REVIEW: THE BIG BANG THEORY – SEASON 12

Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, and Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory (2007)

Starring

Johnny Galecki (Rings)
Jim Parsons (Hollywood)
Kaley Cuoco (Harley Quinn)
Simon Helberg (Old School)
Kunal Nayyar (Trolls)
Melissa Rauch (The Bronze)
Mayim Bialik (Blossom)
Kevin Sussman (Ugly Betty)

Simon Helberg and Melissa Rauch in The Big Bang Theory (2007)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kathy Bates (Misery)
Bill Nye (Blindspot)
Ciara Renée (Legends of Tomorrow)
Teller (Sabrina: TTW)
Brian Posehn (New Girl)
Lauren Lapkus (The Wrong Missy)
Brian George (Ghost World)
Keith Carradine (Cowboys & Aliens)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Bob Newhart (Elf)
Joshua Malina (A Few Good Men)
Eddie Shin (Westworld)
Pamela Adlon (Better Things)
John Ross Bowie (The Heat)
Maribeth Monroe (Downsizing)
Christine Baranski (Into The Woods)
Iain Armitage (Scoob!)
Lance Barber (Gangster Squad)
Montana Jordan (Young Sheldon)
Brian Thomas Smith (The Wedding Party)
Lindsey Kraft (Grace and Frankie)
Kal Penn (Superman Returns)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Internship)
Joel McCrary (Trial & Error)
Eric Nenninger (The Flash)
Joe Manganiello (Rampage)
Wil wheaton (Star Trek: TNG)
Kevin Smith (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
William Shatner (Star Trek)
Ellen DeGeneres (EDTV)
Regina King (Watchmen)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy: TVS)

Kaley Cuoco and Melissa Rauch in The Big Bang Theory (2007)It is hard to believe that if it hadn’t been for CBS ordering a second pilot, The Big Bang Theory would have never existed. That first pilot was a disaster, as indicated by creator Chuck Lorre. Kaley Cuoco, Melissa Rauch, and Rati Gupta in The Big Bang Theory (2007)The original female lead of Katie, played by Amanda Walsh, was unlikeable and was not a motherly figure to the child-like geniuses, almost the exact opposite of Penny (Kaley Cuoco) who would appear in the retooled second pilot. It was the chemistry among the five actor ensemble that would convince CBS to pick up that second pilot with a 13-episode order for the 2007-2008 TV season that would later be expanded to 22, but due to a Writer’s Guild strike in late 2007, that order was reduced to only 17. The original cast consisted of Experimental Physicist Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) and his room mate Theoretical Physicist Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Waitress/Actress Penny (Kaley Cuoco) as the girl across the hall, Aerospace Engineer Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and his best friend Particle Astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) who at first is unable to speak to women unless he is inebriated.Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory (2007)Over the twelve seasons, the characters would mature, Leonard and Penny would have an on and off dating relationship eventually leading to marriage, Howard would be given the opportunity to install his invention on the International Space Station and marry Microbiologist and pharmaceutical chemist Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), Sheldon would meet and after eight years eventually marry Neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) on a dating site after the gang creates a profile for Sheldon, and Rajesh would give up the monetary support from his parents and eventually gain enough self-confidence to give public lectures at the Griffith Observatory. The writers would also end the series on a high note with a fan-pleasing finale that brought closure to the series but not the characters, not making the mistake that some shows did, like Friends, with everyone disbanding and saying goodbye.Simon Helberg and Jim Parsons in The Big Bang Theory (2007)This show was incredible, and something fresh, even at times brilliant. and sad to see it end.

 

REVIEW: THE POLITICIAN – SEASON 1

Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Platt in The Politician (2019)

Starring

Ben Platt (Broken Diamond)
Zoey Deutch (Zombieland: Double Tap)
Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Bob Balaban (The Monuments Men)
David Corenswet (Hollywood)
Julia Schlaepfer (Charlie Says)
Laura Dreyfuss (Glee)
Theo Germaine (Work in Progress)
Rahne Jones
Benjamin Barrett (Badsville)
Jessica Lange (Tootsie)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man)

Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Platt in The Politician (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Martina Navratilova (The Adventurers)
Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story)
January Jones (Mad Men)
Ryan J. Haddad (Love, Repeat)
Rick Holmes (The Post)
Eric Nenninger (Jeepers Creepers II)
Terry Sweeney (Shag)
Judith Light (Ugly Betty)
Sam Jaeger (American Sniper)
Joe Morton (God Friended me)
Teddy Sears (The Flash)
Jackie Hoffman (Feud)
Bette Midler (The Addams Family)
Natasha Ofili (You & Me)

Lucy Boynton in The Politician (2019)Ryan Murphy has done it again,  But are we surprised? Nah, not at all. Starring Pitch Perfect’s Ben Platt, the incomparable Gwyneth Paltrow, American Horror Story’s Jessica Lange, along with many, many more comes this unique dark comedy. And when I say unique, I’m not exaggerating. The Politician has the classic Ryan Murphy vibes to it as it focuses on social/political commentary relevant to today’s world but adds a comedic, satirical twist to it.Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Platt in The Politician (2019)Platt plays a character by the name of Payton Hobart who was adopted into a wealthy family and has always had harbored very ambitious dreams of becoming the President of the United States one day. But before he can get there, he has to tackle the biggest hurdle of all–becoming President at his high school.Ben Platt in The Politician (2019)Now, this show is nothing like you’d imagine. On the surface, it comes off as yet another coming of age story about a young kid with big dreams. This couldn’t be far from the truth. In reality, it’s a story about someone taking a treacherous path to achieve their dreams, even if it means betraying anyone and everyone around you (and boy, does that happen here).  I’m actually quite baffled at how Murphy and co. pulled off such a multi-layered series that possesses so much grit, commentary, and what I like to call, “in your face gut punches”. If you pay close attention while watching The Politician you’ll begin to make parallels to our political world today and get a very strange, but intriguing perspective on what it takes to get there.During this eight-episode first season, I was a bit skeptical when I initially began watching, unsure of where the story was taking us. It has a slow start to it that still keeps you engaged and addicted even when your mind is telling you otherwise. But the initial time invested has a great pay-off by the end of the first season–I promise. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be in awe of Murphy’s ability to create yet another socially relevant series. But most importantly, you’ll love Platt’s performance which is further enhanced by a supporting cast of equally talented individuals such as Lucy Boynton, Zoey Deutch, Laura Dreyfuss, and more. If you’re thinking to yourself how Platt and co. pull off playing high school students, I’ll be the first to tell you it’s actually pretty convincing. The entire time I was never jaded by the impossibility of the characters they are playing who are younger than they actually are. But it worked, and it worked great.The twists and turns the series takes do not prepare you for where the season eventually ends, but I promise, it’s a wild, fulfilling ride. I understand that The Politician may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was most certainly mine.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: JEEPERS CREEPERS 2

CAST

Nicki Aycox (Roadkill 2)
Justin Long (Waiting)
Jonathan Breck (Dreamland)
Garikayi Mutambirwa (Clockstoppers)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Diane Delano (The Wicker Man)
Bob Papenbrook (Power Rangers)
Josh Hammond (The Brotherhood)
Eric Nenninger (The Flash)

On its twenty-second day of feeding, the Creeper, disguised as a scarecrow, abducts young Billy Taggart in front of his father Jack and elder brother Jack Jr. The next day, a school bus carrying a high school basketball team and cheerleaders suffers a blowout, after one of the wheels is hit by a hand-crafted shuriken (throwing star) made out of bone. Cheerleader Minxie has a vision of Billy and Darry Jenner, the Creeper’s victim from the first film, who attempt to warn her about the Creeper, before he blows out another tire, disabling the bus. With the party stranded, the Creeper abducts the coaches and the bus driver. When he returns he singles out several of the students, including: Dante, Jake, Scotty, Bucky, and Double D. Minxie has another vision in which Darry explains that every twenty-third spring, for twenty-three days, the creature emerges from hibernation to eat humans.After hearing several police reports, the Taggarts go hunting for the Creeper and make radio contact with the school bus. The Creeper attacks Bucky but Rhonda impales him through the head with a javeline. He then kills Dante, and uses his severed head as a replacement for its own. The students leave the bus, but when the Creeper returns, they are chased into a field, where the Creeper kills Jake and takes Scotty. After the Creeper attacks Bucky on the bus again, Taggart shoots it with a home-made harpoon; but the Creeper manages to escape and flips the truck. Izzy, Rhonda, and Double D attempt to escape in a truck and are chased by the Creeper, causing the vehicle to crash. Despite missing an arm and leg, the Creeper continues to pursue Double D until Taggart arrives and shoots it in the head with the harpoon. Taggart repeatedly stabs the Creeper in the chest but the creature goes into a hibernation state before it can die. Twenty-three years later, a group of teenagers drive to Taggart’s farm, where the Creeper is a sideshow attraction, and see Taggart watching it with the harpoon at his side. When they ask him if he is waiting for something, Taggart looks up at the Creeper and says, “About three more days, give or take a day or two.”Victor Salva makes great use of the ‘surprise element’. All the characters in Jeepers Creepers are equally meaningless so you never really know who will get killed next. Even the most popular jock, the most innocent child or the cutest girl can die at any time and this results in an exiting drop-out race of which you don’t want to miss a second. The film is not as gory as you might think and the stress is more laid on tension. Salva and his crew use the remote location to the fullest and the film contains eerie shots of wide cornfields and roads with no chance for shelter. The cast of young and inexperienced kids do a fairly good job. The only familiar face in Jeepers Creepers 2 is Ray Wise (from the cult series ‘Twin Peaks’). This film will never be a classic but at least its entertaining horror without much pretension.

REVIEW: BONES – SEASON 4

Starring

Emily Deschanel (Boogeyman)
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Michaela Conlin (Yellowstone)
Tamara Taylor (Lost)
T. J. Thyne (Ghost World)
John Francis Daley (Game Night)

David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin, John Francis Daley, Emily Deschanel, Tamara Taylor, and T.J. Thyne in Bones (2005)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Eugene Byrd (Heroes)
Sean Blakemore (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Andrew Buchan (All The Money In The World)
Indira Varma (Game of Thrones)
Carla Gallo (Superbad)
Scoot McNairy (Argo)
Elizabeth Lackey (Heroes)
Jill Wagner (Blade: The Series)
Michele Greene (LA Law)
Brennan Elliott (Curse of Chucky)
Richard Gant (Rocky V)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Devon Graye (The Flash)
Adam Rose (Veronica Mars)
Demetrius Grosse (Rampage)
Eric Millegan (Phobic)
Michael Grant Terry (Grimm)
Joel David Moore (Avatar)
David Gallagher (Super 8)
Ryan Cartright (Alphas)
Bruce Thomas (Army of Darkness)
Blake Shields (Heroes)
Thor Knai (The Outpost)
Patricia Belcher (Jeepers Creepers)
Jonathan LaPaglia (Seven Days)
Nichole Hiltz (Smallville)
Eric Lange (lost)
Brendan Fehr (Roswell)
William R. Moses (JAG)
Ryan O’Neal (Love Story)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)(
Aisha Hinds (Cult)
Sterling Beaumon (The Killing)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2)
Stephen Lee (Robocop 2)
Andy Richter (Scary Movie 2)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy: TVS)
Nathan West (Not Another Teen Movie)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Deirdre Lovejoy (The Blacklist)
Marisa Coughlan (Super Troopers)
Oliver Muirhead (Like Crazy)
Betsy Rue (Halloween II)
Zachary Knighton (Flashforward)
Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings)
Spencer Breslin (The Happening)
Pej Vahdat (Arrow)
Kayla Ewell (The Vampire DIaries)
Dana Davis (Prom Night)
Eric Nenninger (The Flash)
Audrey Wasilewski (Red)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
P.J. Byrne (Black Lightning)
Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory)
Stephen Fry (V For Vendetta)
Tania Raymonde (Lost)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
Ally Maki (Cloak & Dagger)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Jaimie Alexander (Thor)
Rick Peters (Dexter)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
Lorna Raver (Drag Me To Hell)
Jeff Yagher (V)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)

David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Indira Varma, and Andrew Buchan in Bones (2005)World-renowned forensic anthropologist Temperance “Bones” Brennan is as brusque and tactless as ever, as confounded by the subtleties of social decorum as ever (or as Sweets exclaims: “She is wicked literal!”). Bones is still very much that intimidating icy intellect, still a wounded soul, and still solving murders. FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth is still the one with the people skills and that well-developed bump of intuition. More onions are peeled in this season as we learn even more about the underpinnings of our core characters. The absolute big draw of this show is that sizzle between David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, their fabulous interplay tantalizing and frustrating the viewers. Could this be the season that they get together? Well, kind of, sort of. Taking what the show is giving, I wallow in their ever evolving relationship.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)Staying on the personal, Hodgins and Angela are trying to move past their break-up. “The Skull in the Sculpture” demonstrates that Angela is more ready to move on than Hodgins, and if you thought Angela was a free spirit before, well, now… This episode also has Sweets demonstrating the best way ever to fire someone. Young FBI psychologist Lance Sweets, by the way, becomes a regular cast member in this season, and I like him more and more as each episode progresses, even if Booth and Bones continually treat him like a pesky little brother. Even Dr. Saroyan’s past is delved into.Emily Deschanel and Cesar Millan in Bones (2005)Zack Addy, apprentice to the Gormagon Killer, has been institutionalized, which doesn’t keep him from strolling out to help the squints on a baffling case. Still, this gives rise to a running theme, that of the rotating roster of interns as Saroyan and Bones attempt to fill Zack’s spot, and the fun thing is that each of these interns comes with baggage. There’s the morbid one, the excessively chirpy one, the one constantly dispensing trivia, etc. The most martyred one may well be that repressed intern who insists on keeping things professional at all times – except that, the squints being a tight bunch, he keeps getting exposed to a deluge of innuendo and gossip in the workplace.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)There isn’t really a running mystery arc to tie these episodes together – no one like the Gormagon Killer running around, for example. But that doesn’t mean that the cases aren’t gripping; some of them are really interesting. The season opens with “Yanks in the U.K.” which plants Brennan and Booth in jolly old England, investigating a murder and running into a British version of themselves. In “The Passenger in the Oven” Bones and Booth are on a flight bound to China and have only four hours to solve a murder before the plane lands and Booth loses jurisdiction. “Double Trouble in the Panhandle” has Booth and Bones infiltrating the Big Top as “Buck & Wanda and their Knives of Death,” and their circus act is actually fraught with more suspense than in just about any other scene in this season.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)Some other favorites? In “The Double Death of the Dearly Departed,” Bones and Booth steal a corpse due for cremation from a funeral home, Bones believing that the body had been “translated,” which is Booth’s made-up code for murder. “Mayhem on a Cross” unveils some dark stuff about Sweets’ past, this episode also featuring the return of the awesome Stephen Fry as FBI shrink Gordon Gordon Wyatt. It also had me cracking up whenever Bones insisted on correctly pronouncing “skalle” (the Norwegian word for “skull”). “The Hero in the Hold” features the return of the Grave Digger serial killer. “The Princess and the Pear” plonks Bones and Booth’s temp replacement in the world of comic book conventions, and Bones finally gets another chance to flash her martial arts mojo.The-Critic-in-The-Cabernet-Screencaps-bones-10968392-653-435In “The Critic in the Cabernet” Bones drops a bomb on Booth and Booth gets advice from a cartoon character, a frivolous conceit which goes on to have a terrifying payoff. Finally Season 4 closes with a quirky fantasy episode featuring a re-shuffling of roles. In this reality, Dr. Saroyan and Booth’s brother are homicide detectives and Booth and Bones are a married couple who run a nightclub and who end up as suspects in a murder case. It’s neat that just about everyone is in this one.

REVIEW: SANTA CLARITA DIET – SEASON 3

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in Santa Clarita Diet (2017)

MAIN CAST

Drew Barrymore (Charlies Angels)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Liv Hewson (Inhumans)
Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spider-Man)

Santa Clarita Diet (2017)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Natalie Morales (Powerless)
Goran Visnjic (The Girl In The Dragon Tatoo)
Leo Howard (Conan The Barbarian)
Zachary Knighton (Flashforward)
Maggie Lawson (Two and a Half Men)
Joel McHale (Happy Time Murders)
Jonathan Slavin (Speechless)
Ethan Suplee (The Ranch)
Shalita Grant (Bones)
Alan Tudyk (Doom Patrol)
Thomas Lennon (The Order)
Matthew Glave (Argo)
Ramona Young (Legends of Tomorrow)
Linda Lavin (Wanderlust)
Malcolm Barrett (Swimfan)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (New Girl)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Eric Nenninger (The Flash)
Matt Shively (American Housewife)
Artemis Pebdani (Son of Zorn)

17362723_340606059674192_6261011132851321202_nThere are few things more joyful than the sight of Drew Barrymore having fun. I always feel she’s earned it. And never does she seem to have more fun than as undead suburban mum – or “mombie”, if you will – in zombie sitcom – or “zomcom”, if you will – Santa Clarita Diet, whose third series has just dropped with a bloody squelch on Netflix.santa-clarita-dietFans will recall that we left Sheila (Barrymore) and Joel (Timothy Olyphant) Hammond after they had just blown up the clam farm responsible for turning Sheila and others into undead flesh-eaters and had been discovered harbouring a still-talking decapitated head in their basement by their police officer neighbour Anne. That’s Gary, whom Sheila killed when she was still learning to curb her new murderous instincts, but who came back to life, because, well, it’s a zomcom.17800340_348027332265398_4751450473229260878_nThe third series expands the Hammonds’ and the show’s universe. Anne is cleaving close, having decided that the resurrected Sheila is a divine instrument and that Anne’s purpose is to help her to murder Nazis. For her, it’s God’s work, news of which is to be shared with her church. For Sheila, it’s the most ethically securable lunch, and very much to be kept to themselves. Rival realtors Chris and Christa Caldwell – magnificently vicious creations both – are back, Gary’s decomposing head (they forgot his serum) is full of ideas for the Hammonds’ estate agency, and the relationship between Abby (Liv Hewson) and Eric (Skyler Gisondo, who has all the command of Michael Cera without the tics) is deepening without losing any of its almost heartbreaking charm or laughs.993877_493271127545501_7030441332169042474_nThe Hammonds are still on a fairly tight murder schedule, but rather than it forming the centrepiece of every episode, this season is letting the Serbian mythology, which seems to hold the key to explaining Sheila’s predicament, take a more prominent role. I hope it takes a while to unlock, because one of the people from that vampire-’n’-assorted-other-lore-rich country who has arrived in California to track Sheila and her ilk down is played by Goran Višnjić, displaying the kind of comic chops you never dreamed of when he was poor, tormented Dr Luka Kovač in ER.9244cf84-fa2c-4528-9492-20fabb04d5aa-scd_108_unit_00291_r_cropSo there are changes (the gore remains a constant, and still not quite cartoonish enough to stop me needing a sick bucket), but Santa Clarita Diet’s core strength remains: the portrait of a marriage under comic but emotionally resonant strain. It’s played for laughs – and one-liners, visual gags, callbacks and fleeting asides abound (“And there’s so many more of them around these days!” says a delighted Joel as they rejoice briefly in their Nazis-as-lobster-tank-for-Sheila idea) – but it asks us what we’d do for love and how far we’d go for our partners. Joel has just about got used to his new husbandly role as accessory to multiple murder, but in season three the couple begin to realise the other ramifications of Sheila’s condition. Her immortality means she will outlive her entire family – unless she bites them and they join her in her bloodthirsty ways. Santa Clarita Diet remains a gorgeously flavourful one. Fill up.

 

REVIEW: WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: 10 YEARS LATER

CAST

Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
H. Jon Benjamin (22 Jump Street)
Michael Ian Black (Wedding Daze)
Janeane Garofalo (Dogma)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
A. D. Miles (Role Models)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Amy Poehler (Free Birds)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Marisa Ryan (Cold Hearts)
Molly Shannon (Bad Teacher)
Michael Showalter (The Ten)
Adam Scott (Krmapus)
Rob Huebel (Baywatch)
Zak Orth (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Samm Levine (Inglourious Basterds)
David Wain (Wanderlust)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Paul Scheer (Piranha)
Josh Charles (The Ex)
Kristen Wiig (Ghostbusters)
Rich Sommer (Grilfriend’s Day)
Eric Nenninger (Jeepers Creepers II)
John Early (Bad Neighbors 2)
Chris Pine (star Trek)
Jason Schwartzman (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Mark Feuerstein (Once and Again)
Sarah Burns (Married)
Alyssa Milano (Charmed)
Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men)
Jai Courtney (Divergent)
Skyler Gisondo (Santa Clarita Diet)
Joey Bragg (Fred 3)
Anne-Marie Johnson (Suicide Dolls)
Chris Redd (Empire)
Joshua Malina (The Big Bang Theory)
Maya Erskine (Betas)
Marlo Thomas (LOL)
Dax Shepard (Hit and Run)

wet-hot-american-summer-ten-years-later-paul-rudd-marguerite-moreau“Andy, you are 26 years old. What is wrong with you! When are you going to grow up? We can’t be teenagers forever.” That above quote is said to Paul Rudd’s Andy Fleckner as a simple gag. It pokes fun at the actual age of the actors that are playing these characters, but therein also lies the central “flaw” of Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later. As fun as all of these camp shenanigans may be, these people can’t just continue doing this forever. However, this is at least something that the series is well aware of and embraces wholeheartedly. It’s bonkers that Ten Years Later even happened at all. One prequel season was a surprising gift in itself. This is the extra marshmallow in the s’more. If last season was the unexpected reunion tour, then this is the sloppy, drunken after party that follows. Sure, it’s less polished, but it’s all dessert anyway.wet-hot-american-summer-ten-years-later-episode-4-lunch-knife-renata-alyssa-milano-michael-ian-black-review-guide-listMuch like First Day of Camp, this season takes this eclectic group of campers and puts them back into Camp Firewood, only now it’s ten years later as opposed to the beginning of their adventure. First Day of Camp does some glorious dot connecting to David Wain’s 2001 cult classic film, while also pulling off deep inside baseball jokes, like the introduction of Jim Stansel or seeing the birth of the anthem, “Higher and Higher.” Obviously with this new season taking place after everything, there’s little to few dots that need to be connected now, which as a result does lead to the trivial feeling that’s sometimes present through this season. Make no mistake, this is all undeniably a great time, but there’s not the same sort of satisfaction to be derived from the material this time around.ajh6scyuze0gpcrgcjueWhile the last installment was about building connections, this one is very much about breaking them to pieces and starting anew, which is only fitting considering this season revolves around Camp Firewood being literally torn down. The fun is in seeing the radical places that everyone has ended up rather than marveling at their clever origin stories. In that sense, the first episode spends the majority of its time simply introducing everyone and catching up the audience.untitledIn an eight-episode season this might feel like a bit of a waste, but with dozens of characters, what are they supposed to do here? The only real answer it to have a longer season, but with First Day of Camp also being a mere eight episodes, that seems to be the pattern that these guys are following. The season certainly could have used a few more episodes this time though. Similarly, this season—more than last season—really feels like it should be watched in one sitting like a long movie. Doing so would even help some of the material flow a little better, too. None of the many storylines feel rushed and everything is given enough time to breathe. It’s a real delicate balancing act that never shows its hand. The characters deal with the insecurity over who they’ve turned into through the years, however everyone is going through this same problem. At their core, they’re still those ridiculous teenagers from summer camp, and so are these actors, no matter how old they are. That’s sort of the point here.wethotmamericansummer-10yearslater-adamscottTen Years Later also gleefully wallows in glorious ‘90s jokes to make sure that the audience never forgets exactly when this season is taking place. It’s also probably the only place you’re going to hear Laura San Giacomo get brought up any time soon. First Day of Camp had this same sort of fun with the ‘80s, but this season is much more meta than the material’s ever been before. There’s also supernatural weirdness afoot too because of course there is. Elements like hidden nuclear fallout shelters entering the mix are so crazy, yet oddly fitting. This universe slowly stretching its boundaries has allowed for insane developments to seem plausible.1498150156458Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later might spend a little too much time roasting on the campfire, but it’s still an immensely enjoyable endeavor that showcases a bunch of exemplary comedians who have now been laughing together for decades.

REVIEW: WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP

CAST
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Janeane Garafalo (Mystery Men)
David Hyde Pierce (Hellboy)
Michael Showalter (The Ten)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Michael Ian Black (This is 40)
Zak Orth (Music and Lyrics)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
A.D. Miles (Role Models)
Christopher Meloni (Man of Steel)
Molly Shannon (Never Been Kissed)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Marisa Ryan (Cold Hearts)
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games)
Kevin Sussman (The Big bang Theory)
H. Jon Benjamin (Not Another Teen Movie)
Lake Bell (No Strings Attached)
Jason Schwartzman (Bored to Death)
Samm Levine (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
John Slattery (Ted 2)
Chris Pine (Star Trek)
Jon Hamm (Man Men)
Michael Cera (Scott Pilgram vs The World)
Kristen Wiig (paul)
Eric Nenninger (The Flash)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Richard Schiff (The Cape)
Rob Huebel (Baywatch)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Jerry Lambert (American Housewife)
Janeane Garofalo in Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015)
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp – the Netflix prequel series to 2001’s Wet Hot American Summer that we never knew we desperately wanted – is very funny. In fact, it’s freakin’ hilarious for uber-fans of the original. I can only assume it’s mildly amusing to those who’ve either never seen the movie or saw it and weren’t fans.The thing about it though is it’s really tethered to the movie. This is a prequel series made under extreme prequel rules. Not only is it specifically designed to be watched afterward, but many of the jokes won’t land if you don’t know what lies ahead come the “last day of camp.” Quick non-spoilery example: Comedian “Alan Shemper” is mentioned (perhaps I should have put comedian in quotes instead) and the young counselors of Camp Firewood freak out with excitement. Why? Well, the movie pre-answered that. And that’s just one of many instances that indicate that, despite this being a hyped-up Netflix Original event, you need to watch the movie.

Now, the original Wet Hot American Summer came with a loaded cast, many of whom went on to become even more famous than they were when the movie was released. One of the gateway jokes for the prequel is that everyone, in real life, is much older, but now they’re playing even younger versions of the characters they portrayed in the original. And it was even a stretch back then that they were playing teenagers. In fact, this “old teenager” gag was part of the original’s charm as well. Here, the joke isn’t as much of a joke as you’d think. Most everyone has held up fairly well. Noticeably older, sure, but not hilariously so. In fact, the only time it feels like a goof is whenever Showalter shows up as Coop, as he’s really the one who’s, let’s say, a much different shape than he used to be.
So let’s talk about the cast. Again, this was an impressive ensemble back in 2001. And everyone’s back. Showalter, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, Christopher Meloni, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino,  Michael Ian Black, and many more. Even director Wain has a recurring role this time around. And while it must have been difficult to get everyone back given people’s busy schedules, Wet Hot American Summer is set up to be an accommodating side/pet project. As in, it’s not often that all the characters interact, and most of the time they’re paired off and go about their separate stories. The actors weren’t as famous back in 2001, but that movie was still filmed super quick and designed to section people away from each other into different threads.
Now, some characters, given the rising careers of the actors who played them back in the original, have somewhat of an expanded presence. It’s understandable. For example, both Banks and Poehler have a lot more screen time here than they ever did in the movie. But this is also now a four-hour story, so there’s room for this type of change-up. And one of the best things this series does is create zany, clever origin stories for beloved elements from the movie. Not just characters, like Meloni’s Gene and Banks’ Lindsey, but actual things. Songs. Characteristics. Odd in-jokes. They all get a “beginning.” The way Poehler’s Susie came to be so hard on auditioners. The reason David Hyde Pierce’s Henry summers by the camp. The empty vegetable can voiced by H. Jon Benjamin. The freakin’ “Higher and Higher” song! All these things are given a backstory.
And this series didn’t just manage to get back its  original cast. There are also guest stars galore. Doing some amazing, quirky things here. Jon Hamm as a government assassin, Chris Pine as a mysterious hermit who lives on the camp grounds, Michael Cera as a ambulance-chasing lawyer given the case of a lifetime, Lake Bell as Coop’s “mixed signals” girlfriend. Hamm’s not even the only Mad Men’er around as John Slattery recurs as a “renowned” theater director and Rich Sommer stooges for Josh Charles’ snobby Camp Tiger Claw counselor Blake. Camp Tiger Claw which — instead of being a badass, evil Cobai Kai-type commune like the name suggests — has a “blue blood country club from the 50s vibe,” including evening socials that involve dancing the foxtrot.
Like the film, First Day of Camp takes place over the course of one day. And similar story beats and lunacy are employed. There are strained romances (Rudd’s Andy trying to fart his way into Moreau’s Katie’s heart, Coop wondering if Lake Bell’s Donna is faithful), a stressful stage production that has one day to come together for a nighttime performance (here it’s new wave musical “Electro City”), and a doomsday crisis that Garofalo’s Beth must avert in order to save the camp. There’s even a spectacular Victor Pulak chase scene. So the actual structure of the original is upheld.
es, I’d say that you definitely need to be a fan of the original Wet Hot American Summer movie to enjoy all First Day of Camp has to offer. The entire thing’s a love letter to itself and it’s wonderful. It’s great to see everyone back as well as all the new faces.