REVIEW: SUPERGIRL – SEASON 3

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Starring

Melissa Benoist (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jeremy Jordan (The Last Five Years)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries)
David Harewood (Homeland)

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)

Recurring/ Notable Guest Cast

Calista Flockhart (The Last Shot)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Floriana Lima (The Punisher)
Emma Tremblay (The Giver)
David St. Louis (The Secret Path)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls)
Yael Grobglas (Reign)
Andrea Brooks (When Calls The Heart)
Helen Slater (City Slickers)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Chad Lowe (Young Justice)
Anjali Jay (Power Rangers)
Sofia Vassilieva (Black Lightning)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Khaira Ledeyo (Beauty and The Beast)
Emy Aneke (Izombie)
Izabela Vidovic (Veronica Mars)
Amy Jackson (Theri)
Betty Buckley (Split)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Tom Cavanagh (Yogi Bear)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Dominic Purcell (Blade: Trinity)
Franz Drameh (See)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Keiynan Lonsdale (Love, Simon)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle0
Danielle Nicolet (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Christina Brucato (The Intern)
William Katt (Carrie)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of SteeL)
Briana Venskus (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jesse Rath (The Howling Reborn)
Brit Morgan (Friend Request)
Krys Marshall (For All Mankind)
Sarah Douglas (Superman II)
Brenda Strong (Starship Troopers)
Laurie Metcalf (THe Big Bang Theory)
Brooke Smith (The Silence of Lambs)
Angela Zhou (Hell of Wheels)
Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me)
Nesta Cooper (See)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Carrie Anne Fleming (Izombie)
Esmé Bianco (Game of Thrones)
Michael Reilly Burke (Mars Attacks)

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)With The Maid of Might’s third season we find ourselves given a very different Supergirl as Season Three opens. Following last year’s heartstring-tearing romance with Mon-El, we find a Kara who is now all business. Kara Danvers is on the backburner, as Kara Zor-El fully throws herself into the superhero game. But as ever, new threats, new questions, and new revelations await just around the corner for the Girl of Steel.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)First and foremost, let’s just put it out there: Supergirl is an utter joy to watch. In terms of bringing a comic book character to life, this CW series is a fantastic example of how to do that so well. Never afraid to be fun, loud, and imaginative, Supergirl manages to be pure spectacle whilst similarly retaining a true sense of heart. And there’s certainly plentiful heartfelt beats in this third year. While Kara herself is questioning her place in the world, newcomer Samantha (Odette Annable) soon finds herself undergoing her own personal struggle as the nefarious Worldkiller known as Reign begins to cause all kinds of chaos and carnage in National City. As Samantha becomes BFFs with Kara, Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), and Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), she has to rely on her new pals to help her with her ever-expanding problems. But it’s not merely Kara and Samantha who are on their own personal journeys here, for Supergirl again does what Supergirl has done so well previously: it makes each and every one of its core cast feel like a major deal, a real person with their own purpose in the show and not just simply there to fill the narrative or to let the show’s titular heroine take all of the spotlight.Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin in Supergirl (2015)As ever, Melissa Benoist is absolutely note perfect as both Kara Danvers and Kara Zor-El, proving to be vulnerable yet strong, human yet otherworldly, naive yet wise. With familiar faces and newbies all excelling in their respective roles, Benoist’s charming, multi-layered performance is just the tip of the iceberg, with Supergirl proving to again reward both newcomers to the character and those who are more well-versed in Super-lore. And that’s so often one of Supergirl’s greatest traits, that it feels so all-encompassing, be it in the array of different characters on display or in its approach to its audience.Supergirl (2015)After a slightly rocky start at CBS for its debut year, Supergirl has gone from strength to strength, and Season Three is the most intriguing, engaging, and spectacular season of the series to date. In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that this most recent season is right up there as one of the best seasons offered up by the Arrowverse, period.

 

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SUPERGIRL – REIGN

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MAIN CAST

Melissa Benoist (Homeland)
Mehcad Brooks (Dollhouse)
Chyler Leigh (That 80s Show)
Jeremy Jordan (Smash)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries)
David Harewood (Grimsby)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Chase Lowe (Pretty Little Liars)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Emma Tremblay (The Giver)
Amy Jackson (Gethu)
Briana Venskus (Agents of SHIELD)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)

Reign capped off the first half of Supergirl’s third season, and in the process encapsulated so much of what’s good about this series right now. The series is really thriving on the strength of its new main villain at the moment. First things first – Reign may well be the best thing to happen to this series since its move from CBS to The CW. She’s definitely the best villain Supergirl has had.This episode reinforced how wise it was for the writers to spend the first half of Season 3 fleshing out Samantha as a character before diving into her corruption. The early holiday party scene reinforced how close Kara, Lena and Samantha have grown in recent months. That only added more weight to Samantha’s downfall this week. As Reign, she’s clearly a physical threat to the Girl of Steel. But more importantly, she has the deep, compelling connection to Kara that so few villains in this series have shared.I was actually starting to worry that this episode would end without a major confrontation between the two characters. There was a lot of teasing and comparatively little focus on Reign herself. Fortunately, we got that epic throwdown to cap off 2017. That fight did feel a bit formulaic in a Flash-sort of way. It seems like Barry has had to go through that moment every season where he squares off against his doppelganger speedster villain of the year and gets his butt handed to him. Now it’s Kara’s turn. Still, that battle was handled very effectively. It created a real, palpable sense of danger for Kara, while the tide shifted often enough that it was never quite apparent till the end which combatant would emerge victorious. It actually reminded me a lot of a good professional wrestling match, complete with Reign playing the heel and whacking Kara over the head with rubble while her back was turned. In short, the main conflict this week was pretty swell, and a great way to leave things hanging for the next month.

REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE – 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

Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Corey Burton (Transformers)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Mitchell Ryan (Halloween 6)
Rob Paulsen (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Tom Kenny (The Super Hero Squad Show)
William Atherton (Die Hard)
Fairuza Balk (The Craft)
Dana Delany (Tombstone)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Jason Marsden (Hocus Pocus)
David Kaufman (Prom Night)
Dorie Barton (Down With Love)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Larry Drake (Darkman)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Kim Mai Guest (TMNT)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Diane Pershing (Gotham Girls)
Bruce McGill (Lincoln)
Ted McGinley (No Good Nick)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Tracey Walter (batman)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Brian Doyle-Murray (JFK)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Scott Rummell (Six)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (Nocturnal Animals)
Powers Boothe (Sin City)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lamabs)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Brad Garrett (Tangled)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)
Arleen Sorkin (Days of Our Lives)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
Greg Cipes (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans Go)
John C. McGinley (Scrubs)
Hynden Walch (Groundhog Day)
Ian Buchanan (Panic Room)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Kimberly Brooks (Voltron)
Robert Ito (Midway)
Victor Rivers (The Mask of Zorro)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Elizabeth Peña (The Incredibles)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)

MV5BMTkxOTY5NTY5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjEwOTM2MjE@._V1_Now this is more like it. Justice League’s second season takes all of the wrinkles found in the first year and smoothes them over. The action is bigger, the stories are more exciting, and Batman’s rating on the cool-o-meter reaches new highs – exactly how things should be. The result is a boxed set that offers perhaps the finest collection of superhero animation that your hard-earned dollars can buy. They don’t come any better then this, kids.MV5BODg3ODYzM2QtNTIwOS00YzhjLThmMDItZTY4MDc0NzU1NDhkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_Much like the comic book universe from which these characters came, the Warner Bros. superhero shows headed by Bruce Timm and friends (Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond) have created a continuity and universe all their own. Justice League is the latest (and, sadly, final) entry in this cartoon universe and it takes all of the best stuff from what has come before it and combines it into a near-perfect superhero animated series. While the first season was light on character development and solid storytelling, the second season gets the balance of action, story, and character just right. Again we’ve got great supporting characters and villains from the DC universe; Darkseid, John Dee, Despero, and even Doomsday all make appearances.MV5BMTQxNzgzNDg3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTAwOTM2MjE@._V1_The action is also a lot more exciting, with more imagination having gone into the writing of the fights. Furthermore, this season we’ve got some great CG effects (used for vehicles and ships) – the air dogfight in Maid of Honor between the Batwing and some jetfighters is especially cool to watch.  Another standout this season is the music. The series composers (Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion, and Kristopher Carter) have created some amazing stuff here. In each episode you’ll find several musical cues that will really get your attention and at least one that will tug at the ol’ heartstrings. The music knows when to fade into the background and let the images do the work and when to take centre stage. With stuff this good you want the music to take centre stage as much as possible. There is a Princess Mononoke-esque “nature endures” moment in Hearts and Minds where the score was just wonderful. The music in these episodes is too good for a cartoon TV show.MV5BMTQ1MjM0MTMwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjc5ODM2MjE@._V1_So the action is awesome, Superman is fixed, and the music is one-of-a-kind. All that’s left is the writing… and it’s the best part. The writing here is really great, with story and character always being the focus of each episode. A Better World answers a simple question in an interesting way: what if Superman crossed the line? In an alternate universe, Superman realizes that Luthor really is an unredeemable villain and he kills him. We see that the murder – even the murder of a monster like Luthor – changes both Superman and the League. They become Big Brother-like sentries of the planet. When a cross-dimensional rift is opened, this “darker” league (known as the Justice Lords) has a showdown with our untainted heroes. The episode brings up some very interesting questions and is a blast to watch.MV5BMTYwOTU0OTUwMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTk5ODM2MjE@._V1_We’ve also got some fantastic variety. The Paul Dini-penned Comfort and Joy is a very touching Christmas episode, while Hereafter transports Superman to a Planet of the Apes-ish future where he is the planet’s sole survivor (he even grows a Robinson Crusoe beard and fashions himself a jungle-machete!). The Terror Beyond makes for a very fun H.P. Lovecraft-inspired romp which sees Solomon Grundy fighting his way into the brain of the massive Ichthulhu (voiced by Rob Zombie) and wrestling a nightmare creature inside this thing’s head. Very bizarre, but very cool. Finally there’s the three-part season finale, Starcrossed. This is a balls-to-the-wall action spectacular which culminates in Batman piloting the League’s watchtower into the planet, while Green Lantern and Hawkgirl’s relationship is torn to shreds.MV5BMTkxMDQzODI2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDIwOTM2MjE@._V1_This is a fantastic collection of episodes, to be sure, but there are still a few nitpicks that keep the set from getting a perfect score. For one, while Superman is tougher, much of the new attitude doesn’t feel genuine – it seems that they wanted to make him “cooler” so they made him more badass. Problem is, Superman isn’t a badass character. Second, there are a few episodes (Maid of Honor and Eclipsed) that feel somewhat stale, and one episode, Wild Cards, that, sadly, let its driving gag get the better of the story. On TV you’ll find many cartoons, but you’ll only find one Justice League – its second season is a shining example of superhero animation done right in virtually every respect. Most importantly, the show’s creators have crafted a series that respects the intelligence, attention-span, and maturity of its audience. This isn’t just a kids show nor is it just a television show. It’s Justice League – and it’s great.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 3

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Sam Jones III (Glory Road)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
John Schneider (The Haves and the Have Nots)
John Glover (Shazam)

Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Terence Stamp (Superman)
Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Jill Teed (Battlestar Galactica)
Françoise Yip (The Predator)
Camille Mitchell (Izombie)
Jesse Metcalfe (Dead Rising)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Christopher Shyer (The Core)
John DeSantis (Thirteen Ghosts)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Lorena Gale (Traitor)
Patrick Gallagher (Glee)
William B. Davis (TheX-Files)
John Mann (Dark Angel)
Kendall Cross (The Butterfly Effect)
Tim Henry (88 Minutes)
Kevin Zegers (Dawn of The Dead)
Patrick Bergin (Lawnmower Man 2)
Michael Daingerfield (Sausage Party)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Improvement)
Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
William MacDonald (Riverdale)
Missy Peregrym (Van Helsing)
Martin Cummins (Bates Motel)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time)
Ryan Merriman (Final Destination 3)
Moneca Delain (Trick ‘r Treat)
Sarah Carter (The Flash)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Jerry Wasserman (I Robot)
James Kirk (She’s The Man)
Tahmoh Penikett (Man of Steel)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Aaron Pearl (Godzilla)
Christopher Reeve (Superman)
Gary Hudson (Fifty Shades Freed)
Alisen Down (Stargate SG.1)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Gordon Tootoosis (Lone Star)
Nathaniel Arcand (Pathfinder)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Amber Rothwell (White Noise)
Adrianne Palicki (The Orville)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Robert Wisden (Highlander: The Series)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)

Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Season Three begins three months after the cliffhanger that ended Season Two – with Clark under the influence of Red Kryptonite, which doesn’t hurt him – but does bring out his darker side. Clark has left Smallville because he feels responsible for his mother’s miscarriage at the end of Season Two, and the first two episodes – Exile and Phoenix – deal with Clark’s coming to terms with what he has done and where he belongs.Much like The X-Files and other sucessful science-fiction programs, Smallville has both “mythology” episodes and “stand-alone” shows, with the former moving along the overall story, and the latter tending to be more “fun” – generally focusing on someone in town who has a special ability or power that Clark has to deal with. Season Three is also peppered with some great guest-starring roles for notable actors, including Rutger Hauer playing criminal mastermind Morgan Edge; Michael McKean (who happens to be the real-life husband of Smallville star Annette O’Toole) guest-starring as Perry White; and the return of Christopher Reeve as Dr. Swann in Legacy in what would sadly be Reeve’s final appearance on the show.John Schneider and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Perhaps more than any previous season, there’s a lot of context to the ongoing storyline in this third season, which may be why many fans (including some right here at DVD Talk) got so frustrated with some of the episodes. Because of the ongoing storyline involving Clark’s biological father, Jor-El (voiced by Terrance Stamp) and his connection to some mysterious caves in Smallville, the chant of “Another Cave Show” and “No More Caves!” became a frequent one on forums here and elsewhere on the Net.John Glover and Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville (2001)But all in all, this is a quite satisfying season of one of the more underrated (and under appreciated) series on TV. Smallville is easily the best incarnation of the Superman legend since Christopher Reeve’s theatrical films, and any fan of The Man of Tomorrow will want to add this boxed set to their collection – assuming you’ve seen the first two seasons first, of course! Entertaining, well-written, well-acted and featuring some impressive special effects, television programs don’t get much better than Smallville. While this may be the weakest season of the first three, it’s still better than most seasons of any hour drama that is currently on the air. This one’s an easy call: fly (don’t walk!) to your local store or online retailer and pick a copy up.