HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE CLEVELAND SHOW: HALLOWEEN EPISODES

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MAIN CAST

Mike Henry (Family Guy)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
Kevin Michael Richardson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012)
Reagan Gomez-Preston (That 70s Show)
Jason Sudeikis (Son of Zorn)
Seth MacFarlane (Ted)
Aseem Batra (Scrubs)
Glenn Howerton (Crank)
David Lynch (Twin Peaks)

GUEST CAST

Fred Tatasciore (Hulk )
Will Forte (MacGruber)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)

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IT’S A GREAT PANCAKE, JUNIOR BROWN

Cleveland crushes Cleveland Jr.’s spirit when he forbids him from trick-or-treating because he thinks he is too old. Depressed when he sees everyone else in the family dressing up and left with passing out the candy. Cleveland Jr. decides to dress up anyways but is harassed and egged by kids from school. After getting chewed out by Cleveland, Cleveland Jr. decides to pack up his childish things and become one of the cool kids. Jr. decides to attend Oliver Wilkerson’s party where he finds himself still teased and tormented. Cleveland follows and sees some of the torment but wants Cleveland Jr. to tough it out. Donna convinces him to let Jr. be himself. Cleveland leads the guys with Jr. to go back to the party where they return some of the previous eggings.
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Rallo is told by Donna that he can only have one piece of his Halloween candy per day, so he decides to roll it into one giant piece. Finishing one last stray bite, one of Rallo’s teeth come out causing him to panic. After trying to hide the missing tooth from his mother, he decides to hide it under his pillow. When he awakes the next morning, he finds the tooth has been replaced with a quarter. Yelling with fright, he causes Donna to come rushing in and explains what happened. She admits she knows and tells him about the Tooth Fairy.
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Some nice moments, like Cleveland and his friends dressing up like breakfast foods to help out his son. The story about Rallo losing his tooth after eating too much candy had alot of laughs  and I did like Roberta as a slutty ghost.

NIGHTMARE ON GRACE STREET

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After an introduction by Gus while he retrieves ingredients for his hairy turkey sandwiches, Donny stops by the guy’s table at The Broken Stool where he annoys them with his sense of humor. Back at the house, Rallo is preparing for his first sleepover at his friend Walt’s house but Cleveland Brown Jr. is disappointed as he isn’t allowed to come. At school, Roberta is taking a break from Federline Jones while he takes his SATs prep classes when she catches a glimpse of Edwin Mullins, a new student. Noticing his pale, dark looks and a trickle of pizza sauce dribbling from his lips, Roberta gets the idea that Edwin could be a vampire. Introducing herself, Roberta ignores hints from Edwin that he isn’t interested in her.
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At the sleepover, Rallo gets frightened and calls up Cleveland to come get him. Cleveland tries to pass the task off to Donna but she orders him out to get Rallo himself. Cleveland teases Rallo about being scared and picks up a hitch-hiker to scare Rallo further. But kicks the hitch-hiker out of the car when he tickles Rallo without paying any attention to Cleveland. Later at The Stool, the guys win a jack-o-lantern contest by being the only ones Gus knows and Terry Kimple invites everyone except Donny back to his house. At the house, Cleveland gets scared by being in a strange place and calls Donna. When she picks him up, she makes him get in the back of the car where he gets frightened by Rallo and they continue to argue over who is the bigger chicken. The arguing continues into trick-or-treat where, thanks to Donny’s annoying jokes, they fail to get candy from Wally’s house. When the kids get on to Cleveland for Donny ruining their fun, Cleveland tells him to take a hike. The arguing over who is braver starts again with Cleveland and Rallo darting into traffic until Donna grabs them and forces them to call it a night.
Roberta tries to attract Edwin by jumping off of a cliff into a lake like she saw in the movies, but is rescued by a moonlight swimmer named Caleb. Roberta gets the idea that he is a werewolf and has to think over who she wants to be with. Donna drives Rallo and Cleveland to the abandoned McCafferty House and forces them to be brave by spending the night in the house together. As they try to settle in for the night, Cleveland and Rallo hear noises and investigate, discovering spooky surprises that Donna and Jr. planted as traps while they watch on a web cam at home, unaware that Donny is slipping into the house with an ax to extract revenge for being snubbed. When Donna gets up for some snacks, Donny bursts in looking for Cleveland. When they tell him that Cleveland isn’t there, Donny decides to start by killing Donna and Jr. instead. Back at the McCafferty house, Cleveland and Rallo decide to call a truce and leave together. Pausing briefly at a driving range while stalling for time, Cleveland and Rallo decide to face the music together and head for home.
At a Halloween party, while trying to decide if either Caleb or Edwin should become her lover, she has them go into a room to fight it out over her. Nervous about what is going on, Roberta has her friend Anna look in on them and finds out that the two of them are having sex together. Back at the house, Cleveland and Rallo arrive to find Donny disguised as Donna who he has tied up with Jr. Donny attacks Cleveland with his ax. While they struggle, Rallo sprays the fluid from Cleveland Jr.’s “WD-40” costume onto the floor, enabling Cleveland to force Donny out the window to his death as he screams about hating black people. Cleveland ends by noting that they were pretty brave after all. Things come to a close with a musical number as Gus hauls away Donny’s body
another great Halloween instalment to the show, the costumes were funny and the shining moments were hilarious.

ESCAPE FROM GOOCHLAND

After Donna forbids the older kids to buy costumes for Halloween, Roberta tells Federline who thinks he can get on Cleveland’s good side. When Cleveland finds out that its his turn to be the designated driver when he and the gang visit their rival high school in Goochland for the annual football game, he sets out to find an alternate driver and Federline signs up. When Donna sets out to return Roberta’s slutty costume, Cleveland admits he finds it sexy and they set up a rendezvous at a motel after the game. To get even with her mother, Roberta plots to play a prank disguised as her mother and enlists Cleveland Jr. to come along dressed as his dad. At the game, the guys get riled by Cleveland’s rival Chet Butler. During halftime, Goochland puts on a halftime show presenting Stoolbend in a negative light and the wooden wife of President Harrison said to be given to the town. After the game, Federline accidentally backs the guy’s car into another that belongs to Chet Butler, forcing the guys to flee for their lives, blending in by donning Halloween costumes until Federline nearly gives away the game. onna meanwhile gets arrested for prostitution while spending time in a bar waiting for Cleveland and Roberta and Jr. nearly get caught by Principal Wally when they plant thousands of toothpicks in the school field.
As the guys find safety in the woods, Cleveland berates Federline for his attitude, pointing out he isn’t the gangster he thinks he is. Federline takes off. After the guys hop a train to Stoolbend, Federline catches up, having stolen the wooden statue of Eunice. Hot on his heels is a mob from Goochland which proceeds to tear apart Stoolbend. Taking shelter at The Broken Stool, Cleveland decides to use Stoolbend’s deficiencies to their advantage as Gus reveals that the statue originally belonged to Stoolbend until “borrowed” by Goochland. Leading a group to face off with the mob, a rolling blackout leaves the Goochland group in the dark while those from Stoolbend reveal themselves to have developed mole eyes in the dark. As Cleveland notes that the Goochland people are taken off to be eaten, Donna is freed when the police wagon is overturned. Chet pursues Cleveland to the river but is confused when he mistakes Jr. for Cleveland. Cleveland ignites the river, burning the bridge but Chet makes it to the other side and holds a knife at Jr. throat. As Chet laughs at Cleveland apparently failed ploy to burn him, Cleveland note he only set the river on fire to catch the attention of a giant monster which proceeds to devour Chet. Cleveland and Donna bump into each other later when Cleveland propositions Donna and Donna accepts as they laugh it off and proceed to their rendezvous.
Meanwhile, Rallo enjoys the fact that he still gets to participate in Halloween until he accidentally cuts himself badly with a knife. As he periodically calls for help and leaving a large puddle of blood, he appears as a ghost in the end noting he dies but laughs it off reporting he’ll be back the next episode.
Sadly the last Halloween episode of the show as after season 4 the show was cancelled. There was much that I really enjoyed here. From things like the War of Northern Aggression Memorial Stadium, to Tim dressed as He-Man and Hoult dressed as Katy Perry, all the way to our heroes praying to Tim Teabow for salvation and the extreme weirdness of Gus (voiced by David Lynch, btw). There were plenty of moments and gags that had me really laughing out loud (especially Roberta and Cleveland, Jr, dressing up as their parents).

REVIEW: EVERYTHING MUST GO

CAST

Will Ferrell (The Lego Movie)
Christopher Jordan Wallace (Kicks)
Rebecca Hall (Iron Man 3)
Rosalie Michaels (The Graves)
Stephen Root (Jersey Girl)
Laura Dern (Jurassic Park)
Glenn Howerton (Serenity)
Jason Spisak (Time Lapse)
Michael Pena (The Martian)

Batman-Bad-Blood-640x360Salesman Nick Halsey (Will Ferrell) is fired from his job of 16 years following an unspecified incident in Denver related to his alcoholism. He sits in the parking garage after leaving the office, drinking from a flask. He then takes the Swiss Army Knife he was given as a farewell gift and stabs it into his supervisor’s car tires, only to leave the knife (which has his name on it) and run away when he is unable to pull it back out from the tire. He immediately drives to a convenience store and buys a large amount of beer. When he returns home, he finds his wife is gone, the locks have been changed, and his belongings have been strewn all over his front lawn. His wife has left him a letter telling him that she is leaving him, also over the Denver incident, and to not contact her.MV5BODE1NjMzODE0OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDExNDQyNzE@._V1_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_Nick spends the night on the lawn. In the morning, he leaves to buy beer and food, returning to find his company car being taken back. In addition, his credit cards no longer work, he has been blocked from the joint checking account he has with his wife, and his phone service is terminated. When the police ask him to vacate the premises, Nick gets them to contact his AA sponsor, Detective Frank Garcia (Michael Peña), who provides him with a permit for a yard sale, allowing him three more days before he must move on. Nick gets a neighborhood boy, Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace), to help him sell his possessions, assuring Kenny he will pay him for the help, and also that he will teach him to play baseball. The first day’s sale is unsuccessful as Nick is unwilling to let items go.
v-wars-3-e1572876496671Nick meets his new neighbor, a pregnant young woman named Samantha (Rebecca Hall), and invites her to his backyard. There, he tells her that he had been sober for six months until attending a conference in Denver, during which he had gotten blackout drunk with a female coworker; he awoke with no memory of the night before, and soon learned that she had lodged a complaint against him, setting the stage for his firing. Nick then finds a yearbook with a friendly message from an old classmate, Delilah (Laura Dern), whom he tracks down and visits. The reunion is awkward, but Delilah nevertheless gives Nick a hug and tells him that he is a good person deep down. Now completely broke, Nick has to go without alcohol and soon experiences withdrawal. Samantha gives him a Valium and tells him that he needs help. He replies that she is no better than him because she puts up with her husband’s drinking and frequent absences. Samantha storms off, angry and hurt.

The next morning Nick awakes to find Kenny has arranged his belongings on the lawn and has put price tags on them. Most of the things get sold by that evening. Nick apologizes to Samantha, who admits that he was right and that she had told her husband to come home or get a divorce. She, Nick and Kenny then go out to dinner. In the restaurant restroom, Nick encounters his former supervisor, who explains that the incident in Denver probably did not happen. They fired the female employee he got drunk with because it was discovered she has a history of suing fellow employees for sexual harassment, and that Nick probably would have gotten his job back if only he hadn’t slashed the supervisor’s tires. Nick expresses little reaction to this news, but when the supervisor leaves a glass of beer in the restroom, Nick takes it back to him without drinking a drop.

After dinner, Nick meets with Frank, and answers Frank’s phone while he steps out of his office. The caller is Nick’s wife, Catherine, telling Frank she is waiting at his house. Nick confronts Frank, who admits Catherine has been staying with him ever since she left Nick. The two men have a fight, and Frank says Catherine deserves better than Nick. It is also divulged that Nick and his wife were both recovering alcoholics. Later, while Frank drives Nick home, he observes that, because Catherine got sober and Nick didn’t, their marriage had little chance of succeeding, and proceeds to list the ways Nick failed her as a husband. He then hands Nick a packet of divorce papers for him to sign, along with some spending money and keys to the house. Nick tells Frank to drop him off on the nearest curb; before he gets out of the car, he asks Frank to tell his wife he’s sorry. He walks home the rest of the way, at one point stopping to look into the convenience store where he regularly bought beer, but moves on.
As Can She: Rebecca Hall (Samantha) in ‘Everything Must Go’
The next day, he settles up with Kenny – including repaying him for what he skimmed from Kenny’s profits for beer money – and receives an appreciative hug from Samantha, whose husband has come home. She hands him the Polaroid photo she took of him a few days prior, with the message from her fortune cookie taped to the bottom, which says “Everything is not yet lost.”

It’s a really good story that’s well worth watching, but quite sad and raw at times (albeit with uplifting moments).

REVIEW: FAMILY GUY – DVD SEASONS 11-15

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Flashforward)
Alex Borstein (Power Rangers Zeo)
Seth Green (IT)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Mike Henry (Ted)
Jennifer Tilly (Curse of Chucky)
Patrick Warburton (Scream 3)
Adam West (60s Batman)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST (VOICES)

Christina Milian (Bring it On 5)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)
Carrie Fisher (Star wars)
Dana Gould (Mob City)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Christine Lakin (Valetnine’s Day)
Bill Maher (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Ashley Tisdale (Scary Movie 5)
David Boreanaz (Bones)
Gary Cole (Chuck)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Adam Carolla (Two Guys and a Girl)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Jessica Stroup (Ted)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Cheryl Tiegs (The Brown Bunny)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Meredith Baxter (Family Ties)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Chris O’ Dowd (St. Vincent)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher TV)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Sanaa Lathan (Blade)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Jessica Barth (Ted)
Marlee Matlin (My Name Is Earl)
Sara Fletcher (Icrime)
David Herman (Futurama)
Ellen Page (Super)
Ricky Gevais (Ghost Town)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie)
Cate Blanchett (The Hobbit)
Anna Kendrick (The Voices)
Martin Spanjers (8 Simple Rules)
Dan Castellaneta (Fantastic Four)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Sandra Bernhard (2 Broke Girls)
John De Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Will Sasso (Anger Management)
Emily Osment (Mom)
Megan Hilty (The Good Wife)
Jessica Biel (New Girl)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Tony Sirico (Goodfellas)
Ashley Benson (Spring Breakers)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Lauran Bacall (The Big Sleep)
Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
Keke Palmer (Scream Queens)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
David Thewlis (Harry Potter)
Hank Azaria (The SMurfs)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Julie Kavner (Rhoda)
Yeardley Smith (As Good As It Gets)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Maya Rudlph (Bridesmaids)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Ana Gasteyer (What A Woman Wants)
Glenn Howerton (That 80s Show)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Nat Faxon (The Descendants)
Harvey Fierstein (Mulan)
Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)

Season 11 is really the reamaing of episodes of season 9 but by now you get use to the dvd season. great epsiodes and more greats jokes and anyones fair game, be it the spiritual, who get assaulted in “Brian Writes a Bestseller,” as the dog writes a quickie self-help guide, but can’t defend it against Bill Maher’s questions, pretty much any minority and Meg, the family’s socially-awkward daughter, who not only tries to weasel her way into wheelchair-bound Joe’s life, but hooks up with her brother. Nazis, a standard part of the show after so many years, get their moment to shine as well, as the neighborhood pedophile Herbert recognizes Chris’ new friend as a war criminal, setting up an epic old-man fight, and perhaps one of the few times in history where you might find yourself rooting for a kid-toucher.
One of strangest jokes is where Peter is reminiscing about 1985, and notes that it gave us the gayest music video ever, before showing nearly half of David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s “Dancing in the Streets.” As it plays, you start wondering when we’ll get back to the show, before beginning to question if we’re ever going back. And then you start questioning how the video ever came into existence. Then you ask, how did they get the rights to use it in the show this way? Then you kind of forget you’re watching Family Guy. Then you kind of wish you were watching the video again, but that was the point of the episode doing it to mind screw you.

 This season is a pretty strong one. It has the mean-spirited episode is Screams Of Silence: The Story Of Brenda Q and it’s not only the strangest episode on the season but one of the strangest of the entire series. Basically Glenn’s sister gets into an abusive relationship and he, Peter and Joe decide to take care of the problem. The episode gets increasingly darker as it plays out and the ending, which is presented straight and without any obvious irony or attempt at humor, is pretty grim. The crew should get credit for tackling a serious social issue with at least some semblance of seriousness but is this really the right format to raise an issue like this? Opinions will vary, obviously, but this episode is twisted.

Aside from that, it’s more or less business as usual. There are some fun celebrity cameos here, the most obvious one being Ricky Gervais who provides the voice of a dolphin who helps Peter out and then demands a ridiculous amount of favors in return. The Lottery Fever series opener is a fun one which shows not only how Peter behaves after winning the lottery but how those around him will leach off of him when he does. We get to see Brian take mushrooms before a hurricane hits the town and then watch him trip out and see some seriously bizarre hallucinations. The Back To The Pilot episode also stands out as we see Stewie travel back with Brian in tow to January 31, 1999 (which was the broadcast date of the series’ first episode). This shows how the series has changed over the years and also how in just as many ways it has stayed the same.

Quahog news anchor Tom Tucker gets the spotlight in Tom Tucker: The Man And His Dream in which we learn about his acting career. It seems he played Michael Myers in Halloween IV and once Peter learns that, he and James Woods get involved in resurrecting his thesping profession. In Killer Queen Peter and Chris wind up at fat camp where a serial killer is at work, while back in Quahog, Stewie is terrified by the artwork of Queen’s New Of The World album cover. H. Jon Benjamin from Bob’s Burgers and a bunch of other great credits does a guest voice here. Stewie falls for a girl named Penelope, voiced by Kate Blanchett, in Mr. And Mrs. Stewie but of course that can’t end well even if she shares his love of weapons and math. Tea Party is another stand out. When Peter tries to open his own business and gets shut down, he becomes an advocate for small government and takes hardcore conservative Tea Party ideas to ridiculous extremes with predictably funny results.

All in all, this is a pretty great season. It’s also fairly daring, not that the show has ever really shied away from controversy but they definitely push things on a visual level here. That’s not a bad thing, so long as you’re accepting of the fact that as offensive as the series can be, it’s an equal opportunity offender and it provides a great opportunity to laugh at the absurdity that is all around us on a daily basis.

So how does this season hold up? In a lot of ways, it’s more of the same, but at the same time, by being more of the same there’s a certain expectation of unpredictability that this collection consistently meets and occasionally exceeds. You get to a point in the show where you expect the unexpected, and there’s a whole lot of unexpected to appreciate this time around. The season starts off strong with Into Fat Air where Lois runs into an ex-boyfriend who boasts about his family’s accomplishments. This gets Lois feeling competitive and before you know it, the Griffins are climbing Mount Everest. Shades of Alive run deep in this particularly perverse episode. The show takes on the Nielson Ratings in Ratings Guy. When the Griffins are selected to a Nielson family, Peter goes for a blatant abuse of his power to shape TV to his liking but is then tasked with trying to set things right. It’s actually a pretty amusing take at the fickle viewing habits of the general public. The health care industry and its corporate ties are taken on in The Big C when Peter finds out that his father in law has been keeping the cure for cancer his corporation has discovered secret in the name of making more profits off of treatment. As irreverent as this series gets, this episode will at least get you thinking.Family Guy (1998)The seemingly obligatory time travel episode in this season is Yug Ylimaf and once again Stewie and Brian cruise back in time and goof off. It’s old hat at this point but there’s comfort in familiarity. We get to learn more about Joe’s disability when the man who shot him and confined him to a live in a wheelchair goes on the lam and Peter, Joe and Quaigmire hunt him down to get revenge. The Jesus, Mary and Joseph! episode lets Peter tell us his own version of the Nativity Story in what is essentially a Christmas episode gone awry. Nothing is sacred, fans know that by now. Quagmire is the focus of The Giggity Wife, an episode that shows what happens when Glenn marries a skaggy old hooker on a trip with Peter and Joe. He realizes quickly that this was a horrible idea but she won’t grant him a divorce. Glenn tries to convince her that he’s actually gay, with Peter’s help. In Chris Cross the elder Griffin son swipes some money from his parents to go out and buy some cool new sneakers. When Meg finds out, she blackmails him but Chris quickly has his fill and decides to go live down the street with everyone’s favorite pedophile, his old friend Herbert. Meanwhile, Stewie convinces Brian to help him track down Canadian songstress Anne Murray. In Call Girl Lois uses her voice to make some extra money as a phone sex operator and in Turban Cowboy Peter befriends a Muslim and then converts to Islam. Phone sex might not be so topical these days, but the Islam episodes pushes some buttons in some clever ways.

As the season comes to a close, in the Bigfat episode we find out what happens when Peter, Joe and Quagmire go on a trip to Canada. Peter goes missing for months and when they finally find him, he’s lost the ability to communicate like a ‘normal person.’ Total Recall is another ‘Rupert’ inspired episode where Stewie and Brian try to get the teddy bear back after a recall is done. Peter and friends try to save their favorite bar in Save The Clam while Peter takes up farming in Farmer Guy, but soon gives that up in favor of dealing meth. Road To Vegas sees Brian and Stewie clone themselves and head to Vegas where they have completely opposite experiences from one another and last but not least, No Country Club For Old Men gets the Griffin’s into a posh country club when Christ strikes up a romance with a girl who comes from the wealthiest family around. This doesn’t sit well with Carter, who winds up getting the boot.

It’s all pretty much non-stop insanity but hey, it wouldn’t be Family Guy if there weren’t a lot of guest voices, right? Right! Popping up throughout this collection are such luminaries as Elizabeth Banks, Ryan Reynolds, Sofía Vergara, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Biel, Drew Barrymore, Will Sasso, Emma Roberts, J.J. Abrams, Sandra Bernhard, Cheryl Tiegs, Anne Murray, Bill Maher, Sharon Osbourne and quite a few others. And we’d be remiss not to mention the mighty Robert Loggia shows up here too. There’s a lot of fun to be had in this set so long as you go in with an open mind and remember that pretty much every one from every walk of life is fair game.  This marks the second time a full season of the show has been released in one set (season 13 12 had the full season 11 on it). In prior years Fox, in its infinite wisdom, would release sets that had half of one season and half of another on it. It has really been a minor point because in terms of following the show, it is not like it ever has season long story arcs that need to be followed. You just have to have seen a prior episode to get a reference if they call back to something. But for those of us who do get the DVDs it has often meant paying the same price for a set with a partial season on it. So it is nice that they have come around to doing what they should have in the first place. It also makes for a pretty funny joke this season in one of the episodes.

As far as the show itself goes, it is pretty standard with what it has been doing the past few years. It can get repetitive with some of the gags (they do like vomit), but I do think they are still entertaining on a consistent enough basis to keep fans of the show entertained. This season has the controversial story line in the middle involving Brian (chances are everyone knows what it is and the cover of the DVD set basically gives it away) that definitely shook the show (and the fans) up. It also sees the return of Cleveland after the Cleveland Show’s cancellation. Like the show always has, it makes fun of pretty much any topic, and because the DVD is uncensored it replaces some of the tamer jokes from the broadcast version with harder edged versions. It is also worth noting that nothing gets bleeped out on the DVDs, so expect all the swearing to be in every episode.

 


For those who get the DVD set, as far as extras go, there are deleted scenes from every episode, a couple episodes showing the full animatics with the dialogue, and a short feature on the Brian storyline with show runners and Seth Green talking about the fan reaction. Pretty standard for what has been included before

This is really season 13, its the season featuring the Simpson/ Family Guy Crossover. The hour in Springfield started off in poignant, self-referential fashion, with Seth MacFarlane and co. recognizing that this was probably a “one time shot.” Cue the slew of Easter eggs and references for fans of The Simpsons, and the fan-service is appreciated for the most part. There are guest appearances from Apu (once in his natural habitat, and once as Stewie’s prisoner), and hilarious scenes with the likes of Cleveland and Quagmire meeting their Simpson counterparts.

The entire premise of this episode (an attempt to put the rumors of any Family Guy vs The Simpsons feud to rest) hinges on each show taking some low blows and wearing it’s respective heart on it’s sleeve. Whether it’s The Simpsons (or Duff Brewery’s) longevity, which invites criticism about it’s consistency, or Family Guy’s (and Pawtucket Brewery’s) questionable originality and knack for what may seem like “pale imitation,” this episode takes stabs at both parties involved. The argument begins in a bar at the start of the third act, and spirals out of control into an absurd, and probably overlong, classic chicken fight.Comic-Con-Family-Guy-The-SImpsons-Crossover-SG-21

Other highlights in the set include,

The 2000 Year Old Virgin where Jesus shocks peter by saying that he has never had sex. Determined to change this, Peter enlists the help of Cleveland, Joe and Quagmire so Jesus can lose his virginity for his 2000th birthday.

Stewie, Chris, & Brian’s Excellent Adventure where Stewie and Brian invite Chris on a journey through time to help him pass a test that is his only hope of finishing ninth grade, and the three end up stuck in 1912 aboard the Titanic.

and of course the Fight Irish episode where Peter claims that he could beat Liam Neeson in a fight, but his skills are put to the test when Neeson himself actually shows up. Meanwhile, Stewie is annoyed with Lois when she becomes a class mom and starts paying more attention to other children.

Another classic season with great jokes and great guest stars, The Simpson Guy being the biggest highlight now we can own it on dvd

REVIEW: SERENITY

CAST

Nathan Fillion (Slither)
Gina Torres (Angel)
Alan Tudyk (I Robot)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Jewel Staite (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ron Glass (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Sean Maher (Arrow)
Summer Glau (Arrow)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (The Martian)
David Krumholtz (Hail, Caesar!)
Sarah Paulson (What Women Want)
Tamara Taylor (Bones)
Glenn Howerton (The Strangers)

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“I’m not going to say it’s the best science fiction movie, ever. Oh wait, yes I am”. The words of Orson Scott Card himself, author of the award winning scifi novel “Ender’s game”, and many others.


Not only is this a very fine movie, made on a fraction of the budget of any other scifi film I can think of, it also captivates those who have previously had no interest in science fiction before. Which is far more than I can say about almost any SciFi movie I can think of, the only other being Ridley Scotts 80’s classic Bladerunner.

Even if you’ve never seen Joss Whedon’s critically acclaimed series “Firefly”, less than a quater of the way through this movie you’ll suddenly realize, I care about these people, I care about what happens to them, so rich are their characters. They have flaws & insecurities just like we all do.


You can do alot more in a 15 Episode TV series regarding character development than you can in a 2 hr movie, so the focus here is mostly on 2 main characters. The captain of the cargo ship Serenity, ‘Malcolm Reynolds’, and ‘River’, the extremely intelligent but mentally traumatized teenage sister of Dr Simon Tam who Reynolds agreed to give sanctuary aboard his ship some eight months or so earlier. Having said that though, all the characters are here, and they all do a fine job. The script is very witty, clever and often very powerful.


The soundtrack in Serenity quite wondrous in it’s self, with beautiful melancholic strings, echoing piano, and western and oriental influences. They work perfectly with Whedon’s stunning camera work and lighting. There are special effects in this movie a’ plenty, and they look fantastic, in fact they completely belie the fact that this film cost less than $40m to make. They really are quite beautiful but they are there to further a strong story, not to overcome it.


So emotionally powerful is this film that it has been described as ‘art’, and I really do think that it is, but will everybody like it? In the words of O.S.Card, “Not a chance…… it really is too strong for some people. Plus the story line is ‘smart enough’ and ‘mature’ enough that some people just won’t get it. Can’t be helped”. Serenity was indeed voted film of the year 2005, did it deserve the top spot? Possibly not, but it did deserve to be very close to it. It was certainly the “only” Scifi based movie that deserved to be anywhere near the top ten movies of 2005.


Serenity is a very unusual film, a tiny film that went by almost unnoticed and was a difficult film to market. There are no big names in the cast, and it is based on a short lived TV series that sadly too few know about. So when you see it for the 1st time, nay, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time and so on, you’ll feel privileged that you did..