25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: V (1984) – REFLECTIONS IN TERROR

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REFLECTIONS IN TERROR

MAIN CAST
Marc Singer (Arrow)
Faye Grant (Drive Me Crazy)
Jane Badler (One Life to Live)
June Chadwick (This Is Spinal Tap)
Jennifer Cooke (Friday The 13Th – Part VI)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Lane Smith (Lois & Clark)
Blair Tefkin (Greenberg)
Michael Wright (The Interpreter)
Jeff Yagher (Alias)
GUEST CAST
Mickey Jones (Sling Blade)
James Daughton (Blind Date)

It’s a very special Lizardy Christmas Episode! I really liked the simplicity of this episode. There was no super weapon or dastardly plot to overthrow. It was all little parts of the war and it let characters develop. Basically the episode had three storylines, two of which interweave by episode’s end. The first is Donovan and Ham struggles with smuggling the children. The second is the Elizabeth Clone saga. The third is Nathan Bates vs. Julie Parrish and the Resistance Ham really is the star of this episode as we delve into his mysterious past. Is it a stretch that he does the whole Grinch arc? Yeah, a little, but you expect a little maudlin in holiday themed episodes of any TV show. But his interaction with Jennifer is some of the best that the series had to offer as her childish innocence is able to draw the man out of the stone cold killer. The return of Chris Faber is a mixed bag of sorts. I love the character and think he and Ham are a great team. Their introduction in The Final Battle is one of the more memorable sequences. However, one of the few things the weekly series had going for it was the great camaraderie between Donovan and Ham. Singer and Ironside had worked well together.

So basically it took the team of Donovan and Ham and made it Ham and Chris again. The Elizabeth Clone portion of the story leaves a lot to be desired. Of course it reminds me that the superior alien race has yet to produce an anti-toxin. Now maybe this is the non scientist in me, but I would think that Diana should be able to work up something from Elizabeth’s blood sample as I think that was all Robert Maxwell and Julie were working off of. In addition the yo-yo of Elizabeth is in full effect. Not 5 episodes ago, Julie wouldn’t let her out of the Club Creole because it was too dangerous for her to be out by herself. Now she can walk around by herself and Christmas shop, no problem. This episode she also seems like she is the more mature Elizabeth…basically, there is little consistency to her character at all. I enjoyed Nathan Bates’ storyline in this episode. Rarely do we see Nathan this angry and determined. It gave Lane Smith a couple of scenery chewing moments which were welcome.

The destruction of the Club Creole was not as good, as it really served as a good cover operation. The one question that wasn’t answered at episodes end really is how the resistance knew of Bates’ sting. It’s not quite clear if Chiang’s men set the explosives and Chris re-worked them or if Chiang’s men who attacked WAS the only planned attack and Chris set up the explosives as a way to pretend it was destroyed. Either way, it still leaves the question open, how did they know? Overall, it was a feel good episode.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: LOIS & CLARK – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

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MAIN CAST
Dean Cain (Supergirl)
Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives)
Lane Smith (V)
Justin Whalin (Childs Play 3)
Eddie Jones (The Terminal)
K Callan (Heroes)

SEASON’S GREEDINGS

GUEST CAST
Sherman Hemsley (The Jeffersons)
Isabel Sanford (Love at First Bite)
Dick van Patten (Spaceballs)
Denise Richards (Wild Things)
The toymaker Winslow Schott (Sherman Hemsley) gets fired from his job along with his secretary Margaret Duffy (Isabel Sanford). Deciding to take revenge, he invents a new toy named “Space Rats” that includes a substance which when someone is sprayed with, it makes adults act like children and children be greedy. Everyone at the Daily Planet is affected, including Clark, and they start fighting over gifts. Clark realizes that the whole situation has to do with the “Space Rats” and along with Lois they try to find out who is the creator of the new toys. Their investigation leads them to Schott who gets arrested for his creation but also regrets and makes clear that he cares and loves kids. In the meantime, Superman asks from toy store owners to donor toys to the orphanage kids and Lois plans a Christmas dinner for family and friends. All of them though end up having other plans and Lois is alone at her apartment until Clark appears on her door, who canceled his Christmas with his family to be with her.
A great Christmas for Superman, Lois acting like a spoilt child is one the biggest highlight, and you can see a before she was famous Denise Richards which is an added bonus.

HOME IS WHERE THE HURT IS

GUEST CAST
Robert Carradine (Django Unchained)
Beverly Garland (My Three Sons)
Harve Presnell (Star Trek: Voyager)
Jessica Collins (Tru Calling)
Joel Swetow (The Loax)
Lois tries to avoid spend Christmas with her parents because they always fight but they surprise her by showing up at her apartment uninvited causing chaos. Her father, Sam (Harve Presnell), also brought with him his new fiancee, a cyborg named Baby Gunderson (Kathy Trageser). In the meantime, Mindy Church (Jessica Collins), who is now the head of Intergang even though Intergang is shut down and keeps a low profile, plans to kill Superman using a virus from Krypton. Superman gets sick and Lois asks her father’s help. Sam explains that the only cure will be if Superman gets very close to death since that way the virus will die too. The treatment is successful and Superman gets well, just in time to save Lois and his parents’ life. They suspect Mindy is behind everything but Mindy manages to frame her partner Joey (Robert Carradine) for turning his back on her and she gets away.
This episodes sees the return of Jessica Collins as Mindy, we see her trying to take over the criminal underworld. We also see Superman get infected and weakened with Lois having to turn to her father. It’s another great Christmas episode from a beloved show.

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE MXYMAS

GUEST CAST
Beverly Garland (My Three Sons)
Harve Presnell (Star Trek: Voyager)
Howie Mendel (Gremlins)
Keene Curtis (Stargate Sg.1)
Brandi Andres (Kiss The Girls)
It is Christmas Eve and Lois and Clark are getting ready for the first Christmas dinner at their home with family and friends but things get weird when an imp from the fifth dimension named Mister Mxyzptlk (Howie Mandel) appears and wants to conquer the Earth making Superman leave. Mxyzptlk traps Metropolis in a time loop where everyone lives the same day over and over again and no one remembers it except Clark. Clark tries to figure out what is happening and Mxyzptlk tells him that every time people live the same day they lose a little of their hope and when the hope is lost completely, Superman will not be necessary to them. Clark tries to break this loop asking Lois’ help for whom is hard to believe at first what Clark says. Clark manages to rekindle Lois’ hope and frees her from the time loop and the two of them work together to free everyone else as well. They give everyone their hope back and trick Mxyzptlk into going back to his own dimension. With the imp gone, the loop is finally broken and everyone celebrates Christmas.
One of my favorite Christmas specials as it introduces Mxyzptlk   played by Howie Mandel. This is defiantly one to watch every xmas.

REVIEW: V – THE SERIES (1984)

Starring

Marc Singer (Beastmaster)
Faye Grant (Drive Me Crazy)
Jane Badler (One Life To Live)
June Chadwick (This is Spinal Tap)
Jennifer Cooke (Friday The 13th – Part VI)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Lane Smith (Lois & Clark)
Blair Tefkin (Greenburg)
Jeff Yagher (Mr and Mrs Smith)
Michael Wright (The Interpreter)

Jane Badler and Duncan Regehr in V (1984)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Frank Ashmore (Airplane!)
Michael Durrell (Sister Act)
Pamela Ludwig (Over The Edge)
Xander Berkeley (Terminator 2)
Nicky Katt (The Brave One)
Sybil Danning (Halloween)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Moesha)
Anthoyn De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
James Daughton (Spies Like Us)
Duncan Regehr (The Monster Squad)
Judson Scott (Blade)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Brett Cullen (Lost)
Casey Sander (The Ranch)

Marc Singer, Faye Grant, and Jeff Yagher in V (1984)

I was really happy to hear that the struggles of Mike Donovan and the rest of the resistance were coming back as a series. the series follow up was always dismissed as crass exploitation of the franchise.liberationday2Highlights of the series were –

1. This series isn’t bad. It is not as good as the two mini-series but it is entertaing in its own right. I also think that this show was innovative in the field of TV Science Fiction. Prior to “V”, Science Fiction was very episodic. Star Trek, Space: 1999, Logan’s Run, Planet of the Apes, Buck Rogers and to a certain extent, Battlestar Galactica all told self contained stories. The plot was resolved by the end of the hour. “V” The series was different in this respect. It had story arcs and continuing plot threads. Every episode ended in a cliff-hanger and it left you wanting more. In this aspect, it has a modern flavor.

Jane Badler in V (1984)

2. People could die on “V”. For most TV shows, you know that the heroes will make it in the end. Not on “V”. Over the 19 episodes, long-standing characters like Dr. Maxwell and Elias Taylor buy the farm surprisingly abruptly. This raised the stakes dramatically and kept the viewer involved in the narrative.Jane Badler, Marc Singer, Faye Grant, June Chadwick, Blair Tefkin, and Jeff Yagher in V (1984)3. The cast was great. Marc Singer was perfectly cast as heroic Mike Donovan. Micheal Ironside ruled as perfect tough guy Ham. Jane Badler was very memorable as Uber-Bitch, Diana. June Chadwick was suitably catty as Diana’a rival Lydia. Duncan Rehgar was fantastic as Charles, the leader’s envoy. His fight with Donovan in “The Hero” is classic. He was a great villain and it is a great shock when he is killed after a mere 4 episodes.Jane Badler and Marc Singer in V (1984)4. There is a sense that this is merely a peek at a global war with the Visitors. For the first 12 episodes or so, The Freedom Network newscaster, Howard K. Smith ( A real journalist by the way) reads the headlines on the state of the war. We learn that the Visitors are sweeping through Spain and so forth. This makes us understand that The resistance in LA is only one story in this global conflict. It really gives the story a certain gravitas.

"V" Jane Badler 1984 NBC

5. The stories are often action adventure tales that are on par with anything that was on the air in the mid 1980s. Unfortunately, the sociological aspects that made the first mini series so memorable are ignored completely. The show, even though it is watered down, is entertaining in its own right.Jane Badler and Duncan Regehr in V (1984)As the series goes on, it is clear that there was less and less money bugeted for each episode. The first episode, “Liberation Day” has an outdoor crowd scene with hundreds of extras. By the last episode, we only have the main characters walking around on the standing sets. By the end, the production valules of the show looked rather thread bare. The producers decided to exploit the alien lizards by showing them without their Human masks. This was a mistake. The people who created the lizard makeups were not as artful as John Chambers. As a result the lizard appliances were very stiff and immoble. By showing the Lizards in their natural state too often, it undermined their credibility as a frightening threat. The full face lizards were about as scary and convincing as a halloween slip on mask. It became a bit silly. I hate cliffhangers that are unresolved. I can’t understand why they would create a cliffhanger for a show that was doing poorly in the ratings. It is really unfair to viewers who watched every episode.One can only wonder how it would of been resolved.

REVIEW: AIR AMERICA

CAST

Mel Gibson (Mad Max)
Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man)
Nancy Travis (So I Married An Axe Murderer)
Ken Jenkins (Gone In 60 Seconds)
David Marshall Grant (Forever Young)
Lane Smith (Lois & Clark)
Art LaFleur (Trancers II)
Ned Eisenberg (Last man Standing)
Marshall Bell (Total Recall)
Tim Thomerson (Dollman)
Michael Dudikoff (American Ninja)

 

unnamedIn late 1969, Billy Covington (Robert Downey Jr.) works as a helicopter traffic pilot for a Los Angeles radio station. When he breaks several safety regulations by flying low, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration suspends his pilot’s license. However, his piloting skills, bravery and disregard for the law are noticed by a mysterious government agent, who tells Billy that he can get his license back if he accepts a job in Laos, working for a “strictly civilian” company called Air America. It is readily apparent that Air America is a front for CIA operations in Laos. Unemployed and unable to find work, Billy takes the job. In Laos, he is introduced to Air America’s unorthodox pilots and aircraft, being taken under the wing of Gene Ryack (Mel Gibson), a cynical and eccentric pilot and an arms dealer who uses official flights to buy black market weapons for his private cache. His dream, which he refers to as his “retirement plan”, is to make a sale big enough so that he can afford to quit his job at Air America.air-america-1990-turkce-dublaj-izle-464

The next day, Senator Davenport (Lane Smith) arrives in Laos on a “fact finding mission”, to investigate rumors about Air America transporting drugs on behalf of Laotian forces. Major Lemond (Ken Jenkins) and Rob Diehl (David Marshall Grant), CIA leaders of Air America, show the Senator around refugee camps, shrines, temples, and major cities in a careful deception to hide from him that Air America is indeed transporting drugs. Air-America-film-images-034cc805-53b3-447d-93a7-c50872e06f8While airdropping livestock into rural villages in their C-123 cargo aircraft, Billy and Jack Neely (Art LaFleur) are shot down. The Pilatus PC-6 of General Soong (Burt Kwouk) arrives at the crash site and his soldiers load bags of opium on board, but leave Billy and Jack behind with Communist forces moving in. Gene and another pilot arrive and rescue them; Billy boards Gene’s helicopter while the rest of the crew escape in another aircraft. Billy and Gene’s helicopter is shot down on the way back, and they are captured by a rural tribe. Gene notices that the tribe is using obsolete and unreliable guns and strikes a deal to supply them with better weapons. Allowed to go free, Billy and Gene retreat to Gene’s house, where Billy is surprised to discover that Gene has a wife and children. Already disillusioned with US actions in Laos, Gene convinces Billy to quit his job with Air America, but Billy wants to get even with General Soong for betraying him when he crashed.AirAmerica_CovingtonUnknownMeanwhile, Senator Davenport is losing patience with Lemond and Diehl, and demands to know who is smuggling heroin. Soon after their return to base, the pilots learn that during his search for Billy and Gene, Jack was killed and Lemond and Diehl claim that he was the ring leader behind the drug trafficking. Enraged, Billy purchases grenades on the black market and uses them to blow up the heroin factory, but guards see him running away. Davenport is still unsatisfied and demands more concrete evidence. The next day, Gene finds a buyer for his arsenal, allowing him to leave gunrunning, quit Air America, and take his family out of the country. Meanwhile, Billy accepts one more flight before he actually quits. With co-pilot Babo (Tim Thomerson), he is assigned to transport flour to a refugee camp but they are instructed to divert to a nearby airstrip for “routine inspection”. Billy immediately suspects a set-up, and a search reveals several kilos of heroin hidden in the flour sacks. With his fuel gauge tampered with, Babo and Billy decide to crash-land on the same airstrip where Billy crashed a few days earlier, and use the wreckage of the previous crash to hide the smaller aircraft.image-w1280Gene, on his way to make his final, largest weapons delivery, flies in to rescue Babo and Billy after wondering why Billy can’t seem to keep anything in the air. Billy convinces him to respond to a distress call from a refugee camp caught in the crossfire between General Soong’s men and local rebels. Gene tries to rescue the United States Agency for International Development official (Nancy Travis) in charge of the camp, however, she refuses to leave without the refugees. After some initial resistance, Gene dumps the weapons to make room for the refugees, blowing up the weapons cache to cover their escape. In the air, Gene and Billy come up with a scheme to sell the aircraft to give Gene his money back. Senator Davenport recognises the set up for what it was, and the Senator threatens to reveal Lemond and Diehl’s operation to Washington.au600air-airamerica

A great action comedy film, a must for any Mel Gibson or Robert Downey Jr fans.