REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 10-13

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lisa Kudrow (Friends)
William Daniels (Knight Rider)
Phil Hartman (Small Soldiers)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Kathie Lee Gifford (Hercules)
Ed McMahon (The Tom Show)
Regis Philbin (Jack and Jill)
Jerry Springer (Ringmaster)
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Kim Basinger (Batman)
Brian Grazer (Arrested Development)
Ron Howard (Happy Days)
George Carlin (Dogma)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Dick Tufeld (Lost In Space)
Cyndi Lauper (Bones)
Dolly Parton (Rhinestone)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Jan Hooks (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Elton John (Spice World)
Hank Williams Jr. (A Time To Sing)
John Kassir (Tales From The Crypt)
Isabella Rossellini (Death Becomes Her)
Jack LaLanne (More Wild Wild West)
Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap)
Stephen Hawkings (The Big Bang Theory)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Jack Burns (The Muppet Movie)
Mel Gibson (Mad Max)
Marcia Mitzman Gaven (Small Soldiers)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Tom Arnold (True Lies)
Dick Clark (Spy Kids)
Lucy Lawless (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Penn Jillette (Sabrina: TTW)
Butch Patrick (The Munsters)
Garry Marshall (Life After Beth)
Henry Wrinkler (Happy Days)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Tim Robbins (Howard The Duck)
Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2)
Britney Spears (Crossroads)
Shawn Colvin (Crazy)
Betty White (Bones)
Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Parker Posey (Blade: Trinity)
Gary Coleman (Diff’rent Strokes)
Willie Nelson (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Roger Daltrey (Highlander: The Series)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
Drew Barrymore (Charlies Angels)
Joshua Jackson (Dawsons Creek)
Patrick McGoohan (Bravehart)
Edward Norton (The Bourne Legacy)
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Charles Napier (the Silence of The Lambs)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Justin Timberlake (The Social Network)
Stacy Keach (American History X)
Kathy Griffin (Hall Pass)
Frankie Muniz (Malcolm In The Middle)
Pierce Brosnan (The World’s End)
Matthew Perry (Friends)
Jane Kaczmarek (Pleasantville)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld)
Paul Newman (Road To Perdition)
Richard Gere (Pretty Woman)
Ben Stiller (Zoolander)
Dana Gould (Stan Against Evil)
Jon Lovitz (Big)
Reese Witherspoon (This Means War)
Dennis Weaver (Gunsmoke)
Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)

The Simpsons just clicks at every level. This family may be dysfunctional but in the end, they are still a family in every way and we are gently reminded of this in almost every episode. Also, the cast of supporting characters that inhabit Springfield is no less funny than the main characters themselves, providing the show with comically colourful and screwball situations that just never get old. Not even after ten outstanding seasons.

SEASON 10 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

10.1) LARD OF THE DANCE

All the girls in Lisa’s class are impressed by the mature, trendy personality of a new student named Alex Whitney, and do everything they can to be just like her. Lisa, who is not as impressed and chooses to be herself, is forgotten by her classmates and becomes jealous of Alex. Lisa’s friends and Alex decide to host a school dance and they buy outfits for it in order to get dates. When Lisa goes to the dance, she discovers that the boys and the girls are at separate ends of the room, too embarrassed to dance with each other. As a result, Lisa is able to prove that Alex and her classmates are only children and not as mature as they try to be. Meanwhile, Homer convinces Bart to drop out of school for what he thinks to be a more promising pursuit: selling grease. However, this endeavor fails when their business results in a scuffle with Groundskeeper Willie.10.3) BART THE MOTHER

Nelson invites Bart over to test a BB gun he won at an arcade center. When Bart uses it and accidentally kills a bird mother, Marge becomes furious with him, thinking that he killed the animal on purpose. Bart feels guilty for what he did and takes it upon himself to nurse the mother’s orphaned eggs. Marge soon finds out about this and becomes proud of him. However, when the eggs hatch, they are found to be lizards that lived in the bird’s nest. Skinner, a member of the Springfield Birdwatching Society, tells Bart that the lizards must die because they kill so many species of birds. Bart refuses and helps the lizards escape. After the lizards devour the pigeon population, which the townsfolk considered to be a nuisance, Bart is honored by Mayor Quimby.10.5) WHEN YOU DISH UPON A STAR

When a parasailing accident sends Homer crashing into the secret home of Hollywood couple Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin, they hire him as their personal assistant, provided that Homer does not tell anyone where they live. The couple starts to become irritated with Homer, who gives them ridiculous suggestions for film screenplays. When he accidentally violates their trust by revealing their location in Springfield, the couple immediately end the friendship. After a chase between the Hollywood stars in their Hummer and Homer in his mobile museum of stuff that belongs to the couple, Homer is ordered by a court of law to remain 500 miles away from any celebrity.10.6) D’OH-IN IN THE WIND

While filling out a Screen Actors Guild form (after starring in an instructional video filmed at the nuclear plant where he works), Homer realizes that he does not know what his middle initial “J” stands for. After finding the answer, “Jay”, on a mural in the hippie commune where his mother once lived, Homer decides to live the hippie lifestyle. He stays with his mother’s old friends Seth and Munchie who now own a juice company. Homer quickly ruins one of their juice shipments by accident, and tries to make up for it by taking crops from their garden and making juice with them. However, some of these crops contained drugs and after people start to have crazy hallucinations from drinking the juice, Chief Wiggum arrests Seth and Munchie.10.7) LISA GETS AN “A”

While sick from school, Lisa becomes obsessed with a video game and forgets to study for a test on the book The Wind in the Willows. Not willing to fail, she calls upon Bart and Nelson to help her cheat, and gets an A+++. Consequently, Springfield Elementary School now qualifies for a basic assistance grant. Tormented by guilt for cheating, she reveals what she did to Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers, who persuade her to keep it a secret so the school can keep the money. At the grant ceremony, Lisa finally bursts out, only to realize the real ceremony had already taken place as Skinner and Chalmers anticipated her actions. Meanwhile, Homer houses a lobster to eat, but becomes emotionally attached to it and makes it his pet. However, he accidentally boils it to death while giving it a hot bath, and eats it sadly.10.9) MAYORED TO THE MOB

After saving Mayor Quimby from rioters at a science fiction convention, Homer becomes Quimby’s bodyguard. When Homer discovers that Mafia leader Fat Tony is providing rat milk to the schools of Springfield, he forces Quimby to expose Tony in return for saving Quimby from falling off a ledge. After Tony is arrested, he threatens to take Quimby’s life. While Quimby is spending an evening at a dinner theater, Homer discovers that Fat Tony is there alongside his henchman, Louie, having been released on bail. Homer foils an attempt by Louie to kill Quimby, and as Homer and Louie fight, Tony is able to savagely beat Quimby with a baseball bat. However, Tony makes sure to only restore Quimby’s fear of the Mafia and not kill him.10.10) VIVA NED FLANDERS

When Springfield’s only casino is demolished, massive dust clouds form, prompting the Simpson family and Ned to go to a car wash to get rid of the dust on their cars. There, Homer sees that Ned gets a senior discount. Thinking that Ned is not a senior and lying about his age, Homer reveals this at church. As a result, Ned is forced to admit to everyone that he is sixty years old and only looks young because he has never done anything exciting in his life. Out of pity, Homer decides to take him to Las Vegas, where, after a night of partying and gambling, they end up marrying two casino barmaids while drunk. As Homer and Ned try to escape from the barmaids the next day, they go on a wild rampage through the casino, until they are confronted by casino security and banned from ever visiting Las Vegas again.10.11) WILD BARTS CAN’T BE BROKEN

Homer, Lenny, Carl, and Barney celebrate a rare victory of the Springfield Isotopes baseball team and end up going on a drunken rampage through town. During this rampage, they vandalize Springfield Elementary School. The next morning, Chief Wiggum suspects that students committed the crime and places all of Springfield’s youth under curfew. The children respond by setting up a pirate radio show in which they reveal the embarrassing secrets of Springfield’s adults. The location from which the children send out the broadcast is soon tracked down and an argument between the children and the adults ensues. As each side is stating their case in a song, the senior citizens turn up to complain about the children and the adults and agree to raise a curfew for everyone less than seventy years old.10.12) SUNDAY, CRUDDY SUNDAY

While buying new tires for his car, Homer meets a travel agent who offers Homer a free bus ride to the Super Bowl, as long as he can find enough people to fill the agent’s bus. A group of Springfield men tag along to what soon becomes a problematic trip after the tickets are discovered to be fake. As a result, they are locked in “Super Bowl Jail”. Thanks to help from Dolly Parton, they break out and attempt to find the football field, until they get lost in the sea of players that run through the corridors of the stadium to the locker room after winning the Super Bowl. Much to their happiness, Homer and his friends end up in the locker room with the players. Meanwhile, Marge and Lisa try to find the missing parts of “Vincent Price’s Egg Magic”, a celebrity-endorsed craft kit.10.13) HOMER TO THE MAX

Homer is delighted with the positive attention he receives after a new television show airs that features a police character also named Homer Simpson. However, when the character is changed from a hero to a bumbling idiot by the show’s producers, Homer is mocked and taunted by those he knows, so he changes his name to “Max Power” to rid himself of the negative attention. The new name earns Max respect, and he and Marge are invited to a party where they meet a lot of famous people who are going to save a redwood forest from destruction by chaining themselves to the trees. However, Max accidentally cuts his tree with his chains while running away from police officers Eddie and Lou. The tree knocks down all the other redwoods in a chain reaction, angering Max’s newfound friends. In the end, Max changes his name back to Homer.10.14) I’M WITH CUPID

After Apu and Manjula have a big fight, Apu showers his wife with elaborate Valentine’s Day gifts to make up for it, making the rest of the men in Springfield look bad in front of their women. His final gift is to write a love note to Manjula in the sky—which Homer (along with a group of other discontented male characters) plans to sabotage. When the plane is about to spray the message “I ❤️ U MANJULA”, Homer manages to destroy the canister at “I ❤️ U ⭐️”, a message that the women of Springfield think was made only for them by their partners. Homer is able to win Marge’s love back by jumping out of the plane covered in roses and landing in front of her in their backyard. Meanwhile, to reconcile Apu with his wife, Elton John performs a private concert for the couple.10.15) MARGE SIMPSON IN “SCREAMING YELLOW HONKERS”

Homer buys an SUV but upon discovery that it was designed as a “woman’s car”, he gives it to Marge. Infatuated with the car, she proceeds to develop a ferocious road rage and ends up losing her license when she fails a driving test and crashes it into a prison. However, her road rage is required when Homer accidentally sets all the rhinoceros in a zoo free. Marge agrees to assist the police in rounding up the animals, but learns there is one missing and sees Homer being carried off by it. She chases the angry rhino into a construction site and deliberately crashes the SUV, making it burst into flames. The rhino instinctively attempts to stamp out the fire, allowing Homer to escape.10.16) MAKE ROOM FOR LISA

When Homer uses Lisa’s room as a cellular phone transmitter to pay off damages he did to the Bill of Rights at a Smithsonian exhibit, Lisa is forced to move into Bart’s room. Lisa becomes furious with her father for having to share a room with her brother. She fears that she and Homer will never be close because of their clashing personalities and begins to develop stress-related stomach aches. To relieve these aches, Homer and Lisa visit a New Age store where the owner convinces them to go on a spiritual journey by lying in a sensory deprivation tank for a prolonged amount of time. On her journey, Lisa discovers that beneath Homer’s bumbling outside, he really does care about her. Reconciled, the two of them watch a demolition derby together, something they equally enjoy. Meanwhile, Marge uses Maggie’s baby monitor to listen in on other people’s phone calls; however, when Milhouse and Bart play a prank on her, Marge knocks Milhouse out, thinking he was a burglar.10.17) MAXIMUM HOMERDRIVE

While at a steakhouse, a trucker named Red challenges Homer to an eating contest. Red wins, but quickly dies of “beef poisoning”, making it the first time he will miss a shipment. Feeling bad for him, Homer takes on the duty of transporting Red’s cargo to Atlanta with his son Bart by his side. After falling asleep behind the wheel, Homer awakes to discover that the truck drove by itself with its Navitron Autodrive system. He informs other truck drivers, who tell him that he cannot let anyone know about the Autodrive system because it would make all truck drivers lose their jobs. Later, when cars that pass by Homer find out about it, a mob of truckers confront him. Homer and Bart escape, finish the shipment on time, and go home on a freight train. Meanwhile, after deducing that only Homer and Bart get to do the fun things in life, Marge and Lisa decide to add excitement to their lives by installing a new doorbell. However, it starts to malfunction after Lisa presses it.10.19) MOM AND POP ART

Homer tries to assemble a barbecue pit quickly, but fails and is left with a mismatched collection of parts stuck in hardened cement. As a result, he vents his rage on the construct, mangling it further. When Homer takes the failed barbecue pit back to the store, an art dealer sees it and describes it as a masterpiece of outsider art. As a result, he gets his own art exhibition and channels his rage into his work. Marge, who had been trying to succeed at art for years, gets jealous of Homer’s easy success. However, when Homer makes new art pieces for a show called “Art in America” that are similar to his first piece, his peers reject him as repetitive. In an attempt to do something groundbreaking, Homer floods Springfield and puts snorkels on the animals. The townspeople declare this a masterpiece and everyone enjoys the new “Grand Canals of Springfield”.10.21) MONTY CAN’T BUY ME LOVE

Billionaire Arthur Fortune captures Springfield’s heart by giving each customer a dollar at the opening of his new store. This embarrasses the unpopular Mr. Burns, who recruits Homer to help him be loved by all. However, their various schemes fail. Feeling disappointed, Burns makes his newest plan, which is to go to Scotland to catch the legendary Loch Ness Monster. After some minor setbacks, Burns is able to capture the monster and sends it to Springfield to be unveiled, where the friendly “Nessie” charms all of the spectators and makes Burns more likable. However, during the unveiling, Burns is blinded by camera flashes and runs into a camera which crashes and starts a fire. As a result, the crowd flees in panic. Following this disaster, Homer cheers up Burns by pointing out that being loved means you have to be nice to people every day but being hated is effortless.10.22) THEY SAVED LISA’S BRAIN

After a riot occurs at a Springfield contest that promises a luxurious trip to the most disgusting and dimwitted contest participant, Lisa, disgusted at the lack of intelligence, writes a letter that appears in the newspaper. Springfield’s branch of Mensa International, consisting of Comic Book Guy, Dr. Hibbert, Principal Skinner, Professor Frink, and Lindsay Naegle, is impressed and invites Lisa to join the group. When the Mensa members lose their gazebo at the park, they go to complain to Mayor Quimby. However, the mayor thinks they are there to confront him about his political corruption so he flees from Springfield. As a result, Lisa and the others are granted power to the city since they are the smartest. The power eventually corrupts them and they are cornered by a mob, only to be saved when Stephen Hawking shows up. Meanwhile, Homer gets erotic photographs of himself taken for Marge, but while she enjoys them a lot, she gets distracted by the interior design Homer did in their basement for the photo shoot and they do not have sex that night.10.23) THIRTY MINUTES OVER TOKYO

When Snake Jailbird steals money from the Simpson family’s bank account through the Internet, the Simpsons go on a budget and save enough to buy a trip to Japan. The Simpsons thoroughly enjoy the country, and Homer defeats one of the mightiest Sumo wrestlers. Impressed, the Emperor of Japan congratulates Homer, but, thinking the emperor is a new challenger, Homer knocks him out. As a result, he is placed in prison. After Marge pays the bail, Homer loses their last money and the family is unable to buy plane tickets home. All seems lost until a Japanese game show allows the Simpsons to compete in order to return to Springfield. Their last task on the show is to retrieve the plane tickets on a suspension bridge over an active volcano, which, once the family falls in, is revealed to be filled with orangeade and not lava. Although the family gets the tickets, Homer scolds the Japanese for their lack of ethics.

Although Season 11 is mostly criticised for not being one of the strongest seasons of The Simpsons. However, it’s not all bad, as some reviewers are making it out to be. Some highs and lows here and there, including some of my personal favourites.

SEASON 11 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

11.1) BEYOND BLUNDERDOME

After destroying an “Elec-Taurus” electric car in a test run, the Simpsons are given free tickets to Mel Gibson’s new film, a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Mel Gibson, however, laments his current role without violence and wants someone to give him criticism. When Homer sees Mel talking with Marge, he gives Mel a brutal review, leading Mel to believe that Homer is the only man brave enough to give suggestions. As a result, he hires him to create a better ending. However, when the ending proves to be too controversial, Mel and Homer end up on the run from studio executives with the film.11.2) BROTHER’S LITTLE HELPER

Bart is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and prescribed a Ritalin-esque drug called Focusyn. At first, the drug makes Bart well-behaved and intellectual, but soon, Bart becomes paranoid, claiming that there are satellites owned by Major League Baseball that are spying on the town. When ordered to stop, Bart refuses, devours a few hundred, and proves his theory right by destroying the satellite with a tank. All is restored when Bart goes back to his ordinary pills.11.3) GUESS WHO’S COMING TO CRITICIZE DINNER?

Homer becomes a food critic for a Springfield newspaper and ends up annoying the restaurant owners of Springfield after he makes negative reviews just to be mean, advice he took from fellow critics. Springfield’s restaurant owners then attempt to kill Homer by feeding him a poisoned éclair.21.6) HELLO GUTTER, HELLO FADDER

Homer becomes a local celebrity after bowling a 300 game, but his fame quickly fades as “yesterday’s news”. After a botched suicide attempt foiled by Otto, Homer decides to spend time with Maggie after seeing Ron Howard spend time with his children. When Homer tries to teach Maggie swimming, he fails due to her mistrust of him, and has to pulled out the beach by Maggie. Eventually, Homer brings Maggie to a bowling game, where she bowls a perfect game.11.7) EIGHT MISBEHAVIN

After Manjula gives birth to octuplets that were the result of fertility drugs, she and Apu unintentionally allow a zookeeper to exploit their babies in exchange for help after corporate sponsors abandon them for a mom that has given birth to nontuplets in Shelbyville. After a failed rescue attempt by Homer and Apu, the zoo keeper agrees to return the babies only if Butch Patrick and Homer ride a tricycle dressed as Eddie Munster on stage while attacked by cobras.11.8) TAKE MY WIFE, SLEAZE

Homer wins a Harley-Davidson motorcycle at a fifties dancing contest and starts his own biker gang, naming it “Hell’s Satans”. However, this attracts the real biker gang called “Hell’s Satans” to crash at their house. However, after a while, they begin to appreciate Marge, who takes care of them, and kidnaps her. Homer tracks them down and scuffles with Meathook, the leader. At Marge’s suggestion, the gang settles down and lives normal lives.11.10) LITTLE BIG MOM

While the Simpson family goes skiing, Marge remains at the ski lodge due to her fear of skiing, only to break her leg from a falling clock. As a result, while hospitalised, Marge leaves Lisa to deal with the slovenly Bart and Homer, who do nothing but take their toll on their house. However, in an attempt to motivate them, she pulls a prank suggested by the ghost of Lucille Ball on Bart and Homer by making it look like they have leprosy. At Ned Flanders’ suggestion, Bart and Homer end up in Hawaii; with them gone, Lisa finishes cleaning the house as Marge arrives home, her cast off. The pair then go to retrieve Homer and Bart, who are enjoying themselves despite the shock therapy.11.11) FAITH OFF

Bart believes he has the power to heal others through faith after removing a bucket glued to Homer’s head. However, when Bart knocks Milhouse’s glasses off in order to cure his myopia, Milhouse is nearly run over by a truck that he thinks is a dog as he cannot see without his glasses. Consequently, Bart, feeling guilty, ends his career as a faith healer. Meanwhile, Homer creates a homecoming game float for Springfield University. However, he soon forgets about it, and accidentally injures the star player, Anton Lubchenko. After getting in trouble with Fat Tony, Homer is saved when Lubchenko sacrifices his leg to win the game; the leg is surgically reattached by Doctor Hibbert, who is relieved at the end of Bart’s healing career. 11.12) THE MANSION FAMILY

Mr. Burns goes to the Mayo Clinic for a checkup after being declared the oldest man in Springfield, leaving the Simpsons to house-sit for him and Homer to take advantage of living as a rich man. However, when Homer wants to throw a party, he goes to Moe’s, where he must buy the alcohol in international waters as it is Sunday before 2 PM. There, they are captured by Chinese pirates. Later, Burns discovers that as a result of having all the existing diseases, he is perfectly healthy as all the germs simply cancel each other out. Consequently, he returns and kicks out the Simpsons, who have not even enjoyed being rich, causing Homer to be extremely bitter and resentful.11.14) ALONE AGAIN, NATURA-DIDDILY

Maude Flanders is killed in a freak accident during a stock car race, devastating Ned and prompting Homer to find a new woman for his grieving neighbor. However, Ned begins losing his faith in God before being prompted back by a Christian rock band.11.15) MISSIONARY: IMPOSSIBLE

Homer gets in trouble with PBS after confessing he does not have $10,000 to give them for their pledge drive–and ends up a missionary on a South Pacific island.11.16) PYGMOELIAN

After getting his face censored out on the Duff Calendar for not being photogenic, Moe gets plastic surgery and becomes the star of a popular soap opera. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa go after Maggie’s pink elephant balloon after it floats away.11.18) DAYS OF WINE AND D’OH’SES

Barney realizes how much of a pathetic drunk he is after watching his birthday party video and decides to give up alcohol forever, which does not sit well with Homer. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa work together to take a memorable photo for a new phone book cover contest.11.20) LAST TAP DANCE IN SPRINGFIELD

Inspired by a movie about a girl who enters a tango contest and wins, Lisa decides to sign up for dance lessons — and ends up taking tap lessons from a former child star. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse hide out at the mall to escape going to summer camp.11.21) IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD MARGE

Otto dumps his fiancee, Becky, at the altar, leaving her to become the Simpsons’ latest houseguest, prompting Marge to go insane when Patty and Selma scare Marge with thoughts of Becky replacing Marge as a wife and mother. Meanwhile, Springfield Elementary gives Bart’s fourth grade class videocameras (after slashing geography out of the budget) and Bart sets out to create a movie.11.22) BEHIND THE LAUGHTER

In a parody of VH1’s Behind the Music, viewers take an inside look at The Simpsons’ rise to fame–and the many scandals, feuds and break-ups that threatened to end the show and split up the family.

The argument will rage long after the boxset of The Simpsons: Season 11 has been released about when exactly America’s finest television animated export actually peaked. Some arguably, with genuine gusto, that it was a year or two before this series was first shown. Most purists though satisfy themselves that it’s the single digit seasons where the best of The Simpsons, but there’s certainly plenty of gold in this set.

12.2) A TALE OF TWO SPRINGFIELDS

While calling Animal Control over a badger taking residence in Santa’s Little Helper’s doghouse, Homer discovers that Springfield has two different area codes–and ends up leading a revolt that splits the town in two.12.3) INSANE CLOWN POPPY

Krusty takes parenting lessons from Homer when, during an outdoor book fair, a girl tells Krusty that she is his long-lost daughter from a one-night stand with a female soldier who fought during the first Gulf War.12.5) HOMER VS DIGNITY

When the Simpsons once again have financial problems, Mr. Burns pays Homer to play pranks on others and humiliate himself in public. Meanwhile, Smithers creates a Malibu Stacy-themed musical.12.6) THE COMPUTER WORE MENACE SHOES

Homer decides to buy a computer after turning up to the Plant to find it closed by e-mail. He then creates his own website and it eventually gains attention when he posts gossip. Homer dubs himself as “Mr. X” to conceal his identity. When he reveals that he is Mr. X, he becomes drugged into a mysterious island where people who know too much are imprisoned after Homer starts writing conspiracy theories such as flu shots.screen-shot-2012-06-06-at-10-36-16-am12.9) HOMR

While working as a human guinea pig (to pay off the family’s lost savings after making a bad investment), Homer discovers the root cause of his subnormal intelligence: a crayon that was lodged in his brain ever since he was a boy. He decides to have it removed to increase his IQ, but discovers that being smart does not necessarily equal being happy.12.10) POKEY MOM

Bart and Milhouse are banned from The Android Dungeon after stopping Comic Book Guy from buying a box of priceless Star Wars memorabilia for $5, but are hired as his replacements when Comic Book Guy has a heart attack and is advised to leave his job in order to make friends.12.12) TENNIS THE MENACE

While making funeral arrangements for Grampa’s future, the funeral planner pitches the idea of a mausoleum that uses the same amount of cement as a full-sized tennis court. This prompts Homer to instead build a tennis court in his backyard, initially mistaking the sport for “Foxy Boxing”. The tennis court makes Marge and Homer popular in town, but it turns out that this is only because Homer’s inferior tennis ability makes them an easy target. Bart on the other hand, shines as a natural.12.13) DAY OF THE JACKANAPES

Krusty announces his retirement due to interference from network executives and the growing popularity of the big-money game show “Me Wantee”, but when Krusty reveals to Sideshow Bob that all of the episodes featuring him have been erased, Sideshow Bob uses Krusty’s biggest fan (Bart) to murder him during Krusty’s farewell show.

12.14) NEW KIDS ON THE BLEACH

A music producer selects Bart, Nelson, Milhouse and Ralph to be members of the next hit boy band, who record subliminal songs about joining the Navy.12.15) HUNGRY, HUNGRY HOMER

When Lisa becomes the target of a female bully, Lisa discovers a scientific reason as to why bullies pick on nerds. Meanwhile, Homer goes into the baby-proofing business, which is threatening the businesses of pediatricians and greeting card salesmen.12.16) BYE BYE NERDIE

When Lisa becomes the target of a female bully, Lisa discovers a scientific reason as to why bullies pick on nerds. Meanwhile, Homer goes into the baby-proofing business, which is threatening the businesses of pediatricians and greeting card salesmen.
12.19) I’M GOIN’ TO PRAISELAND

After finding a sketchbook belonging to his late wife Maude, Ned Flanders opens a Bible-themed amusement park to honor her memory.

The Simpsons season 13 is another great season, full of laughs from our lovable characters Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Everything about the episodes are great, I cannot stress how much I love this season.13.2) THE PARENT RAP

Bart gets in trouble for joyriding in a police car, but feels confident he will be let off by Judge Snyder. However, Snyder goes on vacation before ruling his verdict and is replaced with a coldhearted judge named Constance Harm. She accuses Homer of being a negligent father and sentences him to be tethered to Bart. The two are against it at first but later start to bond. Marge however is unable to take anymore of it and slices the tether off of them both. Homer and Marge then go after Judge Harm only to end up sinking her houseboat. Eventually Bart decides to take punishment and is about to be sentenced to 5 year in juvenile hall, only though Judge Snyder returns and dismisses Harm. 13.3) HOMER THE MOE

Moe becomes depressed and decides to return to bartending school so he can re-evaluate himself. He meets an old teacher, who suggests that Moe try improving his bar, which might make him happier. Moe takes the advice, and turns his bar into a trendy nightclub, which does not sit well with his regular customers Homer, Lenny, Carl, and Barney. 13.5) THE BLUNDER YEARS

After tricking Marge into thinking an advertising spokesman is coming to visit her, Homer takes Marge and the rest of the family to a restaurant. A hypnotist uses his powers on Homer, and makes him remember a horrific childhood incident where Homer found a dead body in a ravine. The Simpson family decides to investigate this and find out where the body came from.13.7) BRAWL IN THE FAMILY

A social worker is assigned to make the Simpson family functional after they get arrested for fighting while playing Monopoly. He helps them learn how to work together and function as a family. The moment is ruined when, Ginger and Amber, the barmaids who married Homer and Flanders while they were drunk in “Viva Ned Flanders”, arrive at the Simpsons’ home, which outrages Marge. 13.9) JAWS WIRED SHUT

A jaw injury from colliding with a new town statue turns Homer into a better listener while recuperating with his jaws wired shut, but once the wires come off, Homer does not go back to being loud and obnoxious and Marge becomes starved for thrills.13.10) HALF-DECENT PROPOSAL

Homer develops a snoring problem, so Marge decides to spend a night with her sisters Patty and Selma. After a night of drinking, Marge sees a news report about her ex-prom date Artie Ziff, who is now very wealthy, and decides to send him an e-mail. Artie is still obsessed with Marge, so he offers the Simpsons $1 million in exchange for Marge spending a weekend with him.13.11) THE BART WANTS WHAT IT WANTS

Bart befriends Rainer Wolfcastle’s daughter Greta. She has a crush on Bart, but he does not seem to realize it and eventually stops seeing her. Seeking revenge, Greta begins dating Bart’s best friend Milhouse, which causes Bart to start missing her. She leaves for Toronto with her father, and Bart convinces his family to follow them there.13.15) BLAME IT ON LISA

When Homer gets the family’s telephone service cut off for refusing to pay for calls made to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Lisa confesses that she was the one who called Rio after sponsoring an orphan who goes missing. She convinces the family to travel to Brazil to look for him. However, once there, they have no luck finding him, and Homer is kidnapped.13.16) WEEKEND AT BURNSIES

Homer is prescribed medicinal marijuana after getting pecked in the eyes by a murder of crows. While his family and friends worry about the drug altering his personality, Homer becomes Mr. Burns’s vice president after cracking up at Burns’s antiquated jokes.13.18) I AM FURIOUS (YELLOW)

Inspired by a cartoonist who speaks at the school as part of a career day assembly, Bart creates a comic book series based on Homer and his anger problems, which turns into a popular Internet cartoon series called Angry Dad. Homer finds out about this and is at first outraged, but after talking to his family, he decides to try to become a less angry person.13.19) THE SWEETEST APU

Homer and Marge discover that Apu is having an affair with the Squishee delivery lady at the Kwik-E-Mart. They decide to keep Apu’s wife Manjula from finding out about it. However, she eventually learns of Apu’s affair by watching store security tapes. She throws Apu out of the house and decides to file for divorce, but soon realizes that she misses him.13.20) LITTLE GIRL IN THE BIG TEN

Lisa tries to fit in with two college students by lying about her age. She finds that the college atmosphere is perfect for her, but her lie is soon discovered and she is shunned by her fellow elementary school students. Meanwhile, Bart is diagnosed with a weakened immune system after getting bitten by a Chinese mosquito and must live in a plastic, germ-free bubble.13.21) THE FRYING GAME

While faced with community service for abusing an endangered insect, Homer begins assisting an elderly woman named Mrs. Bellamy. One night, Mrs. Bellamy is murdered, and Homer and Marge are accused of committing the crime.All in all some great episodes in these 4 sets and they still remain watchable years later.

 

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: JOY

CAST
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Dascha Polanco (Orange Is The New Black)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander 2)
Isabella Rossellini (Death Becomes Her)
Elisabeth Rohm (Heroes)
Diane Ladd (Kingdom Hospital)
Melissa Rivers (First Daughter)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes Reborn)
In 1989, Joy Mangano is a divorced mother of two, working as a booking clerk for Eastern Airlines. She lives with her two young children, her mother, Terri, her grandmother, Mimi, and her ex-husband, Tony in working-class, Quogue, New York. Her parents are divorced, and her mother and father fight whenever her father shows up at her home. Joy’s older half-sister, Peggy, is an overachiever who constantly humiliates Joy in front of her children. Peggy and Joy’s father Rudy are very close. Terri spends all day lying in bed watching soap operas as a means of escape from her life, leaving Joy to run the household. Only Joy’s grandmother and her best friend Jackie encourage her to pursue her inventing ambitions and become a strong successful woman.
After divorcing his third wife, Joy’s father starts dating Trudy, a wealthy Italian widow with some business experience. While on Trudy’s boat, Joy drops a glass of red wine, attempts to mop up the mess, and cuts her hands on the broken glass while wringing the mop. Joy returns home and creates blueprints for a self-wringing mop. She builds a prototype with help from the employees at her father’s shop. She then convinces Trudy to invest in the product. They make a deal with a company in California to manufacture the mop’s parts at a low price. In order to avoid a potential lawsuit, Joy also pays $50,000 in royalties to a man in Hong Kong who supposedly has created a similar product. When the company repeatedly bills Joy for faulty parts they create, Joy refuses to pay the fees and tells her father, Trudy, and Peggy not to pay them.
Joy needs a quick, easy way to advertise her product, and is able to meet with QVC executive Neil Walker. Neil is impressed and shows Joy his infomercials, where celebrities sell entrepreneur’s products through a telethon system. Neil tells Joy to manufacture 50,000 mops. Joy is advised by Trudy to take out a second mortgage on her home, in order to pay her costs. The first infomercial fails, but when she goes on QVC, Joy and her product become an overnight success. Things look up for the family, with the mop earning thousands of dollars on QVC, and Terri falls for Toussaint, a Haitian plumber Joy hired earlier in the film to fix up a leak in Terri’s bedroom.
Joy’s grandmother dies suddenly. Rudy and Trudy send Peggy to California to conduct Joy’s company business. Afterwards Peggy tells Joy that she paid excessively raised production fees. Joy is angry and travels to California to meet with the manufacturer, who refuses to pay her back. Joy also discovers that the manufacturer is about to fraudulently patent her design. Her lawyer reveals that there is nothing they can do to prevent this, and Joy is forced to file for bankruptcy. Joy discovers that the manufacturers have been defrauding her the entire time she has dealt with them. She confronts the owner, and forces him to pay her back.
Several years later, Joy is wealthy and runs a successful business. She continues to take care of her father, even though he and Peggy had unsuccessfully sued her for ownership of the company. Terri is the only family member who does not live off Joy, finally finding stability through her relationship with Toussaint. Jackie and Tony remain Joy’s most valued advisers, and the film ends with her helping a young mother develop a new invention.
Based loosely on the life and career of Joy Mangano this is the story of her fight to keep her home and her very dysfunctional family together on the way to inventing the miracle mop. In other hands this could make a very bland lifetime movie but steered by David O Russell and headed by a terrific performance from Lawrence, who is proving herself to be superior to any other female actor, Joy is a great experience. It’s worth noting that both Cooper and DeNiro are superfluous in this movie, it is Jennifer Lawrence who carries it from first to last.

REVIEW: DEATH BECOMES HER

CAST

Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)
Bruce Willis (Cop Out)
Goldie Hawn (Overboard)
Isabella Rossellini (Earthsea)
Nancy Fish (The Mask)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Roswell)
Mimi Kennedy (Mom)
Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show)

In 1978, narcissistic, manipulative Madeline Ashton performs in a musical on Broadway. Madeline invites long-time rival Helen Sharp, an aspiring writer, backstage along with her fiancé, plastic surgeon Ernest Menville. Ernest is smitten with Madeline, soon breaking off his engagement with Helen to marry her. Seven years later, Helen is in a psychiatric hospital after fixating upon Madeline. Obese and depressed, Helen feigns rehabilitation and is released, plotting revenge on Madeline.

After an additional seven years, Madeline lives well in Beverly Hills with Ernest, but they are miserable together. Madeline’s career has faded, and Ernest is an alcoholic reduced to working as a reconstructive mortician. Receiving an invitation to a party celebrating Helen’s new book, Madeline rushes to a spa where she regularly receives extensive facial treatments. Understanding Madeline’s situation, the spa owner gives her the business card of Lisle von Rhoman, a woman who specializes in youth rejuvenation. Madeline dismisses the spa owner’s advice.

Madeline and Ernest attend the party for Helen’s novel Forever Young and discover Helen is thin and youthful. Dumbfounded and depressed by Helen’s appearance, Madeline goes to see her young lover but discovers he is with a woman his own age. Dejected, Madeline drives to Lisle’s home. Lisle is a mysterious, wealthy socialite who claims to be 71, but appears much younger, and reveals to Madeline the secret of her beauty: a potion that promises eternal life and an ever-lasting youthful appearance. Madeline purchases and drinks the potion and is rejuvenated. As a condition of purchase, Madeline must disappear from public life after ten years to keep the existence of the potion secret. Lisle warns Madeline to take good care of her body.

Helen has seduced Ernest and convinced him to kill Madeline. When Madeline returns home, she and Ernest argue, during which Madeline falls down the stairs and breaks her neck. Believing Madeline dead, Ernest phones Helen for advice, not seeing Madeline stand and approach him with her head twisted backwards. Ernest assumes she has a dislocated neck and drives her to the emergency room. Madeline is told she is technically dead and faints. She is taken to the morgue due to her body having no pulse and a temperature below 80°F. After rescuing Madeline, Ernest takes the sign of her “resurrection” as a miracle, returns home with Madeline and uses his skills to repair her body.

 
Helen arrives home, demanding information about Madeline’s situation. Overhearing Helen and Ernest discussing their plot to stage Madeline’s death, Madeline shoots Helen with a double-barreled shotgun. Although the blast causes a gaping hole in her stomach, Helen survives, revealing that she drank the same potion. Fed up with the pair, Ernest prepares to leave but Helen and Madeline convince him to do one last repair on their bodies. They realize their bodies will need constant maintenance and scheme to have Ernest drink the potion to ensure he will always be available.

After bringing Ernest to Lisle, she offers to give him the potion free of charge. Ernest refuses; he would rather live a normal life than spend an eternity with Madeline and Helen. He pockets the potion and flees, but becomes trapped on the roof. Helen and Madeline implore Ernest to drink the potion to survive an impending fall. Ernest refuses and drops the potion to the ground several stories below, but after falling he lands in Lisle’s pool and escapes. After Lisle banishes Madeline and Helen from her group, the pair realize they must rely on each other for companionship and maintenance. Thirty-seven years later, Madeline and Helen attend Ernest’s funeral, where he is eulogized as having lived an adventurous and fulfilling life. The two bicker as they leave Ernest’s funeral. They are parodies of their former selves, with cracked, peeling paint and putty covering most of their grey and rotting flesh. Helen trips and teeters at the top of a staircase. After Madeline hesitates to help her, Helen grabs Madeline and the two tumble down the stairs, breaking to pieces. As their disembodied heads roll and totter together, Helen sardonically asks Madeline, “Do you remember where you parked the car?”

Death Becomes Her is a must watch, simply because it is so out of sync with reality and maintains a strong level of comedy and fantasy that will make your head spin.

REVIEW: EARTHSEA (2004)

CAST

Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
Isabella Rossellini (Death Becomes Her)
Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon)
Sebastian Roché (The Originals)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Jennifer Calvert (Stargate SG.1)
Emily Hampshire (Earth: FInal Conflict)
Mark Hildreth (V)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica)
Erin Karpluk (Being Erica)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Katharine Isabelle (Hannibal)
In the land of Earthsea, a young wizard named Ged has visions about a girl and doors opening. Meanwhile, King Tygath wants to rule the land and release the Nameless Ones, demons from whom he hopes to learn the secret of immortality. He sends men to attack Ged’s village, in search of the wizard of prophesy (Ged). Ged learns his first spell from an elderly woman. When the invasion comes, Ged uses a mist spell and lures the invaders over a cliff, saving the village. However, Ged also falls off the cliff.  Tygath tries to convince High Priestess Thar to release the Nameless Ones, but she refuses. She is poisoned by Rosa, her attendant who has been tricked by the king’s lover, Kossil, every time she has tea.

A magus named Ogion arrives at Ged’s village and revives Ged. He tells Ged his true name and takes him for training, but Ged is too impatient; he is sent to the magic school on Roke. There he meets the bully, Jasper, and befriends a student named Vetch. Ged shapeshifts into a hawk to show off. Jasper then challenges him to raise a spirit from the dead, leading him to accidentally release a Nameless One. The demon attacks Ged before being driven away by the Archmagus, who tells him that this Nameless One will hunt Ged down and try to possess him, using Ged’s power for further destruction. Ged must go somewhere in hiding until he can find its true name and destroy it.With the help of Jasper, King Tygath takes control of the magic school. He throws a knife at the Archmagus, apparently killing him and making Jasper the new Archmagus.

With the help of Ogion, Ged confronts the Gebbeth and attempts to drown him using a rock, however, it escapes with Ged’s likeness and voice. Ged’s impersonator becomes a murderer, and Vetch, a magus himself, chases Ged until he realizes Ged is not possessed by the Gebbeth and they decide to hunt it together. They are attacked by the dragon, Orm Embar, but Ged uses the dragon’s true name to bind him and ask three questions. He wastes his first question, but with his second, he learns the Gebbeth’s location. The dragon tells him where to find the two pieces of the Amulet of Peace, which when reunited would save Earthsea, but Ged could have asked the true name of the demon. Meanwhile, Thar appoints a successor, Tenar, and tells her the incantation to release the Nameless Ones. Kossil strangles Rosa and frames Tenar, leading to her imprisonment.


Ged and Vetch return to Roke for help in decoding the dragon’s riddle. The Archmagus survived Tygath’s attack and made the real Jasper into a village fool as punishment. He sends Ged and Vetch to unseal the Nameless Tombs on Atuan, but Ged is captured and brought before Thar, who mistakes him for an evil wizard. In the labyrinth, Ged is locked in the cell next to Tenar. They break free and recognize each other from their visions. Thar realizes her mistake right before her death. Kossil tries to force Tenar to reveal the incantation and fails, so Tygath kills Kossil and follows Tenar to the gate of the Nameless Ones.  Vetch finds the tomb first and is taken by the Gebbeth. Ged encounters Tygath in the labyrinth and fights him but then escapes into the tomb. He encounters the Gebbeth and realizes its true name is his own, because it is the darkness in himself. The demon is absorbed into Ged, making him whole again and strengthening him to strike Tygath in the tomb. Tygath forces Tenar to release the Nameless Ones with the incantation. The Nameless Ones are released and take Tygath into the sky before flying off. Ged reveals part of the key is the second half of the amulet. The Amulet of Peace is made whole, dispelling the Nameless Ones with a bright light and restoring peace to Earthsea. Ged is seen victorious with Tenar and they kiss.I haven’t read the books, But this is very decent fantasy film. The story and charecterisation was strong throughout.

REVIEW: ALIAS – SEASON 1-5

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MAIN CAST

Jennifer Garner (Elektra)
Ron Rifkin (Gotham)
Michael Vartan (Bates Motel)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Merrin Dungey (Edtv)
Carl Lumbly (The Alphabet Killer)
Kevin Weisman (Clerks 2)
Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Greg Grunberg (Heroes)
David Anders (Izombie)
Lena Olin (Mystery Men)
Melissa George (Triangle)
Mia Maestro (Poseidon)
Rachel Nicols (G.I. Joe)
Balthazar Getty (Young Guns 2)
Elodie Bouchez (Reality)
Amy Acker (Angel)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Edward Atterton (Firefly)
Angus Scrimm (Phantasm)
Ric Young (The Transporter)
Evan Parke (King Kong)
Ravil Isyanov (The Jackal)
Sarah Shahi (Old School)
John Aylward (Armageddon)
Gina Torres (Serenity)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Arabella Holzbog (Across The Universe)
Tom Everett (Air Force One)
Lori Heuring (Mulholland Drive)
Yvonne Farrow (The Hard Truth)
Tristin Mays (The Vampire Diaries)
John Hannah (Spartacus)
Maurice Godin (Boat Trip)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Derek Mears (Friday The 13th)
Tobin Bell (Saw)
Aharon Ipale (The Mummy)
James Handy (Jumanji)
Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)
Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)
Agnes Bruckner (Blood and Chocolate)
Patricia Wettig (City Slickers)
Jennifer Tung (Masked Rider)
James Lew (Traffic)
Amy Irving (Carrie)
Michelle Arthur (The Number 23)
Roger Moore (Octopussy)
Lindsay Crouse (Buffy)
Derrick O’Connor (End of Days)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
Peter Berg (Collateral)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Marisol Nichols (Riverdale)
Ira Heiden (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3)
Derek de Lint (Deep Impact)
James Lesure (Las Vegas)
Marshall Manesh (How I Met Your Mother)
Faye Dunaway (Supergirl)
Courtney Gains (Children of The Corns)
Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Christian Slater (True Romance)
Lindsey Ginter (S.W.A.T.)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Ahmed Best (Star wars – Episode I)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Richard Lewis (Drunks)
Stacey Scowley (The Brotherhood 2)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Robert Joy (The Hills Have Eyes)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Amanda Foreman (Super 8)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters 2)
Brad Greenquist (Pet Sematary)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Mark Bramhall (Vanilla Sky)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Pacific Rim)
Djimon Hounsou (Stargate)
Alec Mapa (Ugly Betty)
George Cheung (Rush Hour)
Erick Avari (The Mummy)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
Erica Leerhsen (Wrong Turn 2)
David Cronenberg (Resurrection)
Isabella Rossellini (Death Becomes Her)
Arnold Vosloo (G.I.Joe)
Francois Chau (lost)
James Kyson (Heroes)
Vivica A. Fox (Idle Hands)
Stana Katic (Castle)
Griffin Dunne (After Hours)
Ricky Gervais (The Invention of Lying)
Raymond J. Barry (Training Day)
Peggy Lipton (The Mod Squad)
David Carradine (Kill Bill)
Angela Bassett (Green Lantern)
Rob Benedict (Birds of Prey)
Rick Yune (The Fast and The Furious)
Kelly Macdonald (Brave)
Jim Pirri (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Julie Ann Emery (Fargo)
Sebastian Roche (Odyssey 5)
Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother)
Sonia Braga (Angel Eyes)
Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Robin Sachs (Buffy)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Joel Grey (Cabaret)
Michael McKean (Smallville)
Jeff Yagher (V)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Tyrees Allen (Robocop)
Larry Cedar (Deadwood)
Kevin Cooney (Roswell)
Patrick Bauchau (Secretary)
Angus Macfadyen (Chuck)
Michael Masse (Flashforward)

Alias is the creation of “Felicity” creator J.J Abrams and stars Jennifer Garner (“Dude, Where’s My Car”). The choice of Garner as Sydney Bristow is one of those things where most will likely not imagine anyone else in the role. Able to portray a natural sweetness and likability, Garner turns Sydney into a highly engaging character with complex and conflicting emotions, as well as one who is an expert in martial arts.

At the opening of the show, Sydney works for a top-secret organization called SD-6, who is searching for a mysterious device by a scientist named Rambaldi. It’s not long before Sydney realizes that SD-6 isn’t the branch of the CIA that it says it is, leading Sydney to work as a double agent for the real CIA to investigate SD-6. It’s not long before Sydney finds herself in the midst of double-and-triple crosses, not to mention surprises, as she finds out her father (a terrific Victor Garber) is an agent, as well.

The show does take a bit from previous efforts such as “Mission: Impossible” and “La Femme Nikita” (the latter was also turned into a well-liked TV show), while also running on the techno-pulse of a “Run Lola Run”. Still, the show manages to add its own twists and turns on a familiar genre. The show’s production design, cinematography and costumes are all first-rate, while the occasional jump to a foreign location or new gadget intro make the show fun and compelling. As with “Felicity”, Abrams and the show’s music supervisors make interesting choices that fit with the show rather than showcase certain artists. Quentin Tarantino makes a great guest appearance in “The Box”; while he might not win an Oscar for acting, Tarantino is never less than a fun, unpredictable presence in any acting appearance, and this is no different.

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Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) is back as the double agent who works for the CIA and the evil organization known as SD-6. Sloane (Ron Rifkin) is the leader of SD-6, and Agent Vaughn (Michael Vartan) is Sydney’s handler. He’s also her would-be lover. Add to the mix another double agent who happens to be Sydney’s father (Victor Garber), and you have a show that seems like it would be too weird to work. But it does.

What surprises me most about this series is the fact that the action, and the reason for the action, is often the least important aspect of any particular episode. Sure, it gets all the glory, but the whole idea of chasing Rambaldi artifacts is nothing more than Hitchcock’s McGuffin. These chases are a means to get the characters in motion. What matters, however, is how the characters react and grow.

Season two continues the trend of letting the secondary characters in on the big picture. They’re not around just to give Sydney someone to talk with when she’s not at work. Instead, they have a life of their own; a life that is vitally important to the show, with intrigues that really drive the show’s emotion. In season two, Will (Bradley Cooper) gets a bigger roll, and it’s plausible and exciting. Francie (Merrin Dungey) even gets in on the act. These “smaller characters,” and many others, are used and developed throughout the show, an idea that other television shows can learn from.

Season two also features more humor, and this can only mean one thing. Yep, more Marshall. Lots more. This character, played perfectly by Kevin Weisman, adds the much-needed comic relief to the show, and at times, he’s outright hilarious. Add some subtle humor provided by Will, Vaughn, Weiss (Greg Grunberg), and even Jack, and you have some great stuff.

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But that doesn’t mean this season turns its back on the bread and butter of the series. If anything, the action and excitement have multiplied. Sydney goes on 33 missions, many with counter-missions for the CIA. That’s an awful lot of action and suspense for 22 one-hour episodes. Lena Olin joins the cast as Sydneys Mother who turns her self into the CIA, and it becomes a question of can she be trusted.

In the episode Phase One the entire Alias world is  turned upside down, beginning with the mysterious disappearance of Sloane that brings Anthony Geiger, the new head of SD-6 into Jack and Sydney’s life. As the Bristows struggle to stay one step ahead of having their secret blown wide open by Geiger, Will and Francie make a startling discovery of their own as she prepares to open her new restaurant. After an airborne mission to recover something called a Server 47 dive, Sydney uncovers a crucial weakness, one that could bring down the entire Alliance. But to put her plan into action, she must tell Dixon the truth about everything when Jack is captured, and Dixon has to make the decision to reveal the security code… enabling the CIA to launch a world-wide offensive against all SD cells to bring down. This allows Sydney to no longer be a double agent and just work for the CIA to take down Sloane.

The third season of Alias continues to bring an interesting mix of high-paced and intense action, drama, mystery, and suspense. This season picks up right at the end of the second season. For that reason, if you’ve missed the earlier seasons in this series, you should most definitely check them out before viewing the third season.


In the third season, the show focuses upon a major mystery, covering the details about Sydney Bristow’s past. At the end of the second season, she awakens without memory of the last two years. This season uncovers the truth of those missing two years and the truth is far from what Bristow expected. There are also some stories that touch upon the previous seasons. But it’s not specifically these stories that make the season entertaining, but rather the characters.

The cast of the previous season is the same, with the addition of Lauren Reed (Melissa George). But since this season is set two years after the previous season, the characters return with slightly different roles. Nothing is the way it was before. I enjoyed this change, because it gave this season a slightly different pace from the previous seasons. There’s also a lot of focus on these characters, which give new insights, making old enemies friends, and friends enemies. In a few cases, old enemies who became friends once again become enemies, which shouldn’t be too much of an eye-opener. This is done in a manner that makes it almost difficult to like or trust most of the cast. For this reason, you’re repeatedly left in suspense, wondering if this character will backstab our hero or someone close to her.

Some of the stories covered a sordid and twisted love affair. There’s also the introduction of the National Security Council’s (NSC) involvement with daily interactions of the CIA. This adds an interesting development, simply because the CIA and NSC do not always “play” well together. It’s your basic struggle for power. There’s also the development of older characters with new faces. The big bad guy of the previous two seasons, Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin) isn’t such a bad guy anymore. The development of his character adds a new layer of mistrust. With the earlier seasons seeing the major terrorist organization in the can, some new faceless bad guys have surfaced. It’s no surprise that the weasel of the earlier seasons, Julian Sark (David Anders) makes his bed with them. This pretty much gives the season a purpose to continue. Someone has to stop them and it might as well be Sydney and her friends at the CIA.

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The third season of Alias brings another strong season, filled with action, drama, and suspense for the fans. It’s pretty much extension of the previous seasons, with a few subtle changes to the overall format. The character roles are slightly different and there are new faces, new bad guys, new missions, and new gadgets. I found that it was solid with plenty of entertainment.

In season four we see the cast Alias come back together as one happy family. In the earlier seasons the cast worked together in an odd mish of double agents between SD6 and CIA. Now we find them all working together on the same team for a black ops CIA organization called APO, which stands for Authorized Personnel Only. It is an odd arrangement to see Sidney, Jack, Vaughn, Weiss, Marshall, Dixon, and a few others working along side each other and under the command of none other than Sloane.

The first two episodes “Authorized Personnel Only” parts 1 and 2 has the cast being put back together with Sloane acting as director, Jack the second in command, Marshall in charge of tech, and Sydney in the field with Dixon. Vaughn and Weiss also return to take a more active role. No longer are they the voice behind the microphone as we have seen them in the past. Instead we find them along side Sydney and Dixon more often than not. There is also an episode when Marshall gets put in the field and the combination of his comical geeky personality and the high pace seriousness of the situation make it pretty entertaining to see him working along side Sydney in this fashion. The major addition to the cast this season is Nadia Santos, who was introduced at the end of season 3 as Sydney’s half-sister (Sloane and Irena’s daughter) in season three. She joins the rest of the crew working for APO.

There is still plenty of action, suspense, and drama to keep you tuned in. This season uses the same tact previous seasons do, plenty of misdirection and dramatic shifts. The episodes do well keeping the characters, whether from the main cast or supporting roles, hard to make out. You just can’t tell if they are good or bad. Their loyalties seem to shift enough throughout the stories to keep you second guessing who will betray who and whether or not the betrayal really happened. Mix that well worked angle of suspense with plenty of action, some corny drama, and the ever-so-goofy Marshall and you’ve a pretty exciting addition to the Alias series.

Since Nadia is a new character, a majority of the season is about her relationship forming with the rest of the cast. It is a slightly odd setup as Sydney is her step-sister, Sloane is her father, and Jack is the man who was married to her mother. The back stories that tie into Nadia are. She becomes an integral part to the Rambaldi dream and there are a few other great tie-ins to other stories. The Rambaldi story found in the previous seasons comes to the fore and plays a big role in the season with the Derevko sisters acting as the villains. There are also familiar faces like Sark and Doren who make several appearances. We also see another back story with Vaughn trying to unravel mysteries about his father. This season has many other stories to keep you hooked and they do a pretty good job at building suspense and leaving you on the edge of your seat!

Season five sees several changes in the cast and how APO does their business. First off, Vaughn leaves the show. In season four’s cliffhanger, it was revealed that Vaughn was not exactly who he said he was. He was someone named Andre Michaux. Vaughn has a back story that ties into the bigger picture. After the season premiere, his character disappears after being shot several times in the chest by agents from the Shed, a rogue operation that is similar to SD-6 in nature. Another change is Weiss. While he has been a main character for the past two seasons, in the early parts of season five announces he was offered a job in Washington, D.C. heading covert ops for the NSC. He decides to take the job. Without Vaughn and Weiss, some new faces are brought into APO to replacement them.

There are two new characters in APO. Thomas Grace (Balthazar Getty) joins the cast in the season’s second episode. Grace is not your average going guy. He is tough, has a temper, and we first meet him as he is getting his ass kicked in a bar fight. Everyone in APO is hesitant to accept him into their ranks. Grace has his own back story that includes his family and an assassin. Rachel is a computer genius who has been in a situation much like Sydney. She has been working for the Shed, a criminal organization that pretends it is a black ops division of the CIA. Rachel had been working with the impression she was on the good guy’s side. When she found out the Shed was not part of the real CIA, she turned coat. Rachel and Sydney connect on a personal level, because Sydney understands the torment she is going through.

Another new face to this season is a well-known criminal named Renee Rienne (Elodie Bouchez). She is number eight on the CIA’s most wanted list. Vaughn has been working with her to gain information about his father and Prophet Five, which is the main season five storyline. Renee unofficially works with APO in their efforts against Prophet Five. Her back story ties directly into Prophet Five and she has sworn on her life to see it end. Kelly Peyton (Amy Acker) is the final addition to the season five line up. In the later half of the season, she is listed as a main character. Kelly worked with Rachel at the Shed under Gordon Dean. While Rachel did not know about the Shed’s true intentions, Kelly did. She is a bad girl.
As for the storylines, the season five introduces Prophet Five, which is filled with lots of mysterious and intrigue tied into all of the old and new players. Prophet Five is a criminal organization that is much like the Alliance. It houses smaller cells like the Shed. The APO team sets their sights on Prophet Five and stopping them from reaching their endgame. Another interesting aspect that continues to bring intrigue to the show is Sloane and his story. In season four, he was imprisoned for his crimes. He cuts a deal with some bad guys to be a mole in APO, which continue to give his character intrigue as you never know whose best interests he has in mind. Other storylines revolve around the characters, Rachel getting accustomed to her new life as an APO field agent, Grace fitting into the group, Sydney overcoming the loss of Vaughn and being pregnant.