REVIEW: PUSHING DAISIES – SEASON 1

CAST

Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Anna Friel (Limitless)
Chi McBride (Human target)
Ellen Greene (Little Shop of Horrors)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Kristin Chenoweth (Bewitched)
Jim Dale (Carry on Columbus)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Patrick Breen (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Field Cate (Space Buddies)
Sy Richardson (Colors)
Sammi Hanratty (Shameless)
Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul)
Riki Lindhome (The Lego Batman Movie)
Brad Grunberg (Get Smart)
Eddie Shin (Westworld)
Raúl Esparza (Hannibal)
Dash Mihok (Gotham)
Jayma Mays (The Smurfs)
E.J. Callahan (The Mick)
Carlos Alazraqui (Justice League Doom)
Hamish Linklater (Legion)
Christine Adams (Black Lightning)
Mark Harelik (Trumbo)
Joel McHale (Ted)
Jenny Wade (Wedding Band)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
Molly Shannon (Wet Hot American Summer)
Steve Hytner (Roswell)
Grant Shaud (Lois & Clark)
Audrey Wasilewski (Red)

Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies (2007)Ned, a young boy, finds he can bring living things back from the dead with just a touch. The problem is, another touch renders the person dead permanently, and if he doesn’t off the victim again within a minute of their revival, someone else randomly dies. That little boy (played by Lee Pace as an adult) grows up to sell pies, live a lonely life and work with Emerson (Chi McBride), a private eye, to solve crimes by bringing victims back just long enough to finger the murderer. “Murder She Wrote” it’s not.Anna Friel, Lee Pace, and Riki Lindhome in Pushing Daisies (2007)If Ned’s life wasn’t odd enough, he learns that the only girl he ever kissed (at age nine) died on a cruise ship. Seizing the chance to see Chuck (Anna Friel) a last time, he reanimates her, but can’t bring himself to kill her again, setting up an unusual romantic situation, as they can’t touch without killing her.It also sets up a love triangle involving Olive (Kristin Chenoweth), a waitress at Ned’s shop, The Pie Hole, who pines for Ned, only to see Chuck wander into the picture and steal his heart. Fortunately, it’s easy to root for either sunny, silly Chuck or adorable, good-natured Olive in the race for Ned’s heart, as both offer him something good and would be happy with him.Kristin Chenoweth in Pushing Daisies (2007)The story of Ned and Chuck is the emotional crux of the series, as their connection and each’s personal tragedies and difficulties make the show real and relatable, but it’s the story of Ned and Emerson that moves the plot forward, as they investigate murders that send them on their adventures. Taking a noir approach to the crimes, the boys (and girls as well) hit the streets interviewing suspects and witnesses, getting themselves into some unusual predicaments. Pace, who impressed in Soldier’s Girl, is tops as the Pie-Maker, believable as a low-key detective, yet equally as good when reality is bent, making him into a superhero of sorts, while McBride is as enjoyable as ever, mixing great comic delivery with a solid sense of gravity.Dash Mihok, Anna Friel, and Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies (2007)The show’s surreal tone, which feels a lot like a day-time Tim Burton fairy tale (an appropriate feel, considering the show arrives from Bryan Fuller (“Dead Like Me,” “Wonderfalls”) and Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black, The Addams Family)), is full of quirky touches, like a storybook-worthy, detail-obsessed narrator (whose words are repeated for comedic effect) and a pair of aunts for Chuck who are shut-in former water-show performers (Ellen Greene and Swoosie Kurtz (in an eyepatch!)) It feels like every turn brings something new to enjoy, be it a Hitchcock-inspired montage for Emerson, claymation side trips into Ned’s childhood or the incredibly talented Chenoweth breaking out into a song from Grease. Even the guest cast has a interesting, off-beat feel, featuring Jayma Mays, Carlos Arazraqui, Joel McHale, Molly Shannon, Mike White and a creepy/great Paul Reubens.Kristin Chenoweth and Chi McBride in Pushing Daisies (2007)Though there’s a great deal of comedy, and the mysteries are fun and interesting to follow, the show is, at it’s core, about emotion and romance, eliciting sadness along with the laughs, focusing a great deal on what people want and desire, and what they can and can’t have, with Friel’s reborn attitude acting as an excellent prism through which to view the idea of giving people an extra minute after they die. It’s not all roses and philosophy though, as an episode like “Bitter Sweets,” which chronicles a war between The Pie Hole and a new candy shop across the street, run by Shannon and White, is almost entirely story-focused (and is damn good to boot.) The season finale brings everything together, putting a decidedly solid cap on the first year, with an episode that balances the facets of the show perfectly before punching you square in the gut with a shocking climax. It’s a sign of the show’s versatility that it can move smoothly from drama to jokes to heart-breaking romance, without missing a beat. It’s also a sign of a seriously great show.

 

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 8

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica)
Thomas Lennon (Santa Clarita Diet)
Ashley Williams (A Most Violent Year)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Bill Fagerbakke (spngebob Squarepants)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Jane Carr (Legends of Tomorrow)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
David Henrie (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Joe Manganiello (Justice League)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Chelan Simmons (Good Luck Chuck)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Peter Gallagher (New Girl)
Alexis Denisof (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Ashley Benson (Pixels)
Abby Elliott (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
James Van Der Beek (Varsity Blues)
Jason Priestley (Tru Calling)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
Dave Thomas (Rat Race)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Mike Tyson (The Hangover)
Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (S.W.A.T.)
Mircea Monroe (The Change-Up)
Frances Conroy (Catwoman)
Ralph Macchio (Ugly Betty)
William Zabka (The Karate Kid)
Keegan-Michael Key (The Predator)
Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Ted visits Robin on the day of her wedding to Barney, causing him to remember how he and Victoria ran away from her wedding to be together. The summer is spent with Ted, Barney and Robin enjoying their current relationships however all subsequently break up with their partners. Victoria splits up with Ted over his friendship with Robin, Barney and Quinn break up due to their inability to trust each other and Robin breaks up with Nick realizing his immaturity. Robin and Barney kiss but decide not to get together, despite Barney’s wishes. Barney then begins dating Robin’s hated co-worker Patrice (Ellen D. Williams), a relationship later exposed as a ruse to make Robin realize her true feelings for him. In a culminating scene Barney proposes to Robin, who says yes.Ashley Williams and Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Marshall and Lily attempt to get used to being parents, which causes a brief estrangement from the gang as Baby Marvin takes up the majority of their time. Lily’s father Mickey becomes Marvin’s nanny, freeing the two up to spend more time with their friends. The Captain, ex-husband of Ted’s old girlfriend Zoey, offers Lily a job as an art consultant due to her identifying a painting that made a huge profit for him. Lily accepts, happy to finally achieve her dream of having a job in the art industry while Marshall decides to apply to become a judge. The Captain offers Lily a year’s work in Rome, which she accepts with Marshall’s blessing. However, just before Barney and Robin’s wedding, Marshall is informed that his application to become a judge has been granted, a development that would require them to stay in the US.Ted briefly dates Jeanette (Abby Elliott), a girl who stalked him after he appeared on the cover of New York Magazine due to his design of GNB headquarters. He quickly realizes he’s made a mistake and breaks up with her. Ted’s feelings of loneliness grow, especially as he is now the only single member of the group, and he decides he is truly ready to settle down. He argues with Lily over hiring a DJ or a band for Barney and Robin’s wedding, but is forced to provide a band at short notice when Lily concedes the argument. During a chance meeting on the subway, Cindy offers the services of her roommate’s wedding band; said roommate is Ted’s future wife.Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother (2005)As the week of the wedding approaches, Robin has doubts about marrying Barney and shares an emotional moment with Ted. Guilty, Ted realizes he can’t be around Barney and Robin after they’re married and decides to move to Chicago the day after the wedding. The season concludes with everyone travelling to Barney and Robin’s wedding, including the mother of Ted’s children (revealed on screen for the first time and portrayed by Cristin Milioti), who is seen buying a train ticket to the venue and holding her yellow umbrella.Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother (2005)The Second to last season brings us closer to the endgame and the big reveal of the Mother is the biggest of all the revelations.

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 1

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Neil Patrick Harris, Joe Nieves, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
David Henrie (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)
Anne Dudek (Mad Men)
Charlene Amoia (American Pie: Reunion)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Camryn Manheim (Scary Movie 3)
Martin Starr (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Bill Fagerbakke (Spongebob Squarepants)
Suzie Plakson (Disclosure)
Danica McKellar (Young Justice)
Kathleen Rose Perkins (Gone Girl)
J.P. Manoux (Euro Trip)
Ashley Williams (A Most Violent Year)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Kelly Stables (Two and a Half Men)
Bryan Callen (The Hangover)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)
Diane Salinger (Batman Returns)
Alexis Denisof (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
George Cheung (Rush Hour)
Erinn Bartlett (Shallow Hal)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Eric Allan Kramer (Mike & Molly)
America Olivo (Bitch Slap)
Nate Torrence (Get Smart)
Amy Acker (The Gifted)

 

Premiering in Sept. 2005, created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and billed as “a love story in reverse,” How I Met Your Mother turns the “Friends” formula on its head by having one of its main characters, Ted Mosby (voiced by Bob Saget), some 30 years after the modern day events of the show, relaying the twists and turns of said events to his two, often disinterested children (David Henrie and Lyndsy Fonseca).It’s a nifty approach to what would otherwise be well-worn material, although the chemistry of the ensemble cast goes a long way towards smoothing over any feelings of seen-it-before-ness. Joining the modern day Ted Mosby (winningly portrayed by Josh Radnor) are his quartet of New York City-dwelling companions: the goofy couple Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), former flame Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) and the scene-stealing maniac Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).

Josh Radnor and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)How I Met Your Mother wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining as it is without its cast — it’s unquestionably the show’s biggest strength, although some interesting creative choices by Bays and Thomas run a close second; the pilot episode ends with a mildly shocking twist: The woman that Ted has been avidly pursuing for the past 22 minutes is not, in fact, the mother of his children. It throws you off-balance and guarantees that you’ll tune in for ensuing episodes to see exactly how Ted ends up telling stories to two youngsters 30 years hence. It’s a pretty nifty narrative trick and one which ensured the show had longevity

REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 2

Starring

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Vanessa Williams (Shaft)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Ana Ortiz (Ralph Breaks The Internet)
Ashley Jensen (Sherlock Gnomes)
Tony Plana (Lone Star)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Lorraine Toussaint (Selma)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Illeana Douglas (Ghost World)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters II)
Alec Mapa (Doom Patrol)
Rick Fox (Oz)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Justina Machado (The Purge: Anarchy)
Freddy Rodríguez (Planet Terror)
James Van Der Beek (Pose)
John Cho (Star Trek)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Bailey Chase (Buffy: TVS)
Megan Hilty (Smash)
Juliette Goglia (Mike & Molly)
Derek Riddell (Gunpowder)
Mo’Nique (Domino)
Eliza Dushku (Wrong Turn)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Betty White (Bones)
Candace Kita (Masked Rider)
Annie Potts (Young Sheldon)
Bow Wow (Scary Movie 5)
Hannah Marks (After Everything)
Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Gabrielle Union (Bring It On)
Ava Gaudet (Hurt)
Kari Matchett (Cube 2)
Eddie Cibrian (The Cave)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)

Christopher Gorham and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)In season two, the characters of Ugly Betty go through a whirlwind of drama and comedy. The whirlwind comes from a variety of new developments that include Betty’s complex romance with Henry and a new character Gio, Alexis losing her memory and rekindling friendship with the family, Daniel struggling to keep control of Mode, Mrs. Meade on the run, Hilda dealing with the loss of Santos, and more. It is a very dramatic season with several tidbits of comedy throughout. Overall, it is enjoyable like the season one.Ashley Jensen and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)“How Betty Got Her Grieve Back” is the season two premiere episode. In it, a lot of things happen. The biggest development involves Betty’s love life, or rather lack of. She comes to terms with Henry leaving for Tucsan to take care of the mother of his unborn baby. Later in the season, Harry returns to Mode to finish working. Betty and Henry have a complicated romance, as they try to figure out how they can be together with the unborn baby baggage. Also in the premiere, Amanda finds out her mother is Fey Sommers! Throughout the season, she tries to find answers about her parents. And Marc helps her. Wilhelmina also uses the events from the season one finale to her advantage. With Claire behind bars, she moves on Bradford.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Daniel struggles with his personal demons about Alexis’ condition.Image result for ugly betty how betty got her grieve backIn the Saurez household, there are two key subplots introduced. The first is about Hilda, Justin, and Santos. Both Hilda and Justin come to terms with Santos death. Hilda goes through a couple phases, which include being boarded in her room and hanging out with aged widows. Justin goes through a rebellious phase, where he tries to take on qualities of his dad (sports and woman). The other development is about Ignacio still stuck in Mexico. Betty goes against her principles to help him acquire US citizenship.As the season continues, there are a lot of new developments — many of which grow from the seeds planted in the season opener. Betty’s love life with Henry gets more complex in “Betty’s Wait Problem”. A new character and love interest named Gio is introduced.Ashley Jensen and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Alexis comes out of the coma without memory of the last two years. Daniel, Bradford, and Wilhelmina take advantage of the situation. Daniel and Alexis also struggle with Wilhelmina, who is still trying to take over Mode. Claire resurfaces after escaping from prison, which complicates Wilhelmina’s diabolical plans. The season developments continue with even more wild escapades.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Overall, Ugly Betty’s second season is fun and entertaining. It has a similar light-hearted humorous tone with over the top, soap opera plotlines to season one. The major difference is that Betty is no longer trying to prove herself.

REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 1

Starring

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Tony Plana (Lone Star)
Ana Ortiz (Ralph Breaks the Internet)
Ashley Jensen (Sherlock Gnomes)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)
Vanessa Williams (Shaft)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gina Gershon (Bound)
Ava Gaudet (Hunt)
Elizabeth Payne (Minority Report)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Sarah Jones (Alcatraz)
Lucy Davis (Wonder Woman)
Rhys Coiro (The Walking Dead)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Cleo King (The Hangover)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Christopher Gorham (2 Broke Girls)
Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul)
Jowharah Jones (The Client List)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Debi Mazar (Entourage)
Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider)
Martha Stewart (2 Broke Girls)
Teddy Sears (the Flash)
Bob Clendenin (That 70s Show)
Mini Anden (Chuck)
Courtney Ford (Legends of Tomorrow)
Kathleen Munroe (Stargate Universe)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Nolan North (Young Justice)
Kathy Griffin (The Cable Guy)
Bailey Chase (Buffy: TVS)
Katharine McPhee (Shark Night)
Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries)
Lucy Liu (Kill Bill)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Jerry O’Connell (The Death of Sueprman)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Patti LuPone (Summer of Sam)
Ivana Milicevic (Paycheck)
Leslie Jordan (The Help)
AnnaLynne McCord (Excision)
Rebecca Gayheart (Dead Like Me)
Justina Machado (Final Destination 2)
Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3)
Juliette Goglia (Mike & Molly)
Lorraine Toussaint (Any Day Now)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)

America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Ugly Betty is a television comedy/drama that airs on ABC. It was produced by Salma Hayek, Silvio Horta, Ben Silverman, Jose Tamez, James Hayman, and Marco Pennette. The show was adapted from the Colombian mini-series “Yo Soy Betty La Fea”. The series is about a plain-old girl who is thrust into the glamorous fashion world and the drama that trails her life and co-workers. It was highly successful during its freshmen season (2006-2007) and nominated eleven times in the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards.Eric Mabius and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)The primary character is Betty Saurez (America Ferrera). Betty is a normal girl from Queens who aspires to be in the fashion business. In the beginning of the series, she is trying to get a job at a fashion magazine. The problem is that no one will even consider her for a job, which is mostly due to the fact she doesn’t physically fit in with the beautiful people. Her life is changed when Bradford Meade (Alan Dale) makes his playboy son Daniel (Eric Mabius) hire her as his assistant. Daniel was recently inducted as editor-in-chief of “Mode” magazine, Meade Publications’ flagship. Bradford hopes that Daniel’s work at Mode will prepare him to take over the company. Unfortunately Daniel’s frat-boy behavior prevents him from focusing on the job.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Betty is hired as his assistant, because she is the one girl in New York City he won’t jump in the sack with.Image result for ugly betty fake plastic snowWhen Betty first comes to Mode, Daniel does everything in his power to get rid of her by embarrassing and demeaning her. He soon learns that despite Betty’s looks, she is very capable, intelligent, determined, and an invaluable asset to the company. She plays a vital role in Daniel succeeding as editor-in-chief. Her unique and real outlook on life saves the day on more than one occasion. Challenging Daniel and Betty is Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams). Wilhelmina is the creative director, who believes should have been given the position of editor-in-chief. She works with a mysterious woman to dethrone Bradford and Daniel and take over the company.originalOthers in the office include Amanda Tanen (Becki Newton), the Mode receptionist who has an eye of Betty’s job and Daniel’s pants, Marc St. James (Michael Urie), Wilhelmina’s assistant who does all of her dirty work, and Christina McKinney (Ashley Jensen), the Scottish seamstress who is Betty’s one friend in the company. These characters are not as developed as the other main characters, but they still bring quite a lot to the table in drama and comedy. Outside of the office, there are several key characters from Betty’s home life. They include Ignacio (Tony Plana), Betty’s father who has a shady past and several secrets he hopes are never revealed, Hilda (Ana Ortiz), Betty’s older protective sister who sells weight-loss supplements, and Justin (Mark Indelicato), Hilda’s son who is very “different” than other boys and loves fashion just as much as his aunt Betty.ub 1.02The show’s supporting characters include Walter (Kevin Sussman), Betty’s boyfriend and serious love interest who cheated on her, Henry Grubstick (Christopher Gorham), a Mode accountant who develops strong chemistry with Betty, Sofia Reyes (Salma Hayek), a new editor-in-chief at Meade Publications who is a love interest for Daniel, and Claire Meade (Judith Light), Daniel’s mother who is a drunk and a key to the season’s biggest story arc. In Ugly Betty’s first season, there are several storylines that drive it. Even the slightest developments are key and play into a soap opera-worthy story. The writing is done very well and manages to intertwine the storylines to focus on the big picture and character development. This comment is especially worth noting because of the large ensemble cast and the different directions it takes the show. In other words, there is a lot going on, but it is handled and presented in an engaging and entertaining manner that is easy to follow.america-ferrara-ugly-betty-28-1-10-kc-656x357Yet for all of Ugly Betty’s strengths, what really keeps the show afloat is Betty. While this character is an imperfect match to the world of high fashion, she is a great fit for this television show. Most of the people working at Mode are overly superficial and fake. Betty, on the other hand, is sincere and real. She is a strong heroine, despite the fact she is constantly tormented and teased by her attractive peers. Her outlandish personality brings something special to everyone at Mode. She is the real strength that drives this show.Image result for ugly betty icing on the cakeAs an overall series, Ugly Betty does very well with its first season. It offers a very fun show with likable characters, engaging over-the-top drama that feels mature, intricate storylines.

REVIEW: HEROES – SEASON 4

Starring

Hayden Panettiere (Nashville)
Robert Knepper (Izombie)
Jack Coleman (Spawn)
Zachary Quinto (Star Trek)
Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Adrian Pasdar (Supergirl)
James Kyson Lee (Sleepy Hollow)
Ali Larter (Final Destination)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and The Beast)

Robert Knepper in Heroes (2006)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Madeline Zima (Crazy Eyes)
Ray Park (G.I. Joe)
Deanne Bray (Universal Signs)
Elisabeth Röhm (Angel)
Ashley Crow (Minority Report)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Lisa Lackey (Planet of The Apes)
Rachel Melvin (Sleepy Hollow)
Saemi Nakamura (The Truman Show)
Zeljko Ivanek (The Event)
Louise Fletcher (Star Trek: DS9)
Rick Worthy (Duplicity)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Tessa Thompson (Westworld)
Christine Adams (BLack Lightning)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Candice Patton (The Flash)
Jayma Mays (Paul Blart: Mall Cop)
Danielle Savre (Boogeyman 2)
Santiago Cabrera (Big Little Lies)
Danica Stewart (Passions)
Andrew Connolly (Patriot Games)
Ravi Kapoor (Bones)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
David Anders (Izmbie)
Sasha Pieterse (Pretty Little Liars)
Eric Roberts (The Finder)
K Callan (Lois & Clark)

Deanne Bray in Heroes (2006)

The first season of Heroes remains a landmark moment in television. Taking Watchmen’s ‘if superheroes existed’ thesis to its natural conclusion, the show’s realisation of the ultimate nerd fantasy of ordinary people with extraordinary powers and subtle nods to comic book tropes was a revelation, producing one of TV’s all time great villains, the delightfully menacing Sylar. Then it all fell apart.Masi Oka in Heroes (2006)The fun, frenetic pace of the first season was almost completely absent from its follow-up. In a jarring and completely misjudged shift of tone, the show became more about the nefarious dealings of the mysterious ‘Company’ and less about character development and the simple joy of watching a cheerleader mend her own bloody and broken shinbone. (The season also introduced the worst superpower ever: the ability to kill by dilating your pupils.) Admittedly, this was partially as a result of the 07/08 US writers’ strike, but the show never recovered critically, haemorrhaging viewers at an alarming pace. In following this unmitigated disaster, Tim Kring and co attempted to return to the heart of what made the show such a blast in the first place and, a handful of ridiculous plot points aside, they have been reasonably successful. However, viewers had lost faith and THE show was officially axed by NBC.Robert Knepper in Heroes (2006)However, with the fourth and final season going back to basics, as well as injecting some much needed warmth and depth into several previously underdeveloped characters, Heroes definitely went out with a bang. Season four follows the characters attempts to return to normality following the tragic events of Nathan Petrelli’s death at the hands of Sylar. In an attempt to keep his death a secret, psychic ex-cop Matt Parkman enters an unconscious and powerless Sylar’s mind, convincing him he is Nathan. All does not go to plan, however, as Sylar’s subdued consciousness worms its way into Matt’s head, taunting him and attempting to force Parkman to restore his identity by any means necessary.Robert Knepper and Zachary Quinto in Heroes (2006)Hiro Nakamura, previously just a loveable, if highly one-dimensional, comic book nerd, is finally given some depth, after discovering he is terminally ill with a brain tumour. Following a mysterious encounter with shadowy carnival owner Samuel Sullivan (played to creepy perfection by Prison Break’s Robert Knepper), Hiro decides to use his time travelling powers to change tragic or regretful moments in his past, often to destructive effect. The majority of the plot revolves around the arrival of Samuel’s peculiar fair. As self-healing cheerleader-turned-fresher Claire Bennet soon discovers, it is much more than a travelling freak show. The carnival is a tight knit group of ‘heroes’ travelling under the radar. However, as Samuel tries to convince Claire to join his family, things may not be as they appear.Hayden Panettiere and Madeline Zima in Heroes (2006)With season four, the creators have finally realised what it is viewers loved about Heroes in the first place. Like all good comic books, the series is a rollercoaster ride, with an engaging (if a tad stupid) plot, and a plethora of dastardly villains. Characters are given conflict that, for a change, is genuinely thrilling. Hiro’s awful dilemma is particularly heartbreaking, bringing some essential empathy to what was previously the show’s increasingly tired comic relief. Although it may have proven too little, too late for casual viewers, the season is a worthy farewell to what deserves to be remembered as one TV’s most enjoyable shows.

 

REVIEW: HEROES – SEASON 1

Starring

Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Hayden Panettiere (Nashville)
Jack Coleman (Spawn)
Tawny Cypress (Brooklyn’s Finest)
Leonard Roberts (Smallville)
Santiago Cabrera (Transformers: The Last Knight)
Masi Oka (The Meg)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Supergirl)
Noah Gray-Cabey (Code Black)
Ali Larter (Final Destination)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and The Beast)

Hayden Panettiere in Chapter One 'Genesis' (2006)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
James Kyson (Sleepy Hollow)
John Prosky (True Blood)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
Clea DuVall (Argo)
Nora Zehetner (Brick)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Stacy Haiduk (Superboy)
Matt Lanter (Disaster Movie)
Danielle Savre (Boogeyman 2)
Deirdre Quinn (Miss Congeniality)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Tina Lifford (New Jack City)
Elizabeth Lackey (Planet of The Apes)
Eugene Byrd (Bones)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Monster-In-Law)
Riki Lindhome (The Lego Batman Movie)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Archie Kao (Power Rangers Lost Galaxy)
Nicole Bilderback (Bring it On)
Matthew John Armstrong (Bones)
Rick Peters (Dexter)
Rena Sofer (Traffic)
Jayma Mays (The Smurfs)
Sakina Jaffrey (The Equalizer 2)
Zachary Quinto (Star Trek)
Tiffany Hines (Bones)
Graham Beckel (L.A. Confidential)
John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory)
Christopher Eccleston (Thor: The Dark World)
Brad Greenquist (Ali)
George Takei (Star Trek: TOS)
Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck)
Monica Louwerens (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Bill Fagerbakke (How I Met Your Mother)
Rusty Schwimmer (The Perfect Storm)
Stana Katic (Castle)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl)
Missy Peregrym (Van Helsing)
Eric Roberts (The Finder)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)
Kellan Lutz (Twilight)
Sterling Beaumon (Powers)
Ellen Greene (Little Shop of Horrors)
Jack Guzman (Power Rangers Wild Force)

Tawny Cypress and Santiago Cabrera in Chapter One 'Genesis' (2006) Set on present day Earth, the show details how a growing number of people are developing special abilities outside of government control with a variety of consequences to them and the population at large. Unlike the truncated second season, the first had a full 23 episodes to explore the concept, resulting in a number of smaller, multi-episode arcs that all built toward a bigger picture as the season progressed. Unlike the old style of comic books though, the cast is made up of all sorts of regular people that start to notice they are “special”, some of whom learn to increase their abilities with concentration or training, stumbling at times but honing said powers in numerous ways.Masi Oka in Heroes (2006)In overall terms, the story uses the Human Genome Project as something of a starting point, using scientist Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) as a focal point for identifying gifted people as he follows a trail set forth by his father, a formerly distinguished geneticist that chased what were considered crazy ideas about human evolution until he was killed. Mohinder discovers that certain trace markers in human DNA predict people with abilities and having observed firsthand exactly how gifted some of these people are, he ends up trying to warn them of a serial killer named Sylar (Zachary Quinto) and what appears to be secret agents out to capture them. Needless to say, his efforts are not universally appreciated and he himself is cast into the mix as a pawn, forced to face both powered and mundane humans out to stop him. The show also uses a dozen or so other main characters that either have powers or interact heavily with them, many seemingly patterned after specific comic book characters in terms of abilities, though not so much in terms of their personalities.Greg Grunberg in Heroes (2006)Take Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) for example, he can bend the space time continuum if he concentrates hard enough, the Japanese office worker slaving away at his father’s corporation while dreaming of his special destiny. The guy is a stereotypical science fiction/comic book nerd too, wanting more than anything to become a hero rather than follow the path laid out for him by his father Kaito (George Takei of Star Trek fame). His hit or miss attempts to control his powers provide some of the comic relief of the show but he also serves as someone genre fans can identify with as he tries to uncover his own future with the help of his best friend, the mundane Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee).Hayden Panettiere in Heroes (2006)Then there was Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere), a gal with Wolverine-like healing powers who figures out she will regenerate no matter what happens to her, the gal finding out her adopted father Noah (Jack Coleman) is working for an agency with special plans for anyone with her kind of talents. The Texas high school cheerleader becomes an integral part of the main picture as she is stalked by Sylar, a man with the ability to take special powers by decapitating those he encounters, their showdown predicted long before by Isacc Mendez (Santiago Cabrera), a precognitive that draws the future while under the influence of heroin.Masi Oka and James Kyson in Heroes (2006)The cast also included internet stripper Niki Sanders (hotty Ali Larter) whose multiple personality disorder grants her alias Jessica super strength, Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) a district attorney running for Congress that can fly, his brother Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) that finds out his ability is especially powerful as time moves forward, Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) a street cop that can read minds, and DL Hawkins (Leonard Roberts) who can become intangible at will. Some of them try to keep their secret, like Nathan since he is running for office, while others are on the run from the agency searching such folks out (their point man being Noah with the aid of a Haitian that can negate powers and erase minds played by Jimmy Jean Louis), the conspiracy something straight out of shows like The X-Files, Jericho, or Angel. The interactions of the cast make the show quite special too, capturing the spirit of modern comic books better than anything else I have seen to date.Adrian Pasdar and Rena Sofer in Heroes (2006)Particularly appealing is the manner in which most of the powers are not overly flashy, the dramatic elements allowed to keep the science fiction elements present but downplayed so that a larger audience won’t be alienated. Some of the episodes were gaudier than others in this respect but the exploration of human nature made this a wonderful show to appreciate, the sheer number of extras requiring me to take a lot longer to review this one but the quality of extras was such that I can see why so many fans found this show (in previous releases) to be such a winner, making it a high end Highly Recommended or better, reports of the second season being somewhat less inspiring but still interesting to me now that I’ve gotten a taste for the show. Also, fans of comic books and science fiction will likely find the great many references to other works interesting to find, things such as character names, addresses, license plates, or other minutia standing out to the dedicated few willing to pay stricter attention.Heroes Season 1 may not have tread completely new territory in terms of vast conspiracies (the manner in which Micah manipulated the election seemed to come straight out of the Gore camp), super powered humans, or the way in which human nature deals so readily with conflict but it was the kind of comic book for TV that I have been waiting for all my life and despite a few writing quirks in this first season, it was most entertaining with the kind of replay value few TV-on-DVD sets provide these days. It dealt with numerous situations that non-fans could appreciate too (rape, alienation, “being different”, and the balance between individual rights versus those of the public being only a few to speak of) and left the show open enough for following seasons to take the characters in all new directions. The use of a formulaic process in the episodes was proven to not impact the quality of the show too, my initial concern about the time travel arcs being a series of “do overs” covered well before the finale showed a healthy respect for making our own destiny instead of a predestined outcome as originally implied.