REVIEW: SLEEPY HOLLOW – SEASON 4

 

MAIN CAST

Tom Mison (Venus)
Janina Gavankar (Arrow)
Lyndie Greenwood (Nikita)
Jerry MacKinnon (Dude)
Rachel Melvin (Zombeavers)
Oona Yaffe (Masterchef Junior)
Jeremy Davies (Lost)

Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow (2013)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kamar de los Reyes (Salt)
Robbie Kay (Heroes Reborn)
Seychelle Gabriel (The Legends of Korra)
Charmin Lee(The 5th Wave)
John Noble (Legends of Tomorrow)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
Griff Furst (Boa Vs Python)
James Kyson (Heroes)

Jeremy Davies in Sleepy Hollow (2013)After four seasons of gradually ebbing ratings, Fox finally put an end to its supernatural thriller Sleepy Hollow but not before trying it on several different nights and in its last season moving its locale and adding a mostly new cast of supporting characters. Despite some fun adventures and a charismatic leading man, the series simply didn’t earn the kind of ratings that would bring it back for a fifth season ending its run in the spring of 2017.Janina Gavankar and Courtney Lakin in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Resembling a cross between Supernatural, Warehouse 13, and the National Treasure films, Sleepy Hollow features the resurrected Revolutionary War soldier Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) who has been brought back to life to combat supernaturally evil manifestations in the 21st century. For three seasons, his base of operations was Sleepy Hollow, New York, but after the death of his partner and fellow “Witness” (a supernatural stalker and defender of good) Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) at the end of season three, Crane journeys to Washington, D.C., seeking out a new Witness partner and operating out of a secret supernatural library and artifact center in the bowels of the Smithsonian known as The Vault. Janina Gavankar in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Its current librarians Jake Wells (Jerry MacKinnon) and Alex Norwood (Rachel Melvin) are mere pencil pushers before Crane’s arrival, but they quickly learn the ropes of field agents as they help pursue supernatural phenomena which they eventually learn are somehow attached to billionaire business magnate Malcolm Dreyfuss (Jeremy Davies). As Crane soon learns, his new Witness is an elementary school child Molly Thomas (Oona Yaffe), but her mother Diana (Janina Gavankar), an agent with Homeland Security, has no intention of letting her daughter be exposed to most of the horrors that doing the job requires. So, she frequently eschews her own job responsibilities to go off with Crane and the others to hunt down evil. Crane is also continuing to be assisted by Abbie’s sister Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) who has her own vendetta against evil forces for killing her beloved sister.Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Supernatural monsters abound in the thirteen-episode season four. Among them are three venomous witches, an Egyptian guardian demon, a demonic wolf, a combustion virus known as “fire flu,” a jinn (ancient word for genie), an id monster, a hunger demon, zombie Hessians, the Headless Horseman (which is brought down several times during the season but never entirely vanquished), and inevitably the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The rise of these various creatures all tie into the pact with the devil which Malcolm Dreyfuss made granting him business success as long as he lives which Dreyfuss circumvents by tracking down the Philosopher’s Stone which will give him eternal life cheating Satan of his soul. Dreyfuss has at his command one of Satan’s most trusted demons to do his dirty work Jobe (Kamar de los Reyes), but even he soon wearies of Dreyfuss’ stumbles along the way toward immortality and inevitably becoming the world’s tyrant.Janina Gavankar, Tom Mison, and Lyndie Greenwood in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Fans of Sleepy Hollow were no doubt dismayed to see their show canceled at the end of its fourth season, Season fours cliffhanger could took the show i na new direction, but sadly with this being the end, we will never know the outcome of Ichabod selling his soul. Season four was a fun and thrilling ride, this show will be missed but at least we have the dvds/Blu-rays to watch again and again.

 

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REVIEW: SLEEPY HOLLOW – SEASON 2

 

MAIN CAST

Tom Mison (Venus)
Nicole Beharie (Shame)
Orlando Jones (Evolution)
Katia Winter (Legends of Tomorrow)
Lyndie Greenwood (Nikita)
John Noble (Lord of The Rings)

Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John Cho (Total Recall)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Jill Marie Jones (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Matt Barr (Hellcats)
Laura Spencer (Bones)
Derek Mears (Friday The 13th)
Sakina Jaffrey (The Guru)
Timothy Busfield (Strays)
Aunjanue Ellis (The Help)
Onira Tares (Project Almanac)
Sharif Atkins (Light it Up)
Johnathon Schaech (Legends of Tomorrow)
Zach Appelman (Beauty and The Beast)
Heather Lind (Boardwalk Empire)
Francie Swift (Cop Out)
Max Brown (Agent Carter)
Jaime Murray (The Originals)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy)
Eddie Spears (Longmire)
Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)

 

Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Making the balance between humor, horror and action look easy, season 1 of Sleepy Hollow set the bar high. An expanded season 2 (jumping to 18 episodes from 13) more than met that standard in the first half, throttling though the high-stakes plot of Moloch trying to escape Purgatory and the Witnesses gaining more allies. And while the series struggled to find itself after that story came to end—likely due to the network-mandated order to become less serialized—the show always remained worthwhile and very enjoyable due to the solid characters and relationships that had been established. Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)This season felt inspired from the start, with the terrific premiere episode “This is War” displaying sly storytelling as Abbie and Ichabod struggled to escape Purgatory. The later introduction of Benjamin Franklin (in flashbacks), more revelations about the Mills family history and the remarkable episodes leading up to the midseason finale all made for a rollicking first half. Despite meandering with the back half standalone episodes, the finale more than made up for any aimlessness by giving us what we watch for in the first place: Abbie and Ichabod, BFFs.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)With Abbie and Ichabod already firmly entrenched as partners in the war against evil, the show was able to widen its focus to other characters. The best results were with Jenny, who became better-rounded and an integral part of the team. But Abraham/Headless benefitted from more attention as well, as we got to know his motivations. Even the risky addition of Hawley paid off better than expected, and by the time he got his send-off episode his connection to Jenny and the Witnesses felt earned and real. Less successful was the addition of Captain Reyes. Introduced as an intriguing possible foil or ally, she was relegated to popping up occasionally to praise or scold and was essentially forgotten by the end of the season. There were some tantalizing hints that she might have known more than she was letting on, but that could have been yet another casualty of the shift to more standalone episodes.Neil Jackson and Katia Winter in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Irving also wound up being a bit shortchanged, as the show had written him into the corner of the psych ward for murdering cops. When he was tricked into signing over his soul to Henry it looked like a rich storyline in the making but nothing much ever came of it and everything involving him seemed made up on the fly, almost as an afterthought. Despite this I was glad to see him get some terrific moments, both big and small—his sacrifice (which wound up being temporary) in the midseason finale and his intimate scenes with Jenny towards the end.John Noble and Neil Jackson in Sleepy Hollow (2013)John Noble continued to be a tremendous presence whenever he appeared. The reveal at the end of season 1 that he was the Crane’s son gave him plenty to dig into this year and Noble made Henry’s bitterness and hurt come through with intensity. Once he dispatched Moloch, though, the show didn’t seem to know what to do with him and his death wound up being pretty anticlimactic, even it did serve to set off the season endgame for the marvelous “Tempus Fugit”.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)More problematic was the character of Katrina. She simply never worked. Not as a damsel in distress, not as the third wheel and not as an abruptly-turned villain. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying, as the writers tried to integrate her into Team Witness several times with lukewarm results. I didn’t buy her sudden shift from ally to enemy, but it was a quick and painless way to give her character a good exit in service of the story. The trouble was that Beharie and Mison had established such rare buddy chemistry that Ichabod finally getting his lost love out of Purgatory threw a wrench into it. Even at her best, as in “Pittura Infamante”, it wasn’t enough to match any given scene between Abbie and Ichabod. That pretty much left the show with few options; either relegate her to the sidelines or kill her off.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)But the biggest stumbling block this season came down from on high: FOX wanted to series to become less serialized, and Sleepy Hollow tried hard to accommodate the order. The result was an awkward stop-and-start second half, with several scenes of Abbie and Ichabod wondering out loud what their purpose was now that Moloch had been defeated. I had no problem with the death of Moloch, since he wasn’t much of a bad guy, but the absence of a Big Bad was immediately felt. Knowing full well that this might have been it for the series, the show rallied and came up with a very satisfying ending that conclusively wrapped up loose ends while leaving the door wide open for a return. Sleepy Hollow’s best hours have been the ones dealing with ongoing stories while the self-contained episodes were much more hit-and-miss, but this is a creative team that’s proven it knows how to put together a great show I’m hopeful that they get a chance to find that balance because when this series is in a groove it’s a joy to watch.Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Despite any problems Sleepy Hollow ran into, though, Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison were the rocks at the center the show. Their extraordinary chemistry has been the single greatest asset of an awfully good series from the start, able to shift gracefully from easygoing humor to partners in lockstep to dear friends dealing with life and death stakes in a single hour. They’re a microcosm of the show itself, one that at its best could deliver laughs and thrills side by side with terrific characters we cared about throughout. Despite difficulty adjusting to less-serialized storytelling in the back half, season 2 of Sleepy Hollow started and ended strong enough to measure up well with its stellar first year.

REVIEW: SLEEPY HOLLOW – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Tom Mison (Venus)
Nicole Beharie (Shame)
Orlando Jones (Evolution)
Katia Winter (Legends of Tomorrow)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lyndie Greenwood (Nikita)
Nicholas Gonzalez (The Flash)
John Cho (Total Recall)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
John Noble (Lord of The Rings)
Jill Marie Jones (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games)
Michael Roark (Beauty and The Beast)
Laura Spencer (Bones)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Carsten Norgaard (The Three Musketeers)
James Frain (Star Trek: Discovery)
Onira Tares (Sully)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Derek Mears (Friday The 13th)
Brennan Brown (Focus)
Victor Garber (Alias)

After a whirlwind first season that introduced a whole new generation to one of the most popular literary pieces of all time, FOX’s Sleepy Hollow was one of the most successful television series of 2013. Some saw the series as simply a device to join other historical time pieces as NBC’s Dracula and CBS’ Elementary. But once the Sleepy Hollow pilot was released on September 16, 2013, there was little doubt that this was a show that was going to take its audience by storm quickly.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Sleepy Hollow is a show that has a little something for everyone. Are you a fan of crime-suspense? Indulge yourself in the mystery of an ax-wielding murderer stalking a town each night. Do you prefer historical alt-fiction with a dash of comedy? Well look no further than Mr. Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), a fellow pulled from his grave and thrust into the world some 200-years after he last remembers it. Perhaps you appreciate a good love story? Sleepy Hollow has Crane and his long lost witch-wife AND Crane and his completely bad ass “leftenant” Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie). But, if you are reading this site, you probably love yourself a good, old fashioned spook show. The series’ thirteen-episode inaugural season brought us witches, zombies, creatures of the night and of course a very pissed off headless horseman. Oh yeah, and Moloch—a dark Ammonite god associated with great sacrifices (often of the child variety).Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)The season started off with a bang. We learn of the origins of Crane and his nemesis, the Headless Horseman. When each of them is struck down by the other in battle, their bloodlines cross on the battle ground and they are forever intertwined—their fates and futures connected to one another. Thus, when Crane is resurrected, so is The Man without a Head. Upon its return to our Earth, the Headless Horseman begins his reign of terror rather quickly. Local sheriff August Corbin (Clancy Brown) is introduced as a compassionate man who loves his sleepy little town (see what I did there?). When Sheriff Corbin meets the business end of a rather sharp ax, it’s Crane who’s arrested by Corbin’s partner Abbie Mills. While Crane professes his innocence, Mills is surprised to realize she’s actually starting to believe the gentleman in the ancient britches. Corbin had been a special part of Mills’ life since adolescence and she and Crane soon find out that Corbin has a rather extensive secret file-room related to all of the mysterious events of Sleepy Hollow.Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)The police captain of Sleepy Hollow, Frank Irving (Orlando Jones), is not the most excited fellow in town when Mills begins advocating using Crane as a resource in the police department’s crusade to stop the hell-raising Headless Horseman. Fallen police officer Andy Brooks (John Cho) is brought back to life by dark forces and becomes a henchman for Moloch’s dirty deeds. Crane uses the help of his beloved wife Katrina, burned at the stake long ago for her role as a witch. She appears in dream sequences to bestow crucial information in regards to Moloch. Katrina has been in this gloomy purgatory since her death and she hopes that Crane can release her before it is too late. In the meantime, Crane shows Abbie proof that the two of them met for a reason—their fates are tied just as closely as Crane’s and the Horseman’s are—and they are the biblical Witnesses to the Apocalypse. It’s up to them to save mankind from a rather ugly conclusion.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Over the course of the next two episodes, we are introduced to a witch hell-bent on destroying the bloodlines of those who burned her at the stake centuries before and the Sandman, an entity derived from Mohawk Indian folklore that drives several people to suicide. These two characters in particular are highlights of how far television has come as far as involving horror in primetime slots. Both are terrifying creations that left a chill in the spine of viewers. Luckily, we’ve got Ichabod and Abbie fighting for us so both monsters were dissolved rather quickly (or at least sufficiently in a forty-minute time frame).Tom Mison and Katia Winter in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Abbie has been haunted by a supernatural vision she had as a young teen of a demon pulling an unknown creature from the ground and this intrigues Ichabod, in particular. We soon learn that Abbie and her twin sister Jenny, who was institutionalized for insisting she actually did see a monster in the woods on that fateful day, were witnesses to Moloch summoning one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Audiences were introduced to Jenny while she was staying at a mental hospital and she soon breaks out before finally joining ranks alongside her sister and Crane.Amidst  the mystery of the horsemen and learning their roles in the fate of mankind, Crane and the Mills sisters are forced to fend off several obstacles that Moloch throws at the small town. A young boy from the long lost Roanoke Colony brings with him a terrible illness that could cripple humanity. Crane and Abbie unlock the secrets of Roanoke along with the colony’s location, and bring the sick child back to Roanoke in time for him and his village to be cured of the disease brought upon them by the horseman, Pestilence.Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Probably my favorite character of the show is a man named Henry Parrish, also known as The Sin Eater, played by John Noble. He’s a personable gentleman with a great burden on his shoulders. He’s reluctant to use his powers for fear of the wrong person taking advantage of him. When Crane is kidnapped by Freemasons who believe killing him will destroy the Headless Horseman because of their connected bloodlines, Abbie pursues the help of a quiet older man who has the ability to take on the sins of a man (in this case, the bloodline of the horseman). While the Headless Horseman stalks Sleepy Hollow in search of his head, the Sin Eater manages to sever Crane’s blood ties to the creature and thus Ichabod and Abbie can go about capturing the elusive headless monster.John Noble in Sleepy Hollow (2013)When the horseman is finally captured using magic and science, in this case artificial light to cripple the horseman just long enough to bind him in chains, Crane interrogates him and soon discovers that the horseman’s real identity is that of a man named Abraham. Abraham just so happens to be Katrina’s ex-fiancé and one of Crane’s former best friends who was turned into the horseman by Moloch. Before the Horseman can be killed or many more answers can be uncovered, Moloch infiltrates the chamber where Crane and Abbie are keeping the Headless Horseman and he is gone again, out of Crane’s grasp to cause more carnage in the town.Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow (2013)As the season wraps up, we learn that Katrina gave birth to a boy fathered by Ichabod. Crane never knew Katrina was pregnant so, as if the series needed even more reason to leave episodes dangling on cliff-hangers, Ichabod becomes driven to find out the fate of his only child. Enlisting the help of Henry Parrish, Crane is sent to purgatory to ask Katrina about their son, Jeremy. It’s determined that he had magical ways of his own and was buried alive, with his heart rate slowed almost to a complete stop by a band of well-meaning witches in order to keep him safe throughout the years. This doesn’t sit very well with Ichabod but the chance to let his son rest comfortably comes when Crane, Mills and Parrish are pitted face to face with the Golem, a monstrous creature created by Jeremy to give him the protection he longs for, considering he is without father. Played by horror icon Derek Mears (Friday the 13th 2009), the Golem is an imposing character that ends up killing a group of unsavory witches before it meets its own demise at the hands of Ichabod.Orlando Jones, Tom Mison, and Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Remember Captain Irving? Don’t think he gets out of season 1 unscathed! A minion of Moloch returns to Sleepy Hollow just in time to demand George Washington’s Bible from Irving. The Bible is an instrumental part in the war against Moloch, so naturally, Moloch wants it for himself. Crane and Mills have gone through great lengths to hide the Bible and Irving is sure to know where it is. A spirit-jumping demon named Ancitif threatens the well-being of Irving’s daughter, Macey, unless the captain cooperates and brings the Bible to Moloch. Thus, leading up to one of the most jaw-dropping season finales in recent memory.  A two-hour season finale sees Ichabod and Abbie discover a map to purgatory created by George Washington, who himself was reanimated some four days after his actual death. Yep, we’re talking about zombie George Washington here. Washington’s actual burial site was moved during his reanimation in order to keep secret his and his map’s whereabouts.Tom Mison and Katia Winter in Sleepy Hollow (2013)The map’s origins are found in Washington’s Bible, hence the reason why Moloch is so intent on Irving delivering it to him. With the help of Henry Parrish once again, Crane and Mills discover the true burial site of Washington. Andy Brooks, the former officer who was killed by Moloch only to be brought back as a soldier in Moloch’s war against humanity, is in a race against time with Crane and Mills to locate the map. Brooks catches up with Crane, Mills, and Parrish in Washington’s tomb just in time to be trapped in the tomb while our three heroes escape with the map in hand. Upon seeing daylight again, Mills convinces Crane to burn the map they just risked their lives for after citing the prophecy that one witness will betray the other for selfish reasons, in this case the saving of Katrina from purgatory. Crane reluctantly burns the map but it’s best to remember that Crane has a picture perfect memory and is able to recreate drawings, documents and visions with little effort.Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow (2013)When Parrish tells Ichabod and Abbie that the Horseman of War is coming that very night, during an eclipse, Crane puts his photo memory to the test and recreates the map to purgatory. Crane and Mills travel to the other realm together while Parrish nervously waits in our world. Crane and Mills end up finding Katrina in a church where she reveals that she cannot be taken out of purgatory without another soul taking her place. Selflessly, Abbie Mills stays while Ichabod and Katrina return to our world to put an end to the Horseman of War before it’s too late. The body-jumping demon Ancitif wreaks havoc on the Irving home when it jumps into the body of Captain Irving’s daughter Macey. A possessed Macey kills a preacher and threatens the lives of the Irving family. The spirit of Ancitif is washed from Macey’s soul before the Captain’s family is destroyed and without the threat of supernatural horror, someone must answer for the deaths of a preacher and two officers (who were killed by Ancitif during its soul-jumping adventure). Irving confesses to the murders to protect his daughter and the last we see of him, he is being hauled into custody in hand cuffs.Tom Mison and Katia Winter in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Upon Katrina and Ichabod’s return to our world, the most shocking sequence of events of the season comes when Parrish reveals his true identity—he is Jeremy. Fuck yes, you heard me right. Parish is Jeremy, the son of Ichabod and Katrina. Moloch pulled him from his eternal coffin thirteen years earlier (this is what Jenny and Abbie witnessed as teens!) to be the Horseman of War. Thus, as any evil son would do, he allows the Horseman of Death to carry away an unconscious Katrina and he buries his father in the coffin himself.  The season ends with Crane screaming for his life as the coffin is closed, leaving Abbie stuck in purgatory and Jeremy roaming Sleepy Hollow alongside his fellow horsemen.Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow (2013)Created by Underworld head honcho Len Wiseman and two extremely talented writers in Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Sleepy Hollow obliterated the ratings early on during its season but a combined seven weeks of breaks in between new episodes throughout the season may have splashed some cold water on the series’ momentum. I, for one loved the entire season. What works best for the show is the fantastic chemistry between Mison and Beharie as the show runners. Both characters have drawn rave reviews and quite the following. The alternative history lessons and special effects are another reason this show is so damned addicting. Wiseman knows how to keep an audience engrossed and the writing never lacks suspense and wit. Overall, Sleepy Hollow was one of the best shows on television during its inaugural season and with so many cliffhangers to carry us through this treacherous break, there’s little doubt season two will be any less jaw dropping and mesmerizing.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: SLEEPY HOLLOW – THE GOLEM

CAST

Tom Mison (venus)
Nicole Beharie (The Good Wife)
Orlando Jones (Bedazzled)
Katia Winter (Arena)

GUEST CAST

John Noble (Lord of The Rings)
Jill Marie Jones (Ash vs Evil Dead)

“The Golem” had some deeply unsettling moments, a running undercurrent of humor, answers to vital questions and some straight-ahead scares.   All these disparate elements mixed together comfortably, as they have since the pilot, and it looks so simple.  But the fact of the matter is that what Sleepy Hollow has been able to pull off in this first season is remarkable, as it has kept its high-degree-of-difficulty tone while never losing sight of the characters that make us come back each week.  As if there were any doubt, it began and ended with the most important relationship on the show, as Abbie and Ichabod worked through his emotions about having a son and shared the anxiety about Moloch coming for them.   The groundwork that the writers and actors have done made these two characters seem naturally close as they get to know one another better with every week.  The wonderful opening scene (and Crane’s explanation of the origins of eggnog) served as a lovely reminder that even as their team might expand it’s all about the two of them.

Of course, in between those bookends we had the marvelous John Noble returning as Henry the Sin Eater.  You would think that Noble showing up to guest star would overwhelm the proceedings and be desperately missed when he’s gone, but instead he fits right in with this show.  Here we found out that Henry isn’t just a one-trick pony, as his talents extend to sensing sin and providing valuable exposition on the miserable childhood of Ichabod and Katrina’s son.  Still, the coolest bit for me was his making the librarian with ease: “Lying is a sin. I can sense a sin a mile away.”

Meanwhile, Frank went back to the city to visit his daughter.  It might be that his story seems drab compared to the wild stuff going on elsewhere, but at the moment his ex-wife and daughter feel more like plot devices than actual characters.  It’s not something I’m all that concerned about, given this show’s brief track record, but tonight they were simply time-fillers to get us to that super creepy vendor in the park.  That last “we have one, too” delivered by the possessed woman might have been the freakiest thing in an episode that also featured a gigantic killer doll. As for the doll itself, they did a great job showing the violence he was capable of, and tying it into Jeremy’s rage made it all the more disturbing.


This was a Sleepy Hollow episode that covered a lot of ground and also managed to be alternately creepy, disturbing, scary and funny.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – BEEBO THE GOD OF WAR

DC's_Legends_of_Tomorrow_title_card

MAIN CAST

Brandon Routh (Chuck)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Franz Drameh (Edge of Tomorrow)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals)
Amy Louise Pemberton (Suspence)
Tala Ashe (Odyssey)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Dominic Purcell (A Fighting Man)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Neal McDonough (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Wentworth Miller (Prison Break)
Courtney Ford (Supernatural)
Graeme McComb (UnReal)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Jes Macallan (Mistresses)
Thor Knai (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Katia Winter (Arena)
Emily Tennant (Mr. Young)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heores Reborn)
Matt Ryan (Constantine)

I’m sure most of us were expecting a very glum, downbeat midseason finale as the Legends mourned Professor Stein’s passing and struggled to get back into the time travel groove. So it comes as some surprise that this episode wound up being one of the most overtly silly and slapstick in Legends history. And this is the same season where the team reenacted the events of E.T. with a baby Dominator. It’s a real testament to the power of this show, the skill of the writing staff and the chemistry of the cast that such a goofy episode also managed to hit home in such a profound way.Granted, maybe I should have expected a goofy approach to this episode based on the title alone. “Beebo the God of War” certainly didn’t fail to live up to its name. The idea of a group of Vikings worshiping the Arrowverse version of Tickle Me Elmo and rewriting the course of North American history is just bizarre and stupid and wonderful in a way only Legends can really pull off. The Beebo doll and the Viking trappings proved to be an endless source of amusement here, while at the same time serving as a clever way to briefly bring Graeme McComb’s younger Martin Stein back into the picture.There were plenty of great character moments along the way as that conflict grew progressively more chaotic. Naturally, this was a big week for Jax, as he mourns the loss of his partner/father figure and wrestles with his guilt. Ultimately, this felt like a necessary coda to the rest of Season 3’s Stein material. It wrapped up the character’s journey on a happier, more uplifting note. It allowed McComb one last hurrah as a pitch-perfect stand-in for Garber. And it helped Jax move past his guilt and embrace the next phase of his own journey. Seeing Jax bid farewell to his team/family was extremely bittersweet.Above and beyond Jax’s struggles and young Stein’s Back to the Future dilemma, this episode really succeeded in celebrating the team’s status as a dysfunctional but close-knit family. Everyone mourned Stein’s death in their own way, resulting in a steady stream of hilarious and somber moments. Even Agent Sharpe was integrated into the conflict in a fun way. And if it wasn’t obvious that there’s a spark between Sharpe and Sara before, it definitely is now.Wentworth Miller’s return really helped speed things along this week. “Leo” Snart is a real blast – even more entertaining here than he was in “Crisis on Earth-X.” This episode reminded me how much the team dynamic lost when the original Snart was killed off in Season 1. Leo’s antics are a hoot, but the revamped Captain Cold/Heat Wave relationship proved very poignant as well. I’m thrilled that Miller, like Garber, is being given an opportunity to really have fun with his character before saying his final Arrowverse farewell.This episode proved very reminiscent of “Return of the Mack” in how an initially goofy storyline took a dark turn with the appearance of Damien Darhk. The fact that Grainne Godfree was a lead writer on both episodes is probably no coincidence. Fortunately, “Beebo the God of War” avoided falling victim to formula. The appearance of Darhk and his daughter merely served to add stakes to what would otherwise have been a fairly straightforward conflict. And it’s not like Darhk didn’t bring his own brand of hilarity to the table. His tacky Odin costume was simply divine (especially the wig). And you really have to appreciate those little stylistic flourishes, like the final showdown that played out more as a series of Rashomon-style daydreams than a straightforward battle.This episode was a perfect way to cap off 2017 and deliver the final word on Martin Stein.

REVIEW: THE LOST WORLD – SEASON 1-3

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MAIN CAST

Peter McCauley (Herecules: TLJ)
Rachel Blakely (Neighbours)
Jennifer O’Dell (Nip/Tuck)
William Snow (Dead End)
David Orth (2012)
Michael Sinelnikoff (300)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lauara Vasquez (The Beast)
Lara Cox (The Marine 2)
Jerome Ehlers (Water Rats)
Robert Coleby (Chopper Squad)
Lani John Tupu (Farscape)
George Henare (The Dead Lands)
William DeVry (Earth: Final Conflict)
Wayne Pygram (Farscape)
John Bach (Lord of The Rings)
Grant Bowler (Ugly Betty)
Nicholas Hammond (Stealth)
Nicholas Bell (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie)
Gigi Edgley (The Circuit)
Jane Badler (V)
Michala Banas (Winners & Losers)
Jeremy Callaghan (Young Hercules)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Jessica Napier (McLeod’s Daughter)
Simone Kessell (Terra Nova)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)

A spin off of a 1998 TV-movie, the series follows the adventures of an early 20th century party of explorers, stranded on a mysterious plateau in South America where multi-dimensional ‘rifts’ have allowed animals and cultures from past and future to co-exist. Led by brilliant Professor George Challenger (the wonderful Peter McCauley), a bearded, wild-haired scientist who thrives on facing the unknown, the party consists of handsome big game hunter Lord John Roxton (Australian actor/model Will Snow), mysterious benefactress Marguerite Krux (beautiful Australian actress Rachel Blakely), American journalist Ned Malone (Canadian actor David Orth), and elderly scientist, Professor Arthur Summerlee (Michael Sinelnikoff, whose character would ‘die’ by season’s end). The TV-movie introduced a new character to the mix, blond ‘native girl’, Veronica, whose scientist parents had disappeared eleven years earlier. Portrayed by “Beverly Hills 90210” alumni Jennifer O’Dell, the voluptuous ‘savage’, scantily dressed, raised the level of sex appeal for the program immediately, and quickly became a fan favourite.Working out of Veronica’s huge tree house (, the characters would, each week, encounter everything from dinosaurs, to sophisticated cultures practicing human sacrifice, to demons and wizards, to nearly any kind of bizarre civilization one might imagine. Glimpses of each character’s past allowed the cast to ‘grow’, and become more interesting, each season, and provided enjoyable subplots; Lord Roxton falls in love with the greedy, but lovely Marguerite, but her past includes espionage and other unsavory activities, so she only gradually accepts his advances; Veronica, drawn to Ned, must deal with his moodiness  and his sense of wanderlust. It is a tribute to the writers and talented cast that the subplots never sank into mini-soap operas!Australian tax laws nearly sabotaged the series’ third season; Canadian Orth and American O’Dell were forced to limit their appearances because of their being non-Australians. So Ned Malone was often away on a ‘identity-crisis’-fueled quest, and Veronica, whisked away by a runaway balloon, returned later in the season with a pendant her mother had left for her with a distant tribe, and new responsibilities as ‘Protector’ of the plateau. A new character was introduced, a wise-cracking girl named Finn, from a hundred years in the future, who was transported back to the plateau by a Challenger invention. Portrayed by 24-year old Australian actress Lara Cox, she was a survivor of a radiation-poisoned Earth, and was quickly ‘adopted’ by the scientist, who made it his mission to prevent her future world from happening.

Despite very respectable ratings, “The Lost World” was canceled after the third season (with a cliffhanger ending to end ALL cliffhanger endings!), because of spiraling production costs. The Lost World may never please Doyle ‘purists’, but it was certainly a most enjoyable guilty pleasure.

REVIEW: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING

 

CAST

Elijah Wood (Sin City)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Liv Tyler (Super)
Cate Blanchett (Babel)
John Rhys-Davies (Beyond The Mask)
Billy Boyd (Seed of Chucky)
Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
Bernard Hill (True Crime)
Orlando Bloom (Kingdom of Heaven)
Christopher Lee (Star Wars Episode II & III)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Miranda Otto (I, Frankenstein)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Andy Serkis (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Ian Holm (Alien)
Marton Csokas (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2)
Bruce Hopkins (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Ian Hughes (Hercules: TLJ)
Bruce Phillips (Power Rangers RPM)
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stephen Ure (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Jed Brophy (The Hobbit)
Craig Parker (Reign)

Gandalf leads Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and King Théoden to Isengard where they reunite with Merry and Pippin. With Saruman defeated, Gandalf retrieves Saruman’s palantír. Overcome by curiosity, Pippin steals a glance into the seeing-stone, and suffers a mental attack from Sauron himself. Gandalf deduces that Sauron will attack Gondor’s capital Minas Tirith, so he rides there to warn them, taking Pippin with him because Sauron thinks Pippin is the ring bearer.Meanwhile, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee are led by Gollum to Minas Morgul where they witness the Witch-king of Angmar leading an Orc army to drive Denethor’s younger son Faramir and his men from Osgiliath. At Gollum’s urging, the three begin climbing a precarious stair carved in the cliff face that will take them into Mordor via a ‘secret way’. But having overheard Gollum’s plot to regain the Ring, Sam keeps a suspicious eye on him. In Gondor, Pippin follows Gandalf’s instructions and secretly lights the beacon to signal Théoden to assemble the Rohirrim and come to Gondor’s aid.While helping Théoden gather his forces, Aragorn is approached by Elrond who says Arwen is dying. After seeing a vision of her son she refused to leave Middle Earth. Elrond then gives Aragorn the sword Andúril, Isildur’s sword Narsil reforged, so he can reclaim his birthright while gaining reinforcements from the Dead Men of Dunharrow. Joined by Legolas and Gimli, Aragorn travels to the Paths of the Dead, recruiting the Army of the Dead with the promise to release them from their curse once they fulfil their oath to Isildur.Faramir is gravely wounded after a futile effort to retake Osgiliath, and believing his son to be dead, Denethor falls into madness. Gandalf is left to command the city defences against the Orc army led by Gothmog. But as Gothmog’s forces eventually force their way into the city, Denethor tries to kill himself and Faramir on a pyre. Pippin alerts Gandalf and they save Faramir, but Denethor leaps to his death from the top of Minas Tirith just before Théoden and the Rohirrim arrive. Initially the Rohirrim have the advantage at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, but are eventually overwhelmed by the Oliphaunt-riding Haradrim while the Witch-king mortally wounds Théoden. Though Théoden’s niece Éowyn, having posed as a male soldier, battles and slays the Witch-King with Merry’s help, Théoden dies of his wounds. Aragorn arrives with the Army of the Dead, they overcome the Orcs and win the battle. The Dead are released from their curse, and the wounded are tended to. Aragorn and the other captains of Men decide to lead all who can march upon the Black Gate as a distraction, so Frodo and Sam can get to Mount Doom.Meanwhile, Gollum manipulates Frodo into leaving Sam behind before they arrive at the tunnel leading to Mordor, and then tricks him into lair of the giant spider Shelob, who paralyses and binds Frodo. Sam arrives and drives Shelob away, but believing his friend to be dead takes Frodo’s sword Sting and The One Ring for safekeeping. When he sees Frodo’s body being taken by Orcs to Cirith Ungol he realises that Frodo is still alive, and gives chase. Sam rescues Frodo from the Orcs, and returns the Ring to him.Aragorn’s army draw out Sauron’s forces and empty Mordor, allowing the exhausted Hobbits to stagger to the volcano, but they’re attacked by Gollum when they reach Mount Doom. Frodo finally succumbs to the Ring’s power and claims it as his own, and refuses to destroy it. Gollum attacks Frodo and bites his finger off to reclaim the Ring, but Frodo fights back and knocks Gollum, who is holding the Ring, into the volcano. While Frodo holds onto the ledge for dear life, Sam manages to save him and both escape the volcano at the last second. The Ring and Sauron are both destroyed, causing a chain-reaction that consumes the mountain, topples Barad-dûr, and kills most of the fleeing Orcs as the ground crumbles beneath them. Gandalf flies in with eagles to rescue the Hobbits, who awaken later in Minas Tirith and are reunited with the surviving Fellowship members.Aragorn is crowned King of Gondor and takes Arwen as his queen. They, and all others present at his coronation, bow before Frodo and the Hobbits. The Hobbits then return to the Shire where Sam marries Rosie Cotton. Frodo, while happy for his friends, is unable to cope with the traumas of his journey, and departs Middle Earth for the Grey Havens with his uncle Bilbo, Gandalf, and the Elves. He leaves Sam the Red Book of Westmarch which details their adventures. Though saddened by Frodo’s departure, Sam is gladdened by the warm welcome he receives upon returning home.

This is one of the best series of all time, Fellowship Of The Ring still nicks it as my fave of the three movies if I was pushed to choose. You can’t really detract from what Peter Jackson has achieved with this film, Tolkien himself gave the film rights away for practically nothing, deeming the book impossible to translate to film. Peter Jackson proved him wrong and we now have a great trilogy of films that will stand the test of time.