REVIEW: TAKEN (2002)

CAST

Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Eric Close (American Snuper)
Catherine Dent (Terminator: TSCC)
Joel Gretsch (V)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Tine Holmes (Half Nelson)
Steve Burton (Cyber Tracker)
Julie Benz (Angel)
Stacy Grant (Shanghai Noon)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Bones)
Michael Moriarty (Courage Under Fire)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Julie Ann Emery (Fargo)
Adam Kaufman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
James McDaniel (Sleepy Hollow)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Ryan Hurst (Bates Motel)
James Kirk (X-Men 2)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins)
Brenda James (Slither)
Chad Morgan (The Purge: Anarchy)
Jonathan Young (Sanctuary)
Ryan Merriman (Final Destination 3)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Emily Holmes (The Wicker Man)
Erin Karpluk (Being Erica)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Desmond Harrington (Ghost Ship)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Emily Bergl (Carrie 2)
Britt Irvin (V)
Camille Sullivan (The Birdwatcher)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
Elle Fanning (Super 8)
Gabrielle Rose (Dark Angel)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Linda Ko (Antitrust)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Justin Chatwin (Taking Lives)
Gwynyth Walsh (Van Helsing)
Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project)

From none other than visionary Steven Spielberg comes TAKEN (2002), which I first saw during it’s initial run on the BBC. I admire the scope, ambition, and emotion attached to this entertaining mini series.It starts off in 1944, with Russell Keys, along with his bomber crew, being ‘taken’ by an alien spacecraft during their WWII mission. The crew is experimented on, but Keys is essentially the lone survivor. Keys returns home with PTSD, not due to war, but due to the alien experience. This compels him to leave his wife and child to solve the mystery. Eventually, the aliens take Russell’s teen son Jesse Keys. The aliens obviously see an internal resolve in the Keys’ men that distinguishes them from the rest of the human race.
A second parallel story starts around 1947, and involves the lone survivor of a downed alien spacecraft that manages to take human form as “John” , who seeks refuge on a Texas farm owned by Sally Clarke, a hard-working waitress and single mother of two. John and Sally bond and she is impregnated, leading to a human-alien hybrid Jacob Clarke (superbly played by then-newcomer Anton Yelchin, now known for being the new Chekhov in the re-booted Star Trek franchise).The final parallel story also starts in 1947 in the infamous Roswell, New Mexico, where the local Air Force has found John’s downed ship and his 4 alien compadres who did not survive. Backed by the government, the military takes over the super-secret project, which starts off being briefly led by Colonel Campbell and is soon taken over by his ambitious son-in-law Captain Owen Crawford (brilliantly played by Joel Gretsch), military intelligence officer. Gretsch perfectly essays the role of megalomaniacal Crawford, who runs the project with unapologetic brio. I really felt that Gretsch’s character carried the first few episodes (spanning 1947 to 1962) with strong support from the other actors.
Taken’s first half  storytelling is strong, a perfect balance of science fiction, politics, speculation, and drama. One really buys into the premise that these goings-on could have actually happened. It’s definitely not fiction that many an American have reported UFO sightings and alien experiences over the years, and this miniseries is one of the better attempts at relaying this message to the viewer.
With the second half of the mini series the puzzle pieces finally start to come together to an interesting conclusion. Emily Burgl (as Lisa Clarke) and Andy Kaufman (as Charlie Keys) were commendable as the adult versions of the last respective offspring of the Clarke-Keys clans, the main highlight of the second half was  was the performance of newcomer Dakota Fanning (who plays Allie) whose wonderful narration is a key to the series overall success. She stole the show from all of her adult counterparts. I would definitely recommend the miniseries based on ambition and overall scope and the tightly woven storytellingthe show demonstrates. It’s an epic Sci-Fi story that is intriguing and at times touching. It wasthe series that made Dakota Fanning a star.

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REVIEW: A GUY THING

CAST

Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Julia Stiles (The Omen)
Selma Blair (Hellboy)
James Brolin (Traffic)
Shawn Hatosy (The Faculty)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)
Diana Scarwid (Wonderfalls)
David Koecher (Anchorman)
Julie Hagerty (Just Friends)
Thomas lennon (17 Again)
Jackie Burroughs (Hemoglobin)
Jay Breazeau (Bates Motel)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Jonathan Young (Sanctuary)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Noel Fisher (teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You)

Karen (Blair) and Paul (Lee) are about to get married. During his bachelor party, Paul has a chat with one of the dancers at the party, Becky (Stiles) and they find that they have an affinity for each other. Paul wakes up the next morning and is terrified to see Becky in the bed next to him. Assuming they slept together, Paul rushes Becky out of his apartment and hopes never to see her again. He tries to cover up the connection for the few days before the wedding.Unfortunately, Becky unexpectedly shows up around town and turns out to be Karen’s cousin. Even worse, Becky’s ex-boyfriend cop Ray had Becky followed and photographed. Becky and Paul meet again to steal those pictures from Ray’s apartment. Further problems arise with family and friends consistently showing up at the wrong times. Crabs, dirty underwear in the toilet tank, a horny best friend, and a best man/brother who is in love with the bride all provide for a week of wedding preparation hijinks.Through the snowballing of all his implausible lies and half truths, he receives corroboration and support from an unexpected corner: what seems to be a coordinated network of other men, including friends, complete strangers and to Paul’s astonishment, Karen’s own father; all who give the same explanation: “It’s a guy thing”.The movie contains the right mix of comedy and romance. Definitely worth a watch.

REVIEW: THE FOG (2005)

CAST

Tom Welling (Smallville)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Selma Blair (Hellboy)
DeRay Davis (Scary Movie 4)
Kenneth Welsh (Twin Peaks)
Rade Šerbedžija (X-Men: First Class)
Adrian Hough (Underworld: Evolution)
Jonathan Young (Sanctuary)

In 1871, William Blake arranges to purchase half of Antonio Island, off the coast of Oregon, to establish a leper colony for his afflicted people. However, island residents Patrick Malone, Norman Castle, Richard Wayne and David Williams double-cross Blake. During a foggy night, they loot his clipper ship the Elizabeth Dane and set it on fire, killing all aboard. 134 years later, the residents of Antonio Island prepare to honor their founding fathers—the same men who burned the Elizabeth Dane—and a statue of them is to be unveiled on the town’s anniversary.
During a boating trip, Nick Castle and his friend Spooner unwittingly disturb a bag containing a pocket-watch and a hairbrush from the Elizabeth Dane lying on the seabed. That night, Nick meets his former girlfriend, Elizabeth Williams, who has returned after six months away. Elizabeth is shown the antique pocket-watch by Machen, an old man who found it washed up on the beach. He warns her ominously “if you touch it, things will change.” The watch begins ticking as Elizabeth holds it. She sees a hallmark on it, which includes a set of scales. Supernatural occurrences then begin to plague the town. Objects move by themselves, power outages occur, and the windows in Nick’s truck inexplicably shatter. Nick and Elizabeth then encounter drunken priest Father Malone, who is ranting about murderers and retribution. Meanwhile, at the local radio station, host Stevie Wayne gets a phone call from weatherman Dan about a large fog bank off the coast. Out at sea on Nick’s boat, Spooner and Nick’s cousin Sean are partying with two young women, Mandi and Jennifer. As the fog reaches them, the boat’s engine stops and the instruments break. An old clipper ship appears in the fog next to them. Seemingly possessed, Jennifer draws a set of scales on a misted window inside the boat. Unseen forces then kill Mandi, Jennifer and Sean. At Nick’s beach house, Elizabeth has been dreaming about the Elizabeth Dane. She searches the Internet for information about the hallmark symbol she saw earlier, but her computer malfunctions and the word “Dane” appears on the screen. She hears a knock at the front door, goes outside but finds nothing. Walking down to the beach, the fog begins moving in but Nick brings her back inside.
The next day, Nick’s Uncle Hank telephones him about the disappearance of his boat. Nick and Elizabeth sail out and find the vessel and the three corpses. Elizabeth goes into the hold and finds Spooner alive in a freezer. They return to the island where Mayor Tom Malone—Father Malone’s father—suspects Spooner of the murders. In the morgue, Sean’s corpse briefly rises up and accosts Elizabeth. At the library, Elizabeth researches the scales symbol seen on the watch’s hallmark. It represented an old trading colony north of Antonio Island, which was afflicted with leprosy. At the docks, Elizabeth finds the buried journal of Patrick Malone from 1871. She and Nick learn the story of the Elizabeth Dane and realize the founders built the town with the fortune they had stolen from the ship, but kept this secret from their families and the townsfolk.
The ghosts of the Elizabeth Dane seek revenge against Antonio Island’s residents for the past crimes of its founding fathers. After killing Dan at the weather station, they pursue Stevie’s son Andy and his Aunt Connie at home. Connie is killed but Nick and Elizabeth rescue Andy. In her car, Stevie is also attacked but escapes. They all make their way to the Town Hall where the founders’ murderous secrets are exposed. The spirits kill Hank Castle, Kathy Williams and the Malones. The ghost of Blake then seeks Elizabeth. Despite being a descendant of David Williams, Elizabeth is the reincarnation of Blake’s wife and was one of her ancestor’s victims; hence, her mysterious dreams about the Elizabeth Dane. Blake kisses Elizabeth and she transforms into a spirit and disappears as Nick watches helplessly. The next day, the survivors try to cope with their traumatic experiences and the truth about their ancestors. As Stevie reflects on the night’s events with her listeners, Nick throws Patrick Malone’s journal into the sea.This version attempts to address the perceived flaws in the original and dives straight in with the undead playing a far more active role and explains the backstory much earlier and clearer. It’s also not afraid to throw in plenty of fiery deaths and has a lot more gore than the original, Not as good as the original but a decent Horror film.

REVIEW: ANTITRUST

CAST

Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions)
Rachael Leigh Cook (Texas Rangers)
Claire Forlani (Mallrats)
Tim Robbins (Mystic River)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
Yee Jee Tso (50/50)
Nate Dushku (Wolf Girl)
Ned Bellamy (Terminator: TSCC)
Tyler Labine (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Zahf Paroo (Andromeda)
Jonathan Young (Sanctuary)

Working with his three friends at their new software development company Skullbocks, Stanford graduate Milo Hoffman is contacted by CEO Gary Winston of NURV (Never Underestimate Radical Vision) for a very attractive programming position: a fat paycheck, an almost-unrestrained working environment, and extensive creative control over his work. Accepting Winston’s offer, Hoffman and his girlfriend, Alice Poulson, move to NURV headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Despite development of the flagship product (Synapse, a worldwide media distribution network) being well on schedule, Hoffman soon becomes suspicious of the excellent source code Winston personally provides to him, seemingly when needed most, while refusing to divulge the code’s origin.

After his best friend, Teddy Chin, is murdered, Hoffman discovers that NURV is stealing the code they need from programmers around the world—including Chin—and then killing them to cover their tracks. Hoffman learns that not only does NURV employ an extensive surveillance system to observe and steal code, the company has infiltrated the Justice Department and most of the mainstream media. Even his girlfriend is a plant, an ex-con hired by the company to manipulate him. While searching through a secret NURV database containing surveillance dossiers on employees, he finds that the company has information of a very personal nature about a friend and co-worker, Lisa Calighan. When he reveals to her that the company has this information, she agrees to help him expose NURV’s crimes to the world. Coordinating with Brian Bissel, one of Hoffman’s friends from his old startup, they plan to use a local public-access television station to hijack Synapse and broadcast their charges against NURV to the world. However, Calighan turns out to be a double agent, foils Hoffman’s plan, and turns him over to Winston.

Hoffman had already confronted Poulson and convinced her to side with him against Winston and NURV. When it became clear that Hoffman had not succeeded, a backup plan is put into motion by Poulson, the fourth member of Skullbocks, and the incorruptible internal security firm hired by NURV. As Winston prepares to kill Hoffman, the second team successfully usurps one of NURV’s own work centers—”Building 21″—and transmits the incriminating evidence as well as the Synapse code. Calighan, Winston and his entourage are publicly arrested for their crimes. After parting ways with the redeemed Poulson, Hoffman rejoins Skullbocks.Antitrust is the best tech movie I have ever seen. The cast is perfect.  I recommend it to everyone I know in IT, and most anyone else too.

REVIEW: SANCTUARY – SEASON 1-4

MAIN CAST

Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Dunne(Dead Like Me)
Emilie Ullerup (Leprechaun: Origins)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Twilight: Breaking Dawn)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Kavan Smith (Stargate: Atlantis)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Peter Shinkoda (Masked Rider)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Michael Adathwaite (Tru Calling)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Panou (Flash Gordon 2007)
Leah Cairns (Interstellar)
Laura Mennell (Thirteen Ghosts)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Peter Outerbridge (Earth: Final Conflict)
Alex Zahara (The Stickup)
Mackenzie Gray (The Net: The Series)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Sarah Strange (White Noise)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Kirsten Robek (Cats & Dogs)
Katharine Isabelle (Hannibal)
Jonathon Young (Antitrust)
Gabrielle Rose (Jennifer’s Body)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Rekha Sharma (The Core)
Peter Wingfield (Caprica)
Christine Chatelain (40 Days and 40 Nights)
Alex Diakun (Androemda)

Being a big fan of Stargate SG-1 in general and Amanda Tapping in particular, I was quite excited to hear that the actress had signed up to play the lead in (and was executive producer of) a web-based series entitled Sanctuary.  I had meant to download the 8 15-minute webisodes but with one thing and another, never got around to it.  Based on the strength of those shorts, the series was picked up by the horribly named cable network Syfy, had a successful first season, and was renewed for a second (that is scheduled to begin in October.)  E1 Entertainment has now released Sanctuary Season One on DVD in a nice four disc set that fans of SF should consider picking up, especially if you gave up on the series while it was airing after a few episodes.

Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) is a profiler for a local police force in an unnamed metropolitan city.  Being very observant in a Monk-like way, he puts together clues that others often miss and follows them to their logical conclusions, even if those conclusions sound crazy.  He was kicked out of the FBI for his hair-brained hypotheses, and is pretty much shunned by the policemen he works with for the same reason.

While investigating the dead of a civilian and two police officers Zimmerman crosses paths with Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping).  She runs the Sanctuary, a privately funded large gothic building in the middle of town that is host to, Will eventually discovers, a wide assortment of bizarre creatures called ‘abnormals’.  Basically all of Zimmerman’s theories have been correct, there are odd being roaming the world in secret and Magnus’ group helps those that they can and hunts down the ones that are dangerous to humanity.Will signs up and joins the Sanctuary team that includes Magnus, who turns out to be much, much older than she looks, Helen’s kick-ass daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), tech geek Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) and butler and extra muscle when needed Bigfoot (Christopher Heyerdahl).  Searching the globe for abnormals the group discovers mermaids, ancient witches, a human-like race that can compact their bodies to squeeze through the smallest spaces, a vampire, people who can shoot heat rays from their eyes, and even the basis for Sherlock Holmes and the real Jack the Ripper (who just happens to be Magnus’ ex-lover.) Every great team needs a suitable enemy too, and Sanctuary has one in the form of the Cabal, a super-secret, well funded, organization that also investigates abnormal sightings, but they have sinister motive behind what they’re doing and consider the Sanctuary their sworn enemies.
In the second half we’re introduced to Nikola Tesla  who used to be a friend of Magnus’ way back when and who is a vampire.  An intriguing character and easily my favorite in the show, viewers are never sure if he’s lying or telling the truth and whose side he’s really on.  The show picks up for there, no longer being a ‘monster of the week’ program; it starts telling a larger story and is more careful how the plots unravel.  The faux witty banter is toned down considerably and small incidental details actually make sense at this point.  They also go back and correct some of their earlier mistakes such as Magnus’ education.  In the first episode they stated that she attended Oxford in the mid 1800’s, a time when women weren’t allowed to enroll, but in episode 12 a character reveals that she only audited classes at that time, something that makes much more sense. The acting in the program is generally good with Amanda Tapping stealing the show.  She’s playing a character similar to Dr. Samantha Carter, the person she portrayed on Stargate SG-1, but Tapping went out of her way to create a totally different personality for this new character.  Physically she dyed her hair and she also sports a British accent (that sounds pretty good actually.  She was born in England, I guess that helps more than a bit.)  Magnus is also more careful than Dr. Carter and has a totally different demeanor.  I was always enamored of Tapping’s role in SG-1 (she reminded a lot of my wife,) but while watching her here I never thought of her as “that gal from SG-1,” a testament to how well she did in crafting a new individual.

MAIN CAST

Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Dunne(Dead Like Me)
Emilie Ullerup (Leprechaun: Origins)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Twilight: Breaking Dawn)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Agam Darshi (Bates Motel)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jonathon Young (Antitrust)
Christine Chatelain (Riese)
Lynda Boyd (Final Destination 2)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Jason Schombing (Mutant X)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Robert Lawrenson (Underworld: Awakening)
Nicole Munoz (Pathfinder)
Anne Marie Deluise (Highlander: The Raven)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Erica Cerra (Blade: Trinity)
Colin Lawrence (X-Men 2)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Aleks Paunovic (I Spy)
Jason Bryden (Marmaduke)
Ryan Kennedy (Poison Ivy 4)
Chad Rock (The Flash)
Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Shaker Paleja (The Day The Earth Stood Still)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sahar Biniaz (Smallville)
Terry Chen (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Balinder Johal (Killer Punjabi)

Season 2 carried on from where season 1 left off. Dr Helen Magnus and team Sanctuary are trying to discover what happened to Ashley Magnus (Emilie Ullerup) and why she would betray her family and friends and join the Cabal, all while trying to save and protect “abnormals” from those who would do them harm. The main cast of Amanda Tapping (Dr Helen Magnus), Dr Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), John Druitt (Christopher Heyerdahl), Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) and Bigfoot (Christopher Heyerdahl, again) all return for the second season.

There is also new girl Kate Freelander (Agam Darshi).  Who was created to replace Ashley (who is killed in the opening two epiosdes), Although Ashley was a popular characterKate does grow on you more and more with each episode, by seasons end shes is more rounded out character.


I Enjoyed this season even more than season 1 . In this case the stories seem much stronger and have more depth to them than those in the first season. Instead of a season long battle with the Cabal, that story line gets wrapped up in two episodes. Which lets season two create new stories that enrich the characters more.

MAIN CAST

Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Dunne(Dead Like Me)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Twilight: Breaking Dawn)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Agam Darshi (Bates Motel)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Callum Blue (Smallville)
Shaker Paleja (The Day The Earth Stood Still)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sahar Biniaz (Smallville)
Terry Chen (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Balinder Johal (Killer Punjabi)
Robert Lawrenson (Underworld: Awakening)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Seroes)
Chasty Ballesteros (Final Destination 5)
Raquel Riskin (Killer Bash)
Gary Jones (Stargate SG.1)
Peter Flemming (Replicant)
Jonathon Young (Antitrust)
Michael Rogers (Duets)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Martin Christopher (Stargate: Atlantis)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Pauline Egan (Elysium)
Allison Hossack (Kingdom Hospital)
Adrian Hough (Underworld: Evolution)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Vincet Gale (Big Eyes)
Pascale Hutton (Ginger Snaps 2)
Polly Walker (Caprica)
Jody Thompson (Flash Gordon 2007)
Francoise Yip (Andromeda)
Tinsel Korey (The Lookout)
Peter Deluise (21 Jump Street)
Aliyah O’Brien (Smallville)
Sean Rogerson (Bitten)
Douglas O’Keeffe (Dark Angel)
Richard De Klerk (Reign)
Jordana Largy (Flashpoint)
Barclay Hope (Final Destination 5)
Adam Copeland (Highlander: Endgame)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)
Greyston Holt (Bitten)
David Milchard (The Eye)

Season three sees Sanctuary taking a big step forward,and for the most part being very successful. instead of the previous two seasons 13 episode runs,this has 20 episodes,something which allows the writers to expand storylines and explore things further,bringing more depth to this seasons story arc. As always the acting from the entire cast is first rate .There is also plenty of Jonathan Young as Nikola Tesla,whos presence always lifts any episode he appears in,and guarantees some sharp dialogue.This series looks better as well,and steps out of,whenever possible,the confines of a cgi generated world,something which I always believed limited it far too much.Season three sees Sanctuary setting itself up as a major league player,and staking a claim as a show to be taken seriously,and it does it very well.Giving you more than it has before,while leaving you with the impression that there is much more to come,and the desire to find out what.The Sanctuary team deal with the aftermath of the gigantic tidal wave released by Big Bertha while Will’s life remains in balance but soon the errand comes to an end once Will leads one final plea to “Kali” A.K.A. Big Bertha in his near death experience to stop the destruction. Following Will’s return to life two abnormals appear to him to rekindle his memory and in doing so Will remembers an important message that Gregory sent for Helen to find an underground city with great technology and secrets.Later Nikola sends an SOS call and after his rescue continues to help Helen in discovering the secrets of the city which eventually leads them to a Hollow Earth atlas. Soon Adam Worth, a former acquaintance, tricks Helen and causes radiation poisoning (that should kill both Helen and Adam in a few weeks) so that she may show Adam the Hollow Earth. Upon Adam’s interference Helen, Will, Henry and Kate enter the city to save Gregory and find a cure for the poisoning but only to be executed immediately when caught while Adam imprisons John, leaving Tesla and Big-Guy alone in the mysteries. Magnus is then revived by Ranna for answering and Magnus finds out that she needs her to help an abnormal from the events of ‘KALI’, thereby Magnus and the gang is revived and she given the cure and is reunited with her father, together Gregory and Helen save the abnormal and reach the surface back again while John kills Adam. The show returned to its original format, featuring a new short story for every episode until Tesla and Magnus discover a Praxian Stronghold. This is revealed to have been taken by Vampires and as such was a Vampire Stronghold where a whole army of Vampires and their queen were buried to be awakened someday. Magnus views this as a threat and destroys the stronghold, but not before restoring Tesla to a Vampire again.

MAIN CAST

Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Dunne(Dead Like Me)
Emilie Ullerup (Leprechaun: Origins)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Twilight: Breaking Dawn)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Agam Darshi (Bates Motel)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Ian Tracey (Man of Steel)
Pascale Hutton (Flash Gordon 2007)
Francoise Yip (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)
Robert Lawrenson (Human Target)
David Milchard (The Eye)
Greyston Holt (Bitten)
Adam Copeland (Highlander: Endgame)
Pauline Egan (Ambrosia)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Lara Gilchrist (Battlestar Galactica)
Mig Macario (Once Upon A Time)
Sandrine Holt (Terminator Genisys)
Carlo Rota (Stargate Universe)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Martin Cummins (Dark Angel)
Tora Hylands (Primeval: New World)
Charlie Carrrick (Reign)
Jonathon Young (Antitrust)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Adam Greydon Reid (Cult)
Caroline Cave (Saw VI)
Al Sapienza (Margin Call)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)
Jodi Balfour (Final Destination 5)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Kurt Evans (Watchnmen)
Brenda Campbell (Orphan)
Gil Bellows (Flashforward)
Gerard Plunkett (Andromeda)

At the end of the last season things were getting pretty hairy on a couple of different fronts. The subterranean abnormals who live inside the Earth have decided that they want their chance in the sun and three armies march out of caves in different parts of the planet. If that wasn’t bad enough, Magnus is battling an old companion, Adam Worth, who manages to open up a hole in time and slip back to the 1800’s with the aim of curing his terminally ill daughter. This will change the time stream irrevocably, so Magnus follows him on his one-way journey into the past in order to stop him.

This season opens with Magnus in 19th Century London, following Worth. He manages to wound her and escape, so she turns to one person she knows she can trust, he husband at the time, James Watson  Together they have to stop Worth, but even if they do, how will Magnus manage to return to the 21stCentury? She does manage it, but it takes a very long time. Meanwhile Will has been put in charge of the New York Sanctuary by the Sanctuary Network, that mysterious body that runs the various abnormal shelters around the world. He’s having a rough time, as the US military wants to actually  attack the invading army, especially after there’s a revolt in the refugee compound that’s housing several Hollow Earth abnormals in which the subterranean creatures take hostages and threaten to kill them. No one in authority will take Will’s calls, and with Magnus MIA he’s clearly out of his depth.

After that crisis, and Magnus’ return, things are different. The government is very leery of abnormals and they create a department, SCUI, to hunt down the Hollow Earth creatures that are still on the surface. Either imprisoning the abnormals that they capture or using them for experiments it’s a race between the bad military and the saintly Sanctuary to see who can locate and capture the renegade abnormals first.There are some very good episodes in this season. Monsoon, where Magnus is held hostage by some abnormal crooks while in an airport in Africa was a high point. Seeing the unarmed Magnus take out a group of ex-military super-humans was delightful.

The series does wrap up (though there is room for more adventures)  It was nice that the show did get a coda. All in al lSanctuary was an excellent show that lasted four seasons and left room for more stories to be told shold Syfy every decide to bring it back.

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 1-5

Image result for STARGATE ATLANTIS LOGO

MAIN CAST

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Torri Higginson (Highlander: THe Raven)
Rachel Luttrell (Arrow)
Rainbow Sun Francks (Defiance0
David Hewlett (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones)
Paul McGillion (V)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Dean Anderson (Macgyver)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Garwin Sanford (The Fly 2)
Andee Frizzell (Andromeda)
Craig Veroni (Dark Angel)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Ben Cotton (30 Days of Night: Dark Days)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Courtenay J. Stevens (Ripper)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Callum Worthy (Samllville)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
Dean Marshall (2012)
Colm Meaney (Star Trek:DS9)
Erin Chambers (Standoff)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Corey Monteith (Glee)
Leonor Varela (Blade 2)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
David Orth (The Lost World)
Clayton Landey (Scary Movie 5)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Kavan Smith (Sanctuary)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Claire Rankin (Rogue)
Brenda James (Slither)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Anne Openshaw (Narc)
Aaron Abrams (Hannibal)
Chad Morgan (The Purge 2)
Peter Flemming (Replicant)
William MacDonald (Slither)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Sonja Bennett (Blade: The Series)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Brandy Ledford (Andromeda)
Tamlyn Tomita (Heroes)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
John O’Callaghan (Clutch)
David Ogden Stier (Two Gusy and a Girl)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Bill Dow (Legends of The Fall)
Robert Davi (The Bad Pack)
Leela Savasta (Black Xmas)
Laura Harris (Dead Like me)
Michael Beach (The Abyss)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Sharon Taylor (Legends of Tomorrow)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Aleks Paunovic (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
Jill Wagner (Blade: The Series)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Gary Jones (Highlander: The Series)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Crystal Lowe (Poison Ivy 4)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Emma Lahana (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Michelle Morgan (Heartland)
Nicole de Boer (Star Trek: DS9)
Janina Gavankar (The Vampire Diaries)
Christina Cox (Arrow)
Mike Dopud (Man of Steel)
Jonathan Young (Sanctuary)
Daniella Alonso (Wrong Turn 2)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Anna Galvin (Caprica)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Neil Jackson (Sleepy Hollow)
Ona Grauer (Arrow)

Stargate : Atlantis is far more than just a spin-off from the successful Stargate SG1 series. It stands on its own two feet as a clever, dramatic, funny, entertaining, well-crafted show. In some ways it even surpasses the original, benefiting as it does from the producers’ and crew’s 8+ years of experience in writing and producing the SG1 series. Continuing the mythology of the original show, but with the added twist of a whole new galaxy to explore, this show has something for everyone.

The mix of characters is great and the core cast – and also the regular recurring cast – boasts some excellent actors. Production values are consistently high and, while some episodes are always stronger than others, the writing in season 1 has also been excellent. The first season got things off to a great start, introducing the new team, new allies.. and a new enemy.5195S6CTB0LThere is a great mix of humour and drama in this series and stand-out episodes for me include 38 Minutes, Brotherhood, The Defiant One and the excellent mid-season 2 parter, The Storm and The Eye.

Season one not only established this show as a unique rival to its fellow series `Stargate: SG-1′, but also set the bar very high for a second season with this new breed of adventurers continuing to battle Wraith and other foe in the far-removed Pegasus Galaxy.

Just as with its sister series, `Atlantis’ is adept at balancing a large season story-arc while at the same time providing its audience with inventive one-off stories that act both to attract new viewers to the show and also give the loyal fan-base a break from the on-going threat of the Wraith. This second season is no exception.

The Siege Part III – As last season closed, the cliffhanger had Atlantis under siege by the Wraiths and things were not going well. Atlantis was ready to self destruct and Maj. Shephard was on the way to a suicide mission. As is customary in such situations, the cavalry arrives just in the nick of time in the form of the Earth Ship Daedelus. It has some advanced Asgard technology on board which saves Shepherd and helps to destroy the hive ships attacking Atlantis. Some manage to get away and they are heading back with reinforcements. While the cleanup is going on, a lieutenant is rescued but he has been severely damaged by the wraith. He is irrational and jumpy about the others who do not fully trust him. As the enlarged wraith fleet arrives, Atlantis decides to gamble on deceiving them that a self destruct has really taken place. This occurs just as the damaged lieutenant steals a puddle jumper and flees through the gate.


Runner – A team from Atlantis is investigating a planet with extremely high solar radiation. While there, they find a dead Wraith. There is evidence that he was killed by Lt. Ford, the guy who fled in the first episode of the season. The team heads back to try and get him to come back. They find a surprise. There is another human on the planet who has had a transmitter mounted in his back so that he can be the guest of honor in a sort of trophy hunt. He has managed to elude the Wraith for 7 years before being captured. He is set free by Lt. Ford who is deranged. Now it is a 3 way manhunt with nobody trusting anyone else.

Instinct – While investigating a new planet, the Atlantis team comes across a village that is intermittently plagued by a Wraith. The team agrees to hunt it down but finds something unexpected. They find a local scientist who has been raising a juvenile female Wraith as his daughter. He swears that it is not her who is terrorizing the village. He also maintains that there is another Wraith out there. The science types at Atlantis think they might be able to use the girl to develop a vaccine to fight the virus that causes humans to become Wraiths. It might even turn Wraiths back into humans. The research is promising until the young Wraith girl jumps the gun causing no end of problems.

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Conversion – At the close of the previous episode, LTC Shepherd was injured by the Wraith girl who had tried the experimental virus. Some of their blood mingled. Now he is infected with the parasitic virus that produces Wraiths. Now the race is one to capture an alien bug, get some stem cells and find a cure. The col. is going stir crazy while this happens and is getting more and more volatile. The Lost Boys – The team is following up on a tip and is captured. They are quickly taken to another planet where they find that they have been captured by a force led by the AWOL Lt. Ford. He has been on a rampage and has been taking Wraith “enzyme” from all of his victims. He feeds the enzyme to his followers to give them super strength. He thinks that is the way for humanity to defeat the Wraith. The enzyme prevents him from thinking straight. And, by the way, this one is a cliffhanger.

The Hive – Lt. Ford’s plan to prove the worth of the enzyme is simple. They use a stolen dart and use it to blow up a hive ship. That’s what they were doing at the end of the last episode when they got captured. Remember, Ford doesn’t think all that well under the influence of the enzyme. After the capture, all grow through withdrawal from the enzyme. The longer it has been used, the worse the withdrawal. Help comes from an unexpected source from the least likely hero. Critical Mass – Stargate Command on Earth and Atlantis are plunged into chaos when it is revealed that a Goa’uld operative is hidden in Atlantis. The operative has orders to set a bomb to blow up Atlantis when the Stargate is used to dial Earth. They apparently want to destroy Atlantis to keep the Wraith from getting anywhere near them. The mole is very highly placed.


Michael – Something is not quite right. The episode begins with a man in sick bay. As he is awoken, all of the command staff is notified to be there. He has amnesia and cannot remember anything. He is told that he was a member of a team captured by the Wraith and recaptured by Atlantis. That is not quite the truth which is quite a bit uglier. He was a Wraith upon whom an experimental retrovirus had been tried. The experiment threatens the existence of Atlantis itself.

Allies – A Wraith hive ship arrives. Instead of opening fire, the Wraith ship opens communication. It is being led by Michael, the Wraith upon whom experiments were conducted. He is offering all sorts of Wraith military secrets…for a price. They want the retrovirus used to create Michael. They believe that will give them supremacy over other Wraith. They are a slimy group though and hidden agendas are not beyond the realm of possibility. The alliance is not what it seems. Earth is in trouble in this season ending cliffhanger.


I’ve watched Stargate Atlantis  from the beginning and have more or less enjoyed it from the start.  I really like Joe Flannigan as Sheppard and David Hewlett as Rodney. This season Some help is on the way. We know that Amanda Tapping and her character Samantha Carter will be moving over from the Stargate – SG.1 to become the new head of the Atlantis project. I think she will bring more strength to the role.

Atlantis has emerged as the name not of a location that cannot be moved, but of a truly mobile city that can relocate .  well, to anywhere. The season ends with the city blasting off into space. Season  Three had some great moments. The season finale . was splendid. And the season featured what may be my favorite episode of the entire series so far in “Common Ground,” in which the Genii kidnap Sheppard and enclose him with a wraith who is allowed to feed on no one else.

Christopher Heyerdahl has played the wraitht in this episode he was allowed to give this particular wraith a dignity and complexity not allowed any other wraith with the exception of Michael. He gradually drains the life out of Sheppard out of sheer necessity before the two of them, cooperating as human and wraith never have before, manage to escape from the Genii. Then, in a moment that could lead to interesting plot developments in the future, we discover that the wraiths cannot only drain another creature of life, they can also imbue them with it, and as a sign of comradeship he heals Sheppard.

Season 3 sets up many changes that carry over into the fourth season, with becketts death in Sunday and Wier leaving the show, and Amanda Tapping taking over, its a great season leaving leaving things on a cliffhanger to be resolved in season 4.

Stargate Atlantis ups its game with season four. But it’s not with particularly clever or imaginative stories that the shows writers and producers manage to bring about this change; it’s actually in the areas of character development and action that this season really excels. With the (implied) deaths of inarguably my favourite two characters in season three, I wasn’t expecting their replacements to integrate perfectly, or right away into the Atlantis team, but both actors are given such great material to work with that it’s impossible not to be engaged with their individual story-arcs.

Sam carter is (of course) as brilliant as always, but unlike Doctor Weir, doesn’t appear in nearly as many episodes, or seem to be involved as deeply in the decision-making processes on the base. She just feels like any other member of the team and fits right in almost immediately. Doctor Keller is initially unconvincing in her role as chief medic, but before long she too blossoms into a really intriguing and multi-layered character.


While there are more than a handful of solid Replicator and Wraith-based episodes to enjoy in this twenty-episode season, it’s the character-based stories that stand-out for me as the best examples of this season. Episode 7- `Missing’ , episode 13- `Quarantine’  and episode 16- `Trio’  are each so gripping. The final stand-out story for me would be the concluding episode- `The Last Man’, which  breaks out of the mould of the finale’s of previous seasons and doesn’t involve an unprovoked attack on the city, or a multi-episode build-up. It’s pretty self-contained on the whole and mixes well themes of time-travel, action and season four’s despicable mystery nemesis.

Carson Beckett is back for no less than five episodes, and despite heavy use of the Wraith ship set, the stories are good and justify it. The characters are as well written as ever, I really felt the writers stepped it up a notch this season.


Robert Picardo is back as Richard Woolsey and promoting him to the role of Commander was a stroke of genus. No disrespect to Commander Weir and Colonel Carter, but in Richard Woolsey, Stargate Atlantis had finally cast its ideal leader. There are also a couple of deadpan in-jokes about his holographic Doctor character hidden in the dialogue, which are extremely funny when you spot them.

Despite the technology getting more and more advanced, there is less of a reliance on the technology itself selling the story. There is more focus on the characters than before and all the characters get at least one episode where they take centre stage in the story – for example, David Hewlett puts in an incredibly moving performance in The Shrine where McKay is struck down with a fast acting Pegasus equivalent of Alzheimer’s. Very good use is made of the popular Wraith characters Michael and Todd, and the budding relationship between McKay and Keller is a refreshing antidote.