REVIEW: STARGATE: THE ARK OF TRUTH

CAST

Ben Browder (Farscape)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Claudia Black (the Originals)
Currie Graham (Agent Carter)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Julian Sands (Robin Hood Beyond on Sherwood)
Sarah Strange (Dark Angel)
Michael Beach (The Abyss)
Gary Jones (Highlander: The Series)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Eric Breker (Walking Tall)
Gabrielle Rose (Proof)

Ben Browder and Currie Graham in Stargate: The Ark of Truth (2008)SG-1 discovers a box that they believe contains the Ark of Truth while digging on Dakara, but before they can open it, Ori soldiers arrive, led by Tomin. Daniel tricks them into opening the box, but it is revealed to be a fake. When Tomin is ordered by a Prior to kill them, he refuses, and Mitchell kills the Prior, whose powers were being blocked by the Anti-Prior device. Shocked at the death of their Prior, the Ori soldiers surrender with Tomin returning to Earth with SG-1 where he resides at the SGC for a time.MCDSTAR EC065Back on Earth, General Landry and Mitchell meet James Marrick, an IOA representative sent to interrogate Tomin due to the fact that the original IOA representative, Richard Woolsey is now working for the Atlantis Expedition.Claudia Black, Christopher Judge, and Michael Shanks in Stargate: The Ark of Truth (2008)When Daniel Jackson realizes that the Ark is still in the Ori galaxy, Marrick is assigned to accompany them on board the Odyssey through the Supergate. In the Ori galaxy, a member of the anti-Ori resistance tells the team that according to legend, the Ark is on Celestis, the Ori capital. When SG-1 beams down to the planet, Marrick activates the Asgard computer core which alerts the Ori to the ship’s location.Upon being alerted by Major Kevin Marks of what’s going on, Mitchell and Carter beam back to the Odyssey and discover that Marrick has used the core to build a Replicator, intending to plant it on an Ori ship and let it spread to their entire fleet.Claudia Black, Ben Browder, Gary Jones, Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks, and Amanda Tapping in Stargate: The Ark of Truth (2008) When Mitchell attempts to destroy it with an anti-Replicator Gun, the replicator escapes, and Marrick reveals that the IOA removed that weakness from the design, although conventional weapons are sufficient to destroy individual replicators. Marrick implies that a shutdown code has been included as a failsafe, but claims he does not know what it is. He is placed in the ship’s brig and falls victim to the Replicators who later make their way into the brig, resulting in Merrick becoming a Human-Replicator hybrid. With several Ori ships approaching, Mitchell attempts to beam Daniel, Teal’c, Vala, and Tomin up from the planet, but the replicator takes over the system and keeps Mitchell from doing so. With no other option, the Odyssey jumps to hyperspace to escape, leaving the others on the planet.Amanda Tapping in Stargate: The Ark of Truth (2008)Daniel finds the Ark in a set of catacombs, and after several ground tremors, brings it to the surface. When the team emerges, they are ambushed by Ori warriors, and Teal’c is shot in the back while the others are captured. When they are brought to the city, Vala discovers that the Ori were indeed killed by the Sangraal during the events of The Shroud. Adria has ascended and taken over all of their power. Teal’c, who has been walking toward the city of Celestis since he was shot, collapses due to his wound within sight of the city. He is subsequently revived by Morgan le Fay and continues on to free Daniel. Morgan then arrives in Daniel’s cell (initially in the guise of Merlin) and tells him if he can expose one Prior to the Ark, the others will be turned by a link in their staffs. This will weaken Adria enough for Morgan to stalemate her. In the meantime, a Prior arrives on Earth, offering a last chance to convert to Origin.

When General Landry refuses to even listen to him, the Apollo detects a fleet of Ori motherships waiting on the edge of the solar system. On the Odyssey, Marrick is attacked by Replicators who infest his body. In the ensuing battle, Mitchell is able to briefly disable the Replicator connection to Marrick’s brain who then informs Mitchell the shut down code for the Replicators is located on the other side of the crystal used to create them. Mitchell activates an explosive charge which kills Marrick. Mitchell informs Carter who activates the shut-down command, deactivating the Replicators.When the Ark is activated and opened, the Doci is caught by the beam and made to see that the Ori are not gods and spreads this belief to all of the Priors in the Ori galaxy and through them their followers.With Adria now in a weakened state, Morgan is able to engage her in an eternal battle. SG-1 exposes the Prior on Earth to the Ark, transmitting the knowledge about the Ori to all of the Priors in the Milky Way, and thus turning all known Priors in the Universe. In the aftermath, Tomin departs for the Ori galaxy as the new leader of his people, he and Vala agreeing that, while the Ori themselves were liars, Origin itself has a worthwhile message. Tomin asks Vala to come with him, but Vala apologizes and says that she feels her place is with the SGC. Over Daniel’s objections the Ark is taken to Area 51 for study while SG-1 later prepare for another new mission through the Stargate.The Ark Of Truth lives up the hype of fans hoping for an epic end to the storyline that drove the show’s final two seasons. Indeed, The Ark Of Truth proves to be both an epic and fitting end to the Ori storyline. There were major surprise.

REVIEW: STARGATE SG.1 – SEASON 10

Starring

Ben Browder (Farscape)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Claudia Black (Pitch Black)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Matthew Glave (Argo)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Eric Steinberg (Supergirl)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Robin Mossley (Elf)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)
Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Torri Higginson (Dark Water0
Sarah Strange (Men In Trees)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Cliff Simon (Project Eden)
Peter Flemming (The X-Files)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Eric Breker (Scary Movie 3)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Willie Garson (Hawaii Five-0)
Peter DeLuise (21 Jump Street)
Isaac Hayes (South Park)
Jill Teed (Battlestar Galactica)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
David Andrews (Fight Club)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Rudolf Martin (24)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Aisha Hinds (Mr. Brooks)
Aaron Craven (The Predator)
Kavan Smith (Mission To Mars)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Strange Empire)
David Lovgren (Antitrust)
Joshua Malina (The Big Bang Theory)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Craig Fairbrass (London Heist)
John Tench (Andromeda)
Lexa Doig (Arrow)
Peter Kent (Total Recall)
Fred Willard (Anchroman)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Jonathan Walker (Flash Gordon)

Sarah Strange in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Largely thanks to Vala (Claudia Black) who’s as charming as she is side-splittingly, ingeniously, flirtatiously funny and who now becomes a credited member of the main cast, season ten gets off to a brilliant start as the action picks up right where the previous season left-off with episode 1- Flesh and Blood and doesn’t decrease in pace.Claudia Black, Ben Browder, Michael Shanks, and Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)It explores the continued threat of the Ori and their ever-increasing capture and control of worlds unable to mount any effective resistance against such a seemingly omnipotent foe. Episode 3- The Pegasus Project is also very gripping with a finale that’s both surprising and tantalizing.Richard Dean Anderson and Willie Garson in Stargate SG-1 (1997)episodes 10- The Quest, Part I and 11- The Quest, Part II both of which work well in continuing SG-1’s discovery & unravelling of Arthurian-inspired mysteries surrounding their search for a weapon capable of destroying their enemy. Episode 14- The Shroud sees Daniel in a unique position to deal a crippling blow to the Ori, which is also solid.While episode 20- Unending is a wonderful episode- with a story that’s not just dramatic, but explores sides to the main characters never seen before, it ends the season with so much unresolved that it’s difficult to appreciate this tenth season as it should be appreciated as the final outing of SG-1. Obviously a great deal has been withheld to be used in the TV movie The Ark of Truth.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED – SEASON 2

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Powers Booth (Sin City)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Seymour Cassel (Dick Tracy)
Takayo Fischer (Moneyball)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
James Remar (Black Lightning)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Giselle Loren (Happy Feet)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween)
Kim Mai Guest (G.I. Joe: Reneages)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Kin Shriner (Manhunter)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Alexis Denisof (Avengers Assemble)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time)
Juliet Landau (Aquaman)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Oded Fehr (V)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Amy Acker (The Gifted)
Virgina Madsen (Highlander II)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator)
Joanne Whalley (Willow)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Michael Ironside (Scanners)
Bud Cort (MASH)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)

MV5BMjQwMjQ0MTUzM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTAwOTM2MjE@._V1_Since I was just a young lad, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm have been showing me exactly what a superhero should be. They were some of the people behind the sublime Batman: The Animated Series, which is the definitive version of Batman in my eyes. They helped bring a certain Kryptonian to television screens in the late ’90s, taking an extra step into forming a coherent version of the DC universe to life. Hell, they even went so far as to help create a true successor to the Dark Knight. After doing all this, they managed to bring a clean, faithful and truly amazing assortment of champions of the DC Universe to life, showing us all exactly what a superhero should be.MV5BMTQxMjk3MTgxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDAwOTM2MjE@._V1_JLU – Season Two  remains faithful to its source material, which isn’t something you’ll find too often when translating a comic to a TV show or movie; whether it’s Green Arrow humming his own theme music while he’s fighting villains to Batman always being the baddest man in the room, the show conveys everything perfectly. A huge strength of the show lies within its voice talent, which is an assortment of voice-over veterans that have had some time to perfect their takes on characters: Kevin Conroy expertly delivers every line as Batman; Michael Rosenbaum has a wonderful, playful performance as Flash; and Clancy Brown is nothing short of brilliant as the ever-scheming, truly egotistic Lex Luthor. Though some of these actors have had over a decade to perfect their take on their respective characters, the guest stars who have little to no VO experience, much less know their characters, manage to be spot-on with their takes, making their characters memorable and charismatic.MV5BMTk4NTY4ODY4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDYwOTM2MjE@._V1_Not only that, some of the guest stars who appear are more than enough to cause a nerdgasm to any self-respecting comic geek. Names like Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Amy Acker, Morena Baccarin, Juliet Landau, Michael Ironside, James Remar, and Daniel Dae Kim all bring their characters to life in the best way possible, creating a lasting impact on the series. As the series progressed from the seven core heroes, requiring the talent of so many guest stars, some viewers may be inclined to think, “Wow, DC has a lot of lame heroes in its roster.” Almost at the exact point in the series that the thought occurred to me, the show comes out swinging with the episode “Patriot Act,” hitting the nail on the head. This episode has an Incredible Hulk type character wanting to face off against the JLU varsity squad (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc&#Array;), but what he gets is a slew of D and E-list heroes, like Stargirl, S.T.R.I.P.E., Shining Knight, Vigilante, Green Arrow and Speedy.MV5BMzcyNjI0Nzc5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODI5ODM2MjE@._V1_Though you may be thinking “who?” at this roster of leaguers, and though they get thoroughly trounced, the episode manages to make the point of despite who they’re fighting, these champions won’t ever quit, and it’s a theme that’s brought up more than once during the series without beating you over the head with it nor becoming cheesy, and that’s fine by me. The writing of the series is easily its greatest strength as it has fun with its storylines and it’s very obvious that everyone involved knows their craft. They don’t bother setting up any more characters – they already had four seasons to do so. Rather than exploring the universe further, they jump into tales that can be enjoyed by newcomers and longtime fans alike. The main story-arc of the season is a huge nod to an older crowd as it deals with the Legion of Doom – well, maybe not in name, but without a doubt in spirit: A gaggle of villains led by Lex Luthor who use a giant Darth Vader helmet as a base of operations.MV5BOTE5NTA5MTc1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTIwOTM2MjE@._V1_If that isn’t the Legion of Doom, I don’t know what is. The storyline revolves around Luthor’s quest to reunite with Braniac and become a god. Unfortunately, he unleashes one of the most dangerous and powerful foes in the DC universe and the events that follow make for one satisfying bookend to one of the most prolific takes on a comic universe.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED – SEASON 1

Main Cast

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
George Newbern (Law & Order: SVU)
Susan Eisenberg (Lego aquaman)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Maria Canals (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kin Shriner (Manhunter)
George Eads (CSI)
Eric Robert (The Finder)
Dana Delany (Tombstone)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore)
Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Fam)
Fred Savage (The Princess Diaries)
Jason Hervey (Back To The Future)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Patrick Bauchau (Panic Room)
Rachel York (One Fine Day)
Jack Carter (McCloud)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Annimator)
Robert Foxworth (Transformers)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
Cree Summer (Voltron)
Tom Everett Scott (Because I Said So)
Billy West (Futurama)
Lori Loughlin (Full House)
Jeremy Piven (Old School)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Oded Fehr (V)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Tim Matheson (The West Wing)
Grey Griffin (The Book of Life)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Peter MacNicol (Veep)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers)
Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina: TTW)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Virginia Madsen (Better Watch Out)
Ioan Gruffudd (Ringer)
Farrah Forke (Lois & Clark)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Robert Englund (2001 Maniacs)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Jason Bateman (Office Christmas Party)
Susan Sullivan (Castle)
Michael T. Weiss (The Pretender)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Steve Schirripa (Must Love Dogs)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Nathan Fillion (Serenity)
Elizabeth Peña (The Incredibles)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)

MV5BMTk4NTc5Mzg3Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTc5ODM2MjE@._V1_Fantasy now runs your life? Comic books become your vice? And your best friends still have their virginities? Then look no farther, friends, because this collection of episodes is so good you don’t need friends, significant others, or a single reason to emerge from your Geekdrome. But you know what the best part is? It’s not just for geeks – Justice League Unlimited stands tall as the best collection of American action/adventure animation you’re likely to find. While there is, of course, a certain geek charge some may get out of seeing characters like Powergirl and Green Arrow in action (not to mention an episode featuring Nathan Fillion voicing Vigilante and Gina Torres voicing Vixen – come on, how cool is that?), these episodes will entertain because of good characters, good humor, and good storytelling, even if you don’t know your Booster Golds from your Blue Beetles.MV5BMTA3OTAzMDYwMjdeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDMzMDkzNjIx._V1_While the first two seasons of Justice League nicely expanded upon the world first established in the early ’90s with Batman: The Animated Series, it wasn’t until this, the show’s third season (or first, depending on how you look at it) that the format and structure was perfected for the genre. It was an interesting experiment having the previous seasons’ episodes run for one-hour, but with JLU the format is scaled back to stand-alone half-hour stories and, ironically, it fits like a bat-glove. It’s strange, but these shorter episodes actually manage to pack in more than the double-length ones. A lot more. And what a roster of characters to fill a show with! You’ll see everyone from The Atom to Elongated Man. Because this is a full-blown, all-star take on these characters, each character can shine their brightest. When you get Superman, you get the best of Superman. Wonder Woman? The best of Wonder Woman. B’wana Beast? Uh… well, I guess this is the best he’s ever been.MV5BMjIwOTMxMzk2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTU5ODM2MjE@._V1_The surplus of great characters is fun, but what really sells the show are the stories. Or, more specifically, story. No doubt borrowing a page from the work of Joss Whedon – showrunner Bruce Timm admits in a commentary that Whedon was a big influence – these episodes highlight a large and complex season-spanning plot that actually has meaning in today’s world. This is certainly the most mature and thoughtful storytelling you’re likely to get from a cartoon of this type. What elevates the show from great to brilliant is its ability to tell stories that are exciting and also manage to propel the larger narrative forward. For example, Dark Heart – penned by famous comic book scribe Warren Ellis – manages to mix a great science fiction plot (a self-replicating AI) with humor (Wonder Woman, needing both hands to fight, rests The Atom in a very interesting holding place) and its plot still manages to play a part later on down the road in the season’s climax.MV5BMjAwMTU4NDI0NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzIwOTM2MjE@._V1_The writing is the best the show has ever seen, no doubt a result of staff writer Dwayne McDuffie coming into his own; his versatility with the characters is fantastic. Comic book writers Warren Ellis and J.M. DeMatteis join in on the fun, and new series director Joaquim Dos Santos infuses the episodes with a dynamic energy that allows the show to compete with the best of today’s cutting-edge, anime-inspired programming. It’s like the entire DC animated universe has been supercharged in the best way possible.MV5BMTk3NjM3NzI3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQwOTM2MjE@._V1_This collection contains two seasons, and both season finales are just fantastic. The Once and Future Thing is an exciting time romp (with a great Western segment) and Divided We Fall is a showstopper of epic proportions. Either finale would make for a better DVD movie than any of what has been released thus far. Then there’s Epilogue – just brilliant. It manages to tie in the entire DC animated universe – including films Mask of the Phantasm and Return of the Joker! – and still say something meaningful about a very important character. The episode isn’t just great animation, it’s great television.MV5BMTk1MDgzMTYzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTUwOTM2MjE@._V1_There really is nothing bad to say about these episodes. The new rock-inspired opening credits do ring a bit too much of cheesy ’80s electronica, but you get used to it, and, after a while, it fits. Of course, the fact remains that if you aren’t into cartoons in the first place you probably won’t be willing to hop on the bandwagon no matter how cool a series is. But if you consider animation to be a legitimate and respectable medium, then this is the pinnacle of the form.  While there are bigger and more influential cartoon shows out there – namely, comedies like The Simpsons – Justice League Unlimited is still one of the best American animated programs you’ll find. With this show the genre has been perfected – it’s fun, exciting, and thoughtful. In other words, this is exactly what superheroes should be.

REVIEW: V (2009) – SEASON 2

Starring

Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost)
Morris Chestnut (Kick-Ass 2)
Joel Gretsch (The Vampire Diaries)
Logan Huffman (Final Girl)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Scott Wolf (Go)
Charles Mesure (The Magicians)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jane Badler (Neighbours)
Christopher Shyer (J.Edgar)
Mark Hildreth (Planet Hulk)
Rekha Sharma (Dark Angel)
Roark Critchlow (Batman: Year One)
Scott Hylands (Decoy)
Bret Harrison (Orange County)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Chilton Crane (50/50)
Jonathan Walker (Red)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Nicholas Lea (The X-FIles)
Martin Cummins (Dark Angel)
Ona Grauer (Elysium)
Peter Bryant (Sanctuary)
Zak Santiago (Shooter)
Adrian Holmes (Skyscraper)
Samantha Ferris (Stargate SG.1)
Charlie Carrick (Reign)
Marc Singer (Beauty and The Beast)

I loved the original 1984 miniseries (and the spin-off and short-lived TV series) that spawned this big-budget televised reboot of V. It was good old-fashioned cult sci-fi fun, layered with a surprisingly morose setting, dark political subtext, some hokey but amusing effects, and a great little story about a rather horrifying alien invasion.The reboot goes in a few new directions, taking the source material a bit more seriously. The show is layered with popular cult stars and seasoned with some pretty ambitious visual effects for a series of this budget. Alas, while the high concept series did earn praise from fans and critics, it just didn’t have much of an audience.Like so many network sci-fi series before it, V was doomed from the get-go. An expensive show must yield big ratings, otherwise an already wary network will cut you loose. V is yet another show that really didn’t have a chance to find its footing, or its audience. Many, admittedly, were probably turned off by the show simply because it’s a relaunch of a popular cult miniseries. While others are turned away for the same reason any sci-fi show fails on network TV – they fear it’ll be canceled after a few episodes.Joel Gretsch and Elizabeth Mitchell in V (2009)True, V did make it into its second season, and I commend the network for sticking with the series for as long as they did. The second season of V did show some improvement, too. The narrative was tightened in certain spots, with a better focus on character. The mythos and mystery of the series worked quite well. And there were some solid episodes throughout the show’s second run. But the writing was on the wall at the end of Season 1. V would not last. And it didn’t.

REVIEW: V (2009)- SEASON 1

Starring

Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost)
Morris Chestnut (Kick-Ass 2)
Joel Gretsch (The Vampire Diaries)
Logan Huffman (Final Girl)
Lourdes Benedicto (Drive Me Crazy)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Scott Wolf (Go)

Laura Vandervoort and Logan Huffman in V (2009)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Charles Mesure (The Magicians)
Christopher Shyer (J.Edgar)
Mark Hildreth (Planet Hulk)
David Richmond-Peck (Pacific Rim)
Roark Critchlow (Batman: Year One)
Alan Tudyk (Doom Patrol)
Rekha Sharma (Dark Angel)
Scott Hylands (Decoy)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
Britt Irvin (Hot Rod)
Ingrid Kavelaars (Dreamcatcher)
Darcy Laurie (Chaos)
Derek Hamilton (Arrow)
Kyle Labine (Freddy vs Jason)
Michael Filipowich (Earth: Final Conflict)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Ryan Kennedy (Blade: The Series)
Nicholas Lea (The X-FIles)
Samantha Ferris (Salvation)
Michael Trucco (Hush)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Flash)
Erica Carroll (When Calls The Heart)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Disturbing Behavior)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Kacey Rohl (Hannibal)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)

If you’re old enough, you remember the original incarnations of V and V: The Final Battle. Me? I used to stay up late to watch them when they were re-run as a child. I was fascinated by the Visitors and when I learned ABC has rebooting the show, I was on-board for, at the very least, the beginning. Did I want to stay after that? Find out after the jump.For those not old enough, or not nerd enough, to be familiar with the original V series, you needn’t worry as this series stands on its own legs. Planet Earth is in turmoil. We starve. We struggle. We fight. We repeat that pattern ad nauseum. You’re all too familiar with the drill. Imagine one day, you looked up to the sky and saw massive spaceships. It’s not you alone, either; it’s the whole world. My first thought, of course, would be “oh expletive!” because I’ve seen enough science fiction, but now imagine that a very pretty, and very human looking face, assures you that these newcomers are “Of peace… always.” Add to that an offer of cures and technologies to raise us up from our daily struggles. Sounds too good to be true, right? A small group of people start to peel back the layers and find the cold, reptilian heart beating beneath. Season One of V tracks the arrival of the Visitors and the formation and first steps of defiance of the resistance.Joel Gretsch and Elizabeth Mitchell in V (2009)This series rests on the shoulders of two mothers duking it out (not literally, at least not yet…) for the fate of their two respective worlds. Bringing it home for Team Earth, Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, The Lyon’s Den) in the role of Erica Evans, a counterterrorism agent who stumbles into the V conspiracy. Not only is she an actual mother, to Logan Huffman’s Tyler, but she also plays the part of our Earth Mother. With her on Team Earth, conflicted priest Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch – The 4400, Taken), a human-friendly, Fifth Column member Visitor Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut – Boyz in the Hood, Like Mike) and gun-for-hire Kyle Hobbes (Charles Mesure – Crossing Jordan, Xena: Warrior Princess). Fronting Team V, Morena Baccarin (Firefly, Serenity) in the role of Anna. Mother to Tyler‘s love interest Lisa, portrayed by Laura Vandervoort (Smallville, Instant Star), Anna is the face of her people. It is the duplicitous nuances that make Baccarin’s performance so special. Christopher Shyer (The Practice, Whistler) plays Marcus, Anna’s second in command. The children, Tyler and Lisa, are caught in the middle with their budding romance. Sitting on the fence between the Vs and the resistance is Chad Decker, played by Scott Wolf (Party of Five, Go). Chad is a reporter with a direct line to Anna and becomes her main PR man. He’s also apparently “healed” of a brain ailment discovered by V technology. Because he owes his life and his career to the Visitors, he’s willingly kept in Anna’s pocket. His loyalties come into question as the season progresses. NERD ALERT – look for cameos from Lexa Doig (Andromeda) and Alan Tudyk (Firefly, I, Robot) in the deliciously nastiest role I’ve seen him play.The strength of the series comes in the humanity of the interactions, even amongst the aliens. The season ends with Anna getting a taste of human emotion and the consequences that brings for humanity. Thankfully, mystery continues as we still don’t know why the Visitors have come to Earth. We just know, it doesn’t bode well for the planet’s current residents.Elizabeth Mitchell in V (2009)Accessible for newbies yet also interesting for the old-timers, I’ll be with this show until they translate a Visitor book as “To Serve Man.” This collection allows anyone who missed it on-air, or anyone who wants a refresher, to get up to speed before Season 2.

REVIEW: SPY

CAST

Melissa McCarthy (Ghostbusters)
Jude Law (A.I.)
Rose Byrne (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Jason Staham (Fast & Furious 7)
Miranda Hart (Miranda)
Jessica Chaffin (The Heat)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of The Dead)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
50 Cent (Southpaw)
Paul Feig (Sabrina: TTW)

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a desk-bound CIA analyst guiding her partner Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on a mission to Varna from a CIA office in the Washington, D.C. area. Fine kills Tihomir Boyanov after he sneezes without first finding a suitcase nuke whose location is known only to Boyanov. Meanwhile, the agency learns that Boyanov’s daughter Rayna (Rose Byrne) might know the location of her father’s device, so they send Fine to infiltrate her home. However, Rayna shoots Fine dead while Susan watches online. Rayna knows the identities of all the agency’s top agents, including Fine and Rick Ford (Jason Statham). Susan, who is unknown to Rayna, volunteers to become a field agent, and her boss, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney), agrees. Ford quits in disgust over Susan being chosen for the assignment.
Susan is sent to Paris to spy on Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale). Later that night, Ford appears in the hotel Susan is staying at and insists that she will ruin the mission due to being an inexperienced field agent. The next morning, Susan sees an assassin working for De Luca, and one of his contacts, exchanging Ford’s bag for one with a bomb inside it. Susan warns Ford, then catches up to the assassin, but he is killed when they fight. Susan follows De Luca to Rome, where she meets her contact Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz), a suave Italian informant who makes inappropriate advances towards her. Susan meets Rayna in a casino, prevents Rayna’s assassination, and becomes part of her inner circle. When they fly in her private plane to Budapest, the steward kills the bodyguard and pilots and tries to kill Rayna, but Susan subdues him and lands the plane in Budapest.
Rayna believes Susan to be a CIA spy, but Susan convinces Rayna that her father hired her to be Rayna’s bodyguard. In Budapest, the two encounter Susan’s best friend Nancy B. Artingstall (Miranda Hart), who is sent by Crocker to provide back-up. After being shot at in the street, Susan orders Nancy to get Rayna to safety while she pursues the shooter’s vehicle. The shooter turns out to be CIA double agent Karen Walker (Morena Baccarin), who sold Rayna the names of the agents. As she is about to shoot Susan, Walker is killed by an unknown sniper. Later that night, Susan and Nancy accompany Rayna to a party. The contact is De Luca’s associate, Lia (Nargis Fakhri). Nancy creates a diversion so Susan can fight Lia, who is a skilled assassin. Just as Susan is about to arrest Lia, she is fatally stabbed in the chest by an unknown assailant, who turns out to be Bradley Fine. Susan is captured and is told that Fine faked his death so he could become Rayna’s lover.
Jason Statham and Melissa McCarthy in Spy (2015)
After Susan is imprisoned with Aldo in a bunker, Fine appears and reveals to Susan that the real reason he faked his death was to gain intelligence on the device’s location, which could only happen if he gained Rayna’s trust. Fine also reveals that he was the one who assassinated Karen. Susan and Aldo escape after subduing two bodyguards. Eventually, Susan accompanies Rayna and Fine at De Luca’s mansion while posing as a double agent. Chechen terrorist Solsa Dudaev (Richard Brake) and his men arrive to purchase the device for a suitcase full of diamonds. Rayna then reveals the location of the device. However, De Luca, now in possession of the device and doubting that Dudaev can safely smuggle it into the United States, kills him and his men and keeps the diamonds. De Luca intends to sell the device to someone who can transport it to New York City within a week. As De Luca is about to kill Rayna, Ford appears and distracts him, allowing Susan to save Rayna’s life again.
Melissa McCarthy and Nargis Fakhri in Spy (2015)
De Luca escapes with the device and diamonds on his helicopter, with Susan and Ford clinging to the landing gear. Ford loses his grip, causing him to falls into the lake ocean, leaving Susan to confront De Luca in the helicopter alone. After Nancy and Aldo arrive in a helicopter and help Susan kill De Luca, Crocker shows up to recover the device. Rayna is arrested, but it is implied that she has come to like Susan as a friend. After Aldo reveals to Susan that his real name is Albert and he is an MI6 agent, he invites her to dinner should they ever cross paths in London, which Susan accepts. Susan declines a similar offer from Fine and instead opts for a girls’ night out with Nancy. The next morning, Susan is shown screaming after waking up amidst empty champagne bottles, realizing that she has slept with Ford.
I thought Spy would be just another parody of the James Bond-type of movies, cheap and cringy. But I was wrong! This is a highly entertaining and intelligent film. The leading lady Melissa McCarthy excels in this clever action-comedy galore. The ensemble of actors, the script, director’s work all makes for a great film.