REVIEW: BABYLON 5 – SEASON 4

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Starring

Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Claudia Christian (9-1-1)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Richard Biggs (Strong Medicine)
Bill Mumy (Lost In Space)
Jason Carter (The Duel)
Stephen Furst (Animal House)
Jeff Conaway (Grease)
Patricia Tallman (Dead Air)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Ardwight Chamberlain (Swiss Family Robinson)
Kris Iyer (Two and a Half Men)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Mark Bramhall (Alias)
Kim Strauss (Million Dollar Baby)
Walter Koenig (Star Trek)
Henry Darrow (The Hitcher)
Andrew Craig (Conan The Adventurer)
Robin Atkin Downes (The Conjuring 2)
Marjorie Monaghan (Andromeda)
Clayton Landey (Sully)
Tim Choate (Blow Out)
Richard Steven Horvitz (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Batmas: TAS)
Marcia Mitzman Gaven (Small Soldiers)
Richard Gant (Rocky V)
Bruce Gray (Cube 2)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Rance Howard (Small Soldiers)
Alastair Duncan (The Batman)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)

Wayne Alexander in Babylon 5 (1993)“It was the year of fire… the year of destruction… the year we took back what was ours. It was the year of rebirth… the year of great sadness… the year of pain… and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed. The year is 2261. The place: Babylon 5.” For viewers who have been following Babylon 5 from its first season (and with its fantastic continuous storyline, that’s the way to watch B5), the opening voiceover for the credits of Season 4 is extraordinarily stirring. And the fact that the voiceover in the opening credits is shared among the cast highlights the fact that Babylon 5 has a true ensemble cast, with many different characters and story threads interwoven into one dramatic tapestry. In Season 4, appropriately titled “No Surrender, No Retreat,” many of these storylines come to an explosive climax, leaving other parts of the story to take on a larger role in the rest of Season 4.Jeff Conaway and Mira Furlan in Babylon 5 (1993)Season 3 left us at a critical point in B5, in several plot threads. Sheridan, drawn by his own personal demons as well as the need to defeat the Shadows, has gone to Z’ha’dum… and vanished. So too has Mr. Garibaldi. Babylon 5 has seceded from Earthgov, and now stands nearly alone in the fight against the Shadows. Only the Rangers, with Marcus as their representative on B5, and the Minbari, with their gift of the White Star, seem ready and willing to help. Londo Mollari seems to have turned his back on the potential for redemption, while G’Kar has had a philosophical revelation of his own.Jerry Doyle in Babylon 5 (1993)The beauty of Babylon 5, as viewers well know, is that each episode touches on several plot threads, developing them bit by bit as the season progresses. When a plot thread comes to a climax in a particular episode, it’s all the more effective because it has been painstakingly foreshadowed and developed up to that point. Take an episode like “Whatever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?”, which weaves together several crucial story threads involving the fates of Sheridan, Garibaldi, and G’Kar and takes each of them to a new level.Babylon 5 (1993)Since the different plot threads of B5 develop over the course of many episodes, the result when one of them comes to the boiling point is extremely powerful. The story involving Ambassador Mollari is a case in point. In the first three episodes of the season, we see Londo and Vir drawn deeper and deeper in to back-stabbing Centauri politics and the deal-making behind the throne of the Emperor. Then, as G’Kar becomes drawn into this portion of the story, we get some of the episodes that have stayed most firmly in my mind: “Falling Toward Apotheosis,” “The Long Night,” and “Into the Fire.” While the story involving Sheridan, Delenn, and the station is perhaps more explosive, I think a good case could be made for the Centauri-Narn plot thread of Season 4 as the most dramatically effective and powerful of the season (and perhaps even of the series as a whole).Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan in Babylon 5 (1993)The pacing of Season 4 is a bit odd, and for good reason. As Season 4 got underway, there was no assurance that it would be renewed for a fifth season, which would have really thrown a monkey wrench in the works, as B5 was envisioned as a five-year story arc from the very beginning. Babylon 5’s creator, J. Michael Straczynski, dealt with this by bringing many of the show’s main story arcs to a conclusion in Season 4, so that the story would have been (at least mostly) completed even if it didn’t get a fifth season. As it happened, B5 had a fifth year after all, but we can still see the effects: both Season 4 and 5 developed differently than was originally planned.Walter Koenig in Babylon 5 (1993)Most notably we see the effects of the “fast-forwarding” in the treatment of the conflict with the Shadows. The Shadow War, which has been developing over the course of two full seasons, is wrapped up in the first quarter of Season 4. Certainly those six episodes are fantastic, with a tremendous punch and intensity; this is the part of Season 4 that’s most memorable. Still, the ending in “Into the Fire” does feel a bit abrupt, though I won’t elaborate on that: I don’t want to give anything away for those (lucky!) viewers who are watching Babylon 5 for the first time.Babylon 5 (1993)After that, Babylon 5 shifts gears and focuses on the Mars situation and Babylon 5’s relationship with Earth, which remains decidedly shaky. There are some excellent stories here, but I’d be lying if I said they weren’t a bit of a letdown after the intensity of the Shadow-Vorlon conflict and its revelations, and the explosive events on Centauri Prime.Mira Furlan in Babylon 5 (1993)Fortunately, some plot threads that have been on the sidelines for much of the series now start being developed and then mature into gripping stories of their own. The Mars Colony has been a background story element throughout the first three seasons of B5: the rebellion there has on several occasions influenced events on B5, but it hasn’t been a prime concern. Now, in “Atonement,” Marcus and Dr. Franklin are sent to Mars, beginning a story line there that will develop through three following episodes as a main story, and continue to be significant in episodes further down the line as well. Garibaldi (always one of my favorite characters) develops in a new direction in episodes like “Conflicts of Interest,” and the suave and very dangerous Psi Cop, Bester, has a key role to play as well… The result is another of the most exciting episodes of Season 4, “The Face of the Enemy.”Bill Mumy in Babylon 5 (1993)The closing episodes of Season 4 bring us back to the conflict between Earth and Babylon . “No Surrender, No Retreat” is one of the best late-season episodes, ratcheting up the tension in the conflict between Earth and Babylon 5; “Between the Darkness and the Light,” “Endgame,” and “Rising Star” set up a miniature story arc and resolve it fairly quickly. Again, these are well-done episodes, but they’re in the shadow of better episodes, and with the fairly rapid development (unlike the more evenly paced Mars story thread) there’s not as much opportunity for the development of dramatic tension.imagesThe finale of Season 4, “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars,” is a peculiar episode: it’s a “retrospective” of Babylon 5’s history from 100, 500, 1,000, and 1,000,000 years in the future. As such, it effectively wraps up the Babylon 5 story and foreshadows (one could say “spoils”) many of the events in Season 5. It also provides a very definitive stopping point for Babylon 5 viewers: Season 5 is essentially an “extra” season, as all the most powerful story threads that we’ve been following have been wrapped up, most of them very effectively indeed. The one remaining thread that Season 4 leaves unfinished is, interestingly, the one story thread that has been a constant in one way or another from the very first season: the telepath situation.

REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 10-13

CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner  (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lisa Kudrow (Friends)
William Daniels (Knight Rider)
Phil Hartman (Small Soldiers)
Marcia Wallace (Full House)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Kathie Lee Gifford (Hercules)
Ed McMahon (The Tom Show)
Regis Philbin (Jack and Jill)
Jerry Springer (Ringmaster)
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Kim Basinger (Batman)
Brian Grazer (Arrested Development)
Ron Howard (Happy Days)
George Carlin (Dogma)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Dick Tufeld (Lost In Space)
Cyndi Lauper (Bones)
Dolly Parton (Rhinestone)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Jan Hooks (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Elton John (Spice World)
Hank Williams Jr. (A Time To Sing)
John Kassir (Tales From The Crypt)
Isabella Rossellini (Death Becomes Her)
Jack LaLanne (More Wild Wild West)
Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap)
Stephen Hawkings (The Big Bang Theory)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Jack Burns (The Muppet Movie)
Mel Gibson (Mad Max)
Marcia Mitzman Gaven (Small Soldiers)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Tom Arnold (True Lies)
Dick Clark (Spy Kids)
Lucy Lawless (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Penn Jillette (Sabrina: TTW)
Butch Patrick (The Munsters)
Garry Marshall (Life After Beth)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Tim Robbins (Howard The Duck)
Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2)
Britney Spears (Crossroads)
Shawn Colvin (Crazy)
Betty White (Bones)
Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Parker Posey (Blade: Trinity)
Gary Coleman (Diff’rent Strokes)
Willie Nelson (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Roger Daltrey (Highlander: The Series)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
Drew Barrymore (Charlies Angels)
Joshua Jackson (Dawsons Creek)
Patrick McGoohan (Bravehart)
Edward Norton (The Bourne Legacy)
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Charles Napier (the Silence of The Lambs)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Justin Timberlake (The Social Network)
Stacy Keach (American History X)
Kathy Griffin (Hall Pass)
Frankie Muniz (Malcolm In The Middle)
Pierce Brosnan (The World’s End)
Matthew Perry (Friends)
Jane Kaczmarek (Pleasantville)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld)
Paul Newman (Road To Perdition)
Richard Gere (Pretty Woman)
Ben Stiller (Zoolander)
Dana Gould (Stan Against Evil)
Jon Lovitz (Big)
Reese Witherspoon (This Means War)
Dennis Weaver (Gunsmoke)
Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)

The Simpsons just clicks at every level. This family may be dysfunctional but in the end, they are still a family in every way and we are gently reminded of this in almost every episode. Also, the cast of supporting characters that inhabit Springfield is no less funny than the main characters themselves, providing the show with comically colourful and screwball situations that just never get old. Not even after ten outstanding seasons.

SEASON 10 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

10.1) LARD OF THE DANCE

All the girls in Lisa’s class are impressed by the mature, trendy personality of a new student named Alex Whitney, and do everything they can to be just like her. Lisa, who is not as impressed and chooses to be herself, is forgotten by her classmates and becomes jealous of Alex. Lisa’s friends and Alex decide to host a school dance and they buy outfits for it in order to get dates. When Lisa goes to the dance, she discovers that the boys and the girls are at separate ends of the room, too embarrassed to dance with each other. As a result, Lisa is able to prove that Alex and her classmates are only children and not as mature as they try to be. Meanwhile, Homer convinces Bart to drop out of school for what he thinks to be a more promising pursuit: selling grease. However, this endeavor fails when their business results in a scuffle with Groundskeeper Willie.10.3) BART THE MOTHER

Nelson invites Bart over to test a BB gun he won at an arcade center. When Bart uses it and accidentally kills a bird mother, Marge becomes furious with him, thinking that he killed the animal on purpose. Bart feels guilty for what he did and takes it upon himself to nurse the mother’s orphaned eggs. Marge soon finds out about this and becomes proud of him. However, when the eggs hatch, they are found to be lizards that lived in the bird’s nest. Skinner, a member of the Springfield Birdwatching Society, tells Bart that the lizards must die because they kill so many species of birds. Bart refuses and helps the lizards escape. After the lizards devour the pigeon population, which the townsfolk considered to be a nuisance, Bart is honored by Mayor Quimby.10.5) WHEN YOU DISH UPON A STAR

When a parasailing accident sends Homer crashing into the secret home of Hollywood couple Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin, they hire him as their personal assistant, provided that Homer does not tell anyone where they live. The couple starts to become irritated with Homer, who gives them ridiculous suggestions for film screenplays. When he accidentally violates their trust by revealing their location in Springfield, the couple immediately end the friendship. After a chase between the Hollywood stars in their Hummer and Homer in his mobile museum of stuff that belongs to the couple, Homer is ordered by a court of law to remain 500 miles away from any celebrity.10.6) D’OH-IN IN THE WIND

While filling out a Screen Actors Guild form (after starring in an instructional video filmed at the nuclear plant where he works), Homer realizes that he does not know what his middle initial “J” stands for. After finding the answer, “Jay”, on a mural in the hippie commune where his mother once lived, Homer decides to live the hippie lifestyle. He stays with his mother’s old friends Seth and Munchie who now own a juice company. Homer quickly ruins one of their juice shipments by accident, and tries to make up for it by taking crops from their garden and making juice with them. However, some of these crops contained drugs and after people start to have crazy hallucinations from drinking the juice, Chief Wiggum arrests Seth and Munchie.10.7) LISA GETS AN “A”

While sick from school, Lisa becomes obsessed with a video game and forgets to study for a test on the book The Wind in the Willows. Not willing to fail, she calls upon Bart and Nelson to help her cheat, and gets an A+++. Consequently, Springfield Elementary School now qualifies for a basic assistance grant. Tormented by guilt for cheating, she reveals what she did to Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers, who persuade her to keep it a secret so the school can keep the money. At the grant ceremony, Lisa finally bursts out, only to realize the real ceremony had already taken place as Skinner and Chalmers anticipated her actions. Meanwhile, Homer houses a lobster to eat, but becomes emotionally attached to it and makes it his pet. However, he accidentally boils it to death while giving it a hot bath, and eats it sadly.10.9) MAYORED TO THE MOB

After saving Mayor Quimby from rioters at a science fiction convention, Homer becomes Quimby’s bodyguard. When Homer discovers that Mafia leader Fat Tony is providing rat milk to the schools of Springfield, he forces Quimby to expose Tony in return for saving Quimby from falling off a ledge. After Tony is arrested, he threatens to take Quimby’s life. While Quimby is spending an evening at a dinner theater, Homer discovers that Fat Tony is there alongside his henchman, Louie, having been released on bail. Homer foils an attempt by Louie to kill Quimby, and as Homer and Louie fight, Tony is able to savagely beat Quimby with a baseball bat. However, Tony makes sure to only restore Quimby’s fear of the Mafia and not kill him.10.10) VIVA NED FLANDERS

When Springfield’s only casino is demolished, massive dust clouds form, prompting the Simpson family and Ned to go to a car wash to get rid of the dust on their cars. There, Homer sees that Ned gets a senior discount. Thinking that Ned is not a senior and lying about his age, Homer reveals this at church. As a result, Ned is forced to admit to everyone that he is sixty years old and only looks young because he has never done anything exciting in his life. Out of pity, Homer decides to take him to Las Vegas, where, after a night of partying and gambling, they end up marrying two casino barmaids while drunk. As Homer and Ned try to escape from the barmaids the next day, they go on a wild rampage through the casino, until they are confronted by casino security and banned from ever visiting Las Vegas again.10.11) WILD BARTS CAN’T BE BROKEN

Homer, Lenny, Carl, and Barney celebrate a rare victory of the Springfield Isotopes baseball team and end up going on a drunken rampage through town. During this rampage, they vandalize Springfield Elementary School. The next morning, Chief Wiggum suspects that students committed the crime and places all of Springfield’s youth under curfew. The children respond by setting up a pirate radio show in which they reveal the embarrassing secrets of Springfield’s adults. The location from which the children send out the broadcast is soon tracked down and an argument between the children and the adults ensues. As each side is stating their case in a song, the senior citizens turn up to complain about the children and the adults and agree to raise a curfew for everyone less than seventy years old.10.12) SUNDAY, CRUDDY SUNDAY

While buying new tires for his car, Homer meets a travel agent who offers Homer a free bus ride to the Super Bowl, as long as he can find enough people to fill the agent’s bus. A group of Springfield men tag along to what soon becomes a problematic trip after the tickets are discovered to be fake. As a result, they are locked in “Super Bowl Jail”. Thanks to help from Dolly Parton, they break out and attempt to find the football field, until they get lost in the sea of players that run through the corridors of the stadium to the locker room after winning the Super Bowl. Much to their happiness, Homer and his friends end up in the locker room with the players. Meanwhile, Marge and Lisa try to find the missing parts of “Vincent Price’s Egg Magic”, a celebrity-endorsed craft kit.10.13) HOMER TO THE MAX

Homer is delighted with the positive attention he receives after a new television show airs that features a police character also named Homer Simpson. However, when the character is changed from a hero to a bumbling idiot by the show’s producers, Homer is mocked and taunted by those he knows, so he changes his name to “Max Power” to rid himself of the negative attention. The new name earns Max respect, and he and Marge are invited to a party where they meet a lot of famous people who are going to save a redwood forest from destruction by chaining themselves to the trees. However, Max accidentally cuts his tree with his chains while running away from police officers Eddie and Lou. The tree knocks down all the other redwoods in a chain reaction, angering Max’s newfound friends. In the end, Max changes his name back to Homer.10.14) I’M WITH CUPID

After Apu and Manjula have a big fight, Apu showers his wife with elaborate Valentine’s Day gifts to make up for it, making the rest of the men in Springfield look bad in front of their women. His final gift is to write a love note to Manjula in the sky—which Homer (along with a group of other discontented male characters) plans to sabotage. When the plane is about to spray the message “I ❤️ U MANJULA”, Homer manages to destroy the canister at “I ❤️ U ⭐️”, a message that the women of Springfield think was made only for them by their partners. Homer is able to win Marge’s love back by jumping out of the plane covered in roses and landing in front of her in their backyard. Meanwhile, to reconcile Apu with his wife, Elton John performs a private concert for the couple.10.15) MARGE SIMPSON IN “SCREAMING YELLOW HONKERS”

Homer buys an SUV but upon discovery that it was designed as a “woman’s car”, he gives it to Marge. Infatuated with the car, she proceeds to develop a ferocious road rage and ends up losing her license when she fails a driving test and crashes it into a prison. However, her road rage is required when Homer accidentally sets all the rhinoceros in a zoo free. Marge agrees to assist the police in rounding up the animals, but learns there is one missing and sees Homer being carried off by it. She chases the angry rhino into a construction site and deliberately crashes the SUV, making it burst into flames. The rhino instinctively attempts to stamp out the fire, allowing Homer to escape.10.16) MAKE ROOM FOR LISA

When Homer uses Lisa’s room as a cellular phone transmitter to pay off damages he did to the Bill of Rights at a Smithsonian exhibit, Lisa is forced to move into Bart’s room. Lisa becomes furious with her father for having to share a room with her brother. She fears that she and Homer will never be close because of their clashing personalities and begins to develop stress-related stomach aches. To relieve these aches, Homer and Lisa visit a New Age store where the owner convinces them to go on a spiritual journey by lying in a sensory deprivation tank for a prolonged amount of time. On her journey, Lisa discovers that beneath Homer’s bumbling outside, he really does care about her. Reconciled, the two of them watch a demolition derby together, something they equally enjoy. Meanwhile, Marge uses Maggie’s baby monitor to listen in on other people’s phone calls; however, when Milhouse and Bart play a prank on her, Marge knocks Milhouse out, thinking he was a burglar.10.17) MAXIMUM HOMERDRIVE

While at a steakhouse, a trucker named Red challenges Homer to an eating contest. Red wins, but quickly dies of “beef poisoning”, making it the first time he will miss a shipment. Feeling bad for him, Homer takes on the duty of transporting Red’s cargo to Atlanta with his son Bart by his side. After falling asleep behind the wheel, Homer awakes to discover that the truck drove by itself with its Navitron Autodrive system. He informs other truck drivers, who tell him that he cannot let anyone know about the Autodrive system because it would make all truck drivers lose their jobs. Later, when cars that pass by Homer find out about it, a mob of truckers confront him. Homer and Bart escape, finish the shipment on time, and go home on a freight train. Meanwhile, after deducing that only Homer and Bart get to do the fun things in life, Marge and Lisa decide to add excitement to their lives by installing a new doorbell. However, it starts to malfunction after Lisa presses it.10.19) MOM AND POP ART

Homer tries to assemble a barbecue pit quickly, but fails and is left with a mismatched collection of parts stuck in hardened cement. As a result, he vents his rage on the construct, mangling it further. When Homer takes the failed barbecue pit back to the store, an art dealer sees it and describes it as a masterpiece of outsider art. As a result, he gets his own art exhibition and channels his rage into his work. Marge, who had been trying to succeed at art for years, gets jealous of Homer’s easy success. However, when Homer makes new art pieces for a show called “Art in America” that are similar to his first piece, his peers reject him as repetitive. In an attempt to do something groundbreaking, Homer floods Springfield and puts snorkels on the animals. The townspeople declare this a masterpiece and everyone enjoys the new “Grand Canals of Springfield”.10.21) MONTY CAN’T BUY ME LOVE

Billionaire Arthur Fortune captures Springfield’s heart by giving each customer a dollar at the opening of his new store. This embarrasses the unpopular Mr. Burns, who recruits Homer to help him be loved by all. However, their various schemes fail. Feeling disappointed, Burns makes his newest plan, which is to go to Scotland to catch the legendary Loch Ness Monster. After some minor setbacks, Burns is able to capture the monster and sends it to Springfield to be unveiled, where the friendly “Nessie” charms all of the spectators and makes Burns more likable. However, during the unveiling, Burns is blinded by camera flashes and runs into a camera which crashes and starts a fire. As a result, the crowd flees in panic. Following this disaster, Homer cheers up Burns by pointing out that being loved means you have to be nice to people every day but being hated is effortless.10.22) THEY SAVED LISA’S BRAIN

After a riot occurs at a Springfield contest that promises a luxurious trip to the most disgusting and dimwitted contest participant, Lisa, disgusted at the lack of intelligence, writes a letter that appears in the newspaper. Springfield’s branch of Mensa International, consisting of Comic Book Guy, Dr. Hibbert, Principal Skinner, Professor Frink, and Lindsay Naegle, is impressed and invites Lisa to join the group. When the Mensa members lose their gazebo at the park, they go to complain to Mayor Quimby. However, the mayor thinks they are there to confront him about his political corruption so he flees from Springfield. As a result, Lisa and the others are granted power to the city since they are the smartest. The power eventually corrupts them and they are cornered by a mob, only to be saved when Stephen Hawking shows up. Meanwhile, Homer gets erotic photographs of himself taken for Marge, but while she enjoys them a lot, she gets distracted by the interior design Homer did in their basement for the photo shoot and they do not have sex that night.10.23) THIRTY MINUTES OVER TOKYO

When Snake Jailbird steals money from the Simpson family’s bank account through the Internet, the Simpsons go on a budget and save enough to buy a trip to Japan. The Simpsons thoroughly enjoy the country, and Homer defeats one of the mightiest Sumo wrestlers. Impressed, the Emperor of Japan congratulates Homer, but, thinking the emperor is a new challenger, Homer knocks him out. As a result, he is placed in prison. After Marge pays the bail, Homer loses their last money and the family is unable to buy plane tickets home. All seems lost until a Japanese game show allows the Simpsons to compete in order to return to Springfield. Their last task on the show is to retrieve the plane tickets on a suspension bridge over an active volcano, which, once the family falls in, is revealed to be filled with orangeade and not lava. Although the family gets the tickets, Homer scolds the Japanese for their lack of ethics.

Although Season 11 is mostly criticised for not being one of the strongest seasons of The Simpsons. However, it’s not all bad, as some reviewers are making it out to be. Some highs and lows here and there, including some of my personal favourites.

SEASON 11 HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

11.1) BEYOND BLUNDERDOME

After destroying an “Elec-Taurus” electric car in a test run, the Simpsons are given free tickets to Mel Gibson’s new film, a remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Mel Gibson, however, laments his current role without violence and wants someone to give him criticism. When Homer sees Mel talking with Marge, he gives Mel a brutal review, leading Mel to believe that Homer is the only man brave enough to give suggestions. As a result, he hires him to create a better ending. However, when the ending proves to be too controversial, Mel and Homer end up on the run from studio executives with the film.11.2) BROTHER’S LITTLE HELPER

Bart is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and prescribed a Ritalin-esque drug called Focusyn. At first, the drug makes Bart well-behaved and intellectual, but soon, Bart becomes paranoid, claiming that there are satellites owned by Major League Baseball that are spying on the town. When ordered to stop, Bart refuses, devours a few hundred, and proves his theory right by destroying the satellite with a tank. All is restored when Bart goes back to his ordinary pills.11.3) GUESS WHO’S COMING TO CRITICIZE DINNER?

Homer becomes a food critic for a Springfield newspaper and ends up annoying the restaurant owners of Springfield after he makes negative reviews just to be mean, advice he took from fellow critics. Springfield’s restaurant owners then attempt to kill Homer by feeding him a poisoned éclair.21.6) HELLO GUTTER, HELLO FADDER

Homer becomes a local celebrity after bowling a 300 game, but his fame quickly fades as “yesterday’s news”. After a botched suicide attempt foiled by Otto, Homer decides to spend time with Maggie after seeing Ron Howard spend time with his children. When Homer tries to teach Maggie swimming, he fails due to her mistrust of him, and has to pulled out the beach by Maggie. Eventually, Homer brings Maggie to a bowling game, where she bowls a perfect game.11.7) EIGHT MISBEHAVIN

After Manjula gives birth to octuplets that were the result of fertility drugs, she and Apu unintentionally allow a zookeeper to exploit their babies in exchange for help after corporate sponsors abandon them for a mom that has given birth to nontuplets in Shelbyville. After a failed rescue attempt by Homer and Apu, the zoo keeper agrees to return the babies only if Butch Patrick and Homer ride a tricycle dressed as Eddie Munster on stage while attacked by cobras.11.8) TAKE MY WIFE, SLEAZE

Homer wins a Harley-Davidson motorcycle at a fifties dancing contest and starts his own biker gang, naming it “Hell’s Satans”. However, this attracts the real biker gang called “Hell’s Satans” to crash at their house. However, after a while, they begin to appreciate Marge, who takes care of them, and kidnaps her. Homer tracks them down and scuffles with Meathook, the leader. At Marge’s suggestion, the gang settles down and lives normal lives.11.10) LITTLE BIG MOM

While the Simpson family goes skiing, Marge remains at the ski lodge due to her fear of skiing, only to break her leg from a falling clock. As a result, while hospitalised, Marge leaves Lisa to deal with the slovenly Bart and Homer, who do nothing but take their toll on their house. However, in an attempt to motivate them, she pulls a prank suggested by the ghost of Lucille Ball on Bart and Homer by making it look like they have leprosy. At Ned Flanders’ suggestion, Bart and Homer end up in Hawaii; with them gone, Lisa finishes cleaning the house as Marge arrives home, her cast off. The pair then go to retrieve Homer and Bart, who are enjoying themselves despite the shock therapy.11.11) FAITH OFF

Bart believes he has the power to heal others through faith after removing a bucket glued to Homer’s head. However, when Bart knocks Milhouse’s glasses off in order to cure his myopia, Milhouse is nearly run over by a truck that he thinks is a dog as he cannot see without his glasses. Consequently, Bart, feeling guilty, ends his career as a faith healer. Meanwhile, Homer creates a homecoming game float for Springfield University. However, he soon forgets about it, and accidentally injures the star player, Anton Lubchenko. After getting in trouble with Fat Tony, Homer is saved when Lubchenko sacrifices his leg to win the game; the leg is surgically reattached by Doctor Hibbert, who is relieved at the end of Bart’s healing career. 11.12) THE MANSION FAMILY

Mr. Burns goes to the Mayo Clinic for a checkup after being declared the oldest man in Springfield, leaving the Simpsons to house-sit for him and Homer to take advantage of living as a rich man. However, when Homer wants to throw a party, he goes to Moe’s, where he must buy the alcohol in international waters as it is Sunday before 2 PM. There, they are captured by Chinese pirates. Later, Burns discovers that as a result of having all the existing diseases, he is perfectly healthy as all the germs simply cancel each other out. Consequently, he returns and kicks out the Simpsons, who have not even enjoyed being rich, causing Homer to be extremely bitter and resentful.11.14) ALONE AGAIN, NATURA-DIDDILY

Maude Flanders is killed in a freak accident during a stock car race, devastating Ned and prompting Homer to find a new woman for his grieving neighbor. However, Ned begins losing his faith in God before being prompted back by a Christian rock band.11.15) MISSIONARY: IMPOSSIBLE

Homer gets in trouble with PBS after confessing he does not have $10,000 to give them for their pledge drive–and ends up a missionary on a South Pacific island.11.16) PYGMOELIAN

After getting his face censored out on the Duff Calendar for not being photogenic, Moe gets plastic surgery and becomes the star of a popular soap opera. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa go after Maggie’s pink elephant balloon after it floats away.11.18) DAYS OF WINE AND D’OH’SES

Barney realizes how much of a pathetic drunk he is after watching his birthday party video and decides to give up alcohol forever, which does not sit well with Homer. Meanwhile, Bart and Lisa work together to take a memorable photo for a new phone book cover contest.11.20) LAST TAP DANCE IN SPRINGFIELD

Inspired by a movie about a girl who enters a tango contest and wins, Lisa decides to sign up for dance lessons — and ends up taking tap lessons from a former child star. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse hide out at the mall to escape going to summer camp.11.21) IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD MARGE

Otto dumps his fiancee, Becky, at the altar, leaving her to become the Simpsons’ latest houseguest, prompting Marge to go insane when Patty and Selma scare Marge with thoughts of Becky replacing Marge as a wife and mother. Meanwhile, Springfield Elementary gives Bart’s fourth grade class videocameras (after slashing geography out of the budget) and Bart sets out to create a movie.11.22) BEHIND THE LAUGHTER

In a parody of VH1’s Behind the Music, viewers take an inside look at The Simpsons’ rise to fame–and the many scandals, feuds and break-ups that threatened to end the show and split up the family.

The argument will rage long after the boxset of The Simpsons: Season 11 has been released about when exactly America’s finest television animated export actually peaked. Some arguably, with genuine gusto, that it was a year or two before this series was first shown. Most purists though satisfy themselves that it’s the single digit seasons where the best of The Simpsons, but there’s certainly plenty of gold in this set.

12.2) A TALE OF TWO SPRINGFIELDS

While calling Animal Control over a badger taking residence in Santa’s Little Helper’s doghouse, Homer discovers that Springfield has two different area codes–and ends up leading a revolt that splits the town in two.12.3) INSANE CLOWN POPPY

Krusty takes parenting lessons from Homer when, during an outdoor book fair, a girl tells Krusty that she is his long-lost daughter from a one-night stand with a female soldier who fought during the first Gulf War.12.5) HOMER VS DIGNITY

When the Simpsons once again have financial problems, Mr. Burns pays Homer to play pranks on others and humiliate himself in public. Meanwhile, Smithers creates a Malibu Stacy-themed musical.12.6) THE COMPUTER WORE MENACE SHOES

Homer decides to buy a computer after turning up to the Plant to find it closed by e-mail. He then creates his own website and it eventually gains attention when he posts gossip. Homer dubs himself as “Mr. X” to conceal his identity. When he reveals that he is Mr. X, he becomes drugged into a mysterious island where people who know too much are imprisoned after Homer starts writing conspiracy theories such as flu shots.screen-shot-2012-06-06-at-10-36-16-am12.9) HOMR

While working as a human guinea pig (to pay off the family’s lost savings after making a bad investment), Homer discovers the root cause of his subnormal intelligence: a crayon that was lodged in his brain ever since he was a boy. He decides to have it removed to increase his IQ, but discovers that being smart does not necessarily equal being happy.12.10) POKEY MOM

Bart and Milhouse are banned from The Android Dungeon after stopping Comic Book Guy from buying a box of priceless Star Wars memorabilia for $5, but are hired as his replacements when Comic Book Guy has a heart attack and is advised to leave his job in order to make friends.12.12) TENNIS THE MENACE

While making funeral arrangements for Grampa’s future, the funeral planner pitches the idea of a mausoleum that uses the same amount of cement as a full-sized tennis court. This prompts Homer to instead build a tennis court in his backyard, initially mistaking the sport for “Foxy Boxing”. The tennis court makes Marge and Homer popular in town, but it turns out that this is only because Homer’s inferior tennis ability makes them an easy target. Bart on the other hand, shines as a natural.12.13) DAY OF THE JACKANAPES

Krusty announces his retirement due to interference from network executives and the growing popularity of the big-money game show “Me Wantee”, but when Krusty reveals to Sideshow Bob that all of the episodes featuring him have been erased, Sideshow Bob uses Krusty’s biggest fan (Bart) to murder him during Krusty’s farewell show.

12.14) NEW KIDS ON THE BLEACH

A music producer selects Bart, Nelson, Milhouse and Ralph to be members of the next hit boy band, who record subliminal songs about joining the Navy.12.15) HUNGRY, HUNGRY HOMER

When Lisa becomes the target of a female bully, Lisa discovers a scientific reason as to why bullies pick on nerds. Meanwhile, Homer goes into the baby-proofing business, which is threatening the businesses of pediatricians and greeting card salesmen.12.16) BYE BYE NERDIE

When Lisa becomes the target of a female bully, Lisa discovers a scientific reason as to why bullies pick on nerds. Meanwhile, Homer goes into the baby-proofing business, which is threatening the businesses of pediatricians and greeting card salesmen.
12.19) I’M GOIN’ TO PRAISELAND

After finding a sketchbook belonging to his late wife Maude, Ned Flanders opens a Bible-themed amusement park to honor her memory.

The Simpsons season 13 is another great season, full of laughs from our lovable characters Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Everything about the episodes are great, I cannot stress how much I love this season.13.2) THE PARENT RAP

Bart gets in trouble for joyriding in a police car, but feels confident he will be let off by Judge Snyder. However, Snyder goes on vacation before ruling his verdict and is replaced with a coldhearted judge named Constance Harm. She accuses Homer of being a negligent father and sentences him to be tethered to Bart. The two are against it at first but later start to bond. Marge however is unable to take anymore of it and slices the tether off of them both. Homer and Marge then go after Judge Harm only to end up sinking her houseboat. Eventually Bart decides to take punishment and is about to be sentenced to 5 year in juvenile hall, only though Judge Snyder returns and dismisses Harm. 13.3) HOMER THE MOE

Moe becomes depressed and decides to return to bartending school so he can re-evaluate himself. He meets an old teacher, who suggests that Moe try improving his bar, which might make him happier. Moe takes the advice, and turns his bar into a trendy nightclub, which does not sit well with his regular customers Homer, Lenny, Carl, and Barney. 13.5) THE BLUNDER YEARS

After tricking Marge into thinking an advertising spokesman is coming to visit her, Homer takes Marge and the rest of the family to a restaurant. A hypnotist uses his powers on Homer, and makes him remember a horrific childhood incident where Homer found a dead body in a ravine. The Simpson family decides to investigate this and find out where the body came from.13.7) BRAWL IN THE FAMILY

A social worker is assigned to make the Simpson family functional after they get arrested for fighting while playing Monopoly. He helps them learn how to work together and function as a family. The moment is ruined when, Ginger and Amber, the barmaids who married Homer and Flanders while they were drunk in “Viva Ned Flanders”, arrive at the Simpsons’ home, which outrages Marge. 13.9) JAWS WIRED SHUT

A jaw injury from colliding with a new town statue turns Homer into a better listener while recuperating with his jaws wired shut, but once the wires come off, Homer does not go back to being loud and obnoxious and Marge becomes starved for thrills.13.10) HALF-DECENT PROPOSAL

Homer develops a snoring problem, so Marge decides to spend a night with her sisters Patty and Selma. After a night of drinking, Marge sees a news report about her ex-prom date Artie Ziff, who is now very wealthy, and decides to send him an e-mail. Artie is still obsessed with Marge, so he offers the Simpsons $1 million in exchange for Marge spending a weekend with him.13.11) THE BART WANTS WHAT IT WANTS

Bart befriends Rainer Wolfcastle’s daughter Greta. She has a crush on Bart, but he does not seem to realize it and eventually stops seeing her. Seeking revenge, Greta begins dating Bart’s best friend Milhouse, which causes Bart to start missing her. She leaves for Toronto with her father, and Bart convinces his family to follow them there.13.15) BLAME IT ON LISA

When Homer gets the family’s telephone service cut off for refusing to pay for calls made to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Lisa confesses that she was the one who called Rio after sponsoring an orphan who goes missing. She convinces the family to travel to Brazil to look for him. However, once there, they have no luck finding him, and Homer is kidnapped.13.16) WEEKEND AT BURNSIES

Homer is prescribed medicinal marijuana after getting pecked in the eyes by a murder of crows. While his family and friends worry about the drug altering his personality, Homer becomes Mr. Burns’s vice president after cracking up at Burns’s antiquated jokes.13.18) I AM FURIOUS (YELLOW)

Inspired by a cartoonist who speaks at the school as part of a career day assembly, Bart creates a comic book series based on Homer and his anger problems, which turns into a popular Internet cartoon series called Angry Dad. Homer finds out about this and is at first outraged, but after talking to his family, he decides to try to become a less angry person.13.19) THE SWEETEST APU

Homer and Marge discover that Apu is having an affair with the Squishee delivery lady at the Kwik-E-Mart. They decide to keep Apu’s wife Manjula from finding out about it. However, she eventually learns of Apu’s affair by watching store security tapes. She throws Apu out of the house and decides to file for divorce, but soon realizes that she misses him.13.20) LITTLE GIRL IN THE BIG TEN

Lisa tries to fit in with two college students by lying about her age. She finds that the college atmosphere is perfect for her, but her lie is soon discovered and she is shunned by her fellow elementary school students. Meanwhile, Bart is diagnosed with a weakened immune system after getting bitten by a Chinese mosquito and must live in a plastic, germ-free bubble.13.21) THE FRYING GAME

While faced with community service for abusing an endangered insect, Homer begins assisting an elderly woman named Mrs. Bellamy. One night, Mrs. Bellamy is murdered, and Homer and Marge are accused of committing the crime.All in all some great episodes in these 4 sets and they still remain watchable years later.

 

REVIEW: SMALL SOLDIERS

CAST

Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Gregory Smith (The Seeker)
Phil Hartman (The Simpsons)
Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Ann Magnuson (Perfect Strangers)
Jay Mohr (Cherry Falls)
David Cross (Scary Movie 2)
Wendy Schaal (American Dad)
Alexandra Wilson (Diner)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Robert Picardo (Stargate SG.1)
Jackie Joseph (Police Academy 2)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
George Kennedy (The Boston Strangler)
Ernest Borgnine (From Here To Eternity)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Harry Shearer (The Simpsons)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy)
Christina Ricci (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Cheri Oteri (Liar Liar)
Rance Howard (Universal Soldier)
Marcia Mitzman Gaven (The Simpsons)

Top defense contractor GloboTech Industries acquires the Heartland Toy Company and as part of the move, Globotech CEO Gil Mars (Denis Leary) tells Heartland toy designers Larry Benson (Jay Mohr) and Irwin Wayfair (David Cross) to develop actual live-action toys capable of “playing back”. Mars selects Larry’s action figures, the Commando Elite, for the project and Irwin’s educational toys, the Gorgonites, for their enemies, with the toyline expected to hit the market in three months. Faced with such a tight deadline, Benson forgoes safety testing, then uses Irwin’s password and chooses GloboTech’s overly powerful X1000 microprocessor to control the toys.Teenager Alan Abernathy (Gregory Smith) signs off for a shipment of the toys at his family’s toy store without his father’s consent. He and delivery driver Joe activate the leaders for each group – Archer (Frank Langella) for the Gorgonites and Chip Hazard (Tommy Lee Jones) for the Commando Elite. Alan’s neighbor and love interest, Christy Fimple (Kirsten Dunst), buys Chip as a birthday present for her brother Timmy. Alan returns home to discover Archer in his backpack; he realizes Archer is sentient, but in the meantime, the Commando Elite awaken and apparently destroy the Gorgonites in the toy store. Alan calls the company and files a complaint. Later, when Larry and Irwin listen to Alan’s voice mail, Irwin is terrified to discover the X1000 was designed for smart munitions guidance; a Globotech engineer reveals the AI circuit is designed to learn over time, but mass production was scrapped due to issues with EMP shielding.

Meanwhile, Chip and his squad pursue Alan to his home and attempt to kill him and Archer; unlike the Gorgonites, the Commando Elite do not understand they are just toys. Alan is attacked by Nick Nitro (Clint Walker), whom he mortally wounds. The next day, Alan and Archer find the rest of the Gorgonites in a dumpster at the shop. At home, Alan learns the primary goal of the Gorgonites is to seek their homeland Gorgon, which they mistakenly believe to be in Yosemite. The Commandos learn of Alan’s interest in Christy and decide to take her hostage, immobilizing the Fimple household to force Alan into surrendering the Gorgonites.Alan and Archer sneak into the Fimple house to save Christy, but runs into her Gwendy dolls, whom Chip has engineered as auxiliary troops. Archer cuts Christy loose from her bonds and together they destroy the Gwendys before escaping with the Commando Elite’s kit-bashed vehicles in hot pursuit, but they are all destroyed during the chase. The two return to his house, only to find her family and his parents waiting for them. Phil (Phil Hartman) refuses to listen to Alan and Christy about what happened. Irwin and Larry arrive and talk to Alan over his voicemail. At that moment, Chip – who survived the chase – attacks the house with a new force of Commando Elites, having hijacked Joe’s shipment and equipped with more improvised vehicles and weapons, and a battle breaks out between the Commandos and the humans inside, cutting off the house’s electricity supply.

Having been guided by Irwin’s advice to create an EMP blast, Alan heads out to force an overload of the power lines; Christy, Irwin and Larry head to the Fimples’ house to turn on all electronic items inside and wedge the power transformers open for a larger surge. The normally peaceful Gorgonites exit the house and fight back against the Commando Elite. Chip flies to the top of the powerline pole to stop Alan, where he briefly battles and defeats Archer, but finds himself thrust by Alan into the powerline, triggering the EMP blast which kills Chip along with all of the remaining Commando Elite. Mars arrives in his helicopter during the police and fire department cleanup the next day. He pays Joe, the Fimples, and the Abernathys for damages as well as buying their silence from the media, and orders Larry and Irwin to prepare the Commando Elite for sale to rebels in South America. Amongst the craziness of the aftermath, Alan and Christy part on highly amicable terms, and Alan later discovers that the Gorgonites have screened themselves from the EMP blast by hiding underneath the Fimples’ large satellite dish. Alan brings the Gorgonites to Yosemite National Park, where he sends them out in a large toy boat from his father’s store to find their island home of Gorgon.

I enjoyed this movie and despite it not being an all time classic I do recommend it as an entertaining family film