REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 14-16

CAST

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

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Elvis Costello (Spice World)
Mick Jagger (Free Jack)
Keith Richards (Pirates of The Caribbean 3 & 4)
Lenny Kravitz (The Hunger Games)
Tom Petty  (Kick of The Hill)
Brian Setzer (Such Good People)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Tony Bennett (Bruce Almighty)
Jan Hooks (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Burt Ward (Batman 60s)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Sally Stevens (Norbit)
Little Richard (Last Action Hero)
Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven)
Jane Kaczmarek (Pleasantville)
Tony Hawk (The New Guy)
Marisa Tomei (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Eric Idle (Life of Brian)
Joe Mantegna  (Criminal Mind)
Scott Thompson (Hannibal)
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (Animal Man)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Imporvemant)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne LEgacy)
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Jerry Lewis (The Nutty Professor)
Glenn Close (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Michael Moore (Canadian Bacon)
Jane Leaves (Frasier)
Ian McKellan (The Hobbit)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Mr. T  (The A-Team)
Jackie Mason (Caddyshack II)
Ashley Olsen (Full House)
Mary-Kate Olsen (Full House)
William Daniels (Knight Rider)
Dick Tufeld (Lost In Space)
Isabel Sanford (The Jeffersons)
Nick Bakay (Sabrina: TTW)
Simon Cowell (Scary Movie 3)
Jon Lovitz (Bg)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
James Caan (Elf)
Kim Cattrall (Big Trouble In Little China)
50 Cent (Spy)
Gary Busey (The Gingerdead Man)
Lucy Liu (Kill Bill)
Robert Wagner (Austin Powers)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Amy Poehler (Inside Out)
Stephen Hawkings (The Big Bang Theory)
Ray Romano (Everybody Lves Raymond)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Fantasia Barrino  (Soul Kittens Cabaret)
Jason Bateman (The Gift)
Liam Neeson (Taken)

The longest-running primetime animated series in history, The Simpsons is also a cultural institution.  The Simpsons has an extremely loyal and dedicated fan base worldwide. Intelligently written, subversively humorous and delightfully witty, the show pokes fun at itself and everything in its wake. This season’s stellar guest voices include rock ‘n’ roll legends Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello and Brian Setzer. Also paying Springfield a visit are Elliott Gould, Marisa Tomei, Little Richard and the dynamic duo of Adam West and Burt Ward. Pro skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and alternative rock band Blink 182 will lend their voices to the historic 300th episode. 14.2) HOW I SPENT MY STRUMMER VACATION

A drunken Homer appears on the show Taxicab Conversations and rants about how awful his life as a husband and father is. Although his family is at first outraged, they realise that they do somewhat burden him and decide to make up for it by sending him to a Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp where he mingles with rock stars, including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The rock stars ask Homer to help out at a concert and, expecting that he will be allowed to perform, he accepts. Actually, they want him to test the microphones; however, a humiliated Homer grabs a guitar and starts playing.14.4) LARGE MARGE

Thinking Homer does not find her attractive anymore, Marge decides to get liposuction, but instead receives breast implants. She becomes adored by many of the men in Springfield, and becomes a spokesmodel for trade shows. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse try to imitate a stunt they saw on an episode of Batman that guest stars Krusty the Clown. When the stunt ends badly, media watchdog groups blame Krusty, forcing the clown to make his show more safety-conscious and less fun.14.6) THE GREAT LOUSE DETECTIVE

The Simpson family win a free spa weekend, and Homer is nearly killed when a mysterious figure locks him in a sauna. Chief Wiggum decides to hire someone who can think like a murderer in order to find one. Bart’s mortal enemy Sideshow Bob is sent to live with the Simpsons so he can help find Homer’s attempted killer. Bob and Homer track down the attempted murderer and discover that it is Frank Grimes, Jr., the son of a man that Homer drove to insanity (in the season eight episode “Homer’s Enemy”). After Grimes is arrested, Bob tries to kill Bart, but he finds that he has “grown accustomed to his face” and cannot harm him.14.7) SPECIAL EDNA

Ms. Edna Krabappel begins to lose faith in her relationship with Principal Skinner and becomes depressed. Bart wants to cheer her up and decides to nominate her for the Teacher of the Year Award. Ms. Krabappel and the Simpsons are given a free trip to Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. Skinner decides that he needs to do something to win Edna back, so he follows them there. He tries to sabotage Edna’s chances of winning the award, in hopes that she will become so depressed that she will come back to him. However, he has a change of heart and proposes to her.14.8) THE DAD WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE

Homer disappoints Lisa on her birthday when he gives her a thoughtless present. He realizes that he knows little about her and decides to hire private detective Dexter Colt to spy on her. Colt compiles a report, the information from which helps Homer bond with his daughter. However, Colt soon demands to be paid $1000, which Homer refuses. In retaliation, Colt vandalises an animal research lab and steals all the animals, leaving behind several clues that implicate Lisa. Homer and Lisa go on the run as fugitives and end up at a circus, where they meet Colt. He tries to kill Homer, but Lisa saves him. Later, Colt is arrested and Lisa exonerated. She finally receives the present she wanted from Homer.14.9) THE STRONG ARMS OF MA

Marge gets mugged and becomes so traumatized that she develops Agoraphobia. She hides in the basement. Having little else to do, she decides to exercise with a weight set Homer bought from Rainier Wolfcastle’s garage sale. She becomes so strong and confident that she is able to leave the basement. She continues working out and decides to start taking steroids so she can enter a bodybuilding competition. One night at Moe’s Tavern she loses her temper and starts destroying the bar and fighting all of the patrons. Homer confronts Marge and says he misses the sweet woman that he married. Marge, horrified at what she has done, apologizes and decides to stop working out.14.10) PRAY ANYTHING

Homer becomes depressed when he sees that Ned Flanders seems to be better off than him. To remedy this, he begins to pray constantly. Meanwhile, the Simpsons discover that tree roots have clogged up their plumbing. The house becomes too run down to live in, and Homer prays for a solution. Homer is injured while attending church; he sues Reverend Lovejoy and is awarded the deed to the church. He throws a huge house-warming party, in which all of the partiers drink and engage in sinful activities. It suddenly starts raining and the town begins to flood. The townspeople flee to the roof of the church. Homer tries praying again but the flood keeps rising. Reverend Lovejoy returns in a helicopter and leads everyone in prayer, asking God to forgive them, and the rain stops.14.11) BARTING OVER

Bart learns that he was once a child actor in commercials and that all the money earned was spent by Homer. In retaliation, Bart petitions the court to have himself legally emancipated from his parents and moves out of the Simpson house. Bart is initially miserable in his new apartment, but discovers that skateboarder Tony Hawk lives on one of the floors above. He and Hawk become friends, and Bart is content with his new life. Homer apologizes to Bart and requests that he return home. Bart accepts the apology, but tells his family that he is going on tour with Hawk. At an event, Homer speaks to Bart and finally promises Bart that he will never treat him badly again.14.12) I’M SPELLING AS FAST I CAN

Lisa competes at a spelling bee and earns the right to compete in the Spell-lympics, becoming the pride of the town. The host of the show George Plimpton, asks her to intentionally lose so that a more popular boy can win. Lisa refuses and continues to compete, but accidentally misspells a word and loses. Meanwhile, Homer tours with a group obsessed with eating Krusty Burger’s latest sandwich.14.13) A STAR IS BORN AGAIN

During the annual Jellyfish Festival, Ned Flanders realizes that he is lonely and becomes depressed. One night, he meets a beautiful woman, who asks him out on a date. He soon learns that the woman is Sara Sloan, a famous actress. Sloan is charmed by Flanders’ wholesomeness, and they continue to date to the point at which she asks that he move to Hollywood. Flanders, worried that Hollywood would conflict with his conservative Christian values, refuses, so Sloan instead decides to stay in Springfield. However, their relationship does not work out, due to his insistence on marriage.14.14) MR. SPRITZ GOES TO WASHINGTON

An air traffic route is redirected so that airplanes start flying directly over the Simpsons’ house. The noise starts to disrupt their lives and, desperate for a solution, the family turns to their Congressman. However, he dies of a heart attack, so they ask Krusty the Clown to run for Congress so that he can help them. Krusty is successful in his campaign, but finds that his air traffic bill is ignored by the veteran Congressmen. He soon becomes disillusioned with the system, so the Simpsons, with guidance from Walter Mondale, help him out by blackmailing one of his opponents and attaching the bill to a more popular one. The bill passes, and the air traffic is re-routed.14.15) C.E.D’OH

Homer decides to try for a promotion at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and suggests several ideas to Mr. Burns, all of which are rejected. One night, Homer overhears Burns admit that the plant’s real owner is a canary to protect Burns from responsibility for any wrongdoing by the power plant. Homer releases the bird and tells Burns that nuclear inspectors have arrived for a surprise inspection. Burns, desperate to find a scapegoat, names Homer the new owner. As his first act, Homer fires Burns and takes control of the Plant. However, he finds that his work life as a CEO is conflicting with his family life. Homer decides to return to his old job and gives ownership back to Burns.14.16) ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I MISS THE SKY

A snobby British filmmaker named Declan Desmond begins making a documentary about student life at Springfield Elementary School. When introduced to Lisa, he tells her that she has too many goals and suggests that she pick one career. Lisa focuses on astronomy, but cannot watch the stars because of light pollution. She convinces Mayor Quimby to decrease the light’s intensity during the night, which only results in an increase in the crime rate. Quimby bows to public pressure and switches the lights back on permanently. Lisa overloads the generators at the Power Plant, causing a power outage, and is able to watch a meteor shower undisturbed by light.14.17) THREE GAYS OF THE CONDO

While searching in his closet, Homer discovers an old letter from Marge that states that she no longer loves him. He begins to think that she only married him because he impregnated her and moves out. He finds a new apartment in Springfield’s gay district and moves in with a male homosexual couple. Marge and Homer attempt a reconciliation dinner, but Homer becomes intoxicated and arrives late. Homer goes to Moe’s Tavern, where he continues drinking and gets alcohol poisoning. At the hospital, Dr. Hibbert shows Homer a videotape that documents Homer’s first alcohol poisoning. It shows Marge’s compassion for the unconscious Homer, as she tells him she loves him. Back in the present, Marge comes into the hospital room and says that she still loves Homer and they kiss.14.18) DUDE WHERE’S MY RANCH

When challenged to think up a new Christmas carol, Homer instead writes a song about how much he hates Ned Flanders. The song becomes such a hit that the Simpsons become sick of hearing it and take a trip to a dude ranch. Lisa develops affections for a local boy named Luke but becomes jealous when he hears him talking to a girl named Clara on the telephone. One night, she meets Clara and gives her the wrong directions, leading her to become lost. After Lisa discovers that Clara is actually Luke’s sister, she rushes to find her. She saves Clara, and decides to tell Luke what happened, but he is offended and dumps her. Meanwhile, Bart and Homer decide to help a tribe of Native Americans who want a beaver dam removed so they can reclaim their land.14.20) BRAKE MY WIFE, PLEASE

Homer becomes obsessed with using new gadgets in his car. One day, he becomes distracted and drives off a pier, losing his driver’s license. Unable to use a car, Homer starts to learn the joys of walking. Meanwhile, Marge shoulders the burden of Homer’s driving duties and becomes stressed out. One day, as Homer sings about the virtues of walking, Marge accidentally runs him over with her car. Later, as Homer recuperates from the accident, he begins to suspect that Marge is trying to hurt him. They fight and go to see a marriage counselor. The counselor advises Homer to perform one completely unselfish gesture to win Marge back. Homer holds a party with all of her friends and a surprised Marge tells Homer that she loves him.14.22) MOE BABY BLUES

Moe Szyslak becomes lonely and decides to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. However, he inadvertently saves Maggie Simpson when she is sent flying from the Simpsons’ car window and into his arms. He starts playing with Maggie and becomes attached to her, telling her the story of The Godfather. Homer and Marge become upset about how much time Moe is spending with Maggie and forbid him from seeing her again. One night, Maggie wakes up and hears Fat Tony and the Springfield Mafia outside the house and decides to follow them. When Homer and Marge find her missing, they automatically assume that Moe kidnapped her. When Moe is told that Maggie is missing, his request to help find her is granted by Homer. Maggie follows the mobsters to Luigi’s restaurant, where Fat Tony’s gang gets into a gun battle with a rival family. Homer, Marge and Moe track Maggie down and Moe decides to go inside and save Maggie. After Moe saves Maggie’s life, Homer allows the two to spend more time together.The Simpsons reside in the town of Springfield. Homer works as a safety inspector at the local nuclear power plant; Marge tries to keep the peace in her family; Bart is the mischievous 10-year-old hellion; 8-year-old Lisa is the intelligent, saxophone-playing vegetarian member of the family; and baby Maggie conveys emotions via pacifier sucks. Viewers also have come to know and love the rich, and sometimes quirky, universe of characters who inhabit Springfield. Guest stars paying Springfield a visit this season include British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Glenn Close, famed author J.K. Rowling, Jennifer Garner, comedian Jerry Lewis, Evan Marriott, Sir Ian McKellan, documentarian Michael Moore and Simon Cowell. 15.2) MY MOTHER THE CARJACKER

Homer’s mother returns, and after being cleared of all charges, is re-imprisoned on a technicality.15.3) THE PRESIDENT WORE PEARLS

In this loose parody of the musical/movie Evita, Lisa is elected Student Body president, but is unaware that the school staff is using her for their own devices and as a scapegoat if something goes wrong.115.4) THE REGINA MONOLOGUES

After making over $3000 from his own museum featuring a $1000 bill, Bart takes the family to London (on the suggestion of Grampa), where Homer is arrested for treason after crashing into the Queen.115.8) MARGE VS. SINGLES, SENIORS, CHILDLESS COUPLES AND TEENS AND GAYS

When a group of singles, seniors, childless couples, teens and gays band together to protest having to accommodate families (including paying property taxes used to teach children they do not have) after a riot at a children’s concert, Marge takes up the cause for the families, with some help from Bart and Lisa.DSC0404415.9) I D’OH-BOT

Homer builds a battle robot to win Bart’s respect, and places it in a tournament against other robots. What Bart does not know, though, is that the robot is actually Homer in costume. Meanwhile, Snowball II dies and Lisa tries to find a replacement cat.Diatribe_of_a_Mad_Housewife_(19)15.10) DIATRIBE OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE

Marge writes a romance novel with characters based on Homer and Ned Flanders that becomes a hit. Meanwhile, Homer gets fired from the power plant again and becomes an ambulance driver.maxresdefault15.13) SMART AND SMARTER

When Maggie does better than Lisa on an IQ test, Lisa becomes so despondent over no longer being the smart one that she tries to change her identity.simpsons-ziffwhocametodinner_122088740315.14) THE ZIFF WHO CAME TO DINNER

The Simpsons go on a late-night attic search after Bart and Lisa (who are freaked out over a horror movie Homer let them watch) begin hearing voices — and find Marge’s ex-prom date Artie Ziff, who’s on the run for cheating the shareholders of his company.15.15) CO-DEPENDENT’S DAY

Homer and Marge’s bond becomes stronger when they both get drunk on wine, but soon the bond unravels when Homer blames Marge for crashing the car and Marge gets sent to rehab. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa complain to Randall Curtis (a George Lucas-esque science fiction movie director) about his latest film.15.16) THE WANDERING JUVIE

Bart gets sent to juvenile hall after fooling everyone that there was a marriage concerning him. He encounters a dangerous girl there… He flees with Gina, but then the two are caught by Wiggum.15.17) MY BIG AT GEEK WEDDING

After hearing that Skinner is getting cold feet about their wedding, Edna leaves Skinner at the altar and, after sending back one marriage gift, hooks up with Comic Book Guy. Meanwhile, Homer and Marge have an argument about if their marriage is still solid or not.15.18) CATCH ‘EM IF YOU CAN

After a ruined movie night, thanks to Bart and Lisa, Homer and Marge take a vacation away from them, but decide to go to Miami instead of going to see an uncle. When Bart and Lisa catch wind of their parents’ secret plan, Bart steals Rod’s credit card (just like Homer stole Ned’s) and go after them.15.19) SIMPLE SIMPSON

Homer becomes “Pie Man”, a masked vigilante who delivers a pie in the face of justice to evildoers. However, after attacking Mr. Burns, Burns hires him as a personal hitman, until Homer is ordered to attack the Dalai Lama.15.21) BART-MANGLED BANNER

After receiving an injection from Dr. Hibbert, Bart becomes temporarily deaf, which makes him impervious to being bullied, until he accidentally moons the American flag during a donkey basketball game, prompting everyone in town to accuse the Simpsons of being unpatriotic under the new “Government Knows Best” Act.15.22) FRAUDCAST NEWS

Mr. Burns buys out Springfield’s media outlets after a newspaper mistakenly reports his death, and Lisa’s homemade newspaper is next on his list.

The Simpsons just clicks at every level. This family may be dysfunctional but in the end, they are still a family in every way and we are gently reminded of this in almost every episode. Also, the cast of supporting characters that inhabit Springfield is no less funny than the main characters themselves, providing the show with comically colourful and screwball situations that just never get old. Not even after 16 seasons.16.2) ALL’S FAIR IN OVEN WAR

Marge resorts to sabotage as payback on the contestants who sabotaged her food entry for a cook-off. Meanwhile, Homer finds his old issues of Playdude in the ceiling, which Bart finds (after Marge cuts out all of the centerfolds and other nude photos) and uses as a guide on how to live the bachelor life.16.3) SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

Feeling unappreciated by her own children, Marge takes in Nelson as her surrogate child. Meanwhile, Lisa becomes self-conscious of her weight after the girls in school ake fun of her butt and purposely starves herself in order to be skinny.she-used-to-be-my-girl16.4) SHE USED TO BE MY GIRL

Marge bumps into an old high-school acquaintance who is now a successful news reporter. While Marge becomes jealous of her friend’s success and wonders what may have been had she not stayed with Homer, Lisa becomes inspired by this new, strong woman.Fat_Man_and_Little_Roy16.5) FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY

Bart becomes depressed about growing older after losing his last baby tooth, and, following advice from Lisa, deals with his problems by writing ironic slogans on T-shirts. Meanwhile, Homer tries to help Lisa make a science project after Bart cuts Homer out of helping him sell T-shirts.Homer_and_Ned's_Hail_Mary_Pass_(Promo_Picture)16.8) HOMER AND NED’S HAIL MARY PASS

After Homer inadvertently performs a wild crowd-pleasing dance at a local carnival, he is hired by several sports figures to teach them how to showboat. Meanwhile, Flanders creates ultra-violent, ultra-gory Bible movies à la Passion of the Christ.Pranksta_Rap_2716.9) PRANKSTA RAP

Bart fakes his own kidnapping to get out of being punished for going to a rap concert, but the ruse goes too far when Milhouse’s father is implicated as the kidnapper and Chief Wiggum sees this as an opportunity to make a name for himself as a competent police officer.16.10) THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARRYING

Homer becomes a minister after Springfield legalizes gay marriage (to boost their damaged reputation for tourists) and Patty comes out of the closet, much to the shock of her sister, Marge, who was naive to her sister’s sexuality.On_a_Clear_Day_I_Can't_See_My_Sister_6916.11) ON A CLEAR DAY I CAN’T SEE MY SISTER

After years of tolerating his antics, Lisa files a restraining order against Bart, forcing him to live in the backyard. Meanwhile, Homer becomes a greeter for a WalMart-esque department store called “Sprawl-Mart”.Goo_Goo_Gai_Pan16.12) GOO GOO GAI PAN

The Simpsons are going to China, after Selma (who recently began menopause) lists Homer as her husband in order to adopt a Chinese baby (while Marge poses as Selma and Homer’s live-in nanny).
16.15) FUTURE-DRAMA

Through Professor Frink’s future machine, Bart and Lisa see their lives in the year 2013, where Bart steals Lisa’s chances at going to an Ivy League school in order to impress a skater girl named Jenda while Homer (now separated from Marge and living in an underwater apartment) fights Krusty the Clown after Marge begins dating him.16.16) DON’T FEAR THE ROOFER

Sick of being unwanted, Homer befriends a man who works as a roofer. However, no one else can see him and Homer’s insistence that the roofer does exist prompts everyone to think he has gone crazy.A_Star_is_Torn_5116.18) A STAR IS TORN

Lisa participates in a singing competition with Homer as her manager, but helps Lisa’s rival after being fired.hqdefault16.19) THANK GOD IT’S DOOMSDAY

Homer sees a movie about the end of the world and fears the same thing will happen in real life after seeing a chain of random occurrences (celebrities [“stars”] falling from the sky, raining blood, a man in a realistic devil costume) and doing a complicated math equation that predicts the end will come on May 18th, but when the end does not come, Homer discovers a flaw in the equation and ends up in Heaven where he meets God and learns that God is planning The Rapture.

Home_Away_from_Homer_44
16.20) HOME AWAY FROM HOMER

Flanders rents a room to two college girls who, without his knowledge, use the spare room to broadcast live softcore pornographic web videos of themselves. Upset that no one in town told him this (and that Homer was the one who told everyone), Ned moves to the seemingly perfect town of Humbleton, Pennsylvania, while a brash coach moves into Flanders’ house and begins harassing Homer the same way Homer harassed Ned.screen-shot-2012-10-14-at-12-39-35-pm16.21) THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY GUEST STAR

Bart gets expelled from school and transfers to a Catholic school, where a hip priest named Father Sean tries to convert Bart and Homer to Catholicism, which worries Marge when she believes that Catholics do not go to the same heaven as Protestants and discovers that Catholic women do not use birth control.

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REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 1-10

CAST

Tom Welling (The Fog)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and the Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Urban Legend)
Eric Johnson (Flash Gordon)
Sam Jones III (Glory Road)
Allison Mack (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies)
Annette O’ Toole (IT)
John Schneider (Desperate Housewives)
John Glover (Robocop 2)
Erica Durance (The Butterfly Effect 2)
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Aaron Ashmore (The Skulls 2)
Justin Hartley (Chuck)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Cassidy Freeman (Yellowbrickroad)
Sam Witwer (Being Human)
Callum Blue (Dead Like Me)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Sarah-Jane Redmond (V)
Chad Donella (Final Destination)
Gabrielle Rose (Catch and Release)
Jason Connery (Wishmaster 3)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Mitchell Kosterman (White Noise)
Michael Coristine (Get Over It)
Eric Christian Olsen (Tru Calling)
Jackie Burroughs (The Dead Zone)
George Murdock (Star Trek V)
Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Malcolm Stewart (Timecop)
Joe Morton (Terminator 2)
Robert Wisden (Watchmen)
Tony Todd (Chuck)
Kelly Brook (The Italian Job)
Azura Skye (Red Dragon)
Rick Peters (Veronica Mars)
Kevin McNulty (Elektra)
Tom O’Brien (The Accused)
Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
Kavan Smith (Stargate SG.1)
Evangeline Lilly (Lost)
Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can’t Lose)
Cameron Dye (Valley Girl)
Eric Breker (Walking Tall)
Jud Tyler (That 70s Show)
Nicki Clyne (Saved)
Ryan Kelley (Teen Wolf)
Brandy Ledford (Andromeda)
Rekha Sharma (Dark Angel)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (Wolf Creek: The Series)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
Adam Brody (The OC)
Kevan Ohtsji (Godzilla)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Krista Allen (The Final Destination)
Sara Downing (Roswell)
Sean Faris (The Brotherhood 2)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Gwynyth Walsh (Star Trek: Generations)
Maggie Lawson (Two and a Half Men)
George Coe (The Entity)
Richard Gant (Rocky V)
Neil Grayston (Wonderfalls)
Patrick Cassidy (Lois & Clark)
Martin Cummins (Dark Angel)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Imporvement)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Tamara Feldman (Hatchet)
Gordon Tootoosis (Legends of The Fall)
Byron Mann (Arrow)
Adrianne Palicki (Agents of Shield)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Jill Teed (Highlander: The Series)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries)
Cristopher Reeve (Superman: The Movie)
Camille Mitchell (Caprica)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Michael Adamthwaite (Sucker Punch)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Fast and Furious 3)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Francoise Yip (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Christopher Shyer (V)
John DeSantis (The New Addams Family)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Lorena Gale (Battlestar Galactica)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Michael Dangerfield (Catwoman)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Missy Peregrym (Heroes)
Meghan Ory (Dark Angel)
Ryan Merriman (Final Destination 3)
Sarah Carter (D.O.A.)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Gary Hudson (Mutant X)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Nathaniel Arcand (Pathfinder)
Amber Rothwell (Andromeda)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Margot Kidder (The Amityville Horror)
Ona Grauer (V)
Michael Ironside (Scanners)
Amanda Walsh (Disturbia)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Trent Ford (The Island)
Jane Seymour (Wedding Crashers)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Derek Hamilton (Ripper)
Peyton List (The Flash)
Chris Carmack (Into The Blue 2)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Arrow)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Beatrice Rosen (Chasing Liberty)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Jonathan Bennett (Veronica Mars)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Steven Grayhm (White Chicks)
David Orth (The Lost World)
James Marsters (Buffy)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Alana De La Garza (Scorpion)
Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel)
Johnny Lewis (Felon)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Erica Cerra (The 100)
Brooke Nevin (Infestation)
Top Wopat (Django Unchained)
Noah Danby (Bitten)
Alisen Down (Case 39)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Annie Burgstede (CSI)
Sarah Lind (Wolfcop)
Denise Quinones (Aquman 2006)
Lee Thompson Young (Flashforward)
Nichole Hiltz (Bones)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Emily Hirst (Blade: The Series)
Anne Marie Deluise (Goosebumps)
Callum Rennie (Legends of Tomorrow)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Alex Scarlis (8mm 2)
Jody Thompson (Flash Gordon)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Lochlyn Munro (Little man)
Amber McDonald (Gloria)
Lucas Grabeel (Milk)
Bow Wow (Like Mike)
Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)
Phil Morris (Meet The Spartans)
Tori Spelling (Scary Movie 2)
Matthew Walker (Alone In The Dark)
Greyston Holt (Bitten)
Benjamin Ayres (The Vampire Diaries)
Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)
Anna Galvin (Caprica)
Michael Cassidy (Batman V Superman)
Tom McBeath (Bates Motel)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Kim Coates (The Amityville Curse)
Christina Milian (be Cool)
Christopher Jacot (Mutant X)
Helen Slater (Supergirl)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Elyse Levesque (Stargate Universe)
Tim Guinee (Stargate SG.1)
Marc McClure (Superman: The Movie)
Alaina Huffman (Painkiller Jane)
Gina Holden (Flash Gordon)
Anne Openshaw (The Grey)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Ari Cohen (Gangland Undercover)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle)
Charlotte Sullivan (Defendor)
Anna Williams (Blonde and Blonder)
Kyle Schmid (Arrow)
Ryan Kennedy (Caprica)
Alexz Johnson (Devil’s Diary)
Calum Worthy (Daydream Nation)
Dario Delacio (War)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Alessandro Juliani (Man of Steel)
Ted Whittall (Beauty and The Beast)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Stephen Lobo (Painkiller jane)
Serinda Swan (Tron Legacy)
Connor Stanhope (American Mary)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Nels Lennarson (Sanctuary)
Brendan Flecther (Bloodrayne 3)
Anna Mae Wills (2012)
Monique Ganderton (American Ultra)
Sharon Taylor (Stargate: Atlantis)
Brian Austin Green (Termiantor: TSCC)
Steph Song (War)
Elise Gatien (Izombie)
Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary)
Julian Sands (Gotham)
Dean Cain (Lois & Clark)
Allison Scagliotti (Warehouse 13)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
David Gallagher (Super 8)
Anita Torrance (Caprica)
Pam Grier (jackie Brown)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Brent Stait (Androemda)
Britt Irvin (V)
Wesley MacInnes (Warcraft)
Jim Shield (Final Destination 3)
Roger Haskett (Paycheck)
Ken Lawson (Descendants)
Erica Carroll (Apollo 18)
Crystal Lowe (Poison Ivy 4)
Sean Rogerson (Bitten)
Odessa Rae (Hard Candy)
Jonthan Walker (Red)
Gil Bellows (Flashforward)
Blu Mankuma (Robocop: The Series)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Cruel Intentions 2)
Bradley Stryker (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Sahar Biniaz (Watchmen)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
Christine Willes (Dead Like me)
Steve Byers (Mutant X)
Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark)
Lindsay Hartley (All My ChildreN)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galctica)
James Kidnie (Arrow)
Aleks Paunovic (Mutant X)
Sebastian Spence (First wave)
Aliyah O’Brien (If I Stay)

Maybe it is that Superman is truly indestructible or that the Man of Steel, who was picked recently as one of the Top 10 American pop culture icons, is so respected that not even Hollywood would dare tug on his cape, because “Smallville” is another successful small screen version of the strange visitor from another planet. Of course, the great irony is that this time around there is no cape to tug on because this television series is about Clark Kent, years before he put on the suit with the big red “S,” when he was still in high school, his powers were just starting to kick in, and the girl in his life with the double L name was Lana Lang.


Keep in mind that when Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created the Man of Steel in 1939 there was no Superboy until 1949, when he began part of the futuristic Legion of Super-Heroes. All we knew about the early days is that just before the doomed planet Krypton exploded to fragments, a scientist placed his infant son within an experimental rocket ship, launching it toward earth. When the vessel reached our planet, the child was found by an elderly couple, the Kents. They adopted the super tyke and with love and guidance shaped the boy’s future. As he grew older Clark Kent learned to hurdle skyscrapers, leap an eighth of a mile, raise tremendous weights, run faster than a streamline train, and that nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin. When his foster parents passed away, Clark decided he must turn his titanic strength into channels that would benefit mankind. The key part of “Smallville” is that creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar go back to the simple beginning, with young Clark (Tom Welling) growing up on the Kent farm with Martha (Annette O’Toole) and Jonathan (John Schneider). From the “Superboy” comic books the series borrows the characters of girl next-door Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) and best buddy Pete Ross (Sam Jones III). But in addition to covering the basics, Gough and Millar come up with a key triad of additions to the original Smallville mythos.


First, they add young Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) to the mix, knowing that he and Superman are fated to be (im)mortal enemies, but that for the present he and Clark are friends (after Clark saves Lex’s life in a car accident that should have killed them both). The key thing is that they truly are friends and that “Smallville” is as much about how Lex would become a super villain as it is about how Clark would become a super hero. Throw into the mix Daddy Dearest in the form of Lionel Luthor (John Glover), and Lex would have already pulled all of his hair out if it were not for what happened that fateful day in Smallville.


Second, is the brilliant reconceptualization of Superman’s arrival on earth where the small spacecraft shows up in the middle of a shower of glowing green meteors that are all that remains of the planet Krypton. As much as the little boy in that spaceship, those meteors change Smallville forever, turning a little girl into an orphans and a young boy bald, and the small Kansas town into the self proclaimed meteor capital of the world. More importantly, those little green rocks will have continue to have an impact as they cause a series of mutations with which young Clark will have to contend. This also accounts for the great in-joke that Clark always becomes a bumbling idiot around Lana because she wears a locket made of kryptonite. Third, there is the multi-purpose character of Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack). The driving force of the Smallville High School student newspaper her “Wall of the Weird” documents all the strange things that have happened around Smallville since the meteor shower, making her the show’s resident mistress of exposition.

But she is also the tragic figure who longs for Clark the way he casts puppy dog glances at Lana, creating a nice example of teenage love triangle pathos. Overall, Miller and Gough had created an extremely solid premise for their series, which creates multi-dynamics for all of the plotlines. The first season (2001) is book ended by some great special effects, with the devastating arrival of the meteors in the pilot and the three twisters becoming one in the thrilling cliffhanger finale. My only serious complaint is that Schneider’s Jonathan Kent has too much of an angry edge, which takes away from his font of parental wisdom. Martha really needs to mellow him out so that he cuts Clark some slack. I understand that Jonathan is motivated by fears and concerns about his son, but I always liked the gentle influence personified by Glenn Ford in the first Christopher Reeve “Superman” film. Turning adolescent traumas into mutant monsters of the week is a hit and miss proposition, but that was true of the first season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as well, and look at how well that series turned out. Yes, we can also throw into the mix that Clark and Lana are played by a couple of cute young actors. Welling is not too serious as the kid who is going to grow up to be the hero who stands for truth, justice, and the American way, and I was going to say Kruek was the WB’s new Katie Holmes except after her soft-core Lana scene in the school swimming pool goes way beyond the world’s biggest collection of midriff revealing tops. But the bottom line here is that either the Clark-Lana or the Clark-Lex would be enough to make this a good show and “Smallville” has both of them and a lot more, including the brilliant metaphor of the scarecrow immortalized in the DVD collection’s cover shot.

Starting a moment after the season one finale Smallville continues the story of Clark’s younger years. This season really stands out in memory, the sheer quality of the episodes is amazing, there are more memorable episodes in this series than in any other combined. Furthermore there is a movement away from “freak of the wekk” episodes, with several episodes reveolving around the characters and their backstory, not monsters and threats to them. Clark’s identity (as Kal-Ell is revealed to him, as is the fate of Krypton), Pete find oout about Clark’s secret, Red K causes havoc turning Clark into a moralless teenager, secrets about Clark’s adoption and Lex’s brother are revealed, Clark lays on his deathbed and Clark is told to leave Smallville and complete his father’s quest to rule the planet.

Along with these arks, there is the continuing storyline of Chloe and Clark, that was left hanging in Tempest, this slops both Clark and Lana coming closer as Chloe looks on sadly. Clark’s adoption is revealed to have been organised by Lionel Luthor (who is also blinded at the beginning of the season), Lionel and Lex jokel against each other as Lionel quashes Lexcorp, and Clark is appauled by the intrustions of his father. This is one of my favourite season, as it was for the viewing figures (check wiki), characters continue to eveolve and change, and leaving a fantastic cliifhanger which I won’t spoil. If you liked Season 1 you’ll love this, if you loved season 1 you’ll be overjoyed

Season 3 veers constantly between dark and light – light: Perry White arrives in Smallville – played fabulously and hilariously by Annette O’Toole’s real-life husband Michael McKean (note that they have no scenes together), the fact that Jor-El chose the Kents to raise his son; dark: Clark’s antics on Red Kryptonite resulting in serious health issues for Jonathan Kent, Lex’s forays into insanity and back again. There are mainly stand-alone stories this year, although there is the double-headed cliffhanger of Chloe’s apparent death and Clark being stripped of his humanity to be reborn as Kal-El. The actors continue to raise their game, although Sam Jones III seems to be phased out as the season progresses: a sure sign of his departure before the finale.

Also this year Terence Stamp features more prominently as “The Voice of Jor-El” – an intense presence whose determination to enforce his will over his son clashes with the mortal man who raised him. The only drawback of this season is the lingering Clark & Lana love story – will-they, won’t they is fast becoming do they have to? This DVD set features a couple of commentaries although the blooper reel doesn’t contain as many gems as the one featured on series 2. Favourite episodes: Phoenix, Extinction, Perry, Relic, Whisper, Delete, Hereafter, Crisis, Truth, Memoria & Talisman.

In this season there are no stand-alone stories as all 22 episodes provide a piece of the puzzle which is finally revealed in the finale. Tom Welling transcends his previous work on the show as he begins to build his most successful on-screen partnerships – with Allison Mack’s Chloe who returns from the dead to become privy to Clark’s powers and takes the inital steps towards becoming his sidekick and confidante, and Erica Durance’s Lois Lane who crashes into his world and turns it completely upside down.

There are sparks aplenty between Welling & Durance – her face when confronted with her naked co-star in the opening episode is priceless – but the enduring Clark & Lana storyline continues to flare so the viewers have to make do with their hilarious banter and feigned dislike of each other. The only lowlight as far as Welling is concerned this year is Clark’s bewilderment that Lana could possibly move on from him – a trait resumed in Seasons 5 and 6 as Lana moves on yet again and Clark remains stuck in the “Clana mud”. Annette O’Toole also shines this year as Martha Kent steps into the spotlight to save her son. The rest of the cast also continue to shine and the calibre of guest stars keeps on rising, particularly in the season premiere when actress Margot Kidder cameos – ironically in the same episode Smallville’s incarnation of Lois Lane is launched. Favourite episodes: Crusade, Gone, Facade, Devoted, Bound, Pariah, Recruit, Krypto, Lucy, Blank & Commencement.

In the fifth season of Smallville, one chapter ends as another new and exciting chapter begins as Smallville is taken to new heights as the DC Universe is finally blown open as new characters make their appearances felt.


In season five, Clark’s relationship with Lana is at its peak, his friendship with Chloe has never been stronger, and he is finally coming to terms with the discovery of his Kyptonian heritage. But things in Smallville are about to change with the arrival of the mysterious Milton Fine (James Marsters) along with 2 Kryptonians bearing the symbol of ZOD. Whilst his relationship with his friends has never been stronger, Clark finds himself in direct confrontation with Lex Luthor as he is now forced to question whether he and the younger Luthor were ever friends.


Alongside the great continuity drama with the regular leads, this season also sees the arrival of 2 familiar faces from the DC Universe in form of Aquaman and Cyborg who cameo in this season alongside DC villain Brainiac.


James Marsters is a very welcome addition to the cast and plays Fine with confidence and arrogance while Michael Rosenbaum continues to steal the show. The pinnacle moment of the season also sees the very sad departure of a long staning term cast member in what still rates as Smallville’s saddest moment and greatest tear-jerker.

They say timing is everything, and for me the timing of watching season 6 of Smallville for the first time was perfect. Why is that? Because this was the season that introduced their take on Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, and I got hooked on the new show about him this last season on TV.

Of course, before we can get to new characters, we have a few cliffhangers to resolve. While all kinds of chaos is reigning down on the citizens of Earth thanks to the evil force that has taken over Lex Luther’s body (Michael Rosenbaum), Clark Kent (Tom Welling) can’t do much about it since he’s trapped in the Phantom Zone. While he does escape and manage to save the day, he unwittingly releases the evil prisoners from the Phantom Zone and must spend some time tracking them down this season. As things return to normal, characters explore new options. Lois Lane (Erica Durance) and Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) become roommates and Lois starts a new career as a reporter for a tabloid. They also both get new boyfriends in the two new characters that are introduced. Lois starts dating the previously mentioned Olive Queen (Justin Hartley) while Chloe falls for Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore), a young photographer at The Daily Planet. Lana Lang (Kistin Kreuk), meanwhile, has moved in with Lex and their relationship becomes more serious when she finds out she is pregnant. Chloe learns a very surprising secret and is reunited with her mom as played by TV’s Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter.

Other storylines of the season involve Clark and Oliver’s clashes over how to use their powers for good. Lex is collecting and hiding people with abilities. Those storylines clash when we see the first glimpse of the Justice League Smallville style.
This season is really about the young adults. No one is in college any more (did they all drop out after one season or did they all graduate at lightning speed?) While Lionel Luther (John Glover) is still around being unclear in his intensions, Martha Kent (Annette O’Toole) is given very little to do. And before the season is over, one character makes an exit from the show.

Season 7 demonstrates a real maturity in terms of the characters and the wider Smallville universe. For the characters themselves we obviously have to start with Clark and Lex.

What I love about this series is that you don’t notice subtle changes that are going – its only when there is a sudden abrupt change that you realise that it had been going on for ages and you find yourself saying “Ah!”. Clark in this season is gradually waking up to the fact that his old life is practically gone – most friends and family have moved on. This really hits home with an episode that sees the (thankfully brief) return of Pete. This was a subtle episode that demonstrated that Pete and Clark are very different now – they are friends but have both moved on. Clark towards his greater destiny – Pete to his, well, lesser destiny. But the real tear jerker that forces Clark to face the changes is the video left by Lana in the series finale. Understated and brief – its all the more powerful. Lana functioned as a sort of bubble for Clark – a link back to his carefree past – her leaving all but cuts this.

For Lex – wow. Smallville always managed to avoid having him as a cartoon baddie. What really took off on this season was Lex rushing towards his destiny as the powerful enemy of the “Traveller”. We get to see the childhood of Lex and his inner struggles. The moment that he and Lionel have their final encounter – powerful stuff. But what really hits viewers is Lex’s view of what his destiny was. The link he has with the Traveller, the impact that has had on his life and how it will ultimately play out – this was biblical stuff.

For the overarching storylines of the series. Well a special mention goes to the Veritas saga. Debate rages on message boards across the land about whether or not writers had planned this from the start of the series. Regardless if they did – the Veritas storyline weaves together almost 7 years of storylines. Smallville has always managed to pull of the secret legends stories, particularly in Season 4 and 7. But there is a real epic storylines going in season 7. Other storylines worthy mention: the return of Brainiac – always a joy. Bizzaro is also great fun. Tom welling clearly enjoys playing a baddy instead of straight-laced Clark. That and he gets to wear a blue jacket and red tshirt, instead of vice versa. And Lionel finally meets his maker.

Technically this season shouldn’t have worked; the show’s main villain and arguably most popular character, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) has now departed; secondly they were introducing a villain which was virtually impossible to bring to the big screen never mind a television series in Doomsday. However whilst a massive void had been created by Rosenbaum’s departure, it was filled suprisingly very well by the main cast of heroes who finally come into their own this season with performances and stories which intelligently test those who have big destinies to embrace in the Superman era to come. Tom Welling finally begins to take his final steps to becoming Superman and is starting to demonstrate how capapble as lead he is while bringing a new found presence to Clark Kent. There is also an increased number of on-screen scenes between Welling and Erica Durance’s Lois Lane and the result is a relationship which is as funny as it is touching and believable.

Likewise other support characters like Chloe and Jimmy are tested by the new villain in town, Sam Witwer’s Davis Bloome who is a great unique character to the series who undergoes a menacing and horrific transformation as the season unfolds. There is also a welcome return from Justin Hartley’s Oliver Queen who now becomes a series regular after a successful stint in the sixth season and a brief cameo in the seventh. Queen’s character is also successful to the season’s story as his questionable methods bring him into conflict with Clark who is now trying to figure out what sort of hero he wants to become.
The Doomsday story is a well written one in itself and Doomsday is interpreted in a way which is both unique in style yet never undermines the characters standing in the mythology. Sam Witwer is more than capable playing the villain, he lacks perhaps the charisma and flair of Rosenbaum, but the horror given off by his transformations is more than projected out of the screen. The same cannot be said for Cassidy Freeman whose Tess Mercer is terribly aimless and lacking in focus, in terms of a series villain, Rosenbaums absence is felt though not quite fatal.


The season is very well executed in tone, humour and story. There are many episodes which take the series much further and there are some more characters from the D.C Universe in episodes such as ‘Instinct’, ‘Legion’ and ‘Hex’. ‘Bride’, ‘Eternal’ and ‘Beast’ are also exceptional drama episodes featuring Doomsday which keeps building up the season to a final climatic battle.


It is unfortunate therefore that what prevents the season from achieving pure greatness is a series of misjudged stories which threaten to undermine every bit of progress Smallville made this season. The brief reintroduction of an old character in ‘Power’ and ‘Requiem’ was a terrible mistake and unpopular with viewers, as was the apparent demise of another important character. Also while the season does a sensational job in building up the tension towards the final episode, the final episode of the season itself is very weak and sadly anti-climactic. This is a shame since many may feel cheated by a poor resolution but on the plus side, the drama remains top notch throughout and the themes explored this season are never forgotten and never betrayed, even in the finale. Smallville has enjoyed a fantastic return to form overall this season and many fans will be left feeling hopefull of the action and drama to come in the ninth season. Well worth buying though this eighth season.

Season nine is the single greatest season Smallville has ever produced. The show has fully reached its potential and has created a tense, exciting, beautifully shot, clever and romantic season. One with interesting villains; conflicting needs; searching for the right questions; searching for the truth; love and hate and the fine line between it all; finding yourself and finding others. All with the strong undercurrent of destiny. There are around two ‘not so well executed’ episodes that fall short of their goals, but even those are not awful. The four or so main arcs of the season are: the return of a weirdly attractive and charismatic Zod, the blossoming relationship between Lois and Clark, the development of the Blur and the Justice Society. This is a season of triangles. Many carefully subtle and symbolic in nature: triangles between friends, triangles between enemies, the triangle for two. There was a distinct sense of care to this season, unlike the others — it actually felt as if the writers paid close attention to the small things which made the writing feel more cohesive. It’s certainly the case, because something as small as a hand gesture in one episode became a very significant thing later on.

The season opens with ‘Saviour’, as Lois miraculously returns without memory of where she’s been. The only thing hinting at a darker side to this is random flashes and visions, confusing memories. Are they dreams? Visions of a not-so-distant future? This is one of the mysteries of the first half of the season. I love this show but they I’ve never been so engaged as I have when Lois had those first flashes. It was well done and it was gratifying to see Smallville put together a coherent story arc which flowed into other arcs as the previous ones drew to a close. First time ever that I’d been excited to see where the mainplot went!

Tom Welling is now an executive producer so having more creative control over his character is obvious this season — it has a very positive impact on Clark. Clark finds himself being tested. Learning to cope with juggling an overly-inquisitive Lois, an alter-ego as the Blur whilst swiftly returning to his desk at the bullpen. But ultimately, a key theme of this season is his struggle to maintain a balance between who he is and what he could become. This season firmly asks: who will he become? There was some fantastic development for Clark as a character and his relationship with Lois Lane is centre stage the entire time. The writing for them is careful, precise, intimate and is wonderfully nuanced thanks to the actors. It was well established last season that Lois is in love with Clark, and Clark spends this season rightly demonstrating that he loves her back. The Lois and Clark relationship is one of my favourite arcs in season nine. It was so satisfying to see their romantic relationship moved forward without a painfully slow draw-out. There’s a lot of beautiful scenes shared between them and the writers do a brilliant job of showing (yes ‘showing’, not telling) exactly why Lois is the one for Clark.

Zod (Callum Blue) is a fantastic and compelling villain. His dalliances with Tess Mercer are mesmerising to watch. Oliver Queen returns, having hit rock bottom and kept going since the previous finale. There’s a triangle early in the season between Clark, Lois and Oliver. It’s very subtle and one can only be picked up on in a few frames a lot of the time — not something I’ve come to expect from Smallville, whose usual idea of ‘subtle’ is huge honking anvils landing on you when trying to convey something. It peeters away as Oliver grows and changes out of this darker period in his life. Lois develops as a reporter and finds a purpose in life she didn’t dream of before; her character arc was excellent and benefitted from Erica Durance appearing in 18 episodes instead of the usual 13 (yay!). We see the return of many superheroes as well as meet some new ones. I loved this as it’s one of my favourite parts of the series. I liked seeing Bart and Black Canary back in particular. Star Girl was awesome! The superhero epic Absolute Justice (two episodes smooshed together as one) was a highlight of the season and will surely make comic book fans happy. The finale, ‘Salvation’ was a fast paced good quality closing chapter. It set up the next season and moved the story forward at the same time as closing it. The finale fight scene also did not disappoint! For once! Salvation was very much a juggernaught of emotion which wasn’t cheap and empty like Doomsday, but had the weight of a great season of storytelling behind it. It really made all the difference.

This season is well structured with a fascinating story arc which sees time travel as a central concept. In many ways this plotline held far more tension and anticipation than the whole of the Doomsday arc did. I enjoyed feeling fascinated by Zod, insanely wanting answers as to what had happened to Lois when she disappeared, and could barely contain myself when all was revealed in the episode ‘Pandora’. Truly one of the best episodes of the series.

Smallville Season 10 is the culmination of a 10 year journey which set out to follow the life of a young Clark Kent as he accepts his destiny and becomes Superman. So did Smallville go out with a bang or a whimper?

I for one love the final season of Smallville….whenever you are trying to finish off a story it can be difficult especially with a character as iconic as Superman and with the weight of 10 years of expectation but amazingly it manages to produce an end that is befitting of a superman. This season really is all about how Clark Kent finally becomes Superman and almost every episodes deals with this acceptance of destiny. The season kicks of where season 9 ended with Clark Kent falling to his apparent death….this episode kicks off the season on the right note, with nods to the past seasons as well as hints for what the future holds. This season has so many memobrable episodes such as Homecoming, the 200th episode that is one of the best episodes have ever produced, other highlights include: Supergirl, Harvest, Abandoned, Luther, Icarus, Fortune (one of the funniset Smallville episodes ever!), Kent and Booster. You can see just by the number of episodes listed just how good the final season was.


However, what could make of break this season was the two part Finale in which we fianlly see Clark Kent embrace his destiny. I believe that this episode is one of the best finales ever produced, it is important to remember that Smallville is more about Clark Kent then Superman and as such this character takes the focus for the majority of the episode and it benifits for it. These episodes also include the return of Lex Luthor and I think that the scenes between him and Clark are perfect. Also, when Clark finally puts on the suit we get to see more Superman action then I’m sure anyone was expected. And the final scene is a perfect way to finsih the story.


Tom Welling has played Clark Kent for 10 years and every season we have seen him grow as and actor and a director and I think that he has managed to bring new life into this character and took him in a truely unique direction. Although, this show wouldn’t be what it is/was if it wasn’t for the rest of the supporting cast especially Erica Durance who in my mind is the best Lois Lane that the screen has seen and thanks to her acting she has become just as much of the Smallville story as Clark Kent himself.Thank you Smallville for 10 great years and for breathing new life into a an inconic character…you will be missed!

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS CHRISTMAS EPISODES – PART 2

CAST
Dan Castellaneta (Fantastic Four)
Julia Kavner (Dr. Dolittle)
Nancy Cartwright (All Grown Up!)
Yeardley Smith (As Good As It gets)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Pamela Hayden (Hey Arnold!)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
6 – SKINNER’S SENSE OF SNOW
While the Simpsons attend a French Canadian circus called “Cirque de Purée”, a wild blizzard hits Springfield, turning it into a snowsquall overnight. However, Springfield Elementary School stays open regardless of the storm, even though every other local school closes. Only some students, including the classmates of Bart and Lisa, show up while Skinner and Willie are the only faculty members at the school that day. To pass the time, Skinner plays his professed favourite film, a very low-budget, long-running, 1938 holiday movie called “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, But Then Was”. When the kids try to leave school, however, snow has piled up, trapping the kids inside with Skinner and Groundskeeper Willie, much to their horror.
Skinner tries to keep the children under control, forcing them to stay together in the cafeteria and eat apples, relish and (only if they behave well enough) mayonnaise and will not let them go home until the snow melts. After Nelson tries to escape, Skinner unearths his U.S. Army memorabilia and is reminded of the days when he commanded respect from his troops. Skinner tries to command respect from the students, and briefly succeeds after threatening to hang them in their clothes on hooks on the wall if they rebel. Bart tries to tunnel his way out, but Skinner stops him, and after Willie refuses to destroy the tunnel, Skinner tries to, but is stuck in the resulting cave-in. The students rebel and eventually tie Skinner up in a dodge ball bag. They then set about ‘going nuts’ such as racing trolleys in the school hallway, even burning numerous books in the school’s library.
Meanwhile, Homer, with the help of Ned Flanders, sets out to rescue the children but crashes Flanders’ car into a fire hydrant, which sprays water that freezes the car in place. Homer’s repeated gunning of the accelerator causes carbon monoxide to flood the front of the car. Flanders and Homer get high from the fumes and wildly hallucinate. While the trapped children go wild with power, Skinner uses the school hamster, named Nibbles, to get a message to the outside world. Nibbles makes it to Ned and Homer, breaking the window and reviving them: they crash into a salt silo, melting the snow around the school and badly rusting the car but freeing the kids in the process.
Superintendent Chalmers appears and is ready to blame Skinner for the school’s current poor state when Bart takes the place, amending things with Skinner. As he and Lisa leave with Homer and Ned, Homer starts hallucinating again making him see Lisa as a camel and Bart as a dancing girl. Homer tries to kiss Bart, who tries his best to escape, causing the car to lose control and crash, and camel Lisa, then says “Merry Christmas from the Simpsons”!


7 – SHE OF LITTLE FAITH

GUEST CAST
Richard Gere (Pretty Woman)
While watching a 1950s science fiction movie, Bart and Lisa see a commercial for a model rocket kit and Bart orders it by using Homer’s credit card number. Homer helps Bart and Milhouse build it, but it blows up before launching. Jealous that Ned Flanders built a superior rocket, Homer enlists the help of his former nerdy college roommates, Gary, Doug, and Benjamin, to build a rocket piloted by the hamster Nibbles. The rocket lifts off successfully, but it develops complications and Nibbles bails out. However, Homer makes an attempt to shoot down the rocket with a 12 gauge shotgun, but the rocket crashes into the church. The church council meets up to decide how to come up with money to fund the repairs to the church, and with no other aid available they accept help from Mr. Burns and Lindsay Naegle. The two rebuild the church as a commercial monstrosity, complete with advertising signs, a Lard Lad statue, and a Jumbotron. Lisa is appalled at this and abandons the church, feeling her religion has lost its soul.
That night, Lisa prays to God and assures him she has not turned her back on him, but plans to seek a new path to him. While on a walk around town passing many sacrilegious signs, she finds Springfield’s Buddhist temple. Inside she sees Lenny and Carl meditating, and Hollywood actor Richard Gere teaches the core concepts of Buddhism to her. An intrigued Lisa takes a pamphlet on Buddhism and studies it at home. It convinces her of the virtues of the faith, and Lisa announces out her window she has become, and forever will be, a Buddhist. Lisa plants her own bodhi tree in the back yard and begins to meditate, but Marge grows increasingly worried about Lisa’s soul and tries to convince her to come back to Christianity.
At the church council, Reverend Lovejoy tells Marge to use Christmas to bribe her back. Marge bakes cookies, decorates the home, and has Ralph and Milhouse dress as a pony in wrapping paper to tempt her, but Lisa runs from the home when she realizes what is happening. At the Buddhist temple she tells Richard Gere her family tried to trick her, but Gere informs her that while Buddhism is about one finding inner peace, it is also about respecting the diversity of other religions based on love and compassion – thus, Lisa is free to celebrate any holiday with her family including Christmas. Lisa goes back home, falling asleep beside the Christmas tree and tells everyone that she will be celebrating Christmas with them and continue paying lip service to Christianity while practicing Buddhism for the rest of her life. As Marge takes her to the kitchen to get some cookies for her, Lisa asks about her pony, and Marge tries unsuccessfully to change the subject as Lisa calls out for her gift.

8 – DUDE, WHERES MY RANCH ?
GUEST CAST
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Smallville)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
David Byrne
It is Christmas time, and the Simpsons go caroling around Springfield. They sing to Snake (who is busy robbing the family he has gagged and tied up), Krusty and his dad, and Mr. Burns and Smithers. The Simpsons continue until they reach the Blue-Haired Lawyer’s house. He tells the family that they cannot sing Christmas carols, unless they pay a royalty. In response, Homer makes the lyrics for his own carol. Later, Ned Flanders comes in and tries to help Homer, until Homer kicks him out, but even then Flanders annoys him. Homer finds new inspiration in an anti-Flanders song, “Everybody Hates Ned Flanders”. He plays the song at Moe’s, and when David Byrne comes in, he likes the song so much, that he wants to produce and record the song. “Everybody Hates Ned Flanders” becomes so popular (even with Ned and his sons themselves) that even William Shatner does a cover of it. This leads to mass publicity, which annoys the Simpsons, who want to avoid it. They find a brochure for a dude ranch, the Lazy I Ranch, and go there.
The family arrives at the Lazy I Ranch, owned by the Rich Texan, who tells Lisa that the ranch was built on cruelty to animals and oppression of indigenous people, which annoys her. It makes her want to leave, until she meets a cowhand, named Luke Stetson, who stops her stepping on a rattlesnake egg, and shares her views on the ranch. The family meet a man called Cookie who shows them around and sets out some dinner. Homer and Bart also have their own adventure when they meet a tribe of Native Americans who want a dam removed so they can reclaim their land. Homer agrees to do so if they build a Casino on their land, which is accepted. They are confronted by beavers when trying to kick it apart and they start making Homer part of the dam, but Bart manages to tie a rope to Homer and drags him away on his horse, but the rope breaks and the beavers continue to bite Homer. They eventually destroy the dam after luring the beavers away with old wood and removing the master log, and give the land back to the Native Americans who include them in their tribe by giving them cups to drink from which contains bear urine (and then say it actually contains Fresca, at which point Homer and Bart spit it out). Meanwhile, Lisa thinks that Luke is off-limits, because she overhears him on the phone promising a last dance to a girl named Clara and telling her that he loves her; causing Lisa to think Clara is Luke’s girlfriend and she goes to her bed crying and jealous.
When Lisa encounters her, she deviously tricks her into going the wrong way. At the dance, Lisa finds out that Clara is Luke’s sister and runs to the beaver dam with Bart. They find Clara standing on a rock in the middle of a torrential river; she cries out to Lisa and Bart for help, explaining that she cannot swim. Bart taunts some beavers and runs up a tree; the beavers chew through the tree, causing it to fall and making a bridge that drowning Clara can go across. However, when Lisa comes clean about what happened to Clara, Luke is offended and they separate. As the Simpsons return to Springfield, they hear a self-deprecating cover version of the Andrea True Connection song “More, More, More”, (entitled “Moe, Moe, Moe”), on the radio, sung by Moe and produced by David Byrne (who Moe kidnaps earlier in the episode), and turn around to spend another week at the ranch.
9 – ‘TIS THE FIFTEENTH SEASON
For Christmas, Carl gives Homer a DVD player and the first season of Magnum, P.I. with commentary by John Hillerman. However, Homer forgets he is Lenny’s secret Santa and gives him a pack of Certs out of desperation. Instead of giving bonuses, Mr. Burns gives everyone a cafeteria voucher and Homer a Joe DiMaggio rookie baseball card for Bart. To get money for Christmas shopping, Homer gives the card to Comic Book Guy, who gives Homer everything in his cash register. With their small fortune, the Simpsons go shopping at the Springfield Heights Promenade. Homer promises to buy a massive Christmas tree that will cause mudslides and flooding when it is removed, but he instead spends the tree money on a Personalized Talking Astrolabe for himself.
Homer gets shunned by his family when they find out, and becomes even more depressed when he finds out that the Astrolabe cannot be exchanged, thus meaning that Homer cannot undo his mistake. While staying up late at night, Homer watches Mr. McGrew’s Christmas Carol. There, he realizes just how selfish he is. Homer decides to reform his ways and become the nicest guy in town. Homer’s acts include giving hobos his old clothes, giving Lenny a photo cube, giving Marge the last pork chop (causing her to break down in tears of joy) and building a skating rink in the Simpsons’ backyard (to the delight of Comic Book Guy). After Gil Gunderson’s comment of “Homer, you’re the nicest man in town!”, and Nelson Muntz’s comment of “Haha! Your position has been usurped!”, the actions cause jealousy to stir in Ned Flanders.
Flanders finds himself barely able to control his anger. He decides to buy everyone in town a Christmas present (and gets the money by renting out his house to a fraternity). Homer begins to think of beating Flanders by buying everyone a car. However, Lisa tells him not to and that, as a Buddhist, she believes people would be happier without presents. Homer gets the idea to do the ultimate good deed: steal Christmas. In the morning, an angry mob confronts Homer. The mob calms down when they see a star which they think is a sign from God; it is actually a flare from Hans Moleman. Homer gives everyone back their presents and the entire town sings Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. During the carol, however, Snake steals Homer’s Astrolabe.


10 – SIMPSON CHRISTMAS STORIES

.1 The First Do’h-El
When Reverend Lovejoy can not attend the Christmas sermon due to a horrible train wreck (on his train set), Flanders immediately takes over. However, he gets a paper cut and faints. Homer decides to lead the sermon and tells the story of the first Christmas, with Marge as Mary, Homer as Joseph, Lisa as the angel Gabriel, Mr. Burns as King Herod, and Bart as Baby Jesus.
Mary tells Joseph that she is pregnant, even though she is a virgin. The angel Gabriel appears to them and explains that Mary is going to give birth to the Son of God. The three wise men (Dr. Hibbert, Principal Skinner, and Professor Frink) tell King Herod that they are going to give gold, frankincense, and myrrh (which Professor Frink is re-gifting) to the King of the Jews. When Herod thinks that the gifts are for him, the men explain to him that they are for the infant. Herod becomes angry and claims that he will kill the baby.
At the Bethlehem Inn, the innkeeper (Moe) tells Mary and Joseph that he has plenty of rooms available with brand new carpeting. However, when Mary’s water breaks, he forces them to stay in the barn. Mary successfully gives birth to the baby, and the three wise men, along with the two shepherds (Lenny and Carl) come to see Jesus. Joseph is upset because he is not Jesus’s father, and when he drinks some wine, the baby turns it into water.
When the infant keeps crying, Mary gives him to Joseph. He entertains him by hurting himself and one of the wise men (Skinner). When Baby Jesus finally falls asleep, Herod and his troops find the manger that they are staying in. They escape and trick the soldiers by putting Jesus’ halo on a duck. On top of the hill, Joseph cuts down a pine tree, and as it rolls down, the soldiers get caught in it. The soldiers, along with Herod, are arranged like ornaments on the tree, and the duck, still wearing the halo, stands on top of the tree. Mary calls it a Christmas tree, and Homer concludes his service by ending his story with “And did you know that that little baby Jesus grew up to be….Jesus?”.
.2 I Saw Grampa Cussing Santa Claus
When Bart and Lisa find Grampa trying to stick a bear trap on top of the chimney, Grampa tells them that he is trying to get his revenge on Santa Claus. Bart asks why, and to their dismay, Grampa tells them one of his many stories. Back in World War II, Grampa and his brother Cyrus (not mentioned before or since this episode aired) were fighting off Japanese planes when Cyrus got shot down. Shortly after, Grampa, who was accompanied by Mr. Burns, have their plane’s wings shot off and are stranded on an island. After a few months, they see a plane in the sky, and Mr. Burns shoots it down. However, when they go over to investigate, they see that it is actually Santa Claus. They build him a new sleigh and gather up all the presents. When Santa is about to leave, Mr. Burns knocks him unconscious with a coconut and flies away in the sleigh and claims that he is going to keep all the presents.
Grampa catches up to him on Prancer, who has been left behind because Santa could not find him, and jumps on board the sleigh. After he beats Mr. Burns with a tricycle, he gives the sleigh back to Santa. As Santa leaves, he tells Grampa that he will be back in a few days. However, he never comes back, and Grampa has to get off using a jet ski he made out of coconuts. Bart and Lisa believe that it is just another one of Grampa’s far-fetched tales, but when they hear a thump in the den, they find that Santa is there. He tells them that Cyrus did not die, but instead crashed into Tahiti. Santa takes Grampa there, and they meet up with Cyrus and his fifteen wives. Santa explains to Grampa that he did not come back for him on the island due to his procrastination and eventually feeling embarrassed about it. When Abe comments on Cyrus’s fifteen wives and the sex he must have, Cyrus points out that they are wives, not girlfriends.
The Nutcracker…Sweet
After the children of Springfield Elementary perform The Nutcracker, everyone begins to go about their business singing to the tune of the songs from the play. This is done after mentioning that these songs are in the public domain and thus can be (and are) played constantly for free. After the opening number (sung to the tune of “Marche”), Moe continues his holiday tradition (done to the tune of “Dance of the Flutes”) and attempts suicide thrice, first by hanging himself with popcorn string which breaks under his weight, next by riding a sleigh into open traffic only to have all the cars swerve and miss him, and then by shooting himself in the head with a revolver that sends a “Merry Christmas” flag out through his other ear. In a fourth attempt, Moe asks Barney to kill him instead of buying him a present, but Barney has already gotten him a wool hat and Moe gives up on the idea for now.
That evening, Marge tells Homer that he will like the present that she got him. Having forgotten to buy her anything and not wanting to upset her, Homer tells her that his present for her is outside; he then frantically rushes out to find a gift (sung to the tune of “Trepak”). Every store is closed, and all Apu has at the Kwik-E-Mart is some jerky made out of trout. Homer searches in garbage cans, gutters, trees, and he even chases down Milhouse, but he cannot find anything.
When he gets home, Marge gives Homer his present (done to “Pas De Deux”). He opens it and sees that it is another present with a tag that reads, “To Marge, From Homer.” Marge tells him that she knew that he would forget to give her a present, so she gave him one to give to her. He gives it to her and she unwraps it, and Homer sees that it is a picture of him dressed up as Santa with Marge on his lap. They hug and kiss, and Moe attempts suicide a fifth time by riding a sleigh toward a fully loaded tractor-trailer, without success (“Eighteen wheels and they all missed me!”).
 The next five episodes show a welcome return to Christmas, the best of the bunch would be Tis the Fifteenth season and has remained a favorite of mine over 10 years later. all the Christmas episodes are great to get out this time of year and just relax for some good decent laughs.

REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 1-3

Image result for veronica mars tv logo

MAIN CAST

Kristen Bell (Frozen)
Teddy Dunn (Jumper)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Percy Daggs III (Izombie)
Francis Capra (Heroes)
Enrico Colantoni (Powers)
Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Death Proof)
Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Kyle Gallner (Smallville)
Tina Majorino (Bones)
Julie Gonzalo (Dodgeball)
Chris Lowell (The Help)
Michael Muhney (Columbus Day)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Corinne Bohrer (Police Academy 4)
Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer’s Body)
Lisa Thornhill (The Family Man)
Kyle Secor (The Purge 3)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Brandon Hilock (Villains)
Patrick Wolff (Power Rangers Lost Galaxy)
Bradley Joseph (A Cinderella Story)
Duane Daniels (First Strike)
Paris Hilton (Bottoms Up)
Aaron Ashmore (Smallville)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Paul Marshall (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Alison MacInnis (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Kyla Pratt (Dr. Dolittle)
Adam Wylie (Under Wraps)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Lisa Rinna (Melrose Place)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Jessica Chastain (Interstellar)
Steven Williams (The Blues Brothers)
Adam Kaufman (Buffy)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Erica Gimpel(Roswell)
Christian Clemenson (Lois & CCLark)
Jonathan Bennett (Van Wilder: Freshman Year)
Chris William Martin (The Vampire Diaries)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (Arrow)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Man)
Christopher B. Duncan (Three Kings)
Anthoyn Anderson (Transformers)
Jowharah Jones (The Client List)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Cynthia LaMontagne (That 70s Show)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Fast and The Furious 3)
Erin Chambers (Happy Feet)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Smallville)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Kevin Sheridan (The Closer)
Jeffrey D. Sams (Soul Food)
Charisma Carpenter (Buffy)
Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy)
Kevin Smith (Clerks)
David Starzyk (Bones)
Ari Graynor (For A Good Time, Call..)
Kristin Dattilo (Dexter)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Rick Peters (The Craving HearT)
Tracey Walter (Batman)
Joss whedon (Angel)
Rodney Rowland (The 6th Day)
Taylor Sheridan (Sicario)
Jason Molina (Alpha Dog)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
B.J. Britt (Agents of SHIELD)
Curtis Andersen (Sabrina: TTW)
Jessy Schram (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Michael Cera (Juno)
Kayla Ewell (The Vampire Diaries)
Patrick Fabian (The Last Exorcism)
Jason Beghe (G.I. Jane)
Samm Levine (Not Another Teen Movie)
Rider Strong (Cabin Fever)
Chastity Dotson (Single Ladies)
Lucy Lawless (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Cruel Intentions 2)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight)
Ryan Devlin (Weather Girl)
Armie Hammer (The Social Network)
Lindsey McKeon (One Tree Hill)
Ed Begley Jr. (Batman Forever)
Parry Shen (The New Guy)
Blake Shields (Heroes)
Ryan Pinkston (Bad Santa)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Krista Kalmus (North Shore)
Adam Rose (Up In The Air)
Amanda Walsh (Disturbia)
Charlie Weber (Buffy)
Sandra McCoy (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Michael Grant Terry (Bones)
David Tom (Pleasantville)
Charles Shaughnessy (Stargate SG.1)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Robert Ri’chard (The Vampire Diaries)
Jesse James (Jumper)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Suzanne Cryer (Two Guys and a GIrl)
Ed Gathegi (X-Men: First Class)
Travis Van Winkle (Meet The Spartans)

Veronica Mars is set in Neptune, California, a town without a middle-class. Everyone’s either a millionaire or works for one, and the man largely responsible for Neptune’s unparalleled success is Jake Kane (Kyle Secor), the resident billionaire software mogul. Kane and his family are still reeling from the murder of his daughter Lilly (Amanda Seyfried) some months earlier, and as if that loss wasn’t enough, the beloved Kane family was doggedly pursued by a county sheriff convinced that they were hiding something. Public sentiment turned against Sheriff Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), who was ousted from office and abandoned by his wife.

Cue the title character. His daughter Veronica (Kristen Bell) had already lost her best friend with Lilly’s death, but standing by her father also cost Veronica her friends, her social status, her house…even her mother. Veronica had already been unceremoniously dumped by Lilly’s brother Duncan (Teddy Dunn) shortly before her friend’s murder, and a defiant visit to face her former friends at a party weeks later led to Veronica being drugged and raped. Despite having lost so much, Veronica is resilient enough to move on with her life, and as her father struggles to stay afloat as a private eye, Veronica puts her smarts and determination to work to help ease the caseload at Mars Investigations. She also puts her talents to use to help her classmates with their troubles — for a price, of course. To cap it all off, Veronica’s faced with a couple of her own mysteries to solve. What convinced Lianne Mars to abandon her family, and where is she now? Who was it who drugged and raped Veronica last December? Also, is her father right — did someone other than disgruntled Kane Software employee Abel Koontz murder Lilly? If there is, who orchestrated the conspiracy that led to Koontz’ confession and why?

The dialogue in Veronica Mars has the same sparkle as Joss Whedon’s work…arguably better, even, since Buffy sometimes sounded like a deliberate attempt to be hip, whereas Veronica Mars manages to be witty and clever without feeling quite so forced. The writing doesn’t skew as young as one might expect from a TV show set in a high school. If anything, the target audience seems to be twentysomething — I don’t know how many fifteen year olds would be able to appreciate references to Archie comics or 21 Jump Street, f’r instance. Characterization is another strength of the series, and part of the reason Veronica Mars works as well as it does is that the audience truly does care about the characters. Despite having a seemingly endless array of talents, Veronica isn’t some sort of idyllic Mary Sue. She’s not always right. Her investigations frequently take morally questionable turns. Things don’t always go the way she wants. Not every episode has a happy ending.Image result for veronica mars return of kaneAlong with the cases that are solved in the space of forty minutes and change every week, a couple of mysteries are introduced in the pilot that are gradually explored throughout the entire length of the season. That’s right — unlike the hydra that is Lost, where answering one question spawns ten more, all of Veronica Mars’ mysteries are resolved by the time the season finale rolls around. (The finale tosses out a couple questions of its own, but if a second season hadn’t gotten the green light, it still would’ve been a fitting end to the series.)

Veronica Mars has a capable cast to match the quality of the writing. Veronica is strong and cynical…bright and sarcastic…and even though all of the trauma she’s suffered over the past year has aged her somewhat, she’s still an emotionally vulnerable teenage girl. That’s a lot to juggle, but Kristen Bell is talented enough to make such a colossal task seem effortless and captivating enough to carry a show on her shoulders. Of course, Bell is joined by a strong enough supporting cast that she doesn’t have to shoulder it all herself.

After cutting down Wallace (Percy Daggs III), the new kid at school, who’d been stripped naked and duct taped to a flagpole, he and Veronica become best friends. In teen-TV land, it’s an immutable rule that people of different genders can’t just be pals…there’s this endless temptation to couple everyone. Veronica Mars manages to resist, resulting in one of the few platonic friendships like this left on television.Enrico Colantoni, who plays Veronica’s father, is another fan favorite, able to shift from warm, loving, and borderline-goofy to secretive and deadly serious when the situation calls for it. There’s also Eli “Weevil” Navarro (Francis Capra), the leader of a local biker gang from the wrong side of the tracks who engages in some mutual backscratching with Veronica.

The character who stands out the most — aside from Veronica, of course — is Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring). Like Kristen Bell, Dohring is endlessly engaging. He’s introduced as an “obligatory psychotic jackass”, but as the season progresses, Logan’s humanized without being watered-down; even when he’s doing something as thoroughly loathesome as bribing a homeless vet to join in on his homebrew Bumfights video, there’s an undercurrent of understanding why Logan is the way he is. The character changes throughout the season, but the shift feels deserved and natural, not just because that’s what’s scrawled on the whiteboard in the writing room.Other guest stars throughout the season include Napoleon Dynamite’s Tina Majorino as computer whiz Mac, Aaron Ashmore as a love interest with a shady past, Logan’s movie star family (played by Harry Hamlin, Lisa Rinna, and Alyson Hannigan), Anthony Anderson, Zachary Ty Brian, Joey Lauren Adams, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and, in a shameless bit of stuntcasting, Paris Hilton. The fact that the second episode of Veronica Mars manages to be really good despite a Paris Hilton guest spot really is a testament to how good a series this is. Oh, and, in true Laura Palmer fashion, just because Lilly Kane is dead doesn’t mean that Amanda Seyfried can’t rear her head in nearly every other episode.The conclusion to most of the mysteries caught me by surprise. Throughout the entire season, the only time I correctly guessed the culprit was in “Lord of the Bling”, and even then, the motivation and execution were well out of my reach. The many twists the stories take are clever, and watching these episodes a second time, I could spot all sorts of clues and hints that didn’t seem that important the first time through.  Veronica Mars is a series that’s easy to dive into as a marathon, but for viewers catching these episodes for the first time, I’d recommend drawing it out a bit.

The central arcs of Veronica Mars’ first season were all intensely personal: Veronica being abandoned by her mother, not to mention every one of her former friends, roofie-fueled date rape at a party a year earlier, and the brutal murder of her closest friend, Lilly Kane. How do you follow up a season like that? t’d be nearly impossible to craft another set of stories that’d resonate in quite that same way without retreading familiar ground, so season two of Veronica Mars takes a different approach, shifting the focus away from our plucky junior detective and more towards the sticky underbelly of Neptune, California as a whole.Mayoral candidate Woody Goodman (Steve Guttenberg) has a vision for the glorified country club that is Neptune. Incorporating Neptune would have a Tide with Bleach effect, making the whites whiter and the rich richer as property values are boosted and less desirable elements are rezoned onto someone else’s doorstep. Woody’s plan is announced as the tensions between the haves and have-nots are already boiling over in Neptune.Logan Echols, the cocky son of an aging Hollywood action hero, has walked away unscathed from accusations of stabbing a Hispanic biker to death, prompting a series of vicious attacks from both sides. The stark differences between the classes are also apparent after a school-sponsored trip; the rich kids hop in a limo and ride back in style, and the not-so-privileged cram into a rank schoolbus and careen off the side of a cliff. The town is torn apart by the tragedy, and Veronica, who’d barely missed the bus and was very nearly among the dead, is determined to find out if the crash was a terrible accident, suicide, or something much more ominous.Image result for veronica mars driver edIt’s a hectic season, with a bus crash, two murder trials, class-slash-racial tensions throughout Neptune, a sheriff race, the possibility of Neptune incorporating, the ambiguity about Wallace’s family life, a coma-baby, Beaver following in his shamed father’s footsteps as he tries to get his own real estate endeavour off the ground, the strife former baseball star Terrence Cook and his overbearing daughter Jackie (Tessa Thompson) bring to Neptune, the newly-introduced clan of Irish drug-peddlers known as the Fitzpatricks, and the machinations of Dick and Beaver’s scheming stepmother Kendall (Charisma Carpenter). There’s enough to follow The season plays a lot better on DVD; it’s easier to keep the scores of characters and plot points fresh in the mind over the course of a few days as opposed to the better part of a year.In its third — and ultimately final — season, Veronica Mars steps away from any season-length stories. Slightly truncated to twenty episodes, season three is neatly grouped into three distinct chunks of episodes. The season opens with Veronica settling into her freshman year at Hearst College, but the campus continues to be plagued by a spree of sexual assaults. Mac’s bubbly roommate Parker (Julie Gonzalo) is the latest victim to be roofied and raped, with the attacker leaving his calling card by shaving her head. Having suffered through the past couple of years as a rape victim herself and unwittingly in a position to have caught Parker’s rapist during the attack, Veronica’s grim determination to put an end to this reign of terror makes up the first and the lengthiest of the season’s arcs.The season’s second arc picks up a couple of months after the grisly final shot of “Spit and Eggs” as the police have shrugged off the death of someone close to Veronica as a suicide. A devastating emotional blow delivered just hours earlier, a gunshot to the temple, a vague suicide note typed on a PC…it’s tragic, yes, but the pieces fit neatly together just the same. Still, it’s a scenario lifted directly from a paper Veronica penned for her criminology class on how to commit the perfect murder. Throughout the course of their investigation, Veronica and her father become entangled in a pair of other murders, among them the death of one of Veronica Mars’ most enduring characters.Facing cancellation and attempting to make the largely serialized series more accessible to new viewers, Veronica Mars draws to a close with a set of five standalone episodes. There aren’t any overarching investigations, although some threads leak from one episode to the next, including a sheriff’s race between Keith Mars and an unlikely contender.

The season premiere introduces two other Hearst students who’d go on to stick around for the rest of the year: Wallace’s roommate Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell) and Mac’s roomieuntitledThe hunt for Hearst’s rapist, which runs for the nine of the season’s twenty episodes, is the highest point of the set. It’s the most engaging of the season’s various arcs, which is impressive considering that these episodes have to juggle the weekly mysteries, the overarching search for the rapist, and introduce the new characters and Hearst College as a whole. There seems to be some connection between the rapes and the Greek system at Hearst, pitting Veronica against a group of feminists determined to bring the frats down, forcing her to defend the same lecherous halfwits she thought were tied to the rapes last season, and clawing her way into the Zeta Theta Beta house. This first half of the season also gives the supporting cast a reasonable amount of screentime, including Wallace and Logan on opposite ends of an Abu Ghraib-inspired prison experiment, Logan stumbling onto a life-changing discovery when trying to find out why his trust fund is dwindling so quickly, and Keith making the same sorts of excuses with a married client as the skeevy men whose infidelities pay his rent. The arc comes to a close with “Spit and Eggs”, which, in true Veronica Mars form, plays like more of a thriller than a mystery, and it’s by far the most intense episode of the season. Veronica Mars was an excellent a show spread across 3 seasons and become a great cult show, and with the arrival of the movie saw resurgence in its popularity.