REVIEW: THE ORDER – SEASON 1

Sarah Grey in The Order (2019)

Starring

Jake Manley (Heroes Reborn)
Sarah Grey (Power Rangers)
Sam Trammell (Imperium)
Matt Frewer (The BFG)
Max Martini (The Town)
Katharine Isabelle (Hannibal)
Devery Jacobs (Cardinal)
Louriza Tronco (Make It Pop)
Adam DiMarco (The Magicians)
Jedidiah Goodacre (The Originals)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Françoise Yip (Aliens vs Predator 2)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Ty Wood (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Aaron Hale (Miss Sloane)
Dylan Playfair (Descendants 2)
Hiro Kanagawa (Izombie)
Emily Holmes (Snakes on a Plane)
Julia Benson (Stargate Universe)
Kayla Heller (Snowcoming)
Thomas Elms (Spiral)
Alex Diakun (Friday The 13th Part VIII)

a4763c55-70a8-4acf-a9c2-4b41593fd64d-screen-shot-2019-03-06-at-31130-pmNetflix shows like The Order have an advantage that series that release episodes a week apart don’t have. Potential audiences can give a new show a quick opening binge right away rather than only viewing the always tricky pilot to prove that it’s worthy of being added to their viewing schedule. The Order is definitely a supernatural show that stands alongside The Magicians or The Vampire Diaries, but the true twist to the witches versus werewolves premise doesn’t show up until third episode. College campus drama tropes bog down the first episode a bit, but the central conflict is wholly unique with plenty of humor and well-written dialogue to smooth out the rough edges.MV5BZjZmYjQ2ZTktY2NjOS00NTg5LWJlYWMtNDE5ZDhhNjg5ODYzXkEyXkFqcGdeQW1yb3NzZXI@._V1_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_On the one hand, The Order should be commended for not holding the viewer’s hand during key parts of the opening narrative. Jack Morton (Jake Manley of iZombie) and his grandfather (Matt Frewer of Orphan Black) clearly have some sort of ulterior motive for getting him into Belgrave University as a freshman, but the audience has to figure out why on its own, and the details that unfold go from simple to complex pretty quickly. On the other hand, the manner in which Jack is admitted and his almost immediate encounters with frat boys and townie-hating rich kids is meant to be accepted with a hand wave and does feel a bit rushed.the-order-netflix-season-2-4-1551991441704Given the hurry to establish the campus atmosphere, it’s remarkable how quickly chemistry forms between Jake and sophomore college tour guide Alyssa Drake (Sarah Grey of Legends of Tomorrow). Despite moments of overt flirtation on Jake’s part and even briefer flickers of mutual attraction, The Order is not in any rush to bring these two together or create any weird love triangles. A level of respect is built between them based on intelligence and an understanding that some of those around them, both magic users and regular students, are jerks with poor judgment.ty5y54yIt’s interesting that The Order pokes fun at ritualistic fraternity initiations immediately before bringing us into the pledge process for the titular Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose, which includes — you guessed it — the presentation of a magically appearing blue rose to the potential Neophytes. Even those established in the Order, such as college chancellor Vera Stone (Katharine Isabelle of The Arrangement) and the higher level students like Alyssa, indulge in the use of robes and masks, but somehow the secret society comes across as neither haughty nor ridiculous. It’s just Hogwarts or Brakebills with a dash of alumni politics, and it works.the-order-e1551988902714The question is how many viewers will stay tuned in long enough to realize that the initial conflict that’s presented in which Neophytes are supposedly being killed by werewolves is not nearly as Saturday B-movie as it may sound nor is it in fact a true representation of the nature of the animosity between witches and werewolves at all? Jake’s place in the Order may have a lot to do with the mission imposed upon him by Grandpa Pete, but by episode three, it becomes so much more than that. And again, the friendships that Jake makes along the way (some of which lie in direct opposition to each other) are a bit rushed, but the humor that comes from the Neophytes playing with magic way beyond their understanding or Jack’s R.A. (Adam DiMarco of The Magicians, oddly enough) trying to figure out what to do with his new resident is definitely worth overlooking the artificially acclerated bonding. Fellow Neophyte Gabrielle (Louriza Tronco of Spiral) is especially delightful and will quickly remind The Magicians fans of an early Margo, and she and Brandon (Aaron Hale of Pure) importantly add some much needed diversity to the lily white cast.the-order-season-1-on-netflix-ofSo ignore the loglines and stick around until The Order shows you what it’s really all about. With engaging characters and with several compelling paths set before its protagonist, this show has legs if it plays its cards right. Characters whom you assume are good might not be so honest, and those portrayed as evil aren’t necessarily so. Achieving that level of complexity so quickly is worth the sacrifice of a little exposition. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have seven more episodes to binge.

REVIEW: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – SEASON 1

Starring

Victor Garber (Alias)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Franz Drameh (See)
Ciara Renée (The Big Bang Theory)
Falk Hentschel (Knight and Day)
Amy Louise Pemberton (The Laundromat)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Katie Cassidy (GOssip Girl)
Casper Crump (The Legend of Tarzan)
Peter Francis James (The Losers)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Neal McDonough (Van Helsing)
Graeme McComb (Bates Motel)
Cameron Bancroft (24)
Stephanie Corneliussen (Legion)
Martin Donovan (Big Little Lies)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-men)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Joseph David-Jones (Arrow)
Jamie Andrew Cutler (Kick-Ass 2)
Callum Keith Rennie (Impulse)
Peter Bryant (See)
Stephanie Cleough (The Originals)
Ali Liebert (Wonder)
Melissa Roxburgh (Star Trek Beyond)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Matt Nable (Riddick)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Johnathon Schaech (Prom Night)
Anna Galvin (Van Helsing)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
John Novak (War)
Paul Blackthorne (Arrow)
Celia Imrie (Highlander)
Jessica Sipos (Wynonna Earp)
Sharon Taylor (Stargate: Atlantis)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Isabella Hofmann (Burlesque)
Katrina Law (Spartacus)
Patrick J. Adams (Suits)

Stephen Amell in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)I’ve become so hooked on the DC Comics universe that has been unfolding on the CW that as soon as it was announced, I knew I’d be jumping on board with Legends of Tomorrow. After all, they were culling supporting characters from Arrow and The Flash, and both shows spent so much time setting up this spin off early in the season. I could hardly wait for season 1 to premier in January. And my faith was rewarded.Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Franz Drameh, Arthur Darvill, Joseph David-Jones, and Ciara Renée in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)The show begins as Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) appears in 2016. He’s from the future, and he has a mission he needs help with. In the future, Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), an immortal, has taken over the world as a dictator. The only hope is for him to assemble a team from the present day to fight Vandal across time. This group of “heroes” include Ray Palmer and his Atom suit (Brandon Routh), both halves of Firestorm, Dr. Stein (Victor Garber) and Jax Jackson (Franz Drameh), Mick Rory and Leonard Snart better known as Heat Wave and Captain Cold (Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller), a resurrected Sarah Lance aka White Canary (Caity Lotz) and Kendra Saunders and Carter Hall also known as Hawkgirl and Hawkman (Ciara Renee and Carter Hall) who have had many run ins with Savage over the centuries.Wentworth Miller and Caity Lotz in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)However, it isn’t long before this ragtag group learns that this mission isn’t exactly sanctioned by the Time Lords that Rip Hunter claims to work for. Furthermore, defeating Savage appears to be even harder than they first thought. What other secrets is Rip hiding? Will this team be able to come together to defeat Savage? Actually, Rip Hunter is the only character that viewers of Arrow and The Flash hadn’t already met since much of the backstory for the series was set up in the annual crossover event that aired in November. As a result, the two part season premier moved quickly since we could jump into the action once the team is assembled.Ciara Renée in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Since Rip has a time ship, we jump around in time quite a bit, which is a lot of fun. A visit to small town Oregon in the 1950’s becomes a bit preachy, but other than that, we focus on the story and the complications our heroes face in each time while tracking Savage. We spend time in Russia during the Cold War and even the Wild West. There are actually several two parters, or at least two shows set in the same period, which gives us some interesting cliffhangers. A few episodes stood on their own and even didn’t tie in directly to the quest to stop Savage, but they were always fun.Brandon Routh and Ciara Renée in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)I was actually worried that with a cast this big, we wouldn’t get to know the characters that well. On the contrary, we got some great development for all the characters over the course of the season. Some episodes focused more on some characters than others, but everyone had something to do, and we had some nice arcs before the season was over.Johnathon Schaech, Dominic Purcell, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Arthur Darvill, and Ciara Renée in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Those looking for action will find plenty to enjoy here as well with several action scenes each episode; this is a comic book show after all. I think this show has more action than the others in the Arrowverse, but it could just be that the scenes can be more epic with the larger cast of heroes. The acting is just a touch on the over the top side of the spectrum. This is especially true from Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell. Actually, this adds a very fun campy feel to the whole show, and I loved it. When the show called for a series moment, the actors always hit it out of the park. And the writers give these characters some funny lines. There are some classic one liners in the show, mostly coming from Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell’s characters, but everyone gets their fair share of great lines.So if you are looking for a fun trip through time fighting evil, Legends of Tomorrow is for you. Season 1 is pure escapism, and you’ll love every second of it.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: WONDERFALLS – CAGED BIRD

Wonderfalls

MAIN CAST

Caroline Dhavernas (Hannibal)
Katie Finneran (Bewitched)
Tyron Leitso (Bloodrayne 2)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Diana Scarwid (Pushing Daises)
Tracie Thomas (Cold Case)
Neil Grayston (Earthsea)

GUEST CAST

Jeffrey R. Smith (Warehouse 13)
Glenn Fitzgerald (The Sixth Sense)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)

wonderfalls_birdcage

Caged Bird’ brings the series to a close with a hostage crisis at Wonderfalls and with Jaye and Eric trying to cope with “goodbye” after Heidi arrives to take Eric home to New Jersey. While trying to escape police, an armed robber ends up trapped in the gift shop and takes Jaye, Sharon, Alec, and Wade (the mall security guard) hostage. Jaye is continually encouraged to bolster Wade’s confidence, which leads to him having a heart attack while attempting to bludgeon the robber with a souvenir paddle. As the robber grows increasingly desperate, the animals tip Jaye off to an escape route through the bathroom. The robber takes her along to protect himself, but ends up getting killed by an ambulance speeding to the scene. Ultimately, the deceased robber’s heart goes to the security guard, saving his life, and Eric and Heidi split up, leaving Jaye and Eric free to be together at last!

The frustrating, heartbreaking torture of the last run of episodes finally comes to an end as Jaye and Eric are united at long last! I’m thrilled we got to close on a “happily ever after” note for our favorite, star-crossed, not-yet-lovers. I like to imagine the two of them growing old together, keeping busy with hilarious and vague mission directives from Jaye’s animal voices. Setting the Universe to rights with trusty sidekicks Mahandra and Aaron, and with the hapless Sharon inadvertently helping out or getting screwed over, depending on the week. Oh, and the team always makes time for family breakfast and family game night at the Tylers. Dreamy sigh.

This episode was also a solid hour of entertainment, with good misdirection and multiple interpretations for Jaye’s missions, plus loads of great character interactions. Sharon comforting Jaye in the manager’s office. Aaron inviting Mahandra to his parents’ anniversary dinner as his date. Mahandra giving in to her feelings by kissing Aaron in public. Eric and Jaye in all their goodbye scenes and the wonderful “hello!” scene at the end. A great epsiode that sadly became the last episode of the show.

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 5

Starring

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Rachel Luttrell (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)

Paul McGillion in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Kavan Smith (Mission To Mars)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Leela Savasta (Battlestar Galactica)
Sharon Taylor (Smallville)
Rainbow Francks (Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Michelle Morgan (Deep Six)
Robert Moloney (Man of Steel)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Nicole de Boer (Star Trek: DS9)
Janina Gavankar (True Blood)
Christina Cox (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Apollonia Vanova (Watchmen)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Van Helsing)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Chelah Horsdal (Hell on Wheels)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Daniella Alonso (The Hills Have Eyes II)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Aaron Craven (The Predator)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heores)
David Lovgren (Antitrust)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
Jonathon Young (Sanctuary)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Jody Thompson (The 4400)
Frank Vincent (Goodfellas)
Steve Schirripa (The Sopranos)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)

Robert Picardo and Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Carson Beckett is back for no less than five episodes, and despite heavy use of the Wraith ship set, the stories are good and justify it. The characters are as well written as ever, I really felt the writers stepped it up a notch this season.Jewel Staite in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Robert Picardo is back as Richard Woolsey and promoting him to the role of Commander was a stroke of genus. No disrespect to Commander Weir and Colonel Carter, but in Richard Woolsey, Stargate Atlantis had finally cast its ideal leader. There are also a couple of deadpan in-jokes about his holographic Doctor character hidden in the dialogue, which are extremely funny when you spot them.Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Despite the technology getting more and more advanced, there is less of a reliance on the technology itself selling the story. There is more focus on the characters than before and all the characters get at least one episode where they take centre stage in the story – for example, David Hewlett puts in an incredibly moving performance in The Shrine where McKay is struck down with a fast acting Pegasus equivalent of Alzheimer’s. Very good use is made of the popular Wraith characters Michael and Todd, and the budding relationship between McKay and Keller is a refreshing antidote.

 

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 4

Starring

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Rachel Luttrell (A Dog’s Breakfast)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)

David Nykl in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Torri Higginson (Dark Waters)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Claire Rankin (Taken TV)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Yee Jee Tso (Antitrust)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Sharon Taylor (Smallville)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Kyra Zagorsky (See)
Heather Doerksen (Van Hesling)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
Kavan Smith (Mission to Mars)
Jill Wagner (Blade: The Series)
Michael Cram (Flashpoint)
Brenda James (Slither)
Niall Matter (The Predator)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Kimberley Warnat (Freddy vs Jason)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
Brendan Penny (The A-Team)
Michelle Morgan (Deep Six)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Andee Frizzell (Flash Gordon)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Crystal Lowe (Black Xmas)
Kari Wuhrer (Eight Legged Freaks)
Emma Lahana (Cloak & Dagger)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Rob LaBelle (Dark Angel)
Ben Cotton (Bates Motel)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)

David Hewlett in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Stargate Atlantis ups its game with season four. But it’s not with particularly clever or imaginative stories that the shows writers and producers manage to bring about this change; it’s actually in the areas of character development and action that this season really excels. With the (implied) deaths of inarguably my favourite two characters in season three, I wasn’t expecting their replacements to integrate perfectly, or right away into the Atlantis team, but both actors are given such great material to work with that it’s impossible not to be engaged with their individual story-arcs.Amanda Tapping in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Sam carter is (of course) as brilliant as always, but unlike Doctor Weir, doesn’t appear in nearly as many episodes, or seem to be involved as deeply in the decision-making processes on the base. She just feels like any other member of the team and fits right in almost immediately. Doctor Keller is initially unconvincing in her role as chief medic, but before long she too blossoms into a really intriguing and multi-layered character.Rachel Luttrell and Jewel Staite in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)While there are more than a handful of solid Replicator and Wraith-based episodes to enjoy in this twenty-episode season, it’s the character-based stories that stand-out for me as the best examples of this season. Episode 7- `Missing’ , episode 13- `Quarantine’ and episode 16- `Trio’ are each so gripping. The final stand-out story for me would be the concluding episode- `The Last Man’, which breaks out of the mould of the finale’s of previous seasons and doesn’t involve an unprovoked attack on the city, or a multi-episode build-up. It’s pretty self-contained on the whole and mixes well themes of time-travel, action and season four’s despicable mystery nemesis.

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 3

Starring

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Torri Higginson (Dark Waters)
Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Rachel Luttrell (A Dog’s Breakfast)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Kavan Smith (Mission to Mars)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Julia Benson (The Order)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Heather Doerksen (Van Hesling)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Robert Davi (The Bad Pack)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Claire Rankin (Taken TV)
Leela Savasta (Big Eyes)
Laura Harris (Dead Like Me)
Kenneth Welsh (Timecop)
Brenda James (Slither)
Caroline Cave (Van Helsing)
Lara Gilchrist (Battlestar Galactica)
Daniel Bacon (The BFG)
Andee Frizzell (Flash Gordon)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)

Atlantis has emerged as the name not of a location that cannot be moved, but of a truly mobile city that can relocate . well, to anywhere. The season ends with the city blasting off into space. Season Three had some great moments. The season finale . was splendid. And the season featured what may be my favorite episode of the entire series so far in “Common Ground,” in which the Genii kidnap Sheppard and enclose him with a wraith who is allowed to feed on no one else.Christopher Heyerdahl in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Christopher Heyerdahl has played the wraith in this episode he was allowed to give this particular wraith a dignity and complexity not allowed any other wraith with the exception of Michael. He gradually drains the life out of Sheppard out of sheer necessity before the two of them, cooperating as human and wraith never have before, manage to escape from the Genii. Then, in a moment that could lead to interesting plot developments in the future, we discover that the wraiths cannot only drain another creature of life, they can also imbue them with it, and as a sign of comradeship he heals Sheppard.Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Season 3 sets up many changes that carry over into the fourth season, with becketts death in Sunday and Wier leaving the show, and Amanda Tapping taking over, its a great season leaving leaving things on a cliffhanger to be resolved in season 4.

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 2

Starring

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Torri Higginson (Dark Waters)
Rainbow Sun Francks (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem)
Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Rachel Luttrell (A Dog’s Breakfast)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)

Joe Flanigan and Mitch Pileggi in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Clayton Landey (Sully)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Kirby Morrow (Ninja Turtles: Next Mutation)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Lucia Walters (Fifty Shades Darker)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Nicole Muñoz (Van Hesling)
Kavan Smith (Mission to Mars)
Jonathon Young (Sanctuary)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Claire Rankin (Taken TV)
Brenda James (Slither)
A.C. Peterson (Mutant X)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Aaron Abrams (Hannibal)
Andee Frizzell (Flash Gordon)
Jenn Bird (Blade: The Series)
Chad Morgan (The Purge: Anarchy)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Peter Flemming (The X-Files)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
William MacDonald (Riverdale)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Mark Gibbon (The 6th Day)
Ryan Robbins (Caprica)
Sonja Bennett (The Fog)
Colm Meaney (Star Trek: DS9)
Heather Doerksen (Van Hesling)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Brandy Ledford (Androemda)
Kevin McNulty (Fantastic Four)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)

Rainbow Francks in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Season one not only established this show as a unique rival to its fellow series `Stargate: SG-1′, but also set the bar very high for a second season with this new breed of adventurers continuing to battle Wraith and other foe in the far-removed Pegasus Galaxy.Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Just as with its sister series, `Atlantis’ is adept at balancing a large season story-arc while at the same time providing its audience with inventive one-off stories that act both to attract new viewers to the show and also give the loyal fan-base a break from the on-going threat of the Wraith. This second season is no exception.Rachel Luttrell and Jason Momoa in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)The Siege Part III – As last season closed, the cliffhanger had Atlantis under siege by the Wraiths and things were not going well. Atlantis was ready to self destruct and Maj. Shephard was on the way to a suicide mission. As is customary in such situations, the cavalry arrives just in the nick of time in the form of the Earth Ship Daedelus. It has some advanced Asgard technology on board which saves Shepherd and helps to destroy the hive ships attacking Atlantis. Some manage to get away and they are heading back with reinforcements. While the cleanup is going on, a lieutenant is rescued but he has been severely damaged by the wraith. He is irrational and jumpy about the others who do not fully trust him. As the enlarged wraith fleet arrives, Atlantis decides to gamble on deceiving them that a self destruct has really taken place. This occurs just as the damaged lieutenant steals a puddle jumper and flees through the gate.Runner – A team from Atlantis is investigating a planet with extremely high solar radiation. While there, they find a dead Wraith. There is evidence that he was killed by Lt. Ford, the guy who fled in the first episode of the season. The team heads back to try and get him to come back. They find a surprise. There is another human on the planet who has had a transmitter mounted in his back so that he can be the guest of honor in a sort of trophy hunt. He has managed to elude the Wraith for 7 years before being captured. He is set free by Lt. Ford who is deranged. Now it is a 3 way manhunt with nobody trusting anyone else.David Hewlett and Paul McGillion in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Instinct – While investigating a new planet, the Atlantis team comes across a village that is intermittently plagued by a Wraith. The team agrees to hunt it down but finds something unexpected. They find a local scientist who has been raising a juvenile female Wraith as his daughter. He swears that it is not her who is terrorizing the village. He also maintains that there is another Wraith out there. The science types at Atlantis think they might be able to use the girl to develop a vaccine to fight the virus that causes humans to become Wraiths. It might even turn Wraiths back into humans. The research is promising until the young Wraith girl jumps the gun causing no end of problems.David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrell, Paul McGillion, Jason Momoa, and Kavan Smith in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Conversion – At the close of the previous episode, LTC Shepherd was injured by the Wraith girl who had tried the experimental virus. Some of their blood mingled. Now he is infected with the parasitic virus that produces Wraiths. Now the race is one to capture an alien bug, get some stem cells and find a cure. The col. is going stir crazy while this happens and is getting more and more volatile. The Lost Boys – The team is following up on a tip and is captured. They are quickly taken to another planet where they find that they have been captured by a force led by the AWOL Lt. Ford. He has been on a rampage and has been taking Wraith “enzyme” from all of his victims. He feeds the enzyme to his followers to give them super strength. He thinks that is the way for humanity to defeat the Wraith. The enzyme prevents him from thinking straight. And, by the way, this one is a cliffhanger.Joe Flanigan and Jason Momoa in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)The Hive – Lt. Ford’s plan to prove the worth of the enzyme is simple. They use a stolen dart and use it to blow up a hive ship. That’s what they were doing at the end of the last episode when they got captured. Remember, Ford doesn’t think all that well under the influence of the enzyme. After the capture, all grow through withdrawal from the enzyme. The longer it has been used, the worse the withdrawal. Help comes from an unexpected source from the least likely hero. Critical Mass – Stargate Command on Earth and Atlantis are plunged into chaos when it is revealed that a Goa’uld operative is hidden in Atlantis. The operative has orders to set a bomb to blow up Atlantis when the Stargate is used to dial Earth. They apparently want to destroy Atlantis to keep the Wraith from getting anywhere near them. The mole is very highly placed.Connor Trinneer in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Michael – Something is not quite right. The episode begins with a man in sick bay. As he is awoken, all of the command staff is notified to be there. He has amnesia and cannot remember anything. He is told that he was a member of a team captured by the Wraith and recaptured by Atlantis. That is not quite the truth which is quite a bit uglier. He was a Wraith upon whom an experimental retrovirus had been tried. The experiment threatens the existence of Atlantis itself.Andee Frizzell in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Allies – A Wraith hive ship arrives. Instead of opening fire, the Wraith ship opens communication. It is being led by Michael, the Wraith upon whom experiments were conducted. He is offering all sorts of Wraith military secrets…for a price. They want the retrovirus used to create Michael. They believe that will give them supremacy over other Wraith. They are a slimy group though and hidden agendas are not beyond the realm of possibility. The alliance is not what it seems. Earth is in trouble in this season ending cliffhanger.

REVIEW: DEAD LIKE ME – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Ellen Muth (Hannibal)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Jasmine Guy (The Vampire Diaries)
Rebecca Gayheart (Urban Legend)
Laura Harris (Severance)
Greg Kean (Black Xmas)
Britt McKillip (Trick ‘r Treat)
Christine Willes (Red Riding Hood)
Cynthia Stevenson (Tiger Eyes)
Ellen Muth in Dead Like Me (2003)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jodelle Ferland (The Cabin In The Woods)
David Lewis (Bates Motel)
Blu Mankuma (Robocop: The Series)
William MacDonald (Riverdale)
Meghan Black (Elf)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)
Peter Bryant (See)
Colin Lawrence (The Good Doctor)
Patti Allan (Supergirl)
Michael Eklund (Van Helsing)
Daniel Bacon (Staragte SG.1)
Jackie Burroughs (The Dead Zone)
Enid-Raye Adams (Good Boys)
Frank Cassini (Timecop)
Gary Jones (Stargate – SG.1)
Erica Cerra (Blade: Trinity)
Lorena Gale (Smallville)
Mark Acheson (Elf)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Tygh Runyan (Snakes on a Plane)
Tegan Moss (The X-Files)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Brendan Beiser (Andromeda)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)
A.J. Cook (Final Destination 2)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Susan Saullivan (Castle)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
David Milchard (Big Eyes)
Ben Bass (Bride of Chucky)
Sarah Lind (Blade: The Series)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine TV)
Ali Liebert (Legends of Tomorrow)
Sonya Salomaa (Andromeda)
Haig Sutherland (How It Ends)
Alvin Sanders (Riverdale)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)

Ellen Muth in Dead Like Me (2003)What if life really begins only after you die? Georgia Lass never really lived in her 18 years before being killed by the toilet seat from the de-orbiting space station MIR. Sullen, bored, and apathetic, it is in death that she finds meaning and purpose in her life as she becomes a grim reaper, responsible for the transition of souls from death to their particular afterlife. In this series, death gives people like Georgia who never really lived their life to have a do-over and serve as a grim reaper. Of course they still are visible by the living, have to get jobs to support themselves, and can be stuck as reaper from decades, but this adds to the poetry of the premise. Overall the show is sarcastic,dark and subversive, but makes for highly entertaining television and included any number of laugh out loud moments.

Created by Brian Fuller, the genius behind Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me stars a wonderful cast headed by the note perfect Ellen Muth as Georgia and Mandy Patinken as Rube, the head of a small crew of Grim Reapers working the Seattle area. The supporting cast is solid, including Callum Blue as Mason, Laura Harris as Daisy A’dair, and Jasmine Guy as Roxy. Rebecca Gayheart appeared for a few episodes in the season. So being dead and stuck in a job that she didn’t choose and doesn’t particularly want, Georgia has to find meaning in an existence that is quite different from the one she had. She learns that she has to learn to let go of her family and little sister. She learns that friendship and family can be found in strange places, even the temp agency she works in, and that ultimately death has a purpose and a poetry for everyone, even her. What that purpose is, I don’t quite know yet, but I think it is to learn how to live and do-over the years she was alive. The backstory of reapers and death is explained slowly over the first season, but begins to connect the pieces by season’s end.

Rebecca Gayheart is written out of the show early on, this was because she accidentally hit and killed someone with her in real life, The network did not think it would be a good idea having someone portray a Grim Reaper who killed someone in real life.This is a highly entertaining show that will appeal to fans of shows like Wonderfalls, Hannibal and others that were way too smart to be on TV. This was a cable produced show so there are no restrictions on the language, but that in a way is refreshing. Highly recommended

REVIEW: SERENITY

CAST

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

serenity-movie-image

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


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

Even if you’ve never seen Joss Whedon’s critically acclaimed series “Firefly”, less than a quater of the way through this movie you’ll suddenly realize, I care about these people, I care about what happens to them, so rich are their characters. They have flaws & insecurities just like we all do.MV5BOTgyMjEyMTk3N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTMwODAzMDI@._V1_You can do alot more in a 15 Episode TV series regarding character development than you can in a 2 hr movie, so the focus here is mostly on 2 main characters. The captain of the cargo ship Serenity, ‘Malcolm Reynolds’, and ‘River’, the extremely intelligent but mentally traumatized teenage sister of Dr Simon Tam who Reynolds agreed to give sanctuary aboard his ship some eight months or so earlier. Having said that though, all the characters are here, and they all do a fine job. The script is very witty, clever and often very powerful.MV5BOTIxOTcxNDQ1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDM5NTE5MDI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_The soundtrack in Serenity quite wondrous in it’s self, with beautiful melancholic strings, echoing piano, and western and oriental influences. They work perfectly with Whedon’s stunning camera work and lighting. There are special effects in this movie a’ plenty, and they look fantastic, in fact they completely belie the fact that this film cost less than $40m to make. They really are quite beautiful but they are there to further a strong story, not to overcome it.
So emotionally powerful is this film that it has been described as ‘art’, and I really do think that it is, but will everybody like it? In the words of O.S.Card, “Not a chance…… it really is too strong for some people. Plus the story line is ‘smart enough’ and ‘mature’ enough that some people just won’t get it. Can’t be helped”. Serenity was indeed voted film of the year 2005, did it deserve the top spot? Possibly not, but it did deserve to be very close to it. It was certainly the “only” Scifi based movie that deserved to be anywhere near the top ten movies of 2005.
Serenity is a very unusual film, a tiny film that went by almost unnoticed and was a difficult film to market. There are no big names in the cast, and it is based on a short lived TV series that sadly too few know about. So when you see it for the 1st time, nay, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time and so on, you’ll feel privileged that you did..

REVIEW: FIREFLY

MAIN CAST

Nathan Fillion (Slither)
Gina Torres (Angel)
Alan Tudyk (I Robot)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Jewel Staite (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ron Glass (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Sean Maher (Arrow)
Summer Glau (Arrow)
Adam Baldwin in Firefly (2002)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tom Towles (House of 1000 Corpses)
Andrew Bryniarski (Batman Returns)
Gregg Henry (Payback)
Doug Savant (Desperate Housewives)
Christina Hendricks (Drive)
Benito Martinez (Sons of Anarchy)
Gregory Itzin (The IDes of March)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Mark Sheppard (Dollhouse)
Larry Drake (Darkman)
Edward Atterton (Alias)
Isabella Hofmann (The Flash)
Zac Efron (Bad Neighbours)
Eric Lange (Lost)
Kevin Gage (May)
Zachary Kranzler (Playing Mona Lisa)
Michael Fairman (Dead Silence)
Richard Brooks (The Hidden)
Carlos Jacott (Big Love)
Andy Umberger (Angel)
Bonnie Bartlett (Stargate SG.1)
Melinda Clarke (Spawn)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
Tracy Ryan (THe Blows)
Jonathan M. Woodward (Angel)
Richard Burgi (Chuck)

Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, and Alan Tudyk in Firefly (2002)

I could watch Firefly every year for the rest of my life and not get bored with it. IHow does one get tired of well-written characters and entertaining dialogue?Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, and Gina Torres in Firefly (2002)Firefly aired, on Fox, for part of the 2002-03 season. The powers that be at Fox were crack-smoking morons and did their best to make sure nobody saw the series. They aired the episodes out of order and often skipped a week or two, with something else in its place. It worked because the show was soon canceled.

While the series is set in the year 2517, and much takes place on a spaceship, it is really a western at heart. Even the theme song has a western/country vibe to it.Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, Ron Glass, Sean Maher, Jewel Staite, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, and Summer Glau in Firefly (2002)Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) is the captain of the Serenity. Mal, along with his second in command Zoe (Gina Torres) fought on the losing side of a brutal civil war six years earlier. While Zoe seems to have accepted her fate, Mal is still bitter and comes across as a surly opportunist that does whatever he has to for a buck. It becomes clear early on that he has a set of principals that he holds dear. With them are Wash (Alan Tudyk) , the ship’s pilot and husband of Zoe. Kaylee (Jewel Staite) is the ship’s engineer and is an odd mix of tomboy and sweet young thing (Except that her first visit on the ship was while she was getting busy with the original engineer). Jane Cobb (Adam Baldwin) is a mercenary that acts as the muscle, though it is never quite clear just how loyal he is to them.Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion, Ron Glass, Sean Maher, Jewel Staite, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, and Summer Glau in Firefly (2002)The Serenity has a handful of passengers that are also regulars. Inarra (Morena Baccarin) is an Ambassador (It seems that prostitution is not only legal in the future, but organized and ever semi-respected) that rents space on the ship. Her presence works because she provides them with access to places they might not normally be able to go (She and Mal also have chemistry in the love/hate sense). Book (Ron Glass) is a reverend with a mysterious past. Dr. Simon Tam (Sean Maher) comes on board with his sister River (Summer Glau) in tow. They are on the run from the government as River was part of an experiment that has left her a bit scattered, but with great skills and even powers that lie just beneath her surface.

Jewel Staite and Morena Baccarin in Firefly (2002)The galaxy is governed by the Alliance, which appears to be a semi-fascist organization. The outer reaches of the galaxy is full of colonized planets that often appear to resemble border towns in the wild west. The Alliance’s presence is only slightly felt there, with civilization being in the early stages…kind like Iowa or North Dakota only more interesting.MV5BNGE0MjY2MDctN2U1ZC00Y2I4LWI5OTUtNzMzM2QyZjlkZDBkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTM3MDMyMDQ@._V1_Most shows spend their first season developing chemistry, but Firefly hit the ground running with a cast that seems to have known each other for years. The interaction is often magical. Joss Whedon created a show with a very distinct style and feel. The dialogue is peppered with Chinese, to suggest that the Chinese culture became a global influence over the centuries between now and the time of the show. No funky sound effects are used in the space scenes, no roar of engines or squeal of laser cannons (In the reality, there is no sound in space). Even though there are rockets and lasers, most of the weapons are bullet based (adding to the western feel) and the most of the ships have a worn, dirty look to them.