25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

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MAIN CAST
Tom Welling (The Fog)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Cursed)
Erica Durance (The Butterfly Effect 2)
Allison Mack (Riese)
John Glover (Batman & Robin)
Annette O’Toole (IT)
John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Aaron Ashmore (The Skulls 2)

LEXMAS

GUEST CAST
Kenneth Welsh (The Day After Tomorrow)
Alisen Down (Stargate Universe)
Adrian Holmes (Cabin In The Woods)
Jerry Wasserman (Watchmen)
Lex drives into a dark alley to meet Griff, who is being paid to do whatever Lex wants to destroy Jonathan in the race for State Senator. Lex hesitates and says that he wants 24 hours to decide if he wants to go down that path. As he heads for his car, he is mugged and shot, and left for dead in the street.
Lex’s Dream: It is Christmas Eve. Lex wakes up, shocked to see a very pregnant Lana in bed next to him. He also has a young son, Alexander. Lex lifts up his shirt and sees the scar on his side from the gun shot. His dead mother, Lillian, appears to Lex and says that it is not a dream and this can be his life if he makes the right choices. Lex is then seen to be lying unconscious in an alley.
Reality: At the farm, the Kents are getting ready for Christmas, and Clark has invited Lana to spend it with them. Clark gets an urgent call from Chloe, who is still at the Planet . The scene shifts to Lex being transported to the hospital as the doctors try to save his life. He slips back into his dream.
Lana says that it has been seven years since Lionel cut Lex out of the family fortune. He takes his son to go buy a Christmas tree. At the tree farm, Lex sees Clark and Chloe. Clark is now a full-fledged reporter at the Daily Planet and Chloe is publishing a book next month exposing LuthorCorp with Lex’s help.
In reality, Lionel is speaking with the doctors at the Hospital and demands to speak to the doctor in charge in order to push a risky surgery. In Metropolis, Clark meets Chloe at the Planet, and she explains that her Teamsters went on strike, and the thousands of presents they collected for Toys for Tots will be undelivered unless he helps her out. Clark agrees to help her distribute the toys. While zipping through the city, he sees a man dressed in a Santa Claus costume about to jump off a building with a liquor bottle in his hand. He says he was going to jump because the Christmas spirit is dead. Clark objects and tells him about how he gave up his first Christmas with Lana to help Chloe deliver toys. When Santa falls off, Clark saves him and sends him on his way. Dr. Scanlan explains to Lionel that Lex will most likely be paralyzed from the chest down because he is too unstable for surgery or transfer. Despite this, Lionel transfers Lex to the Davis Clinic in Metropolis for immediate but extremely risky surgery.
In the alternate reality, Lex and Lana Luthor go to the party at the Kents’ house. Jonathan Kent is now the current State Senator. He says that Lex is the best man he knows and announces that Lex will receive the Kansas Humanitarian Award. Lex steps outside where his mother’s spirit is. He marvels that he’s never been happier and she tells him that he could have this happiness in reality if he makes the right choice. He doesn’t understand but when he asks for more information, she disappears. Clark approaches and muses that he and Lana didn’t work out because Lex became a man she could love. However, they are still on good terms. Their conversation is interrupted by Martha, who reports that Lana has gone into labor. Lana delivers a baby girl on Christmas Eve. However, she starts to rapidly lose blood. Lex goes to Lionel in the Luthor Mansion to beg for resources to save his wife, but Lionel refuses to help them because Lex betrayed him seven years ago by dropping out of the Senate race. He tells him that he has no son. Lana dies and Lillian appears again. Lex tells her that he doesn’t want this alternate reality because everyone he’s ever loved has died. Reality: The man dressed as Santa Claus appears at the Daily Planet and offers to help Chloe with the gifts because Clark was willing to give up his Christmas with Lana. After Chloe reluctantly accepts Santa’s help, he and all the presents disappear. Back at the Kents’ party, Chloe tells Clark about the presents disappearing and says she thinks that he may have possibly been Santa Claus. Clark and Lana spend their first Christmas together as it snows. Lex wakes up with Lionel at his bedside. He is upset with Lionel for ordering surgery with very low odds of survival, asking him, “How dare you play God with my life?” When Griff asks Lex what his choice was, Lex decides that he will do anything it takes to win the Senate race. Lex says his only wish is to live happily ever after and the key to that is money and power because “once you have those two things, you can secure everything else.” In her reflection in the window, Lillian cries over the choice Lex just made and then disappears.
An amazing episode, its basically a dark version of It’s A Wonderful life showing what could of happened if Lex had taken different choices, but as he awakes he’s learnt to take what he wants. The Santa story was fun Chloe left wondering if it really was Santa.

GEMINI

GUEST CAST
Michael Cassidy (Argo)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Lois Lane and Grant Gabriel are kissing in a storage closet in the Daily Planet. She tells him that she doesn’t want to write the Lex Luthor exposé since it might raise eyebrows about her relationship with Grant. However, Grant says that Lex requested her. Meanwhile, Chloe Sullivan is trying to call Clark Kent, who has been missing for two weeks. Chloe has been covering for him in his absence, explaining that he is in Minnesota, but she is starting to get worried. Lois catches up with Chloe, who gives her all her research on LuthorCorp. While looking through the papers, Lois hears a phone ringing. Despite the fact that it doesn’t belong to her, she answers it and hears a mysterious caller tell her that Chloe has a bomb on her. If she doesn’t stop ignoring him, Chloe will die.
At the Luthor Mansion, Lex is fencing with Grant. Grant asks Lex to request that someone else besides Lois write the article since Lois has a way of uncovering significant facts, but Lex denies having anything to hide. Even though Grant seems to be concerned, Lex affirms that he always wins. The caller, whose name is Adrian Cross, is talking to Lois, telling her that he is an escaped clone from LuthorCorp. His body is aging at a rapid rate and he expects to die very soon. While she is talking to him, Lois attempts to send Chloe an e-mail to warn her, but her internet line is cut. Adrian calls her again and warns her not to disobey him. Frightened, Lois looks around the basement of the Daily Planet for men on phones. She spots a suspicious-looking delivery man and follows him into a secluded room, then attacks him. However, the man is innocent and he begins to walk away. He falls back toward Lois, dead from being stabbed with a pair of scissors. Lois’ cell phone rings and Adrian warns her to keep her mouth shut. Clark suddenly reappears on the Kent Farm to find Lana in the barn. He reveals that he was unable to find Kara. Lana tells him she has decided to stop obsessing over Lex, but Clark says he wants to see what she’s uncovered. She takes Clark to her secret room in the Isis Foundation, now filled with non-functioning surveillance equipment. Clark finds a folder on Project Scion and Lana shows him the vial filled with black liquid that she thought she destroyed when she wrecked his lab. Clark tells her that she couldn’t have destroyed alien technology, so she decides to show him more. Lois is still attempting to warn Chloe about the bomb. This time, she tries to get a woman to deliver a manila envelope to Chloe which has the warning written on the back. The woman hands the letter to Chloe, who tells Lois that Clark is back and she is leaving to go visit him. At this time, Lois receives a text message from Adrian, warning Lois not to tell Chloe anything. Chloe suspects that something is bothering Lois, but Lois doesn’t say anything.
Lana takes Clark to a LuthorCorp lab where Project Scion was tested and shows him Casey Brock, a woman who was found suffering from toxic levels of metal poisoning. Overnight, the amount of metal in her bloodstream dropped dramatically, meaning that whatever was in her bloodstream had left. Clark states that her incoherent speech patterns are actually Kryptonian and writes down what she is murmuring. Jimmy and Chloe both get into an elevator and share an awkward moment. They recall a Christmas party last year, when Chloe was still dating Jimmy. Chloe turns the envelope over and reads Lois’ warning message about the bomb. At this moment, the elevator suddenly brakes, trapping Chloe and Jimmy with the bomb.
Meanwhile, Lois notices an “out of service” sign on the elevator. She begins to walk toward it, but is stopped by Adrian, who is holding the detonator in his hand and demanding his story. In the elevator, Chloe empties her pocketbook to search for the bomb. She finds It, disguised as Chloe’s Secret Santa gift. Back in a Daily Planet office, Lois is showing Adrian her article about LuthorCorp’s first clone. Adrian tells her about his family and his Christmas memories, then reveals that they were all fictitious memories downloaded into his brain. Lois promises to publish the story if Adrian will let Chloe go, but Adrian has another mission for Lois. She must force Lex to confess what he’s done. Chloe is trying to call Clark in the elevator, but Jimmy is annoyed that Chloe would call Clark before she would call 911. The cell phone breaks when Chloe accidentally drops it.
Lois goes to her interview with Lex wearing a hidden camera and a device in her ear which allows Adrian to talk to her. If she can’t get a confession from Lex, Adrian will kill Chloe. At the same time, Clark and Lana go to the Daily Planet to see if Chloe can translate the code that Casey Brock was mumbling, but they can’t find her. Grant and Lex are both waiting for Lois, but they are surprised with her first question, a demand to know about Project Gemini. Adrian is still communicating with her through her earpiece, telling her exactly what to do. Lex claims he doesn’t have anything to do with cloning and he denies knowing a man named Adrian. Adrian orders Lois to aim a gun at Grant to get Lex to confess. Lois begins ranting about Adrian’s life story. Lex knocks her out and finds the hidden camera she was wearing. Shortly after, Adrian enters and tells Lex and Grant about more of his memories. Grant soon realizes that they have the exact same memories, even talking about their past experiences simultaneously. Adrian also says that they have the same DNA and history, only Adrian was a failed experiment and Grant was a successful one. In an outburst of anger, Lex shoots and kills Adrian, saying he was just a mistake. In his last seconds of life, Adrian presses the button on the bomb’s detonator. In a state of panic, Chloe and Jimmy bang on the elevator door, but no one can hear them. Thinking she is about to die, she confesses to Jimmy that she is a meteor freak. They share one last kiss as the detonater ticks down to the final seconds. In the basement of the Daily Planet, Lana turns on Lois’ computer screen and sees the email that Lois attempted to send Chloe, warning her about the bomb. Clark uses his super-hearing to locate the sound of the bomb, then he runs to the staircase, soars to an upper floor and superspeeds to the rescue. He opens the elevator door and finds Chloe and Jimmy kissing before he throws the bomb off the building roof, where it explodes harmlessly. Chloe and Jimmy are stunned to find that they are unharmed with the elevator doors open and many people staring at them.After Lois wakes up, Lex tells her that Chloe is fine, but Lois says she will expose his project to the world. Lex retorts by telling Lois that she has no evidence, and he recently bought the Daily Planet. Since he is now Lois’ boss, there is no way she can write the article.
 Jimmy catches up with Chloe and they talk about what happened. He wishes Chloe trusted him more to tell him about her meteor infection, but Chloe just says she had trouble accepting herself. Chloe demonstrates her powers for him by healing a cut on his finger. Even though this was not a major injury, Chloe still feels some slight internal pain from using her healing powers. Jimmy promises to keep Chloe’s powers a secret. While Lex is receiving the acquisition papers for the Daily Planet, Grant enters his office, sarcastically congratulating him for purchasing the Daily Planet. He is sick of always being under Lex’s control and is outraged for being nothing more than an experiment. Lex declares that all he wanted was a family, but Grant is anxious to break free from his control. Later, Grant visits Lois at the Talon apartment. Contrary to her first impression, she is not fired, in fact, Lex requested that she stay. Grant then breaks up with Lois, since he thinks their relationship is too complicated, especially after what happened today.Back at the Kent Farm, Chloe and Clark discuss the possibility of the Brain InterActive Construct’s return. The Kryptonian code Clark wrote down was an error message that a system encounters when it can’t boot up. Each time the code repeats, it learns from its mistakes and is getting closer to actually loading. Clark warns Chloe that the black fluid has evolved into technology willing to kill. Once Chloe leaves and Lana returns home, Clark and Lana share a warm moment. As they embrace, Clark’s face flashes white and his skin distorts, revealing that “Clark” has actually been Bizarro the entire time. Meanwhile, the real Clark is frozen in the Fortress of Solitude.
A great Christmas episode especially for Chloe and Jimmy, and that shocker ending when you find out Lana has been talking to Bizarro all the time and not Clark is just amazing.

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)
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.

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: THE BATMAN – SEASON 5

Main Cast

Rino Romano (Spaceballs: TAS)
Alastair Duncan (Providence)
Evan Sabara (The Polar Express)
Danielle Judovits (Toy Story)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate: Atlantis)

The Batman (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

George Newbern (Justice Leegue)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Dana Delany (Superman: TAS)
James Remar (BLack Lightning)
Louis Gossett Jr. (Legend of The Mummy)
Gwendoline Yeo (Desperate Housewives)
Chris Hardwick (The X’s)
Jason Marsden (Young Justice)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Amanda Anka (Buffy: TVS)
John Larroquette (Stripes)
Charlie Schlatter (18 Again)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Miguel Ferrer (Iron Man 3)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Hynden Walch (Teen Titans)
Jerry O’Connell (The Death of Superman)
Patton Oswalt (Caprica)
Diedrich Bader (American Housewife)
Peter MacNicol (Veep)
Chris Pratt (Avengers Endgame)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Dorian Harewood (Terminator: TSCC)

The Batman (2004)Over time the show has definitely grown and it’s safe to say that it’s come into its own. Though this may be the final season it’s definitely one of the stronger ones and in the end this is a ride any fan of the character should take. In the previous seasons of The Batman all sorts of things happened that continue to have an impact upon Gotham in this fifth outing. Batgirl was added to the roster during the third season with Dick Grayson as Robin in the fourth. Several familiar villains were brought into the fold as well but most notably the finale of the fourth season featured an alien invasion and the introduction of The Justice League. That’s right where we pick up this time around with Gotham reeling in the aftermath of the alien attack.Ring_TossDestruction is everywhere and the people are in need of support. Lucky for them Superman comes to town with a massive check from Metropolis but unluckily for Superman Metallo is waiting for his chance to strike. What transpires is a team up between Batman and Superman to take down Lex Luthor who has his eyes set on Gotham. In the meantime Superman falls under Lex’s control thanks to some help from Poison Ivy and kryptonite. Naturally it’s up to Batman and Robin to stop the man of steel and there’s plenty of fighting between the DC legends.Joker_ExpressIf you have been following the series this marks Superman’s first appearance on the show and you’ll notice a trend that follows throughout this year. The previous season’s introduction of characters such as Green Arrow, Flash, Hawkman, and Green Lantern fleshes out The Batman’s roster somewhat and really gives is a Justice League feel.Batman_superman_robinThis season is very entertaining even though the focus shifts from Batman and his universe. At this point in The Batman’s run the creative cast definitely had it going on but you can tell that even in the final moments they were experimenting. I see what the producers were aiming to do with this season and for all intents and purposes it is successful.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED – 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

Powers Booth (Sin City)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Seymour Cassel (Dick Tracy)
Takayo Fischer (Moneyball)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
James Remar (Black Lightning)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Giselle Loren (Happy Feet)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween)
Kim Mai Guest (G.I. Joe: Reneages)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Kin Shriner (Manhunter)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Alexis Denisof (Avengers Assemble)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time)
Juliet Landau (Aquaman)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Oded Fehr (V)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Amy Acker (The Gifted)
Virgina Madsen (Highlander II)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator)
Joanne Whalley (Willow)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Michael Ironside (Scanners)
Bud Cort (MASH)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)

MV5BMjQwMjQ0MTUzM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTAwOTM2MjE@._V1_Since I was just a young lad, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm have been showing me exactly what a superhero should be. They were some of the people behind the sublime Batman: The Animated Series, which is the definitive version of Batman in my eyes. They helped bring a certain Kryptonian to television screens in the late ’90s, taking an extra step into forming a coherent version of the DC universe to life. Hell, they even went so far as to help create a true successor to the Dark Knight. After doing all this, they managed to bring a clean, faithful and truly amazing assortment of champions of the DC Universe to life, showing us all exactly what a superhero should be.MV5BMTQxMjk3MTgxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDAwOTM2MjE@._V1_JLU – Season Two  remains faithful to its source material, which isn’t something you’ll find too often when translating a comic to a TV show or movie; whether it’s Green Arrow humming his own theme music while he’s fighting villains to Batman always being the baddest man in the room, the show conveys everything perfectly. A huge strength of the show lies within its voice talent, which is an assortment of voice-over veterans that have had some time to perfect their takes on characters: Kevin Conroy expertly delivers every line as Batman; Michael Rosenbaum has a wonderful, playful performance as Flash; and Clancy Brown is nothing short of brilliant as the ever-scheming, truly egotistic Lex Luthor. Though some of these actors have had over a decade to perfect their take on their respective characters, the guest stars who have little to no VO experience, much less know their characters, manage to be spot-on with their takes, making their characters memorable and charismatic.MV5BMTk4NTY4ODY4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDYwOTM2MjE@._V1_Not only that, some of the guest stars who appear are more than enough to cause a nerdgasm to any self-respecting comic geek. Names like Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Amy Acker, Morena Baccarin, Juliet Landau, Michael Ironside, James Remar, and Daniel Dae Kim all bring their characters to life in the best way possible, creating a lasting impact on the series. As the series progressed from the seven core heroes, requiring the talent of so many guest stars, some viewers may be inclined to think, “Wow, DC has a lot of lame heroes in its roster.” Almost at the exact point in the series that the thought occurred to me, the show comes out swinging with the episode “Patriot Act,” hitting the nail on the head. This episode has an Incredible Hulk type character wanting to face off against the JLU varsity squad (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc&#Array;), but what he gets is a slew of D and E-list heroes, like Stargirl, S.T.R.I.P.E., Shining Knight, Vigilante, Green Arrow and Speedy.MV5BMzcyNjI0Nzc5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODI5ODM2MjE@._V1_Though you may be thinking “who?” at this roster of leaguers, and though they get thoroughly trounced, the episode manages to make the point of despite who they’re fighting, these champions won’t ever quit, and it’s a theme that’s brought up more than once during the series without beating you over the head with it nor becoming cheesy, and that’s fine by me. The writing of the series is easily its greatest strength as it has fun with its storylines and it’s very obvious that everyone involved knows their craft. They don’t bother setting up any more characters – they already had four seasons to do so. Rather than exploring the universe further, they jump into tales that can be enjoyed by newcomers and longtime fans alike. The main story-arc of the season is a huge nod to an older crowd as it deals with the Legion of Doom – well, maybe not in name, but without a doubt in spirit: A gaggle of villains led by Lex Luthor who use a giant Darth Vader helmet as a base of operations.MV5BOTE5NTA5MTc1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTIwOTM2MjE@._V1_If that isn’t the Legion of Doom, I don’t know what is. The storyline revolves around Luthor’s quest to reunite with Braniac and become a god. Unfortunately, he unleashes one of the most dangerous and powerful foes in the DC universe and the events that follow make for one satisfying bookend to one of the most prolific takes on a comic universe.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED – SEASON 1

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)

MV5BMTk2NzY1NTU5OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjIwOTM2MjE@._V1_

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kin Shriner (Manhunter)
George Eads (CSI)
Eric Robert (The Finder)
Dana Delany (Tombstone)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore)
Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Fam)
Fred Savage (The Princess Diaries)
Jason Hervey (Back To The Future)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Patrick Bauchau (Panic Room)
Rachel York (One Fine Day)
Jack Carter (McCloud)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Annimator)
Robert Foxworth (Transformers)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
Cree Summer (Voltron)
Tom Everett Scott (Because I Said So)
Billy West (Futurama)
Lori Loughlin (Full House)
Jeremy Piven (Old School)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Oded Fehr (V)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Tim Matheson (The West Wing)
Grey Griffin (The Book of Life)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Peter MacNicol (Veep)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers)
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina: TTW)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Virginia Madsen (Better Watch Out)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)
Farrah Forke (Lois & Clark)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Robert Englund (2001 Maniacs)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jason Bateman (Office Christmas Party)
Susan Sullivan (Castle)
Michael T. Weiss (The Pretender)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Steve Schirripa (Must Love Dogs)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Nathan Fillion (Serenity)
Elizabeth Peña (The Incredibles)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)

MV5BMTk4NTc5Mzg3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTc5ODM2MjE@._V1_Fantasy now runs your life? Comic books become your vice? And your best friends still have their virginities? Then look no farther, friends, because this collection of episodes is so good you don’t need friends, significant others, or a single reason to emerge from your Geekdrome. But you know what the best part is? It’s not just for geeks – Justice League Unlimited stands tall as the best collection of American action/adventure animation you’re likely to find. While there is, of course, a certain geek charge some may get out of seeing characters like Powergirl and Green Arrow in action (not to mention an episode featuring Nathan Fillion voicing Vigilante and Gina Torres voicing Vixen – come on, how cool is that?), these episodes will entertain because of good characters, good humor, and good storytelling, even if you don’t know your Booster Golds from your Blue Beetles.MV5BMTA3OTAzMDYwMjdeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDMzMDkzNjIx._V1_While the first two seasons of Justice League nicely expanded upon the world first established in the early ’90s with Batman: The Animated Series, it wasn’t until this, the show’s third season (or first, depending on how you look at it) that the format and structure was perfected for the genre. It was an interesting experiment having the previous seasons’ episodes run for one-hour, but with JLU the format is scaled back to stand-alone half-hour stories and, ironically, it fits like a bat-glove. It’s strange, but these shorter episodes actually manage to pack in more than the double-length ones. A lot more. And what a roster of characters to fill a show with! You’ll see everyone from The Atom to Elongated Man. Because this is a full-blown, all-star take on these characters, each character can shine their brightest. When you get Superman, you get the best of Superman. Wonder Woman? The best of Wonder Woman. B’wana Beast? Uh… well, I guess this is the best he’s ever been.MV5BMjIwOTMxMzk2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTU5ODM2MjE@._V1_The surplus of great characters is fun, but what really sells the show are the stories. Or, more specifically, story. No doubt borrowing a page from the work of Joss Whedon – showrunner Bruce Timm admits in a commentary that Whedon was a big influence – these episodes highlight a large and complex season-spanning plot that actually has meaning in today’s world. This is certainly the most mature and thoughtful storytelling you’re likely to get from a cartoon of this type. What elevates the show from great to brilliant is its ability to tell stories that are exciting and also manage to propel the larger narrative forward. For example, Dark Heart – penned by famous comic book scribe Warren Ellis – manages to mix a great science fiction plot (a self-replicating AI) with humor (Wonder Woman, needing both hands to fight, rests The Atom in a very interesting holding place) and its plot still manages to play a part later on down the road in the season’s climax.MV5BMjAwMTU4NDI0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzIwOTM2MjE@._V1_The writing is the best the show has ever seen, no doubt a result of staff writer Dwayne McDuffie coming into his own; his versatility with the characters is fantastic. Comic book writers Warren Ellis and J.M. DeMatteis join in on the fun, and new series director Joaquim Dos Santos infuses the episodes with a dynamic energy that allows the show to compete with the best of today’s cutting-edge, anime-inspired programming. It’s like the entire DC animated universe has been supercharged in the best way possible.MV5BMTk3NjM3NzI3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQwOTM2MjE@._V1_This collection contains two seasons, and both season finales are just fantastic. The Once and Future Thing is an exciting time romp (with a great Western segment) and Divided We Fall is a showstopper of epic proportions. Either finale would make for a better DVD movie than any of what has been released thus far. Then there’s Epilogue – just brilliant. It manages to tie in the entire DC animated universe – including films Mask of the Phantasm and Return of the Joker! – and still say something meaningful about a very important character. The episode isn’t just great animation, it’s great television.MV5BMTk1MDgzMTYzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTUwOTM2MjE@._V1_There really is nothing bad to say about these episodes. The new rock-inspired opening credits do ring a bit too much of cheesy ’80s electronica, but you get used to it, and, after a while, it fits. Of course, the fact remains that if you aren’t into cartoons in the first place you probably won’t be willing to hop on the bandwagon no matter how cool a series is. But if you consider animation to be a legitimate and respectable medium, then this is the pinnacle of the form.  While there are bigger and more influential cartoon shows out there – namely, comedies like The Simpsons – Justice League Unlimited is still one of the best American animated programs you’ll find. With this show the genre has been perfected – it’s fun, exciting, and thoughtful. In other words, this is exactly what superheroes should be.

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)

justice-league-season-2-2-twilight-part-2-brainiac-review-episode-guide-list

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.