REVIEW: ASH VS EVIL DEAD – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Bruce Campbell (Jack of All Trades)
Ray Santiago (My Name Is Earl)
Dana DeLorenzo (2 Broke Girls)
Jill Marie Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
Lucy Lawless (Spartacus)
Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, and Dana DeLorenzo in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Damien Garvey (Terra Nova)
Mike Edward (Power Rangers Operation Overdrive)
Sian Davis (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)
Bridget Hoffman (Frozen)
James Gaylyn (Avatar)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Ben Fransham (Legend of The Seeker)
Jared Turner (30 Days of Night)
Hemky Madera (Weeds)
Kelson Henderson (Power Rangers SPD)
Peter Feeney (Black Sheep)
Rachel Blampied (Shortland Street)
Mark Mitchinson (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Milo Cawthorne (Power Rangers RPM)
Samara Weaving (Home and Away)
Indiana Evans (H20)
Ido Drent (Offspring)

Well, we’ve had to be patient for nearly a quarter of a century to finally see Ash wield his chainsaw again, but trust me: it was well worth the wait. Ash vs. Evil Dead fires on all cylinders.  After so many years had passed since Army of Darkness (aka Evil Dead III) came out in 1992, it looked like a direct sequel just wasn’t going to happen anymore, yet apparently, the Raimi-Campbell gang had been working on one for some time. According to recent interviews with the show’s creators Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, what was first supposed to be a new feature film and the fourth entry in the franchise, over time turned into an idea for a TV-series, and I believe fans will be very happy with the result. Instead of a 2-hour film for a sequel, we now get 10 episodes  with Ash and the DeaditesAt the beginning of the show we meet Ash leading a lazy, but apparently happy slacker life, residing in a run-down trailer and working as a stock boy at a Value Stop (for some obscure legal reasons, the writers couldn’t use the name S-Mart from Army of Darkness’ iconic last scene). In the show, 30 years have passed since Ash’s last encounter with the Deadites, and while he might be well into middle age now, he hasn’t matured one bit. Ash is still the exact same guy we last saw fighting walking skeletons and other ghastly undead things in Army of Darkness, cracking wise and appearing as cock-sure of himself as ever. These days, he likes to spend most of his spare time either getting wasted in his trailer or picking up random ladies – or both . suffice to say that his rather irresponsible lifestyle ultimately won’t go too well with his duty as keeper of a certain  dangerous book, and  bloody mayhem soon ensues.In my opinion, Ash vs. Evil Dead does everything right. Instead of going down the “gritty drama” route of shows like The Walking Dead or taking the “straight horror” approach of Fede Alvarez’ Evil Dead remake, creators Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell fully embrace the over-the-top goofiness and playful tone of Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, while still delivering the scares of the first film and plenty of gore. The Deadites are frightening. The production values in general are absolutely great; the writing is in the vein of the first three films (no wonder, since the episodes were mostly written by Sam and Ivan Raimi); the music, the pacing and the direction: really everything just falls into place. It’s clear that this wasn’t some lazy attempt to cash in on the name of a beloved cult-franchise, but a labour of love for all involved.Another great plus of the series is the cast. Seeing Bruce Campbell step back into this iconic character is simply hilarious fun; it still fits him like a glove (or, perhaps more accurately in his case, a chainsaw). But there was never a doubt in my mind that he would deliver (it seems Ash is a character Campbell was born to play); what really surprised me was how well the rest of the cast fits into the show. Ray Santiago as Pablo and Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly (they’re Ash’s co-workers at the Value Stop) are completely able to hold their own; they are fully fleshed-out characters and just as fun to watch as Ash. Also we have Lucy Lawless of Spartacus and Xena fame, who’s character is a mystery until episode 9 when all hell breaks loose and leads into a great Season One finale.Ash vs Evil dead brings back everything that we all loved about the original Evil Dead films, but it also manages to introduce interesting new characters and story lines which help maintain the element of surprise for long-time fans. And the show works just as well as a stand-alone story, so people unfamiliar with the original trilogy need not worry either: they will find just as much to love here as those who know and cherish Sam Raimi’s classics – as long as they have a certain affection for trashy, gory horror comedies and don’t expect serious drama. The good news its already been picked up for a season 2, so we got more blood and gore to come

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REVIEW: DEATHGASM

CAST
Milo Cawthorne (Power Rangers RPM)
Kimberley Crossman (Power Rangers Super Samurai)
Sam Berkley (Go Girls)
Daniel Cresswell (3 Mile Limit)
Delaney Tabron (Step Dave)
Stephen Ure (Lord of The Rings)
Colin Moy (Vertical Limit)
Jodie Rimmer (Young Hercules)
Kate Elliott (Power Rangers Samurai)
Andrew Laing (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Cameron Rhodes (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)

After his meth-addict mum is sent to a mental asylum, teenage metal-head Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) moves to the suburban town of Greypoint to live with his bible-bashing Uncle Albert (Colin Moy), Aunt Mary (Jodie Rimmer), and obnoxious cousin David (Nick Hoskins-Smith). There he befriends role playing game-nerds Dion and Giles (Sam Berkley and Daniel Cresswell) and wild rocker Zakk (James Blake), with whom he forms a band, Deathgasm.

When the guys chance upon and perform a song written by Satanic metal star Ricky Daggers (Stephen Ure), they unwittingly unleash a plague of demons that possess the locals and kill the living in order to pave the way for the coming of an ancient evil known as Aeloth, The Blind One. With the help of axe-wielding blonde hottie Medina (Kimberley Crossman), the metal-heads try to find a way to prevent Hell on Earth.

Is there anything more sublime in this world than a heavy metal horror movie? The world’s foremost form of music fused with the greatest genre of film known to man to create an exquisite elysian experience for connoisseurs of peerless audio visual entertainment.
Directed by Jason Lei Howden, who clearly knows his music and his horror, Deathgasm owes a lot to the splatter classics of Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson, his film possessing a similarly energetic and madcap style. When the demons attack, anything and everything becomes a weapon: an angle grinder, an engine block, a chainsaw, an axe, a weed whacker, a big, black, double-ended dildo, some love beads, and a pair of vibrators. That’s right… Deathgasm features a fight scene in which the heroes are armed with sex toys, which should give you some idea of just how demented the film really is, in a good way.

REVIEW: POWER RANGERS – SEASON 13-17

 

 

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CAST

Brandon Jay McLaren (Smallville)
Chris Violette (Bitten)
Matt Sadowski (Dawn of The Dead)
Monica May (Battle Planet)
Alycia Purrott (Jailbait!)
Rene Naufahu (The Matix Revolutions)
John Tui (Battleship)
Michelle Langstone (Xena)
Kelson Henderson (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Olivia James-Baird (Orange Roughies)
Barnie Duncan (Nothing Trivial)
Josephine Davison (Cleopatra 2525)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Craig Parker (Reign)
Siobhan Page (Filthy Rich)
Bruce Hopkins (Hercules: TLJ)
Sarah Thomson (Shortland Street)
Aaron Murphy (Boogeyman)
Dwayne Cameron (The Locals)
James Gaylyn (Avatar)
Tandi Wright (Black Sheep)
Paul Willis (Wendy Wu)
Brett Stewart (Everything We Loved)
Stig Eldred (Young Hercules)
James Napier Robertson (The Tribe)
Emma Lahana (Stargate: Atlantis)
Kevin Duhaney (Honey)
Jeffrey Parazzo (Flashpoint)
Beth Allen (The Ugly)
Gina Varela (The Devil’s Rock)
Paul Norris (Hercules: TLJ)
Geoff Dolan (Wendy Wu)
Antonia Prebble (Westside)

The story takes place in the year 2025, after Earth has welcomed alien beings to live peacefully with the human race. But peace is short lived, as the planet-conquering Troobian Empire turns its destructive attention to Earth. When the Earth’s first line of defense, the S.P.D. A-Squad, vanishes without trace, the protection of the planet falls to their replacements: the B-Squad Rangers, and their commander, Anubis Cruger.

When two reformed thieves join the team as the Red and Yellow S.P.D. Rangers, tensions threaten to tear them apart. With the alien threat growing stronger every moment, the Rangers must put aside their differences and go into action as one!

Using teamwork, intergalactic weaponry and light-speed Zord vehicles to battle evil, they unite to become one of the ultimate forces for good: Power Rangers S. P. D.! It’s eventually revealed that the A-Squad is in fact evil and the B-Squad proves its might by defeating the former elite squad of SPD. With help from the S.P.D. commander and his wife Isinia, B-Squad destroys the true threat, Omni and Grumm is arrested for his crimes in front of S.P.D. headquaters on Earth by Cruger.

CAST

Firass Dirani (Pitch Blach)
Angie Diaz (Knowing)
Richard Brancatisano (Bait)
Nic Sampson (The Warrior’s Way)
Melanie Vallejo (Winners & Losers)
Peta Rutter (Young Hercules)
Antonia Prebble (Westside)
Kelson Henderson (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Barnie Duncan (Nothing Trivial)
John Tui (Battleship)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Geoff Dolan (Wendy Wu)
Holly Shanahan (Venus and Mars)
John Callen (The Hobbit)
Donogh Rees (Crush)
Oliver Driver (Black Sheep)
Will Hall (Auckland Daze)
Susan Brady (Without a Pddle)
Christopher Graham (The Ugly)
Stuart Devenie (Jack of All Trades)
Josephine Davison (Cleopatra 2525)
Mark Ferguson (Hercules In The Underworld)
Peter Daube (Legend of The Seeker)
Paolo Rotondo (Riverworld)

Twenty years ago, in a magic-filled dimension parallel world to our own, the forces of darkness came into power and a war called the “Great Battle” between good and evil began. An army of the monsters, led by a powerful warrior named Morticon, swarmed into the land with their sights set on taking over the magical realm, the human realm and beyond, but they would have to combat a legion of brave and powerful wizards. The Mystics battled valiantly against overwhelming odds until they drove the evil back from the edge of the human world. The strongest wizard of all, Leanbow, cast a spell and sent the evil warriors into the Underworld, having the Gatekeeper seal the gates for all eternity. The forces of truth successfully thwarted the dark forces’ attempt to take the surface world, but they lost Leanbow, as he made sure the evil forces did not escape by sealing himself on their side of the Gate. The human world would never know of the Great Battle, nor of the sacrifices made to spare their lives from destruction. Even to this day they live in peace and tranquility, totally unaware of what is about to awaken.

The city of Briarwood was struck by an earthquake, which was just enough to crack the seal, allowing evil to renew its attempt to invade the earth. The sorceress Udonna, realizing that the forces of evil had returned, sought out the warriors of legend, five teens living in Briarwood, to become the Power Rangers alongside her. While one of the teens was reluctant at first, he realized his destiny and joined the others in the fight against the Master of the Underworld and his numerous minions.

NIC SAMPSON, MELANIE VALLEJO, FIRASS DIRANI, ANGIE DIAZ, RICHARD BRANCATISANO

When Udonna loses her Ranger powers to the mysterious Koragg, it is up to Nick, Chip, Xander and sisters Madison and Vida, to save the Earth on their own. They are assisted by Udonna’s bumbling apprentice Clare, and eventually Jenji the Genie and his master Daggeron, the Solaris Knight.

Using their powerful magic and incredible martial arts skills, the Mystic Force Power Rangers must rely on teamwork to save the day. Later, in a shocking surprise, it is revealed that Koragg is none other than Leanbow, the greatest and strongest of all wizards. The good power that was taken from Udonna helps Koragg into turning into his normal self, and he uses his powers to transform into the most powerful defender of truth, the Wolf Warrior. In the end, Leanbow transoforms into the Ancient Mystic Warrior and uses his power to give a final strike to destroy the Master of Evil and destroy after him. After this is done, the Rangers return to their usual life and Nick, Udonna and Leanbow leave Briarwood to settle down safely.

CAST

James Maclurcan (Tiger)
Caitlin Murphy (Petit Homme)
Samuell Benta (All About The McKenzies)
Rhonda Montemayor (The Knot)
Gareth Yuen (Knowing)
David Weatherley (Lord of The Rings)
Rod Lousich (The Warior’s Way)
Kelson Henderson (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Gerard Urquhart (Hidden)
Ria Vandervis (Shortland Street)
Dwayne Cameron (The Locals)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Nic Sampson (The Warrior’s Way)
Mark Ferguson (Hercules In The Underworld)
Adam Gardiner (Eagle vs Shark)
Susan Brady (Hercules: TLJ)
Will Wallace (Step Dave)
James Gaylyn (Avatar)
Nathalie Boltt (District 9)
Mia Koning (Xena)
Mike Edward (Filthy Rich)
Matt Sadowski (Dawn of The Dead)
Emma Lahana (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sally Martin (Wendy Wu)
Richard Brancatisano (Bait)
Johnny Yong Bosch (MArvel Anime: Blade)
Glen Levy (Westside)
Beth Allen (The Tribe)

Many years ago, two brothers named Flurious and Moltor try to steal a legendary crown known as the Corona Aurora and are imprisoned throughout the galaxy. Sentinel Knight scatters the crown and its jewels on the planet Earth in hopes of preventing it from falling into the wrong hands. In the present day, world renowned explorer Andrew Hartford uncovers the crown, which frees Flurious and Moltor from their imprisonment. Andrew recruits four elite teenagers to become Power Rangers and stop the Corona Aurora from falling into the wrong hands. Although Hartford is originally opposed to it, his son Mack becomes the fifth team member – the Red Ranger. The Power Rangers search ancient civilizations and all over the world to uncover the first jewel which was once used by Neptune – King of Atlantis. In the process, they encounter the illustrious Miratrix, who is determined to find the jewels and free her master Kamdor.

While searching for the Toru Diamond, the Rangers encounter an alien named Tyzonn. Tyzonn came to Earth from the planet Mercuria to stop the evil Fearcats who are intent on releasing their army which had been previously imprisoned in a mirror world. After the apparent demise of his fiancée Vella, Tyzonn is reluctant, but is eventually convinced to join Operation Overdrive as the Mercury Ranger. Together, the Rangers encounter Thor and Loki, two of the Norse gods. Their involvement leads to the discovery of the Blue Sapphire, which is stolen by Kamdor and Miratrix.

When Thrax, son of Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa escapes imprisonment from the Sentinel Knight, he recruits Flurious, Moltor, Kamdor, Miratrix, and the Fearcats to form an evil alliance and destroy the Rangers’ connection to the Universal Morphing Grid. The Rangers must go on a quest to seek out the legendary sword Excelsior which is capable of restoring their powers and the Sentinel Knight. With the help of five former Power Rangers – Adam Park-the Black Power Ranger, Xander Bly-the Green Mystic Ranger, Bridge Carson-the S.P.D. Red Ranger, Kira Ford-the Yellow Dino Ranger and Tori Hanson-the Blue Wind Ranger, the Power Rangers unite and take down Thrax, which breaks apart the evil alliance.

After the Rangers encounter a virus, Mack makes a startling discovery about himself. Realizing that he is an android, Mack begins to question his very existence, but he still pulls through for his friends by merging with the Sentinel Knight to become the Red Sentinel Ranger. Meanwhile, when another Fearcat named Crazar shows up, Tyzonn discovers that Vella is still alive. Also the Rangers uncover the Star of Isis, the fourth jewel of the Corona Aurora.

The Octavian Chalice holds the power to uncover the final jewel to the crown. In an ultimate struggle for it, the Fearcats are destroyed for good and so is Kamdor, but not before imprisoning Miratrix inside a gem for eternity. Flurious destroys Moltor and steals the crown and gets his hands on the jewels as well. Now with the power of the Corona Aurora at his disposal, Flurious freezes all of San Angelas. In a desperate attempt to save the world, Mack sacrifices himself to destroy Flurious once and for all. The Sentinel Knight appears and uses the Corona Aurora to bring Mack back to life. As Mack awakens, he realizes that thanks to the crown, he is now human. Thanks to Norg, Tyzonn is reunited with Vella and the Power Rangers move on with their lives now that they have saved the world from evil.

CAST

Jason Smith (Home and Away)
Anna Hutchison (The Cabin In The Woods)
Aljin Abella (Hunter n Hornet)
David de Lautour (Westside)
Sarah Thomson (Shortland Street)
Bede Skinner (West of Eden)
Holly Shanahan (Venus and Mars)
Nikolai Nikolaeff (Daredevil TV)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Nathaniel Lees (Young Hercules)
Kelson Henderson (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Bruce Hopkins (Hercules: TLJ)
Gerard Urquhart (Hidden)
Bruce Allpress (The Piano)
Oliver Driver (Black Sheep)
Cameron Rhodes (Deathgasm)
Paul Gittins (Maiden Voyage)
Stig Eldred (Young Hercules)
Andrew Laing (Shortland Street)
Michelle Langstone (Xena)
Jared Turner (Filthy Rich)
Jason Hoyte (Young Hercules)
Siobhan Page (Filthy Rich)

For over ten thousand years, the spirit of a pure evil known as Dai Shi has been locked away and safely guarded by the Pai Zhuq, the “Order of the Claw,” a secretive Kung Fu clan. But now, evil has escaped and the Pai Zhuq has selected their three top members to fight this evil. Jarrod, Lily, and Theo were picked, but Jarrod turned out to be a bad choice and Casey, a cub was to take his place. Jarrod tried taking the container holding Dai Shi. It accidentally opened; Dai Shi killed Master Mao and took over Jarrod’s body. The trio was sent to find a new master and he gave them the special gift to become Power Rangers. They alone are the Earth’s only hope to stop the army of evil animal spirits from overtaking the human world. Dai Shi is doing everything, and anything that he can, along with his loyal minion Camille and an army of undead, the Rinshi so he can take over the world and have animals rule. He started out with the Five Fingers of Poison, but they failed. Dai Shi controls an army of fear, and the three Power Rangers are trying to stop him.

When a Rinshi Warrior possessing an animal spirit is too much for the Rangers, each are trained by a retired master in a new animal spirit. Lily was trained by Master Phant in the ways of the Elephant, Theo was trained by the visually impaired Master Swoop in the techniques of the Bat, and Casey was taught by RJ’s father Master Finn in the tradition of the Shark. Dai Shi and Camille revived the deadly Overloads Carnisoar and Jellica to train them in the ways of fear, deceit and terror, stripping Jarrod of his humanity. When Dai Shi fought the Rangers with his training, he defeated them and took RJ prisoner. To save RJ, the Rangers were taken to the Spirit World by Master Mao to be trained by three fallen Masters: Master Rill, Master Guin, and Master Lope. In doing so, the three Rangers were able to upgrade to Master mode with incredible jets and hand-held claw weapons. RJ’s Wolf Spirit, which he obtained by following his own path and straying from his father’s Shark style, was tampered with by Dai Shi and transformed RJ into a werewolf. RJ did not rely on his friends and tried to take care of the situation by himself. Ultimately, he learned to lean on his friends and transformed into the Wolf Ranger. RJ’s werewolf problem was able to fix thanks to his new friendship with Flit the fly, who once was human. The last Overlord, Grizzaka was revived but he took over Dai Shi’s place, as he hates humans and resents Dai Shi possessing a human. Dai Shi wanted to possess Grizzaka’s powerful Zocato power. RJ’s old friend from Pai Zhuq Dominic, a wanderer who hadn’t yet found his path, decided being the Rhino Ranger was his path.  Years ago, Master Mao once gave Dominic the Control Dagger, which everyone is now after it to control the Rhino Steel Zord from the Rhino Nexus. Camille and Dai Shi reached the Nexus, a betrayal towards the Overloads. Dominic was able to take control of the Rhino Steel Megazord and destroy Carnisoar once and for all. The time was running out to revive three Phantom Beast Generals from the Crystal Eyes. Grizzaka was also destroyed by the Rangers. The Generals were revived by Jellica but they destroyed her and allied with Dai Shi, wanting him to be their King. Dai Shi’s first court of order is to kidnap the three living masters and put them under control to manifest three Spirit Rangers to go against the five Power Rangers.

Master Finn was locked in a Crystal Eye and saved by his son and together they were able to gain control over the Spirit Rangers and call them forth when needed. Soon Dai Shi was loosing control over Jarrod and the remaining Phantom Beast Generals blamed Camille and sent warriors against her. Jarrod saved her and Casey witnessed this and when to Dai Shi’s temple to save Jarrod. Together, Jarrod and Camille helped in a battle with the Rangers.

Ashamed of his bad deeds, Jarrod refused to help again when Scorch and Dai Shi began a new Beast War. Dai Shi opens up a portal to the Spirit World and resurrects all his fallen warriors, including the fallen masters. Jarrod finally decides to join them as well and helps weaken Dai Shi and the three protectors finally destroy Dai Shi forever. Once the war was finished, Camille and Jarrod train as beginners in the Pai Zhuq academy. Dominic was given a fond farewell, along with Fran to back-pack through Europe.

CAST

Eka Darville (Jessica Jones)
Ari Boyland (Blood Punch)
Rose McIver (IZombie)
Dan Ewing (Home and Away)
Milo Cawthorne (Deathgasm)
James Gaylyn (Avatar)
Adelaide kane (Reign)
Oliva Tennet (Maddigan’s Quest)
Mike Ginn (Broken Halleujah)
Li Ming Hu (Kawa)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Damien Avery (Bloodlines)
Mia Koning (3 Mile Limit)
Andrew Laing (Shortland Street)
Mark Mitchinson (The Hobbit)
John Sumner (District 9)
Murray Keane (Step Dave)
Bruce Phillips (The Lovely Bones)
Stephen Papps (The Piano)
Angela Shirley (Jubilee)
Stephanie Lee (House Husbands)
Jason Hoyte (Young Hercules)
Kevin J. Wilson (Spartacus)

In the not-so-distant future, the mysterious and sinister Venjix Computer Network is attempting to conquer and lay ruin to the entire planet. It had succeeded and nearly conquered the entire Earth. Fortunately, mankind has retreated from the threat into environmentally-shielded domed cities to protect against the pollution and machines unleashed by Venjix. In the shining city of Corinth, an elite force of Rangers must learn to drive and operate an arsenal of radically advanced biotech vehicles in order to battle the attacking machine army bent on world domination.

RPM, though, pretty much blows it away on every level, except for maybe the costume designs. It’s better acted, better written, the cast has chemistry that the Samurai rangers really lack and a romance subplot that was actually engaging and subtle, two things that are rarely seen in the entire franchise. It takes the existing formula and does new things with it that no other series had done, and it all works really well. But the other reason it’s so good, the one that makes me almost hate to admit how great it is, is that it is dark.

Power Rangers RPM screenshot
Once again a great collection, Operation Overdrive maybe a hated season, but it’s fun and has a decent story ark to it, Jungle Fury is just plain awsome on every level. SPD, is a stone cold classic and RPM is one of the best.

REVIEW: MADDIGANS QUEST

MAIN CAST

Rose McIver (Izombie)
Jordan Metcalfe (Genie In The House)
Zac Fox (Scoial Suicide)
Olivia Tennet (Power Rangers RPM)
Rawiri Pene (This Is Not My Life)
Danielle Cormack (Xena)
Timothy Balme (Brain Dead)
Rachel House (Eagle vs Shark)
Hori Ahipene (Jack of All Trades)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Peter Daube (Power Rangers Samurai)
Michael Hurst (Hercules: TLJ)
Ross Duncan (Young Hercules)
Tandi Wright (Black Sheep)
Alison Bruce (Sylvia)
Milo Cawthorne (Deathgasm)
Tom Hern (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)

First created as a novel by our most famous young-adult author Margaret Mahy (winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Hans Christian Anderson award), “Maddigan’s Quest” is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the wilderness is dangerous and the roads still partially unmapped. Out of the ashes of what is known as “the Great Chaos”, was built Solis, the shining city. It is here that the circus troop known as Maddigan’s Fantasia spends the winter, before heading out each summer in order to explore new lands, collect lost knowledge, meet new people and spread some colour and joy.

But this year things are different. Solis is powered by the sun, and is in need of a new solar converter if the city is to remain the single bright beacon in a dark world. Missionaries have been sent out to retrieve one from the town of Newton, but none have returned. Thus the council turn to Maddigan’s Fantasia – since the circus head out every year anyway they are certain to be overlooked by any political spies or traitors that plot the demise of Solis.

And yet it becomes even more complicated when the troop is joined by two young boys and their baby sister, claiming that they are from a future in which the Fantasia have failed in their mission and Solis has come under the control of the treacherous Nennog. As such, Timon and Eden have been sent back in time by their parents in order to ensure the success of the Fantasia, using their prior knowledge of events to help.

So who are the Fantasia? A group of clowns, acrobats, magicians, fortune tellers and jugglers who form together a warm, cheerful, squabbling, and utterly loyal extended family. In fact, the family dynamic of the circus is perhaps the highlight of the show, comparable to the crew of Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” or the “X-Men” family franchise; a group of colourful characters who are all given unique and interesting relationships with each other, across generations, genders and family intrigues.

Out of the cast, it is the child-actors who provide the strongest performances. Rose McIver is our narrator, a fourteen year old acrobat who keeps track of their progress in her diary and is being groomed as the next ring-leader of the Fantasia. As the two boys from the future, Jordan Metcalfe and Zac Fox (Timon and Eden) come across as both capable and vulnerable, with Metcalfe in particular shining as a young teen given the huge burden of responsibility of protecting his younger siblings and seeing the mission is successful. A slow attraction between him and Garland is sure to appeal to romantics, made poignant by the fact that if they *are* successful in retrieving the solar converter, the two of them will be separated by almost one hundred years. Rawiri Pene plays Garland’s oldest friend Boomer, who is rather jealous of the sophisticated Timon and his growing bond with Garland, and Olivia Tennant provides the most laughs as the flighty, somewhat spoilt Lilth. Rounding out the adult cast is Garland’s parents Ferdy and Maddie, feuding couple Goneril and Tane, and the untrustworthy Yves (Lilith’s father), who has his eyes set on Garland’s beautiful mother.

Each episode deals with a different location on the way to Newton and back again, as well as conflict within the group, danger from marauding gangs and agents from the future out to prevent the successful return of the Fantasia. The individual circus talents of the troop are instigated in ingenious ways, the post-apocalyptic world is both threatening but full of hope and potential for the future, and the stories are exactly what one would expect to emerge from the imagination of Mahy.

 

It’s not all perfect; the material used is better suited for hour-long programming rather than a mere half-hour, and although the costumes, sets and props are vividly created, the special-effects often look rather fake. And don’t even get me started on a discussion on the tampering done with the fundamental ‘rules’ of time travelling. But for all this “Maddigan’s Quest” is a great show that may be aimed predominantly at kids, but is certainly not exclusively for them