HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – THIRST

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MAIN CAST

Tom Welling (The Fog)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Cursed)
Allison Mack (The Ant Bully)
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GUEST

Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
James Marsters (Buffy)
Brooke Nevin (Infestation)

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Chloe is at the Daily Planet headquarters in Metropolis interviewing for a job with the new editor-in-chief, Pauline Kahn. Ms. Kahn is unimpressed with the column Chloe wrote in high school and tells her that Lionel’s arm-twisting is the only reason she ever got the opportunity. She dismisses Chloe, but Chloe tells her that she doesn’t expect special treatment and is willing to work her way up to the top. Pauline Kahn tells her that she will consider hiring her if she produces a good story. Switch to Chloe’s narration as she continues to work on her report on the Tri-Psi sorority. At their sorority house, a pizza boy arrives and the girls invite him into the hot tub. During the make-out session, the girls suddenly start biting him, he begins to scream and the water turns blood red.
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Clark goes to visit Lana at her theater and then steps into her apartment to find her packing. She tells him that she’s applied for late acceptance to Met U, but there is no longer any housing available, so she is considering a sorority. Clark is disappointed and suggests her go to CKU with him, but she assures him that nothing will change between them. Clark is in Professor Milton Fine’s history course. After the lecture, Professor Fine is approached by Lex Luthor. Lex accuses him of researching certain LuthorCorp projects that have yet to gain public knowledge. He asks him if Clark Kent is providing the information, but Fine denies Clark’s involvement. Lex reminds Fine that he has great influence in the CKU review board.
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The Tri-Psi sorority head, Buffy Sanders introduces her group as the prettiest and most exclusive sorority. Lana is one of the pledges and is surprised to find out that she is the only one that has been picked to join. They tell her that there is one more initiation ritual, and it is revealed that the entire sorority are vampires. They bite Lana and she becomes part of the sisterhood. Fine goes to the Mansion and tells Lex that he doesn’t have to investigate his past, because he will provide him with anything he wants to know. He gives Lex a file on himself and tells Lex that he knows he is using funding from the University to conduct LuthorCorp experiments. Lex seems to back off, but when Fine leaves, Lex sends a guard to follow him.
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Chloe’s roommate Karen is dismantling her mini version of the Wall of Weird when she arrives home. She is angry about the wall, and even angrier that Lana Lang is asleep in Chloe’s bed. Karen storms away and Chloe tries to revive Lana. She is groggy and lethargic, and Chloe thinks she is hungover from the pledge party. Clark arrives and Chloe leaves her in his care. He asks if she’s feeling ok and she says she’s fine and starts making out with him. Clark is surprised and confused by her aggressive advances and she gets annoyed by his reluctance and leaves. The guard finds Professor Fine at Warehouse 15. When he approaches and says he shouldn’t be touching what isn’t his, but Fine claims otherwise. He extends a metal projectile from his hand, kills the guard, and goes back to examining the Black Ship.
Image result for smallville thirst.Chloe’s investigation continues and she reports that Lana and her new friends have fun throwing each other off the house’s balcony and getting drunk. Clark is worried about Lana’s strange behavior and Chloe tells him that she’s been investigating the sorority and has uncovered some strange details. None of the sisters ever leave the sorority, and it is the most exclusive one on campus. She makes a plan to infiltrate their Halloween party and brings Clark along. They split up to locate Lana. Clark ducks into a bedroom where Buffy catches him rummaging. She orders him to leave, but she is distracted by someone at her door. When she turns back to Clark, he is gone. Chloe finds Lana dancing and making out with other boys and pulls her to the side. She asks her about how she’s been acting and Lana bites her. Chloe calls Clark for help and he uses his super-hearing to find her. He arrives to catch Chloe just as she passes out, astonished to see Lana standing over her with a mouth full of bloody, pointed teeth. Clark takes Chloe to the hospital where the doctor reports that she has a rare strain of the rabies virus which is preventing her red blood cells from regenerating. They can treat her but they don’t know the cure. Professor Fine arrives at the hospital, claiming to be visiting a sick colleague. He asks about Chloe’s condition and Clark admits that he thinks she was attacked by a vampire. Fine looks at Chloe’s chart and tells him to ask Lex about Project 1138.
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Back at the Tri-Psi sorority, the other girls are mad at Lana for leaving a victim alive. They tell her that Clark was snooping around and she has to clean up her mess by bringing him back so they can finish him off, or Lana will be the one they feed off instead. Clark goes to the Luthor Mansion and demands that Lex tell him about the Project. Lex leads Clark into the library carrying a metal briefcase. He explains that six years ago, Buffy Sanders was trapped outside Smallville in a cave but was rescued by LuthorCorp. The cave was found to contain meteor rock-infected stalactites that had mutated the vampire bats living there. A LuthorCorp worker was also bitten and developed vampire-like symptoms like strength, fangs, and light sensitivity, but they were able to cure him. He opens the case to reveal vials of the serum, kept active by a large fragment of meteor rock. Clark starts to feel ill and backs away just as an overhead window breaks. Lana appears and jumps to the floor. She knocks Lex out and attacks Clark. Clark is weakened by the kryptonite and Lana bites him. After sucking his blood, she is able to shoot heat from her eyes. Clark is able to grab one of the syringes with the antidote in it before Lana takes him back to the sorority house.
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The girls lay him on the hearth of the fireplace and prepare to feed on him. Lana doesn’t want to kill him and suggests they just turn him into a vampire as well. The girls explain there is no room for him in a sorority. Buffy doesn’t care what Lana wants and when Lana stands in her way, she knocks her to the floor. Buffy then tries to kill Lana, but she uses her heat vision to vaporize Buffy and the other vampires run away in fear. Lana prepares to turn Clark into a vampire but he is able to stab her heart with the antidote and restore her to normal. Clark and Lana are walking along campus when he tentatively asks how much she remembered. She admits that it’s all a little fuzzy, but she remembers biting him and says she felt his love for her and his strength. She says she misses being with him. Clark goes to the Luthor Mansion to thank Lex for saving the girls’ lives. Lex gets Clark to admit that Professor Fine is the one who told him about Project 1138 and tells him that Fine is obtaining highly classified documents. He warns Clark to stay away from Fine.
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Chloe’s report concludes with the knowledge that all the girls were cured, including herself. Her roommate transferred, so Lana was able to move in with her. She gives the article to Pauline Kahn, but Kahn claims that they don’t print tabloid stories. Chloe counters with the research she did for the article including interviews, CDC reports, and eyewitness accounts. Kahn changes her mind, says that Chloe has potential, and agrees to hire her. Chloe is thrilled to start her dream career in the basement of the Daily Planet.Image result for smallville thirst

A strange episode for Smallville, it is probably the weakest episode out of all 10 seasons, but it is still intriguing. Carrie Fisher is the highlight of the episode , thou many believe she should of got a bigger part. James Marsters shines as he all does in the part of Brainiac. Kristin Kreuk sexing it up as vampire was fun to see. all in all an okay episode and worth watching over Halloween.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SPELL

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MAIN CAST

Tom Welling (The Fog)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Cursed)
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Allison Mack (The Ant Bully)
Annette O’ Toole (Superman 3)
John Schneider (Nip/Tuck)
Erica Durance (The Butterfly Effect 2)

Image result for SMALLVILLE SPELLIn France in 1604, three women, Countess Margaret Isobel Thoreaux, Madelyn Hibbins, and Brianna Withridge, are about to be burned at the stake, after having been convicted of practicing witchcraft. The leader, Isobel, is approached by Magistrate Wilkins, and she asks him if he has come to enjoy his handiwork. He then strikes her across the face and tells her she may yet escape the pyre’s flames if she tells him of the three stones of power. When she asks for her spellbook, she spits blood onto the marked page, directly onto an illustration that is identical to the tattoo on Lana Lang’s back. She casts a Latin spell and a tattoo identical to Lana’s appears on her back. As the three witches are burned, Isobel curses the crowd and vows to rise again, stating that the stones and vengeance will be hers.
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In Smallville, Lana and Jason are sitting by the fire in her Talon apartment. She shows him a spellbook belonging to the Countess Thoreaux, saying she maxed out her credit card to buy it on eBay. When Lana touches the page stained with Isobel’s blood, the fire roars up and her eyes shine violet as Isobel possesses her body. When Jason asks if Lana is all right, she says she’s never been better. Lois pulls up outside the Kent barn carrying boxes of party decorations. She informs Clark that the barn is the new venue for Chloe’s upcoming surprise birthday party the next day. Clark objects, saying his parents are out of town and he has a representative from Princeton University coming to visit. Lois doesn’t care and begins to unload the party goods.
Image result for SMALLVILLE SPELLLois and Chloe show up at Lana’s apartment, where they find her doing a strange chemistry experiment, making some sort of potion. Lois notices Lana’s behavior and reminds her that it’s her job to keep Chloe busy until the party. Lana/Isobel, preoccupied with her ingredient list, waves Lois off. The next ingredient on the list is “hair of two virgins.” She takes a hair out of her own head, then one from Lois. Lois’ turns out to be unacceptable, so when they leave, Lana heads out to find another virginal hair. She walks into the Kent home to find Clark wrapping a large present. She offers to help him with it, then proceeds to try and kiss Clark. Confused, he backs away. Lana sidles up to him and, using the gift-wrapping shears, tries to cut a lock of his hair off. The scissors break and Clark asks what she’s doing. She sputters that she needs a lock of his hair for a scrapbook she’s making. Annoyed, Clark gives her some of his hair and she promptly leaves to get the next ingredient on her list.
Image result for SMALLVILLE SPELLAt the Luthor mansion, Lana/Isobel observes Lex practicing his piano-playing. She asks Lex if he has any vintage wine, “for the party”. Lex produces a bottle, but then Isobel notices the manuscript displayed in Lex’s study. Angry, she casts a spell that makes it disappear, then freezes Lex in place. Explaining that the map wasn’t meant for Lex, she releases him and casts a spell, bewitching Lex to play the piano forever. Chloe and Lois find Lana/Isobel in the woods assembling her potion. Isobel convinces them to drink a toast. When they do, they are possessed by Isobel’s fellow witches, Madelyn (Chloe) and Brianna (Lois). She explains that they will continue their quest to find the Stones of Power, but Madelyn and Brianna point out that this is the quest that got them killed in the first place. They convince Isobel to let them attend Chloe’s party first. At the Kent barn, a worried Clark tries to keep the wild party under control. When the three witches show up, they decide to liven up the party. They cast a spell and all the party goers, including Clark, are suddenly dancing in various states of undress. As scheduled, the Princeton representative comes to interview Clark and Clark makes a “great” first impression.  The day after, Clark awakens in the barn to the aftermath of the wild party. He realizes he blew his interview and goes to talk to Lex for help. He finds Lex, his fingers bloody, still playing the piano.
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He breaks the spell by physically removing him from it. Lex tells him that Lana is the one who cast the spell, so Clark leaves to try and stop the three. He finds Lana/Isobel at her apartment, where he arrives just in time to catch Jason, whom Isobel has thrown out the window after he attempted to burn her spellbook upon realizing that she was now in possession of Lana’s body. Isobel leaves Clark a message to meet him at the barn. He meets the three witches, but at first had no clue that they were in fact witches. Mistaking Clark as being like everyone else despite his speed, Brianna strikes Clark with a large wheel using magical telekinesis; but quickly realized that his invulnerability made it so it had no effect on him. Isobel, surprised, but not frightened, notes that Clark is more than just quick. Using her own magical telekinesis, Madelyn tossed several tools at Clark, but he destroyed them with his heat vision. The witches then become disgruntled; now seeing Clark as a threat to their plans (though they see him as a sorcerer rather than an alien). Isobel tries to kill Clark with a death-based spell, but only succeeding in seriously wounding and stunning him. To ensure that he stays out of their way, the witches remove Clark’s shirt and drain his abilities.
Image result for SMALLVILLE SPELLThe three chain Clark to a post in the barn and try to pry more information of the stones out of him after realizing that he is connected to them and knows where one is hidden. After magically seducing the answer out of him, Isobel and her cohorts leave Clark chained up and depart for the Kawatche Caves. Jason finds and helps Clark escape and he goes after them. In the caves, Isobel tries to obtain the relic, but it glows and burns her hand. Clark shows up and catches the relic before it hits the ground, restoring his powers. Before the witches can take his powers away once again, Clark burns the spellbook with his heat vision and all four teens are knocked unconscious from the explosion. Upon waking, everybody has been restored to normal. Lana, Chloe, and Lois are confused, but alright.  Clark has to explain the raucous barn party to his parents. He also remarks that magic is real and can truly hurt him. Lex goes to see Lana at her apartment at the Talon and explains to Lana that he was the one to get Jason fired, not Clark, saying he had only her best interest in mind. Lana comes to apologize to Clark as he is cleaning up the barn. She tells him the whole story of the Countess and shows him the tattoo. She asks Clark what it means and he lies that he doesn’t know. In the caves, Lex studies the cave drawing identical to Lana’s tattoo.4x08-Spell-137An intresting episode of Smallville showing the ladies of Smallville in different light, the episode is an important one as it shows that magic can harm the future man of steel.

 

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE – SEASON 2

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Corey Burton (Transformers)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Mitchell Ryan (Halloween 6)
Rob Paulsen (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Tom Kenny (The Super Hero Squad Show)
William Atherton (Die Hard)
Fairuza Balk (The Craft)
Dana Delany (Tombstone)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Jason Marsden (Hocus Pocus)
David Kaufman (Prom Night)
Dorie Barton (Down With Love)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Larry Drake (Darkman)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Kim Mai Guest (TMNT)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Diane Pershing (Gotham Girls)
Bruce McGill (Lincoln)
Ted McGinley (No Good Nick)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Tracey Walter (batman)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Brian Doyle-Murray (JFK)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (Nocturnal Animals)
Powers Boothe (Sin City)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lamabs)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Brad Garrett (Tangled)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)
Arleen Sorkin (Days of Our Lives)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
Greg Cipes (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans Go)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Hynden Walch (Groundhog Day)
Ian Buchanan (Panic Room)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Kimberly Brooks (Voltron)
Robert Ito (Midway)
Victor Rivers (The Mask of Zorro)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Elizabeth Peña (The Incredibles)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)

MV5BMTkxOTY5NTY5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjEwOTM2MjE@._V1_Now this is more like it. Justice League’s second season takes all of the wrinkles found in the first year and smoothes them over. The action is bigger, the stories are more exciting, and Batman’s rating on the cool-o-meter reaches new highs – exactly how things should be. The result is a boxed set that offers perhaps the finest collection of superhero animation that your hard-earned dollars can buy. They don’t come any better then this, kids.MV5BODg3ODYzM2QtNTIwOS00YzhjLThmMDItZTY4MDc0NzU1NDhkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_Much like the comic book universe from which these characters came, the Warner Bros. superhero shows headed by Bruce Timm and friends (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond) have created a continuity and universe all their own. Justice League is the latest (and, sadly, final) entry in this cartoon universe and it takes all of the best stuff from what has come before it and combines it into a near-perfect superhero animated series. While the first season was light on character development and solid storytelling, the second season gets the balance of action, story, and character just right. Again we’ve got great supporting characters and villains from the DC universe; Darkseid, John Dee, Despero, and even Doomsday all make appearances.MV5BMTQxNzgzNDg3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTAwOTM2MjE@._V1_The action is also a lot more exciting, with more imagination having gone into the writing of the fights. Furthermore, this season we’ve got some great CG effects (used for vehicles and ships) – the air dogfight in Maid of Honor between the Batwing and some jetfighters is especially cool to watch.  Another standout this season is the music. The series composers (Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion, and Kristopher Carter) have created some amazing stuff here. In each episode you’ll find several musical cues that will really get your attention and at least one that will tug at the ol’ heartstrings. The music knows when to fade into the background and let the images do the work and when to take centre stage. With stuff this good you want the music to take centre stage as much as possible. There is a Princess Mononoke-esque “nature endures” moment in Hearts and Minds where the score was just wonderful. The music in these episodes is too good for a cartoon TV show.MV5BMTQ1MjM0MTMwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjc5ODM2MjE@._V1_So the action is awesome, Superman is fixed, and the music is one-of-a-kind. All that’s left is the writing… and it’s the best part. The writing here is really great, with story and character always being the focus of each episode. A Better World answers a simple question in an interesting way: what if Superman crossed the line? In an alternate universe, Superman realizes that Luthor really is an unredeemable villain and he kills him. We see that the murder – even the murder of a monster like Luthor – changes both Superman and the League. They become Big Brother-like sentries of the planet. When a cross-dimensional rift is opened, this “darker” league (known as the Justice Lords) has a showdown with our untainted heroes. The episode brings up some very interesting questions and is a blast to watch.MV5BMTYwOTU0OTUwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTk5ODM2MjE@._V1_We’ve also got some fantastic variety. The Paul Dini-penned Comfort and Joy is a very touching Christmas episode, while Hereafter transports Superman to a Planet of the Apes-ish future where he is the planet’s sole survivor (he even grows a Robinson Crusoe beard and fashions himself a jungle-machete!). The Terror Beyond makes for a very fun H.P. Lovecraft-inspired romp which sees Solomon Grundy fighting his way into the brain of the massive Ichthulhu (voiced by Rob Zombie) and wrestling a nightmare creature inside this thing’s head. Very bizarre, but very cool. Finally there’s the three-part season finale, Starcrossed. This is a balls-to-the-wall action spectacular which culminates in Batman piloting the League’s watchtower into the planet, while Green Lantern and Hawkgirl’s relationship is torn to shreds.MV5BMTkxMDQzODI2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDIwOTM2MjE@._V1_This is a fantastic collection of episodes, to be sure, but there are still a few nitpicks that keep the set from getting a perfect score. For one, while Superman is tougher, much of the new attitude doesn’t feel genuine – it seems that they wanted to make him “cooler” so they made him more badass. Problem is, Superman isn’t a badass character. Second, there are a few episodes (Maid of Honor and Eclipsed) that feel somewhat stale, and one episode, Wild Cards, that, sadly, let its driving gag get the better of the story. On TV you’ll find many cartoons, but you’ll only find one Justice League – its second season is a shining example of superhero animation done right in virtually every respect. Most importantly, the show’s creators have crafted a series that respects the intelligence, attention-span, and maturity of its audience. This isn’t just a kids show nor is it just a television show. It’s Justice League – and it’s great.

REVIEW: SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 3

Starring

Tim Daly (Madam Secretary)
Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives)
David Kaufman (Stargate SG.1)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sharon Lawrence (The Ranch)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Renée Taylor (The Nanny)
Jack Carter (McCloud)
Brad Garrett (Christopher Robin)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Steve Sandor (The Yellow Rose)
Joseph Bologna (Big Daddy)
Bruce Weitz (Half Past Dead)
Victor Brandt (The Batman)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
Diane Michelle (Robotech: The Movie)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
William H. Macy (Fargo)
Peter Gallagher (The Gifted)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mathew Valencia (The New Batman Advntures)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
John Glover (Smallville)
Paul Williams (Smokey and The Bandit)
Henry Silva (Above The Law)
Bob Hastings (The Poseidon Adventure)
Charity James (Space Jam)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Jason Priestley (Tru Calling)
Jason Marsden (Hocus Pocus)
Chad Lowe (Unfaithful)
Melissa Joan Hart (No GOod Nick)
Joely Fisher (The Mask)
Bud Cort (Harold and Maude)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Gilbert Gottfried (Critters: A New Binge)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Carl Lumbly (Supergirl)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 & 2)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Michael P. Greco (Bleach)
George Dzundza (Crimson Tide)
Peter Mark Richman (Defenders of The Earth)
Melissa Disney (Superman vs The Elite)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)
Billy West (Futurama)
Stephen Root (Barry)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
David Warner (Tron)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
Michael Horse (Roswell)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)

3447328-absolute-powerSuperman is everywhere. He’s also been everywhere; for nearly seventy years now the character has been inspiring us with his tales of heroism, adventure, and fantasy. Seventy years is a long time and with a character as popular as Superman it equates to a lot of different interpretations. From the original comic books to a radio series to a handful of television shows, it seems that the Last Son of Krypton has done it all. We are very lucky then to have these DVDs, because in all of that time, throughout all the years, the stories found in Superman: The Animated Series are his best. The fifty-four cartoon episodes (spread across three boxed sets) that make up the complete run of Superman: The Animated Series aren’t just the best take on the character because they’re faithful. Nor is it because they’re animated, for all ages, or very imaginative. It’s for all of these reasons. And several more.3447300-little_big_head_manThe creative team behind the series has plundered the rich mythology of the character and come up with a fantastic take on each and every piece of the Superman universe. For starters, their Clark Kent and Lois Lane interpretation is spot-on. Clark isn’t too much of a goof, nor is he too simple. Similarly, Lois is fiery, funny, and lovely. Seeing the characters come together at the end of Legacy, Part 2 makes for a great cathartic moment. Superman has saved Lois a countless number of times, it is only fitting then that Lois save him when he needs it. The main arc of this season borrows from the comic book universe and brings Darkseid and his homeworld to the forefront. Hinted at earlier in the show, it’s in this third volume that the Lord of Apokolips finally gets his payoff – and his payback. In a trio of two-parters, Apokolips… Now!, Little Girl Lost, and Legacy, Superman fights one of his most ruthless foes in a series of episodes that offer some excellent action, drama, and science fiction fun.maxresdefault (1)While these episodes are very faithful to the mythos, we’ve also got a great selection of original stories that go to prove that with a character like Superman, there is no limit to the stories that you can tell. One of my favorites is Knight Time. When Batman goes missing, Superman pays a visit to Gotham City and tries to find out where his friend has gone. Supes inadvertently ends up masquerading as Batman – dressing up in the Dark Knight’s costume and everything! – and teams up with Robin to solve the mystery of the missing Bruce Wayne. Not only is the episode entertaining, but it’s also got a great sense of humor. Seeing Superman do his best impersonation of Batman is wonderful – Clark doesn’t know which utility pockets contain what, and his attempts at being grim (nodding his head instead of speaking) are great.stas-legacy7Watching these shows you get the feeling that it was during this final stretch of episodes that the show’s producers were finding new ways of playing with the formula that they had designed, and perfected, with both Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. Not only do these Superman episodes have a lot of two-parters, but we’ve also got some great guest-stars; it seems that this show is the precursor to Justice League. We’ve got heroes, Kyle Rayner from In Brightest Day, and villains, Ra’s Al Ghul in The Demon Reborn, and everyone in between – everyone’s favorite master of the sea, Aquaman in Fish Story. We also get an expansion of the Superman supporting cast when Supergirl makes a welcome appearance in the Little Girl Lost two-parter.Superman_TAS_2x27_001The animation is somewhat more limited when compared to the fancy digital effects that more modern shows exhibit, but the handcrafted style gives the show a wonderful atmosphere. If you pay close attention you’ll notice that a lot of effort has gone into the design of the animation – much more so than most animated series. The framing here is frequently packed. Helping flesh out the world are all of the voice actors; everyone from Tim Daly (as Superman/Clark) to Clancy Brown (as Lex Luthor) is perfect in his or her role. The only thing holding the show back, and this is a small point, is the fact that the stories, due to their child-friendly animated nature, are a little more limited than the best television shows tend to be. Even so, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better adventure series – animated or live action.Superman_meets_SupergirlIn one of the episodes found in this collection, Superman pays his final respects to a recently departed friend. In the graveyard, Superman comes to realize something very important: “In the end, the world didn’t really need a Super man. Just a brave one.” This show gives us a character who is both brave and super. It gives us a real hero. It gives us Superman… as good as he’s ever been.

REVIEW: SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 1

Starring

Tim Daly (Madam Secretary)
Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives)
David Kaufman (Stargate SG.1)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Tony Jay (Beauty and The Best)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Christopher McDonald (Stargate Universe)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Finola Hughes (Staying Alive)
Corey Burton (Transformers: The Movie)
Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
George Dzundza (The Deer Hunter)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Jason Marsden (Young Justice)
Dorian Harewood (Terminator: TSCC)
Brad Garrett (Christopher Robin)
Bruce Weitz (Half Past Dead)
John Rubinstein (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Thomas F. Wilson (Legends of Tomorrow)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Brion James (Blade Runner)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Neil Ross (An American Tail)
Townsend Coleman (Teenage Mutnat Ninja Turtles)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Joely Fisher (The Mask)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Joseph Bologna (Big Daddy)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Brian Cox (Rise of TPOTA)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Ron Glass (Serenity)
Leslie Easterbrook (Police Academy)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Charlie Schlatter (18 Again)
Cam Clarke (Akira)
Lori Petty (Tank Girl)

MV5BNDk2NGU3NzMtMzc2NS00ZTg4LTgzMjctNjFlNGE3MjVlN2I5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_
Superman is not Batman. Luckily this show understands that. He doesn’t hide in the shadows or do most of his work at night or spend a lot of time “planning.” Instead of deflecting a laser beam, he’ll just punch it into submission. Think, for a second, of what it takes to punch a laser beam into submission. He’s not, and never has been, a complicated hero. Any fan can tell you this: just because Superman lives in a bright world and just because he is a “pure” character, it does not make him any less cool. I feel the need to get that out of the way right off. It just seems that too many people aren’t as fond of ol’ Big Blue as they are of Batman. The number one complaint is that Superman is just too perfect; there isn’t anything interesting that can be done with him.MV5BYjNmYjc0MGQtNWVlYS00MWEzLWE1NjQtMjcyYjc3OTBmOGQ0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTM5MTQyNDg@._V1_In many ways, that is very true. Yes, it is difficult coming up with interesting ways to test a guy who can whack ballistic missiles into orbit, but that is not an inherent character weakness. Rather, it is a challenge of taking on the character. Under the right creator, or creators as the case may be, Superman is more than ready to soar… and then punch some laser beams. And what better creative team can you get than Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, and Bruce Timm? The same superstar team that made Batman: The Animated Series one of the best and most defining shows in the history of American cartoon television. With such a fantastic group, and such a well-known character, expectations are bound to be high, and you can’t help but feel a bit let down when the show isn’t as good as Batman: TAS. However, while Superman: The Animated Series isn’t as excellent as its predecessor show, it’s still one very enjoyable and very fun cartoon.MV5BMTcxMDExMTI5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTkyNzU2MjE@._V1_Whereas for the Batman cartoon the producers were going for a gritty feel, here things are big, colorful, and imaginative. Superman fights robots, aliens and sci-fi monsters. And just as you’d expect, that dastardly Lex Luthor is usually at the root of the problem. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Superman isn’t supposed to be conflicted and his villains aren’t supposed to be psychopaths. With the Man of Steel, it’s all about fighting for what’s right. And then punching the occasional laser beam, when it gets out of line. One of the best things about the show is its use of the Superman lore. Over the course of the series you’ll see many of the characters from character’s comic book history. If you’re meeting them for the first time, you’ll probably find them interesting, but if you’re already familiar with them then you’ve got a lot of opportunities to geek out.MV5BNTVlYWUzOTctZTNiYy00NjI0LTkzZjktMzE0NmRkMWM1NDcyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTM3MDMyMDQ@._V1_The creative team did take some liberties with the origins of certain characters, but none of the changes are overly intrusive or unwelcome. Furthermore when they get a character right, they really nail it. For example their take on Metallo, who realizes he traded immortality for the ability to feel, is great stuff. Perhaps their most difficult task was getting Lex Luthor right. Luckily for us, they pulled it off. This Lex is a perfect mix of ambitious businessman and cunning strategist. He isn’t flat out evil, but he is bad and watching the character get what he deserves is fun. The Lois Lane character is also great, a perfect mix of sexy, competitive, and charming. Much like the Batman collections, Superman: TAS isn’t grouped by season since they were all so unevenly produced. That being said, I do hope that we get the rest of the boxed sets in installments of more than eighteen episodes.MV5BMTQ5Mjk0NjQyNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTUyNzU2MjE@._V1_While it’s not as serious or as artistic as its predecessor, Superman: TAS is still full of high-flying fun, adventure, and excitement. Whether you’re a fan of animation or just a fan of the character, this show comes recommended. It holds a proud position in the wonderful Warner superhero animated era that we’re currently enjoying.

 

 

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 8

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Justin Hartley (This Is Us)
Erica Durance (Supergirl)
Aaron Ashmore (Veronica Mars)
Cassidy Freeman (The Vampire Diaries)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)

Alaina Huffman, Justin Hartley, and Alan Ritchson in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Phil Morris (Doom Patrol)
Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Flash)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Charlotte Sullivan (Mary Kills People)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
David Lewis (Childs Play)
Kyle Schmid (Six)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
James Marsters (Runaways)
Ryan Kennedy (Caprica)
Alexz Johnson (Final Destination 3)
Calum Worthy (Ameircan Vandel)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Alessandro Juliani (Man of Steel)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Stephen Lobo (Continuum)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Serinda Swan (Inhumans)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Brendan Fletcher (Arrow)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Monique Ganderton (American Ultra)

Tom Welling and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Technically this season shouldn’t have worked; the show’s main villain and arguably most popular character, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) has now departed; secondly they were introducing a villain which was virtually impossible to bring to the big screen never mind a television series in Doomsday. However whilst a massive void had been created by Rosenbaum’s departure, it was filled suprisingly very well by the main cast of heroes who finally come into their own this season with performances and stories which intelligently test those who have big destinies to embrace in the Superman era to come. Tom Welling finally begins to take his final steps to becoming Superman and is starting to demonstrate how capapble as lead he is while bringing a new found presence to Clark Kent. There is also an increased number of on-screen scenes between Welling and Erica Durance’s Lois Lane and the result is a relationship which is as funny as it is touching and believable.Justin Hartley and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Likewise other support characters like Chloe and Jimmy are tested by the new villain in town, Sam Witwer’s Davis Bloome who is a great unique character to the series who undergoes a menacing and horrific transformation as the season unfolds. There is also a welcome return from Justin Hartley’s Oliver Queen who now becomes a series regular after a successful stint in the sixth season and a brief cameo in the seventh. Queen’s character is also successful to the season’s story as his questionable methods bring him into conflict with Clark who is now trying to figure out what sort of hero he wants to become. The Doomsday story is a well written one in itself and Doomsday is interpreted in a way which is both unique in style yet never undermines the characters standing in the mythology. Sam Witwer is more than capable playing the villain, he lacks perhaps the charisma and flair of Rosenbaum, but the horror given off by his transformations is more than projected out of the screen. The same cannot be said for Cassidy Freeman whose Tess Mercer is terribly aimless and lacking in focus, in terms of a series villain, Rosenbaums absence is felt though not quite fatal.Charlotte Sullivan and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The season is very well executed in tone, humour and story. There are many episodes which take the series much further and there are some more characters from the D.C Universe in episodes such as ‘Instinct’, ‘Legion’ and ‘Hex’. ‘Bride’, ‘Eternal’ and ‘Beast’ are also exceptional drama episodes featuring Doomsday which keeps building up the season to a final climatic battle.Tom Welling and Erica Durance in Smallville (2001)It is unfortunate therefore that what prevents the season from achieving pure greatness is a series of misjudged stories which threaten to undermine every bit of progress Smallville made this season. The brief reintroduction of an old character in ‘Power’ and ‘Requiem’ was a terrible mistake and unpopular with viewers, as was the apparent demise of another important character. Also while the season does a sensational job in building up the tension towards the final episode, the final episode of the season itself is very weak and sadly anti-climactic. This is a shame since many may feel cheated by a poor resolution but on the plus side, the drama remains top notch throughout and the themes explored this season are never forgotten and never betrayed, even in the finale. Smallville has enjoyed a fantastic return to form overall this season and many fans will be left feeling hopefull of the action and drama to come in the ninth season. Well worth buying though this eighth season.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 7

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Erica Durance (Supergirl)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Aaron Ashmore (Veronica Mars)
John Glover (Shazam)

Laura Vandervoort in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Phil Morris (Doom Patrol)
Jacqueline Samuda (Stargate SG.1)
Michael Cassidy (Batman V Superman)
Kim Coates (Goon)
Terence Stamp (Jor-El)
Tom McBeath (Van Helsing)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Eva Marcille (Crossover)
Christine Chatelain (Sanctuary)
Dean Cain (Lois & Clark)
Jovanna Burke (Fringe)
Christina Milian (Brin It On 5)
Christopher Jacot (Mutant X)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Helen Slater (Supergirl)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Van Helsing)
Elyse Levesque (The Originals)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Anna Galvin (Warcraft)
James Marsters (Buffy: TVS)
Marc McClure (Superman)
Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe)
Justin Hartley (This Is Us)
Alisen Down (12 Monkeys)
Corey Sevier (Immortals)
Connor Stanhope (American Mary)
David Orth (The Lost World)
Sam Jones III (Bones)
Gina Holden (Flash Gordon)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Jonathan Scarfe (Van Helsing)
Jill Teed (Godzilla)
Anne Openshaw (Narc)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Camille Mitchell (Izombie)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek Voyager)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Julia Benson (The Order)

Season 7 demonstrates a real maturity in terms of the characters and the wider Smallville universe. For the characters themselves we obviously have to start with Clark and Lex.Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)What I love about this series is that you don’t notice subtle changes that are going – its only when there is a sudden abrupt change that you realise that it had been going on for ages and you find yourself saying “Ah!”. Clark in this season is gradually waking up to the fact that his old life is practically gone – most friends and family have moved on. This really hits home with an episode that sees the (thankfully brief) return of Pete. This was a subtle episode that demonstrated that Pete and Clark are very different now – they are friends but have both moved on. Clark towards his greater destiny – Pete to his, well, lesser destiny. But the real tear jerker that forces Clark to face the changes is the video left by Lana in the series finale. Understated and brief – its all the more powerful. Lana functioned as a sort of bubble for Clark – a link back to his carefree past – her leaving all but cuts this.Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)For Lex – wow. Smallville always managed to avoid having him as a cartoon baddie. What really took off on this season was Lex rushing towards his destiny as the powerful enemy of the “Traveller”. We get to see the childhood of Lex and his inner struggles. The moment that he and Lionel have their final encounter – powerful stuff. But what really hits viewers is Lex’s view of what his destiny was. The link he has with the Traveller, the impact that has had on his life and how it will ultimately play out – this was biblical stuff.Laura Vandervoort in Smallville (2001)For the overarching storylines of the series. Well a special mention goes to the Veritas saga. Debate rages on message boards across the land about whether or not writers had planned this from the start of the series. Regardless if they did – the Veritas storyline weaves together almost 7 years of storylines. Smallville has always managed to pull of the secret legends stories, particularly in Season 4 and 7. But there is a real epic storylines going in season 7. Other storylines worthy mention: the return of Brainiac – always a joy. Bizzaro is also great fun. Tom welling clearly enjoys playing a baddy instead of straight-laced Clark. That and he gets to wear a blue jacket and red tshirt, instead of vice versa. And Lionel finally meets his maker.