REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 9

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Jason Segel and Sherri Shepherd in How I Met Your Mother (2005)RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Sherri Shepherd (Precious)
Wayne Brady (Foodfight!)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Robert Belushi (Devil’s Due)
Roger Bart (Good Trouble)
Frances Conroy (Catwoman)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Edward Herrmann (The Lost Boys)
Rhys Darby (Yes Man)
Harry Groener (Buffy)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
James Van Der Beek (Varsity Blues)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
Stacy Keibler (The Comebacks)
Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland)
April Bowlby (Doom Patrol)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Adam Paul (One For The Money)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (S.W.A.T.)
Sarah Chalke (Scrubs)
Ashley Williams (A Most Violent Year)
Bill Fagerbakke (spngebob Squarepants)
Abby Elliott (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Matt Walsh (Ted)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Tracey Ullman (Into The Woods)
Lucy Hale (Truth Or Dare)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)
Jon Heder (School for Scoundrals)
Chris Elliott (The Abyss)
Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Emily Chang (The Vampire Diaries)
Jorge Garcia (Lost)
Kal Penn (Superman Returns)
Jennifer Morrison (Star Trek)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Abigail Spencer (Cowboys and Aliens)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)

Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)With the exception of the very last episode, the entirety of season nine takes place in the 56 hours leading up to Barney and Robin’s wedding.Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Marshall, who is stuck in Minnesota, desperately tries to find a way to get to the wedding in time. Meanwhile, in Farhampton, the time is slowly counting down to the wedding, with a new problem arising in almost every episode. It is revealed that Lily is pregnant and that she and Marshall will have a daughter. It was also revealed that Ted’s children are named Penny and Luke. In addition, the 200th episode detailed the Mother’s eight years before meeting Ted, while later episodes gave viewers a glimpse of Ted and the Mother together in flash forward scenes.Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti in How I Met Your Mother (2005)In the series finale, it was revealed that after three years of marriage, Barney and Robin decide to divorce. Barney ends up fathering a child conceived through a one-night stand. Marshall eventually becomes a judge, and he and Lily have three children. Ted’s wife, Tracy, dies of illness in 2024, six years prior to Ted telling his children the full story of how they met. Upon finishing the story, at the urging of his kids, Ted decides to ask Robin out. Alluding to the first season, the finale ends with Robin looking out her apartment window to see Ted on the street holding the blue French horn.Josh Radnor and Cristin Milioti in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Season 9 may have a controversial ending but it’s nice to see a show have a proper ending with so many shows ending early they often fail to finish. How I Met You Mother proved it could stay the distance and the ending will be talked about for years to come.

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 8

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica)
Thomas Lennon (Santa Clarita Diet)
Ashley Williams (A Most Violent Year)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Bill Fagerbakke (spngebob Squarepants)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Jane Carr (Legends of Tomorrow)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
David Henrie (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Joe Manganiello (Justice League)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Chelan Simmons (Good Luck Chuck)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Peter Gallagher (New Girl)
Alexis Denisof (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Ashley Benson (Pixels)
Abby Elliott (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
James Van Der Beek (Varsity Blues)
Jason Priestley (Tru Calling)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
Dave Thomas (Rat Race)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Mike Tyson (The Hangover)
Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (S.W.A.T.)
Mircea Monroe (The Change-Up)
Frances Conroy (Catwoman)
Ralph Macchio (Ugly Betty)
William Zabka (The Karate Kid)
Keegan-Michael Key (The Predator)
Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Ted visits Robin on the day of her wedding to Barney, causing him to remember how he and Victoria ran away from her wedding to be together. The summer is spent with Ted, Barney and Robin enjoying their current relationships however all subsequently break up with their partners. Victoria splits up with Ted over his friendship with Robin, Barney and Quinn break up due to their inability to trust each other and Robin breaks up with Nick realizing his immaturity. Robin and Barney kiss but decide not to get together, despite Barney’s wishes. Barney then begins dating Robin’s hated co-worker Patrice (Ellen D. Williams), a relationship later exposed as a ruse to make Robin realize her true feelings for him. In a culminating scene Barney proposes to Robin, who says yes.Ashley Williams and Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Marshall and Lily attempt to get used to being parents, which causes a brief estrangement from the gang as Baby Marvin takes up the majority of their time. Lily’s father Mickey becomes Marvin’s nanny, freeing the two up to spend more time with their friends. The Captain, ex-husband of Ted’s old girlfriend Zoey, offers Lily a job as an art consultant due to her identifying a painting that made a huge profit for him. Lily accepts, happy to finally achieve her dream of having a job in the art industry while Marshall decides to apply to become a judge. The Captain offers Lily a year’s work in Rome, which she accepts with Marshall’s blessing. However, just before Barney and Robin’s wedding, Marshall is informed that his application to become a judge has been granted, a development that would require them to stay in the US.Ted briefly dates Jeanette (Abby Elliott), a girl who stalked him after he appeared on the cover of New York Magazine due to his design of GNB headquarters. He quickly realizes he’s made a mistake and breaks up with her. Ted’s feelings of loneliness grow, especially as he is now the only single member of the group, and he decides he is truly ready to settle down. He argues with Lily over hiring a DJ or a band for Barney and Robin’s wedding, but is forced to provide a band at short notice when Lily concedes the argument. During a chance meeting on the subway, Cindy offers the services of her roommate’s wedding band; said roommate is Ted’s future wife.Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother (2005)As the week of the wedding approaches, Robin has doubts about marrying Barney and shares an emotional moment with Ted. Guilty, Ted realizes he can’t be around Barney and Robin after they’re married and decides to move to Chicago the day after the wedding. The season concludes with everyone travelling to Barney and Robin’s wedding, including the mother of Ted’s children (revealed on screen for the first time and portrayed by Cristin Milioti), who is seen buying a train ticket to the venue and holding her yellow umbrella.Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother (2005)The Second to last season brings us closer to the endgame and the big reveal of the Mother is the biggest of all the revelations.

REVIEW: BONES – SEASON 11

Starring

Emily Deschanel (Boogeyman)
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Michaela Conlin (Yellowstone)
Tamara Taylor (Lost)
T. J. Thyne (Ghost World)
John Boyd (Argo)

David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, and Sunnie Pelant in Bones (2005)
Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Patricia Belcher (Jeepers Creepers)
Pej Vahdat (Shameless)
Roger Cross (Continuum)
Dilshad Vadsaria (The Oath)
Kim Raver (24)
Michael Grant Terry (Grimm)
Gil Darnell (Redirected)
Betty White (The Golden Girls)
Brian Klugman (Cloverfield)
Paul Johansson (Van Helsing)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Tom Lenk (Buffy: TVS)
Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow)
Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Ringer)
Malcolm David Kelley (Lost)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Nicholas Gonzalez (The Flash)
Callard Harris (The Originals)
Rachel Melvin (Sleepy Hollow)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)
Carla Gallo (Superbad)
Ignacio Serricchio (Lost In Space)
Sarah Lafleur (Ugly Betty)
Michael Reilly Burke (The Collector)
Eddie Shin (That 80s Show)
Patrick Cox (2 Broke Girls)
Skyler Vallo (The To Do List)
Sara Rue (American Housewife)
Courtney Henggeler (Mom)
Joel David Moore (Avatar)
Lilli Birdsell (Doom PAtrol)
Cyd Strittmatter (Gone Girl)
Eugene Byrd (Arrow)
Jim Beaver (Breaking Bad)
Laura Spencer (The Big Bang Theory)
Alyssa Diaz (Shark Night)
Michael Gaston (The Leftovers)
Nishi Munshi (The Originals)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (How I Met Your Mother)
Brooke Lyons (2 Broke Girls)
John Shea (Mutant X)
Jim Pirri (Lois & Clark)
Tom Wisdom (300)
Sebastian Roché (Odyssey 5)
Nicole Bilderback (Good Girls)
Gilles Marini (2 Broke Girls)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Eric Millegan (Phobic)
Ryan O’Neal (Love Story)

Kim Raver and John Boyd in Bones (2005)At the end of season 10, Bones (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) both decided to quit their jobs at the Jeffersonian and the FBI respectively. Now, six months later, their daughter Christine (Sunnie Pelant) has a little baby brother, and Booth is training new FBI recruits for a living. They seem to be happy in their new situation, and today seems like no other when Booth takes off to work. Meanwhile at the Jeffersonian, Cam (Tamara Taylor), Angela (Michaela Conlin) and Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) are called out to a crime scene, where they find a body in a burnt car. The team fear the worst when they find out that the gun that was found with the victim belongs to Booth. Also the initial examination of the bones makes it appear that he is the victim. Dr. Brennan decides to come to the Jeffersonian herself, as the situation is driving her crazy, and she eventually finds out that the remains aren’t Booth’s, but his brother’s, Jared. The question remains where Booth is, and how his brother ended up dead.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)Eventually, everything turns back to normal by episode three, and Bones and Booth are back at their old jobs, just like they used to be. Murders keep on happening, and Booth and Aubrey (John Boyd) work closely together with the team of the Jeffersonian to bring the killers to justice. While the season focuses foremost on the cases themselves, there are some developments in the personal lives of the characters as well.David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, and Betty White in Bones (2005)Each episode has a good flow to it, where many suspects are considered along the way, and the outcome is often unpredictable. The format remains the same as in the previous seasons, namely a focus on the cases, where reexamining the bones over and over will eventually prove to be vital in finding the murderer.David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel in Bones (2005)While the flow of the individual cases is quite enjoyable, the personal story of the characters gets to the background quite a lot. Every now and then you will find out more about Cam’s love life, Angela and Hodgins’ marriage or Aubrey’s new crush, but nothing major steps out until halfway the season. There have been no major changes to the cast since last season, and it’s safe to say that the current team of actors all did well.David Boreanaz, Emily Deschanel, and Jay Thomas in Bones (2005)Bones has been one of my all time favourite series and season 11 is no exception! with a great cliffhanger leaving you hanging for Season 12 (the final season) .

REVIEW: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – SEASON 2

CAST

Clark Gregg (When A Stranger Calls)
Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe)
Brett Dalton (Killing Lincoln)
Chloe Bennet (Nashville)
Ian De Caestecker (Filth)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Reach Me)
Nick Blood (Identicals)
Adrianna Palicki (G.J. Joe: Retaliation)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Hayley Atwell (Cinderella)
B.J. Britt (Veronica Mars)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Henry Simons (No Good Deed)
Patton Oswalt (Blade: trinity)
Lucy Lawless (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Kenneth Choi (Street Kings)
Simon Kassianides (Quantum of Solace)
Brian Patrick Wade (The Big Bang Theory)
Ruth Negga (World War Z)
Maya Stojan (Castle)
Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps)
Kyle MacLachlan (Dune)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
Monique Gabriela Curnen (The Dark Knight)
Joel Gretsch (V)
Tim DeKay (Swordfish)
Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (The Young and The Restless)
Jamie Harris (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Blair Underwood (Gattaca)
Christine Adams (Batman Begins)
Edward James Olmos (Green Hornet)
Luke Mitchell (Home and Away)
J. August Richards (Angel)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Jaimie Alexander (The Last Stand)
Eddie McClintock (Bones)
Kirk Acevedo (Arrow)

For many, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD in its first season  became a forgotten and/or overlooked series, which was too bad, and yet understandable. This was Marvel’s first TV series, coming off of an amazing run of movies and it just didn’t deliver when it debuted. The initial episodes felt unfocused and badly paced,but many people people felt the show improved when SHIELD notably improving in the wake of Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s events.In season 2 the pacing was hugely improved, with storylines no longer taking forever to bubble up again and secrets no longer being kept both from the audience and the characters that no one on screen seemed in a hurry to deal with. Instead, there was payoff to big plot threads happening consistently, as both lingering questions from Season 1 and newly introduced plotlines were deftly dealt with and tied up, while paving the way for new mysteries. On the villain front, there was some nicely done twisting and turning regarding who the Big Bad would be in Season 2. We began with a focus on Hydra leader Whitehall and while Reed Diamond had fun in the role, Whitehall rarely had moments that made him feel like a truly credible threat. When he was killed in the midseason finale, it seemed Kyle MacLachlan’s Cal would take center stage as SHIELD’s main foe… but there was yet another swerve in store.The fact that Skye’s mother, Jiaying (Dichen Lachman), was alive at all was a surprise and we soon saw that she was the leader of the Inhumans and could be pretty strict and cold when it came to doing what she felt was right to protect her people… but that was all hiding just what a zealot she had become, convinced war with humanity was inevitable and willing to begin it herself (via a staged attack) to get all her people on her side. The fact that Jiaying was the true main villain of the season was a subtle, slow reveal and much appreciated for how it was pulled off. We understood the tragic events that had changed her, even as we came to see she, and not Cal, who was the most dangerous.Oh, and did I say Inhumans? This was also a huge part of the season, which was especially notable because it indicated that behind the scenes, Marvel had decided Agents of SHIELD could lead the way in a much more notable way than before, rather than being simply reactive to the events of the films. We know an Inhumans film is coming in a few years, but now this series has already introduced the concept into the MCU. Presumably the film will focus on the Royal Family and a very different group of Inhumans than the ones we met here, but this show was still allowed to be the first part of the MCU to give us Terrigen Mist, the Kree origins and all the major background elements of the Inhumans.
Hayley Atwell in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)In general, SHIELD felt less restrained this season. The first couple of episodes utilized the notable Marvel villain Absorbing Man, while the reveals that Cal and Skye were, respectively, Mr. Hyde and Daisy Johnson/Quake, rooted this show much more into its Marvel Comics roots.While it began in the latter half of Season 1, SHIELD: Season 2 also benefited from much stronger characterization. While there were so many characters they all didn’t get as much time as might have been ideal, they still all felt much more distinct and specific than the show’s early days, and the fact that several members came and went and shifted allegiances kept things interesting. Ming-Na Wen was always a great presence on the show, but Melinda May was given a lot more depth, as we met her ex-husband, Andrew (Blair Underwood) and finally got the dark details of that incident in Bahrain that we kept hearing about in Season 1. The rift between Fitz and Simmons added a lot more textures to both of them, and was beautifully played by Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge, while Coulson, now the director of SHIELD, had to reevaluate his approach, making much harsher decisions that pained him, but felt more involving and believable than the overly sappy, often naive approach that he began the series with.As for Skye, the writers and producers certainly still were determined to make her the most important and revered character on the show, but this season, it actually felt like they were earning her that position. Sure, we had to accept that she’d apparently gotten one hell of a crash course in being a badass fighter from May between seasons, but it felt good to see her actually be such a formidable presence in the action scenes – and Chloe Bennet really rose to the challenge of her characters new dynamic. And by making Skye both an Inhuman and Daisy/Quake, we at least had tangible reasons she would be important to us as viewers, beyond Coulson simply saying she was awesome over and over again. Bennet and Kyle MacLachlan also were able to build a strong rapport together as the estranged father/daughter duo. Speaking of MacLachlan, what a job he did. While Dichen Lachman brought the perfect pained righteousness to Jiaying, who truly believed what she was doing was right, MacLachlan had the freedom to go absolutely crazy as the absolutely crazy Cal and wow, was he fun. He expertly conveyed his character’s wish to be a happy, doting husband and father intermixed with his violent rage and gave the season some of its best moments – goofy Mr. Hyde makeup/visuals in the season finale aside.The new additions to the SHIELD crew were also appreciated, with Nick Blood’s Lance Hunter, Henry Simmons’ Mack and Adrianne Palicki ‘s Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird all fitting in very well. With such a big group of agents, someone was bound to be overlooked, and unfortunately, that was Trip (B.J. Britt), who never really got a storyline of his own – except to be the big midseason death. Which wasn’t as impactful as it could have been because he felt like a character with potential that was never fully utilized in any capacity (Remember when he and Simmons were flirting?).The “Other SHIELD” storyline was an interesting inclusion, with Edward James Olmos bringing exactly the gravity you’d expect him to as Gonzales. I liked the idea of he and Coulson being so opposed and yet very respectful of one another, in their own ways. I just wish we’d gotten a bigger payoff to that, as Gonzales was killed by Jiaying before he and Coulson really came to any sort of conclusion in their own conflict except on the “very begrudging/wary allies” level.I went into Season 2 very concerned about Grant Ward’s continuing presence on the series. His betrayal was a shot of Adrenalin the bland SHIELD crew needed and his actions had been too extreme and lethal to be forgiven or excused – but this is TV, where it seems any character can be redeemed. And I really didn’t want to see Ward redeemed, especially since Brett Dalton really found the character when he was allowed to play him as a villain. Thankfully, Season 2 didn’t try to bring Ward back onto the SHIELD team – in fact, by the end, he was more delightfully despicable than ever, torturing Bobbi and setting a trap to kill any SHIELD agent that attempted to rescue her and shooting and killing May, point blank, the first chance he had.SHIELD: Season 2 benefited from a show now unafraid to shake up the dynamic. Perhaps having to completely change everything about the series two thirds into the first season served as an inspiration, but from Simmons’ double agent status, to Gonzales’ crew taking over, the show rarely felt stagnant. The show’s always been in a difficult scenario – people love the interconnectivity of the MCU, but because the movie’s have the big superheroics covered, SHIELD felt hindered by not being able to deal with a lot of the bigger name heroes, in a way a series like The Flash (which isn’t connected to DC’s movies at all) doesn’t have to deal with. The decision to have Coulson and Skye begin to form a team of superpowered members seems to indicate those involved have decided its time to bring some more ongoing flash  to the series, even if it won’t be with the biggest name characters. Things will no doubt change in a big way again as a result, but right now, it’s exciting to ponder what’s coming next.