REVIEW: RELIC HUNTER

 

MAIN CAST

Tia Carrere (True Lies)
Christien Anholt (Adventures Inc)
Lindy Booth (Odyssey 5)
Tanja Reichert (Poltergeist: The Legacy)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tony Rosato (Real Gangsters)
Damon D’Oliveira (Earth: Final Conflict)
Michelle Nolden (Red)
Ron Gabriel (To Die For)
Cynthia Preston (Carrie)
Don Francks (La Femme Nikita)
Dylan Bierk (Andromeda)
Thomas Kretschmann (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
Louis Mandylor (The Quest)
Douglas O’Keeffe (Sanctuary)
Adrian Hough (X-Men: The Last stand)
Romona Milano (Due South)
Katheryn Winnick (Vikings)
Carlo Rota (Jane The Virgin)
Anthony Lemke (Mutant X)
Malin Akerman (Watchmen)
Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)
Greg Bryk (Bitten)
Jane March (Clash of The Titans)
James Faulkner (X-Men: First Class)
Blu Mankuma (Tin Man)
Robert Joy (Amityville 3)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)
Noam Jenkins (Earth: Final Conflict)
Nigel Bennett (Andromeda)
Andrew Gillies (Mutant X)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Daniel Kash (Goosebumps)
Peter Stebbings (Never Cry Werewolf)
Peter Williams (Stargate SG.1)
Nazneen Contractor (How I Met Your Mother)
Adrian Paul (Highlander: The Series)
Claudia Christian (Babylon 5)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Roger Cross (First Wave)
Chyna (Sabrina: TTW)
Noah Danby (Bitten)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
James Callis (Battlestar Galactica)
Ian McNeice (Dune)

Sydney Fox is a professor but primarily a globe-trotting “relic hunter,” looking for ancient artifacts to return to museums and/or the ancestors of the original owner. She’s aided by her linguistic assistant Nigel, and occasionally by her somewhat air-headed secretary Claudia. She often ends up battling rival hunters seeking out artifacts for the money.

I needed to watch several episodes of this show to decide its qualities and I’m glad I waited as my initial response was not a favourable one.It takes a while to buy Tia Carrere as adventuress extraordinaire Sidney Fox but it did not take long for this beautiful and talented actress to make the role her own and she has superb chemistry with her excellent foil Christien Anholt who brings much of a Hugh Grant type persona to his part as the hapless Nigel.Their globe-trotting adventures are the stuff of 30’s serials and are highly derivative but handled in a never over-played tongue in cheek fashion which makes the series ever more enjoyable as it progresses. May not be the best show in the world, but is sure as hell fun.

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REVIEW: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: RAZOR

 

CAST

Edward James Olmos (The Green Hornet)
Mary McDonnell (Independence Day)
Katee Sackhoff (Riddick)
Jamie Bamber (Pulse 2)
James Callis (Flashforward)
Tricia Helfer (Two and a Half Men)
Grace Park (Hawaii Five-O)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Stephanie Jacobsen (Terminator: TSCC)
Nico Cortez (Hacksaw Ridge)
Matthew Bennett (Stargate SG.1)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Fulvio Cecere (The Tortured)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)

 

Related imageRazor straddles two stools. On the one hand, it is a balls-to-the-wall action story with huge, epic CGI battle sequences and lots of emotional intensity which is designed to appeal to newcomers as well as established fans. On the other, it features a lot of fan-pleasing asides and references to the original series. This is a somewhat odd idea (going for newbies and hardcore fans at the same time) but just about works, with the new character of Kendra providing a worthwhile ‘in’ to this story and universe for new viewers but at the same time allowing established fans to see stuff they’ve wanted to see since the series began.Image result for battlestar galactica RAZOR
The TV movie lives or dies on the performance of actress Stephanie Jacobson as Kendra Shaw and thankfully she delivers a competent performance. The actress has a great rapport with Katee Sackhoff and Michelle Forbes, and in these scenes she is extremely good. The other actors are as trusty and reliable as ever.Image result for battlestar galactica RAZOR
Overall, Razor  an enjoyable slice of Battlestar Galactica. The DVD edition is extended over the TV cut by some 15 minutes and features a lengthy flashback to the First Cylon War (complete with another huge battle sequence) as well as other new scenes, plus a writer and producer’s commentary.

REVIEW: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2004): THE COMPLETE SERIES

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CAST

Edward James Olmos (The Green Hornet)
Mary McDonnell (Independence Day)
Katee Sackhoff (Riddick)
Jamie Bamber (Pulse 2)
James Callis (Flashforward)
Tricia Helfer (Two and a Half Men)
Grace Park (Hawaii Five-O)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Paul Campbell (Andromeda)
Aaron Douglas (The Flash)
Kandyse McClure (Sanctuary)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Nicki Clyne (Saved)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Connor Widdows (Dark Angel)
Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica Original)
Matthew Bennett (Stargate SG.1)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Lorena Gale (The Butterfly Effect)
Donnelly Rhodes (Tron: Legacy)
Jill Teed (X-Men 2)
Tobias Mehler (Wishmaster 3)
Luciana Carro (White Chicks)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Dominic Zamprogna (Oddysey 5)
Bodie Olmos (Stand and Deliver)
Callum Keith Rennie (Legends of Tomorrow)
Eric Breker (Godzilla)
Kate Vernon (Heroes)
Camille Sullivan (The Birdwatcher)
Kerry Norton (Toy)
Leah Cairns (88 Minutes)
Michael Trucco (Sabrina: TTW)
Rick Worthy (Collateral  Damage)
James Remar (The Shannara Chronicles)
Benjamin Ayres (The Vampire Diaries)
Lucy Lawless (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Aleks Paunovic (Van helsing)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Fulvio Cecere (The Tortured)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Vincet Gale (Bates Motel)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Colm Feore (Gotham)
Bill Duke (Commando)
John Mann (The Butterfly Effect 2)
Christopher Jacot (Mutant X)
Dana Delany (Body of Proof)
Erica Carroll (Supernatural)
Dean Stockwell (Dune)
Rekha Sharma (V)
Amanda Plummer (Hannibal)
Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Gabrielle Rose (Dark Angel)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Lucinda Jenney (Rai nman)
Mark Sheppard (Supernatural)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Leela Savasta (Stargate: Atlantis)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)
Sonja Bennett (Preggoland)

If you want to watch a brilliantly scripted series, then this is the one for you. In a nutshell, Humanity inhabits the Twelve Colonies of Man, somewhere out there in the galaxy. They created robots, “Cylons”, who did everything we wanted until they rebelled. A massive war broke out which ultimately ended in the Cylons leaving the Twelve Colonies. No-one had heard from the Cylons in 40 years until the events of the Mini-Series where they come back and completely destroy Humanity. The survivors (Around 50,000 people) are forced to flee the Colonies where billions have already died and forced to find a new home with the Cylons constantly in pursuit. The idea is to follow the route of the “13th Tribe/Colony” who went out into the stars and settled on a planet named “Earth”. That’s the basic premise of the story but so much happens over the 4 seasons that I’d feel ashamed to spoil it for others. It’s hard to say what parts of BSG really stood out because all of it was so frakking good but some notable parts are the entire “New Caprica” occupation storyline at the end of Season 2/start of Season 3, the big reveal of 4 out of 5 of the “Final Five” Cylons at the end of Season 3/start of Season 4, the hopelessness that is felt after “Earth” is actually found mid-Season 4 and the final battle at the end of Season 4.

The storyline can be bleak at times and sometimes you do think whether you’d have the strength to carry on if you were in their position but that’s what makes it so interesting to watch. Add in a dash of “God”, “Angels”, “Prophecy” and “Destiny” and you have a perfect recipe for a great story.Highly recommended!

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REVIEW: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (2003)

 

CAST

Edward James Olmos (The Green Hornet)
Mary McDonnell (Independence Day)
Katee Sackhoff (Riddick)
Jamie Bamber (Pulse 2)
James Callis (Flashforward)
Tricia Helfer (Two and a Half Men)
Callum Keith Rennie (Legends of Tomorrow)
Grace Park (Hawaii Five-O)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Matthew Bennett (Stargate SG.1)
Paul Campbell (Andromeda)
Aaron Douglas (The Flash)
Barclay Hope (Paycheck)
Lorena Gale (The Butterfly Effect)
Kandyse McClure (Sanctuary)
Connor Widdows (Dark Angel)
John Mann (The Tall Man)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Nicki Clyne (Saved)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Erin Karpluk (Ripper 2)

After a 40-year armistice in a war between the Twelve Colonies (the homeworlds populated by humans) and the Cylons (human-created robots), the Cylons launch a surprise nuclear attack intended to exterminate the human race. Virtually all of the population of the Twelve Colonies are wiped out. Most of the Colonial military is either rendered ineffective or destroyed due to malware in the military computer network that renders it vulnerable to cyber attack. The malware was introduced by Number Six (Tricia Helfer), a Cylon in the form of a human woman, who seduced the famous scientist Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) and exploited their relationship to gain access codes under the cover of an insider contract bid.
The Battlestar Galactica, an aircraft carrier in space that fought in the earlier war, is in the final stages of being decommissioned and converted to a museum when the attack occurs. During her decades of colonial service the Galactica’s computer systems had never been networked so the Galactica is unaffected by the Cylon sabotage. Its commander, William Adama (Edward James Olmos), assumes command of the few remaining elements of the human fleet. He heads for the Ragnar Anchorage, a military armory station where the Galactica can resupply itself with weaponry and essential supplies.
Caprica under bombardment during the Cylon attack.
Secretary of Education Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) is sworn in as President of the Twelve Colonies after it is confirmed that the President and most of the government have been killed (Roslin is 43rd in line of succession). The government starship carrying her (Colonial One) manages to assemble a group of surviving civilian ships. When a Colonial Raptor shuttle from the Galactica lands briefly for repairs on the Twelve Colonies’ capital world of Caprica, the two-person crew, Sharon Valerii (callsign “Boomer”) (Grace Park) and Karl C. Agathon (callsign “Helo”) (Tahmoh Penikett), offer to evacuate a small group of survivors. Helo remains on the stricken planet, giving up his seat to evacuate Baltar, whom he recognizes for his celebrity status as a scientific genius.The Cylons locate the human civilian fleet, and Roslin is forced to make the decision to order all of the ships capable of faster-than-light (FTL) travel to “jump” immediately to escape. Unfortunately this means abandoning many of the survivors who are aboard ships without FTL technology, and as Roslin and the FTL ships jump away, the Cylons launch an attack on the remaining ships.
At the Ragnar Anchorage space station, Adama is attacked by a supposed arms dealer who claims to be simply bootlegging supplies, but who is clearly being affected by the radiation cloud surrounding Ragnar, which humans are immune to. Adama deduces that he is facing a new type of Cylon that looks, sounds, and acts human.
As the civilian fleet joins the Galactica at Ragnar, President Roslin appoints Dr. Baltar, who has not disclosed his suborning by the Cylons, as one of her scientific advisers to combat the Cylons. Number Six reveals herself to Baltar in hallucinatory form while attempting to direct his behavior. She suggests that she may have planted a microchip inside Baltar’s brain while he slept, allowing her to transmit her image into his conscious mind. Responding to one of her suggestions, he is compelled to identify Aaron Doral, a public relations specialist, as a Cylon agent masquerading as a human. Despite his protests and the lack of any evidence to support the accusation, Doral is left at Ragnar when the Galactica departs.
As the Cylons blockade Ragnar, the Galactica and its fleet of Vipers engage the Cylon fleet in order to allow the civilian fleet to escape by “jumping” to a distant, unexplored area outside of their star system. The Galactica and the colonial fleet make good their escape. Adama then attempts to lift the morale of the surviving humans by announcing plans to reach a legendary thirteenth colony called “Earth”, whose existence and location have been closely guarded military secrets. Roslin is skeptical and later confronts Adama and makes him admit that Earth is simply an ancient myth. Returning to his quarters, Adama finds an anonymous note has been left for him stating “There are only 12 Cylon models.” On Ragnar, Doral clearly appears to be suffering from radiation poisoning that has been shown to affect only Cylons. His identity as a Cylon is confirmed when a group of Cylons, including the metallic Cylon Centurions and several humanoid Cylons consisting of multiple copies of the Number Six, Doral, and Ragnar arms-dealer models, come to retrieve Doral. In a twist ending, one of the group appears to be Boomer, indicating that her counterpart on the Galactica is a Cylon as well.

For fans of the original series this will be an initially unwelcome show, it makes so many changes to so many aspects of the show that it will be hard to adjust at first. But give it a chance, watch this through and there’s good odds you’ll be sold. In conclusion, this is three hours of pure gold. It’s gripping, thrilling, compelling and just plain entertaining from start to finish. Once you finish watching it you’ll be heading strait to the first full season, and trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

REVIEW: FLASHFORWARD

CAST

Joseph Fiennes (Hercules)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Courtney B. Vance (Final Destination 5)
Sonya Walger (Lost)
Christine Woods (The Walking Dead)
Jack Davenport (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Zachary Knighton (Cherry Falls)
Peyton List (The Flash)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Brían F. O’Byrne (Million Dollar Baby)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ryan Wynott (The Cape)
Lennon Wynn (Jennifers Body)
Barry Shabaka Henley (Heroes)
Genevieve Cortese (Supernatural)
Michael Ealy (Almost Human)
Gabrielle Union (10 Things I Hate About You)
Michael Masse (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Lee Thompson Young (Smallville)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Rachel Roberts (Simone)
Yūko Takeuchi (Ring)
James Callis (Battlestar Galacitca)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Gil Bellows (Sanctuary)
Mark Famiglietti (Terminator 3)
Annabeth Gish (Mystic Pizza)
Alex Kingston (Arrow)
Ricky Jay (Lie To Me)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Kim Dickens (Lost)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Keir O’ Donnell (Paul Blart: Mall Cop)
Navi Rawat (Thoughtcrimes)
Lindsay Crouse (Buffy)
Carmen Argenziano (Stargate SG.1)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Lee Garlington (A Lot Like Love)
Callum Rennie (Legends of Tomorrow)
Peter Coyote (Sphere)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)

In the summer of 2009 ABC realized that their ratting juggernaut, Lost, was coming to an end. When it started, Lost was the first real hit they’d had in half a decade and the network wanted to replace it with another show that would keep viewers coming back week after week for years. Their answer: Flashforward. Reportedly planned to last five seasons, the show starts out with a deep mystery that gets more complex and intricate as the show progresses. Unfortunately the show wasn’t renewed for a second season.


On October 6th, 2009 at precisely 11:00:00 PST on the dot, without warning, every person in the world blacked. This caused mayhem as planes fell out of the sky, cars plowed into crowds, and helicopters crashed into skyscrapers. Two minutes and seventeen seconds later everyone woke up, having all experienced the same thing: they saw what they would be doing on April 29, 2010, six month in the future.


People started calling this event a flashforward and it naturally affected people in different ways. To many the glimpse of what was to come was life altering, both good and bad. One man sees his daughter, who he thought was killed in Afghanistan, alive but wounded. A happily married woman sees a strange man in her bed. An alcoholic sees himself drinking. A few people don’t see anything. Does that mean that they’ll be dead in half a year?An FBI agent, Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes), sees himself investigating who or what triggered the flashforward as armed gunmen break into the LA branch of the FBI with the purpose of killing him. Armed with what he can remember from the bulletin board covered with leads, Benford and his partner, Demetri Noh (John Cho), head up the investigation of the event. They start a web site, Mosaic, where people can publically post what they saw in their future and use the data to come up with a picture of what the world will look like in 6 months. They also discover some very interesting things that are hard to explain. Like the fact that not everyone was knocked out. Examining camera footage from a baseball stadium they discover images of a person calmly walking through the thousands of unconscious people towards an exit. He  is labeled ‘Suspect Zero’ and finding this person is the agency’s top priority. Second only to the person he was talking to on his cell phone.

When it originally aired, the program ran ten episodes and then took a three-and-a-half month break, then came back for another 12 installments. The show really hits its stride in that later half .  it was cancelled at the end of the first season. The show was conceived to run for 5 years and when this set ends, there are still a lot of plot lines that are unresolved. That’s going to be really disappointing to a lot of people who get hooked on this show

 

REVIEW: ARROW – SEASON 1 & 2

CAST

Stephen Amell (The Vampire Diaries)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)
Colin Donnell (Chicago Med)
David Ramsey (Pay It Forward)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Susanna Thompson (Dragonfly)
Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Manu Bennett (Spartacus)
Colton Haynes (Teen Wolf)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Colin Salmon (Limitless TV)
Jamey Sheridan (The Ice Storm)
Annie Ilonzeh (Beauty and The Beast)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Derek Hamilton (Disturbing Behavior)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Kelly Hu (The Vampire Diaries)
Ty Olsson (X-Men 2)
Byron Mann (Dark Angel)
Roger Cross (First Wave)
Euegen Lipinski (Goosebumps)
Michael Rowe (Tomorrowland)
John Barrowman (Reign)
Currie Graham (Agent Carter)
Kyle Schmid (The Covenant)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (V)
Jessica De Gouw (Dracula)
Jeffrey Nordling (Tron: Legacy)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Sebastian Dunn (The Other Half)
Andrew Dunbar (Leprechaun: Origins)
Danny Nucci (Eraser)
Ben Browder (Stargate SG.1)
Christie Laing (Scary Movie 4)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
David Anders (Izombie)
Ona Grauer (V)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
James Callis (Battlestar Galactica
Rekha Sharma (Dark Angel)
Chin Han (The Dark Knight)
Janina Gavankar (True Blood)
Alex Kingston (Flashforward)
Celina Jade (The Man with The Iron Fists)
Seth Gabel (Salem)
J. August Richards (Angel)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Dylan Bruce (Heroes Reborn)
Caity Lotz (The Machine)
Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight)
Kevin Alejandro (Ugly Betty)
Bex Taylor-Klaus (Scream: The Series)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Aubrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes)
Cle Bennett (Flashpoint)
Dylan Neal (Sabrina: TTW)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Spartacus)
David Nykl (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
James Kidnie (Robocop: The Series)
Katrina Law (Chuck)
Nicholas Lea (V)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Animated Series)
Lochlyn Munro (Little Man)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Danielle Panabaker (Sky High)

Image result for arrow pilotAfter turning the story about Clark Kent’s evolution from humble teenager to world’s greatest hero into one of the most successful science fiction TV series of all time, what exactly do you do for an encore? The obvious answer would be a series about a young Bruce Wayne. Or maybe a crime procedural starring the men and women of the Gotham City Police Department. Instead, The CW gave us Arrow, a series that simultaneously explores Oliver Queen’s first months as a vigilante hero and the painful hero’s journey he undertook while stranded on a remote island. Even considering Green Arrow’s popularity in Smallville and Justice League Unlimited, it wasn’t the most obvious choice. Nor was it the choice many DC fans wanted. But ultimately, it was a choice that paid off.

To their credit, they succeeded. Even right off the bat, there were many notable elements that he writers introduced into the Green Arrow mythos. Generally a loner in the comics, here Ollie was given a full family and circle of allies. Some were inspired by characters from the comics, while others were entirely new creations. Probably the most successful new addition was John Diggle as Ollie’s personal bodyguard-turned-ally in his war on crime. Watching the dynamic between Ollie and Diggle morph from cold and hostile to warm camaraderie was a treat. And the two sequences featuring Diggle in the costume rather than Ollie suggested that this show could have a life beyond that of its lead character.Image result for arrow pilotAmell’s performance grew stronger over time, and the subtle ways in which he distinguished his performances during the present-day and flashback scenes stood out.With other characters, it was more a question of the scripts shedding light on motivation and relationships before they really came into their own. This was certainly the case with Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), who was a bit of a hard sell as a sympathetic mother figure until viewers came to understand her role in “The Undertaking.” Similarly, Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) came across as a fairly flat and unimportant character at first. But by the end of the season, Tommy had emerged as the emotional heart of the series and Donnell’s one of the strongest performances.

Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) was endearing, her instant charm made fans fall in love with her making her a regular was the best choice when they headed into season 2. As Laurel, Katie Cassidy was excellent as future Black Canary, dealing with her emotions of seeing her former boyfriend back from the dead and the lost of her sister.  Structurally, the season started out strong and finished even stronger. The writers managed to weave together an overarching narrative as Ollie slowly uncovered the truth of The Undertaking and his own parents’ involvement while contending with various smaller villains and conflicts.

Anchoring the series throughout were the frequent flashbacks to Ollie’s five years on the island. The pilot episode offered a tantalizing glimpse of what had transpired over the course of those five years with the Deathstroke mask discarded on the beach. Various plot twists revealed just how complicated that story is, teaming Ollie with Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) and Shado (Celina Jade) in an ongoing guerrilla war against mercenary leader Edward Fyers (Sebastian Dunn). Particularly once Slade entered the picture and his bond with Ollie became a major focal point, the flashbacks emerged as one of the strongest elements of the show.

Everything in Season 1 culminated in two climactic episodes as Ollie fought for the survival of Starling City in the present and to stop Fyers from sparking an international incident in the past. These episodes offered a satisfying blend of big action scenes and emotional character showdowns. In particular, the final scene between Ollie and Tommy that closed out the season was perhaps the best the show has delivered so far.

Right off the bat, “City of Heroes” set the tone and direction for Season 2. We saw a despondent Ollie still crushed by the death of his best friend, Tommy, and having retreated to the island in a self-imposed exile. Though Colin Donnell only briefly reprised his role as Tommy this season, his character was very much a lingering presence driving the actions of Ollie and Laurel throughout the year. And his death formed the crux of Ollie’s renewed mission. It was right there in the revised opening sequence – “To honor my friend’s memory, I can’t be the killer I once was.” And that, more than Ollie’s battles with Slade Wilson or Sebastian Blood or Isabel Rochev, was the core conflict of the season. It’s easy enough to fight criminals by shooting them dead. But could Ollie muster the strength and the courage not to kill, even if it meant putting himself, his family, and his city in greater danger? It was a struggle, but the most satisfying element of the finale was the way Ollie definitively answered that question and established himself as a better class of vigilante.

Overall, Season 2 was a good showcase for Stephen Amell’s acting talents.  Ollie was haunted by demons and shouldering heavy burdens throughout the year. He suffered more often than he succeeded, and Amell conveyed that pain well. Most impressive was the way Amell was so capable at portraying Ollie at different periods in his life. We saw plenty more of Ollie’s life on the island in the various flashback scenes. Having already spent a year fighting for his life against men like Edward Fyers and Billy Wintergreen, flashback Ollie was closer to the man he is in the present, but not all the way there. And we even caught glimpses of a pre-island Ollie, most significantly in “Seeing Red.” More than the changes in hairstyle or fashion, it was Amell’s purposeful shifts in vocal intonation and body language that differentiated the different versions of Ollie.

Having established himself as one of the better supporting players in Season 1, it was very gratifying to see Manu Bennett step fully into the spotlight and become the big antagonist of Season 2. That’s despite him not even being revealed as the secret mastermind of Brother Blood’s uprising until the mid-season finale, “Three Ghosts.” But it was crucial that the show spend so much time, both this season and last, in building up the brotherly bond between Ollie and Slade and the island. We needed to feel the pain of seeing them broken apart and Slade become a vengeful villain hellbent on tearing his former friend’s life down. And it wasn’t until much later still that we saw how that rift occurred and Slade turn his wrath against Ollie. It’s a testament to both the writing and Bennett’s acting that the character never quite lost his aura of sympathy even as he murdered Ollie’s mother and tried to do the same to Felicity. This was a man driven half-mad by the loss of the woman he loved and an injection of a super-steroid. But conversely, I appreciated how the finale took pains to establish that it wasn’t just the Mirakuru fueling Slade’s anger. Even now, super-strength gone and exiled back to the island, Slade is a clear and present danger to Ollie’s world.

The show introduced Sebastian Blood and Isabel Rochev as Slade’s subordinates, with Blood serving as the most visible villain for much of the season. I really enjoyed Kevin Alejandro’s portrayal of Blood. Alejandro’s Blood was so disarmingly charming that it was often difficult to reconcile him with the masked man kidnapping drug addicts and turning street thugs into super-soldiers. Ultimately, Blood became the sort of villain who does the wrong things for the right reasons. He had an honest desire to make Starling City a better place. And when it became clear to him that Slade Wilson wouldn’t leave a city left for him to rule, Blood did the right thing and aided Team Arrow.

Most of the increasingly large supporting cast were given their moments to shine in Season 2. I was often disappointed that Diggle wasn’t given more to do, but at least he was able to take a starring role in “Suicide Squad.” Diggle’s backseat status was mainly the result of Sara Lance stepping into the limelight early on and eventually becoming the fourth member of Ollie’s vigilante crew. The Arrow had his Canary finally. Sara’s own struggles with the desire for lethal force and reuniting with her family often made for good drama. But among Team Arrow, it was often Felicity Smoak who often had the best material.  Emily Bett Rickards had much better material to work with this year, whether it was her unrequited love for Ollie, her burgeoning relationship with Barry Allen, or her desire to pull her weight alongside her more physically capable allies. The final three episodes all featured some standout moments for Felicity as she established herself as a force to be reckoned with.

Elsewhere, Roy Harper was often a focus as he transitioned from troubled street punk to superhero sidekick. Roy’s temporary super-strength powers were a welcome story swerve and a fitting physical manifestation of his inner rage. His character arc received a satisfying conclusion in the finale when he proved himself worthy and received his own red domino mask, but lost Thea as a result.

As for the various women in Ollie’s life, Felicity and Sara aside, Season 2 was a little more uneven. Moira definitely had an interesting ride. She started out Season 2 fighting for her life while on trial for her role in the Undertaking. Then, in an unlikely turn of events, she was spurred to run for mayor. And finally, her life did end when she became a pawn in Slade’s cruel game. It was a terrific finish for Moira, proving once and for all that, whatever wrongs she committed, she was only ever trying to ensure her children’s survival. Thea was more up and down throughout the season. She was often underutilized, but received a boost late in the season when she learned the truth about her parentage. Laurel’s character  had her own crucible this season, spiraling into into drug and alcohol addiction and losing her job before hitting bottom, rebounding, and playing her part in saving Starling City.

The Mirakuru drug served as a plausible, pseudo-scientific way of introducing super-strength and allowing Slade to transform into Deathstroke. And even when it came time to introduce the Flash midway through the season, Barry Allen never felt too out of place alongside the more grounded characters.

Season 2 really opened the floodgates as far as drawing in characters and elements from other DC properties. Barry Allen’s debut was the most high-profile, but we also saw plenty more of Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S. “Professor Ivo became a recurring villain, along with a very different take on Amazo. And in a welcome twist, it turned out that even the Batman franchise is fair game with this show. Early on we learned of Sara Lance and Malcolm Merlyn’s connection to the League of Assassins. Nyssa al Ghul appeared in a couple of episodes, and we know her father is out there in the world, leading his shadowy organization in the hidden city of Nanda Parbat. Even Harley Quinn had a brief cameo.

And beyond the introduction of all these new elements, the scope of Arrow really opened up in Season 2. The action was bigger and better choreographed. The scale of the conflicts was bigger. The producers simply seemed to have more money to throw around. And whether that was actually the case or just the result of experience and planning, the end result was the same. Arrow became a bigger, more cinematic TV series this season.