REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 2

Starring

Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Teddy Dunn (Jumper)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Percy Daggs III (Detention)
Francis Capra (Izombie)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Kyle Gallner (American Sniper)
Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jeffrey D. Sams (Cupid)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Charisma Carpenter (Buffy: TVS)
Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy)
Bradley Joseph (Stone & Ed)
Kevin Smith (Jay & Silet Bob Strike Back)
Michael Muhney (The Young and The Restless)
David Starzyk (Cam Girls)
Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher)
Kristin Dattilo (Dexter)
Melissa Reneé Martin (The Secret Craft)
Miko Hughes (New Nightmare)
Valorie Curry (The Tick)
Cress Williams (BLack Lightning)
Brandon Hillock (Villains)
Laura Bell Bundy (Scream Queens)
Geoff Pierson (24)
Tina Majorino (Scorpion)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Christine Estabrook (Spider-Man 2)
Jonathan Chesner (Bones)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Rick Peters (Holidays)
Joss Whedon (Angel)
Patrick Wolff (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
James Molina (Runner Runner)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Christopher B. Duncan (Legacies)
Amanda Noret (Bunny Whipped)
Rodney Rowland (Legacies)
Duane Daniels (Fashion House)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Lisa Thornhill (Agter The Sunset)
Lucy Lawless (Xena)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Kevin Sheridan (Heart of Dixie)
D. Elliot Woods (Ballers)
B.J. Britt (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Curtis Andersen (Sabrina: TTW)
Jessy Schram (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Dawn Olivieri (American Hustle)
Aaron Ashmore (Samllville)
Michael Cera (Juno)
David Tom (Swing Kids)
Kayla Ewell (Th Vampire Diaries)
James Jordan (Wind River)
John Prosky (Heroes)
Amanda Seyfried (Ted 2)
Erica Gimpel (God Friended Me)

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.

 

Kristen Bell and Teddy Dunn in Veronica Mars (2004)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.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)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).Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)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.

REVIEW: BONES – SEASON 4

Starring

Emily Deschanel (Boogeyman)
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Michaela Conlin (Yellowstone)
Tamara Taylor (Lost)
T. J. Thyne (Ghost World)
John Francis Daley (Game Night)

David Boreanaz, Michaela Conlin, John Francis Daley, Emily Deschanel, Tamara Taylor, and T.J. Thyne in Bones (2005)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Eugene Byrd (Heroes)
Sean Blakemore (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Andrew Buchan (All The Money In The World)
Indira Varma (Game of Thrones)
Carla Gallo (Superbad)
Scoot McNairy (Argo)
Elizabeth Lackey (Heroes)
Jill Wagner (Blade: The Series)
Michele Greene (LA Law)
Brennan Elliott (Curse of Chucky)
Richard Gant (Rocky V)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Devon Graye (The Flash)
Adam Rose (Veronica Mars)
Demetrius Grosse (Rampage)
Eric Millegan (Phobic)
Michael Grant Terry (Grimm)
Joel David Moore (Avatar)
David Gallagher (Super 8)
Ryan Cartright (Alphas)
Bruce Thomas (Army of Darkness)
Blake Shields (Heroes)
Patricia Belcher (Jeepers Creepers)
Jonathan LaPaglia (Seven Days)
Nichole Hiltz (Smallville)
Eric Lange (lost)
Brendan Fehr (Roswell)
William R. Moses (JAG)
Ryan O’Neal (Love Story)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)(
Aisha Hinds (Cult)
Sterling Beaumon (The Killing)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2)
Stephen Lee (Robocop 2)
Andy Richter (Scary Movie 2)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy: TVS)
Nathan West (Not Another Teen Movie)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Deirdre Lovejoy (The Blacklist)
Marisa Coughlan (Super Troopers)
Oliver Muirhead (Like Crazy)
Betsy Rue (Halloween II)
Zachary Knighton (Flashforward)
Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings)
Spencer Breslin (The Happening)
Pej Vahdat (Arrow)
Kayla Ewell (The Vampire DIaries)
Dana Davis (Prom Night)
Audrey Wasilewski (Red)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
P.J. Byrne (Black Lightning)
Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory)
Stephen Fry (V For Vendetta)
Tania Raymonde (Lost)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
Ally Maki (Cloak & Dagger)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Jaimie Alexander (Thor)
Rick Peters (Dexter)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
Lorna Raver (Drag Me To Hell)
Jeff Yagher (V)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)

David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, Indira Varma, and Andrew Buchan in Bones (2005)World-renowned forensic anthropologist Temperance “Bones” Brennan is as brusque and tactless as ever, as confounded by the subtleties of social decorum as ever (or as Sweets exclaims: “She is wicked literal!”). Bones is still very much that intimidating icy intellect, still a wounded soul, and still solving murders. FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth is still the one with the people skills and that well-developed bump of intuition. More onions are peeled in this season as we learn even more about the underpinnings of our core characters. The absolute big draw of this show is that sizzle between David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, their fabulous interplay tantalizing and frustrating the viewers. Could this be the season that they get together? Well, kind of, sort of. Taking what the show is giving, I wallow in their ever evolving relationship.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)Staying on the personal, Hodgins and Angela are trying to move past their break-up. “The Skull in the Sculpture” demonstrates that Angela is more ready to move on than Hodgins, and if you thought Angela was a free spirit before, well, now… This episode also has Sweets demonstrating the best way ever to fire someone. Young FBI psychologist Lance Sweets, by the way, becomes a regular cast member in this season, and I like him more and more as each episode progresses, even if Booth and Bones continually treat him like a pesky little brother. Even Dr. Saroyan’s past is delved into.Emily Deschanel and Cesar Millan in Bones (2005)Zack Addy, apprentice to the Gormagon Killer, has been institutionalized, which doesn’t keep him from strolling out to help the squints on a baffling case. Still, this gives rise to a running theme, that of the rotating roster of interns as Saroyan and Bones attempt to fill Zack’s spot, and the fun thing is that each of these interns comes with baggage. There’s the morbid one, the excessively chirpy one, the one constantly dispensing trivia, etc. The most martyred one may well be that repressed intern who insists on keeping things professional at all times – except that, the squints being a tight bunch, he keeps getting exposed to a deluge of innuendo and gossip in the workplace.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)There isn’t really a running mystery arc to tie these episodes together – no one like the Gormagon Killer running around, for example. But that doesn’t mean that the cases aren’t gripping; some of them are really interesting. The season opens with “Yanks in the U.K.” which plants Brennan and Booth in jolly old England, investigating a murder and running into a British version of themselves. In “The Passenger in the Oven” Bones and Booth are on a flight bound to China and have only four hours to solve a murder before the plane lands and Booth loses jurisdiction. “Double Trouble in the Panhandle” has Booth and Bones infiltrating the Big Top as “Buck & Wanda and their Knives of Death,” and their circus act is actually fraught with more suspense than in just about any other scene in this season.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)Some other favorites? In “The Double Death of the Dearly Departed,” Bones and Booth steal a corpse due for cremation from a funeral home, Bones believing that the body had been “translated,” which is Booth’s made-up code for murder. “Mayhem on a Cross” unveils some dark stuff about Sweets’ past, this episode also featuring the return of the awesome Stephen Fry as FBI shrink Gordon Gordon Wyatt. It also had me cracking up whenever Bones insisted on correctly pronouncing “skalle” (the Norwegian word for “skull”). “The Hero in the Hold” features the return of the Grave Digger serial killer. “The Princess and the Pear” plonks Bones and Booth’s temp replacement in the world of comic book conventions, and Bones finally gets another chance to flash her martial arts mojo.The-Critic-in-The-Cabernet-Screencaps-bones-10968392-653-435In “The Critic in the Cabernet” Bones drops a bomb on Booth and Booth gets advice from a cartoon character, a frivolous conceit which goes on to have a terrifying payoff. Finally Season 4 closes with a quirky fantasy episode featuring a re-shuffling of roles. In this reality, Dr. Saroyan and Booth’s brother are homicide detectives and Booth and Bones are a married couple who run a nightclub and who end up as suspects in a murder case. It’s neat that just about everyone is in this one.

REVIEW: ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO – SEASON 1

Roswell, New Mexico (2019)

Starring

Jeanine Mason (The Archer)
Nathan Parsons (The Originals)
Michael Vlamis (VlamCarter)
Lily Cowles (Enchantments )
Tyler Blackburn (Pretty Little Liars)
Heather Hemmens (Hellcats)
Michael Trevino (The Vampire DIaries)
Trevor St. John (The Bourne Ultimatum)
Karan Oberoi (Overruled!)

Nathan Parsons and Jeanine Mason in Roswell, New Mexico (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Carlos Compean (Contraband)
Rosa Arredondo (Still Alice)
Amber Midthunder (Legion)
Peter Diseth (Better Call Saul)
Matthew Van Wettering (12 Strong)
Riley Voelkel (The Originals)
Dylan McTee (The Wind)
Jessica Treska (Sharp Objects)
Sherri Saum (Sunset Beach)
Claudia Black (Stargate SG.1)
Sonya Balmores (Inhumans)
Kayla Ewell (The Vampire Diaries)
Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga: New Moon)

Michael Trevino and Jeanine Mason in Roswell, New Mexico (2019)Roswell, New Mexico. It’s one of those places so iconic, so singularly famous for one specific thing that it doesn’t even warrant an explanation. Back in 1999, it was the show that launched the careers of Shiri Appleby, Katherine Heigl, Colin Hanks , and several other faces you know, even if their names are less familiar, like Nick Wechsler (Revenge, Dynasty), Brendan Fehr (Bones, Wynonna Earp), and Emilie de Ravin (Lost). And now, 20 years and a few changes later, it’s back.Nathan Parsons in Roswell, New Mexico (2019)Notably, Roswell, New Mexico isn’t a sequel to 1999’s Roswell. Even though everyone is roughly 10 years older, and the original show took place 10 years ago, these events–namely the inciting incidents of Liz’s (Jeanine Mason) death and revival and the trio of aliens revealing themselves–are all taking place for the very first time. The aliens still arrived in the 1940s and entered the community as children due to some woo-woo hand wave alien stuff, but in this version they’ve managed to keep their true species a secret that entire time, implausible though that may be if you’ve ever met a teenager.Michael Vlamis in Roswell, New Mexico (2019)You’d be forgiven if, when watching, you thought you were caught in a time loop, or having déjà vu. It’s all there–Liz’s voiceover, this version of the legend of Roswell’s aliens, the Crashdown café, the suspicious sheriff; Liz is even wearing the exact same uniform at the Crashdown, and so far there’s heavy overlap on the soundtracks. There’s boy scout Max Evans (Nathan Parsons, The Originals), his overprotective Type-A sister Isobel (Lily Cowles, BrainDead), and their smart but troubled bad boy fellow alien Michael (Michael Vlamis, New Girl), whose time on Earth hasn’t been quite as charmed.Nathan Parsons and Jeanine Mason in Roswell, New Mexico (2019)Like many pilots, this one is rather overstuffed. Science fiction and fantasy shows have the added task of not only telling you a story, but building a world or explaining power sets. As a result, the second episode of Roswell is much more successful than the first one, so  stick around for it and the rest of the season, as the show gets better as it gets along.Michael Vlamis and Lily Cowles in Roswell, New Mexico (2019)The pilot is mostly a paint by numbers affair, but there are a few updates, like when a conspiracy theorist podcaster references Beyoncé and the Illuminati. The older protagonists helpfully allow for all the steamy sex and bar scenes the CW loves, without all the questions as to who, exactly, is supervising a bunch of 16-year-olds who rarely seem to attend school. And things start off a little differently: Max fell for Liz Ortecho, who kicks things off with her return to town after 10 years away. Ten years ago, Liz’s sister Rosa (Amber Midthunder, Legion, Hell or Highwater) was killed in a car accident, which many see as her fault since she used drugs and two others died in the same accident, but it’s clear from the jump that there’s more to this story.Heather Hemmens and Jeanine Mason in Roswell, New Mexico (2019)The biggest difference is that Liz and her family are immigrants (her father is undocumented) and her sister is dead, a death in which Max and co. apparently had some involvement. Story-wise, this opens up some avenues. First, adding the immigration element makes the story feel urgent and contemporary, and sets up parallels between Liz and Max. Both of them have to protect their families from the U.S. government, and both have secrets to keep and stigma to fight. Viewers of the original series can likely surmise additional, spoiler-y connections.Nathan Parsons and Jeanine Mason in Roswell, New Mexico (2019)Second, Rosa places an obstacle between Liz and Max’s love story that’s a bit more appealing. It’s unclear what, exactly, is going on here, but Max obviously has secrets about Rosa. Secrets he doesn’t ever want Liz to know. The next episode will tease this out more, but for that kind of tension in the central pair is a good thing and helps make this a more adult show with adult disagreements. Finally, in this version, Liz is not the beloved hometown girl. In fact, she faces racist slurs and hate crimes.The CW has been among the more progressive networks for a while now, routinely casting diverse casts and including queer characters, even if they still have a lot to learn. Shows like Jane the Virgin, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Supergirl have regularly taken on heady, “controversial” topics, including immigration, so it shouldn’t be a surprise. And yet, seeing ICE and racism called out directly on television still feels bold, especially at a time when most elected officials aren’t willing to do the same.There are familiar beats here, even in the new material–sex with the ex in a car outside a bar is hardly innovative. If the premise and progressive racial politics of the show appeal to you at all, stick around for the next couple of episodes of Roswell before you decide whether to jump ship.