REVIEW: BABYLON 5 – SEASON 5

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Starring

Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Richard Biggs (Strong Medicine)
Bill Mumy (Lost In Space)
Tracy Scoggins (Highlander: The Series)
Stephen Furst (Animal House)
Jeff Conaway (Grease)
Patricia Tallman (Dead Air)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)

Bruce Boxleitner, Mira Furlan, and Tracy Scoggins in Babylon 5 (1993)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Robin Atkin Downes (The Conjuring 2)
Kim Strauss (Million Dollar Baby)
Walter Koenig (Star Trek)
Penn Jillette (Sabrina: TTW)
Teller (The Big Bang Theory)
Fabiana Udenio (Austin Powers)
Julie Caitlin Brown (All My Children)
Marshall R. Teague (Road House)
Reggie Lee (The Dark Knight Rises)
Carl Ciarfalio (THe Fantastic Four)
Robin Sachs (Buffy: TVS)
Marjorie Monaghan (Andromeda)
Claudia Christian (9-1-1)
Ardwight Chamberlain (Swiss Family Robinson)

Tracy Scoggins in Babylon 5 (1993)I’m a huge fan of Babylon 5. When B5 was originally airing, I’d tape each episode and watch it at least twice before the next one aired. I’d check out the Lurker’s Guide, puzzle over the “unanswered questions,” and eagerly await how the story would unfold. With that in mind, it’s difficult for me to approach reviewing Season 5. Fans of the show are familiar with the trials and tribulations that series creator J. Michael Straczynski went through first just to get B5 produced at all, and then to get it through its planned 5-year run. At one point, all concerned thought that the show would be forced to end prematurely, and so Season 4 wraps up a lot of the major story lines and provides a final episode with a nice sense of closure.But there was a Season 5, after all. So how is it? When I first saw the Season 5 episodes, I hated them. Hated them, I say, with a passion. This was not the Babylon 5 I knew and loved, but a travesty of it. In fact, I bailed out on it, unwilling to see my favorite series going through the motions like that. So I had my misgivings when it came to reviewing the set… was it really as horrible as I remembered? In truth, no.Babylon 5 (1993)Season 5 isn’t the Babylon 5 it used to be, for a number of reasons. The new captain is adequate at best; some of the recurring characters no longer ring quite true (the new camaraderie between Londo and G’Kar is simply inconsistent with their history); and after the Shadow War, the Earth civil war, and the culmination of the Narn-Centauri conflict, there doesn’t seem to be as much dramatic energy in the remaining story arcs. But it’s not terrible, with one notable exception.Robin Atkin Downes and Jack Hannibal in Babylon 5 (1993)What’s that exception? Well, there’s one particular episode, “Day of the Dead,” that manages to strike all the worst notes of the entire series. There are two story lines in this episode: one deals with a mysterious “Day of the Dead” celebration that has some strange effects on the members of the crew; the other involves the comedy team of “Rebo and Zooty” (played by Penn and Teller). The latter storyline is entirely comedic… and as I’ve had occasion to remark on in past reviews, comedy is the one thing that Babylon 5 has never, ever handled well. Whenever B5 tries to go for deliberate laughs, it falls on its face, creating scenes that are painfully bad, especially in contrast to the excellent drama of the rest of the show. Here we get that at its worst. It’s hard to explain how one episode could have such a negative effect on my perception of the entire season, but the truth is, it really is awful; frankly, I recommend skipping over it entirely.Once we leave aside truly awful episodes like “Day of the Dead” (and its close counterpart, the contrived “A View from the Gallery”), Season 5 is revealed to be reasonably entertaining after all. It does take a relatively long while to get going in the right direction, but when it does get moving, the content isn’t bad. Not as good as the earlier seasons, but not bad.Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas in Babylon 5 (1993)One thing that’s quite clear is that Season 5 was targeted toward a viewing audience who had not seen any of the previous seasons. There are many episodes that are patently designed to fill in background information, like “The Corps Is Mother, the Corps Is Father” (clearly intended to inform the new viewer about the Psi Corps), and the scripts are full of “As you know, Bob”-style references to back-story from the previous seasons, like Garibaldi’s alcoholism. This isn’t a glaring flaw, per se, but it does reduce the amount of time that the story can spend on moving forward and building on the past, which has always been one of B5’s great strengths.Walter Koenig, Dana Barron, and Reggie Lee in Babylon 5 (1993)Overall, Season 5 has a distinctly more episodic feel than earlier seasons. In fact, in many ways it feels similar to Season 1, except that the stories aren’t as good, and there’s none of the feeling that the foundation is being laid for great things later in the series. Quite a few episodes are self-contained “emergency of the week” stories, like “No Compromises,” “Learning Curve,” and even “Meditations on the Abyss.” Taken in the larger context of science fiction television, these are solid episodes; it’s just that in the context of B5’s brilliant larger story arcs, they’re disappointing.Martin East, Bill Mumy, and Richard Yniguez in Babylon 5 (1993)Fortunately, two larger story arcs are developed in Season 5. First of all, the “telepath situation” takes center stage, as a group of rogue telepaths led by an idealistic and charismatic leader named Byron form a colony on the station. In a well-handled part of this story, Lyta Alexander finds that her past experiences on Babylon 5 give her a great deal of sympathy for Byron’s cause. Much of this story arc is handled in the first part of the season, with episodes like “Strange Relations,” “Secrets of the Soul,” “In the Kingdom of the Blind,” “A Tragedy of Telepaths,” and “Phoenix Rising,” but the general tension between telepaths and “mundanes” continues to escalate throughout the season.Bruce Boxleitner in Babylon 5 (1993)One of the strengths of Season 5 is its nuanced portrayal of the telepaths, particularly focusing on their strong sense of community identity. Their passionate belief in their own identity as special, rare, even “chosen” people raises the question of the delicate balance between individuality and conformity. Should they try to fit in? What place do they really have in the “mundane” world? Is their sense of isolation and discrimination real, or a product of their own disdain for normals? Is the Psi Corps really wrong, or does it serve an essential purpose in regulating telepaths and protecting normals? Psi Cop Alfred Bester (Walter Koenig), one of my favorite secondary characters, gets a lot of screen time in Season 5, and puts it to great use: he’s always been much more than a clear-cut “bad guy,” and here we see even more how he’s a real human being who may be more in the right than the B5 crew want to admit.Tracy Scoggins in Babylon 5 (1993)The other key story arc involves the new Alliance coming under a great deal of stress, as an unknown enemy continues to attack ships from a variety of Alliance worlds, creating discord and a growing discontent with Sheridan and Delenn’s handling of the situation. At the same time, strange things are afoot on Centauri Prime, as Londo, now the emperor-elect, discovers that there are deadly forces operating behind the scenes. This latter part of the story is particularly interesting, as it builds on the foreshadowing of earlier seasons.Peter Jurasik in Babylon 5 (1993)While the pacing of the overall season is slower than other seasons, and the tension doesn’t get cranked up like it was in comparable parts of Season 3 or Season 4, the last eight episodes of the season finally leave behind the “stand-alone episode” feel of the early part of the season, and moves into a continuing development of the main story threads that have been introduced and developed in Season 5. It’s worth sticking around for.

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: STAR TREK: VOYAGER – SEASON 1-7

 

voyagerMAIN CAST

Kate Mulgrew (Lovepsell)
Robert Beltran (Big Love)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Roxann Dawson (Darkman III)
Garrett Wang (Into The West)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Jennifer Lien (Ameircan History X)
Jeri Ryan (Arrow)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Martha Hackett (Leprechaun 2)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers LIghtspeed Rescue)
Anthony De Longis (Highlander: The Series)
Marjorie Monaghan  (Andromeda)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Rob LaBelle (Dark Angel)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
John Rubinstein (Legends of Tomorrow)
Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue)
Aron Eisenberg (Puppet Master 3)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Nancy Hower (Catch and Release)
Jack Shearer (End of Days)
Gary Graham (Alien Nation)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Joel Grey (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Rick Worthy (Collateral Damage)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon A Time)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Gerrit Graham (Child’s Play 2)
John De Lancie (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Michael McKean (Smallville)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
George Takei (Heroes)
Grace Lee Whitney (60s Batman)
Michael Ansara (Batman: TAS)
Robert Prine (V)
James Parks (Django Unchained)
Estelle Harris (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Keene Curtis (Stargate SG.1)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Sarah Silverman (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Ed Begley jr. (Veronica Mars)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)
Alan Openheimer (Transformers)
Kristanna Loken (Bloodrayne)
Jessica Collins (Tru Calling)
Rachael Harris (New Girl)
Wendy Schaal (American Dad)
John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Rosemary Forsyth (Disclosure)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Rebecca McFarland (Two and a Half Men)
Judson Scott (V)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Mark Metcalf (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander 2)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Zach Galligan (Gremlins)
Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica)
Tucker Smallwood (Traffic)
Ray Walston (The Sting)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Scarlett Pomers (Reba)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Mark Harelik (The Big Bang Theory)
Lori Petty (Tank Girl)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The Gift)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Ron Canada (Just Like Heaven)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Kevin Tighe (Lost)
Bradley Pierce (Jumanji)
Titus Welliver (Agents of SHIELD)
John Savage (Dark Angel)
Alicia Coppola (Empire)
Martha Hackett (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)
Larry Hankin (Breaking Bad)
Christopher Neame (Ghostbusters II)
James Saito (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Mel Winkler (Coach Carter)
Henry Darrow (The Hitcher)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
Larry Cedar (Deadwood)
Maury Ginsberg (Jessica Jones)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Bob Clendenin (THat 70s Show)
Don McManus (Mom)
Leslie Jordan (Ugly Betty)
Eugene Roche (Soap)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Athena Massey (Cyber Tracker 2)
Suzie Plakson (How I Met Your Mother)
Lori Hallier (My Bloody Valentine)
Gary Bullock (Species)
Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul)
Marshall R. Teague (Babylon 5)
Wayne Pére (Cloak & Dagger)
Andy Dick (Road Trip)
Wade Williams (Gangster Squad )
Todd Babcock (GOds and Monsters)
Joseph Ruskin (The Scorpion King0
Ned Romero (Hang ‘Em High)
Christopher Shea (Charmed)
Lee Arenberg (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Scott Thompson (Hannibal)
David Burke (The Tick)
Bruce McGill (Lincoln)
Dakin Matthews (Child’s Play 3)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Mark Moses (Mad Men)
Richard McGonagle (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Kamala Lopez (Deep Cover)
Ray Xifo (Stargate SG.1)
Paul Williams (Batman: TAS)
Ted Rooney (Roswell)
Mark Deakins (The Devil’s Advocate)
Larry Drake (Darkman)
Jeff Yagher (V)
Jonathan Del Arco (Star Trek: Picard)
Scott Lawrence (Avatar)
Robin Sachs (Babylon 5)
Michael Shamus Wiles (Breaking Bad)
Robert Ito (Batman: TAS)
Joseph Campanella (Hangar 18)
Autumn Reeser (Sully)
Andy Milder (Transformers)
Jonathan Breck (Jeepers Creepers)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien NAtion)
Claire Rankin (Stargate: Atlantis)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Mimi Craven  (A NIghtmare on Elm Street)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Richard Herd (V)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Obi Ndefo (Angel)
Lindsey Ginter (Hercules: TLJ)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frightners)
Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious 7)
J.G. Hertzler (Roswell)
Manu Intiraymi  (Go)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Mark Sheppard (Firefly)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Tamara  Marie Watson (Odyssey 5)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Ron Glass (Firefly)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Robert Axelrod (Power Rangers)
Sherman Howard (Superbo)
Robert Joy (Amityville 3)
Alice Krige (Children of Dune)

Star Trek: Voyager is a great series to watch. The initial concept of the show is pretty simple: USS Voyager is taken to the delta quadrant against there will and are stranded there – leaving them no choice to but to embark on a long and dangerous journey home.

The Voyager series brings in a lot of new and old ideas about the star trek universe. The new idea of having a holographic doctor and being able to send him on away-missions is a very complex and entertaining idea. The idea of two opposing factions banding together to work as one crew is new. However, some old ideas do still remain for example the unattractive uniforms, colour designations, button sounds and the weakness of their ship.

The cast is full of good actors. At first the characters were green and so was the acting, but by the second season the characters and acting seemed to flow much better. Captain Jane-way certainly looks and feels like a leader and her choices are often made by seeking advice from other crew members, but some of her decisions are startlingly dark and immoral. There were a lot of recurring minor roles for actors and they brought a unique feel to the show.

One of the best things I like about this series is that it gets very technical, but is also dumbed-down enough to make sure the ordinary lay-man (like myself) can still understand what’s going on. The addition of Seven of Nine was a great idea. Jeri Ryan brought in a great sex appeal and added further to the technical stand-points in the show. I fully enjoyed learning a lot about the Borg. It is one of the species I was most interested in.
If you want to know about the Borg, this is the series to watch. Also, this series is very dark. At some points I had shed some tears. Rick Berman was shooting for a darker Star Trek and he made it happen. Overall, this is a wonderful show. It outlines betrayal, morality, trust, honor and integrity. Each episode takes you on journey to learning a new life lesson.

REVIEW: THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES

CAST
Tom Hanks (The Road To Perdition)
Bruce Willis (Armageddon)
Melanie Griffith (Tempo)
Kim Cattrall (Star Trek 6)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: The Teenage Witch)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters 2)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Rita Wilson (Jingle All The Way)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash)
Donald Moffat (The Thing)
Marjorie Monaghan (Babylon 5)
Sam Sorbo (Hercules:TLJ)
Camryn Manheim (Scary Movie 3)
Richard Belzer (Law & Order: SVU)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Terry Farrell (Star Trek: DS9)
Debbie Lee Carrington (Total Recall)
v-wars-3-e1572876496671
Sherman McCoy (Tom Hanks) is a Wall Street investor who makes millions while enjoying the good life and the sexual favors of Maria Ruskin (Melanie Griffith), a Southern belle gold digger. Sherman and Maria are driving back to Maria’s apartment from JFK Airport when they take a wrong turn on the expressway and the two find themselves in the “war-zone” of the South Bronx. They are approached by two suspicious black youths after Sherman gets out of the car to move a tire placed purposely in the middle of the road. Sherman jumps back into the car and Maria guns the engine in reverse, running over one of the teenagers and putting him in a coma. The two drive away and decide not to report the accident to the police.
Meanwhile, indigent alcoholic journalist Peter Fallow (Bruce Willis), anxious for a story to make good with his editor, comes upon the hit-and-run case as a rallying point for the black community calling upon Jewish district attorney Abe Weiss (F. Murray Abraham), who is the Bronx District Attorney seeking re-election. According to Judge Leonard White (Morgan Freeman), almost all of DA Weiss’ prosecutions end up with black and Puerto Rican defendants going to prison and Weiss is seeking a white defendant for purposes of convincing the minority-majority community that he is worth re-electing.
Weiss recognizes the press coverage inherent in prosecuting the callow Sherman, who has been discovered as the hit-and-run driver, in order to cultivate the image as an avenger for the minorities and be propelled to the mayorship of New York City. As Sherman is brought to his knees, New York City fragments into different factions who use the case to suit their own cynical purposes.
Finally, Sherman is left without any allies to support him except for the sympathetic Judge Leonard White and the remorseful Fallow. Fallow gains a tremendous advantage and insight into the case when he is dating a woman who is the sub-letting landlady of Maria’s apartment, and knows of secret recordings of conversations in the apartment made by the authorities to prove that the woman is not in fact living in the rent-controlled apartment herself. She discovers information about the McCoy case (where Maria states she was driving the car), which she gives to Fallow, who in turn covertly supplies it to Sherman McCoy’s defense lawyer. Sherman gets his hands on a tape and plays the recording in court, where it reveals Maria directly contradicting the evidence she has just given, showing she has been perjuring herself and causing her to faint. Sherman plays the tape in a tape recorder inside his briefcase connected to a small loudspeaker that he holds on the desk.
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When the judge orders that he approach the bench with this evidence, he asserts that the tape is all his (making it admissible evidence and it is technically truthful since it refers only to the dummy tape he was holding and ignores the real tape that is hidden which is not his), resulting in his acquittal. The people in the court go into an uproar, to which Judge White launches into a tirade that they have no right to act self-righteous and smarmy, or that they are above Sherman, considering Reverend Bacon (John Hancock) claims to help disadvantaged New Yorkers but actually engages in race baiting, or that the District Attorney Weiss pushed this case not in the interest of justice but in the interest of appealing to minority voters to further his political career by appealing to their desire to “get even”. After the Judge made his point, he begs the people to be decent and change their ways, letting Sherman go.
The film ends as it begins, where there is a large audience applauding Peter Fallow’s premiere of his book. Fallow says that Sherman McCoy has moved away from New York City to an unknown destination, presumably to live in obscurity.
I still can’t understand, after all these years, why this film was and still is so underrated. To me is one of De Palma’s masterpieces, where you can enjoy all his talents but still you breathe all the focused and cruel genius of Tom Wolfe and his best book. Not to mention that the adaptation of the book is brilliant and manges to keep the core and the best of it in a just 2 hours movie, even adding some moments that were not present in the books but sound absolutely brilliant, coherent and useful to carry on the story. Actors are funny and acting direction absolutely perfect, both in comical timing, and in the way actors approach their characters.