REVIEW: AMERICAN PIE 2

CAST

Jason Biggs (Evil Woman)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Shannon Elizabeth (Scary Movie)
Chris Klein (Election)
Thomas Ian Nicholas (Rookie of The Year)
Natasha Lyonne (Orange Is The New Black)
Tara Reid (Urban Legend)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Dad)
Seann WIlliam Scott (Goon)
Mena Suvari (Loser)
Eugene Levy (Cheaper By The Dozen 2)
Chris Owen (October Sky)
Molly Cheek (Drag Me To Hell)
Jennifer Coolidge (2 Broke Girls)
Denise Faye (Chicago)
Lisa Arturo (Garden Party)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Justin Isfeld (Fraternity House)
Eli Marienthal (The Iron Giant)
Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
George Wyner (Spaceballs)
Joelle Carter (Justified)
Larry Drake (Darkman)
Lee Garlington (A Lot Like love)
Tsianina Joelson (Bring it On)
Lacey Beeman (Coach Carter)
Joanna Garcia Swisher (The Internship)
Nora Zehetner (Heroes)
Adam Brody (Jennifers Body)
Kevin Kilner (Earth: Final Conflict)

After breaking up for the summer, the four friends regroup for a party held by Stifler (Seann William Scott), their overtly sex-crazed class clown and good friend. His party is shut down thanks in part to the neighbors calling the police. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is inspired by his brother to make his summer with his friends count by renting a beach home. He, Jim, Oz and Finch plan to take off to a beach house together, where they intend to spend the summer. Kevin realizes a problem and worked out that they can only afford the house if they have a fifth member to work along with them. Stifler takes charge of much of the organizing, often ending up leading the group in their misadventures.Oz (Chris Klein) is miserable, being away from his girlfriend Heather (Mena Suvari) who is in Spain. During the stay at the beach house, they proceed to start having phone sex to vent some of their loneliness, which ends up being interrupted by Stifler. Heather later shows up early to the party, ending the short storyline that Oz is involved in. After arriving in Grand Harbor they settle in, they manage to find work painting a house (based on the Tuition Painters franchise) in the area together, mistaking the owners for lesbians. Jim (Jason Biggs), Stifler and Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) end up performing “like for like” sexual acts on each other in return for being able to watch the girls doing the same thing. Oz and Kevin take turns watching up a ladder and listening on the walkie-talkie also in the room. The conversation is accidentally picked up and heard by many other people in the neighborhood. Finally at the end of the last party, Stifler manages to have a wild threesome with the owners of the house.After this, many concurrent stories run at the same time, some interacting with each other, others staying mainly separate. Nadia (Shannon Elizabeth) is coming to visit Jim in August. When she arrives early, Jim asks for help from band geek Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), humiliating himself in front of the audience when he pretends to be Petey, a mentally challenged boy who plays the trombone. They pretend to be in a relationship so that Nadia will not expect Jim to have sex (Jim is involved in an incident involving a tube of super glue he mistook for lube; he accidentally glued his hand to his penis while watching a porno film and injured himself, leaving him wounded and unable to perform). Jim and Michelle break the mock relationship off once he is ready to have sex with Nadia, but by then Michelle has really fallen in love with Jim, and soon Jim realizes that he has found his soul-mate in Michelle. Nadia also realizes this and tells him, “Go, get your band geek, and I will find mine”. Jim goes and plays the trombone once more whilst Michelle is playing the flute at a major recital in order to show her that she is the one he wants to be with.Finch has become involved in the sexual art of Tantra, and claims that through Tantra he can “make an orgasm last for days”. He is waiting for Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge), who he had sex with in the first film, hoping she will show up and be willing to do it again. He thinks she arrives when a vehicle turns up after Stifler is talking on the phone, but it turns out to be his little brother Matt (Eli Marienthal), the star of later films. He spends the night talking with a few girls, but he doesn’t sleep with any of them. The next morning, after the party, a Mercedes coupe with darkened windows turns up, Finch approaches and it turns out Stifler’s Mom has come after all. He jumps at the chance and they drive off together, Stifler not realizing until after the car has driven off that it was Finch and his mother. After being asked, she reveals her name is Janine, but also instructs Finch to resume calling her “Stifler’s mom” as per usual.The geeky Sherman (Chris Owen) gives up on getting anyone after he is turned down by the experienced and sharp-tongued Jessica (Natasha Lyonne), but the rejected Nadia, who wanted Jim because he was a geek, is turned on by his “Sherminator” gimmick, and they end up in bed together. Kevin doesn’t end up “getting off” with anyone, but he does seem to succeed in getting over Vicky (Tara Reid) after making advances on her throughout the film.This is one of the all time best comedies of recent times. With all the favourites back for a sequel, it doesnt disappoint. With the same humour but more orginal storylines, this is a must see for any movie fan.

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REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 1-4

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MAIN CAST

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Vanessa Williams (666 Park Avenue)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Tony Plana (Alpha House)
Ana Ortiz (Devious Maids)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Ashley Jensen (Extras)
Christopher Gorham (Jake 2.0)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Kevin Sussman (The Big Bang Theory)
Gina Gershon (Bound)
Ava Gaudet (Hurt)
Kristen Schaal (Bob’s Burgers)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Sarah Jones (Alcatraz)
Rhys Coiro (Straw Dogs)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Patrick Fabian (Veronica Mars)
Jowharah Jones (The Client List)
Debi Mazar (Goodfellas)
Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider)
Kevin Alejandro (Arrow)
Martha Stewart (2 Broke Girls)
Teddy Sears (The Flash)
Mini Anden (Chuck)
Courtney Ford (Dexter)
Kathleen Munroe (Stargate Universe)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Kathy Griffin (Pulp Fiction)
Bailey Chase (Buffy)
Lucy Liu (Kill Bill)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Ivana Milicevic (Casino Royale)
Leslie Jordan (The Help)
AnnaLynne McCord (Excision)
Cristián de la Fuente (Valiant Love)
Rachel Roberts (Simone)
Jonathan Slavin (Free Enterprise)
Dale Dickey (My Name Is Earl)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Illeana Douglas (Ghost World)
Alec Mapa (Marley & Me)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
James Van Der Beek (Dawsons Creek)
John Cho (Flashforward)
Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Megan Hilty (The Pirate Fairy)
Victoria Beckham (Spiceworld)
Mo’Nique (Precious)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Candace Kita (Masked Rider)
Annie Potts (Ghostbusters)
Derek Riddell (Micro Man)
Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory)
Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Gabrielle Union (Bring It On)
Kari Matchett (Cube 2)
Eddie Cibrian (Sunset Beach)
Julian de la Celle (The Fosters)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Val Emmich (30 Rock)
Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid)
Grant Bowler (Lost)
Sarah LaFleur (Earth: Final Conflict)
Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray)
Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Daniel Eric Gold (Charlie Wilson’s War)
Brennan Brown (Beauty and The Beast)
David Rasche (Burn After Readiing)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Dreama Walker (Compliance)
Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters)
Yaya DaCosta (In Time)
Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jamie-Lynn Sigler (The Sopranos)
Hamish Linklater (The Crazy Ones)
Adam Ferrara (Rescue Me)
Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2)
Brooklyn Decker (Battleship)
Lisa Howard (Earth: Final Conflict)
Adam Rodriguez (Roswell)
Christie Brinkley (Parks and Recreation)
Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit)
Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy Returns)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Dana Ivey (Two Weeks Notice)
Donna Murphy (Spider-Man 2)
Matt Newton (Face To Face)
Ryan McGinnis (Hard Sell)
Bryan Batt (Scream: The Series)

Ugly Betty is a television comedy/drama that airs on ABC. It was produced by Salma Hayek, Silvio Horta, Ben Silverman, Jose Tamez, James Hayman, and Marco Pennette. The show was adapted from the Colombian mini-series “Yo Soy Betty La Fea”. The series is about a plain-old girl who is thrust into the glamorous fashion world and the drama that trails her life and co-workers. It was highly successful during its freshmen season (2006-2007) and nominated eleven times in the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards.

The primary character is Betty Saurez (America Ferrera). Betty is a normal girl from Queens who aspires to be in the fashion business. In the beginning of the series, she is trying to get a job at a fashion magazine. The problem is that no one will even consider her for a job, which is mostly due to the fact she doesn’t physically fit in with the beautiful people. Her life is changed when Bradford Meade (Alan Dale) makes his playboy son Daniel (Eric Mabius) hire her as his assistant. Daniel was recently inducted as editor-in-chief of “Mode” magazine, Meade Publications’ flagship. Bradford hopes that Daniel’s work at Mode will prepare him to take over the company. Unfortunately Daniel’s frat-boy behavior prevents him from focusing on the job. Betty is hired as his assistant, because she is the one girl in New York City he won’t jump in the sack with.Image result for ugly betty fake plastic snowWhen Betty first comes to Mode, Daniel does everything in his power to get rid of her by embarrassing and demeaning her. He soon learns that despite Betty’s looks, she is very capable, intelligent, determined, and an invaluable asset to the company. She plays a vital role in Daniel succeeding as editor-in-chief. Her unique and real outlook on life saves the day on more than one occasion. Challenging Daniel and Betty is Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams). Wilhelmina is the creative director, who believes should have been given the position of editor-in-chief. She works with a mysterious woman to dethrone Bradford and Daniel and take over the company.

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Others in the office include Amanda Tanen (Becki Newton), the Mode receptionist who has an eye of Betty’s job and Daniel’s pants, Marc St. James (Michael Urie), Wilhelmina’s assistant who does all of her dirty work, and Christina McKinney (Ashley Jensen), the Scottish seamstress who is Betty’s one friend in the company. These characters are not as developed as the other main characters, but they still bring quite a lot to the table in drama and comedy.

Outside of the office, there are several key characters from Betty’s home life. They include Ignacio (Tony Plana), Betty’s father who has a shady past and several secrets he hopes are never revealed, Hilda (Ana Ortiz), Betty’s older protective sister who sells weight-loss supplements, and Justin (Mark Indelicato), Hilda’s son who is very “different” than other boys and loves fashion just as much as his aunt Betty.

The show’s supporting characters include Walter (Kevin Sussman), Betty’s boyfriend and serious love interest who cheated on her, Henry Grubstick (Christopher Gorham), a Mode accountant who develops strong chemistry with Betty, Sofia Reyes (Salma Hayek), a new editor-in-chief at Meade Publications who is a love interest for Daniel, and Claire Meade (Judith Light), Daniel’s mother who is a drunk and a key to the season’s biggest story arc.

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In Ugly Betty’s first season, there are several storylines that drive it. Even the slightest developments are key and play into a soap opera-worthy story. The writing is done very well and manages to intertwine the storylines to focus on the big picture and character development. This comment is especially worth noting because of the large ensemble cast and the different directions it takes the show. In other words, there is a lot going on, but it is handled and presented in an engaging and entertaining manner that is easy to follow.

Yet for all of Ugly Betty’s strengths, what really keeps the show afloat is Betty. While this character is an imperfect match to the world of high fashion, she is a great fit for this television show. Most of the people working at Mode are overly superficial and fake. Betty, on the other hand, is sincere and real. She is a strong heroine, despite the fact she is constantly tormented and teased by her attractive peers. Her outlandish personality brings something special to everyone at Mode. She is the real strength that drives this show.Image result for ugly betty icing on the cakeAs an overall series, Ugly Betty does very well with its first season. It offers a very fun show with likable characters, engaging over-the-top drama that feels mature, intricate storylines.

In season two, the characters of Ugly Betty go through a whirlwind of drama and comedy. The whirlwind comes from a variety of new developments that include Betty’s complex romance with Henry and a new character Gio, Alexis losing her memory and rekindling friendship with the family, Daniel struggling to keep control of Mode, Mrs. Meade on the run, Hilda dealing with the loss of Santos, and more. It is a very dramatic season with several tidbits of comedy throughout. Overall, it is enjoyable like the season one.

“How Betty Got Her Grieve Back” is the season two premiere episode. In it, a lot of things happen. The biggest development involves Betty’s love life, or rather lack of. She comes to terms with Henry leaving for Tucsan to take care of the mother of his unborn baby. Later in the season, Harry returns to Mode to finish working. Betty and Henry have a complicated romance, as they try to figure out how they can be together with the unborn baby baggage. Also in the premiere, Amanda finds out her mother is Fey Sommers! Throughout the season, she tries to find answers about her parents. And Marc helps her. Wilhelmina also uses the events from the season one finale to her advantage. With Claire behind bars, she moves on Bradford. Daniel struggles with his personal demons about Alexis’ condition.

 

Image result for ugly betty how betty got her grieve backIn the Saurez household, there are two key subplots introduced. The first is about Hilda, Justin, and Santos. Both Hilda and Justin come to terms with Santos death. Hilda goes through a couple phases, which include being boarded in her room and hanging out with aged widows. Justin goes through a rebellious phase, where he tries to take on qualities of his dad (sports and woman). The other development is about Ignacio still stuck in Mexico. Betty goes against her principles to help him acquire US citizenship.As the season continues, there are a lot of new developments — many of which grow from the seeds planted in the season opener. Betty’s love life with Henry gets more complex in “Betty’s Wait Problem”. A new character and love interest named Gio is introduced. Alexis comes out of the coma without memory of the last two years. Daniel, Bradford, and Wilhelmina take advantage of the situation. Daniel and Alexis also struggle with Wilhelmina, who is still trying to take over Mode. Claire resurfaces after escaping from prison, which complicates Wilhelmina’s diabolical plans. The season developments continue with even more wild escapades.Overall, Ugly Betty’s second season is fun and entertaining. It has a similar light-hearted humorous tone with over the top, soap opera plotlines to season one. The major difference is that Betty is no longer trying to prove herself.

The Third Season of the amazing show “Ugly Betty” shows even further strengthening of the programme- from the very good Season One, the show improved to be excellent in Season Two and this season returns to be truly amazing. There’s brilliant character development this season and the plotlines and ongoing storylines in this season are excellent; with some truly outstanding drama and comedy moments.

Following on from the first two seasons, “Ugly Betty” continues the story of New York underdog Betty who dreams of being an editor for a magazine. The show centres around her adventures as the “ugly” and “fat” girl at America’s top fashion magazine ‘Mode’, working with shallow, stick-thin, martini sipping socialites and arrogant, womanizing men. The characterisation remains to be great, and there is some outstanding character developments during this season- especially Mark, Amanda and Justin who are audience favourites- the former infact finally gets a more front-seat role in this season- Mark has been an excellent character since the first episode and this season it feels like he finally gets the screentime and storylines he deserves.Image result for ugly betty the manhattan project

With better comedy, improved writing and great storylines, fans of the show are sure to adore this season- and for those who are tempted to mingle with the show, this certainly satisfy those appetites. An excellent season; a brilliant show; and I highly recommend this boxset.

After four years and 85 episodes, the braces came off and Ugly Betty, the fish-out-of-water PA from Queens, finally became Betty Suarez, publisher of her own magazine in the UK.

The first nine episodes focussed mainly on self-contained storylines. Betty’s struggles to establish herself in her new role as a junior editor as ex-boyfriend Matt, now her boss, is petty and mean to her. An emotionally vulnerable Daniel Meade is drawn into a cult as he tries to deal with Molly‘s death. A ludicrous murder side-plot involving Nico Slater, which triggers Wilhelmina leaving Mode.

A few ongoing plots are also teed up. Amanda starts to think about her future. Claire Meade sets off in search of the son, Tyler, she had with Cal Hartley but was forced to give away. Hilda hooks up with Bobby Talercio, an old high school flame. Each of these becomes significant down the stretch, but are only touched upon initially.


London Calling, starts to set up the finale, as well as giving us a sentimental excuse to welcome back Christina and ex-boyfriends Gio and Henry.

The final episode gives us the closure we had all been waiting for, and does so with style. Hello Goodbye is as much about discovery as it is about departure, with every character getting their turn to take a final bow. Hilda, married and no longer tied to the Suarez house by her salon, gets her dream move to Manhattan. Justin finds contentment with Austin. Amanda finds her father. Daniel steps down as co-editor-in-chief to pursue the opportunity to find himself. Wilhelmina finds redemption, her lost love Connor and then, suddenly, without the need for scheming, she finally achieves her heart’s desire: Mode – a direct result of her altruistic act of saving Claire. Marc is shown the path to becoming creative director by Wilhelmina, and finds love and the possibility of a real relationship with Troy, after a lovely reversal where Justin returns the favour by turning into his mentor.


There is one touching moment at the farewell party where we linger on Betty, Marc and Amanda – the triumvirate who have always been the beating heart of the show – dancing joyfully together, all previous bitchiness put aside as their friendship is finally affirmed.


It was a fitting end, and one which suited the series better than the ending of its Colombian parent, Betty la Fea, would have done, where Betty marries Daniel’s equivalent, Armando. Betty has come a long way since she first walked through the door at Mode

REVIEW: DOLLHOUSE – SEASON 1-2

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MAIN CAST

Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Harry Lennix (Man of Steel)
Fran Kranz (The Cabin In The Woods)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Enver Gjokaj (Agent Carter)
Dichen Lachman (Agents of SHIELD)
Olivia Williams (X-Men 3)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Amy Acker (Angel)
Reed Diamond (Bones)
Liza Lapira (Cloverfield)
Kevin Kilner (Earth: Final Conflict)
VIncent Ventresca (Cold Case)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Alexis Denisof (Avengers Assemble)
Keith Carradine (The Big Bang Theory)
Summer Glau (Arrow)
Matt Keeslar (Scream 3)
Miracle Laurie (Insane Jane)
Mark Sheppard (Chuck)
Erin Cumming (Spartacus)
Jim Piddock (The Man)
Anson Mount (In Her Shoes)
David Alpay (The Vampire Diaries)
Aisha Hinds (Cult)
Patton Oswalt (Caprica)
Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Emma Bell (Final Destination 5)
Teddy Sears (The Flash)
Jordan Bridges (J. Edgar)
Ian Anthony Dale (Mr. 3000)
Gregg Henry (Slither)
Ashley Johnson (Roswell)
Felicia Day (The Guild)
Janina Gavankar (True Blood)
Chris William Martin (The Vampire Diaries)
Adair Tishler (Heroes)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Clayton Rohner (The Relic)
Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica)
Kristoffer Polaha (Ringer)
Stacey Scowley (The Brotherhood 2)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Nelson Franklin (New Girl)
Ray Wise (Swamp Thing)
Adam Godley (Powers)

Dollhouse is a near-future SF tv series, featuring Eliza Dushku as Echo, a woman working for the secretive “Dollhouse” who has voluntarily had her personality wiped in order to be imprinted with any mind and skills a client requires. While initially very episodic, a longer plotline slowly emerges as the more disturbing aspects of this technology and the Dollhouse emerges.

This series comes from the mind of Joss Whedon, responsible for Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. Like Firefly, Dollhouse was cancelled ignominiously in its second season, so be warned that you will not get the full story Whedon planned to write. Whedon has a real genius for producing brilliant genre TV that delights fans but doesn’t make it as a mainstream show, and the tension between his desire to tell a big story, while not alienating casual viewers, shows in the early episodes, which see Echo sent off on unrelated assignments.

Echo’s assignments range from the obvious seductions to less obvious tasks such as bodyguard and safe-cracker. As time goes on, we see her blank state slowly becoming not so blank. An outside element is provided by FBI agent Ballard, who is investigating the Dollhouse, and becomes obsessed with locating Echo and finding why she would enter the Dollhouse.

Once the first season gets into its stride it deals with rogue agent Alpha, whose eventual return causes chaos, and the ongoing investigation of Ballard. Slowly building along with this are the big questions of what the corporation behind the Dollhouse really want, what could be done with this technology, and how the apparently-wiped minds slowly find a personality. Season two attempts to kick into high gear, and throws some more radical changes into the mix, including glimpses of the eventual result of the Dollhouse technology, but ultimately couldn’t avoid cancellation.

Dollhouse has some excellent secondary characters, and tries to create an ensemble despite Dushku being very much the face of the show. Characters such as Topher, DeWitt, Langton, and Dr Saunders are brilliantly drawn, and the dialogue sparkles. As ever with a Whedon product, the characters draw you in and make you wish you could watch them again and again.

Ultimately Dollhouse is a brave but failed attempt to create something a little different, and provoke some real thought, in a genre that sometime gets too bland. It’s well worth watching, but doesn’t give the full story its vision deserved.

 

REVIEW: EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT – SEASON 1-5

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MAIN CAST

Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Lisa Howard (Robocop: THe Series)
Von Flores (Never Cry Werewolf)
David Hemblen (La Femme Nikita)
Richard Chevolleau (Rookie Blue)
Leni Parker (Screamers)
Anita La Selva (Rogue)
Robert Leeshock (Dead End Road)
Jayne Heitmeyer (Snake Eyes)
Melinda Deines (Mutant X)
Alan van Sprang (Reign)
Guylaine St-Onge (Mutant X)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Flipowich (Charlie Jade)
Lisa Ryder (Andromeda)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek)
Miranda Kwok (Ride or Die)
Sharu Guthrie (Pitch Black)
Malin Ackerman (Watchmen)
Emily Hampshire (Cosmopolis)
Peter Krantz (Exotica)
John Evans (Dirty Pictures)
Colette Stevenson (This is Wonderland)
Kristin Lehman (The Killing)
Nigel Bennett (Cypher)
Maurice Dean Wint (Cube)
Damon D’Oliveira (Short Circuit 2)
Kari Matchett (Wonderfalls)
Shauna MacDonald (Reign)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
William De Vry (Beauty and The Beast)
Paul Johansson (Highlander: The Raven)
Barry Flatman (Odyssey 5)
Montse Viader (Whipped)
Shawn Doyle (Reign)
Polly Shannon (Lie With Me)
Andrew Jackson (Andromeda)
Monika Schnarre (The New Addams Family)
Christina Cox (Stargate SG.1)
Janet Kidder (Arrow)
Fiona Highet (Bitten)
Francoise Yip (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Dean McDermott (Open Range)
Carlo Rota (Stargate Universe)
Frank Moore (Rabid)
Richard Zeppieri (Driven)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
Reagan Pasternak (Being Erica)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
J.C. MacKenzie (Dark Angel)
Marina Sirtis (STar Trek: TNG)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Lindy Booth (Odyssey 5)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Sarah LaFleur (Ugly Betty)
Garwin Sanford (Stargate: Atlantis)
Stacy Grant (Shanghai Noon)
Larissa Laskin (John Q)
Victor A. Young (Highlander: the Series)
Ramona Milano (Pushing Tin)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
Andrew Gillies (Mutant X)
Noam Jenkins (Saw II)
Helen Taylor (Thoughtcrimes)
Peter Outerbridge (Beauty and The Beast)
Margot Kidder (Superman)
Anthony Lemke (Mutant X)
Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls)
James Gallanders (Bride of Chucky)
Andrea Roth (Ringer)

I started watching this with rather low expectations — everything with Roddenberry’s name on it, other than Star Trek , has been a bit of a flop. So I was pleasantly surprised that this story of alien contact with a hidden ulterior motive is done quite well.

The Taelons arrived on Earth three years ago, and have helped eliminate much poverty and hunger. Selected members of their race — Companions — live on earth, and are aided by human agents implanted with a CVI, an alien virus that increases intelligence and has a motivational imperative to be loyal to the Taelons. But the Taelons are secretive, and not all humans are convinced of their good intentions. A Resistance sets up, and they place an agent, William Boone, with a modified CVI that has no such motivational imperative. The series follows Boone’s adventures as he tries to find out what the Taelons are up to, without blowing his cover.

That the Talons do have a secret purpose becomes clearer as the season progresses, but what it is precisely remains a mystery. The uncovering of the secrets, and the story arcs, are well handled. The Taelons come across as an interestingly conflicted race, some more pro-human, and less happy with whatever it is they are up to, than others. And the Resistance is nicely complex, too — sometimes seeming to be irrationally fanatic, sometimes seeming to be Earth’s last best hope for freedom. Boone does the agonised man trapped between two worlds bit quite well.

There is thankfully very little techno-babble, although some implausible technology rears its head (yet another case of whipping up an antidote to a disease in less than an episode — and a DNA sequence alone is not sufficient to recreate an adult person — and if the Taelons simply monitored Boone’s video phone, they’d get a nasty shock!) Yet, minor quibbles aside, this has been a fun journey.

Don’t be fooled by the box cover. I don’t know why they chose to have Kevin Kilner (William Boone) on the cover. I guess maybe because Boone’s fate was the cliffhanger of Season 1. But rest assured, this is not some sort of “alternate version” of Season 1 that’s repackaged as a misleading “Season 2,” as some fans had speculated, including myself. Trust me, this is Season 2 for real, just as advertised. The back of the box mentions Liam Kincaid, but shows pictures of Kilner (Boone). Ironic, considering Boone is already “dead” by Season 2 and makes no appearances until Season 5. So yes, the first episode of Season 2 is “First Of Its Kind,” Liam Kincaid being born. The rest of the episodes of Season 2 follow.

A lot of E:FC fans were turned off when the series changed direction, when they killed off Kevin Kilner (Boone’s) character, and brought Robert Leeshock (Liam) to replace him. I for one fell in love with it, then watched it to the end during its normal run on television, including the  Season 5. I can see how a lot of people would be pissed off that they axed Kevin Kilner (Boone) from the series. However, I must say that Liam Kincaid’s story arc, of him being a “man who’s more than human,” having Shaqarava in his palms (for Season 2 at least), having supposedly 75% Jaridian DNA, having precognitive powers, and his relationship with Augur, Lili, Doors, (as well as others introduced in Seasons 3 and 4) made for a good show.

I must say that E:FC would be nothing without the Liam Kincaid story arc. He carried the series from Season 2 to Season 4. Liam Kincaid, Ronald Sandoval, Da’an, and Zo’or. These are the players to watch out for, the major movers and shakers whose interplays determine the future of Earth. Liam’s relationship with Da’an was the strongest in Season 2, and it was very entertaining to see him use powers such as the Shaqarava, which can, among other things, fire lethal blasts, revive recently slain allies, deflect Jaridian Replicant energy beams, expel Dark Matter.

By the beginning of Earth: Final Conflict: Season Three, it is learned that the Taelons are ruthless and cunning; willing to manipulate anything and anyone to benefit their agenda. Their agenda is primarily fueled by their inter-galactic war with a race of aliens that share a common ancestor with them, the Jaridians. While the Taelons are long-lived and based on an energy physiology, the Jaridians are flesh & bone, with very short life expectancies. The Taelons main advantage has been their lifespan and technological edge, as well as their ability to travel faster than light. The Jaridians, on the other hand, have the advantage of sheer numbers with a scorch & burn policy towards their enemy and any who assist them.

 

Season three introduced Renee Palmer (Jayne Heitmeyer) as the main female lead, to assist Liam in his fight against the Taelon agenda but it also showed her as having her own agenda, based on acquiring wealth. It also phased Lili out as a regular and solidified the relationship between Liam and Auger, a computer genius with a leaning towards capitalism (much like Renee). The show evolved with each season and the plot threads of these 22 episodes focused more on unveiling the secrets (and weaknesses) of the aliens than any other season. The show was very much a social commentary and on its good days, showed the mindset of the radical Roddenberry whose idealism was obvious in all of his television shows .

Da’an helps to make sure that the Human/Jaridian hybrid lives. The Jaridians are dying, and Vorjack had hoped that the child would hold the key to their salvation, but this does not happen as expected. Before Vorjack dies from being on Earth for too long for his body to handle, Liam thinks quickly and saves his life. Lili, the Jaridian, and their hybrid child, manage to escape as Liam wishes them well.

Augur runs into trouble with the law and is forced into hiding. He offers his friend Juliet Street, a.k.a. J.Street, the opportunity to take over his role in the Resistance, and she accepts. She proves savvy and intelligent, eventually revealing that she has rare ability to think and calculate in multiple dimensions, which makes her a target for the increasingly desperate Taelons.The Resistance goes above ground once again when Renee and Liam team up with an international group, the Atlantic National Alliance, dedicated to defending human interests against the Taelons.Toward the end of the season, it is discovered that the Taelons are a dying race as well; their core energy is almost spent. More and more Taelons are entering stasis, and Zo’or becomes increasingly desperate to save his species. It is also revealed that Zo’or is Da’an’s child.

Liam and Renee discover a regeneration chamber hidden deep in a volcano, set in place long ago by Ma’el. Liam realizes that all species are interconnected and he must play a role in saving the Taelons, despite all the trouble they have caused. He brings them out of stasis. To conserve energy, they combine their essence into just six Taelons who go down to the regeneration chamber. At the same time, the remainder of Vorjack’s Jaridian fleet arrives on the scene. Zo’or, greedy to ensure his own survival, touches an energy pool in the chamber and is absorbed into it. Liam convinces the Jaridians to attempt a “joining” with the Taelons, which, it is believed, will return them to an earlier evolutionary form that is better suited to survival. As the volcano erupts, the joining procedure begins with Liam’s help, but it is unclear who or what will survive.

Liam, the Taelons, and the Jaridians have disappeared but their efforts, far from saving everyone, have doomed the galaxy: they have awakened the Atavus, a race of energy vampires that preceded the Taelons and Jaridians. Renee and Street are the only ones who know the truth of what’s happening: the Resistance is disbanded and the human governments are in no rush to accept the beginning of another war with an alien race. Their only ally is Raj’el, the first and now the last of the Taelons, who is forced to provide covert support from the heart of the Taelon mothership.

To make matters worse, Sandoval, left in control of the Taelon mothership, allies with the Atavus leaders Howlyn and Juda. Together, they are able to keep their presence hidden for much of the season. Their plan is to create an army of Atavus-Human hybrids by means of a joining process, then use the hybrids to awaken other Atavus hives hidden around the world. As the season progresses, a few familiar faces re-enter the fight: William Boone is brought back as a trap for Renee, but he quickly joins her side. In response, Sandoval and Howlyn revive Zo’or, giving him a new body as a female Atavus, but Renee and Boone are able to defeat their nemesis once and for all.

Final Conflict comes to a head when Liam returns to help Renee stop Howlyn from unleashing his elite warriors from the long-buried Atavus mothership. At the end of the series, Liam, Renee and Raj’el depart in the Taelon mothership, resolving to bring the few trustworthy Atavus home and indulge in a little adventure along the way.

Season 5 was universally despised by most fans, this was because of the lost of da’an and Liam, bringing in  new aliens in the final season was a bold move.  Alan Van Sprang joining the cast as Howlyn was brilliant and it allowed Renee to take centre stage. the final episode was a satisfying conclusion, leaving just enough rope to dangle just in case they continued.

REVIEW: THE CAPE

MAIN CAST

David Lyons (Eat Pray Love)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
James Frain (Gotham)
Jennifer Ferrin (The Following)
Ryan Wynott (Flashforward)
Dorian Missick (Lucky Number Slevin)
Martin Klebba (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Izabella Miko (Coyote Ugly)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
JoNell Kennedy (Dreamgirls)
Richard Schiff (Man of Steel)
Mather Zickel (Bones)
Thomas Kretschmann (Dracula)
Mena Suvari (American Pie)
Kevin Kilner (Earth: Final Conflict)
Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
Chad Lindberg (October Sky)
Illeana Douglas (Ghost World)
Tom Noonan (Manhunter)

Palm City Vince Faraday is a happy man, a good cop, a good husband, a good father. Until one day he receives a mysterious message from Internet whistle blower “Orwell” advising him where the notorious crime lord “Chess” is shipping illegal weapons into Palm City. Vince trusts one person to go with him to uncover the shipment, that one person however betrays him and suddenly Vince finds himself on the run – a victim of an elaborate set up naming him as “Chess”.

In order for Vince to clear his name and win back his family, he assumes the persona of “The Cape”, his son’s favourite comic book character. Now with the help of “Orwell” and “The Carnival Of Crime” he strives toobtain the evidence that will vindicate him and allow him to go home. The Cape has been brilliantly made, the cinematography and story telling are cleaverly done so Vince comes off as a real man doing what he must unstead of another moody broody caped cruisader. He doesn’t always say the right thing, he doesn’t accent a stupid voice, he just is who he is (with the addition of a cape – obviously). The supporting cast of “The Carnival Of Crime” adds the manditory comic relief without coming off as slapstick characters – there’s Vinny Jones for that (well, he does play a character called “Scales”).

Unfortunately this series fell victim to the “great TV show but just not quite enough viewers” syndrome and was axed after just one season, meaning the story was never completed.