REVIEW: VIXEN: THE MOVIE

CAST (VOICES)

Megalyn Echikunwoke (The 400)
Stephen Ammell (Arrow)
Grant Gustin (The Flash)
Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow)
Victor Garber (Titanic)
Brandon Routh (Chuck)
Franz Dremeh (Edge of Tomorrow)
Katie Cassid (Black Christmas)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Aika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Cruel Intentions)
Kari Wuhrer (Hellraiser: Deader)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Toks Olagundoye (The Neighbours)

When Mari returns to Detroit after searching for information on her birth parents, she ends up in jail for stabbing a potential employer in the hand with a pen. Her foster father, Chuck, posts her bail, and the two are confronted in an alley by some thugs looking to take Mari’s Tantu Totem, which she inherited from her birth parents at a young age. Mari uses the totem’s powers to defeat the thugs, and the next day, visits Professor Macalester hoping to learn more about the totem and her family. Elsewhere, at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco becomes aware of Mari and her powers, and the Flash and the Arrow go to Detroit to investigate. In Detroit, Mari shows Chuck the totem’s powers, when Barry and Oliver show up at their house. Convinced they want to imprison her, she flees, with the two heroes giving chase. Finally getting Mari to stop, the Flash and Arrow try to convince Mari to let them help her. Not trusting them, Mari leaves and returns to Professor Macalester in hopes of getting more answers. Unbeknownst to Mari, Macalester is working for Kuasa, who shows up looking to retrieve the totem. Unable to remove the totem from her neck, Mari tries to escape and is shot by Kuasa’s men. She wakes up in an abandoned African village near the river of Zambezi, where Kuasa reveals she is her older sister and this is her birthplace, telling her the history of the totem and the village’s destruction. Kuasa reveals she was chosen to protect the totem and attempts to sever the bond it has with Mari. The attempt fails and Mari flees, though she passes out shortly after, allowing Kuasa to claim the totem. After coming to, the animal spirits of the totem confront Mari, telling her she is its true wielder. With their support, Mari returns to the village and defeats Kuasa and her followers, regaining the totem. Back in Detroit, Mari begins fighting crime as the vigilante “Vixen”, finally knowing her purpose in life, with Arrow and Flash promising to offer assistance should she ever ask.Months after returning to Detroit, Mari attends a lecture by Macalester on the five totems of Zambezi, which grant their wearers the powers of the elemental forces–air, earth, water, fire, and spirit. He reveals that the fire totem has been found, and would be on display at the Detroit Museum. Mari confronts Macalester about kidnapping her, and he tells her her Tantu Totem is also one of the lost totems of Zambezi, the spirit totem. Mari gets a call from Cisco to help the Flash and Firestorm defeat Weather Wizard. Mari ends up in the hospital after fighting Weather Wizard, and learns that the fire totem and other gems had been stolen from the Detroit Museum. Searching for the person who performed the heist, she eventually learns that Benatu Eshu has stolen the fire totem, traveling from Zambezi to claim it. As she confronts him, Eshu claims to know Mari’s birth mother.The two fight, but Eshu proves too powerful for Mari. Mari goes to Macalester to find a way to stop the fire totem and he suggests they visit Kuasa. Finding her in an African hospital, Kuasa tells them that Eshu was a general who raided their village in search of Kuasa and Mari’s mother and the Tantu Totem. She suggests that in order to defeat Eshu, they must find the water totem, which leads them to Star City. Once they find the water totem, Kuasa double crosses Mari and takes the totem for herself. Mari gives chase and is able to contain Kuasa with the help of Black Canary and the Atom. Felicity Smoak informs the heroes that Eshu is rampaging through Detroit, which makes Mari reluctantly ask Kuasa to help them defeat Eshu. The heroes travel to Detroit to confront Eshu, where Macalester calls Mari and tells her that each totem has a core, which, if destroyed, will cause the totem to lose their powers. The heroes are quickly overpowered, and despite her use of the water totem, Eshu kills Kuasa, leaving Mari the only one remaining. Mari is able to subdue Eshu underwater to weaken him, and takes the fire totem. Macalester arrives to tell her that in order sever Eshu’s ties to the totem, it needs to be smashed by someone with great strength. Mari summons many spirits from the animal kingdom and is able to destroy the totem. Later, she joins Green Arrow, Flash, Black Canary and Atom in Coast City to take on a threat.Vixen is based on the DC Character Mari McCabe / Vixen, a costumed superhero crime-fighter with the power to mimic the abilities of any animal that has ever lived on Earth. The series is set in the same fictional universe as Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. The “Movie” is the entire series of shorts put together as  a film. A lot of the stuff that Vixen can do would be very hard to pull off on a TV budget, which is why introducing her this way is so important.  I’ll admit that the 5 minute segments can be a bit annoying at times, but it gives that need for the next chapter so all-in-all, the formula works. It’s great to see the series as one whole entity.

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REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – VOLUME 10

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Robin Hood)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Larisa Oleynik (100 Girls)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Daisuke Suzuki (I Am Gangster)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Mariah Carey (Glitter)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Reggie Lee (Grimm)
Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Haley Joel Osment (A.I.)
Azura Skyke (28 Days)
Mae Whitman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turltes 2012)
Danny Glover (Earthsea)
Daran Norris (Veronica Mars)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
Jonathan Kite (2 broke Girls)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (Vixen)
Echo Kellum (Arrow)
Ellie Kemper (21 Jump Street)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Terry Crews (White Chicks)
Dean Winters (Terminator: TSCC)
Andrea Savage (Izombie)
Laura Bell Bundy (Scream queens)
Sinbad (Jingle All The Way)

Belly-laugh up to the bar, folks and satisfy your thirst for hilarity with the all-new collection of uncensored American Dad! episodes from the spirited minds of Mike Barker, Matt Weitzman and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Loaded with celebrity guest voices, including Mariah Carey, Terry Crews, Mark Cuban, Zooey Deschanel, Danny Glover and Olivia Wilde, This volumes intoxicating highlights are.

STEVE AND SNOT’S TEST-TUBULAR ADVENTURE:  After failing to get dates for the high school prom, Steve and Snot try using the CIA’s cloning machine to make dates, but the machine produces two fast-growing newborn babies, forcing the boys to father them in time for the prom. Meanwhile, Stan takes home the CIA’s cloned pet dodo with disastrous consequences.

POLTERGASM: In a spoof of the movie Poltergeist, the Smith home is haunted by Francine’s unsatisfied sexual drive every time she is left having to fake it, so it is up to Roger – as medium Ruby Zeldastein – to eliminate the ghost. Meanwhile, Hayley dates a young, Hispanic man named Mauricio, and Klaus goes to Atlantic City for a self-help seminar, but ends up breaking his back and forced to watch the hotel guide channel in his room.

CROTCHWALKERS:Just to show Steve she is still a “cool” mom, Francine teaches him various shoplifting techniques at the local mall “The Gash”. However, their efforts to pull off the ultimate heist result in Steve getting captured and sent to a Venezuelan sweatshop. Meanwhile, Roger, Hayley and Klaus become Langley Falls’ first Russian balalaika trio and Stan injures his groin and must use a whiteboard to communicate.

FAKING BAD: In this parody of Breaking Bad, Hayley tries to fit in with her old high school friends and discovers Steve’s talent for creating fake IDs that can easily be passed for real ones. Seeing this as a business opportunity, Hayley builds out Steve’s operation, but find themselves up against another fake ID kingpin in Langley Falls: Kevin Ramage (another of Roger’s disguises).

MINSTREL KRAMPUS: A notorious Christmas demon known as Minstrel Krampus kidnaps a bratty Steve, so Stan and Roger must travel to the North Pole to save him with the help of Stan’s estranged father. Meanwhile, Hayley takes a job at the airport to get her family Christmas presents.

VISION: IMPOSSIBLE:  A car accident gives Roger the power to foresee the future, causing the Smiths to pester him with questions of what will happen.

FAMILYLAND: At Francine’s insistence, the Smiths go on vacation at a Disneyland-esque theme park called Familyland. Unfortunately, the visit turns disastrous when Roger, Hayley, Stan and Steve all separate to go to different regions of the park. Francine, disappointed in how the park broke up her family, complains in front of a statue of the park’s founder Roy Family. As Francine walks off with Klaus, the statue begins to cry and eventually crack revealing the original Roy Family inside. Roy, angry at how his park has failed to be a good influence over families decides to shut down the park and lock in all visitors. After one week, each member of the Smith family carves out their own personal “kingdom” out of the park while Francine struggles to find a way to end the chaos.

COCK OF THE SLEEPWALK: After Stan completes his 100th kill, he accidentally releases a benevolent persona of himself while sleeping, and this new incarnation goes on a spree of doing good deeds that the real Stan would never undertake.

Image result for american dad introducing the naughty stewardessesINTRODUCING THE NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES: In a parody of Face/Off, Roger switches faces with Steve to help him win over the hot girl at school, but soon decides he wants her for himself – until the girl reveals that she is pregnant with her jock ex-boyfriend’s baby. Meanwhile, in a parody of Charlie’s Angels, Stan and Francine’s vacation to Sacramento gets sidetracked when they befriend a quartet of sexy stewardesses and go undercover to help them thwart Mark Cuban’s plan to blow up the sun.

I AIN’T NO HOLODECK BOY: Against Francine’s wishes, Stan takes Steve and his friends into the woods for some outdoor playtime, where they wind up on the CIA’s holodeck. Meanwhile, Hayley claims she is Roger’s queen after purchasing his home star on an international star registry.

STAN GOES ON THE PILL: Unable to listen to Francine’s constant chatting, Stan takes an experimental estrogen pill which allows him to be able to listen to women without zoning out. Things get complicated, however, when Stan’s dosage turns him into a woman and Avery Bullock begins making romantic advances towards the now-female Stan. Meanwhile, Roger and Klaus start their own business selling the suits Stan wore as a male, which doesn’t go according to plan.

HONEY, I’M HOMELAND: Stan infiltrates an Occupy Wall Street protest and ends up being kidnapped and brainwashed. Meanwhile, Roger buys thousands of candles and is unable to sell them, resulting in him and Steve getting carried away while giving each other massages in the attic in an attempt to use them all up.

RUBBERNECKERS: CIA budget cuts leave Stan out in the cold, and since his company work record is classified, his only employment opportunity is at a local grocery store that is managed by Steve. Meanwhile, Roger and an annoying coffee-shop musician engage in a wager that leads Roger into a Faustian pact with an infomercial guitar instructor.

THE LONGEST DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP: is still heartbroken and trying to get over Jeff’s abduction, and meets a millionaire named Matt, who helps her deal with the tragedy. However, Steve and Snot discover that Jeff is alive and, along with the ghost of Sinbad, is trying to make his way back to her. Ultimately, Jeff learns that by the time he can make it back to Earth, Haley will be sixty and would have spent her entire life waiting for him. He goes back in time through the wormhole that he used to enter into Earth, and tells Hayley that he isn’t sure if he can make it back to Earth after all, and that he wants her to move on. She accepts, saying she will never forget him, and goes to begin life with Matt, only for him to be killed by Roger upon finding out he is an alien.

This has to be one of the best adult cartoons ever created. A great season fo episodes that keeps you wanting more… role on volume 11.

REVIEW: ARROW – SEASON 4

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MAIN CAST

Stephen Amell (Screamers 2)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)
David Ramsey (Con Air)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
Paul Blackthorne (The River)
Image result for arrow season 4 green arrowRECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Neal McDonough (Minority Report)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Audrey Marie Anderson (Lie To Me)
Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Spartacus)
Enid-Raye Adams (Final Destination 2)
Echo Kellum (Ben and Kate)
Jimmy Akingbola (Holby City)
Alexander Calvert (The Returned)
Elysia Rotaru (Supernatural)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager)
Katrina Law (Spartacus)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Rutina Wesley (Hannibal)
Matt Ryan (Constantine)
Parker Young (Suburgatory)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Charlotte Ross (NYPD Blue)
Eugene Byrd (Bones)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Ciara Renee (Legends of Tomorrow)
Casper Crump (The Legend of Tarzan)
Falk Hentschel (Knight and Day)
Anna Hopkins (Defiance)
Peter Francis James (Oz)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Janet Kidder (Earth: Final Conflict)
James Kidnie (Robocop: The Series)
Colton Haynes (Scream Queens)
Celian Jade (Legendary Assassin)
Rila Fukushima (The Wolverine)
Tom Amandes (Brokedown Palace)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Rachel Luttrell (Stargate: Atlantis)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (That 70s Show)
Amy Gumenick (Greek)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Jason Schombing (Mutant X)
Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead)
Madison McLaughlin (Major Crimes)
Alex Kingston (Flashforward)
Adrian Glynn McMorran (50/50)
Vinnie Jones (The Cape)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Riddick)

Image result for arrow RestorationMy name is Oliver Queen. For five years I was stranded on an island with only one goal: survive. Now I will fulfill my father’s dying wish. To use the list of names he left me and bring down those who are poisoning my city. To do this, I must become someone else, I must become … something else.” The quote that has started a journey of an era and for many of us introduced us to the “Emerald archer” . The Fourth Season sees our hero finally become Green Arrow as aposed to The Hood or just The Arrow.

Image result for arrow The season started was excellent we are introduced with change, the “relaunch” of Oliver’s identity and a brand new arrow cave. To top it all off we are finally introduced to Damien Darhk and the secret organization of HIVE. This all brings us one good big package of an extremely great season. The early part of the season was a build up to Legends and the huge two, night crossover event which introduced savage and the hawks. Then season gets back to the main story of Damien Darhk. With the Christmas episode of the Year being the mid season cliffhanger leaving Felicity Smoak at deaths door, Showing just how far Damien will go to get his way.Image result for arrow Legends of YesterdayHaving a Villain with magical powers was a nice twist for Arrow making him different from the villains that have come before. The theme of this season was tied in very good to be honest, through the main villain’s name and the character types of most characters on this show. Basically it was accepting the inner darkness within you, which was portrayed quite well throughout the episodes. On top of all this darkness, the main cast was trying to find hope in their struggles or the lack of hope more or so. Arrow was always a dark show even from season 1 it was pretty dark, so it was appropriate for season 4 to continue the trend. Towards the end you see other characters grow darkness inside of them, and team arrow slowly splitting apart during these dark times. Also we get to see more of the darkness that happened to Ollie back on the island which wasn’t great for the most part of it, but at least they got that dark message across.One of the biggest highlights this year was John Constantine played by Matt Ryan making an appearance. I was a huge fan of the short lived Constantine TV Show so it was to have him return on Arrow, which could lead to more appearances throughout the arrowverse.

Image result for arrow dark watersSara Lance’s resurrection is also a highlight, many were sad to see her killed off during the first episode of season 3. When Legends of Tomorrow was announced and the first teaser showed Sara Lance alive and well using the new hero identity White Canary, it left fans wondering how her resurrection would happen. Thankfully fans of the comics knew the powers of The Lazarus Pit, which was also used to help Thea (Speedy) during season 3. Having the pit destroyed was a good idea too. If it hadn’t been vanquished then you could use it as an easy to bring characters back.Image result for arrow Blood DebtsRay Palmer also gets a resurrection,. Although many knew he wasn’t dead and that he had most likely just shrunk, his return also led to his role on Legends of Tomorrow, which nice to see Brandon Routh getting a main role.

Image result for arrow takenDuring the first episode of the season we were shown a grave where Oliver and Barry are shown standing over it without giving away who was in it, then near the end of the season we find out. When it was revealed  that Black Canary aka Dinah Laurel Lance was the victim it sent shockwaves throughout the fandom, seeing as how They were regular lovers in the comics.  I see it as a nice change as not have to copy what the comics do. We know that Katie Cassidy will be appearing throughout the Arrowverse in the upcoming seasons of the various shows, so it will be interesting in what format she returns.

Image result for arrow SchismI’m a huge fan of the Arrowverse and love all the shows (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl) Arrow Season was great it had great action, heartbreaking moments and a great villain. It will be interesting to see where season 5 takes the characters.

REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 1-3

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MAIN CAST

Kristen Bell (Frozen)
Teddy Dunn (Jumper)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Percy Daggs III (Izombie)
Francis Capra (Heroes)
Enrico Colantoni (Powers)
Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Death Proof)
Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Kyle Gallner (Smallville)
Tina Majorino (Bones)
Julie Gonzalo (Dodgeball)
Chris Lowell (The Help)
Michael Muhney (Columbus Day)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Corinne Bohrer (Police Academy 4)
Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer’s Body)
Lisa Thornhill (The Family Man)
Kyle Secor (The Purge 3)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Brandon Hilock (Villains)
Patrick Wolff (Power Rangers Lost Galaxy)
Bradley Joseph (A Cinderella Story)
Duane Daniels (First Strike)
Paris Hilton (Bottoms Up)
Aaron Ashmore (Smallville)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Paul Marshall (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Alison MacInnis (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Kyla Pratt (Dr. Dolittle)
Adam Wylie (Under Wraps)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Lisa Rinna (Melrose Place)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Jessica Chastain (Interstellar)
Steven Williams (The Blues Brothers)
Adam Kaufman (Buffy)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Erica Gimpel(Roswell)
Christian Clemenson (Lois & CCLark)
Jonathan Bennett (Van Wilder: Freshman Year)
Chris William Martin (The Vampire Diaries)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (Arrow)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Man)
Christopher B. Duncan (Three Kings)
Anthoyn Anderson (Transformers)
Jowharah Jones (The Client List)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Cynthia LaMontagne (That 70s Show)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Fast and The Furious 3)
Erin Chambers (Happy Feet)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Smallville)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Kevin Sheridan (The Closer)
Jeffrey D. Sams (Soul Food)
Charisma Carpenter (Buffy)
Steve Guttenberg (Police Academy)
Kevin Smith (Clerks)
David Starzyk (Bones)
Ari Graynor (For A Good Time, Call..)
Kristin Dattilo (Dexter)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Rick Peters (The Craving HearT)
Tracey Walter (Batman)
Joss whedon (Angel)
Rodney Rowland (The 6th Day)
Taylor Sheridan (Sicario)
Jason Molina (Alpha Dog)
Lucas Grabeel (Smallville)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
B.J. Britt (Agents of SHIELD)
Curtis Andersen (Sabrina: TTW)
Jessy Schram (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Michael Cera (Juno)
Kayla Ewell (The Vampire Diaries)
Patrick Fabian (The Last Exorcism)
Jason Beghe (G.I. Jane)
Samm Levine (Not Another Teen Movie)
Rider Strong (Cabin Fever)
Chastity Dotson (Single Ladies)
Lucy Lawless (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Cruel Intentions 2)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight)
Ryan Devlin (Weather Girl)
Armie Hammer (The Social Network)
Lindsey McKeon (One Tree Hill)
Ed Begley Jr. (Batman Forever)
Parry Shen (The New Guy)
Blake Shields (Heroes)
Ryan Pinkston (Bad Santa)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Krista Kalmus (North Shore)
Adam Rose (Up In The Air)
Amanda Walsh (Disturbia)
Charlie Weber (Buffy)
Sandra McCoy (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Michael Grant Terry (Bones)
David Tom (Pleasantville)
Charles Shaughnessy (Stargate SG.1)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Robert Ri’chard (The Vampire Diaries)
Jesse James (Jumper)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Suzanne Cryer (Two Guys and a GIrl)
Ed Gathegi (X-Men: First Class)
Travis Van Winkle (Meet The Spartans)

Veronica Mars is set in Neptune, California, a town without a middle-class. Everyone’s either a millionaire or works for one, and the man largely responsible for Neptune’s unparalleled success is Jake Kane (Kyle Secor), the resident billionaire software mogul. Kane and his family are still reeling from the murder of his daughter Lilly (Amanda Seyfried) some months earlier, and as if that loss wasn’t enough, the beloved Kane family was doggedly pursued by a county sheriff convinced that they were hiding something. Public sentiment turned against Sheriff Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), who was ousted from office and abandoned by his wife.

Cue the title character. His daughter Veronica (Kristen Bell) had already lost her best friend with Lilly’s death, but standing by her father also cost Veronica her friends, her social status, her house…even her mother. Veronica had already been unceremoniously dumped by Lilly’s brother Duncan (Teddy Dunn) shortly before her friend’s murder, and a defiant visit to face her former friends at a party weeks later led to Veronica being drugged and raped. Despite having lost so much, Veronica is resilient enough to move on with her life, and as her father struggles to stay afloat as a private eye, Veronica puts her smarts and determination to work to help ease the caseload at Mars Investigations. She also puts her talents to use to help her classmates with their troubles — for a price, of course. To cap it all off, Veronica’s faced with a couple of her own mysteries to solve. What convinced Lianne Mars to abandon her family, and where is she now? Who was it who drugged and raped Veronica last December? Also, is her father right — did someone other than disgruntled Kane Software employee Abel Koontz murder Lilly? If there is, who orchestrated the conspiracy that led to Koontz’ confession and why?

The dialogue in Veronica Mars has the same sparkle as Joss Whedon’s work…arguably better, even, since Buffy sometimes sounded like a deliberate attempt to be hip, whereas Veronica Mars manages to be witty and clever without feeling quite so forced. The writing doesn’t skew as young as one might expect from a TV show set in a high school. If anything, the target audience seems to be twentysomething — I don’t know how many fifteen year olds would be able to appreciate references to Archie comics or 21 Jump Street, f’r instance. Characterization is another strength of the series, and part of the reason Veronica Mars works as well as it does is that the audience truly does care about the characters. Despite having a seemingly endless array of talents, Veronica isn’t some sort of idyllic Mary Sue. She’s not always right. Her investigations frequently take morally questionable turns. Things don’t always go the way she wants. Not every episode has a happy ending.Image result for veronica mars return of kaneAlong with the cases that are solved in the space of forty minutes and change every week, a couple of mysteries are introduced in the pilot that are gradually explored throughout the entire length of the season. That’s right — unlike the hydra that is Lost, where answering one question spawns ten more, all of Veronica Mars’ mysteries are resolved by the time the season finale rolls around. (The finale tosses out a couple questions of its own, but if a second season hadn’t gotten the green light, it still would’ve been a fitting end to the series.)

Veronica Mars has a capable cast to match the quality of the writing. Veronica is strong and cynical…bright and sarcastic…and even though all of the trauma she’s suffered over the past year has aged her somewhat, she’s still an emotionally vulnerable teenage girl. That’s a lot to juggle, but Kristen Bell is talented enough to make such a colossal task seem effortless and captivating enough to carry a show on her shoulders. Of course, Bell is joined by a strong enough supporting cast that she doesn’t have to shoulder it all herself.

After cutting down Wallace (Percy Daggs III), the new kid at school, who’d been stripped naked and duct taped to a flagpole, he and Veronica become best friends. In teen-TV land, it’s an immutable rule that people of different genders can’t just be pals…there’s this endless temptation to couple everyone. Veronica Mars manages to resist, resulting in one of the few platonic friendships like this left on television.Enrico Colantoni, who plays Veronica’s father, is another fan favorite, able to shift from warm, loving, and borderline-goofy to secretive and deadly serious when the situation calls for it. There’s also Eli “Weevil” Navarro (Francis Capra), the leader of a local biker gang from the wrong side of the tracks who engages in some mutual backscratching with Veronica.

The character who stands out the most — aside from Veronica, of course — is Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring). Like Kristen Bell, Dohring is endlessly engaging. He’s introduced as an “obligatory psychotic jackass”, but as the season progresses, Logan’s humanized without being watered-down; even when he’s doing something as thoroughly loathesome as bribing a homeless vet to join in on his homebrew Bumfights video, there’s an undercurrent of understanding why Logan is the way he is. The character changes throughout the season, but the shift feels deserved and natural, not just because that’s what’s scrawled on the whiteboard in the writing room.Other guest stars throughout the season include Napoleon Dynamite’s Tina Majorino as computer whiz Mac, Aaron Ashmore as a love interest with a shady past, Logan’s movie star family (played by Harry Hamlin, Lisa Rinna, and Alyson Hannigan), Anthony Anderson, Zachary Ty Brian, Joey Lauren Adams, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and, in a shameless bit of stuntcasting, Paris Hilton. The fact that the second episode of Veronica Mars manages to be really good despite a Paris Hilton guest spot really is a testament to how good a series this is. Oh, and, in true Laura Palmer fashion, just because Lilly Kane is dead doesn’t mean that Amanda Seyfried can’t rear her head in nearly every other episode.The conclusion to most of the mysteries caught me by surprise. Throughout the entire season, the only time I correctly guessed the culprit was in “Lord of the Bling”, and even then, the motivation and execution were well out of my reach. The many twists the stories take are clever, and watching these episodes a second time, I could spot all sorts of clues and hints that didn’t seem that important the first time through.  Veronica Mars is a series that’s easy to dive into as a marathon, but for viewers catching these episodes for the first time, I’d recommend drawing it out a bit.

The central arcs of Veronica Mars’ first season were all intensely personal: Veronica being abandoned by her mother, not to mention every one of her former friends, roofie-fueled date rape at a party a year earlier, and the brutal murder of her closest friend, Lilly Kane. How do you follow up a season like that? t’d be nearly impossible to craft another set of stories that’d resonate in quite that same way without retreading familiar ground, so season two of Veronica Mars takes a different approach, shifting the focus away from our plucky junior detective and more towards the sticky underbelly of Neptune, California as a whole.Mayoral candidate Woody Goodman (Steve Guttenberg) has a vision for the glorified country club that is Neptune. Incorporating Neptune would have a Tide with Bleach effect, making the whites whiter and the rich richer as property values are boosted and less desirable elements are rezoned onto someone else’s doorstep. Woody’s plan is announced as the tensions between the haves and have-nots are already boiling over in Neptune.Logan Echols, the cocky son of an aging Hollywood action hero, has walked away unscathed from accusations of stabbing a Hispanic biker to death, prompting a series of vicious attacks from both sides. The stark differences between the classes are also apparent after a school-sponsored trip; the rich kids hop in a limo and ride back in style, and the not-so-privileged cram into a rank schoolbus and careen off the side of a cliff. The town is torn apart by the tragedy, and Veronica, who’d barely missed the bus and was very nearly among the dead, is determined to find out if the crash was a terrible accident, suicide, or something much more ominous.Image result for veronica mars driver edIt’s a hectic season, with a bus crash, two murder trials, class-slash-racial tensions throughout Neptune, a sheriff race, the possibility of Neptune incorporating, the ambiguity about Wallace’s family life, a coma-baby, Beaver following in his shamed father’s footsteps as he tries to get his own real estate endeavour off the ground, the strife former baseball star Terrence Cook and his overbearing daughter Jackie (Tessa Thompson) bring to Neptune, the newly-introduced clan of Irish drug-peddlers known as the Fitzpatricks, and the machinations of Dick and Beaver’s scheming stepmother Kendall (Charisma Carpenter). There’s enough to follow The season plays a lot better on DVD; it’s easier to keep the scores of characters and plot points fresh in the mind over the course of a few days as opposed to the better part of a year.In its third — and ultimately final — season, Veronica Mars steps away from any season-length stories. Slightly truncated to twenty episodes, season three is neatly grouped into three distinct chunks of episodes. The season opens with Veronica settling into her freshman year at Hearst College, but the campus continues to be plagued by a spree of sexual assaults. Mac’s bubbly roommate Parker (Julie Gonzalo) is the latest victim to be roofied and raped, with the attacker leaving his calling card by shaving her head. Having suffered through the past couple of years as a rape victim herself and unwittingly in a position to have caught Parker’s rapist during the attack, Veronica’s grim determination to put an end to this reign of terror makes up the first and the lengthiest of the season’s arcs.The season’s second arc picks up a couple of months after the grisly final shot of “Spit and Eggs” as the police have shrugged off the death of someone close to Veronica as a suicide. A devastating emotional blow delivered just hours earlier, a gunshot to the temple, a vague suicide note typed on a PC…it’s tragic, yes, but the pieces fit neatly together just the same. Still, it’s a scenario lifted directly from a paper Veronica penned for her criminology class on how to commit the perfect murder. Throughout the course of their investigation, Veronica and her father become entangled in a pair of other murders, among them the death of one of Veronica Mars’ most enduring characters.Facing cancellation and attempting to make the largely serialized series more accessible to new viewers, Veronica Mars draws to a close with a set of five standalone episodes. There aren’t any overarching investigations, although some threads leak from one episode to the next, including a sheriff’s race between Keith Mars and an unlikely contender.

The season premiere introduces two other Hearst students who’d go on to stick around for the rest of the year: Wallace’s roommate Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell) and Mac’s roomieuntitledThe hunt for Hearst’s rapist, which runs for the nine of the season’s twenty episodes, is the highest point of the set. It’s the most engaging of the season’s various arcs, which is impressive considering that these episodes have to juggle the weekly mysteries, the overarching search for the rapist, and introduce the new characters and Hearst College as a whole. There seems to be some connection between the rapes and the Greek system at Hearst, pitting Veronica against a group of feminists determined to bring the frats down, forcing her to defend the same lecherous halfwits she thought were tied to the rapes last season, and clawing her way into the Zeta Theta Beta house. This first half of the season also gives the supporting cast a reasonable amount of screentime, including Wallace and Logan on opposite ends of an Abu Ghraib-inspired prison experiment, Logan stumbling onto a life-changing discovery when trying to find out why his trust fund is dwindling so quickly, and Keith making the same sorts of excuses with a married client as the skeevy men whose infidelities pay his rent. The arc comes to a close with “Spit and Eggs”, which, in true Veronica Mars form, plays like more of a thriller than a mystery, and it’s by far the most intense episode of the season. Veronica Mars was an excellent a show spread across 3 seasons and become a great cult show, and with the arrival of the movie saw resurgence in its popularity.

REVIEW: THAT 70’S SHOW – SEASON 1-8

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MAIN CAST

Topher Grace (Spider-Man 3)
Mila Kunis (Ted)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Danny Masterson (Yes Man)
Laura Prepon (Karla)
Wilmer Valderrama (Minority Report TV)
Debra Jo Rupp (Death Becomes Her)
Kurtwood Smith (Robocop)
Tanya Roberts (Charlies Angels)
Don Stark (John Carter)
Lisa Robin Kelly (Payback)
Josh Meyers (Date Movie)
Tommy Chong (Evil Bong)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Wayne Pere (Galaxy Quest)
Mark Bramhall (Alias)
Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Nick Bakay (Sabrina: TTW)
Dwayne Johnson (The Scorpion King)
Gary Owens (Batman 60s)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises)
Katey Sagal (8 Simple Rules)
Jennifer Lyons (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Lynsey Bartilson (Grounded for Life)
Lyle Waggonr (Wonder Woman)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Heroes)
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina: TTW)
Lindsay sloane (Bring It On)
Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Kevin McDonald (Lilo & Stitch)
Bob Clendenin (Cougar Town)
Shirley Jones (The Partridge Family)
Charo (Don’t Trust B— In Apartment. 23)
Robert Hays (Airplane)
Marnette Patterson (American Sniper)
Matt Battaglia (Mike & Molly)
Allison Munn (What I Like About You)
Howard Hesseman (Lie to Me0
Alice Cooper (Dark Shadows)
Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Veronica Mars)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
Ileen Getz (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Dave Thomas (King of The Hill)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Cynthia LaMontagne (Austin Powers)
Tom Kenny (The Batman)
French Stewart (Mom)
Regan Gomez-Preston (The Celveland Show)
Alice Frank (The Secret Craft)
Mo Gaffney (2 Broke Girls)
Erika Christensen (Flightplan)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Brittany Daniel (That 80s Show)
Michael Milhoan (Crimson Tide)
Luke Wilson (Old School)
Christopher Masterson (Malcolm In The Middle)
Roger Daltrey (Highlander: The Series)
Jessica Simpson (Employee of The Month)
Betty White (The Golden Girls)
Tom Poston (Newhart
Joanna Canton (The Convent)
Sarah Lancaster (Chuck)
Jim Rash (Community)
Jack Osbourne (New York Minute)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Fred Willard (Wall-E)
Bobcat Goldthwait (Blow)
Jim Gaffigan (17 Again)
Leigh-Allyn Baker (Good Luck Charlie)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass)
Christina Moore (Without A Paddle)
Estella Warren (Planet of The Apes)
Shannon Elizabeth (Scary Movie)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
James Avery (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
Eric Allan Kramer (The Incredible Hulk Returns)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars)
Brooke Shields (The Blue Lagoon)
Rachel Bilson (Chuck)
Morgan Fairchild (Roswell)
Tim Reid (IT)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Winston Story (Masked Rider)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (Arrow)
Jenna Fischer (The Office)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Chris Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
Bret Harrison (V)
Jud Tyler (Andromeda)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Two and a Half Men)
Bruce Willis (Red)
Don Knotts (Pleasantville)
Carol Ann Susi (The Big Bang Theory)
Dick Van Patten (Eight Is Enough)
Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat)
Mary Tyler Moore (Lipstick Jungle)
Isaac Hayes (South Park)
Lara Everly (Playing It Cool)
Barry Williams (The Brady Bunch)
Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch)
Justin Long (New Girl)

In 1998 the creators of 3rd Rock from the Sun introduced That ’70s Show. It’s a very hilarious sitcom that takes place in, believe it or not, the 70s. Located in a fictional suburb of Green Bay, Wisconsin known as Point Place, the series revolves around the comical daily interactions of the Forman family and their friends and neighbors. Through twenty-five great episodes, the first season tackles many familiar issues like sex, drugs, dating, friendships, and family values. These issues turn into a few sticky situations that should leave you rolling over with laughter. The first season has some really great episodes, which is mostly due to the great cast and some outright great stories. That ’70s Show is without a doubt, a great sitcom.

The first season cast of That ’70s Show is fairly large, with eleven different characters. This series does well handling this large cast, in presenting their neurotic behaviors and quirks and their overall character development, as well as outlining their interactions. The cast is also presented in a manner that is attractive, which makes them all very likeable. It’s really hard not to love this cast.

The series’ main character is a teenage boy, Eric Forman (Topher Grace). He’s your average kid, although a bit geeky. It’s his life that the series revolves around. His parents Red (Kurtwood Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) join him in every episode. There relationship is comical, but a little unhealthy at times. Red doesn’t like to show his feelings towards his son, so he typically treats him like an idiot and quite frankly, sometimes Eric can be an idiot. While this may sound “bad” or “mean”, it comes off in a manner that’s comical and not cynical. It’s one of my favorite aspects of the series. I simply love the relationship that Eric and Red have. Between the two is Kitty, she typically tries her best to promote a healthy father/son relationship. In the episode “That Wresting Show” (guest starring The Rock) she’s mildly successful, when she gets them to go to an amateur wrestling match together. Eric’s sister, Laurie (Lisa Robin Kelly), while not officially on cast until season two, makes a few appearances that leave Eric’s friends drooling.One house down the street lives the Pinciotti family. Donna (Laura Prepon) is one of Eric’s childhood friends and his current love interest. In the first season their relationship evolves into something beyond friendship. It’s fun to watch them haphazardly venture into the issues of love, as two inexperienced teenagers. There are more than a couple of episodes that show just how comical love can be. For instance, in the episode “First Date”, Eric and Donna’s first date doesn’t go as well as planned when somebody’s ice tea turns out to be a long island ice tea! Donna’s parents, Bob (Don Stark) and Midge (Tanya Roberts) are the type of characters that are oblivious to the obvious. Bob gets put at the butt of a few jokes, with the best coming from Red. Midge is a stereotypical blonde trying to find herself as a Feminist. These two add quite a bit to the season, especially in episodes like “The Pill”. Bob doesn’t handle it well when he finds out his daughter is taking birth control pills.The rest of Eric’s friends are made up of Michael Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), a clueless dumbstruck pretty boy, Jackie Beulah Burkhart (Mila Kunis), a rich stuck-up snob with no shame, Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson), an average I hate everything kind of guy, and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama), a foreign exchange student who is learning the American way of life. Their interactions add a lot to the series. Hyde is a great character, because he’s so cynical and he’s constantly cracking jokes on his friends. Fez is always making you laugh, because his translation of English is sketchy. More frequently than not he misses a few things in translation, which results in a few funny statements. Jackie isn’t well liked by the gang. Her personality tends to drive people away, except for Kelso. He seems to be captivated by her beauty. For this reason, they’re behind a lot of Hyde’s jokes. Furthermore, Kelso just says and does some pretty stupid things that make you laugh. Together the cast provides some great characters that are both funny and likeable. Their interactions with each other are amazing, in just how they can turn boring daily situations into a laugh fest.I thought that this was a very good season. It’s all of the little things about the cast and their interactions that really make this a great comedy series. In addition, there are some outright great episodes. One of my favorite episodes of the season is “Streaking”. When President Ford decides to stop in Point Place, Eric and the gang see the opportunity to do something wild and crazy, streaking. I really enjoyed this episode because running around naked is funny. There’s no question about it. Another great episode is “Eric’s Buddy”, where Eric befriends one of the cool kids at school, 3rd Rock from the Sun’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt. However, friendship isn’t everything the new guy’s got in mind, as Eric soon finds out! For the fans of Star Wars, there’s a great parody episode, “A New Hope”. After Eric and the gang see Star Wars, a couple of them get a little too into it. So naturally, when Eric and Donna run into problems with their relationship, he dreams about them in a Star Wars setting. This is a great episode, because Eric really blows things out of proportion, which of course isn’t anything new. These are only a few examples of the great episodes that season one has to offer.Another great aspect about this series is its alternative look on life. In many of the episodes, we get a view of Eric and company’s lives while high. This aspect isn’t really about the drug use, but rather the funny aftermath. When Eric and his friends are high, they say some pretty stupid things. Of course, even when they’re not high they still say and do some pretty stupid things. In general, the dialogue is very good, which is another reason that the cast’s interactions are so funny. Some of the things they say and the jokes they make seem like pure genius. It’s also presented in manner that isn’t corny or cliched, but is bluntly put, comical.As for the stories in season two, there is more emphasis on story arcs than in season one. However, the focus is not really big. While they can play an important role in creating sticky situations for Eric and company, they aren’t so important that watching the episodes out of sequence could ruin your experience. Some of the story arcs build upon small life changing events from the first season and others are just themed from the common sitcom daily interactions.Firstly, Red being in and out of work becomes the backbone of several episodes. One of the funniest situations to come from season two brews from a soon to be jobless Red. In “Garage Sale”, my favorite episode of the season, the Formans have a garage sale. Kitty eagerly tries to get Eric and Hyde to participate in the sale. But, they both have their own agendas and aren’t too excited to help out. Eventually, Kitty convinces Hyde to sell brownies. Hyde being Hyde decides to make “special” brownies, and the special ingredient is marijuana. What really makes this a strong episode is who ends up eating the special brownies. This crazy situation allows the cast to experience a role reversal. It’s not everyday you get to see Red go from a hard ass to a stoned fool. Later into the season, Red gets another job as a manager at Pricemart. In “Red Gets Fired Up” something pretty rare in the world of That ’70s Show happens, Eric and Red bond.There are also some stories about love and relationships. One of the funniest long running stories with Kelso’s love triangle. In season one, Eric’s older sister Laurie put the moves on Kelso and in season two, the relationship gets taken up another notch. But where there’s Kelso, there’s Jackie and both girls have their eyes on him. The relationship theme continues with Eric and Donna exploring young love. “I Love Cake” is a good example, where Donna expresses her feelings of love for Eric. Like a fool, he tells her how much he loves cake. There is also some focus on the Pinciotti’s. Bob and Midge’s relationship starts go south. The best episode with this underling story is “Red’s Birthday”. Bob and Midge bring dates to Red’s birthday party. The catch is they still live together.Overall, this season does well playing off of reoccurring stories. As earlier mentioned, the story arcs play a role in setting up the situations, but they aren’t so significant you need to be familiar with them to enjoy the season. The episodes are good on their own merit. One very good example is “Halloween”. The episode takes a look into Red and Kitty’s past, before they had kids and Eric and the gang get into odds with each other when they start revealing very personal secrets. Another solid episode is “Holy Crap”. It marks the first appearance of guest star Kevin McDonald (Kid in the Hall) as Pastor Dave.

For season three, there are a lot of fun episodes and stories. The first bunch we’ll talk about have to do with relationships. In the first two seasons Kelso and Jackie have been an item. In season two Jackie found out Kelso cheated on her with Laurie and they broke up. In this season Jackie sets her eyes on Hyde. Despite Hyde’s expressed dislike of Jackie, she continually pursues him and he finally asks her out on date in “Jackie Bags Hyde”. They find out the chemistry isn’t quite there. Meanwhile, Kelso is trying to make things work with Laurie, but also still has feelings for Jackie. As for Fez, this season marks his first girlfriend. Midway into the season, he meets a girl named Caroline. Unfortunately for him, she turns out to be a bit crazy in the head. This eventually turns into the fun episode “Fez Dates Donna”, where Fez pretends to date Donna to get away from his crazy girlfriend.The other young lovebirds, Donna and Eric, are still together in this season. Many of the episodes are about their cozy little relationship. “Romantic Weekend” is a perfect episode about the couple. In it, Eric takes Donna away for a few days of romance. Unfortunately for Eric, he left the brochure for the bed and breakfast they are staying at on the counter and Red whisks Kitty away to the same place. When Eric and Red find out they’re staying in the same place, they try their best to pretend the other isn’t there, as not to disturb their romantic weekends. Of course nothing goes their way and when things get messed up, you’ll laugh. “Baby Fever” is another solid episode, where Eric and Donna image what their future will be like together. The reflection segments are an absolute riot.“Dine & Dash” is a fun episode, where Kelso treats his friends to an expensive lobster dinner. When the meal is over, he informs everyone they are going to leave without paying. One by one they trickle out of the restaurant, leaving poor Eric alone. “Holy Craps” sees the return of Pastor Dave (Kevin McDonald, Kids in the Hall) and it is a blast. Kitty gets Red, Eric, Kelso, and Hyde to help at a church fundraiser. To Kitty’s dismay, they abuse their posts. The episode also includes a hilarious performance from Cheers’ John Ratzenberger. Pastor Dave also shows up in “Eric’s Drunken Tattoo”. The episode has some great segments with Kitty, Red, and Dave.This season also has two episodes with the word panties in the title and they are unequivocally funny. In “Donna’s Panties”, Eric pulls down Donna’s pants in front of Fez, Hyde, and Kelso. She’s wearing big white cotton briefs and they start poking fun at her by calling her granny panties. It’s a Valentine’s Day Eric will never forget! The other episode “Eric’s Panties” has Eric afraid that Donna might be jealous of him because he is spending a lot of time with his attractive female lab partner. But she laughs at him and won’t believe an attractive girl like her would be interested, until she finds a pair of panties in the Vista CruiserSaving the best for last, “Canadian Road Trip” is the funniest episode this season has to offer. Eric, Fez, Kelso, and Hyde join Leo on a road trip into our northern neighbor, Canada. There the drinking age is lower and the boys can legally purchase beer. Unfortunately, Fez doesn’t have his green card and the Mounties working border patrol are less than willing to let them return to the states. They’re convinced they are smuggling illegal aliens. How this episode builds and the way it concludes is pretty damn funny. It’s a fun episode you’ll want to over and over again.Overall I was quite happy with season three. If you couldn’t tell from my reviews of season one or season two, I really love this show. The episodes in this season were just as rich, if not more, than what you find in past seasons. If you are looking to laugh over and over again, then season three of That ’70s Show has more than enough fun packed in its episodes.In the closing of season three, Eric and Donna broke up. Eric gave Donna a promise ring, which she couldn’t bring herself to wear because of its symbolism. As such, Eric reacted badly and ended their relationship. Season four picks up with Eric dealing with the breakup. Wayne Knight (Seinfeld, 3rd Rock From the Sun) guest stars in the season premiere episode “It’s a Wonderful Life” as a holy angel who shows Eric what life would like if Eric never dated Donna. The angel wants Eric to realize it is better to have loved and lost than it is to have never loved at all. Eric’s cynical attitude and Newton’s common antic performance make this a fun episode.In the next episode “Eric’s Depression” everybody tries to cheer Eric up and out of bed. The gang invites Eric to Fun Land, but he isn’t up for it. They end up going with him. Just how well Kelso fits into the consumer base of the park is a riot. Red also tries to repair Eric’s broken heart by giving him chores. They even share a touching heart-to-heart moment at the end. In “Pinciotti v. Forman”, Eric’s depression is better and he is up and about once again. Life is somewhat back to normal, except that Eric kicks Donna out of the basement while hanging out. This leads to Eric and Donna treating their friends like recently divorced couples do with their kids. They spoil everyone and try to make spending to with them better than the other.Another big story for the series takes place in “The Relapse”. The story is about Midge divorcing Bob. Midge left Bob and Donna to go to California because she was not happy with her life as a housewife. This sad and tragic event turns out to be fun. Hard ass Red is put in an uncomfortable position (being nice to Bob) several times over. The breakup also allows for a new recurring character to join the cast. Joanne Steupeck (Mo Gaffney) is a modern woman with a backbone. She makes for a fun character because she is more than willing to butt heads with Red.“Donna’s Story” is an episode where Donna writes a fictional story that is far too close to reality. It is about her relationship with Eric and after publishing it in the school paper everyone thinks he is a pig. In “Red & Stacey”, Red tries to fix Eric up with the new cashier at Pricemart. Unfortunately, she only has eyes for Red. What really makes this fun is how awkward Red gets and acts after he finds out about her feelings. Not to mention, how Eric and Kitty both react when they find out. Hilarious.“Jackie Says Cheese” is a fun episode because Jackie joins working America. Her father found out she is still dating Kelso and mandates if she continues to date him, he will cut her off financially. Torn between the most important things in her life, she chooses love and finds herself as the cheese girl at the Cheese Palace. In the later episode “Jackie’s Cheese Squeeze” she cheats on Kelso with her geeky manager. Despite Kelso having cheated on Jackie several other girls, he freaks out and breaks it off. They spend the rest of the season trying to repair their relationship.Fez starts dating big Rhonda in “Hyde Gets The Girl”, which is more or less a side story that didn’t have a huge impact on the season. There were some fun parts surrounding it, but it wasn’t Fez’s best moments. “Donna Dates a Kelso” is a pretty big episode for the season. Jackie convinces Donna she should get over Eric by dating other guys. She fixes him up with Kelso’s older brother Casey (Luke Wilson, Old School). Wilson gives a great performance throughout the season as Casey, a cool suave, egocentric lady’s man.This season continues to be an absolute blast with the characters working well together to produce some fun episodes. I especially enjoyed the various reoccurring and guest characters that appeared this season such as Luke Wilson, Richard Karn, Mo Gaffney, Kevin McDonald, and Wayne Knight. Fans of the series should really appreciate getting to sit through the entire fourth season and relive the Eric/Donna breakup, as well as the departure of Midge.In season five, the multi-season story arc continues to deal with Eric and Donna’s relationship. It hit a roadblock in season four, which was Donna’s new romantic love interest Casey (Luke Wilson). Casey and Donna were on and off, and it ended on a bad (but funny) note. Kelso and Jackie’s relationship was also at the fore and towards the end of the fourth season, they broke up. In the season four finale, Donna and Kelso hopped in Kelso’s van and drove to Malibu, California to get away from all of the drama in Point Place.In the opening of season five, summer is coming to an end and senior year is about to start. Eric considers what to do about Donna and decides to go after her, despite Red and Kitty forbidding him to do so. In the aftermath, Eric and Donna renew their romantic relationship and when they get back to Point Place, they are in for a world of trouble. Red takes the vista cruiser away from Eric and Bob puts Donna in private school. Throughout the remainder of the season, Eric and Donna’s love story remains a key development. It follows them into minor bouts of jealousy, an engagement, and college at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.The other leading season story is a love triangle with Kelso, Jackie, and Hyde. While Kelso was off in California spending time with his new girlfriend Annette (Jessica Simpson), Hyde and Jackie hooked up. It is an odd pairing, as the two have hated each other from day one. But over the summer, more or less from boredom, they found comfort in each other’s arms. The background story about how they got together is a riot, see episode “I Can’t Quit You Baby”. At first, Hyde and Jackie were just fooling around, but they both develop strong feelings for each other. Hyde does, especially, when Kelso comes back into the picture. Soon the three find themselves locked in a love triangle, as Jackie cares about both guys and she is not sure who she should be with.Complicating Jackie’s life even more are her parents, or rather the predicament they left her in. Jackie’s dad, Point Place City Councilman, is caught accepting a bribe and goes to prison. And Jackie’s mother is off partying in Mexico and has no desire to come home to care for her daughter. Jackie is left without a home and looks to her friends, Red, Kitty, and Bob for help. Besides the love triangle dealing with Jackie, Hyde and Kelso both get jobs at a hotel working in the kitchen. Kelso decides to become a police officer because he thinks it is the best way to stay pretty forever. He quits modeling and takes a job at the hotel. Hyde deals with the fact that Leo left Point Place without saying good. At the hotel, a new reoccurring character is introduced, Roy (Jim Gaffigan). Roy runs the kitchen and he offers a stupid-than-Kelso-character. Good for a quick cheap laugh.Fez joins the working force at the Department of Motor Vehicles. While at the DMV with Kelso, Fez is exposed to the kind of people who work there. He sees it as the “belle of the ball,” being able to boss people around and treat them like crap no matter their social-economical status or ethnic background. He gets a job there and pursues a relationship with his boss Nina (Joanna Canton). Nina is an overly neurotic character who loves her job at the DMV a little too much. There are some silly stories with Fez and Nina. The best is “Whole Lotta Love”, where Fez loses his virginity to Nina and his recounts of the event are a riot.The entire Foreman family goes through some troubling situations. First of all, Kitty announces she is pregnant in “What Is And What Should Never Be”. The idea of another kid puts Red into fret, and gives Eric a chance to be the man and set Red straight. Fun change of pace. But the newborn news becomes a sad story when Kitty finds out it is menopause. Throughout the season, Kitty struggles with her mood swings and the various situations that arise from Eric and Donna’s engagement. There are also some traumatic events for Kitty, Red, and Eric to deal with concerning Kitty’s parents Bea (Betty White) and Burt (Tom Poston). Laurie (Lisa Robin Kelly) also returns to the show for a couple of episodes. Notably in the season finale, she and Fez do the Unthinkable.

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Overall, season five presents some strong episodes and story arcs about the cast, their relationships with each other, and the all around goofy situations the get into. I particularly loved the dynamic between Eric and Red. The two were at odd ends for a portion of the season, and it made for some hilarious stories with the entire cast caught in the middle of it all. How both Grace and Smith act together is fantastic. The rest of the season’s events were done nicely as well. In the end, fans of the series and sitcom-goers should check out this season set.

Season six has a lot of different things going on for the gang (and a few new faces). The notable storylines include Red’s heart-attack, Donna and Eric’s relationship, Kelso as a police cadet, Fez getting his green card, and more. The season six stories continue to give That ’70s Show the edge that made it hilarious throughout the first five seasons.In the close of season five, Red had a heart-attack. After learning that his precious daughter Laurie (played by Christina Moore in season six) married Fez to help him become a United States citizen, his heart gave. This storyline is revisited in the season six premiere. Red comes home and he is under strict orders from the doctor to take it easy. For Red, it means no work, beer, tasty foods, or fun! Eric, who is preparing to leave for college with Donna, feels guilty as he sees his mother working herself silly trying to care for Red and pay the bills. Eric postpones college to stay at home until Red is in better health. At first, Donna is intent on going to college without Eric, but decides love is more important and stays in Point Place.Tying into Red’s heart-attack, the entire family has to deal with the post-marriage blues. Fez and Laurie’s marriage is far from happy. It is purely a favor on Laurie’s part, as she sleeps around to Fez’s dismay. Their uncanny romance becomes an issue when an INS Agent comes to investigate the validity of their marriage. Red, who opposes the marriage, poses Fez’s biggest threat. He wants to see them divorced. The humor comes from the situation and Red buckling to help Fez out. Later, he even tutors Fez in U.S. history to prepare for the test to get a green card. The two have a great chemistry together and carry the storylines about the marriage well.Eric and Donna’s relationship is, once again, at the center of everybody’s attention. This season they go through some major ups and downs as they prepare to tie the knot. The fun storylines include the couple lying to Pastor Dan (Billy Dee Williams) about being virgins, a fun venture in choosing gifts for the wedding registry, Donna giving up her dream to be Eric’s wife, moving into a trailer, and Eric ruining Donna’s wedding dress. The events that happen associated with their holy matrimony is a riot and part of what makes this season so much fun.Kelso is at the center of a couple big season changes. In season five, he decided the best way to stay pretty was to become a cop. This season Kelso is a police cadet and there are some hilarious stories with him, the police academy, and the rest of the gang. In addition to being a police cadet, Kelso has to face other life responsibilities when a new reoccurring character Brooke (Shannon Elizabeth) is introduced. She is a hot girl who works at the library. A few months ago, she and Kelso had a fling and now she’s pregnant with his baby. He has to woe her by showing her that he is capable of being a responsible individual.Another fun change this season is the addition of Brooke Shields. Shields plays Pamela, Jackie’s ditzy, sexy mother. When Jackie’s dad went to jail last season, Pamela went to Mexico. She returns to Point Place after her rich boyfriend ran out of money. She quickly latches on to Bob, who is rich, and it drives Jackie and Donna up the wall. Then there is Mitch Miller (Seth Green), who first appeared in season five, joins the cast for a few episodes. Mitch is Eric’s arch-nemesis and annoying as all hell. The catch is that everyone else seems to like him. He makes for a fun opponent to Eric, especially how much their geeky tendencies clash.The seventh season of That ’70s Show is the second to the last. It also marks the last season with actors Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher as full season cast members. Both return in season eight as guest stars. Regardless, season seven is still just as f funny as the earlier seasons.In the beginning of season seven, there are two major focuses. The first major development is Eric and Donna coming to terms with their breakup and decision to not get married. They decide that they can still be together and date on less than serious terms. Eric also decides what he wants to do with his life. For the time being, absolutely nothing. He sells Donna’s engagement ring and plans to use the money to support his “year off”.The second early development and perhaps the biggest change for the season is Hyde’s new family. In the season six finale, Kitty found out that Hyde’s father was not his biological father. In “Let’s Spend The Night Together”, she arranges for Hyde to meet his real father, William Barnett (Tim Reid). Everyone is surprised when they first meet William, because he is black. Hyde also finds out he has a half-sister named Angie (Megalyn Echikunwoke).Both William and Angie play a role in the season, although Angie more so than William. Hyde gets to know his new family and even works in the family business, a chain of record stores. As the season continues, there are additional developments. Red buys the local muffler shop that went out of business. Fez gets a job at the local hair salon in “Beast Of Burden”. It is a little creepy, as Fez apparently has a fetish with touching hair. This job gives him an acceptable avenue to live out those desires. He also lands a date with a girl played by Lindsay Lohan. Kelso’s baby Samantha is born and he starts to re-think the way he treats women. Eric has to go back to school and take gym with Casey Kelso.In the latter half of the season, the focus moves to the Jackie-Hyde relationship and Eric’s future. Jackie starts to realize that Hyde may not want more out of their relationship. She is offered a job in Chicago and gives Hyde an ultimatum: marriage or else. Eric comes to realize in “Down The Road Apiece” what is in store for him if he does nothing with his life after meeting a thirty-something Star Wars geek. He decides to become a teacher. In order to get money for school, he signs up to teach in Africa for a year, which is hard for everyone to deal with, especially Donna.Overall, That ’70s Show’s seventh season makes for a decent collection of episodes. It’s sad to see Topher depart, but it was nice to see the show come back for on last season.

Season eight of That ’70s Show is the show’s final episodes. two lead actors Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher left the show. There are still some fun moments, the goofy, slapstick comedy we have come to know and love feels forced at times.The season begins with a lot of changes for the cast. At the close of season seven, Hyde walked in on Jackie and Kelso in a comprising situation. Hyde disappeared and returns to Point Place a married man. While in a drunken stupor, he married Samantha, a stripper. She comes to Point Place to as new reoccurring character who helps introduce some awkward situations that tend not to be funny. Despite Hyde finding love, everything goes back to normal.About the same time Hyde returns to Point Place, he hires Randy (Josh Meyers) to work at the record store. Randy quickly integrates into the Point Place bunch and replaces Eric/Kelso. (Eric left at the end of season seven to go to Africa.) In the first few episodes, Kelso is still present. He continues to offer laughs with his dumb as bricks personality. However, he departs from the show after losing his job as a cop and deciding to move to Chicago to be closer to his daughter.After the initial episodes and the new changes settle, it is business as usual for the Point Place crew. Hyde explores married life with his sultry wife. Fez obsesses over the opposite sex and even gets a couple girlfriends — one of which is an older woman. Donna deals with her long distance relationship with Eric — which goes does not work out. Randy quickly fits into the group and starts a relationship with Donna. Jackie has a short-lived career in television with an annoying talk show host and realizes she is in love with Fez. Red retires and sells his muffler shop. Kitty continues to be overly neurotic and supportive to everyone. Leo does lots of drugs and says weird things that make everyone laugh. Overall, the season’s events continue to offer a similar goofiness as past seasons. Topher and Ashton come back for the finale which leads the cast into the 80’s as the decade comes to an end

REVIEW: BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – SEASON 1-7

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Logo 3840x2160 wallpaper

CAST

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Nicholas Brendon (Children of The Corn III)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Charisma Carpenter (Scream Queens)
Anthony Stewart Head (The Iron Lady)
Davis Boreanaz (Bones)
Seth Green (Austin Powers)
James Marsters (Caprica)
Marc Blucas (Red State)
Emma Caulfield (Supergirl)
Michelle Tractenberg (17 Again)
Amber Benson (The Killing Jar)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Mark Metcalf (Drive me Crazy)
Brian Thompson (Hired To Kill)
Ken Lerner (The Running Man)
Kristine Sutherland (One Life To Live)
Julie Benz (No Ordinary Family)
Eric Balfour (Skylive)
Persia White (The Vampire Diaries)
Mercedes McNab (The Addams Family)
Elizabeth Anne Allen (Bull)
Robin Riker (The Bold and The Beautiful)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Christopher Wiehl (Cold Hearts)
Geoff Meed (Little Miss Sunshine)
Andrew J. Ferchland (The Last Leprechaun)
Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra 2525)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: DS9)
Dean Butler (Little House on The Prairie)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Robia LaMorte (Spawn)
Michael Bacall (Django Unchained)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Ara Celi (American Beauty)
Clayne Crawford (Roswell)
Danny Strong (The Prophecy II)
Kavan Smith (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Sachs (Jurassic Park 2)
Larry Bagby (Walk The Line)
Jason Behr (Roswell)
Will Rothhaar (Kingpin)
Julia Lee (A Man Apart)
Bianca Lawson (The Vampire Diaries)
Saverio Guerra (Becker)
John Ritter (8 Simple Rules)
Jeremy Ratchford (Cold Case)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns)
Jack Conley (Fast & Furious)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Meredith Salenger (Lake Placid)
Charles Cyphers (Halloween)
Wentworth Miller (Legends of Tomorrow)
Shane West (Nikita)
Max Perlich (Blow)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
Carlos Jacott (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
Jason Hall (American Sniper)
K. todd Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Fab Filippo (Guidestones)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Ian Abercrombie (Army of Darkness)
Harry Groener (About Schmidt)
Jack Plotnick (Rubber)
Nicole Bilderback (Dark Angel)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Harris Yulin (Training Day)
Dominic Keating (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
Christian Clemenson (Lois & Clark)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Ethan Erickson (Jawbreaker)
Andy Umberger (Deja Vu)
Katharine Towne (Evolution)
Lindsay Crouse (The Insider)
Phina Oruche (The Forsaken)
Adam Kaufman (Taken)
Walter Jones (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Kal Penn (Van Wilder)
Bailey Chase (Longmire)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Andy Hallett (Chance)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
George Hertzberg (Too Much Magic)
Alastair Duncan (The Batman)
Rob Benedict (Birds of Prey)
Erica Luttrell (Lost Girl)
Kathryn Joosten (desperate Housewives)
Connor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Rudolf Martin (Swordfish)
Tom Lenk (The Cabin In The Woods)
Charlie Weber (Gacy)
Clare Kramer (Bring it On)
Ravil Isyanov (Alias)
Amy Adams (Man of Steel)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
Kali Rocha (Buried)
Kevin Weisman (Alias)
Abraham Benrubi (Open Range)
Cynthia LaMontagne (That 70s Show)
Oliver Muirhead (The Social Network)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
Adam Busch (Sugar & Spice)
Joel Grey (Cabaret)
Karim Prince (Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers)
Wade Williams (Gangster Squad)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men)
Jordan Belfi (Surrogates)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2 & 3)
Ivana Milicevic (Casino Royale)
Lee Garlington (Flashforward)
Jan Hoag (Scream Queens)
Nicole hiltz (Smallville)
Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead)
D.B. Woodside (24)
Zachery Ty Bryan (The Fast and the Furious 3)
Sarah Hagan (Freaks and Geeks)
Jonathan M. Woodward (Firefly)
Stacey Scowley (The Brotherhood 2)
Felicia Day (The Guild)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (Arrow)
Ashanti (Resident Evil: Extinction)
Indigo (Broken City)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Dania Ramirez (Heroes)
Julia Ling (Chuck)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer is one of the wittiest, most well developed, and consistent cult fantasy shows on television. Unlike other shows in the genre, it has been able to showcase a wide balance between fantastic character development, humor, topical plotlines, heart wrenching drama, science fiction, and horror- a horn a plenty of styles all in one 44 min episode. While entertaining, everyone probably can’t relate to the technobabble machinations of a Star Trek episode, or the convoluted paranoia of and X-Files episode, but we all went through high school and whether you were average, popular, or an outcast, we know, we remember, all too well, the emotional highs and lows of growing up. Its something everyone can relate to, and its the central fire that keeps Buffy grounded.


But, Buffy began as a humble mid season replacement on a non entity network, and its early days when it was gaining its footing, starting its mythology, seeing how far they could tweek the drama and the horror with a minuscule budget… well, its not nearly the powerhouse it would quickly become in its second season. There are of course, subtle signs of the drama and humor to come, little hints that it was more than a teen show with vampires. And, honestly, if you were going to try and impress someone who had never seen The X-Flies, you certainly wouldn’t show them the first season without saying, “It gets much better.”

KEY EPISODES ARE –


Episode 1: Welcome to the Hellmouth- Buffy Summers, a high school sophomore, transfers to Sunnydale High. There she meets her “Watcher” and learns she cannot escape her true destiny.— Like most pilots, its all about introductions- Buffy the reluctant Slayer, her pals and soon to be Scoobies, spazz with a heart of gold Xander, shy brain Willow, her stuffy Watcher Giles, the mysterious Angel, and the snobbish beauty queen Cordelia. Also, of course, establishes the first main villain, The Master, and the Hellmouth, the demonic portal that would provide the show with its main mythological device keeping the town of Sunnydale infested with all manner of creatures for Buffy to slay

Episode 2: The Harvest:- A Stranger named Angel tells Buffy that if she does not stop the Harvest, the Hellmouth will open and the Master roam free.— Whereas the first episode was focused on introducing the characters and didn’t have much room for tension or action, The Harvest provides a look at Buffy having to accept her role as Slayer as she realizes the deadly consequences if she abandons her destiny.

Episode 5 : Never Kill a Boy on the First Date:

While awaiting the arrival of a warrior vampire called the Anointed One, Buffy’s big date at the Bronze ends with an assault on a funeral home. — Once again, showing Buffy’s attempts to balance a normal life with her secret life as the Slayer. While a little weak and cornball, it also manages to show the villain thread well, how most main Buffy villains will have some sort of evolution, twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing.

Episode 7: Angel: A moment of passion turns to terror as Buffy discovers Angel’s true identity and learns about the Gypsy curse that has haunted him for almost 100 years.— Probably the most weak, ill-defined character early on, this episode finally showcased more about Angel and gave his character some considerable fleshing out. Taking into account the large part his character would play in the Buffyverse, and the leaps and bounds of change he would undergo, his affect on all the characters, particularly Buffy, in one way or another, it makes this one of the seasons better episodes.

Episode 11: Out of Mind, Out of Sight: As Cordelia prepares for Sunnydale High’s May Queen competition, an invisible force starts attacking her closest friends.— Another of the seasons better episodes, and a clever look an always pertinent issue, showing yet another sympathetic foe, those fringe kids who are always ignored, sometimes until it is too late.

Episode 12: Prophecy Girl:

As the Spring Fling dance approaches, Giles discovers an ancient book foretelling the Slayers death at the hands of The Master.— While a tad abrupt, this finale serves up everything one wants, tension, conflict, and turns you don’t quite see coming. Pivotal in the series for all players, but mainly Buffy, showing that she isn’t just an invulnerable buttkicker able to save the day alone, but through banding together her and the Scoobies will take on many a Big Bad to come.

Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is quite possibly the best season of the bunch. Season 2 is by definition, where things get darker and more complex, this was the season that really made Buffy an unpredictably smart series.

The season opens with ‘When She Was Bad’ which deals with the fallout of Buffy’s momentary death in the previous year one finale; this episode is appropriately handled and sees Buffy acting rather out of character after returning from her summer away from Sunnydale. The preceding episodes are a fun affair and help the viewer to settle back into the rhythm of the series with various episodes focusing upon certain characters.

The ‘Big Bads’ of the season appear early on and come in the form of Drusilla and Spike, the former being a rather off-her-rocker vampire and the latter a bleached, leather wearing, cocky undead Englishman! As villains they are a lot of fun and help to shape season 2 as something unique and well constructed. However, come the end of the year things are considerably shaken up in terms of ‘the Big Bads’, with the appearance of Angelus.

Willow, Xander and Giles all find themselves venturing into new territory: dating! Cordelia continues to redeem herself and becomes a fully fledged scoobygang member, whilst Buffy and Angel undergo many changes to their relationship which is mostly the driving force of the season. By the middle of the season the episodes gradually become darker and a more coherent storyarc begins to emerge, starting with the events of ‘Surprise (Part 1)’ which culminate in the emotional and incredibly shocking ‘Innocence’ (Part 2). Said episodes are some of the best in the history of the series and set in motion events that help to lead to the end of the season. The circumstances surrounding this two parter does literally change everything once established between Buffy and Angel; and brings into question their future. The continuity, witty one liners, oblique use of language does continue into this season and helps to boost the chemistry between the actors as they discuss, for example the oddness of some TV movies and sore thumbs. These subtle touches give the season a vibrancy and kooky edge; what makes Buffy such an enjoyable show is the warmth and heart it retains, mostly provided by the actors but also by the wonderfully consistent writing.

The two part finale ‘Becoming’ is well set up as a consequence of the episode ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, which happens to be beautifully moving and tragic respectively. The complexity of the Angelus arc presented here really sets up and supports the actions that lead to the occurrences of the finale. ‘Becoming’ part 1 & 2 with all it’s flashback goodness brings about tumultuous change and throws one through the emotional wringer all the while its still surprising, sad and gut wrenching upon each rewatch. The issues dealt with this season are far more adult and dark than is the usual, and in turn it delivers a wonderfully realized arc which never fails to amaze.


This third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer contains some of my favourite episodes from the entire run of the show and also has the fewest offbeat episodes. This year Buffy and the gang are in their final year of high school but living on the Hellmouth is never easy and in addition to the usual demons and vampires they must deal with the schemes of the Watchers Council, a new slayer and a politician after even more power.

Buffy has really found its feet with this season and I would say that it is this year that the show reaches its peak. All the regular cast members give their usual brilliant performances but the season is really stolen by the new cast members, specifically Eliza Dushku as Faith the new Slayer and Harry Groener as the eccentrically evil Mayor Wilkins, who is probably my favourite of all the Buffy villains.

It is difficult to choose favorite episodes from this season as it includes so many great ones. `Bad Candy’, `Amends’, `Earshot’ and the two part season finally `Graduation’ are all excellent episodes being both funny and enthralling but my favorite episode has to be `Lover’s Walk’ where a lovesick Spike returns to Sunnydale after breaking up with Drusilla in order to find a way to get her back. James Marsters is truly excellent in this episode and livens up the series brilliantly. Another couple of episodes of note are `The Wish’ and `Doppelgangland’ both of which involve a parallel universe where vampires have taken over and feature a vamped up Willow, brilliantly portrayed by Alyson Hannigan who seems to enjoy the role immensely. Although none of the episodes could truly be considered awful, `Gingerbread’ and `The Zeppo’ are the weakest episodes of this season and are slightly painful to watch in places.

Overall this season is truly great, with brilliant writing and a plot that never ceases to be in turns exciting, funny and touching.

With the loss of David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter to the spin-off show, “Angel”, there were voids to be filled in this, the first season out of high school, and Marc Blucas and Emma Caulfield suitably obliged. The fragmentation of the Scooby Gang was for many the core reason why Season Four didn’t match the heights of the previous three: nobody seemed to care enough about each other any more. With Giles out of work, Xander flitting from one deadbeat job to another, and Buffy and Willow settling in to life on campus, there was concern that the old gang would never get back together.


A big risk was taken in introducing a more sci-fi element with the arrival of a secret government demon-hunting operation. But there’s a big difference from other genre shows: the Initiative was never in control of its actions. And that’s the gist of the season: that Buffy and her traditional methods will always be superior, and that it’s through her skills and her friends that evil is defeated, not bureaucracy. Which is why there’s no big finish in episode 22 (the grand climax happens in episode 21), because the most important storyline is about the reaffirmation of friendships, demonstrated in the most bizarre way imaginable in an episode composed almost entirely of dream sequences.


There are some classics (the Emmy-nominated “Hush” was possibly the boldest piece of television attempted before “The Body” the following year). And in the final scene of the season, we get a great setting-up of what’s to come, without knowing any specific details. All in all, a season that left a few minor gripes, but which in the overall scheme of things, has continued the journey of life into adulthood. Now they’re all supposed to be grown up, but the future still holds a great deal of uncertainty, and that can only be good for the show.

Although Season 5  still has comedic moments, it also has many more serious moments. Not to spoil it for those who have not seen the series yet, two major deaths rock the Sunnydale Slayage Crew. These are excellently handled, and in no way seem like they are tying off loose ends.

The episodes are excellent. From fighting Dracula, to multiple Xanders. From a new sister, to an old foe swapping sides. This season is excellent. the first disc houses such gems as the introduction of Dawn, without any back story or any clues into why she is there. These facts are revealed slowly through the next disc, with amusing storylines for Spike, clearly an excellent addition to the principal cast. Anya also comes into her own, and becomes revels in the joys of capitalism.

Through the next disc a departure of a relatively new character, Riley, hurts Buffy tremendously, whilst the appearance of a troll lightens the mood considerably. The fourth disc includes the fun episode where the Watcher’s Council return to Sunnydale, and reveal a shocking secret about the main enemy of this series. Spike also has a choice to make, whether to fall back into the arms of his old flame, Drusilla, or to move on and persue his newest conquest, a source of exasperation for Buffy.

The fifth disc is a solemn affair, with the death of a principal cast member, who had been with Buffy from the beginning. As Buffy and her ‘Scoobies’ attempt to cope, the attacks on them by the villain of the series grow more violent and frequent, leaving a dissuaded Buffy sure that she cannot beat the villain. When his new enemy learns of an importance in the Scooby gang, and this member of the gang get captured, Buffy goes into meltdown. With the help of Willow, Buffy recovers and faces the most terrifying villain ever in the history of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, with a conclusion that is heart wrenching.


“The Gift”, the season five finale, ended with Buffy dead and buried after battling deranged fallen goddess Glory. Dying is kind of old hat for Buffy, and I don’t think I’m giving too much away by revealing that the show’s title character quickly gets over the whole death thing. Although the ensuing gang of biker demons is corny, I thought her return from the grave in the feature-length “Bargaining” hit all the right notes. Her reappearance is heartbreaking and almost horrifying, and it avoids undermining the events that concluded the previous season.

Rather than just toss her back in this mortal coil as if she’d never left, Buffy is distant and depressed, not quite the elated response her friends were expecting to see. The opening of the season offers an evenhanded blend of humor and drama, particularly the early escapades of the Troika. The all-nerd supersquad — robotics whiz Warren (Adam Busch), clumsy sorceror-lite Jonathan (Danny Strong), and summoner Andrew (Tom Lenk). They added a well-needed dose of geeky comedy to the season, which made the bitter pill of the agony Buffy and friends endure later on easier to swallow.

The darker spin the three of them eventually take also resonates more having seen several episodes worth of their giddiness at being supervillains. I also thought the aftermath of Buffy’s return, seen in “After Life”, “Flooded”, and “Life Serial”, worked well as she tried to find her place in the world (and her friend’s worlds) after being plucked from the afterlife. These episodes also manage to strike that perfect balance between humor and drama.

Another early highlight is “Tabula Rasa”, where a spell gone awry robs the Scoobies of their memories.  Of special mention from this chunk of the season, of course, is the musical episode “Once More with Feeling”. The version presented here is the original broadcast, a few minutes lengthier than your average Buffy installment. Although the concept of characters in an established drama singing and dancing for an hour screams ‘gimmick’, it’s not a standalone episode, tying in heavily to the previous episodes of the season and setting up some of what would soon follow. The songs are surprisingly good, particularly impressive considering that they were written by someone without much of a musical background.Image result for buffy once more with feeling

The season closes out with a series of strong episodes. “Hell’s Bells” features the chaos of a wedding between a human raised in a dysfunctional family and his millennia-old former vengeance demon fiancee, the aftermath of which is explored in “Entropy”.

One of the season’s best is “Normal Again”, which questions the reality of what we’ve seen for the past six seasons, and Buffy’s assault on her possibly-delusional friends and family is as chilling as anything seen up to that point on the series. The darkness pervasive throughout much of the season culminates in “Seeing Red”, which has two monstrous turning points. Its fatal closing events lead into the three-episode arc that rounds out the season. Similar to Angelus’ appearances on both Buffy and Angel, the immeasurably powerful antagonist in these final episodes tear down the main characters.

In its final season, Buffy the Vampire Slayer issued a mission statement you might not expect from a series that’s been on the air for seven years: go back to the beginning. After a foray at college and a year spent toiling away in the working world, Buffy’s going back to high school. Several years after its destruction at the hands…or giant coiled tail, whatever…of the ascended Mayor Wilkins, Sunnydale High has been rebuilt from the ground up. The Hellmouth beneath the school happens to lurk directly below the office of Principal Robin Wood (D.B. Woodside), who’s harboring some sort of dark secret that may or may not work to Buffy’s favor. Anyway, Wood continually stumbles upon Buffy as she spirits Dawn off to her first day of school as a freshman and ensuring both Summers girls make the most of the lovingly-crafted Sunnydale High set, Wood offers Buffy a job as a part-time counselor. Holed up in the bowels of Sunnydale High is Spike, who’s been driven mad by a combination of his newly-acquired soul and an entity that’s been haunting him, one that’s soon going to expand its grasp to the rest of the Scooby Gang and the world at large.

These early episodes really do capture the feel of the first few seasons of the series, a very welcome change after the grim year that came before it. This is one of the stronger opening salvos of Buffy. “Him” is played pretty much for laughs, revolving around a football player whose letter jacket makes him irresistible to the fairer sex, compelling Dawn, Buffy, Willow, and Anya to take drastic and wholly over-the-top measures to win his complete adoration.

 

Three of the season’s best episodes run back-to-back. “Same Time, Same Place” follows Willow’s return to the group, still reeling from the near-apocalyptic events of the previous year and further disheartened when she’s apparently abandoned by her friends. Buffy and company really are there for Willow, but the problem is that there are kind of two separate and distinct “there”s. The cannibalistic Gnarl is one of the most effectively creepy creatures of the show’s entire run, and his confrontation with Willow is unsettling and horrifying…and I mean that in the best possible way. “Help” quickly follows, chronicling Buffy’s quest to save the life of an awkward, introverted poet who foretells her own death.

Although I really like all of the first batch of episodes, this season has two particularly strong stand-outs. Following the excellent “Same Time, Same Place” and “Help” is “Selfless”, which features Anya returning to form as a mass-murdering vengeance demon, a decision that awes her demonic coworkers and conflicts her former friends as Buffy must make a difficult decision. The episode makes use of flashbacks from several vastly different time periods and juggles drastically different tones. We see what led young Aud to become the vengeful Anyanka in a hysterical glimpse back at her life with her wench-drenched, troll-hating brute of a husband, Olaf. There’s also a flashback to “Once More, With Feeling”, complete with a new musical number, followed by a brutal, brilliant cut to the present.

The other standout is “Conversations with Dead People”, an inventively structured episode penned by four different writers. The title is a decent enough synopsis, as a number of characters communicate in varying forms with the dearly departed. Buffy allows herself to be psychoanalyzed by a recently-risen Psych major, Dawn is haunted by a poltergeist that takes on a shockingly familiar image, Willow is delivered a message from a lost love one, Spike goes out on the town, and the remnants of last year’s nerdy Troika return to Sunnydale.

In general, season seven feels like Joss Whedon and company had a clear beginning and a clear ending. The Finale does give the show a nice ending, but is left open should the show ever return in any format.