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)

 

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.

 

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

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.

12 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)
Denice 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)
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: LOIS & CLARK – SEASON 1,2,3 & 4

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CAST

Dean Cain (Supergirl)
Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives)
Lane Smith (V: The Series)
Michael Landes (Final Destination 2)
Justin Whalin (Child’s Play 3)
Tracy Scoggins (Babylon 5)
K Callan (Heroes)
Eddie Jones (C.H.U.D.)
John Shea (Mutant X)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Elizabeth Barondes (Oscar)
Kim Johnston Ulrich (Passions)
Mel Winkler (Coach Carter)
Shaun Toub (Iron Man)
Clyde Kusatsu (Paradise Road)
Persis Khambatta (Star Trek: TMP)
Joseph Campanella (Guding Light)
George Murdock (Star Trek V)
Terence Knox (Children of the Corn II)
Tony Jay (Beauty and The Beast)
Leslie Jordan (Jason Goes To Hell)
Jim Beaver (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Miguel Sandoval (Alias)
Jessica Tuck (Super 8)
Alexander Enberg (Gia)
David Deluise (Vampires Suck)
Courtney Peldon (Say It isn’t So)
L. Scott Caldwell (Lost)
Morgan Fairchild (That 70s Show)
Charles Cyphers (Halloween)
Fred Stoller (Little Man)
Richard Belzer (The Flash)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven)
Eve Plumb (The Brady Bunch)
Penn Jillette (Sabrina: TTW)
Richard Gant (Godzilla)
Chris Demetral (Dolly Dearest)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Beverly Johnson (Crossroads)
James Earl Jones (Star wars)
Phyllis Coates (Adventures of Superman)
Robert Beltran (Star Trek: Voyager0
Denise Crosby (Star TRek: TNG)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Traylor Howard (Two Guys and a Girl)
Michael Des Barres (Poison Ivy 3)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
William Schallert (Innerspace)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
Rick Overton (Cloverfield)
Bronson Pinchot (True Romance)
Bruce Weitz (Deep Impact)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Farrah Forke (Wings)
Peter Boyle (Taxi Driver)
Melora Hardin (17 Again)
John Pleshette (Rocky II)
William Devane (Interstellar)
Isobel Sanford (Love at First Bite)
Dick Van Patten (Spaceballs)
Denise Richards (Valentine)
Sherman Hemsley (Amen)
John Rubinstein (Legends of Tomorrow)
Scott Valentine (My Demon Lover)
Christian Clemenson (Apollo 13)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groudnhog Day)
Gerrit Graham (Child’s Play 2)
Raquel Welch (Fantastic Voyage)
Cliff De Young (Glory)
Jim Pirri (Alias)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Terry Kiser (Friday The 13th – Part VII)
Lane Davies (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Meredith Scott Lynn (Legally Blonde)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Frank Gorshin (Batman 60s)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Jason Carter (Babylon 5)
Michele Abrams (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Maurice Godin (Working)
Jessica Collins (Tru Calling)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)
Olivia Brown (48 Hours)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Genie Francis (Roseell)
Kenneth Kimmins (Beauty and The Beast)
Shelley Long (Cheers)
Mary Gross (Sabrina: TTW)
Sandra Hess (Gargoyle)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Andrew Bryniarski (Batman Returns)
Robert Carradine (Django Unchained)
Harve Presnell (Star trek: Voyager)
Beverly Garland (Decoy)
Gary Dourdan (CSI)
Emily Procter (CSI: Miami)
Hamilton Camp (The Little Mermaid)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Brad Garrett (The Crazy Ones)
Tony Curtis (The Great Race)
Larry Poindexter (Blade: The Series)
Daniel Roebuck (Lost)
Kyla Pratt (Dr. Dolittle)
Justine Bateman (Family Ties)
Roger Daltrey (Highlander: The Series)
Jon Tenney (Green Lantern)
Nark Lindsay Chapman (Swamp Thing: The Series)
J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: DS9)
Eric Allan Kramer (The Incredible Hulk Returns)
Simon Templeman (Angel)
Jack Larson (Adventures of Superman)
John D’Aquino (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Alan Rachins (L.A. Law)
Jasmine Guy (The Vampire Diaries)
Sydney Walsh (Point Break)
Antonio Sabato Jr. (The Big Hit)
Steve Hytner (Roswell)
Drew Carey (Fuck)
Kathy Kinney (Arachnophobia)
Howie Mandel (Bobby’s World)
Keene Curtis (Stargate SG.1)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Kristanna Loken (Painkiller Jane)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash_
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Patrick Cassidy (Smallville)
Keith Brunsmann (Tweek City)
Lori Fetrick (CIA II)
Tim Thomerson (Transcers)
Stacey Travis (Highlander: The Series)
Grant Shaud (Antz)

Die-hard Superman fans are torn on this one. Some think of L&C as the black sheep of Superman history. Others see it as one of their favorite adaptations. And how could they not, really? Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher as Clark and Lois had some serious chemistry going on. The late Lane Smith as Perry White is still my favorite version of the character, though Michael McKean did a darn good job himself. Michael Landes as Jimmy, Tracy Scoggins as Cat, Eddie Jones and K Callan as Jonathan and Martha… it all really gelled. And John Shea as Lex – how was he missed as a regular in the later years. Because of personnel changes throughout the series’ run, unfortunately, there were very little references or flashbacks to the first year because the show was now guided by a new regime.
 But the first year really is where it’s at. Teri Hatcher, before she was a desperate housewife, looked real and spectacular as Lois Lane. They dressed Lois in retro outfits that looked like they came from another decade, which gave the show a timeless quality. Dean Cain as Clark offered a “cool” but alien take to the role. Both Dean and Teri look really fashionable even to this day in the first season of the show.
The special effects are hit-or-miss; in some scenes, the effects work, but in others, you cringe. We’ve really gotten spoiled by the top-notch effects work in programs like Smallville. Guest stars in that first season include model Beverly Johnson, James Earl Jones, Michael McKean, Law & Order’s Richard Belzer, Morgan Fairchild, Dean Stockwell, and many others. But it’s the show’s recurring cast that makes it the most, well, super.
The DVD set includes commentary on the pilot episode by actor Dean Cain, director Robert Butler, and show creator Deborah Joy LeVine. It’s a lot of fun, especially hearing stories about the show’s casting and production of that pilot episode. I really wish Deborah Joy LeVine had stayed on the series as an executive producer, because she had such an amazing vision for the show that I think is a big reason of why that first season was so good. There’s also a documentary on the effects, but the real treat is a bonus documentary where almost all of the L&C cast and many members of the crew are interviewed about the show, except for Michael Landes (Jimmy #1) and Lane Smith (Perry White). How cool is it, ten years later, to see Big TV Superstar Teri Hatcher talking about her days of Lois Lane, all while speaking on Housewives’ Wisteria Lane set. Even K Callan, Eddie Jones, Tracy Scoggins, and John Shea participated in the action. I applaud Warner Home Video for going to the effort of including these people.
 The second season of L&C holds a special place to me because it is the year that taught me how to be a fan. Series creator Deborah Joy LeVine exited after the thrilling first season finale, and departing at the same time were Tracy Scoggins (Cat Grant), Chris Demetral (Jack), and – the most painful loss at the time – Michael Landes, who I referred to back in the day as “the real Jimmy.” He was replaced by Justin Whalin in the role, and I admit, I didn’t take to him very easily. The show went for more of an action-oriented tone, but luckily, Lois & Clark had some very good writers who still managed to find a way to keep the romantic elements of the series. Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain had a chemistry, as did their characters of Lois and Clark, and you can’t help but feel for them as they go along.
Season Two was also the season where Lois & Clark finally became a hit – no “sophomore slump” here. From the time Clark finally asked Lois on a date in “The Phoenix” things were looking up. No Mayson Drakes or Dan Scardinos could get in the way of finally getting these two characters together.
Upon watching the DVD, my first stop after the special features was “Whine Whine Whine.” In it, Superman fights a foe more dastardly than Kryptonite – greed. The episode featured guests like Ben Stein, Adam West, Frank Gorshin, Martin Mull, and others… it’s just great. Long-time Lois & Clark fans will also remember it for bringing in a scene that we’ve waited for for a while. “
Like Season 1, the producers of the L&C DVDs went all out in providing an assortment of special material, and for the most part they were very successful. Dean Cain provides interviews again (no Teri this time), and other interviewees included K Callan (Martha Kent), Eddie Jones (Jonathan Kent), Denise Crosby (Dr. Gretchen Kelly), and Justin Whalin (Jimmy Olsen). The show’s Season 2 writers and some crew are also featured, including John McNamara, who is awesome not only for his great L&C contributions, but because he co-created Profit, which is the best show you probably have never seen.
In the interviews Justin Whalin talks about the initial fan reaction to his recasting, which makes me feel a bit bad for the way I felt and posted years ago after he was cast. I later met Justin and thought he was a really nice guy. I’ve also noticed on the DVD interviews that Justin has apparently not aged at all in the past 10 years – he looks almost exactly the same.
Another bonus feature takes a look at the fandom for the show, again featuring some actors and creators and some visits to some fans at a recent “FoLCFest” (Fans of Lois & Clark) gathering. I was glad to see an assortment of people interviewed for the featurette, but I was a bit disappointed that no one from the Krypton Club was represented – after all, its subscriber list WAS bigger than the listserv or the IRC channel for most of its existence – but that fact seems to have been forgotten in the passing of time.
Finally, Dean Cain provides commentary for “Season’s Greedings,” where you hear – about 2 dozen times – about how foamy material rather than real snow were used to provide the “snow” for the episode. It’s very cool to hear Dean talking about his writing debut, which conveniently also happened to be one of the most popular episodes of the series. Dean’s a great sport and I really love the fact that he’s even doing DVD commentary. .
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 The third season was probably the most memorable time for me to be a part of the Lois & Clark fandom, as the show started hitting high gear. Unfortunately, some of the situations that I found to be “funny” back as a kid are just kind of annoying and childish now. If I ever see Olivia Brown’s Star anytime soon, it’ll be too soon. Jonathan Frakes and Genie Francis also camp it up way too much as collectors Tim and Amber Lake. And they’re not the only ones who bring bad camp to the season.
Luckily, some episodes have a good mix of camp and story. “We Have A Lot To Talk About,” the season’s premiere, is an episode that will always be close to my heart and has some of the best quotations in Superman history. (“That is so unfair! You know I can’t fly!”) There’s camp in the form of the Churches in that said episode, but when it’s Peter Boyle, Bruce Campbell, and Jessica Collins, you really don’t seem to mind.
“Ultra Woman” gives Lois super-powers, and again, a very campy costume, but makes for a good story anyway. The episode also features the Metropolis Park Wishing Well, which now can be paused so you can actually see this author’s name inscribed on the well! Another highlight of the season – and one of the series’ best all around – is “Tempus Anyone,” a return appearance for the Tempus character from Season 2’s “Tempus Fugitive.” Season Three rushed right into a wedding, and “I Now Pronounce You” promises the “wedding of the century” – a wedding that ABC touted as being “bigger than Burt and Loni, Michael and Lisa Marie…” You see where they’re going with that. I don’t want to spoil the episode, but the episodes following it may become increasingly frustrating, even though “Double Jeopardy” and “Seconds” are also two of the season’s best shows.
The season finale introduces some aliens fom a New Krypton. This is the spot where the producers chose to ignore the whole “Last Son of Krypton” aspect of Superman.
 Season 4 does have some gems. Some I liked the first time around, like the “Meet John Doe/Lois and Clarks” two-parter… and some were surprisingly better than what I remembered, like the Leslie Luckabee trilogy. One advantage of watching this season on DVD ten years later, besides the feeling of nostalgia, is that many of these episodes were ones I had only seen once back in the day… compared to the dozens of times I re-watched the early episodes. So, in effect, this is kind of new, and I like that.
 Season 4 is still enjoyable but as you get closer to the last episode you know the end is coming, plus the final episode is a cliffhanger that will never be resolved.

REVIEW: V – THE SERIES (1985)

CAST

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)

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)

 

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.

Highlights 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.