REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – VOLUME 11

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Robin Hood)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Jane Krakowski (Alfie)
Daisuke Suzuki (I Am Gangster)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Kim Kardashian West (2 broke Girls_
Constance Marie (Puss In Boots)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
Cristian Solimeno (Highlander: The Source)
Kat Purgal (Her Story)
Cedric Yarbrough (The Boss)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Stephen Fry (Bones)
Lorenzo Lamas (CIA)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Andrea Martin (Wag the Dog)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of SHIELD)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
June Diane Raphael (New Girl)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager)
Carl Reiner (Two and a Half Men)
Mickey Rooney (Night at The Museum)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Robert Wuhl (Batman)
Ted Danson (Cheers)
Sinbad (Jingle All The Way)

American Dad! returns for an iconic series’ 11th volume. The series centers on super-patriotic CIA agent Stan Smith and the misadventures of his unconventional family in Langley Falls, Virginia. Stan’s blissfully unaware wife Francine has an unfaltering loyalty that allows her to turn a blind eye toward Stan’s unabashed arrogance. Meanwhile, Stan constantly butts heads with his 18-year-old, left-wing activist daughter Hayley who knows just how to push her father’s buttons, whether it’s by helping the homeless, demanding women’s rights or advocating gun control. Hayley’s 14-year-old brother is the geeky-yet-confident Steve, is a kid who spends his time playing video games and obsessing about the opposite sex. The Smith cabinet is rounded out by two rather unconventional members: Roger, the sassy, sarcastic and routinely inappropriate space alien who is constantly trying on new disguises and, with them, new personalities, and Klaus, the attention-starved goldfish with the brain of a German Olympic skier who always throws in his two cents, regardless of whether anyone is listening.The Highlights on this Volume are.ROGER PASSES THE BAR: Roger is forced to sell his beloved attic bar to a restaurant chain after suffering a heart attack, and a new next-door neighbor (Jane Krakowski), who was recently registered as a sex offender, promises to take Steve and his friends’ virginity in return for housework.A BOY NAMED MICHAEL: Roger moves in with Greg and Terry as their adopted Russian son “Michael” after growing tired of the Smiths not being sophisticated. Meanwhile, Stan orders a La-Z-Boy and slowly becomes white trash to annoy Roger while he’s living with the Corbin/Bates.

BLAGSNARST: A LOVE STORY: A furry pink female alien (Kim Kardashian) is discovered in the woods by Francine and Roger, who begins a relationship with her, but quickly tires of her many quirks and eccentricities after having a one-night stand. Roger makes several attempts to get rid of her, including calling the CIA, but then realizes that he can’t go through with it.Image result for AMERICAN DAD BLONDE AMBITIONBLONDE AMBITION: Hayley decides to become a blonde when her efforts to save the planet get no attention. Meanwhile, Stan and Steve go on a journey to search for a new Smith home.BIG STAN ON CAMPUS: When the CIA is forced to make cutbacks, Stan inadvertently volunteers to go on furlough and gets a job as a security officer at a local college. Meanwhile, Roger opens a bed and breakfast to boost the family’s income and must give in to the demands of an eccentric guest.Image result for AMERICAN DAD NOW AND GWENNOW AND GWEN: Hayley suspects that Gwen, Francine’s sister, is up to no good when she comes to town. Meanwhile, Roger tries to find out the location of a treasure from a guy in a coma, Stan teaches Steve the art of man-hugging, and Klaus shadows Roger’s dramatic comments.Image result for american dad dreaming of a white porsche christmasDREAMING OF A WHITE PORSCHE CHRISTMAS: In a parody of It’s a Wonderful Life, Stan wishes to have Principal Lewis’ swinging bachelor life, however, he soon regrets the wish when he finds out that Francine is married to Principal Lewis in an alternate reality.Image result for american dad lgbsteveLGBSTEVE: Steve has a gender identity crisis when Hayley convinces him to join an all-girls roller derby team with her. Meanwhile, Stan and Francine hire a magical repairman to fix the backyard, but everything he does makes them angry.MY AFFAIR LADY: Hayley considers having an affair with a married man when she gets a new job from the help of Roger, her new life coach. Meanwhile, Stan tags along with Steve and Francine to a mother-son dance.Image result for american dad a star is rebornA STAR IS REBORN: Stan and Francine win a trip to Los Angeles, however, upon arriving, an old starlet believes Stan is the reincarnation of her deceased husband. Meanwhile, Roger kennel-trains Steve and Hayley by trapping them in crates, after they disrespect Roger’s enjoyment of Bones.Image result for american dad Manhattan Magical Murder Mystery TourMANHATTAN MAGICAL MURDER MYSTERY TOUR: The Smiths head to the Big Apple when Francine is nominated for an award for her housewife novella. Meanwhile, Stan and Hayley hang out with actor Robert Wuhl and Roger and Steve re-create their fictional partnership, Wheels and the Legman.Image result for american dad holy s... jeff's backHOLY SHIT, JEFF’S BACK: Jeff makes his return from space after being abducted, but Hayley and Roger suspect that Jeff isn’t who he seems to be. Meanwhile, Steve looks after Snot’s hamster.Image result for american dad american fungAMERICAN FUNG: Stan has Francine committed to a mental hospital so he can hide the fact that he once again forgot their wedding anniversary. Meanwhile, American Dad! is sold to a Chinese billionaire.Image result for american dad seizures suit stannySEIZURES SUIT STANNY: When Stan warns Hayley about the dangers of texting, he soon learns of the enjoyment of texting, but when he gets into a car crash because of it, he fakes a seizure. Meanwhile, Roger helps Steve with his anxiety of performance.Image result for american dad seizures suit stannyThis has to be one of the best adult cartoons ever created. It’s hard for me to compare them with South Park. I think that in many aspects, American Dad is way better than South Park. Probably because it addresses to a much larger public, while South Park contains jokes that sometime require some background knowledge, before you can fully understand them. Even for non-Americans, this series are equally funny and enjoying. Great job! I recommend this to anyone who enjoys some good humor.

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REVIEW: STAR TREK: NEMESIS

CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The GIft)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Crowned and Dangerous)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Tom Hardy (Mad Max:Fury Road)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Shannon Cochrane (The Ring)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

On Romulus members of the Romulan Imperial Senate debate whether to accept the terms of peace and alliance with the Reman rebel leader Shinzon. The Remans are a slave race of the Romulan Empire, used as miners and as cannon fodder. A faction of the military is in support of Shinzon, but the Praetor and senate are set against it. After rejecting the motion, the Praetor and remaining senators are disintegrated by a device left in the room by a military-aligned senator.

Meanwhile, the crew of the USS Enterprise-E prepare to bid farewell to first officer Commander William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi, who are being married on Betazed. En route, they discover a positronic energy reading on a planet in the Kolaran system near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Lieutenant Commander Worf, and Lieutenant Commander Data land on Kolarus III and discover the remnants of an android resembling Data. When the android is reassembled it introduces itself as B-4. The crew deduce it to be a less-advanced, earlier version of Data.

Picard is contacted by Vice-Admiral Kathryn Janeway and orders the ship on a diplomatic mission to nearby Romulus. Janeway explains that the Romulan Empire has been taken over in a military coup by Shinzon, who says he wants peace with the Federation and to bring freedom to Remus. On arrival, they learn Shinzon is a clone of Picard, secretly created by Romulans to plant a high-ranking spy into the Federation, but the project was abandoned and Shinzon left on Remus as a child to die as a slave. After many years, Shinzon became a leader of the Remans, and constructed his heavily armed flagship, the Scimitar. Initially, diplomatic efforts go well, but the Enterprise crew discover that the Scimitar is producing low levels of thalaron radiation, which had been used to kill the Imperial Senate and is deadly to nearly all life forms. There are also unexpected attempts to communicate with the Enterprise computers, and Shinzon himself violates Troi’s mind through the telepathy of his Reman viceroy.

Dr. Crusher discovers that Shinzon is aging rapidly because of the process used to clone him, and the only possible means to stop the aging is a transfusion of Picard’s own blood. Shinzon kidnaps Picard from the Enterprise, as well as B-4, having planted the android on the nearby planet to lure Picard to Romulus. However, Data reveals he has swapped places with B-4, rescues Picard, and returns with Picard to the Enterprise. They have now seen enough of the Scimitar to know that Shinzon plans to use the warship to invade the Federation using its thalaron-radiation generator as a weapon, with the eradication of all life on Earth being his first priority.

The Enterprise races back to Federation space but is ambushed by the Scimitar in the Bassen Rift, a region that prevents any subspace communications. Two Romulan Warbirds come to the aid of the Enterprise, as they do not want to be complicit in Shinzon’s genocidal plans, but Shinzon destroys one and disables the other. Recognizing the need to stop the Scimitar at all costs, Picard orders the Enterprise to ram the other ship. The collision leaves both ships heavily damaged and destroys the Scimitar’s primary weapons. To assure their mutual destruction, Shinzon activates the thalaron weapon. Picard boards the Scimitar to face Shinzon alone, and eventually kills him by impaling him on a metal strut. Data jumps the distance between the two ships with a personal transporter to beam Picard back to the Enterprise, and then fires his phaser on the thalaron generator, which destroys the Scimitar, and Data, while saving the Enterprise. The crew mourn Data, and the surviving Romulan commander offers them her gratitude for saving the Empire.

The Enterprise returns to Earth for repairs. Picard bids farewell to newly promoted Captain Riker, who is off to command the USS Titan and begin a possible peace-negotiation mission with the Romulans. Picard meets with B-4, discovering that Data had copied the engrams of his neural net into B-4’s positronic matrix before he “died”. Though B-4 does not yet act as Data, Picard is assured that he will become like his friend in time.A great film seeing the end for one of the crew as the rest embark on their new positions. The action is great and riveting from beginning to end.

REVIEW: TREKKIES

CAST

Denise Crosby (The Walking Dead)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
DeForest Kelley (Night of The Lepus)
Walter Koenig (Babylon 5)
Nichelle Nichols (Heroes)
Leonard Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
William Shatner (Boston Legal)
George Takei (Space Milkshake)
Grace Lee Whitney (60s batman)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The Gift)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Terry Farrell (Hellraiser 3)
Jonathan Frakes (Lois & Clark)
Chase Masterson (The Flash)
Kate Mulgrew (Ryan’s Hope)
Robert O’ Reilly (The Mask)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Gary Lockwood (2001)
Robert Beltran (Lois & Clark)
Roxann Dawson (Darkman 3)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Tim Russ (Smantha Who?)
John de Lancie (The Hand that Rocks The Cradle)

Image result for trekkies 1997When I first watched Trekkies, I expected mostly to laugh at the weird and wild extremes to which Star Trek fans will go. (I myself a Trek fan, so I was also prepared to do a bit of laughing at myself as well!) But  Trekkies also surprised me with its warm-hearted, caring look at Trek’s most ardent devotees. It managed to tell both a funny story about Trek fans and pay gleeful tribute to their obsession of choice.
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Humor-wise, Trekkies scores big. The Klingons eating Big Macs, the Borg from New Jersey, and the Voyager sex scripts received by the Trek producers were all riotously funny. The Trek cast members all had funny stories to tell as well, from DeForest Kelley’s ardent female fan to Kate Mulgrew’s marriage proposal. But there were also some genuinely touching moments in Trekkies as well. James  Doohan’s story about the suicidal fan brought tears to my eyes. I know people who are fortunate enough to have met Mr. Doohan, and from all accounts he is a truly kind, compassionate individual. That really shows through in all of his comments about the Trek fandom. LeVar Burton tells how Gene Roddenberry named his character, Geordi LaForge, after a terminally ill Star Trek fan who passed away; John de Lancie speaks of another paralyzed patient who finds solace in Star Trek.
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The spirit of the film shares the same love for Star Trek that motivates the fans. It pays tribute to the groundbreaking nature of the original Trek, and praises the spirit of progressiveness and harmony of the Star Trek universe as a whole.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: VOYAGER – SEASON 1-7

 

voyagerMAIN CAST

Kate Mulgrew (Lovepsell)
Robert Beltran (Big Love)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Roxann Dawson (Darkman III)
Garrett Wang (Into The West)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Jennifer Lien (Ameircan History X)
Jeri Ryan (Arrow)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Martha Hackett (Leprechaun 2)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers LIghtspeed Rescue)
Anthony De Longis (Highlander: The Series)
Marjorie Monaghan  (Andromeda)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Rob LaBelle (Dark Angel)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
John Rubinstein (Legends of Tomorrow)
Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue)
Aron Eisenberg (Puppet Master 3)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Nancy Hower (Catch and Release)
Jack Shearer (End of Days)
Gary Graham (Alien Nation)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Joel Grey (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Rick Worthy (Collateral Damage)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon A Time)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Gerrit Graham (Child’s Play 2)
John De Lancie (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Michael McKean (Smallville)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
George Takei (Heroes)
Grace Lee Whitney (60s Batman)
Michael Ansara (Batman: TAS)
Robert Prine (V)
James Parks (Django Unchained)
Estelle Harris (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Keene Curtis (Stargate SG.1)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Sarah Silverman (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Ed Begley jr. (Veronica Mars)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)
Alan Openheimer (Transformers)
Kristanna Loken (Bloodrayne)
Jessica Collins (True Calling)
Rachael Harris (New Girl)
Wendy Schaal (American Dad)
John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Rosemary Forsyth (Disclosure)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Rebecca McFarland (Two and a Half Men)
Judson Scott (V)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Mark Metcalf (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander 2)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Zach Galligan (Gremlins)
Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica)
Tucker Smallwood (Traffic)
Ray Walston (The Sting)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Scarlett Pomers (Reba)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Mark Harelik (The Big Bang Theory)
Lori Petty (Tank Girl)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The Gift)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Ron Canada (Just Like Heaven)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Kevin Tighe (Lost)
Bradley Pierce (Jumanji)
Titus Welliver (Agents of SHIELD)
John Savage (Dark Angel)
Jonathan Breck (Jeepers Creepers)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien NAtion)
Claire Rankin (Stargate: Atlantis)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Mimi Craven  (A NIghtmare on Elm Street)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Richard Herd (V)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Obi Ndefo (Angel)
Lindsey Ginter (Hercules: TLJ)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frightners)
Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious 7)
J.G. Hertzler (Roswell)
Manu Intiraymi  (Go)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Mark Sheppard (Firefly)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Tamara Craig Thomas (Odyssey 5)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Ron Glass (Firefly)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Robert Axelrod (Power Rangers)
Sherman Howard (Superbo)
Robert Joy (Amityville 3)
Alice Krige (Children of Dune)

Star Trek: Voyager is a great series to watch. The initial concept of the show is pretty simple: USS Voyager is taken to the delta quadrant against there will and are stranded there – leaving them no choice to but to embark on a long and dangerous journey home.

The Voyager series brings in a lot of new and old ideas about the star trek universe. The new idea of having a holographic doctor and being able to send him on away-missions is a very complex and entertaining idea. The idea of two opposing factions banding together to work as one crew is new. However, some old ideas do still remain for example the unattractive uniforms, colour designations, button sounds and the weakness of their ship.

The cast is full of good actors. At first the characters were green and so was the acting, but by the second season the characters and acting seemed to flow much better. Captain Jane-way certainly looks and feels like a leader and her choices are often made by seeking advice from other crew members, but some of her decisions are startlingly dark and immoral. There were a lot of recurring minor roles for actors and they brought a unique feel to the show.

One of the best things I like about this series is that it gets very technical, but is also dumbed-down enough to make sure the ordinary lay-man (like myself) can still understand what’s going on. The addition of Seven of Nine was a great idea. Jeri Ryan brought in a great sex appeal and added further to the technical stand-points in the show. I fully enjoyed learning a lot about the Borg. It is one of the species I was most interested in.
If you want to know about the Borg, this is the series to watch. Also, this series is very dark. At some points I had shed some tears. Rick Berman was shooting for a darker Star Trek and he made it happen. Overall, this is a wonderful show. It outlines betrayal, morality, trust, honor and integrity. Each episode takes you on journey to learning a new life lesson.

REVIEW: HALF-SHELL HEROES: BLAST TO THE PAST

CAST (VOICES)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Sean Astin (Cabin Fever 3)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager)
Eric Bauza (Batman: assault on Arkham)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
J.B. Smoove (The Sitter)


The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or ‘Hero Turtles‘, if you lived under the iron thumb of British and Irish censorship) have been a mainstay of of many a childhood since they first appeared in cartoon form back in 1987 (the comic book version appeared three years before that, but wasn’t particularly child friendly). Since then, every generation has had a Turtles TV show to call its own, along with the occasional movie thrown in for good measure. Half-Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past is the newest incarnation of the Turtles franchise, bringing us a feature length adventure in glorious 2D (the TV show it is based on is done in 3D-style computer animation). Bast to the Past sees the reptilian foursome of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo transported one hundred million years into the past when gigantic dinosaurs ruled the Earth (or, more specifically, the Cretaceous period). In addition to surviving the attentions of hungry predatory dinosaurs while not messing up the space-time continuum too much (it’s not easy – ever watched A Sound of Thunder? – me neither, should probably add it to the Bargain Bin Challenge at some point), there is also the small matter of foiling a scheme by the Triceratons (humanoid aliens with Triceratops-like features) and rescuing Bebop and Rocksteady, who blundered into the time warp.

While there is a lot going on in Blast to the Past, to the film’s great credit, it never manages to feel rushed despite only having a meager running time of 44 minutes. There’s plenty of action and comedy as well as a fairly cohesive plot – not bad for a short feature which was initially conceived to sell a few Turtles toys. The numerous action sequences are fun, with plenty of action and panache on display, without being too violent or intense for little kids, proving that you can put together an action-packed adventure without having to traumatise anyone’s fragile little mind.
The animation seen in Half-Shell Heroes is bright, vibrant and full of character, much more appealing than the 3D modelling seen in the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series which the film shares continuity with, which can look a bit bland and soulless by times. The dinosaurs in particular are well animated, combining a nice blend of detail and cartoon aesthetic, even if they aren’t the most scientifically accurate (for example, none of the dinosaurs have feathers, but at least a small Compsognathus-like critter is referred to as a ‘chicken-iguana’, so at least the dino-bird connection is acknowledged). There is also a nice variety of dinosaur on display including Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Brachiosaurus and, of course, T. rex .
Blast to the Past has a strong sense of humour running throughout, much of which comes from the Turtles bickering amongst themselves (Raphael in particular gives Donatello a hard time when he gets carried away with his science talk) or freaking out when under attack from rampaging dinosaurs (which happens quite frequently). Bebop and Rocksteady offer quite a few laughs too, the former in particular being quite prone to making Michael Jackson noises for whatever reason. The voice acting is very strong throughout, with Kate Mukgrew (that’s Captain Janeway to you!) adding an aura of gravitas to the film’s head villain, while Seth Green uses his many years’ worth of voice acting experience to give us a fun take on Leonardo who tries to act like a strong leader, but is in actuality every bit as lost and frightened as the other Turtles.
As a piece of ‘for kids’ entertainment, there is very little to criticise Half-Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past for. As it is already in an established continuity and the running time is all to brief considering just how much fun the adventure. All in all though, Turtles fans, old and new, couldn’t really have asked for a whole lot more!

REVIEW: BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 1-4

Image result for batman the animated series logoMAIN CAST (VOICES)

Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Loren Lester (Flashforward)
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Hot Shots)
Bob Hastings (General Hospital)
Robert Costanzo (Dick Tracy)
Melissa Gilbert (Zoya)
Tara Strong (Sabrina Goes To Rome)
Mathew Valencia (Lawnmower Man 2)Image result for batman the animatedRECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager)
Neil Ross (Centurions)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Lloyd Bochner (Point Blank)
Marc Singer (V)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek:DS9)
Meredith MacRae (Petticoat Junction)
Michael Ansara (The Message)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Mari Devon (Howl’s Moving Castle)
Brock Peters (To Kill A Mockingbird)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Edward Asner (Up)
Josh Keaton (Green Lantern: TAS)
Arleen Sorkin (Days of Our Lives)
Diane Pershing (Centourions)
Ingrid Oliu (Real Women Have Curves)
Henry Polic II (Webster)
Tim Curry (IT)
Diana Muldaur (Star Trek: TNG)
Alan Rachins (LA Law)
Linda Gary (He-Man)
John Vernon (Dirty Harry)
Lindsay Crouse (Buffy)
Paul Williams (Adventure Time)
Aron Kincaid (Freakazoid!)
Heather Locklear (Return of Swamp Thing)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Treat Williams (The Phantom)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Harry Hamlin Clash of The Titans)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
William Sanderson (Blade Runner)
Leslie Easterbrook (The Devil’s Rejects)
John Glover (Smallville)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Helen Slater (Supergirl)
Michael York (Logans Run)
George Dzunda (Crimson Tide)
John De Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Julie Brown (Earth Girls Are Easy)
Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns)
Michael Gross (Familt Ties)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad men)
Jean Smart (Designing Women)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Marica Wallace (The Simpsons)
Marilu henner (Two and A Half Men)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
Stephanie Zimbalist (The Story Lady)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Henry Silva (Ocean’s Eleven)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Andrea Martin (Anastasia)
Grant Shaud (Murphy Brown)
Bruce Weitz (Hill Street Blues)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Jeffrey Jones (Howard The Duck)
Roy Dotrice (Beauty and The Beast)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Jeffrey Combs (Gotham)
Billy Barty (Masters of The Universe)
Tippi Hedren (The Birds)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Billy Zane (Zoolander)
Mark Rolstan (Alias)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Michael McKean (Smallville)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Lori Petty (Tank Girl)
Linda Hamilton (Chuck)
Billy West (Futurama)

Debuting on Fox in 1992, Batman: The Animated Series was immensely successful, garnering immense critical praise, taking home an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program, and continuing in various forms for several years and well over a hundred episodes.First, the series is written and produced by people with a fundamental understanding of what makes the comics work, particularly during its peak in the ’70s under Dennis O’Neal and Neal Adams. As a long-time comics fanatic, it’s always welcome to see names like Gerry Conway and Marv Wolfman flash across the screen, and in the intervening years, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm have made their own impact on the four-color world. The tone is dark but not hopelessly grim, and the scripts don’t inundate viewers with patently obvious exposition or villainous cackling. It’s intelligently written and, while appropriate for a wide range of ages, doesn’t pander to a younger audience. I started watching Batman when it first debuted on Fox in 1992, and I appreciate it every bit as much now as a 34-year-old adult. The writers don’t shackle themselves to comic continuity, and their revisions are frequently more compelling than any other form in which we’ve seen Batman’s rogue’s gallery. Third-stringers like the Clock King and Clayface are given heavily revised origins and almost unrecognizable characterizations that are far more interesting than any other take on them.Batman boasts visuals that are as strong as the writing behind them. It’s incredibly dark; despite its Saturday morning/weekday afternoon origins, this is a series that greatly benefits from being watched at night with the lights off. The character designs are angular and exaggerated, in contrast to the rounded, ’40s-inspired props and backgrounds that further establish the distinctive, timeless look of the show. The detail and fluidity of the animation vary from episode to episode, but the better installments are almost jaw-dropping.

Following the visuals of the series, the next obvious subject to tackle is how it sounds. For me, Batman’s tone is one of the elements that really sets it apart from most every other animated series, and contributing greatly to that is the orchestral score in each episode. The series also has a phenomenal roster of talent contributing its voices. The main group — Kevin Conroy as the definitive Batman, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred, Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon — just nail their parts with complete perfection. Very recognizable names also contribute to villains and assorted supporting characters. A complete list would be prohibitively long, but some of the more notable actors and actresses from these episodes are Michael Ansara, Ed Asner, Adrienne Barbeau, Ed Begley Jr., Mark Hamill, David L. Lander, Heather Locklear, Kevin McCarthy, Roddy McDowall, Richard Moll, Kate Mulgrew, Ron Perlman, Alan Rachins, Marc Singer, Jeffrey Tambor, John Vernon, Adam West, and Paul Williams. The campy live action series from the ’60s also drew heavily from established Hollywood talent, but the difference here is that the actors don’t draw attention to themselves as stars.

This set has the show at the absolute top of its form. There isn’t a lame show in the bunch, and many of the episodes in this set are destine to become classics. Prechance to Dream, the second show in the set, is a wonderful look at what might have happened if Bruce Wayne’s parents hadn’t been killed. After being knock out while chasing some crooks, Bruce wakes up at home, uncertain as to how he got there. He’s surprised to find that the entrance to the Batcave is blocked, but even more astonished to discover that his mother and father are still alive. Bruce must figure out what going on, but in doing so, he knows he’ll ruin the happiness that he’s discovered.AlmostGot ‘im, probably my favorite show of the series. This story takes place during a “villain’s night out” where Batman’s main enemies aren’t committing crimes. They are all sitting around a table in a bar playing poker, relaxing. While talking, the conversation turns to Batman of corse. Like a group of fisherman swapping stories, each crook takes a turn telling the time that they were closest to killing Batman. The little vignettes were all full of action, and the framing story was very funny. A great combination, with an excellent ending line.
The Batman’s background story takes is fleshed out in a couple of episodes too. His early training plays an important part in Night of the Ninja, and I Am the Night introduces Dr. Leslie Thompkins who is an important person from when Bruce was young. Viewers get to find out just where the Batmoblie came from in The Mechanic, a great show that explains some aspects of Batman’s world that usually gets glossed over. Robin’s origin is recounted in Robin’s Reckoning, a two part story which won an Emmy. This story examines the bond between Batman and Robin, and why the Dark Knight agreed to raise a young boy.
The writing on the show is top notch. The show doesn’t dumb itself down to appeal to a young audience, the creators thought that if you have well written intelligent stories, kids would be attracted. They were right but the show also appeals to adults for the same reason.

One of the things Batman: The Animated Series does particularly well is infuse its villains with personality. They’re not a rotation of thugs with a different gimmick and costume each week — the writers go to great lengths to humanize these characters, and although they’re still unambiguously the bad guys, they still manage to be sympathetic at times. “His Silicon Soul”, following up on the two-part “Heart of Steel” from the previous collection, features a robotic duplicate of Batman unable to come to grips with the realization that he’s a machine.

The title character of “Baby-Doll” was created especially for the series. Think Webster with the race and gender reversed; Mary Louise Dahl was in her twenties but looked like a three-year-old, and she cashed in on that rare disability with a successful and hopelessly bland sitcom. An ill-advised career move derailed her as an actress, and a decade later, she’s systematically kidnapped all of her former co-stars in an attempt to reclaim those happy years. Again, as outlandish as the premise might sound, it really does work. You might smirk at reading about a teary-eyed Baby Doll attempting to fire an already-emptied doll-shaped pistol into a funhouse mirror, but the immeasurably talented writers are gifted enough to eke more pathos than I ever would have thought possible out of that.

Redemption, whether seized or tossed aside, is also frequently touched upon. “Sideshow” opens with a grueling chase between Batman and an escaped Killer Croc, who manages to stumble upon a remote farm that’s home to a group of former sideshow acts. They offer Croc a chance at an honest life, but old habits die hard. Another example is “House and Garden”. When a poisonous plant-creature starts a reign of terror in Gotham, Batman naturally turns his sights towards the recently-released Poison Ivy. She insists that she’s rehabilitated, and by all accounts, Ivy is happily married and living the mundane suburban life. The investigation continues to point back to her, and the final revelation involves some of the creepiest imagery ever seen in the series.

Harley Quinn is also featured in a couple of episodes centered around her attempts to stick with the straight ‘n narrow. She’s a fan favorite for a reason, and these appearances are some of the most memorable episodes in this collection. “Harlequinade” is a chaotic team-up with Batman in an attempt to track down The Joker, who’s managed to get his hands on a bomb that’ll turn Gotham into a smoldering mushroom cloud. “Harley’s Holiday” documents her release from Arkham Asylum, and even though she’s determined to leave that life of crime behind her, an attempt to legitimately buy a pretty pink dress at a store spirals into a bad day…a really, really bad day, culminating in being chased by Batman.

It’s particularly great to see the villains interact with one another. That’s part of the fun of “Trial”, which has a reluctant prosecutor attempting to defend Batman in an insane trial when the inmates take over the asylum. The flipside of that coin is seen in “Lock-Up”, when a cruel jailer’s overzealousness gets him fired from Arkham and compels him to hunt down the left-leaning scum he blames for the state of the world. Another stand-out is “A Bullet for Bullock”, an episode in which the slovenly detective is rattled by death threats and reluctantly teams with Batman, and the ending is just one example of how clever the show’s writers can be. “Clever” is also the first word that instantly springs to mind for “Make ‘Em Laugh”, an episode where The Joker co-opts a fellow criminal’s technology to create a small army of fumbling costumed criminals with inane gimmicks.

These episodes introduce a couple of recurring villains ripped from the pages of the comics. Most notable among them is Ra’s al Ghul, who makes his first appearance in a two-parter penned by Len Wein and Denny O’Neil, familiar names to longtime readers of Batman’s four-color incarnation. The centuries-old Ra’s has virtually unlimited resources at his disposal, equally intrigued by Batman’s boundless skills as a detective as he is frustrated by his foe’s determination to disrupt his machinations. Ra’s often lends a Saturday morning serial flavor to the show, from the globe-trotting in his first few appearances to the flared pants of “Avatar”. The charismatic character has such a presence that he’s able to carry “Showdown” largely by himself in an episode that barely features Batman or Robin in any capacity. “Showdown” is set during the westward expansion of the mid-1800’s as Ra’s’ opposition to the sprawling railroads is pitted against scarred bounty hunter Jonah Hex (one of the few DC characters not connected with the Batman mythos to appear on the show). The other noteworthy recurring villain is The Ventriloquist, a fairly timid-looking middle-aged man who seems more likely to be a CPA than a ruthless crimelord. Taken by himself, that seems to be the right impression, but when he has his puppet Scarface on the end of his arm… The Ventriloquist’s first appearance, “Read My Lips”, is one of my favorites of the season, and he returns twice after that.
Several other characters from the comics briefly appear, including Maxie Zeus, the back-breaking, Venom-fueled Bane, and the fairly obscure masked criminals of The Terrible Trio. The majority of Batman’s rogue’s gallery is present and accounted for, with The Penguin, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, The Mad Hatter, The Joker, Harley Quinn, The Clock King, Catwoman, The Riddler, The Scarecrow, Two-Face, and Mr. Freeze all wreaking havoc throughout Gotham City at some point or another. Even with the opening titles shifting on disc three from Batman: The Animated Series to The Adventures of Batman and Robin, there’s no discernable drop in quality.

After Batman: The Animated Series wrapped up its long, successful run on Fox, a revised version of the series — with most of the same talent in tow — popped up as part of the animation block on Kids’ WB. This half of The New Batman/Superman Adventures, Although the general look of Batman: The Animated Series is still in place, many of the character designs have been revamped, making them sharper, more angular, and somewhat stripped down. Sometimes the changes worked; The Scarecrow is a much more ominous, disturbing figure now, and I like the exaggerated, deranged look of The Mad Hatter. Others didn’t fare so well, especially the much blander looking Riddler, and I have mixed feelings about the older, frailer Jim Gordon and the beady-eyed look of the Joker. One of the more distinctive changes is that the yellow moon on Batman’s chest is gone, an alteration that makes it easy to distinguish one of these episodes from the previous animated incarnation.

One aspect of Batman: The Animated Series that has always impressed me is that even though it was a weekday afternoon cartoon based on a popular comic book character, it didn’t pander to a younger audience. Rewatching the box sets Warner has issued over the past year and a half, I find myself as engaged by them now in my mid-thirties as I was when I first saw them half a lifetime ago.

The New Batman Adventures is a odd mix because even though many of the stories seem geared towards a younger audience, the censors have lightened up, so the villains can use words like ‘murder’ and ‘kill’ more freely, its female characters (especially Harley Quinn) are less subtle with the sexual innuendo, and there’s even a little blood. Over the Edge, one of my favorite episodes of any of Batman’s animated incarnations, with batman hunted by  by Commissioner Gordon as his men spray gunfire throughout the Batcave in a frantic chase against Batman and Robin. It’s a dark, unflinchingly brutal story about loss and betrayal, showing the Dark Knight at his lowest point with his identity exposed and facing greater adversity than he ever has before.

It’s not all dark and dour, though. Another favorite is “Joker’s Millions”, which opens with the Joker struggling with his finances. Robots, hyena chow, Joker venom, and overly elaborate death traps aren’t cheap, but he gets an unexpected windfall when a dead mobster leaves the flat-broke Joker a quarter-billion dollars in his will. The Joker goes on a spastic spending spree, bribing everyone in sight into wiping his criminal record clean, but…whoops. There’s a catch, of course, and the Joker’s not the one who gets the last laugh.

the Joker also take center-stage in “Mad Love”, an episode penned by Paul Dini that was later spun off by DC into a graphic novel. “Mad Love” takes a look at how ambitious, straightlaced psychiatrist Harlene Quinzel could become infatuated with a psychotic madman like the Joker. The Joker’s far more interested in cobbling together some sort of complicated trap to knock off Batsy than fooling around with his eager-to-please henchwoman, so she tries to get her puddin’s attention by rehashing one of his unused schemes and getting rid of Batman once and for all. This is the sort of character-centric episode that I thought really defined Batman: The Animated Series, and “Mad Love” ranks with the best of the series.
“Legends of the Dark Knight” is another personal favorite, paying homage to some of Batman’s different incarnations over the decades. Dick Sprang gets the first nod in a segment with Batman duking it out with the Joker in a music museum with all of the puns, oversized props, and four-color action you’d expect from a Golden Age comic, followed up by a deeply impressive segment with Frank Miller’s hulking, fifty-something Batman squaring off against an army of mutants in the future. The side story with a few kids getting tangled up in an arson-for-hire gig with Firefly doesn’t stack up to the rest of the episode, but who cares?
There are a few other episodes worth pointing out. “Girls’ Night Out” is set with both Batman and Superman out of town, leaving Batgirl and Supergirl to square off against Harley, Poison Ivy, and electrifying Supes-villain Livewire.Dick Grayson, the original Robin, has struck out on his own as Nightwing, and he’s highlighted several times — first in “You Scratch My Back”, which teams him with Catwoman, much to Batman’s chagrin, and again in “Old Wounds”, where Grayson tells Batgirl why he could no longer fight alongside the Dark Knight. The episodes on this box set also introduce The Creeper, the demon Etrigan, and Firefly to the animated series,  Villains like Two Face, The Mad Hatter, Catwoman, Clayface, Mr. Freeze, The Scarecrow, The Ventriloquist, Bane, Killer Croc, Baby Doll, and, briefly, The Riddler also return to torment Gotham again.