12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: CHUCK – CHUCK VERSUS THE SANTA SUIT

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CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Mekenna Melvin (The Bad Guys)
Mo Collins (Knocked Up)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)

chuck-vs-the-crown-vic-chuck-and-sarah-677994_400_225It’s Christmas Eve at the Buy More and customer panic abounds because the Omen has infected the world’s computers. A local television reporter conducting a live newscast from the store explains the situation to the viewing audience. Big Mike interrupts, stepping in front of the camera and telling the reporter he thinks the virus is really a gag and isn’t dangerous. He tells everyone not to panic and to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Buying stuff. He announces there are no virus problems at Buy More. Lester then takes his own cue in front of the camera and neuters Mike’s pronouncement by admitting the virus is everywhere at Buy More. In a high security penitentiary, two guards watch the live newscast from the Buy More and discuss the danger of the Omen since every cell at the prison is locked via electronic doors connected to a mainframe. With their attention focused on the television, they fail to notice one of the prison doors opening. An unseen inmate quietly gets out, then ambushes and kills the two guards. The mystery prisoner then puts on one of their uniforms and takes their weapons.
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At the Woodcombs’, Ellie is panicked because they’re six hours away from a Christmas party and have yet to even put up a tree. As she scrambles to find the Christmas tree topper her father gave her years ago, Awesome tells her to relax and be Zen about it. Ellie explains that Christmas was her first memory, and she wants Clara’s first memory to be special. Awesome asks what he needs to do in order to make her happy. Ellie asks for a real tree, lights, fake snow and a picture of Clara on Santa’s lap. He admits it’s a tall order, and Ellie agrees. That’s why she recruited someone to help. She picks up the phone and speed dials Sarah. Sarah picks up and tells Ellie “Project Santa” is under control. They just need to get the tree and snow. Chuck calls Sarah via video conference from Morgan and Casey’s place. She tells him Ellie is freaking about Christmas Eve. Chuck tells her it wouldn’t be Christmas without a little Bartowski drama. He tells her there’s still no progress on finding the origins of the Omen virus. Sarah thinks whoever is behind it will slip up eventually. She promises no one will ruin their Christmas. Before signing off, she tells Chuck to tell Casey his “Mr. Pippers the Preppy Polar Bear” has arrived. Morgan gets on the screen and says that’s probably one of their favorite childhood toys but why did Casey buy one? Casey tells them he bought it on eBay for Alex because her mom told him it was something she used to play with as a kid. Casey wonders if it’s a dumb idea. Chuck and Morgan think it’s touching. Morgan tells Casey he thinks he’s actually beginning to exhibit signs of real human emotion.
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Just then Beckman pops up on the screen and tells them she knows who is behind the Omen virus. Sarah is leaving Castle loaded with Christmas stuff when the elevator door unexpectedly opens to reveal… Shaw! He says, “Merry Christmas, Sarah. Did you miss me?” Sarah immediately takes a defensive posture while Shaw initiates the Intersect, and they begin to fight. Sarah is no match for an Intersect-loaded Shaw, and she’s pummelled into unconsciousness. She awakens to find herself bound and hanging from the Castle ceiling. Shaw asks if she’s comfy and checks the progress of the virus. He tells her it will only be a few hours before the virus fully launches. Sarah asks why he initiated the Omen. He tells her, “Why stay in jail when I can break out, release the virus and take over the CIA” before duct taping her mouth. Sarah’s phone rings and Shaw picks up. It’s Chuck. “Hello nerd,” Shaw tells Chuck. He orders Chuck to turn on the monitor. With Casey and Morgan standing behind him, Chuck turns on the monitor to see Shaw standing in front of a helpless bound and gagged Sarah. Shaw tells Chuck the story of Krampus, the German Santa Claus. Krampus visits kids on Christmas Eve, but instead of giving the bad kids a lump of coal, he makes sure they don’t wake up to see Christmas morning. Chuck demands he let her go. Shaw tells him he has no Sarah, no Intersect so he’s got nothing. He orders Chuck to lock down Castle and break into Decker’s CIA office to retrieve the Macau device. He’s got three hours or Sarah dies. Shaw stops the transmission and asks Sarah if she’s impressed. He’s implicated Chuck in a massive conspiracy and has captured his girl all from an 8 x 8 prison cell. Sarah asks how he connected with Decker. He tells her during his integration he was able to disseminate all of Decker’s secrets and, after a little blackmail, was able to recruit him.
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Back at Casey and Morgan’s, Chuck is in a quasi-catatonic state thinking about his next move while Casey and Morgan look on with concern. Chuck snaps out of it and announces he has a plan. He tells Morgan to have the nerds (Jeff and Lester) reverse engineer the Omen. He needs to know what will happen when it activates. He tells Casey to find alternate routes into Castle so they have options in case he can’t get the Macau device. Casey reminds Chuck that breaking into the CIA alone is suicide. Chuck, Casey and Morgan speak to Beckman on the monitor. Chuck asks her what’s the best way to get into the CIA. She tells him there’s only one way, with her.  Shaw has Sarah tied up and that he is behind the Omen. Chuck tries to call Sarah, but Shaw answers the phone call. Shaw tells Chuck that he wants him break into Decker office to steal something. Chuck then tells Casey & Morgan’s plan.Shaw lowered the temperature at Castle to make Sarah freeze to death. While talking to Sarah, Shaw tricks her so he can record her voice. Meanwhile Jeff & Lester work on the Omen. Meanwhile Chuck tries to steal Caroline’s id card.Shaw finds out that Sarah has escaped. Casey and Sarah tries to take Shaw down, but failed.Chuck & Beckman break into Decker’s office, but have set off the alarm. Beckman kisses Chuck to make it look like the officer’s think they were making out in Decker’s office.
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The store is inundated with angry shoppers frustrated with the Omen. Chuck gets another call from Shaw disguised as Sarah telling him that Shaw’s been captured by Casey and to hurry up and get to Castle. At the end of the conversation, Shaw makes the mistake of calling Chuck “dear.” Chuck immediately knows it isn’t really Sarah because she never calls him that. Chuck tells Morgan about the bogus call, and Morgan reminds him that last time Shaw was around he blew up the Buy More. Chuck looks around the store and realizes it’s filled with people and tells Morgan to close for the day. Morgan makes an announcement, and the place clears. As the store empties, Ellie sees Chuck and tells him about the botched Santa photo and wonders why Sarah isn’t answering her phone. Although initially reluctant to tell her about Shaw, he fesses up. She tells him she wants to help. Chuck demands she go home because he has to know she’s safe. Shaw has Sarah tied up again but this time on a chair chained to the floor. Hypothermia is creeping in and she’s slipping in and out of consciousness. Shaw comes up to her and plants a kiss on her mouth, repulsing Sarah who calls him a sick S.O.B. Shaw tells her he was checking to see if there was any spark there. “No,” he says. “Ice cold.” Sarah tries to plead with Shaw, telling him she didn’t know she was killing his wife. She was a young agent only trying to do her job. Shaw ignores her. Back at the Buy More, Jeff and Lester are amped on endless cups of Subway coffee. They explain to Chuck and Morgan they think Omen is a hoax. In fact, the virus is only infecting government computers. But they’re not sure where all that info is going. Chuck and Morgan guess it’s Shaw trying to create Intersect 3.0 using all the CIA databases.
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With the CIA’s databases wiped clean and in Shaw’s head, the agency will be forced to rely on him for intel. They’d have to reinstate him as an agent. Chuck tells Morgan he has a plan.The elevator door at Castle opens, alarming Shaw who draws his gun. He finds the Macau device on the elevator floor. At that moment Chuck calls Shaw and tells him that now, since he has the device, he can let Sarah go. He tells him the Buy More is empty, and he can come up and kill him. Before Shaw goes up to meet Chuck, he uses the Macau device to upload the Omen data into his Intersect glasses. He will now be virtually unstoppable. He slaps Sarah awake and tells her to watch the monitor because he wants her to watch as he kills Chuck. He tells Sarah because she killed his wife, she’ll pay by not having Chuck anymore. In the locked Castle interrogation room, Casey struggles on the floor, nursing his gunshot wound. He discovers the “Mr. Pippers the Preppy Polar Bear” Sarah was to deliver to him before Shaw showed. He realizes he can record a message on the bear for Alex to hear if he should die. He begins by apologizing for not always being there for her through the years and says he’s sorry he has to say it to an electronic bear. He then realizes he can probably cannibalize the electronics of the bear to try and disengage the door and get out. He gets to work taking Mr. Pippers apart.Shaw goes upstairs and enters the Buy More. He walks past a hidden Morgan who sneaks into the elevator and goes downstairs to get Sarah. Once in the store, Chuck reveals himself to Shaw and tells him if he wants to shoot him now he can, but he doesn’t think that’s what he has in mind. Shaw confirms Chuck’s assumptions and puts his gun down. He then puts the Intersect glasses on assuming he will download the Intersect 3.0. After he’s done, he tells Chuck he’s been thinking about this moment for a long time. With that, Chuck punches him right in the face, and it’s then Shaw realizes Chuck put the Omen on the Macau device, and he’s actually just uploaded the virus into his brain.
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Without the Intersect, they’re evenly matched.While Shaw and Chuck battle to the death upstairs, Morgan arrives at Castle to see Sarah near frozen. He tries to wake her up but gets no response. Casey manages to rewire the door using the talking bear parts and escapes. Morgan tries to pick her up but she’s tied to the chair and the chair is locked to the ground. Just then Casey emerges and shoots the lock, freeing the chair. They both grab Sarah and carry her away. Upstairs, Chuck has Shaw where he wants him, but Shaw manages to grab the gun. He points the gun at Chuck and tells him, “You’re good Chuck, but you’re not lucky” and just when he’s about to fire, Ellie smacks him on the back of the head and knocks him out. She never left the store like Chuck had asked. The whole team including Beckman is at the Buy More watching a newscast about the Omen and how it’s no longer a threat. Beckman tells the team they all have an open invitation to rejoin the CIA. She wishes everyone a nice holiday. Before she leaves, Sarah asks Beckman if she has somewhere to go for the holiday and invites her to Ellie’s party. Ellie reminds everyone that her party’s now a bust. Chuck asks Beckman if she’d consider helping to make the party happen after all. She’s reluctant, citing “taxpayer dollars” but succumbs to the holiday sprit. Back at the Woodcombs’ place, Ellie’s getting everything she wished for: a Christmas tree, Santa, fake snow and family. Chuck tells Ellie he knows without their mom and dad it can never be a perfect Christmas, but she’ll always have him around. She admits it felt pretty good taking down Shaw. She thinks their dad would be proud. Casey gives Alex the “Mr. Pippers the Preppy Polar Bear” and tells her she probably shouldn’t listen to the recording because things got pretty grim.
He should just tell her in person that he loves her. He knows the bear won’t make up for all the lost holidays. Alex disagrees and thinks it’s perfect. Casey then tells her she should reconsider Morgan because he’s not such a bad guy. Sarah thanks Chuck and tells him when she was captive Shaw kissed her. Chuck tells her that he had to kiss Beckman. Beckman then asks Chuck for a private word with Sarah. Beckman tells Sarah that Shaw has asked her to visit him in prison. Beckman thinks she shouldn’t go. Sarah goes anyway. In the visitors’ room, Shaw tells her that, in Hungary, he set something in motion she can’t do anything about. He asks her, “Does Chuck know about the baby?”thumb_chuckversusthesantasuit6A great Christmas episode, thou a darker one, it was great to see Brandon Routh Back playing a delighfully evil character and we get tosee just how much Chuck has grown from the the first Season. All in all a great Xmas episode.

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REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 4

 

CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Mekenna Melvin (Lie To Me)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Timothy Dalton (Flash Gordon)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Isaiah Mustafa (The Island)
Stacy Keibler (How I Met Your Mother)
Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead)
Robin Givens (God’s Not Dead 2)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Richard Chamberlain (Shogun)
Mini Anden (Tropic Thunder)
Larry Cedar (Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas)
Katie Cleary (Tomorrow’s End)
Harry Dean Stanton (Alien)
Lou Ferrigno (The Scorpion King 4)
Bronson Pinchot (Lois & Clark)
Karolina Kurkova (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
Nicole Richie (The Simple Life)
Steve Austin (The Expendables)
Armand Assante (Judge Dredd)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Morgan Fairchild (Roswell)
Ana Gasteyer (Mean Girls)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
James Lew (G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
Monet Mazur (Just Married)
Matthew Willig (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
John Larroquette (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Clare Carey (Hercules: TLJ)
Lesley-Ann Brandt (Lucifer)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Mercedes Mason (The Finder)
Francois Chau (Lost)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heroes)
Gary Cole (Crusade)

Season three of Chuck found the show getting more serious as it found the main character fully embracing his new life as a spy. Season four continued that streak. When we last left our characters, we were watching the Buy More  going up in flames. Meanwhile, Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) was promising his sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) that he would give up the dangerous world of spying.

The season four premier picks up several months later. Chuck and his best friend Morgan (Joshua Gomez) are conducting a secret mission of their own. They are attempting to use clues left behind by Chuck’s dad to find Chuck’s mom, a woman who disappeared 20 years ago. When it turns out that Chuck’s former government handers Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and John Casey (Adam Baldwin) are on the same hunt, Chuck goes back to work for the CIA. Meanwhile, the CIA rebuilds the Buy More as a continued cover for their Southern California base and giving the old Buy More gang their old jobs back in the process. Morgan begins dating Casey’s daughter. Ellie starts investigating her family history, and she and husband Devon (Ryan McPartlin) announce they are expecting. Plus Chuck and Sarah’s relationship continues to build as they work through various issues.

But that’s nothing compared to what happens when Chuck actually tracks down his mother Mary (recurring guest star Linda Hamilton) who is working for the Russian Alexei Volkoff (recurring guest star Timothy Dalton). Can she be trusted? Or is Chuck about to be hurt worse for having tracked her down? As the season unfolded the twists to the story were interesting, and I spent much of the season wondering exactly which side Mary was really on.

And there are some fun sub-plots to the season. Probably my favorite involves Morgan and Casey. The no-nonsense NSA agent has little patience for Chuck’s bumbling best friend, and the fact that they have to work together on missions is nothing compared to when he realizes that Morgan is dating his daughter. Those moments are priceless. The writers and producers did a good job of developing Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. They have managed to avoid the curse of killing a show when you get the main couple together by developing their relationship and giving them realistic things they need to work on. It’s interesting watching it develop, and I like that.

As always with this show, the acting is top notch. As with last season, the show was originally renewed for 13 episodes and then picked up for a back 11. That means that the first 13 episodes tell their own story with a second story springing off that one in the second half. Even the second half of the season reveals some secrets about the Bartowski family legacy. It also means that this season set includes 24 episodes of the show in original wide screen and full surround. In addition to the gag reel and deleted scenes, there’s a featurette about Zachary Levi stepping behind the camera to direct the Thanksgiving episode as well as a collection of Webisodes featuring Jeff and Lester’s quest for a video game.  The characters are still endearing and the storylines worth watching. If you haven’t caught all of season four, fix that today and prepare for season five.

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 3

CAST
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Scott Holroyd (That 70s Show)
Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Mekenna Melvin (Lie To Me)
Mark Sheppard (Supernatural)
Mini Andén (The Proposal)
Julia Ling (Undoing)
Tony Hale (Yoga Hosers)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Armand Assante (NCIS)
Andrew Connolly (Heroes)
Angie Harmon (Law & Order)
Josie Davis (Dirty Teacher)
Steve Austin (The Expendables)
Leslie-Anne Duff (The Vampire Diaries)
Henri Lubatti (Angel)
Jim Piddock (The Prestige)
Johnny Messner (Running Scared)
Louis Lombardi (The Usual Suspects)
Diedrich Bader (Bones)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Clare Carey (Hercules: TLJ)
Roger R. Cross (First Wave)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Udo Kier (Blade)
The third season actually picks up a few months after the conclusion of season two. Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) has just returned to Burbank after some training that will help him use the enhanced features he got by downloading the intersect 2.0 into his brain. Now, instead of just flashing on information, he can also flash on skills needed like hand to hand fighting or laser avoiding. However, his emotions make these new upgrades glitchy, so his skills can come and go at the most inopportune times.

Meanwhile, his CIA handler Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) is back in town to rejoin the team despite the fact that Chuck broke her heart. NSA handler John Casey (Adam Baldwin) is thrilled that with each new mission, Chuck seems to be becoming a better spy. Sarah, on the other hand, is watching the man she fell in love with slip away behind the new spy Chuck.

And on the home front? Chuck’s best friend Morgan (Joshua Gomez) and Chuck become roommates. Chuck’s sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) gets a fellowship she wants while Ellie’s husband Devon, aka Captain Awesome, (Ryan McPartlin) tries to figure out a way to get Ellie out of the dangerous world that Chuck inhabits. The gang at the Buy More is still there to provide some comedy. And we finally learn something that Captain Awesome isn’t awesome at.

Underneath all this is a new group out to get the Intersect and steal all the secrets locked away in Chuck’s mind. Can the group bring them down while keeping Chuck’s true identity a secret?

This show finds the right balance between comedy and drama. The show takes itself seriously enough that we care for the characters and are concerned when they are in danger. But the characters are just as likely to get out of danger by some crazy coincidence as they are by some great bit of action. It’s that unpredictability and humor that keep me loving every minute.
This is such an amazing season well worth watching, if you haven’t seen the first two seasons then I strongly recommend watching them first.

REVIEW: LIE TO ME – SEASON 1-3

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MAIN CAST

Tim Roth (The Incredible Hulk)
Kelli Williams (Army Wives)
Brendan Hines (Terminator: TSCC)
Monica Raymond (Chicago Fire)
Hayley McFarland (The Conjuring)
Mekhi Phifer (Divergent)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jake Thoams (A.I.)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Arrow)
David Anders (Izombie)
Rance Howard (A Beautiful Mind)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)
Isabella Hoffman (Legends of Tomorrow)
Sasha Roiz (Caprica)
Kristen Ariza (Startup)
Mekenna Melvin (ChucK)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance)
Deidre Lovejpy (Bones)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)
Megan Follows (Reign)
Christine Adams (Agents of SHIELD)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Cheryl White (Major Crimes)
Virginia Williams (Fairly Legal)
Pej Vahdat (Bones)
Jennifer Beals (Flashdance)
Kevin Tighe (Lost)
Currie Graham (Stargate: The Ark of Truth)
D.B. Woodside (Buffy)
Jason Beghe (Californication)
Clea DuVall (The Faculty)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2 & 3)
Melissa Tang (Mom)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Erika Christensen (Flightplan)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
James Marsters (Buffy)
Gretchen Egolf (Roswell)
Marc Blucas (Red State)
David Kaufman (Superman: TAS)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
Sean O’Bryan (The Princess Diaries)
Garret Dillahunt (Terminator: TSCC)
Lennie James (The Walking Dead)
Alicia Coppola (Another World)
Roy Werner (Weeds)
Jason Gedrick (Beauty and The Beast)
April Grace (Lost)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Ricky Jay (Flashforward)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Felicia Day (Dr. Horrible)
Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars)
Ashley Johsnon (Dollhouse)
Howard Hesseman (That 70s Show)
Mark Harelik (The Big Bang Theory)
Melissa George (Triangle)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Bruce Weitz (General Hospital)
Enver Gjokaj (Agent Carter)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Khary Payton (Teen Titans)
Michael Beach (The Abyss)
Yara Shahidi (Ugly Betty)
Alyssa Diaz (The Vampire Diaries)
Kenneth Mitchell (Odyssey 5)
Richard Burgi (Chuck)
Conor O’Farrell (Stir of Echoes)
Catherine Dent (Termiantor: TSCC)
Kenny Johnson (Cold Case)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Carmen Argenziano (Stargate SG.1)
Natalie Dreyfuss (The Originals)
Tiffany Hines (Bones)
Haley Ramm (X-Men 3)
Monique Gabriela Curnen (The Dark Knight)
Jennifer Marsala (Hart of Dixie)
Shawn Doyle (Reign)
Jamie Hector (Heroes)
Audrey Marie Anderson (Arrow)
Brent Sexton (Birds of Prey)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Daniela Bobadilla (Anger Management)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Kathleen Gati (Arrow)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Maury Sterling (The A-Team)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle)
Brandon Jones (Pretty Little Liars)
Jim Beaver (Mike & Molly)
Barry Shabaka Henley (Heroes)
John Diehl (Stargate)
Keith Robinson (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic four)
Frankie Faison (The Silence of The Lambs)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Adam Godley (Powers)
Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps)
Annabeth Gish (Flashforward)
Alexandra Lydon (Mockingbird)
Ashton Holmes (A History of Violence)

We have all told a lie at one point in our lives. While our the lies we have told may be small, one needs to look no further than his or her local news to see that not all lies are harmless. Sometimes though lies seem like a last resort and getting the truth isn’t as simple as a lie detector. Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) would be the first to tell you a lie detector is garbage and he illustrates this point in an early episode in the series.  A lie detector establishes a baseline for truthful statements and then measures body factors like pulse rate, skin conductivity and temperature; any changes from the baseline readings indicates a lie. The problem is as Dr. Lightman shows in his trademark sardonic fashion, do something as simple as introduce an attractive woman in the room and the most honest man will instantly be a liar to the machine. His solution? Himself.


Lie to Me throws viewers into the world of human lie detector, Cal Lightman. His lie detecting skills rely on universal facial expressions and how a well-trained individual can detect a liar from reading “micro expressions.” Lightman heads up the private deception detection firm The Lightman Group and throughout the course of Lie to Me’s thirteen freshman episodes, Lightman and his associates Dr. Gillian Foster, Eli Loker, and new protégé Ria Torres will put their finely trained skills to the test as their group is hired from clients ranging from billionaires worried about potential gold diggers to law enforcement in stopping a copycat serial rapist. As absurd as the notion of Lightman being able to read facial expressions to determine whether a person is lying is, prepare to be blown away, as it’s all based on the very real and groundbreaking research of Dr. Paul Ekman.


Dr. Ekman pioneered the study of micro expressions and universal emotion and serves as a creative inspiration for Roth’s character. The creators have kept Ekman in the loop throughout the creative process and Fox allows Ekman to blog about what is factual and what is exaggerated on the show’s website, which earns this new series bonus points for giving viewers something to think about once the episode ends.

Once Roth is able to establish himself in the role of Lightman and we get bits and pieces of his human side (his relationship with Dr. Foster as well as his teenage daughter). Fortunately, the formula of the show does allow for Lightman’s other colleagues to hold their own as there is almost always a secondary case assigned to the pair not working with Lightman on the primary case. This allows for character bonds to be formed, in some cases from scratch as Monica Raymund’s character, Ria Torres, is a new addition to the team and provides some great dramatic tension from time to time as her ability is natural, which often draws the ire and jealousy of her brilliant boss.


Finally, the most unique positive aspect of Lie to Me comes from viewers being able to play along at home. As we learn little explanations of micro expressions from Lightman, in later episodes it’s fun to try and spot character motivations before they are revealed to us by one of the team.

Back for a second longer season, this show is every bit the show that I so enjoyed in the first season and even a little bit more. As with all shows, the first season suffers from a few growing pains. Actors need to settle into their roles, writers need to discover their characters’ true personalities and basically the show needs to settle. Thats why the second season is often a bit better than the first and Lie to me is no exception to that. The show was smoother, the acting more comfortable and the character relationships had chance to really blossom in a believable manner.

In this second season Cal seems to be much more lively, a great deal more fun to watch. HIs mock nervous energy, dry sense of humour and heart of gold is a more likeable. The other key element I liked in this series was the advancement of the relationships. There’s not any major romantic steps forward in this season, but Cal’s relationship with his daughter is a real high point of the show, as are his relationships with Foster and the rest of the gang. Every character seems to enjoy real chemistry with the others and that’s rare in any show, yet alone a procedural drama.

Overall this is another strong season. The show is funny when it needs to be, fast paced and action packed when thats called for, and finally it is interesting enough to more than keep your attention with every episode. Quite frankly, by the end of this season I would normally be hooked for the long hall. Shame then that there’s only one season left to watch

I was aware going in that this was going to be the final season of the show however it quickly becomes apparent that show runners weren’t similarly informed . The series really didn’t have the feel of a final season and indeed the show seemed to be picking up pace as it approached its final episode with new characters getting screen time and relationships moving forward with the usual pace of a procedural show finding its feet.

Because of this not only did the season not feel like a final season, the finale lacked any kind of closure whatsoever. It’s a shame as this show deserved more than just to fizzle out in what felt like a mid-season break rather than a complete end.

All I can say to finish is that once again a good show has been cancelled early while so many bad shows remain, which is a real shame. However, don’t let the poor ending to this show put you off.