REVIEW: BATMAN: THE COMPLETE 60’S SERIES

CAST

Adam West (Family Guy)
Burt Ward (Legends of The Super Heroes)
Alan Napier (Marnie)
Neil Hamilton (Tarzan The Ape Man)
Stafford Repp (Plunder Road)
Madge Blake (The Long, Long Trailer)
Yvonne Craig (Olivia)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Frank Gorshin (Star Trek)
Jill St. John (Diamonds Are Forever)
Burgess Meredith (Rocky)
David Lewis (The Apartment0
Leslie Parrish (Sex and The Single Girl)
Cesar Romero (The Thin Man)
Nancy Kovack (Marooned)
George Sanders (All About Eve)
Anne Baxter (I Confess)
Susan Silo (James Bond JR)
David Wayne (The Andromeda Strain)
Malachi Throne (Catch Me If You Can)
Myma Fahey (House of Usher)
Julie Newmar (Mckenna’s Gold)
Ziva Rodann (Forty Guns)
Victor Buono (Beneath The Planet of The Apes)
Olan Soule (The Toweing Inferno)
Francine York (The Family Man)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
Sherry Jackson (Brenda Starr, Reporter)
Julie Gregg (The Godfather)
Barbara Nichols (Where the Boys Are)
Art Carney (Last Action Hero)
Van Johnson (The Caine Mutiny)
Phyllis Diller (A Bug’s Life)
Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects)
Michael Pataki (Rocky 4)
Bruce Lee (Enter The Dragon)
Van Williams (Surfside 6)
Shelley Winters (Alfie)
Walter Slezak (Lifeboat)
Vincent Price (Edward Scissorhands)
Liberace (Another World)
Woodrow Parfrey (Dirty Harry)
Otto Preminger (Anatomy of Murder)
Carolyn Jones (The Addams Family)
Cliff Robertson (Spider-Man)
Ted Cassidy (Genesis II)
Maurice Evans (Rosemary’s Baby)
Michael Rennie (The Day The Earth Stood Still)
James Brolin (Hotel)
Lesley Gore (The Pied Piper of Astroworld)
Bob Hastings (batman: TAS)
Roger C. Carmel (Star Trek)
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Seymour Cassel (Rushmore)
Lee Meriwether (Barnaby Jones)
Grace Lee Whitney (Star Trek)
Tallulah Bankhead (A Royal Scandal)
Eli Wallach (The Holiday)
Elisha Cook Jr. (Rosemary’s Baby)
Joan Collins (Dynasty)
Ethel Merman (Call Me Madam)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Milton Berle (Hey, Abbott!)
Glynis Johns (Mary Poppins)
Rudy Vallee (Sunburst)
Eartha Kitt (Holes)
Barbara Rush (When Worlds Collide)
Dina Merrill (Caddyshack II)
Linda Harrison (Planet of The Apes)
Ida Lupino (High Sierra)
Howard Duff (Kramer vs Kramer)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (Jack of Diamonds)

This is the show that set the tone for the Batman franchise for decades, good and bad, as its indelible mark is hard to erase. The power of the show is in how iconic it was, with every element so vibrant that it’s impossible to forget. Yes, it had the advantage of being the first modern-era mass-media representation of the character, and it also basically had the stage to itself forever, but there was so many memorable ingredients that made it the definitive Batman for generations. First among those were the performances of Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. Playing it completely straight–West with thoughtful gravitas, Ward with youthful enthusiasm–these actors kept the show from descending into parody. The world may be crazy, but our heroes remain vigilant defenders and detectives. The contrast makes their square-jawed heroics comedic, and the effect is enhanced when things get unusual like seeing Batman dance or surf, or when the Dynamic Duo are chilling out in the Batmobile eating burgers.
The structure of the series, which leans heavily on the style of the old serials and a well-defined formula, was also a big reason for the show’s success and long-lasting legacy. During the first two seasons, stories were split over two half-hour episodes, shown twice a week. The first episode would always end with Batman and Robin on the edge of destruction in some sort of insane death-dealing set-up, with the now classic refrain “same Bat-time, same Bat-channel” reminding viewers to come back to see the story’s weekly conclusion. These cliffhangers, along with the emphatic narration, the atmospheric music, the wonderfully detailed sets and costumes and the choreographed fight scenes, which feature the show’s famous “Pow!” and “Bam” visual sound effects, all serve to create a larger-than-life adventure series that’s great fun to watch.
Though West doesn’t appreciate the show being described as campy, it’s hard to think of a word that fits the series better. The thing is, you have to separate the ideas of bad and camp. Camp doesn’t have to be bad. It just has to be absurdly silly. So much of the show is obviously aiming for comedy, be it the way Batman solves impossible clues impossibly quick, the goofy names of the bad guys’ labeled henchmen, the villains’ strange obsession with personal branding, the overly literal signs seen all over the place, or the strangely specific gadgets Batman always has at the ready. I mean, really…an empty alphabet soup bat-container? Then there are the overtly humorous parts, like the cameos when Batman and Robin climb up the sides of buildings, which feature celebrity cameos from Sammy Davis Jr., Don Ho, Santa Claus and Lurch from The Addams Family. Elements like this earn plenty of chuckles throughout the series, but they don’t take away from the fun of the action or the crime-fighting plots. They also serve to make for what might be the most accessible Batman ever; enjoyable for young and old alike.
The show burned brightly, but only for three seasons, crashing hard considering the show’s immense popularity. Perhaps it was overexposure due to the twice-a-week schedule, with 58 episodes in season two, but the show was definitely showing signs of slowing down in the final season before cancellation, including mostly eliminating the cliffhanger, instead linking episodes via a coda at the end. Whether it was an artistic choice or otherwise, the weird way the show started to use “suggested sets,” in which parts of a set were placed in an otherwise black room to create the idea of the setting, made it seem like something had changed for the worse. Another major change in the third season also stood out somewhat negatively, as Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl (the crime-fighting alter-ego of police commissioner Gordon’s daughter Barbara) was added to the show as a regular. She didn’t bring a great deal to the party though, outside of a great costume design, as she often needed saving as much as she helped the team.
The other issue with Batgirl was she was further evidence of the show being a product of its time, as, in addition to the clothes, sets and language all being heavily dated to the ‘60s (especially in the third run), sexism is rampant throughout the series, whether display via the eye-candy molls of the villains or the drooling narration for the new distaff member of the Bat-team. The portrayal of women is pretty much entirely negative in the show, with flippant remarks about the vanity of women or their value, while one villain, Nora Clavicle, is actually a women’s rights activist, who replaces the police force with women, who are only interested in coupons and recipes. The rampant misogyny is odd considering the show was progressive enough to have an interracial flirtation between West’s Batman and Kitt’s Catwoman.
Though the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder are obviously the stars of the show, the villains are what defines the series, as has always been the case with Batman. In addition to his traditional rogues gallery, including Joker, Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman, this series introduced a number of freshly-minted felons, some of which eventually were incorporated into the comic books, like Victor Buono’s over-acted King Tut. The oft-ridiculous nature of these baddies, which were often created to give big celebrities of the day a chance to play, like Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Minerva, Milton Berle’s Louie the Lilac or Liberace’s Fingers, was a big part of why the show was viewed as campy.
As goofy as the new creation were, the originals were wonderfully evil, especially Cesar Romero’s Joker, Frank Gorshin’s Riddler and Julie Newmar’s Catwoman (though that shouldn’t take anything away from Eartha Kitt’s purr-fect turn in the cat suit in the show’s third season.) These three each brought something special to the show, be it Romero’s manic glee, Gorshin’s dark intensity or Newmar’s unrestrained sensuality. The problem with having the villains be such a focal point of the show is it makes the series uneven, as a weak villain, like Van Johnson’s Minstrel or Maurice Evans’ Puzzler, usually makes for a weak episode. The exception to that rule would have to the two-part “A Piece of the Action”/”Batman’s Satisfaction”, which had a terrible nemesis in the stamp-forging Colonel Gumm, but which is great fun because of a crossover with The Green Hornet, which meant Van Williams and Bruce Lee were on hand for twice the crime-fighting action. Just seeing Lee on Batman was great, but having two masked heroes and their rich alter-egos interacting without each other knowing made for a fun twist on the heroes.

Looking at the set as a whole, it’s easy to wonder why the first 12 discs are extras-free. There’s not a commentary to be found. Considering how long the wait has been, and how influential and popular the show is, you’d think there would be plenty of people that would want to sit down and talk about this show. It’s bad enough that the lengthy delays have resulted in many of the cast and creators passing before its release, but to not have any contemporary perspectives is just doubling down on this problem.
There’s also the fact that two separate releases of bonus content that have been released in the past, “Holy Batmania!,” which offered four documentaries on the series, and “Adam West Naked,” a collection of recollections produced by West himself. Some of this contest should have been included on the third disc of season three, which has just two 30 minute episodes. What’s worse is Warner Brothers is offering “Adam West Naked” as part of an odd package online that includes the first 64 episodes, the Batman ‘60s movie and some ephemera.
Thankfully the 13th disc fills in a lot of the gaps holding all of the set’s bonus content, most of which is courtesy of master extra maker Alexander Gray, who has produced and directed this kind of material for loads of DC-related DVDs. It all starts with “Hanging with Batman” (29:56), which focuses on West, looking at his life, from his childhood to his acting career, with plenty of time on his experiences as Batman and the legacy of that performance. The piece, which is loaded with archival photos and video, isn’t fluffy in any way, touching on some of the darker moments of West’s life, including controversy that surrounded him at his peak as a star and his personal and professional struggles in the wake of the show’s cancellation and the character’s rebirth with the Tim Burton movies. An excellent profile of a charismatic man with an interesting life.
“Holy Memorabilia, Batman!” (29:59) looks at the fans, a few in particular, and the collecting that sprung up around the show, including the key pieces and the process of acquiring them. With Toy Hunter’s Jordan Hembrough providing expert (and some personal) perspective, the featurette checks out the collections of actor Ralph Garman (Family Guy, the Hollywood Babble-On podcast) and Guinness record-holder Kevin Silva, as well as the work of Mark Racop, who builds replica Batmobiles. The Garman segments also feature a visit by West to check out (and even try on) the goods, and the result is an excellent look at a side product of the series.
An odd inclusion is “Na Na Na Batman” (12:15) which features a huge roster of producers and directors from Warner Brothers-produced series talking about the Batman series, including their memories of watching the show (if they are old enough) along with the costumes and villains. The connection to the show for most of these participants, which include Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Mike O’Malley, Stephen Amell, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles, is beyond tangential, which coats the whole piece with a sheen of promotion, but if you’re a fan of shows like Supernatural, Arrow, The Following and The Mentalist, perhaps you’ll enjoy these worlds crashing together. Wedged in here with all these people is West and Burt Ward, bringing things back to center a bit.
The point of “Batmania Born!” (29:41) isn’t entirely clear, as it can get a bit scattered in terms of the subject matter, but it seems to mainly talk about the look of the series, and mainly features the voices of people from the world of comic books and related TV series, though some production design and costuming people sneak in as well to discuss the visuals of Batman, including the influences of the comic books, the animated opening, the tights and, most interestingly, the negative effect the show had on comic books in the larger world of entertainment. Among those sitting down to chat are Jim Lee, Bruce Timm and Julie Newmar, long with archival clips of Cesar Romero and Frank Gorshin, making this catnip for comics fans.
Lee and Garman return in “Bats of the Round Table” (45:08), joining Batman superfan Kevin Smith and actor Phil Morris (Smallville), as they sit down for a meal with West. Unsurprisingly, the chat is dominated by Smith–a natural conversationalist–but they all chime in at some point, peppering West with questions and actually getting some interesting answers, including talk about dealing with a difficult Otto Preminger, who West’s favorite guest star and favorite Catwoman was, life on the set and a fun story about Ward and Bruce Lee. One wonders how the mostly unconnected Morris got in on this group (though he does have a Batman story of his own to share), but they all interact well in a smooth-flowing get-together. The ending may be slightly cheesy, but it’s a satisfying featurette.
Though there are no commentaries in this set, there are two pseudo-commentaries, in the form of the two-part “Inventing Batman: In the Words of Adam West.” These pieces, which run a total of 59:08, feature West, in occasional picture-in-picture appearances, reading excerpts from his shooting scripts for “Hi Diddle Riddle” and “Stuck in the Middle” while the episodes play. There’s a tremendous amount of dead air (probably more than half the episodes are just the original audio), which may explain the lack of commentaries, but it’s great when West shares the notes he made on the script during the production process and his thought process for the character.
The bonuses wrap up with a quartet of rarities, which are mostly great to check out. First up is the 7:54 pilot for Batgirl. This never-aired “episode” was intended to show the character could work, in advance of her introduction in Batman’s third season. This compact adventure, which features Batgirl fighting Killer Moth and his gang alongside the Dynamic Duo in a library, feels just like the Batman series, complete with the “Pow!”s, but with a lot more sexism, courtesy of the narrator and Batman himself. Today, it’s really kind of creepy.
Also included are a pair of screen tests for the show, which are truly fascinating. First up is West and Ward (6:16), in a proto-Wayne Manor and the Batcave, doing a pair of scenes, following by a brief tumbling and karate demonstration by Ward and some silent footage of the pair in the ‘Cave. The performances were so fully formed right off the bat (no pun intended) that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the roles. That’s solidified when you see Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell try out for the parts (4:23), doing the same roles on the same sets, with the same sketchy costumes. Robin is more childish in Deyell’s performance, while Waggoner doesn’t bring the same measured intensity as West. Watching it though, allows you to picture an entirely different history for Batman.
The final entry is a James Blakely Tribute (2:24). The title is a bit misleading, as it’s just a clip of Blakely, post-production supervisor on the show, discussing the story of the series’ development and the idea of editing in the show’s iconic sound-effects graphics. It’s not really a tribute in the traditional manner.
 It’s only natural that waiting so long for these episodes to arrive on home video has made expectations unmeetable, but between the wonderfully silly show, the quality of the presentation and the excellent extras that actually have been included, this set is one all Batman fans will want to own.
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REVIEW: I KNOW THAT VOICE

CAST

John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Pamela Adlon (Some Girl)
Charlie Adler (Wall-E)
Carlos Alazraqui (Free Birds)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Ed Asner (Batman: TAS)
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons)
Diedrich Bader (American Housewife)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Eric Bauza (Batman: Assault on Arkham)
Jeff Bennett (The Return of Jafar)
Bob Bergen (Up)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Steven Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Jim Cummings (Aladdin)
Grey DeLisle (Ultimate Avengers)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylkon 5)
June Foray (Cinderella)
Pat Fraley (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Nika Futterman (Hey Arnold)
Seth Green (Family Green)
Matt Groening (The Simpsons)
Jennifer Hale (Spider-Man Unlimited)
Mark Hamill (Batman: TAS)
Jess Harnell (Transformers)
David Herman (Futurama)
Richard Steven Horvitz (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Danny Jacobs (Ultimate Spide-Man)
Tom Kane (Star wars: The Clone Wars)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)
Josh Keaton (The Spectacular Spider-Man)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Phill LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Janet Waldo (The Jetsons)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
Mona Marshall (Fraggle Rock)
Breckin Meyer (Garfield)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Colleen Villard (Static Shock)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Nolan North (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Rob Paulsen (The Mask: TAS)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Stephen Root (Dodgeball)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Cree Summer (Bambi II)
James Arnold Taylor (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Alanna Ubach (Legally Blonde)
Kari Wahlgren (Ben 10)
Jim Ward (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Billy West (Futurama)

maxresdefaultI Know That Voice (2013) takes a gander at a subject that many of us never give much credence to.  This film takes a personal look at what it means to be an actor who is never actually seen on screen. I speak of the voice over artists who use their gift of gab to create and bring to life some of the most iconic characters in the world of entertainment. Produced by John DiMaggio (the alcohol fueled robot Bender from the popular series Futurama), this film feels like a labor of love and what unfolds is wonderful.Kevin_ConroyThe movie explains the history of voice artists from the beginning of talkies until present day, peppering in a slew of interviews from some of the most popular talent out there. Weaving a tale of both the struggles and the love of the business, I Know That Voice keeps you interested from start to finish as the actors known for being silly animated characters, show you a side of the process which makes the viewer appreciate what was once looked at as child’s fair. Throughout, you meet everyone from Sponge Bob to Roger Rabbit. And these are truly actors, damn fine ones at that.I-Know-That-Voice

REVIEW: SPY HARD

CAST

Leslie Nielsen (The Naked Gun)
Nicolette Sheridan (Desperate Housewives)
Charles Durning (The Sting)
Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River)
Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Andy Griffith (Matlock)
Elya Baskin (Spider-Man 2)
Carlos Lauchu (Stargate)
Stephanie Romanov (Angel)
Hulk Hogan (The Ultimate Weapon)
Mr. T (The A-Team)
Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Brad Garrett (The Crazy Ones)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Thuy Trang (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Weird Al Yankovic (The Naked Gun)

This really is a love-or-hate film isn’t it? Well I love it. This has got to be the funniest film I’ve ever seen. There literally is a laugh a minute, make that half a minute! Even the storyline is taking the micky out of spy films: the retired agent is dragged back into the service to save the daughter of his dead ex-girlfriend, and save the world of course. The characters are brilliant, the evil genius is a psychotic, armless general; he director of the agency is a master of disguises who hides himself as a sofa, a wall, some curtains and even the floor! Some of the jokes are classic laughs, puns and parodies (the “raindrops keep falling on my head” bit springs to mind) and some are hilarious slapstick. If you like laughing, buy this film!
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Secret agent WD-40 Dick Steele (Leslie Nielsen) has his work cut out for him. Along with the mysterious and lovely Veronique Ukrinsky, Agent 3.14, he must rescue the kidnapped Barbara Dahl and stop the evil genius, a General named Rancor (Andy Griffith), from seizing control of the entire world. Rancor was wounded in an earlier encounter and no longer has arms. However, he can “arm” himself by attaching robotic limbs with various weapons attached. Steele is talked out of retirement by an old friend, agent Steven Bishop (Robert Guillaume), and given his new assignment by The Director (Charles Durning), who also is testing out a variety of elaborate disguises. At headquarters, Steele encounters an old agency nemesis, Norm Coleman (Barry Bostwick), and flirts with the Director’s adoring secretary, referred to as Miss Cheevus (Marcia Gay Harden).
On the job, Steele is assisted by an agent named Kabul (John Ales), who gives him rides in a never-ending variety of specially designed cars. They seek help from McLuckey (Mason Gamble), a blond child, home alone, who is very good at fending off intruders. Steele resists the temptations of a dangerous woman (Talisa Soto) he finds waiting for him in bed. But he does work very closely with Agent 3.14 (Nicollette Sheridan), whose father, Professor Ukrinsky (Elya Baskin), is also being held captive by Rancor.
Everything comes to an explosive conclusion at the General’s remote fortress, where Steele rescues both Barbara Dahl (Stephanie Romanov) and Miss Cheevus and launches a literally disarmed Rancor into outer space, saving mankind.
this really is a love-or-hate film isn’t it? Well I love it. This has got to be one of the funniest film I’ve ever seen. There literally is a laugh a minute, make that half a minute!

REVIEW: COMIC BOOK: THE MOVIE

CAST

Mark Hamill (Star wars)
Billy West (Futurama)
Donna D’Errico (Candyman 3)
Roger Rose (Happy Feet)
Jess Harnell (Taz-Mania)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Daran Norris (Veronica Mars)
Jim Cummings (Aladdin)
Jill Talley (Sky High)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Jeremy Bulloch (A Night To Remember)
James Arnold Taylor (Batman: TBATB)
Tom Kenny (Super Hero Squad)
Peter Mayhew (Star Wars)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Kevin Smith (Dogma)
Hugh Hefner (Hop)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Lloyd Kaufman (Tales From The Crapper)
David Prowse (Star Wars)
Matt Groening (The Simpsons)
Arleen Sorkin (Batman: TAS)
Ray Harryhausen (20 Million Miles To Earth)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Gary Owens(That 70s Show)
Chase Masterson (Star Trek: DS9)
J.J. Abrams (Alias)
Bill Mumy (Lost In Space)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)

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The story centers around Don Swan (Hamill), a middle-aged high school teacher and comics aficionado from Wisconsin who owns his own comic book store and even publishes a fanzine about the Golden Age of comics. He’s invited by a Hollywood film studio to be a technical consultant on a movie based on a comic, which in turn was based on a Golden Age comic he’s loved since childhood. It’s his insight Timely Studios wants to help make a good movie… or at least that’s what he thinks.
The fictional comic in question is “Commander Courage,” a WWII-era superhero who is a composite of every legendary, patriotic superhero ever (Superman, Captain America, the Lone Ranger, etc.). He’s got super powers, wears a mask, has a boy sidekick and fights the Nazis. This character eventually faded away but was resurrected as “Codename: Courage” after 9/11. The new version is updated for the times, but to Don’s chagrin, perhaps a little too modern. This new guy embodies every cliche of the mysterious loner/badass-to-the-extreme/tough-as-nails government assassin-type “superhero” to come out of comics in the last 15 years. Or, imagine every action movie character ever played by Stallone, Van Damme, Segal and Schwarzenegger all rolled into one. Now imagine what a movie company would like to do with a character like that!
Image result for comic book the moviePoor Don, he thinks he can actually persuade the studio execs to keep the Courage character close to his original conception and not ignore his 60-year history. Lori Alan and Roger Rose co-star as the vain, uptight, greedy movie moguls who are just using Don to endorse the film at the hugely popular San Diego Comic Con where over 60,000 other geeks are hoping for a sneak peek. After all, no word of mouth endorsements or condemnations travel faster than at the speed of geek. They even provide Don with a Tommy Chong-esque cameraman named Ricky (Jess Harnell) to document everything as a DVD bonus feature.
As is the case with most mockumentaries, there isn’t really a plot to “Comic Book: The Movie,” it’s more of a meandering story of Don’s journey to Hollywood and then to the comic book convention and his feeble attempt to convince the world the original, wholesome character would make a better movie than the gritty one. Don is so committed to his quest he even has a Commander Courage costume professionally made and hires an actor to wear it at the convention CBTM2(Daran Norris is sublime as the clueless patsy). Don’s work on his fanzine manages to get him some pretty big contacts in Los Angeles too, most notably filmmaker Kevin Smith, Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner, and cult movie star Bruce Campbell. All three are genuinely interested in Don’s mission to keep the movie from becoming another lame potboiler. Voice actor extraordanaire Billy West (best known for Fry on Futurama) co-stars as Leo, the long-lost grandson of Commander Courage’s creator who has no idea of the royalties he’s entitled to. Leo’s very shy and not too bright, but over the course of a few days will be seduced by the Hollywood scene and the way he changes is hilarious.
The film was shot entirely on video with hand held cameras to make it look as if you were watching a TV news magazine, or, dare I say it – MTV. It’s an original way to tell the story since the majority of the film takes place at the giant convention with thousands of people walking around. Shooting it this way makes it more believable when we see people standing around watching the main characters talk and even getting in on the action too.
The only problem I had was that sometimes it’s difficult to tell where Comic Book: The Movie ends and the movie-within-the-movie begins. We occasionally see the “real” movie’s camera crew through Ricky’s camera, but unlike Ricky, these guys are never acknowledged. I didn’t feel this was a wink at the camera in-joke, but more of a sloppy filmming technique. It probably would have worked better had the actual movie been shot on film with Ricky’s video footage intercut when necessary instead of at random. The constant back and forth and the appearance of boom mikes is disorienting and confusing. Obviously, Comic Book: The Movie is targeted at a specific audience, and being part of that demographic I couldn’t help but enjoy it. To the non-comics fan it might come across as silly, but there’s really a lot of intelligent satire to be found here.

REVIEW: THAT 70’S SHOW – SEASON 1-8

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MAIN CAST

Topher Grace (Spider-Man 3)
Mila Kunis (Ted)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Danny Masterson (Yes Man)
Laura Prepon (Karla)
Wilmer Valderrama (Minority Report TV)
Debra Jo Rupp (Death Becomes Her)
Kurtwood Smith (Robocop)
Tanya Roberts (Charlies Angels)
Don Stark (John Carter)
Lisa Robin Kelly (Payback)
Josh Meyers (Date Movie)
Tommy Chong (Evil Bong)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Wayne Pere (Galaxy Quest)
Mark Bramhall (Alias)
Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Nick Bakay (Sabrina: TTW)
Dwayne Johnson (The Scorpion King)
Gary Owens (Batman 60s)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Katey Sagal (8 Simple Rules)
Jennifer Lyons (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Lynsey Bartilson (Grounded for Life)
Lyle Waggonr (Wonder Woman)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Heroes)
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina: TTW)
Lindsay sloane (Bring It On)
Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Kevin McDonald (Lilo & Stitch)
Bob Clendenin (Cougar Town)
Shirley Jones (The Partridge Family)
Charo (Don’t Trust B— In Apartment. 23)
Robert Hays (Airplane)
Marnette Patterson (American Sniper)
Matt Battaglia (Mike & Molly)
Allison Munn (What I Like About You)
Howard Hesseman (Lie to Me0
Alice Cooper (Dark Shadows)
Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Veronica Mars)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
Ileen Getz (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Dave Thomas (King of The Hill)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Cynthia LaMontagne (Austin Powers)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
French Stewart (Mom)
Regan Gomez-Preston (The Celveland Show)
Alice Frank (The Secret Craft)
Mo Gaffney (2 Broke Girls)
Erika Christensen (Flightplan)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Brittany Daniel (That 80s Show)
Michael Milhoan (Crimson Tide)
Luke Wilson (Old School)
Christopher Masterson (Malcolm In The Middle)
Roger Daltrey (Highlander: The Series)
Jessica Simpson (Employee of The Month)
Betty White (The Golden Girls)
Tom Poston (Newhart
Joanna Canton (The Convent)
Sarah Lancaster (Chuck)
Jim Rash (Community)
Jack Osbourne (New York Minute)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Fred Willard (Wall-E)
Bobcat Goldthwait (Blow)
Jim Gaffigan (17 Again)
Leigh-Allyn Baker (Good Luck Charlie)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass)
Christina Moore (Without A Paddle)
Estella Warren (Planet of The Apes)
Shannon Elizabeth (Scary Movie)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
James Avery (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
Eric Allan Kramer (The Incredible Hulk Returns)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars)
Brooke Shields (The Blue Lagoon)
Rachel Bilson (Chuck)
Morgan Fairchild (Roswell)
Tim Reid (IT)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Winston Story (Masked Rider)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (Arrow)
Jenna Fischer (The Office)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Chris Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
Bret Harrison (V)
Jud Tyler (Andromeda)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Two and a Half Men)
Bruce Willis (Red)
Don Knotts (Pleasantville)
Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory)
Dick Van Patten (Eight Is Enough)
Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat)
Mary Tyler Moore (Lipstick Jungle)
Isaac Hayes (South Park)
Lara Everly (Playing It Cool)
Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch)
Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch)
Justin Long (New Girl)

In 1998 the creators of 3rd Rock from the Sun introduced That ’70s Show. It’s a very hilarious sitcom that takes place in, believe it or not, the 70s. Located in a fictional suburb of Green Bay, Wisconsin known as Point Place, the series revolves around the comical daily interactions of the Forman family and their friends and neighbors. Through twenty-five great episodes, the first season tackles many familiar issues like sex, drugs, dating, friendships, and family values. These issues turn into a few sticky situations that should leave you rolling over with laughter. The first season has some really great episodes, which is mostly due to the great cast and some outright great stories. That ’70s Show is without a doubt, a great sitcom.

The first season cast of That ’70s Show is fairly large, with eleven different characters. This series does well handling this large cast, in presenting their neurotic behaviors and quirks and their overall character development, as well as outlining their interactions. The cast is also presented in a manner that is attractive, which makes them all very likeable. It’s really hard not to love this cast.

The series’ main character is a teenage boy, Eric Forman (Topher Grace). He’s your average kid, although a bit geeky. It’s his life that the series revolves around. His parents Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) join him in every episode. There relationship is comical, but a little unhealthy at times. Red doesn’t like to show his feelings towards his son, so he typically treats him like an idiot and quite frankly, sometimes Eric can be an idiot. While this may sound “bad” or “mean”, it comes off in a manner that’s comical and not cynical. It’s one of my favorite aspects of the series. I simply love the relationship that Eric and Red have. Between the two is Kitty, she typically tries her best to promote a healthy father/son relationship. In the episode “That Wresting Show” (guest starring The Rock) she’s mildly successful, when she gets them to go to an amateur wrestling match together. Eric’s sister, Laurie (Lisa Robin Kelly), while not officially on cast until season two, makes a few appearances that leave Eric’s friends drooling.One house down the street lives the Pinciotti family. Donna (Laura Prepon) is one of Eric’s childhood friends and his current love interest. In the first season their relationship evolves into something beyond friendship. It’s fun to watch them haphazardly venture into the issues of love, as two inexperienced teenagers. There are more than a couple of episodes that show just how comical love can be. For instance, in the episode “First Date”, Eric and Donna’s first date doesn’t go as well as planned when somebody’s ice tea turns out to be a long island ice tea! Donna’s parents, Bob (Don Stark) and Midge (Tanya Roberts) are the type of characters that are oblivious to the obvious. Bob gets put at the butt of a few jokes, with the best coming from Red. Midge is a stereotypical blonde trying to find herself as a Feminist. These two add quite a bit to the season, especially in episodes like “The Pill”. Bob doesn’t handle it well when he finds out his daughter is taking birth control pills.The rest of Eric’s friends are made up of Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), a clueless dumbstruck pretty boy, Jackie Beulah Burkhart (Mila Kunis), a rich stuck-up snob with no shame, Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson), an average I hate everything kind of guy, and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama), a foreign exchange student who is learning the American way of life. Their interactions add a lot to the series. Hyde is a great character, because he’s so cynical and he’s constantly cracking jokes on his friends. Fez is always making you laugh, because his translation of English is sketchy. More frequently than not he misses a few things in translation, which results in a few funny statements. Jackie isn’t well liked by the gang. Her personality tends to drive people away, except for Kelso. He seems to be captivated by her beauty. For this reason, they’re behind a lot of Hyde’s jokes. Furthermore, Kelso just says and does some pretty stupid things that make you laugh. Together the cast provides some great characters that are both funny and likeable. Their interactions with each other are amazing, in just how they can turn boring daily situations into a laugh fest.I thought that this was a very good season. It’s all of the little things about the cast and their interactions that really make this a great comedy series. In addition, there are some outright great episodes. One of my favorite episodes of the season is “Streaking”. When President Ford decides to stop in Point Place, Eric and the gang see the opportunity to do something wild and crazy, streaking. I really enjoyed this episode because running around naked is funny. There’s no question about it. Another great episode is “Eric’s Buddy”, where Eric befriends one of the cool kids at school, 3rd Rock from the Sun’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt. However, friendship isn’t everything the new guy’s got in mind, as Eric soon finds out! For the fans of Star Wars, there’s a great parody episode, “A New Hope”. After Eric and the gang see Star Wars, a couple of them get a little too into it. So naturally, when Eric and Donna run into problems with their relationship, he dreams about them in a Star Wars setting. This is a great episode, because Eric really blows things out of proportion, which of course isn’t anything new. These are only a few examples of the great episodes that season one has to offer.Another great aspect about this series is its alternative look on life. In many of the episodes, we get a view of Eric and company’s lives while high. This aspect isn’t really about the drug use, but rather the funny aftermath. When Eric and his friends are high, they say some pretty stupid things. Of course, even when they’re not high they still say and do some pretty stupid things. In general, the dialogue is very good, which is another reason that the cast’s interactions are so funny. Some of the things they say and the jokes they make seem like pure genius. It’s also presented in manner that isn’t corny or cliched, but is bluntly put, comical.As for the stories in season two, there is more emphasis on story arcs than in season one. However, the focus is not really big. While they can play an important role in creating sticky situations for Eric and company, they aren’t so important that watching the episodes out of sequence could ruin your experience. Some of the story arcs build upon small life changing events from the first season and others are just themed from the common sitcom daily interactions.Firstly, Red being in and out of work becomes the backbone of several episodes. One of the funniest situations to come from season two brews from a soon to be jobless Red. In “Garage Sale”, my favorite episode of the season, the Formans have a garage sale. Kitty eagerly tries to get Eric and Hyde to participate in the sale. But, they both have their own agendas and aren’t too excited to help out. Eventually, Kitty convinces Hyde to sell brownies. Hyde being Hyde decides to make “special” brownies, and the special ingredient is marijuana. What really makes this a strong episode is who ends up eating the special brownies. This crazy situation allows the cast to experience a role reversal. It’s not everyday you get to see Red go from a hard ass to a stoned fool. Later into the season, Red gets another job as a manager at Pricemart. In “Red Gets Fired Up” something pretty rare in the world of That ’70s Show happens, Eric and Red bond.There are also some stories about love and relationships. One of the funniest long running stories with Kelso’s love triangle. In season one, Eric’s older sister Laurie put the moves on Kelso and in season two, the relationship gets taken up another notch. But where there’s Kelso, there’s Jackie and both girls have their eyes on him. The relationship theme continues with Eric and Donna exploring young love. “I Love Cake” is a good example, where Donna expresses her feelings of love for Eric. Like a fool, he tells her how much he loves cake. There is also some focus on the Pinciotti’s. Bob and Midge’s relationship starts go south. The best episode with this underling story is “Red’s Birthday”. Bob and Midge bring dates to Red’s birthday party. The catch is they still live together.Overall, this season does well playing off of reoccurring stories. As earlier mentioned, the story arcs play a role in setting up the situations, but they aren’t so significant you need to be familiar with them to enjoy the season. The episodes are good on their own merit. One very good example is “Halloween”. The episode takes a look into Red and Kitty’s past, before they had kids and Eric and the gang get into odds with each other when they start revealing very personal secrets. Another solid episode is “Holy Crap”. It marks the first appearance of guest star Kevin McDonald (Kid in the Hall) as Pastor Dave.

For season three, there are a lot of fun episodes and stories. The first bunch we’ll talk about have to do with relationships. In the first two seasons Kelso and Jackie have been an item. In season two Jackie found out Kelso cheated on her with Laurie and they broke up. In this season Jackie sets her eyes on Hyde. Despite Hyde’s expressed dislike of Jackie, she continually pursues him and he finally asks her out on date in “Jackie Bags Hyde”. They find out the chemistry isn’t quite there. Meanwhile, Kelso is trying to make things work with Laurie, but also still has feelings for Jackie. As for Fez, this season marks his first girlfriend. Midway into the season, he meets a girl named Caroline. Unfortunately for him, she turns out to be a bit crazy in the head. This eventually turns into the fun episode “Fez Dates Donna”, where Fez pretends to date Donna to get away from his crazy girlfriend.The other young lovebirds, Donna and Eric, are still together in this season. Many of the episodes are about their cozy little relationship. “Romantic Weekend” is a perfect episode about the couple. In it, Eric takes Donna away for a few days of romance. Unfortunately for Eric, he left the brochure for the bed and breakfast they are staying at on the counter and Red whisks Kitty away to the same place. When Eric and Red find out they’re staying in the same place, they try their best to pretend the other isn’t there, as not to disturb their romantic weekends. Of course nothing goes their way and when things get messed up, you’ll laugh. “Baby Fever” is another solid episode, where Eric and Donna image what their future will be like together. The reflection segments are an absolute riot.“Dine & Dash” is a fun episode, where Kelso treats his friends to an expensive lobster dinner. When the meal is over, he informs everyone they are going to leave without paying. One by one they trickle out of the restaurant, leaving poor Eric alone. “Holy Craps” sees the return of Pastor Dave (Kevin McDonald, Kids in the Hall) and it is a blast. Kitty gets Red, Eric, Kelso, and Hyde to help at a church fundraiser. To Kitty’s dismay, they abuse their posts. The episode also includes a hilarious performance from Cheers’ John Ratzenberger. Pastor Dave also shows up in “Eric’s Drunken Tattoo”. The episode has some great segments with Kitty, Red, and Dave.This season also has two episodes with the word panties in the title and they are unequivocally funny. In “Donna’s Panties”, Eric pulls down Donna’s pants in front of Fez, Hyde, and Kelso. She’s wearing big white cotton briefs and they start poking fun at her by calling her granny panties. It’s a Valentine’s Day Eric will never forget! The other episode “Eric’s Panties” has Eric afraid that Donna might be jealous of him because he is spending a lot of time with his attractive female lab partner. But she laughs at him and won’t believe an attractive girl like her would be interested, until she finds a pair of panties in the Vista CruiserSaving the best for last, “Canadian Road Trip” is the funniest episode this season has to offer. Eric, Fez, Kelso, and Hyde join Leo on a road trip into our northern neighbor, Canada. There the drinking age is lower and the boys can legally purchase beer. Unfortunately, Fez doesn’t have his green card and the Mounties working border patrol are less than willing to let them return to the states. They’re convinced they are smuggling illegal aliens. How this episode builds and the way it concludes is pretty damn funny. It’s a fun episode you’ll want to over and over again.Overall I was quite happy with season three. If you couldn’t tell from my reviews of season one or season two, I really love this show. The episodes in this season were just as rich, if not more, than what you find in past seasons. If you are looking to laugh over and over again, then season three of That ’70s Show has more than enough fun packed in its episodes.In the closing of season three, Eric and Donna broke up. Eric gave Donna a promise ring, which she couldn’t bring herself to wear because of its symbolism. As such, Eric reacted badly and ended their relationship. Season four picks up with Eric dealing with the breakup. Wayne Knight (Seinfeld, 3rd Rock From the Sun) guest stars in the season premiere episode “It’s a Wonderful Life” as a holy angel who shows Eric what life would like if Eric never dated Donna. The angel wants Eric to realize it is better to have loved and lost than it is to have never loved at all. Eric’s cynical attitude and Newton’s common antic performance make this a fun episode.In the next episode “Eric’s Depression” everybody tries to cheer Eric up and out of bed. The gang invites Eric to Fun Land, but he isn’t up for it. They end up going with him. Just how well Kelso fits into the consumer base of the park is a riot. Red also tries to repair Eric’s broken heart by giving him chores. They even share a touching heart-to-heart moment at the end. In “Pinciotti v. Forman”, Eric’s depression is better and he is up and about once again. Life is somewhat back to normal, except that Eric kicks Donna out of the basement while hanging out. This leads to Eric and Donna treating their friends like recently divorced couples do with their kids. They spoil everyone and try to make spending to with them better than the other.Another big story for the series takes place in “The Relapse”. The story is about Midge divorcing Bob. Midge left Bob and Donna to go to California because she was not happy with her life as a housewife. This sad and tragic event turns out to be fun. Hard ass Red is put in an uncomfortable position (being nice to Bob) several times over. The breakup also allows for a new recurring character to join the cast. Joanne Steupeck (Mo Gaffney) is a modern woman with a backbone. She makes for a fun character because she is more than willing to butt heads with Red.“Donna’s Story” is an episode where Donna writes a fictional story that is far too close to reality. It is about her relationship with Eric and after publishing it in the school paper everyone thinks he is a pig. In “Red & Stacey”, Red tries to fix Eric up with the new cashier at Pricemart. Unfortunately, she only has eyes for Red. What really makes this fun is how awkward Red gets and acts after he finds out about her feelings. Not to mention, how Eric and Kitty both react when they find out. Hilarious.“Jackie Says Cheese” is a fun episode because Jackie joins working America. Her father found out she is still dating Kelso and mandates if she continues to date him, he will cut her off financially. Torn between the most important things in her life, she chooses love and finds herself as the cheese girl at the Cheese Palace. In the later episode “Jackie’s Cheese Squeeze” she cheats on Kelso with her geeky manager. Despite Kelso having cheated on Jackie several other girls, he freaks out and breaks it off. They spend the rest of the season trying to repair their relationship.Fez starts dating big Rhonda in “Hyde Gets The Girl”, which is more or less a side story that didn’t have a huge impact on the season. There were some fun parts surrounding it, but it wasn’t Fez’s best moments. “Donna Dates a Kelso” is a pretty big episode for the season. Jackie convinces Donna she should get over Eric by dating other guys. She fixes him up with Kelso’s older brother Casey (Luke Wilson, Old School). Wilson gives a great performance throughout the season as Casey, a cool suave, egocentric lady’s man.This season continues to be an absolute blast with the characters working well together to produce some fun episodes. I especially enjoyed the various reoccurring and guest characters that appeared this season such as Luke Wilson, Richard Karn, Mo Gaffney, Kevin McDonald, and Wayne Knight. Fans of the series should really appreciate getting to sit through the entire fourth season and relive the Eric/Donna breakup, as well as the departure of Midge.In season five, the multi-season story arc continues to deal with Eric and Donna’s relationship. It hit a roadblock in season four, which was Donna’s new romantic love interest Casey (Luke Wilson). Casey and Donna were on and off, and it ended on a bad (but funny) note. Kelso and Jackie’s relationship was also at the fore and towards the end of the fourth season, they broke up. In the season four finale, Donna and Kelso hopped in Kelso’s van and drove to Malibu, California to get away from all of the drama in Point Place.In the opening of season five, summer is coming to an end and senior year is about to start. Eric considers what to do about Donna and decides to go after her, despite Red and Kitty forbidding him to do so. In the aftermath, Eric and Donna renew their romantic relationship and when they get back to Point Place, they are in for a world of trouble. Red takes the vista cruiser away from Eric and Bob puts Donna in private school. Throughout the remainder of the season, Eric and Donna’s love story remains a key development. It follows them into minor bouts of jealousy, an engagement, and college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.The other leading season story is a love triangle with Kelso, Jackie, and Hyde. While Kelso was off in California spending time with his new girlfriend Annette (Jessica Simpson), Hyde and Jackie hooked up. It is an odd pairing, as the two have hated each other from day one. But over the summer, more or less from boredom, they found comfort in each other’s arms. The background story about how they got together is a riot, see episode “I Can’t Quit You Baby”. At first, Hyde and Jackie were just fooling around, but they both develop strong feelings for each other. Hyde does, especially, when Kelso comes back into the picture. Soon the three find themselves locked in a love triangle, as Jackie cares about both guys and she is not sure who she should be with.Complicating Jackie’s life even more are her parents, or rather the predicament they left her in. Jackie’s dad, Point Place City Councilman, is caught accepting a bribe and goes to prison. And Jackie’s mother is off partying in Mexico and has no desire to come home to care for her daughter. Jackie is left without a home and looks to her friends, Red, Kitty, and Bob for help. Besides the love triangle dealing with Jackie, Hyde and Kelso both get jobs at a hotel working in the kitchen. Kelso decides to become a police officer because he thinks it is the best way to stay pretty forever. He quits modeling and takes a job at the hotel. Hyde deals with the fact that Leo left Point Place without saying good. At the hotel, a new reoccurring character is introduced, Roy (Jim Gaffigan). Roy runs the kitchen and he offers a stupid-than-Kelso-character. Good for a quick cheap laugh.Fez joins the working force at the Department of Motor Vehicles. While at the DMV with Kelso, Fez is exposed to the kind of people who work there. He sees it as the “belle of the ball,” being able to boss people around and treat them like crap no matter their social-economical status or ethnic background. He gets a job there and pursues a relationship with his boss Nina (Joanna Canton). Nina is an overly neurotic character who loves her job at the DMV a little too much. There are some silly stories with Fez and Nina. The best is “Whole Lotta Love”, where Fez loses his virginity to Nina and his recounts of the event are a riot.The entire Foreman family goes through some troubling situations. First of all, Kitty announces she is pregnant in “What Is And What Should Never Be”. The idea of another kid puts Red into fret, and gives Eric a chance to be the man and set Red straight. Fun change of pace. But the newborn news becomes a sad story when Kitty finds out it is menopause. Throughout the season, Kitty struggles with her mood swings and the various situations that arise from Eric and Donna’s engagement. There are also some traumatic events for Kitty, Red, and Eric to deal with concerning Kitty’s parents Bea (Betty White) and Burt (Tom Poston). Laurie (Lisa Robin Kelly) also returns to the show for a couple of episodes. Notably in the season finale, she and Fez do the Unthinkable.

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Overall, season five presents some strong episodes and story arcs about the cast, their relationships with each other, and the all around goofy situations the get into. I particularly loved the dynamic between Eric and Red. The two were at odd ends for a portion of the season, and it made for some hilarious stories with the entire cast caught in the middle of it all. How both Grace and Smith act together is fantastic. The rest of the season’s events were done nicely as well. In the end, fans of the series and sitcom-goers should check out this season set.

Season six has a lot of different things going on for the gang (and a few new faces). The notable storylines include Red’s heart-attack, Donna and Eric’s relationship, Kelso as a police cadet, Fez getting his green card, and more. The season six stories continue to give That ’70s Show the edge that made it hilarious throughout the first five seasons.In the close of season five, Red had a heart-attack. After learning that his precious daughter Laurie (played by Christina Moore in season six) married Fez to help him become a United States citizen, his heart gave. This storyline is revisited in the season six premiere. Red comes home and he is under strict orders from the doctor to take it easy. For Red, it means no work, beer, tasty foods, or fun! Eric, who is preparing to leave for college with Donna, feels guilty as he sees his mother working herself silly trying to care for Red and pay the bills. Eric postpones college to stay at home until Red is in better health. At first, Donna is intent on going to college without Eric, but decides love is more important and stays in Point Place.Tying into Red’s heart-attack, the entire family has to deal with the post-marriage blues. Fez and Laurie’s marriage is far from happy. It is purely a favor on Laurie’s part, as she sleeps around to Fez’s dismay. Their uncanny romance becomes an issue when an INS Agent comes to investigate the validity of their marriage. Red, who opposes the marriage, poses Fez’s biggest threat. He wants to see them divorced. The humor comes from the situation and Red buckling to help Fez out. Later, he even tutors Fez in U.S. history to prepare for the test to get a green card. The two have a great chemistry together and carry the storylines about the marriage well.Eric and Donna’s relationship is, once again, at the center of everybody’s attention. This season they go through some major ups and downs as they prepare to tie the knot. The fun storylines include the couple lying to Pastor Dan (Billy Dee Williams) about being virgins, a fun venture in choosing gifts for the wedding registry, Donna giving up her dream to be Eric’s wife, moving into a trailer, and Eric ruining Donna’s wedding dress. The events that happen associated with their holy matrimony is a riot and part of what makes this season so much fun.Kelso is at the center of a couple big season changes. In season five, he decided the best way to stay pretty was to become a cop. This season Kelso is a police cadet and there are some hilarious stories with him, the police academy, and the rest of the gang. In addition to being a police cadet, Kelso has to face other life responsibilities when a new reoccurring character Brooke (Shannon Elizabeth) is introduced. She is a hot girl who works at the library. A few months ago, she and Kelso had a fling and now she’s pregnant with his baby. He has to woe her by showing her that he is capable of being a responsible individual.Another fun change this season is the addition of Brooke Shields. Shields plays Pamela, Jackie’s ditzy, sexy mother. When Jackie’s dad went to jail last season, Pamela went to Mexico. She returns to Point Place after her rich boyfriend ran out of money. She quickly latches on to Bob, who is rich, and it drives Jackie and Donna up the wall. Then there is Mitch Miller (Seth Green), who first appeared in season five, joins the cast for a few episodes. Mitch is Eric’s arch-nemesis and annoying as all hell. The catch is that everyone else seems to like him. He makes for a fun opponent to Eric, especially how much their geeky tendencies clash.The seventh season of That ’70s Show is the second to the last. It also marks the last season with actors Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher as full season cast members. Both return in season eight as guest stars. Regardless, season seven is still just as f funny as the earlier seasons.In the beginning of season seven, there are two major focuses. The first major development is Eric and Donna coming to terms with their breakup and decision to not get married. They decide that they can still be together and date on less than serious terms. Eric also decides what he wants to do with his life. For the time being, absolutely nothing. He sells Donna’s engagement ring and plans to use the money to support his “year off”.The second early development and perhaps the biggest change for the season is Hyde’s new family. In the season six finale, Kitty found out that Hyde’s father was not his biological father. In “Let’s Spend The Night Together”, she arranges for Hyde to meet his real father, William Barnett (Tim Reid). Everyone is surprised when they first meet William, because he is black. Hyde also finds out he has a half-sister named Angie (Megalyn Echikunwoke).Both William and Angie play a role in the season, although Angie more so than William. Hyde gets to know his new family and even works in the family business, a chain of record stores. As the season continues, there are additional developments. Red buys the local muffler shop that went out of business. Fez gets a job at the local hair salon in “Beast Of Burden”. It is a little creepy, as Fez apparently has a fetish with touching hair. This job gives him an acceptable avenue to live out those desires. He also lands a date with a girl played by Lindsay Lohan. Kelso’s baby Samantha is born and he starts to re-think the way he treats women. Eric has to go back to school and take gym with Casey Kelso.In the latter half of the season, the focus moves to the Jackie-Hyde relationship and Eric’s future. Jackie starts to realize that Hyde may not want more out of their relationship. She is offered a job in Chicago and gives Hyde an ultimatum: marriage or else. Eric comes to realize in “Down The Road Apiece” what is in store for him if he does nothing with his life after meeting a thirty-something Star Wars geek. He decides to become a teacher. In order to get money for school, he signs up to teach in Africa for a year, which is hard for everyone to deal with, especially Donna.Overall, That ’70s Show’s seventh season makes for a decent collection of episodes. It’s sad to see Topher depart, but it was nice to see the show come back for on last season.

Season eight of That ’70s Show is the show’s final episodes. two lead actors Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher left the show. There are still some fun moments, the goofy, slapstick comedy we have come to know and love feels forced at times.The season begins with a lot of changes for the cast. At the close of season seven, Hyde walked in on Jackie and Kelso in a comprising situation. Hyde disappeared and returns to Point Place a married man. While in a drunken stupor, he married Samantha, a stripper. She comes to Point Place to as new reoccurring character who helps introduce some awkward situations that tend not to be funny. Despite Hyde finding love, everything goes back to normal.About the same time Hyde returns to Point Place, he hires Randy (Josh Meyers) to work at the record store. Randy quickly integrates into the Point Place bunch and replaces Eric/Kelso. (Eric left at the end of season seven to go to Africa.) In the first few episodes, Kelso is still present. He continues to offer laughs with his dumb as bricks personality. However, he departs from the show after losing his job as a cop and deciding to move to Chicago to be closer to his daughter.After the initial episodes and the new changes settle, it is business as usual for the Point Place crew. Hyde explores married life with his sultry wife. Fez obsesses over the opposite sex and even gets a couple girlfriends — one of which is an older woman. Donna deals with her long distance relationship with Eric — which goes does not work out. Randy quickly fits into the group and starts a relationship with Donna. Jackie has a short-lived career in television with an annoying talk show host and realizes she is in love with Fez. Red retires and sells his muffler shop. Kitty continues to be overly neurotic and supportive to everyone. Leo does lots of drugs and says weird things that make everyone laugh. Overall, the season’s events continue to offer a similar goofiness as past seasons. Topher and Ashton come back for the finale which leads the cast into the 80’s as the decade comes to an end

REVIEW: BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD – SEASON 1-3

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MAIN CAST

Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Marc Worden (Ultimate Avengers)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
John Dimaggio (Futurama)
Tom Kenny (Super hero Squad)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Corey Burton (Critters)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Vyvan Pham (Generator Rex)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Mikey Kelley (TMNT)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Will Wheaton (Powers)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Jeff Bennett (James Bond Jr.)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Ellen Greene (Pushing Daisies)
Armin Shimmerman (Star Trek: DS9)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Tom Everett Scott (Scream: The Series)
Billy West (Futurama)
Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers II)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
James Remar (Flashforward)
Jeffrey Combs (Gothman)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
William Katt (Carrie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mark Hamill (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam West (BAtman 60s)
Julie Newmar (Batman 60s)
Dana Delany (Body of Proof)
Tony Todd (Chuck)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and Thje X-Men)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Olivia D’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Mae Whitman (Independence Day)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Revels)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Tippi Hedren (The Birds)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Ted McGinley (Highlander 2)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)

There’s a gloriously meta moment in the back half of this season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold where the show’s producers are raked over the coals at Comic-Con. One of the twentysomethings in the crowd grouses and groans about how the Caped Crusader in the cartoon isn’t his Batman, and…well, he’s not wrong. DC’s comics anymore are joylessly grim and gritty…22 monthly pages of misery and scowling and torture and dismemberment and death and high collars and way too much crosshatching. Batman: The Brave and the Bold, meanwhile, is defined by its vivid colors and clean, thick linework. It’s a series whose boundless imagination and thirst for high adventure make you feel like a six year old again, all wide-eyed and grinning ear to ear.


You know all about The Dark Knight’s war on crime, and in The Brave and the Bold , he’ll duke it out against any badnik, anywhere. He doesn’t go it alone, either, with every episode pairing Batman up with at least one other DC superhero. Heck, to keep it interesting, The Brave and the Bold shies away from the obvious choices like Superman and Wonder Woman. Instead, you get more interesting team-ups like Blue Beetle (more than one, even!), Elongated Man, Wildcat, Mister Miracle, Kamandi, and B’wana Beast.
Other animated incarnations of Batman have been rooted in something close enough to reality. Sure, you might have androids and the occasional Man-Bat, but they tried to veer away from anything too fantastic. The Brave and tbe Bold has free reign to do just about whatever it wants. One week, maybe you’ll get an adventure in the far-flung reaches of space with a bunch of blobby alien amoebas who mistake Batman for Blue Beetle’s sidekick. The next might offer up Tolkien-esque high fantasy with dragons and dark sorcery. Later on, Aquaman and The Atom could play Fantastic Voyage inside Batman’s bloodstream, all while the Caped Crusader is swimming around in a thirty-story walking pile of toxic waste. He could be in a Western or a post-apocalyptic wasteland or a capes-and-cowls musical or even investigate a series of grisly something-or-anothers alongside Sherlock Holmes in Victorian England.

Batman has markedly different relationships with every one of those masked heroes. There’s the gadget geekery with an earlier incarnation of the Blue Beetle. With the younger, greener-but-still-blue Beetle, Batman takes on more of a mentor role.

More of a stern paternal figure for Plastic Man, and a rival for Green Arrow. Sometime it might not even be the most pleasant dynamic, such as a decidedly adult Robin who doesn’t feel like he can fully step outside the long shadow that Batman casts.

There are some really unique takes on iconic (and not so iconic!) DC superheroes here, and far and away the standout is Aquaman. This barrel-chested, adventure-loving braggart is my favorite incarnation of the king of the seven seas, and if Aquaman ever scores a cartoon of his own, I hope he looks and acts a lot like this. Oh, and The Brave and the Bold does a spectacular job mining DC’s longboxes for villains too, and along with some of the familiar favorites, you get a chance to boo and hiss at the likes of Kanjar Ro, The Sportsmaster, Kite Man, Gentleman Ghost, Chemo, Calendar ManKing, Crazy Quilt, and Shrapnel. The Brave and the Bold delivers its own versions of Toyman, Vandal Savage, and Libra while it’s at it, the latter of whom has the closest thing to a season arc that the series inches towards.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold is every bit as fun and thrilling as you’d expect from a series where every episode’s title ends with an exclamation point. Each installment is fat-packed with action, and the series has a knack for piling it on in ways I never saw coming. Even with as imaginative and off-the-walls as The Brave and the Bold can get, it still sticks to its own internal logic, so the numerous twists, turns, and surprises are all very much earned.

The majority of the episodes have a cold open not related to the remainder of the episode. Despite its episodic nature, if you’re expecting a big storyline in these 26 episodes, you’re going to be pretty disappointed as the extent of an overarching story in the season is the occasional villain that appears more than once, like Starro, but that’s really the only connecting bridge between episodes.

Season 2 contains one of my favorite episodes of not only this particular season, but probably in the entire series, “Chill of the Night!”, which goes back to Batman’s origins as Bruce Wayne learns more about the man who murdered his parents, turning him into the crime-fighter he would become, it’s one of the most well known origin stories in media, ever, but it’s done so well here. Another reason I love this episode is my blinding nostalgia for the voice cast.

The original 1960’s Batman, Adam West, guest stars as Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne, while Julie Newmar, who starred opposite of West as Catwoman from the original Batman TV show, plays Batman’s mother, Martha Wayne. My favorite Batman of all time, theatrical or not, Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman from Batman: The Animated Series and various other series/movies/games, voices the Phantom Stranger. Lastly, the baddie of the episode, The Spectre, is voiced by none other than Mark Hamill, the definitive voice of the Joker.

The Episodes in season 3 are wildly imaginative; so much so that purists will probably be put off, at least initially. They range from “Night of the Batmen”, where batman is incapacitated and it is up to Aquaman, Green Arrow, Captain Marvel, and Plastic Man to don the cowl, and keep gotham safe. As weird as that may sound, this episode is pure fun, and a joy to watch. Other stand outs are the never before seen in the states “The Mask of Matches Malone”, “Shadow of the Bat”, “Scorn of the Star Sapphire”, and “Powerless”.

Special mention has to be made of the final episode of the series however, “Mitefall”. In this meta episode, Batmite does a fantastic job breaking down why the series is ending, and the disconnect of the so-called “purists”, whose baseless, closed minded, ignorance eventually doomed this excellent series.

When all is said and done, we received three outstanding, and criminally underrated, seasons and it is a joy to see.

REVIEW: SABRINA: THE TEENAGE WITCH – SEASON 1-7

MAIN CAST

Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey)
Nick Bakay (That 70s Show)
Caroline Rhea (2 Broke Girls)
Beth Broderick (Lost)
Nate Richert (Gamebox 1.0)
Jenna Leigh Green (Hard Sell)
Michelle Beaudoin (Ginger Snaps 2)
Paul Feig (Spy)
Penn Jillette (Hackers)
Martin Mull (Two and a Half Men)
Lindsay Sloane (Bring It On)
Alimi Ballard (Dark Angel)
David Lascher (Blossom)
Jon Huertas (Slash House)
China Shavers (Not Another Teen Movie)
Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster)
Elisa Donovan (Clueless)
Trevor Lissauer (Roswell)
Diana-Maria Riva (17 Again)
Andrew Walker (Laserhawk)
John Ducey (How I Met Your Mother)
Bumper Robinson (Enemy Mine)

RECURRING /NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tom McGowan (Bad Santa)
Eddie Cibrian (The Cave)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Emily Hart (Nine Dead)
Robin Riker (Big Love)
Brian Austin Green (Terminator: TSCC)
Nicole Bilderbck (Dark Angel)
Raquel Welch (Legally Blonde)
Andrew Keegan (O)
Donald Faison (Scrubs)
Curtis Andersen (That 70s Show)
Coolio (Dardevil)
Dana Gould (Gex)
Billy West (Futurama)
Kathy Ireland (Loaded Weapon 1)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Henry Gibson (Wedding Crashers)
Chris Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
Dann Florek (Law & Order: SVU)
Beverly Johnson (Lois & Clark)
Mika Boorem (Blue Crush)
Phil Fondacaro (Willow)
Bryan Cranston (Godzilla)
Mary Gross (Jailbait)
Cee Cee Michaela (Gia)
Andrea Savage (Veep)
Patrick Thomas O’Brien (Catch Me If You Can)
Sarah Lancaster (Chuck)
Walter Jones (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Loni Anderson (A Night at Roxbury)
Caroline Williams (TExas Chainsaw Massacre 2)
Bobcat Goldthwait (Blow)
Beth Grant (Wonderfalls)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Shelley Long (The Money Pit)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Steve Allen (The Player)
Kel Mitchell (Mysten Men)
Kenan Thompson (Snakes on a Plane)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory)
Dom Deluise (Spaceballs)
Shannon welles (Inception)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Jacon Witkin (Showgirls)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Fred Stoller (Little Man )
Jason Schwartzman (I Heart Huckabees)
Daveigh Chase (S. Darko)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha)
Jerry Springer (Austin Powers 2)
Justin Timberlake (Friends with Beefits)
Hallie Todd (The Lizzie McGuire)
Glenn Shadix (Beeteljuice0
Alex Rocco (The Simpsons)
Britney Spears (Crossroads)
Jordan Belfi (Surrogates)
Shirley Jones (The Music Man)
Audrey Wasilewski (Pushing Daisies)
Paula Abdul (Bruno)
Ginger Williams (Cruel Intentions)
Tim Thomerson (Trancers)
Bebe Newuwirth (Jumanji)
George Wyner (American Pie 2)
Eric Jungman (Not Another Teen Movie)
Matt Battaglia (Mike & Molly)
Dick van Dyke (Mary Poppins)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: DS9)
Brian Gross (Red Tails)
Charles Shaughnessy (Stargate SG.1)
Kal Penn (Van Wilder)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Cruel Intentions 2)
Gedde Watanabe (Mulan)
Leslie Jordan (Ugly Betty)
David Starzyk (Veronica Mars)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica)
Estelle Harris (Stand and Deliver)
E.J. Callahan (Wild Wild West)
Richard Steven Horvitz (Mighty Moprhin Power Rangers)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Larry Poindexter (Blade: The Series)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Nicole Scherzinger (Men In Black 3)
Sisqo (Get Over it)
Winston Story (Masked Rider)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
D. Elliot Woods (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Carnie Wilson (Bridesmaids)
Usher (She’s All That)
Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
Brandy Norwood (I Still Know What You did Laster Summer)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
Chyna (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Lori Alan (Family Guy)
Sean Cw Johnson (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Zeo)
Ashanti (John Tucker Must Die)
J.P. Manoux (Birds of Prey)
Clare Kramer (Buffy)
Verne Troyer (Jack of All Trades)
Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle)
Sandra McCoy (POwer Rangers Wild Force)
Sally Struthers (Nine To five)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Christina Vidal (Freaky Friday)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Faith Prince (Dave)

All seven seasons of the show are available on DVD (that’s 163 episodes!)It is best to watch the show from start to finish as you can follow Sabrina’s life and understand the story lines. She changes boyfriends a few times so you need to remember which one she’s dating.

Characters come and go in the seasons. It was a shame Libby & Valerie left the show in season 4 because they were excellent characters. I think Sabrina’s aunts and Salem were the best characters. They always had good story lines and Salem got up to some crazy schemes (often roping whoever he could in to get some magical help). I loved Nick Bakay as the voice of Salem as he is very comical yet evil. The Salem animatronic improves over the course of the show and is put to good use in the later seasons. Another character I enjoyed was Morgan. I loved Elisa Donovan in Clueless  and she was so good as Sabrina’s clueless and fashionable roommate.

The best season would have to be season 3. It has the best storyline of Sabrina trying to work out the family secret and a lot of the shows characters were given major roles in these episodes. Season 3 also features the best episodes such as when the aunts need to rehab a bunch of pirates they’ve left locked up for years and Sabrina can’t control her addiction to pancakes.

I loved in season 4 when Hilda purchased the clock shop containing a magic time travelling clock. There is a hilarious scene when Hilda is trying to compete with the watch selling monkey outside her shop and she makes Salem do tricks whilst dressed up. Salem looked so cute in that little bell-hopper-style outfit! Caroline Rhea is so funny and I couldn’t image Aunt Hilda being played by anyone else. She had some of the best storylines and it was funny to watch what trouble she’d get herself into each episode.

The later seasons of the show get a bit bland and the story lines usually don’t revolve around magic. After leaving high school, Sabrina attends college where she lives with a bunch of mortals (Roxie, Morgan and Miles). In season 7, the aunts have left and Sabrina lives in the aunts house with Roxie, Morgan and Salem. Season 7 is not as bad as everyone  says, it may be the weaker season but is still good.

I was really happy when they brought Harvey back as a character. It made sense that his character left at the end of season 4, but the show didn’t feel the same without him. Nate Richert did a excellent job of playing Harvey and he was an important character in the show so he needed to come back. Harvey has some funny moments in the later seasons and it was great that he could interact with Salem cause he knew about Sabrina’s magic.

After watching this show since my childhood, Melissa Joan Hart is one of my favourite actresses. I love her expressions and she is quite funny. It’s really cute when she says Sabrina’s most common line “woo hoo!”. There was a short period where she had red hair in the show and I was so happy when she went back blonde.

Overall, I would recommend getting all seven seasons if you are a fan of the show. It is so much better when you watch it when you are older as it makes more sense and the jokes seem funnier. Plus you follow the storylines and remember which episodes are good or not. The sets are worth getting for any sitcom lover and once you start watching Sabrina’s crazy adventures, you won’t want to stop till you get to the end!