ocean’s Eleven)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Andrea Martin (Anastasia)
Grant Shaud (Murphy Brown)
Bruce Weitz (Hill Street Blues)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Jeffrey Jones (Howard The Duck)
Roy Dotrice (Beauty and The Beast)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Jeffrey Combs (Gotham)
Billy Barty (Masters of The Universe)
Tippi Hedren (The Birds)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Billy Zane (Zoolander)
Mark Rolstan (Alias)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Michael McKean (Smallville)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Lori Petty (Tank Girl)
Linda Hamilton (Chuck)
Billy West (Futurama)

Debuting on Fox in 1992, Batman: The Animated Series was immensely successful, garnering immense critical praise, taking home an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, and continuing in various forms for several years and well over a hundred episodes.First, the series is written and produced by people with a fundamental understanding of what makes the comics work, particularly during its peak in the ’70s under Dennis O’Neal and Neal Adams. As a long-time comics fanatic, it’s always welcome to see names like Gerry Conway and Marv Wolfman flash across the screen, and in the intervening years, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm have made their own impact on the four-color world. The tone is dark but not hopelessly grim, and the scripts don’t inundate viewers with patently obvious exposition or villainous cackling. It’s intelligently written and, while appropriate for a wide range of ages, doesn’t pander to a younger audience. I started watching Batman when it first debuted on Fox in 1992, and I appreciate it every bit as much now as a 34-year-old adult. The writers don’t shackle themselves to comic continuity, and their revisions are frequently more compelling than any other form in which we’ve seen Batman’s rogue’s gallery. Third-stringers like the Clock King and Clayface are given heavily revised origins and almost unrecognizable characterizations that are far more interesting than any other take on them.Batman boasts visuals that are as strong as the writing behind them. It’s incredibly dark; despite its Saturday morning/weekday afternoon origins, this is a series that greatly benefits from being watched at night with the lights off. The character designs are angular and exaggerated, in contrast to the rounded, ’40s-inspired props and backgrounds that further establish the distinctive, timeless look of the show. The detail and fluidity of the animation vary from episode to episode, but the better installments are almost jaw-dropping.

Following the visuals of the series, the next obvious subject to tackle is how it sounds. For me, Batman’s tone is one of the elements that really sets it apart from most every other animated series, and contributing greatly to that is the orchestral score in each episode. The series also has a phenomenal roster of talent contributing its voices. The main group — Kevin Conroy as the definitive Batman, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred, Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon — just nail their parts with complete perfection. Very recognizable names also contribute to villains and assorted supporting characters. A complete list would be prohibitively long, but some of the more notable actors and actresses from these episodes are Michael Ansara, Ed Asner, Adrienne Barbeau, Ed Begley Jr., Mark Hamill, David L. Lander, Heather Locklear, Kevin McCarthy, Roddy McDowall, Richard Moll, Kate Mulgrew, Ron Perlman, Alan Rachins, Marc Singer, Jeffrey Tambor, John Vernon, Adam West, and Paul Williams. The campy live action series from the ’60s also drew heavily from established Hollywood talent, but the difference here is that the actors don’t draw attention to themselves as stars.

This set has the show at the absolute top of its form. There isn’t a lame show in the bunch, and many of the episodes in this set are destine to become classics. Prechance to Dream, the second show in the set, is a wonderful look at what might have happened if Bruce Wayne’s parents hadn’t been killed. After being knock out while chasing some crooks, Bruce wakes up at home, uncertain as to how he got there. He’s surprised to find that the entrance to the Batcave is blocked, but even more astonished to discover that his mother and father are still alive. Bruce must figure out what going on, but in doing so, he knows he’ll ruin the happiness that he’s discovered.AlmostGot ‘im, probably my favorite show of the series. This story takes place during a “villain’s night out” where Batman’s main enemies aren’t committing crimes. They are all sitting around a table in a bar playing poker, relaxing. While talking, the conversation turns to Batman of corse. Like a group of fisherman swapping stories, each crook takes a turn telling the time that they were closest to killing Batman. The little vignettes were all full of action, and the framing story was very funny. A great combination, with an excellent ending line.
The Batman’s background story takes is fleshed out in a couple of episodes too. His early training plays an important part in Night of the Ninja, and I Am the Night introduces Dr. Leslie Thompkins who is an important person from when Bruce was young. Viewers get to find out just where the Batmoblie came from in The Mechanic, a great show that explains some aspects of Batman’s world that usually gets glossed over. Robin’s origin is recounted in Robin’s Reckoning, a two part story which won an Emmy. This story examines the bond between Batman and Robin, and why the Dark Knight agreed to raise a young boy.
The writing on the show is top notch. The show doesn’t dumb itself down to appeal to a young audience, the creators thought that if you have well written intelligent stories, kids would be attracted. They were right but the show also appeals to adults for the same reason.

One of the things Batman: The Animated Series does particularly well is infuse its villains with personality. They’re not a rotation of thugs with a different gimmick and costume each week — the writers go to great lengths to humanize these characters, and although they’re still unambiguously the bad guys, they still manage to be sympathetic at times. “His Silicon Soul”, following up on the two-part “Heart of Steel” from the previous collection, features a robotic duplicate of Batman unable to come to grips with the realization that he’s a machine.

The title character of “Baby-Doll” was created especially for the series. Think Webster with the race and gender reversed; Mary Louise Dahl was in her twenties but looked like a three-year-old, and she cashed in on that rare disability with a successful and hopelessly bland sitcom. An ill-advised career move derailed her as an actress, and a decade later, she’s systematically kidnapped all of her former co-stars in an attempt to reclaim those happy years. Again, as outlandish as the premise might sound, it really does work. You might smirk at reading about a teary-eyed Baby Doll attempting to fire an already-emptied doll-shaped pistol into a funhouse mirror, but the immeasurably talented writers are gifted enough to eke more pathos than I ever would have thought possible out of that.

Redemption, whether seized or tossed aside, is also frequently touched upon. “Sideshow” opens with a grueling chase between Batman and an escaped Killer Croc, who manages to stumble upon a remote farm that’s home to a group of former sideshow acts. They offer Croc a chance at an honest life, but old habits die hard. Another example is “House and Garden”. When a poisonous plant-creature starts a reign of terror in Gotham, Batman naturally turns his sights towards the recently-released Poison Ivy. She insists that she’s rehabilitated, and by all accounts, Ivy is happily married and living the mundane suburban life. The investigation continues to point back to her, and the final revelation involves some of the creepiest imagery ever seen in the series.

Harley Quinn is also featured in a couple of episodes centered around her attempts to stick with the straight ‘n narrow. She’s a fan favorite for a reason, and these appearances are some of the most memorable episodes in this collection. “Harlequinade” is a chaotic team-up with Batman in an attempt to track down The Joker, who’s managed to get his hands on a bomb that’ll turn Gotham into a smoldering mushroom cloud. “Harley’s Holiday” documents her release from Arkham Asylum, and even though she’s determined to leave that life of crime behind her, an attempt to legitimately buy a pretty pink dress at a store spirals into a bad day…a really, really bad day, culminating in being chased by Batman.

It’s particularly great to see the villains interact with one another. That’s part of the fun of “Trial”, which has a reluctant prosecutor attempting to defend Batman in an insane trial when the inmates take over the asylum. The flipside of that coin is seen in “Lock-Up”, when a cruel jailer’s overzealousness gets him fired from Arkham and compels him to hunt down the left-leaning scum he blames for the state of the world. Another stand-out is “A Bullet for Bullock”, an episode in which the slovenly detective is rattled by death threats and reluctantly teams with Batman, and the ending is just one example of how clever the show’s writers can be. “Clever” is also the first word that instantly springs to mind for “Make ‘Em Laugh”, an episode where The Joker co-opts a fellow criminal’s technology to create a small army of fumbling costumed criminals with inane gimmicks.

These episodes introduce a couple of recurring villains ripped from the pages of the comics. Most notable among them is Ra’s al Ghul, who makes his first appearance in a two-parter penned by Len Wein and Denny O’Neil, familiar names to longtime readers of Batman’s four-color incarnation. The centuries-old Ra’s has virtually unlimited resources at his disposal, equally intrigued by Batman’s boundless skills as a detective as he is frustrated by his foe’s determination to disrupt his machinations. Ra’s often lends a Saturday morning serial flavor to the show, from the globe-trotting in his first few appearances to the flared pants of “Avatar”. The charismatic character has such a presence that he’s able to carry “Showdown” largely by himself in an episode that barely features Batman or Robin in any capacity. “Showdown” is set during the westward expansion of the mid-1800’s as Ra’s’ opposition to the sprawling railroads is pitted against scarred bounty hunter Jonah Hex (one of the few DC characters not connected with the Batman mythos to appear on the show). The other noteworthy recurring villain is The Ventriloquist, a fairly timid-looking middle-aged man who seems more likely to be a CPA than a ruthless crimelord. Taken by himself, that seems to be the right impression, but when he has his puppet Scarface on the end of his arm… The Ventriloquist’s first appearance, “Read My Lips”, is one of my favorites of the season, and he returns twice after that.
Several other characters from the comics briefly appear, including Maxie Zeus, the back-breaking, Venom-fueled Bane, and the fairly obscure masked criminals of The Terrible Trio. The majority of Batman’s rogue’s gallery is present and accounted for, with The Penguin, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, The Mad Hatter, The Joker, Harley Quinn, The Clock King, Catwoman, The Riddler, The Scarecrow, Two-Face, and Mr. Freeze all wreaking havoc throughout Gotham City at some point or another. Even with the opening titles shifting on disc three from Batman: The Animated Series to The Adventures of Batman and Robin, there’s no discernable drop in quality.

After Batman: The Animated Series wrapped up its long, successful run on Fox, a revised version of the series — with most of the same talent in tow — popped up as part of the animation block on Kids’ WB. This half of The New Batman/Superman Adventures, Although the general look of Batman: The Animated Series is still in place, many of the character designs have been revamped, making them sharper, more angular, and somewhat stripped down. Sometimes the changes worked; The Scarecrow is a much more ominous, disturbing figure now, and I like the exaggerated, deranged look of The Mad Hatter. Others didn’t fare so well, especially the much blander looking Riddler, and I have mixed feelings about the older, frailer Jim Gordon and the beady-eyed look of the Joker. One of the more distinctive changes is that the yellow moon on Batman’s chest is gone, an alteration that makes it easy to distinguish one of these episodes from the previous animated incarnation.

One aspect of Batman: The Animated Series that has always impressed me is that even though it was a weekday afternoon cartoon based on a popular comic book character, it didn’t pander to a younger audience. Rewatching the box sets Warner has issued over the past year and a half, I find myself as engaged by them now in my mid-thirties as I was when I first saw them half a lifetime ago.

The New Batman Adventures is a odd mix because even though many of the stories seem geared towards a younger audience, the censors have lightened up, so the villains can use words like ‘murder’ and ‘kill’ more freely, its female characters (especially Harley Quinn) are less subtle with the sexual innuendo, and there’s even a little blood. Over the Edge, one of my favorite episodes of any of Batman’s animated incarnations, with batman hunted by  by Commissioner Gordon as his men spray gunfire throughout the Batcave in a frantic chase against Batman and Robin. It’s a dark, unflinchingly brutal story about loss and betrayal, showing the Dark Knight at his lowest point with his identity exposed and facing greater adversity than he ever has before.

It’s not all dark and dour, though. Another favorite is “Joker’s Millions”, which opens with the Joker struggling with his finances. Robots, hyena chow, Joker venom, and overly elaborate death traps aren’t cheap, but he gets an unexpected windfall when a dead mobster leaves the flat-broke Joker a quarter-billion dollars in his will. The Joker goes on a spastic spending spree, bribing everyone in sight into wiping his criminal record clean, but…whoops. There’s a catch, of course, and the Joker’s not the one who gets the last laugh.

the Joker also take center-stage in “Mad Love”, an episode penned by Paul Dini that was later spun off by DC into a graphic novel. “Mad Love” takes a look at how ambitious, straightlaced psychiatrist Harlene Quinzel could become infatuated with a psychotic madman like the Joker. The Joker’s far more interested in cobbling together some sort of complicated trap to knock off Batsy than fooling around with his eager-to-please henchwoman, so she tries to get her puddin’s attention by rehashing one of his unused schemes and getting rid of Batman once and for all. This is the sort of character-centric episode that I thought really defined Batman: The Animated Series, and “Mad Love” ranks with the best of the series.
“Legends of the Dark Knight” is another personal favorite, paying homage to some of Batman’s different incarnations over the decades. Dick Sprang gets the first nod in a segment with Batman duking it out with the Joker in a music museum with all of the puns, oversized props, and four-color action you’d expect from a Golden Age comic, followed up by a deeply impressive segment with Frank Miller’s hulking, fifty-something Batman squaring off against an army of mutants in the future. The side story with a few kids getting tangled up in an arson-for-hire gig with Firefly doesn’t stack up to the rest of the episode, but who cares?
There are a few other episodes worth pointing out. “Girls’ Night Out” is set with both Batman and Superman out of town, leaving Batgirl and Supergirl to square off against Harley, Poison Ivy, and electrifying Supes-villain Livewire.Dick Grayson, the original Robin, has struck out on his own as Nightwing, and he’s highlighted several times — first in “You Scratch My Back”, which teams him with Catwoman, much to Batman’s chagrin, and again in “Old Wounds”, where Grayson tells Batgirl why he could no longer fight alongside the Dark Knight. The episodes on this box set also introduce The Creeper, the demon Etrigan, and Firefly to the animated series,  Villains like Two Face, The Mad Hatter, Catwoman, Clayface, Mr. Freeze, The Scarecrow, The Ventriloquist, Bane, Killer Croc, Baby Doll, and, briefly, The Riddler also return to torment Gotham again.