REVIEW: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – SEASON 3

legends-of-tomorrow-season-3-1027894

Starring

Victor Garber (Alias)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Franz Drameh (See)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals)
Amy Louise Pemberton (The Laundromat)
Tala Ashe (American Odyssey)
Keiynan Lonsdale (Love, Simon)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)

Victor Garber, Dominic Purcell, Brandon Routh, Nick Zano, Caity Lotz, and Franz Drameh in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Christina Brucato (The Intern)
Jes Macallan (Mistresses)
Adam Tsekhman (You’re The Worst)
Simon Merrells (Spartacus)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Billy Zane (Titanic)
Johnathon Schaech (8MM 2)
Tracy Ifeachor (Treadstone)
Courtney Ford (Supernatural)
Echo Kellum (Rick and Morty)
Neal McDonough (Van Helsing)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Bar Paly (Pain & Gain)
Evan Jones (Titans)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Rick Gonzalez (Coach Carter)
Juliana Harkavy (Last Shift)
Melissa Benoist (Whiplash)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Isabella Hofmann (Burlesque)
Susanna Thompson (Cold Case)
Katia Winter (Sleepy Hollow)
Emily Tennant (Motive)
Graeme McComb (UnReal)
Matt Ryan (Layer Cake)
Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who)
Jonathan Cake (Chuck)
Adrian Hough (The Fog)
Eric Breker (Jingle All The Way 2)
Luke Bilyk (Lost Girl)
Violett Beane (God Friended me)
Matthew MacCaull (Tomorrowland)

Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Legends of Tomorrow was the best part of the Arrowverse during its second season, and that didn’t necessarily change in Season 3.  The show continued to deliver its unique blend of zany humor and larger-than-life superhero antics. But the fact that it stayed on top this year also goes to show how troubled the Arrowverse as a whole has been lately. Season 3 had plenty of high points, but it also struggled to build an overarching narrative to rival that of Season 2.

Dominic Purcell in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)It was a season that showed us the best and worst of the series. Historically, Legends has never had the best track record when it comes to crafting villains as dynamic and compelling as its cast of heroes. The whole Vandal Savage/Hawkman/Hawkgirl mythology was the clear weak spot in Season 1. And while the Legion of Doom made for fun villains in Season 2, there the series was really just building on foundations laid by Arrow and The Flash. Season 3 tended to struggle in that department as well. I’ll give the writers credit for creating a wholly original villain in the form of Mallus (voiced by John Noble) rather than adapting a preexisting DC character.Brandon Routh and Jack Fisher in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)But that blank slate seemed to work against the character from the start. Mallus remained a vague, shadowy presence for the majority of the season. And when he finally did appear in the flesh late in the game, he came across as little more than a generic CGI demon. Nothing about Mallus’ personality or motivations left much of an impression. Heck, Noble stood out far more during the lone scene in “Guest Starring John Noble” where he played himself than he ever did as Mallus. Nor did the running storyline involving the hunt for the six totems of Zambesi make for the most compelling narrative throughline. The totems came across as simple MacGuffins designed to move the plot along.Neal McDonough, Courtney Ford, and Caity Lotz in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Fortunately, this season did find greater success with its supporting cast of villains. It often felt like the writers weren’t entirely willing to abandon the Legion of Doom premise, with the result being that Mallus assembled his own team of familiar Arrowverse antagonists. Gorilla Grodd was never used to his full potential (understandably, given the heavy special effects cost involved), but the trio of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), his daughter Nora (Courtney Ford) and Kuasa (Tracey Ifeachor) made for a winning team. All three of these characters had extended arcs that focused a great deal on redemption, which helped to prevent this new group from playing like a mere rehash of the Legion. Damien in particular proved his continued worth as an Arrowverse antagonist, with many episodes banking on McDonough’s magnetic performance and the character’s gradual shift from gleeful sadist to desperate father.Rick Gonzalez, Chyler Leigh, Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, David Ramsey, Brandon Routh, Nick Zano, Stephen Amell, Caity Lotz, Grant Gustin, Tala Ashe, Juliana Harkavy, Echo Kellum, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)If Season 3 was hit or miss with its villains, it had a much stronger track record with its heroes. The series has really honed that group dynamic by now. And while some characters proved more integral to the series than others this year (Sara’s ongoing struggle with her leadership role, Nate and Amaya’s doomed romance) none of the main characters felt like they were given short shrift in Season 3. For example, while Ray (Brandon Routh) wasn’t generally one of the more critical players this year, he really shone in the delightful E.T.-inspired “Phone Home.” The same goes for Mick (Dominic Purcell), who underwent a subtle yet crucial evolution after being confronted with Earth-X’s Leo Snart (Wentworth Miller).Neal McDonough in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)It was especially nice to see the writers devote so much time to paving the way for Victor Garber’s exit. Professor Stein was given the heroic sendoff he deserved, and one that carried a huge amount of emotional weight. In fact, the midseason finale, which dealt as much with the fallout of Stein’s death as it did a trip back to Viking times, may well be the best episode of Legends to date.Matt Ryan and Caity Lotz in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Thankfully, the series was diligent about adding new faces to the cast to make up for other departures. Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally West immediately made himself a comfortable home on the series, proving again just how poorly that character had been used on The Flash. Matt Ryan’s John Constantine made for a welcome recurring presence on the show, basically giving viewers a test run before Ryan becomes a series regular in Season 4. The show struggled a bit more when it came to Zari Tomaz (Tala Ashe). Ashe’s relatively low energy performance as the sardonic Zari made it hard for her to blend well with the rest of the cast, and it wasn’t until late in the season that Zari really seemed to find her place.Brandon Routh, Nick Zano, Caity Lotz, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)The most successful new addition, however, proved to be Ava Sharpe (Jes Macallan). Initially a stern foil to the Legends, Ava developed new layers over the course of the season and formed an engaging bond with Sara (Caity Lotz). I do wish the writers hadn’t waited so long to introduce Ava’s back-story as an unwitting clone from the future. That whole subplot felt a little tacked on, given how little room there was to actually explore its ramifications, but ideally we’ll be seeing plenty more of Ava in Season 4.Jonathan Cake, Dominic Purcell, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)In general, Season 3 succeeded in spite of its underwhelming main conflict. The strongest episodes – “Phone Home,” “Beebo the God of War, “Return of the Mack,” – were those that either downplayed the Mallus storyline or managed to balance it out with a healthy dose of goofiness. Legends’ sense of humor has always been its greatest asset. That remained very much true in Season 3. The writers frequently pushed the series into some pretty strange and wonderful places this year, but never did the humor and silliness get in the way of the character drama. Legends strikes a balance between light and dark that the rest of the Arrowverse too often struggles to find.

REVIEW: ARROW – SEASON 1

Main Cast

Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: OOTS)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas 2006)
Colin Donnell (Chicago Med)
David Ramsey (Blue Bloods)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Susanna Thompson (Timeless)
Paul Blackthorne (The InBetween)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Colin Salmon (Mortal Engines)
Jamey Sheridan (Homeland)
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Final Destination 5)
Annie Ilonzeh (Chicago Fire)
Kathleen Gati (The Hosue Bunny)
Roger Cross (Continuum)
Brian Markinson (Sanctuary)
Ben Cotton (Slither)
Derek Hamilton (When Calls The HEart)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Kelly Hu (The Scorpion King)
Ty Olsson (X-Men 2)
Emma Bell (The Walking Dead)
Byron Mann (Skyscraper)
Eugene Lipinski (Outland)
Michael Rowe (Tomorrowland)
Kirby Morrow (Staragte: Atlantis)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
Christie Laing (Izombie)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Sebastian Dunn (Downtown Abbey)
Eric Breker (Godzilla)
Chelah Horsdal (Hell on Wheels)
Steve Makaj (Travelers)
Shekhar Paleja (Sanctuary)
Valerie Tian (Izombie)
Currie Graham (Agent Carter)
Kyle Schmid (Six)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (The 100)
Jessica De Gouw (The Hunting)
Jeffrey Nordling (Big Little Lies)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
David Milchard (Big Eyes)
Andrew Dunbar (Leprechaun: Origins)
Danny Nucci (Titanic)
Michael Daingerfield (Smallville)
Jacqueline Samuda (Stargate SG.1)
Ben Browder (Farscape)
Colin Lawrence (Riverdale)
Janina Gavankar (True Blood)
Eileen Pedde (Juno)
Seth Gabel (Genius)
Kurt Evans (Izombie)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Manu Bennett (Spartacus)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
David Anders (Izombie)
Ona Grauer (House of The Dead)
Adrian Holmes (V-Wars)
Celina Jade (The Man With The Iron Fists)
James Callis (Battlestar Galactica)
Chin Han (The Dark Knight)
Rekha Sharma (V)
Colton Haynes (Rough Night)
Alex Kingston (Flashforward)
Anna Van Hooft (Flash Gordon)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
J. August Richards (Angel)
Jessica Harmon (V-Wars)

Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)After turning the story about Clark Kent’s evolution from humble teenager to world’s greatest hero into one of the most successful science fiction TV series of all time, what exactly do you do for an encore? The obvious answer would be a series about a young Bruce Wayne. Or maybe a crime procedural starring the men and women of the Gotham City Police Department. Instead, The CW gave us Arrow, a series that simultaneously explores Oliver Queen’s first months as a vigilante hero and the painful hero’s journey he undertook while stranded on a remote island. Even considering Green Arrow’s popularity in Smallville and Justice League Unlimited, it wasn’t the most obvious choice. Nor was it the choice many DC fans wanted. But ultimately, it was a choice that paid off.To their credit, they succeeded. Even right off the bat, there were many notable elements that he writers introduced into the Green Arrow mythos. Generally a loner in the comics, here Ollie was given a full family and circle of allies. Some were inspired by characters from the comics, while others were entirely new creations. Probably the most successful new addition was John Diggle as Ollie’s personal bodyguard-turned-ally in his war on crime. Watching the dynamic between Ollie and Diggle morph from cold and hostile to warm camaraderie was a treat. And the two sequences featuring Diggle in the costume rather than Ollie suggested that this show could have a life beyond that of its lead character.Image result for arrow pilotAmell’s performance grew stronger over time, and the subtle ways in which he distinguished his performances during the present-day and flashback scenes stood out.With other characters, it was more a question of the scripts shedding light on motivation and relationships before they really came into their own. This was certainly the case with Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), who was a bit of a hard sell as a sympathetic mother figure until viewers came to understand her role in “The Undertaking.” Similarly, Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) came across as a fairly flat and unimportant character at first. But by the end of the season, Tommy had emerged as the emotional heart of the series and Donnell’s one of the strongest performances.Seth Gabel and Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)Jessica De Gouw in Arrow (2012)Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) was endearing, her instant charm made fans fall in love with her making her a regular was the best choice when they headed into season 2. As Laurel, Katie Cassidy was excellent as future Black Canary, dealing with her emotions of seeing her former boyfriend back from the dead and the lost of her sister. Structurally, the season started out strong and finished even stronger. The writers managed to weave together an overarching narrative as Ollie slowly uncovered the truth of The Undertaking and his own parents’ involvement while contending with various smaller villains and conflicts. Anchoring the series throughout were the frequent flashbacks to Ollie’s five years on the island. The pilot episode offered a tantalizing glimpse of what had transpired over the course of those five years with the Deathstroke mask discarded on the beach. Various plot twists revealed just how complicated that story is, teaming Ollie with Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) and Shado (Celina Jade) in an ongoing guerrilla war against mercenary leader Edward Fyers (Sebastian Dunn). Particularly once Slade entered the picture and his bond with Ollie became a major focal point, the flashbacks emerged as one of the strongest elements of the show.Stephen Amell and Jessica De Gouw in Arrow (2012)Everything in Season 1 culminated in two climactic episodes as Ollie fought for the survival of Starling City in the present and to stop Fyers from sparking an international incident in the past. These episodes offered a satisfying blend of big action scenes and emotional character showdowns. In particular, the final scene between Ollie and Tommy that closed out the season was perhaps the best the show has delivered so far.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: JINGLE ALL THE WAY 2

 

CAST

Larry The Cable Guy (Tooth Fairy 2)
Brian Stepanek (The Island)
Kennedi Clements (Poltergeist 2005)
Kristen robek (Pursued)
Rachel Hayward (Hellraiser: Hellseeker)
Eric Breker (Walking Tall)

Larry is a fifty-something blue collar worker, a truck driver and single father with an 8 year old daughter named Noel. Noel lives with her mum Trish, Larry’s ex-wife, who’s remarried into significant money.Larry lives in a rundown camper van in a forest and goes ice fishing to take his mind off things. Victor is the millionaire step-father who lives in a mansion and wants to play happy families with Noel and Larry’s ex-wife. The new husband disapproves of Larry’s down to earth lifestyle and regards the ex-husband as an inconvenience. Victor immediately wants to prove that he’s a better father than Larry and sets out to become number one in Noel’s affections. Larry’s parlous finances mean that he can’t even afford $160 for a small Christmas tree, whilst Victor demonstrates his financial superiority by paying $10,000 for a giant sized tree imported from Norway.It’s the lead up to the Christmas period and the hottest toy of the year is a talking furry bear, the Harrison Bear, a very cutesy fluffy toy which suddenly becomes the “must have” present for children. Larry resolves that his daughter will have a Harrison Bear when she makes it clear in a letter to Santa that this is what she really really wants for Christmas. Larry certainly can’t afford a $10,000 tree, but he determines to give his expectant daughter the next best thing.  When Victor discovers Larry’s ambitious plans for the looming festive period, he hatches a mean-spirited and nasty scheme to make sure that Larry will look like the bad guy on Christmas Day, when there’s no Harrison Bear under Noel’s tree.This movie is a sequel of sorts to Arnold Scwharzenegger’s Jingle All The Way, but this flick pales a little bit by comparison. The film’s fundamental weakness is that the whole story is predicated on the artificial conceit that a highly successful, multi-millionaire step-father, with a very sweet natured and glamorous wife, and an impeccably behaved step-daughter, would feel compelled to go to war with a perfectly affable and decent ordinary guy, who poses absolutely no threat to the new family unit.Jingle-All-The-Way-2-LB3-1This awkward plot device is crowbarred into a generally feel-good festive tale and the chief protagonists don’t really make it work – Victor just isn’t convincingly Machiavellian or nasty enough, whilst Larry doesn’t come across as objectionable in any way, and he’s certainly not the type who might incur the ire of any sane guy. Where the film is more successful is that the cast give generally likeable performances, especially Larry and Noel, which compensates to a certain extent for the implausibility and staginess of the central conflict between the two men. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t deign to make a cameo appearance in this sequel, which is a pity, it might have helped the film to end on a high note if Arnie had somehow been involved in the denouement. Suffice it to say, this is overall a fair family flick for the festive period

REVIEW: GODZILLA (2014)

CAST

Aaron Taylor-Johnston (Kick-Ass 1 & 2)
Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins)
Bryan Cranston (Argo)
Carson Bolde (Mansfield Path)
Sally Hawkins (Layer Cake)
Juliette Binoche (The English Patient)
David Strathairn (Lincoln)
Richard T. Jones (Terminator: TSCC)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Garry Chalk (Beast Wars)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Kevan Ohtsji (Dreamcatcher)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Ty Olsson (War For The Planet of The Apes)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Jill Teed (X-Men 2)
Eric Breker (Stargate SG.1)
Aaron Pearl (Man of Steel)

In 1954, Godzilla, an ancient alpha predator, is lured to an island in an attempt to kill it with a nuclear bomb. In 1999, Project Monarch scientists Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham investigate a colossal skeleton unearthed in a collapsed mine in the Philippines. They find two giant spores; one dormant and one hatched with a trail that leads to the sea. In Japan, the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant experiences unusual seismic activity; Supervisor Joe Brody sends his wife Sandra with a team of other technicians into the reactor. A tremor breaches the reactor, leaving Sandra and her team unable to escape while the plant collapses.Fifteen years later in 2014, Joe’s son Ford, a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal officer, returns from a tour of duty to his family in San Francisco but has to immediately depart for Japan after Joe is detained for trespassing in the Janjira quarantine zone. Joe is determined to find out the cause of the Janjira meltdown, and he persuades Ford to accompany him to their old home in the quarantine zone to retrieve vital data while discovering that the zone is not toxic. They successfully retrieve the data but are discovered by soldiers and taken to a secret facility in the power plant’s ruins. After several power failures, a giant winged creature emerges and escapes, destroying the facility. Joe is severely wounded and dies as he and Ford are taken by helicopter to the U.S.S. Saratoga. The incident is reported around the world as an earthquake.
Serizawa, Graham, and Ford join a U.S. Navy task force led by Admiral William Stenz to search for the creature, called a “MUTO” (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). Serizawa and Graham reveal to Ford that a 1954 deep sea expedition triggered the appearance of Godzilla and nuclear tests in the 1950s were really attempts to kill him. Project Monarch was established to secretly study Godzilla and other similar creatures such as the MUTO, which traveled from the Philippine mine to Janjira and caused the meltdown, and how they are connected with each other. Ford reveals that Joe had monitored echolocation signals that indicated the MUTO was communicating with something.
The MUTO attacks a Russian submarine and drops it on land in Hawaii to eat the sub’s nuclear material. Godzilla arrives, causing a tsunami in Honolulu and briefly engages the MUTO in battle, until it flees. Meanwhile, a second, larger, wingless MUTO emerges from the other spore in Nevada and devastates Las Vegas. The scientists deduce the second MUTO is female, the female was the one the male was communicating with, and that the two MUTOs will meet to breed in San Francisco. Over the scientists’ objections, Stenz approves a plan to use nuclear warheads to lure and destroy the monsters. Ford returns to the U.S. and ends up joining the team delivering the warheads by train, but the female MUTO intercepts the train and devours most of the warheads. The single remaining warhead is airlifted with Ford to San Francisco and is activated after a confrontation between the military and Godzilla at the Golden Gate Bridge. The male MUTO steals the warhead and takes it to the female, who forms a nest around it in the Chinatown area.
While Godzilla and the MUTOs battle, a strike team, including Ford, enters the city via HALO jump to find and disarm the warhead. Unable to access the timer, the rest of the team sets the warhead on a boat for disposal at sea. The MUTOs are eventually able to get the upper hand, but Ford blows up the MUTO nest, ultimately distracting the MUTOs enough to allow Godzilla to emerge victorious in the end, killing the male MUTO by slamming him with his tail into the side of an office building and the female by firing his atomic breath down her throat, beheading her. Godzilla then collapses on the city shore. With the rest of the team wiped out, Ford uses the last of his energy to get the boat with the warhead out to sea. He is rescued before the warhead explodes and reunites with his family at the Oakland Coliseum emergency shelter the following morning. Godzilla awakens, rising from the destroyed San Francisco, and returns to sea while the media hails Godzilla as “King of the Monsters – savior of our city?”.It’s a good solid and well made big screen action disaster monster movie that deserves multiple viewings.

 

REVIEW: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2004) – SEASON 1

Starring

Edward James Olmos (Blade Runner)
Mary McDonnell (Donnie Darko)
Katee Sackhoff (Riddick)
Jamie Bamber (Marcella)
James Callis (Flashforward)
Tricia Helfer (Powers)
Grace Park (Hawaii Five-0)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Aaron Douglas (Chaos)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
Kandyse McClure (Mother’s Day)
Paul Campbell (Knight Rider)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Samuel Witwer (Smallville)

Mary McDonnell, Edward James Olmos, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Aaron Douglas, Michael Hogan, Grace Park, Katee Sackhoff, and Tricia Helfer in Battlestar Galactica (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Nicki Clyne (Saved!)
Donnelly Rhodes (Legends of Tomorrow)
Callum Keith Rennie (Impulse)
Matthew Bennett (Stargate SG.1)
Richard Hatch (InAlienable)
Kate Vernon (Heores)
Lorena Gale (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Leah Cairns (Interstellar)
Bodie Olmos (Walkout)
Luciana Carro (Helix)
Alonso Oyarzun (Reindeer Games)
Connor Widdows (X-Men 2)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)
Jill Teed (Godzilla)
Tobias Mehler (Disturbing Behavior)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Dominic Zamprogna (Stargate Universe)
Eric Breker (Stargate SG.1)
Camille Sullivan (Unspeakable)
Robert Wisden (Highlander: The Series)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Patrick Gallagher (Glee)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Jen Halley (Red Riding Hood)

Edward James Olmos and Michael Hogan in Battlestar Galactica (2004)When you try to reinvent a popular TV icon one of two things can happen. It will fly, or crash and burn. Back in 2003 the SciFi Channel took a huge gamble and aired a mini-series that took the original Battlestar Galactica concept and turned it on its head. It was a risky undertaking considering how revered the 1978 version is by science fiction fans. Would they accept it? Would this new show find a following? The answer was yes.Jamie Bamber and Richard Hatch in Battlestar Galactica (2004)SciFi’s gamble paid off big time and the new Battlestar Galactica has provided the best ratings numbers that the network has ever seen. It has become an icon for science fiction yet again and the new series stands shoulder to shoulder with other giants in the genre. When it originally aired cult followers of the franchise were critical about the differences between the two (of which there are many), but to the untrained eye there was little to gripe about. The basic concept of the original show, Cylons and Humans fighting against each other in a never ending war, is still intact. You still have the same 12 colonies, same major characters, same Battlestar. Everything else has been overhauled to the nth degree.Edward James Olmos and Jamie Bamber in Battlestar Galactica (2004)In a far distant quadrant of space, the war between Cylons and humans has been over for forty years. Every year, humans send an ambassador to a remote space station to meet with the Cylons and sign a peace treaty, but nobody ever shows up. Then one year they finally appear and begin the eradication of the human species. The twelve colonial home worlds are nuked into oblivion and all that is left of mankind are those that were lucky enough to be somewhere else on a ship. All together, less than 50,000 people.Grace Park and Tahmoh Penikett in Battlestar Galactica (2004)Fortunately for those remaining, the Battlestar Galactica is still functioning and even though it’s archaic, it is up to the task of protecting those who escaped. Led by Commander William Adama (Edward James Olmos) the military takes control of the fleet and begins the necessary steps to ensure the survival of our race. He can’t lead the people alone though so he reluctantly teams up with the new President, Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell). The two characters are at odds almost immediately and while Adama wants to storm into battle with guns blazing, Roslin, who before her battlefield promotion was the Secretary of Education, would prefer to make a run for it and start having babies.Katee Sackhoff in Battlestar Galactica (2004)The future of mankind is also put in the hands of Galactica’s officers such as the alcoholic Colonel Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan), the tomboyish Lt. Kara Thrace “Starbuck” (Katee Sackhoff) and Commander Adama’s son Lee (Jamie Bamber) who goes by the call sign Apollo. Every character adds something to this show even the treacherous Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) who sees visions of a human/Cylon model Number 6. Fans of the original will also be pleased to know that Richard Hatch (the original Apollo) makes an appearance on the show as a political terrorist known as Tom Zarek.Edward James Olmos and Jamie Bamber in Battlestar Galactica (2004)This ragtag group of survivors teeters on the brink of annihilation throughout the entire season. As if dangers like running out of fuel, death by dehydration, or suicide bombers aren’t enough, the Cylons are never far behind. But throughout the course of this season we do see characters grow closer together and we learn more about their previous lives. There are so many personal conflicts that put everything on the line and you can almost cut the tension with a knife at times. The biggest change in the new Galactica is that the Cylons have “evolved” themselves and now appear completely human. The old “toaster” models are still kicking around (with a slick CGI upgrade) but the human models are the ones pulling all of the strings and carrying out the orders of God. This little change adds huge elements of distrust and paranoia to a show that is already weighed down by overwhelming obstacles.James Callis in Battlestar Galactica (2004)Several minor details in the show have also been tweaked including the forty years of peace to updated weaponry and vehicles. Several character changes have come about as well in SciFi’s new creation. The character of Adama is more militaristic and his relationship with his son Apollo is more than a little rocky. Starbuck and Boomer have gone through sex changes and are now female characters in this new version. Overall many personality traits are true to the original characters but there are quite a few disparities.After undergoing such radical changes, it’s understandable how fans of the original may have been skeptical when the show first started airing. However, it is quite clear this show was careful constructed to appeal to both die hard fans of the original and those looking for a new spin on an old concept. It is important to keep in mind that this version is a reinvention of the classic instead of a continuation. That means that a new audience can get into it without being lost in the mythology. In fact, the only way you will get lost in this new Battlestar Galactica is if you miss an episode or the introductory miniseries. Those of you who have already purchased the miniseries when it was released (like I did) may be a little irritated with the double-dip here, but it’s essential in order to understand what’s going on in the show.James Callis and Tricia Helfer in Battlestar Galactica (2004)It’s very rare in a show that every actor clicks with the material but that is defiantly the case here. The team that was responsible for casting deserves a big pat on the back because they nailed every character perfectly. Of course the real heart and soul of a show comes from the script. That’s another area that Battlestar Galactica has covered thanks to a team of veteran writers. The developer of the show, Ronald Moore (of Trek fame), was responsible for penning the mini-series as well as some of the tenser episodes of the first season. His scripting talent sets up the beginning of the season and closes it on such a high note that it will leave you dying for more.Grace Park and Tahmoh Penikett in Battlestar Galactica (2004)In the case of this show, the visual aspect has a big impact on the overall mood. Everything is cast with stark contrast between light and shadow which keeps the dark tone front and center. Another interesting look comes from the filming technique since the camera is constantly in motion. Angles are slightly skewed and there is a sense of urgency to the picture even during the simplest of conversations. This is undoubtedly one of the more unique looking sci-fi shows around and trust me when I say that’s a good thing.Everything about Battlestar Galactica proves that it is the anti-Star Trek. There is no exploration, first contact or light hearted comedy episodes. Daily problems on board Galactica include finding food, finding power sources, and constantly running from an enemy that outnumbers and out guns them at every turn. Even on Star Trek’s worst day they never had it as bad as the team on Galactica. This is easily one of the darkest science fiction tales I have encountered as nothing seems to go right for our heroes. They are dogged at every turn by the Cylons, are forced to make difficult decisions for the good of their race and treachery threatens to tear the fabric of their very existence. But make no mistake, this is quality television that fans of the original or science fiction in general should definitely not miss out on.

 

REVIEW: STARGATE: THE ARK OF TRUTH

CAST

Ben Browder (Farscape)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Claudia Black (the Originals)
Currie Graham (Agent Carter)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Julian Sands (Robin Hood Beyond on Sherwood)
Sarah Strange (Dark Angel)
Michael Beach (The Abyss)
Gary Jones (Highlander: The Series)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Eric Breker (Walking Tall)
Gabrielle Rose (Proof)

Ben Browder and Currie Graham in Stargate: The Ark of Truth (2008)SG-1 discovers a box that they believe contains the Ark of Truth while digging on Dakara, but before they can open it, Ori soldiers arrive, led by Tomin. Daniel tricks them into opening the box, but it is revealed to be a fake. When Tomin is ordered by a Prior to kill them, he refuses, and Mitchell kills the Prior, whose powers were being blocked by the Anti-Prior device. Shocked at the death of their Prior, the Ori soldiers surrender with Tomin returning to Earth with SG-1 where he resides at the SGC for a time.MCDSTAR EC065Back on Earth, General Landry and Mitchell meet James Marrick, an IOA representative sent to interrogate Tomin due to the fact that the original IOA representative, Richard Woolsey is now working for the Atlantis Expedition.Claudia Black, Christopher Judge, and Michael Shanks in Stargate: The Ark of Truth (2008)When Daniel Jackson realizes that the Ark is still in the Ori galaxy, Marrick is assigned to accompany them on board the Odyssey through the Supergate. In the Ori galaxy, a member of the anti-Ori resistance tells the team that according to legend, the Ark is on Celestis, the Ori capital. When SG-1 beams down to the planet, Marrick activates the Asgard computer core which alerts the Ori to the ship’s location.Upon being alerted by Major Kevin Marks of what’s going on, Mitchell and Carter beam back to the Odyssey and discover that Marrick has used the core to build a Replicator, intending to plant it on an Ori ship and let it spread to their entire fleet.Claudia Black, Ben Browder, Gary Jones, Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks, and Amanda Tapping in Stargate: The Ark of Truth (2008) When Mitchell attempts to destroy it with an anti-Replicator Gun, the replicator escapes, and Marrick reveals that the IOA removed that weakness from the design, although conventional weapons are sufficient to destroy individual replicators. Marrick implies that a shutdown code has been included as a failsafe, but claims he does not know what it is. He is placed in the ship’s brig and falls victim to the Replicators who later make their way into the brig, resulting in Merrick becoming a Human-Replicator hybrid. With several Ori ships approaching, Mitchell attempts to beam Daniel, Teal’c, Vala, and Tomin up from the planet, but the replicator takes over the system and keeps Mitchell from doing so. With no other option, the Odyssey jumps to hyperspace to escape, leaving the others on the planet.Amanda Tapping in Stargate: The Ark of Truth (2008)Daniel finds the Ark in a set of catacombs, and after several ground tremors, brings it to the surface. When the team emerges, they are ambushed by Ori warriors, and Teal’c is shot in the back while the others are captured. When they are brought to the city, Vala discovers that the Ori were indeed killed by the Sangraal during the events of The Shroud. Adria has ascended and taken over all of their power. Teal’c, who has been walking toward the city of Celestis since he was shot, collapses due to his wound within sight of the city. He is subsequently revived by Morgan le Fay and continues on to free Daniel. Morgan then arrives in Daniel’s cell (initially in the guise of Merlin) and tells him if he can expose one Prior to the Ark, the others will be turned by a link in their staffs. This will weaken Adria enough for Morgan to stalemate her. In the meantime, a Prior arrives on Earth, offering a last chance to convert to Origin.

When General Landry refuses to even listen to him, the Apollo detects a fleet of Ori motherships waiting on the edge of the solar system. On the Odyssey, Marrick is attacked by Replicators who infest his body. In the ensuing battle, Mitchell is able to briefly disable the Replicator connection to Marrick’s brain who then informs Mitchell the shut down code for the Replicators is located on the other side of the crystal used to create them. Mitchell activates an explosive charge which kills Marrick. Mitchell informs Carter who activates the shut-down command, deactivating the Replicators.When the Ark is activated and opened, the Doci is caught by the beam and made to see that the Ori are not gods and spreads this belief to all of the Priors in the Ori galaxy and through them their followers.With Adria now in a weakened state, Morgan is able to engage her in an eternal battle. SG-1 exposes the Prior on Earth to the Ark, transmitting the knowledge about the Ori to all of the Priors in the Milky Way, and thus turning all known Priors in the Universe. In the aftermath, Tomin departs for the Ori galaxy as the new leader of his people, he and Vala agreeing that, while the Ori themselves were liars, Origin itself has a worthwhile message. Tomin asks Vala to come with him, but Vala apologizes and says that she feels her place is with the SGC. Over Daniel’s objections the Ark is taken to Area 51 for study while SG-1 later prepare for another new mission through the Stargate.The Ark Of Truth lives up the hype of fans hoping for an epic end to the storyline that drove the show’s final two seasons. Indeed, The Ark Of Truth proves to be both an epic and fitting end to the Ori storyline. There were major surprise.

REVIEW: STARGATE SG.1 – SEASON 10

Starring

Ben Browder (Farscape)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Claudia Black (Pitch Black)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Matthew Glave (Argo)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Eric Steinberg (Supergirl)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Robin Mossley (Elf)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)
Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Torri Higginson (Dark Water0
Sarah Strange (Men In Trees)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Cliff Simon (Project Eden)
Peter Flemming (The X-Files)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Eric Breker (Scary Movie 3)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Willie Garson (Hawaii Five-0)
Peter DeLuise (21 Jump Street)
Isaac Hayes (South Park)
Jill Teed (Battlestar Galactica)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
David Andrews (Fight Club)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Rudolf Martin (24)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Aisha Hinds (Mr. Brooks)
Aaron Craven (The Predator)
Kavan Smith (Mission To Mars)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Strange Empire)
David Lovgren (Antitrust)
Joshua Malina (The Big Bang Theory)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Craig Fairbrass (London Heist)
John Tench (Andromeda)
Lexa Doig (Arrow)
Peter Kent (Total Recall)
Fred Willard (Anchroman)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Jonathan Walker (Flash Gordon)

Sarah Strange in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Largely thanks to Vala (Claudia Black) who’s as charming as she is side-splittingly, ingeniously, flirtatiously funny and who now becomes a credited member of the main cast, season ten gets off to a brilliant start as the action picks up right where the previous season left-off with episode 1- Flesh and Blood and doesn’t decrease in pace.Claudia Black, Ben Browder, Michael Shanks, and Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)It explores the continued threat of the Ori and their ever-increasing capture and control of worlds unable to mount any effective resistance against such a seemingly omnipotent foe. Episode 3- The Pegasus Project is also very gripping with a finale that’s both surprising and tantalizing.Richard Dean Anderson and Willie Garson in Stargate SG-1 (1997)episodes 10- The Quest, Part I and 11- The Quest, Part II both of which work well in continuing SG-1’s discovery & unravelling of Arthurian-inspired mysteries surrounding their search for a weapon capable of destroying their enemy. Episode 14- The Shroud sees Daniel in a unique position to deal a crippling blow to the Ori, which is also solid.While episode 20- Unending is a wonderful episode- with a story that’s not just dramatic, but explores sides to the main characters never seen before, it ends the season with so much unresolved that it’s difficult to appreciate this tenth season as it should be appreciated as the final outing of SG-1. Obviously a great deal has been withheld to be used in the TV movie The Ark of Truth.