REVIEW: TWO GUYS AND A GIRL – SEASON 1-4

MAIN CAST

Ryan Reynolds (The Voice)
Richard Ruccolo (Desperate Housewives)
Traylor Howard (Son of The Mask)
Julius Carry (The New Guy)
Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein)
David Ogden Stiers (Stargate: Atlantis)
Suzanne Cryer (Bones)
Jillian Bach (American Pie)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

 

Sean O’Bryan (Yes Man)
Matt Landers (Commando)
Jean Speegle Howard (Apollo 13)
Rena Sofer (Traffic)
Jason Clarke (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Amy Van Horne (The Amityville Haunting)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)
Howard Hesseman (Flight of The Navigator)
Harve Presnell (Fargo)
Maury Ginsberg (Voodoo)
Sarah Thompson (Cruel Intentions 2)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Kenneth Kimmins (Lois & Clark)
Kathy Kinney (Scrooged)
Brigitta Dau (Retro Puppet Master)
Jane Carr (The Five Year Engagement)
Suzy Nakamura (Dodgeball)
Jon Cryer (Two and A Half Men)
Dick Martin (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Adam Carolla (Family Guy)
Bobbie Phillips (Showgirls)
Marguerite MacIntyre (The Vampire Diaries)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Beth Grant (Wonderfalls)
Conchata Ferrell (Mr Deeds)
Anthony Head (Buffy)
John Ducey (Sabrina)
Suzanne Krull (Go)
Giuseppe Andrews (American History X)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Heroes)
Cheryl Ladd (Charlies Angels)
Terry Kiser (Lois & Clark)

James Denton (Desperate Housewives)
Tiffani Thiessen (Saved By The Bell)
Sam Anderson (Angel)

Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
Christie Lynn Smith (Swamp Thing)
James Avery (That 70s Show)
Bo Derek (Tommy Boy)
Alanna Ubach (Meet The Fockers)
Lacey Kohl (Secretary)
Robin Riker (The Glades)

TwoGuys-PizzaBefore single-camera sitcoms became a mainstream thing, the multi-camera, laugh track-powered sitcom was basically the only option on network television. This was certainly the case in 1998, when ABC slotted their new series Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place into their Wednesday night prime-time lineup, behind Spin City, Dharma & Greg and The Drew Carey Show. The Boston-set comedy, about a pair of grad students named Berg (Ryan Reynolds) and Pete (Richard Ruccolo) and their PR-flack gal pal Sharon (Traylor Howard), is a show about growing up, as the three friends face down adulthood and attempt to delay it at every turn.1465993115_1The obvious draw here is Reynolds, who followed this series with his breakout role in Van Wilder, starting his climb to stardom. The wiseass persona that’s made him so popular (reaching its pinnacle in Deadpool) is fully on display here, a genuine comedic lead in the making as Berg, a ladies man with a heart of gold. There a boyish joy to his performance that raises the show’s set-ups and plots above their traditional sitcom trappings, making them far more enjoyable. Though he has his “act” down pretty well even this early in his career, it’s fun to see him trying out elements that would emerge more fully later on, like when hints of what he did in The Voices could be seen in the second season’s enjoyable Halloween episode.

1465993116_3As Pete, Ruccolo has the unenviable job of being in Reynold’s shadow, which is made no easier because his character is drifting through relationships and careers, never quite happy with where he is at the moment. It makes him a bit hard to root for, as he comes off as more of a loser than he should be, particularly when he continuously throws away good things, like first-season girlfriend Melissa (future filmmaker Jennifer Westfeldt.) Howard’s Sharon isn’t much better,  A definite cute ditz who can still hang with the guys, she lives up to some unfortunate female stereotypes, and when paired with blue-collar second-season addition Johnny (Nathan Fillion), her character often is shrill, materialistic and cruel, and rarely goes an episode without heavily fighting with her supposed love.1465993115_2Despite airing for only four seasons, the show saw a dramatic number of changes from premiere to finale, not the least of which was the title, which dropped “the Pizza Place”, as the location became less of a focus (before it was completely abandoned in season three.) Series regulars Julius Carry (pizza shop owner Bill), David Ogden Stiers (M.A.S.H.), who plays a local loon who shares movie plots as memories, and Westfeldt didn’t survive the first season. Though the show is meant to center around Berg, Pete and Sharon, as the seasons go on, the focus expands to include Fillion as Sharon’s put-upon, penny-pinching boyfriend-then-husband and Berg’s cold-blooded colleague Ashley. However it’s another side character who becomes a key element of the show later in the show’s run, as crackpot neighbor Irene (Jillian Bach) transitions from the obsessive across the hall to a genuinely enjoyable, utterly adorable and altogether kooky part of the show, her crazy side wisely dialed down over time. Her appeal is most obvious when she’s paired with Berg, as they play off each other to great effect, with Reynolds’ wiseass nature mixing well with Bach’s sweet brand of insanity.3162030205001_4770471577001_twoguys-2Though the series often trafficks in very traditional sitcom tropes and rather easy gags, it managed to surprise regularly, whether with its unusually fantastical Halloween episodes, including one of the show’s most memorable, or convention-breaking entries like the wordless “The One without Dialogue” and the musically-narrated shows featuring the Barenaked Ladies and The Dan Band. It could also wring laughs out of well-worn territory, mostly thanks to Reynolds’ delivery and an unexpected amount of physical comedy. The biggest surprise however is in how the show was almost serial, telling ongoing stories about the characters and following through on the repercussions of their actions, as well as its willingness to get serious, which it did frequently as the characters struggle with adulthood and problematic relationships. two-guys-a-girl-and-a-pizza-place-lg (1)The show’s finale came in an episode where the ending, which centered around a possible pregnancy, was voted for online. The pregnancy was supposed to be the focus of season five, but the show was cancelled. All the possible endings were filmed in advance of the vote, and all four are available on this set. Unfortunately, only one of the four is actually enjoyable, and piled together as they are here, the whole thing ends the show on a real downbeat. Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place is too uneven and too unsure of what to do with its characters to be as entertaining as it should be considering the talented performers it featured. The consistency of the quality improves in later episodes, but there are only a few characters you’ll find yourself pulling for. This set provides the show in decent shape, but provides no extras, so if the show doesn’t do it for you, there’s nothing else to make you want to own it. Tread cautiously unless you have clear positive memories or you’re a huge Reynolds and/or Fillion fan.

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REVIEW: THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN

CAST

Jerry O’Connell (Veronica Mars)
Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
Matt Lanter (the Roommate)
Shemar Moore (Birds of Prey)
Nyambi Nyambi (Mike & Molly)
Jason O’Mara (Agents Of S.H.E.I.L.D.)
Jonathan Adams (Bones)
Rocky Carroll (Yes Man)
Patrick Fabian (The Last Exorcisim)
Charles Halford (Constantine)
Erica Luttrell (Steven Universe)
Toks Olagundoye (The Gifted)
Cress Williams (Black Lightning)

Jerry O'Connell and Rebecca Romijn in The Death of Superman (2018)Superman has become an icon of virtue for the citizens of Metropolis, a notion that still infuriates billionaire and Superman foe Lex Luthor, who considers the alien a threat to his city. After foiling a kidnapping attempt of the mayor by Intergang armed with Apokolips technology, such as the Mother Box, Superman and the Justice League send the pieces to S.T.A.R. Labs for analysis. Meanwhile Superman, in an unprecedented move, presents the rocket that brought him from Krypton to Earth, and its birthing matrix, containing Kryptonian DNA technology to the world, through an interview with the Daily Planet ace reporter Lois Lane. Lois is in a romantic relationship with Superman’s alter-ego, Clark Kent. Despite their long term relationship, and meeting his parents Jonathan and Martha, she is apprehensive of Clark’s secrecy about his past. Clark’s reluctance to reveal everything about himself, from his alter-ego to his past in general, creates a rift between the two, making Lois reconsider their relationship.Rosario Dawson in The Death of Superman (2018)At S.T.A.R labs, Silas Stone and his associates analyze the recovered technology, discovering the metal alloy comprises of elements from both Apokolips and Earth, leaving one suspect whose company is one of very few with the power to fuse Apokolips and human technology: Lex Luthor. Superman confronts a currently house arrest and ankle monitor wearing Luthor, who denies any involvement. Meanwhile, an astronaut team under the guidance of Superman admirer Capt. Hank Henshaw, is repairing a satellite aboard the Excalibur space shuttle when a boomtube opens propelling a meteorite towards Earth, with the shuttle in its way. Henshaw hopes Superman will save them like he has before, but unfortunately, the debris accompanying the meteorite strikes the shuttle, annihilating it and the crew inside. The meteorite crashes 10,000m into the ocean floor near the East Coast in the Atlantic Ocean, monitored by Luthor and his team of scientists in an underground research facility. Luthor, escaping his house arrest through a decoy, sends a team of deep sea explorers to the crash site. The explorers encounter Atlanteans at the crash site, and together examine the wreckage when it explodes, and a 9-foot giant humanoid beast emerges killing everyone.The Death of Superman (2018)The beast reaches the US coastline, murdering two campers and a grizzly bear, while en route towards the most populated city in the vicinity: Metropolis. After going on a rampage decimating police units, the Justice League arrive to fight it. Unfortunately, while each member give some fight, the beast single-handedly defeats all of them, barely surviving. During the fight, the Martian Manhunter manages to delve into the beast’s mind through telepathy, discovering that the beast is a weapon with zero empathy, designed specifically to annihilate large civilizations. As the beast heads to Metropolis, Batman notes their last hope is Superman. At the same time, Clark and Lois meet for lunch at a tavern owned by Superman fan Bibbo Bibbowski, where Clark finally reveals his truth when removing his glasses, revealing himself as Superman to a shocked Lois. The two resolve their differences before Clark receives a distress call from the Justice League. Now in the city, Wonder Woman fights the beast before falling victim herself. Just as the beast is about to stab her with her own sword, Superman arrives and strikes it with his heat vision, hurling it city blocks away.Jerry O'Connell and Rainn Wilson in The Death of Superman (2018)Dubbed by Lois as “Doomsday”; the fight between Superman and Doomsday is reported live from the air by Lois and her cameraman Jimmy Olsen. The news crew is attacked by Doomsday until they are rescued by a beaten and bloodied Superman. Superman continues to fight the monster, in the city, over a suspension bridge, in the sky and finally near the Hall of Justice, but is exhausted and near defeat. Luthor arrives in his own battlesuit and sadistically enjoys the weakened Superman while attacking Doomsday, as he considers this an opportunity to gain the upper hand over Superman, and defeating Doomsday himself will win the hearts of Metropolis citizens as their true savior. Just as he is about to stab it, Doomsday recovers from Luthor’s assault and tears through his suit, throwing Luthor far away until Superman saves him. Superman continues the fight, and both him and Doomsday pummel each other with all their might, until Doomsday grievously wounds his opponent. Lois realizes Clark is going to die, and fights Doomsday with rocks from the ground. Doomsday extrudes a bony spear through his arms as he walks toward Lois to kill her. Superman sees this, and with one final burst of war cry, hurls himself straight towards Doomsday; Superman’s speed is enough to twist Doomsday’s neck around to kill it, but unfortunately, the beast also fatally stabs him through the chest, mortally wounding the Man of Steel. Lois holds a dying Superman in her arms. Having been assured that Doomsday is dead, and that the city is safe, Superman smiles and breathes his last breath.death-of-supermanJimmy broadcasts the death live all over the world, creating a global mourning. A state funeral is held for Superman where everyone except Batman, who is seen at Wayne Manor with his son mourning, attends the funeral. After the funeral, the Kents welcome Lois into their family. Jimmy rushes to Lois urging her to come with him to Superman’s mausoleum where they find his coffin open and a figure observing Superman’s statue before he flies away. In a series of mid and post credits scenes, Superman’s rocket self-starts and flies to the North Pole, burying itself under the Arctic Ice to terraform into the Fortress of Solitude as a Superman-like figure watches. Inside a secret lab owned by LexCorp, various Superman monster clones are destroyed, but one walks away and escapes. Dr. John Henry Irons is seen forging a metallic version of the Superman symbol onto a suit of armor. And lastly, a cyborg resembling Superman flying above the Earth’s atmosphere.maxresdefaultEasily one of the best DCAU films so far. The animation is high quality as always and the action sequences left me satisfied. Grittier take on Doomsday which adds more suspense to the film. The incorporation of the other leaguers adds more flavor to the story as well. All in all it’s funny in the right moments and touching in the rest. Great movie

 

REVIEW: AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – SEASON 2

Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

 

MAIN CAST

Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Diedrich Bader (Meet The Spartans)
Meg Donnelly (Zombies)
Daniel DiMaggio (Daddy’s Home 2)
Julia Butters (Transparent)
Ali Wong (The Lego Ninjago Movie)
Carly Hughes (Brampton’s Own)

Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Carly Craig (Hall Pass)
Jeannette Sousa (Insidious)
Barret Swatek (2 broke Girls)
Mallory Jansen (Agents of Shield)
Evan O’Toole (Cake)
George Hamilton (The Godfather Part III)
Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids)
Leslie Bibb (Popular)
Wendie Malick (Mom)
Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Julia Duffy (Newhart)
Sara Rue (Bones)
Joel David Moore (Julia X)
Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars)
Fiona Gubelmann (Wilfred)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)
Logan Pepper (Girls & Boys)
Jerry Lambert (Horrible Bosses 2)
Nikki Hahn (Genius)
Mercedes Colon (JAG)
George Wyner (Spaceballs)
Ravi Patel (transformers)
Mary Holland (Blunt Talk)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)

Diedrich Bader and Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)Of all the new shows on ABC last fall, there’s just one that kept my attention for the entire year: American Housewife. At first glance, it looks like a twist on the 80’s family sitcom full of narcissism and sass, but it’s a lot smarter than that. Each episode builds to a satisfying conclusion, with clever setups along the way leading to hilarious outcomes. But what’s more, the characters are relatable and through their faults, likable.Katy Mixon, Daniel DiMaggio, Meg Donnelly, and Julia Butters in American Housewife (2016)Reconnecting with the Otto family this season, Katie has a master plan to get out of a crazy commute that involves driving across town multiple times each day to get her kids to all of their after school activities. With their oldest daughter Taylor on the brink of getting her driver’s license, Katie can’t wait to take up hobbies like sitting in the bath drinking wine. But when Taylor reveals that she isn’t going to college, Greg wants to withhold Taylor’s drivers license as a motivator… and Katie is having none of it!George Hamilton and Daniel DiMaggio in American Housewife (2016)In typical American Housewife fashion, there’s a joke in this episode that gets setup early on, but has an even more hilarious payoff for those paying close attention near the end. Katie’s past also comes back to haunt her in a major way. When Anna-Kat refuses to participate in any after school activities, Katie’s plan of having Taylor drive everyone all the time falls apart. In order to get her daughter to be more outgoing, she has to volunteer at school functions with the same healthy trendy moms she spent last season mocking.Diedrich Bader, Katy Mixon, and Daniel DiMaggio in American Housewife (2016)If you aren’t already watching American Housewife, here’s what you need to know. Greg is a brilliant professor and his wife Katie doesn’t fit in with the athletic and trendy moms in their snobbish East Coast town of Westport, so she rebels through snark. The two oldest kids fit right in and often try to hide the fact that they are considered poor where they live, despite their upper middle class means. And the bottom line is mama Katie isn’t having any of it, so look out Westport and look out kids!NATHAN FILLION, KATY MIXONIn a world where weekly television series’ have to compete against streaming platforms like Netflix, it’s easy for shows like American Housewife to get lost in the shuffle. But what is clear to me is that this show has the power to stand up against the competition and you should tune in or at least add it to your Hulu watchlist. It’s guaranteed to be one of the funniest half hours of your week.

REVIEW: A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS – SEASON 2

Neil Patrick Harris, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, and Presley Smith in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)

MAIN CAST

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
Malina Weissman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Louis Hynes (Barbarians Rising)
Dylan Kingwell (BIg EYes)
Avi Lake (Meeting Evil)
K. Todd Freeman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Presley Smith
Tara Strong (Batman: The KIlling Joke)
Lucy Punch (The Wedding Video)

 

Malina Weissman, Kitana Turnbull, Louis Hynes, and Presley Smith in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Roger Bart (Trumbo)
Sara Rue (Mom)
Malcolm Stewart (Moon)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Nathan Fillion (Santa Clarita Diet)
Carol Mansell (In The Light of The Moon)
Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers)
Ken Jenkins (The Abyss)
Kerri Kenney-Silver (Reno 911!)
David Alan Grier (Jumanji)
Robbie Amell (The FLash)
Bonnie Morgan (Terminator: TSCC)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Patrick Breen (Get Shorty)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone)
Aasif Mandvi (Spider-Man 2)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
Allison Williams (Get Out)

 

 

Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)At the beginning of the new season of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Klaus and Violet Baudelaire (Louis Hynes and Malina Weissman) delivers lines laced with irony. “It feels like we’ve been sitting on this bench for months,” complains Violet. “We’ve been waiting so long Sunny is starting to look less like a baby and more like a toddler,” Klaus agrees, to the consternation of baby sister Sunny herself (Presley Smith).Neil Patrick Harris, Malina Weissman, and Louis Hynes in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)Sure, it may have been a year-long wait between series, but once you click on the first episode it feels like almost no time has passed in the Netflix series. Season two immediately throws us back into the miserable lives of the Baudelaire children, narrated by fictional author Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton) as they flee from the grasping clutches of the evil Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris).  As before, each of “Snicket’s” books (actually by Daniel Handler, who’s written some scripts for the series) is adapted over two episodes and follow a similar format: the orphans are shunted off to a new guardian by Mr Poe (K. Todd Freeman) and confronted by Count Olaf in disguise before using their special skills to foil his latest plot to steal their fortune. Their guardian also usually dies, unfortunately, which might explain why this year fewer and fewer suitable adults seem keen to have the Baudelaires on their doorstep.Sure, there are new enemies for Sunny, Klaus and Violet this year – including a very rich trendsetter played by Lucy Punch, a village of mean-spirited crow-lovers and a manic school principal – and a few new allies (most notably Nathan Fillion as the dashing Jacques Snicket and some sweet schoolfriends called the Quagmires), but for all intents and purposes these new episodes could have just slotted on to the end of the last series. And to be honest, that’s a great thing. The consistency and quality of this adaptation is wonderful to behold, especially if you’re a fan of the original book series who never thought its unique tone and vaguely gothic world could be faithfully brought to screen.Neil Patrick Harris and Lucy Punch in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)In the books, the Baudelaires never felt truly safe, and in a strange sort of way that was part of the appeal – a kind of vicarious danger, as well as the satisfaction of seeing the children free themselves from the clutches of evil or incompetent adults with nothing but their wits. Going into this series, I knew we’d be faced with some of the biggest gut-punch moments of the books – one at the end of the Austere Academy story, another inside a big lift and the other involving a giant red fish. On screen, they really don’t land quite as well as they did in print, where every scrap of happiness found by the Baudelaires is continually snatched away. In the back half of the series – as the Baudelaires decide to be more proactive in their hunt for answers about the enigmatic VFD organisation – things do start to take a darker, weirder turn that fans of the books will be happy to recognise.Neil Patrick Harris, John DeSantis, Lucy Punch, Jacqueline Robbins, Joyce Robbins, Matty Cardarople, and Usman Ally in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017)There’s no denying this is a brilliantly awful return to form for Snicket and Netflix’s disturbing world. Fingers crossed next year’s final series can keep up the quality to give the Baudelaires the grim, strange end we deserve.

REVIEW: SANTA CLARITA DIET – SEASON 2

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in Santa Clarita Diet (2017)

MAIN CAST

Drew Barrymore (Charlies Angels)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Liv Hewson (Inhumans)
Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spider-Man)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jee Young Han (Why Him?)
Zachary Knighton (Flashforward)
Maggie Lawson (The Ranch)
Ramona Young (Z Nation)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Joel McHale (Spider-Man 2)
Andy Richter (Elf)
Natalie Morales (The Grinder)
Richard T. Jones (Terminator: TSCC)
Adam Rose (Veronica Mars)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Masterminds)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Sarah Baker (The Campaign)

santa-clarita-diet-season-2-joel-mchale-castSeconds are seldom as good as the initial meal. You’ve already eaten. Your stomach is beginning to fill. The mystery of the menu is gone. And because a food analogy isn’t strong enough to encompass a television show, the same thing about seconds can also be said with zombie films. There are rare occasions where the sequel is stronger than the original movie, but there’s usually a diminishing return the more you see zombies. These are areas where the “second course” is inevitably disappointing in comparison to the first, however Santa Clarita Diet season 2 rises above these expectations. If anything this new season will leave the audience hungry for more rather than feeling full from these undead antics. When the last season of Santa Clarita Diet ended, the series started to finally find a fitting groove and the tone. Santa Clarita Diet’s second season overpowers season one in practically every way possible.t5sbiwdabipjop4ures7The biggest strengths from the first season of Santa Clarita Diet came from Victor Fresco’s (Better Off Ted, Andy Richter Controls the Universe) irreverent, fearless comedy that was allowed to inject itself into an outrageous premise. All of that is still present and some of the rougher patches from the series’ freshman year like Barrymore’s broad performance or the show’s inconsistent tone during its beginning are now smoothed out. The series also benefits from everyone going into “rescue mode” over Sheila and her condition rather than the whole “let’s hide the central story” aspect that dominates so much of the first season. The training wheels are now off and this show really starts to get creative and have fun with its premise.6ccb292a-6ab9-4760-8a4d-dbdcec443b43Much of Santa Clarita Diet season 2 focuses on the Hammond family’s attempts to normalize their situation. For instance, if Sheila is chained up in the basement, then why not dress up the basement and slap a fresh coat of paint on the ugly situation? Right from the jump of the season there may be people who are anxious that Sheila should just be murdered, but clearly the family is in for the long haul. Joel, Abby, and even Eric are all blissfully hopeful towards their unique situation. Curiously enough, in spite of all the high stakes life and death undead material, Joel and Sheila still worry about their real estate job and it occupies a reasonable part of the season. That might seem like a considerably less important aspect of the series, but it’s encouraging to see the show try to embrace this normalcy, for better or worse. Meanwhile, Joel and Sheila’s murder-happy misadventures still go down under the nose of Deputy Ann, who’s only a few doors away. The ways in which they both squirm out of conversations with Ann and proceed to make matters worse for themselves is always the best kind of awkward mess. Sheila and Joel also find themselves in the weird situation where murder seems to be the best way to handle their problems, but they don’t just want to resort to murder whenever they’re caught in a bind, regardless of how good they may have gotten at it.Skyler Gisondo and Liv Hewson in Santa Clarita Diet (2017)At the same time, these middle-aged parents also realize that without these adrenaline-pumping murders in their lives they’re pretty boring people who don’t have much game. At one point Joel laments, “We’re realtors, so killing people and stuffing them in our fridge doesn’t come naturally.” That’s basically this show in a nutshell. Sheila’s “condition” is an obvious problem, but this season is just as interested in the fact that that Joel and his wife haven’t been able to have a date night, build a bookshelf, or write a yelp review since all of this undead business started. Santa Clarita Diet season 2 also starts to expand the show’s world in bigger ways. There are more undead individuals that are out there in addition to organizations that are on the hunt for a cure or a means to exterminate this epidemic. These secret factions begin to come out of the woodwork this season and it’s a good creative move on the show’s part. Joel and Sheila’s secret life continues to intersect with their job and social lives in interesting ways, all of which make the two of them continue to ponder whether they’re good people or not. It’s great to see Joel and Sheila use death and horror as a prop for comedy. You really don’t see that perspective anywhere else in this context—it’s almost like a suburban Dexter or The Walking Dead. Sure there are programs like Ash Vs the Evil Dead or Stan Against Evil, but this is so deeply entrenched in its family dynamic and is a comedy first and horrorsecond.santa-clarita-diet-season-2-netflix-feature

This season also digs into the bigger questions, like how Sheila became infected in the first place. Joel and company assume that if they figure this out then they can reverse engineer the rest of this mystery. The show’s mythology explodes in a big way here and the story turns into something that’s so much more interesting than simply a comedic take on zombies, which the show could be guilty of during its first season. The show’s lore goes to some fascinating places that touch on territory like the Knights of the Templar and all sorts of things that you wouldn’t expect. One of the best things about Santa Clarita Diet is its phenomenal cast and in the show’s second season everyone’s only more comfortable in these roles. There’s seriously such chemistry between the reluctantly murderous Hammond family. Their dynamic really clicks this year and they all feel more natural in a way that was absent last season. Timothy Olyphant’s Joel continues to play unhinged and flustered in the best way possible. The wide-eyed, beleaguered way in which he does comedy is perfect for this universe.santa-clarita-diet-season-2-trailerDrew Barrymore does an even better job as Sheila this season now that she’s acclimated to the role a little better. She plays the role with the glee of a puppy who’s just found a new toy. The show also really explores the beauty in how becoming undead can allow people to finally become the people that they wanted to be in life. It just happens to be something that comes with the awful side effect of needing to consume human flesh. Some of the best work from this season comes from the younger half of the show’s cast. Skyler Gisondo really gets to step up his game as the hapless Eric Bemis and he finds himself overwhelmed in a whole new way this year. His burgeoning relationship with Abby continues to make for believable tension between the two of them as well. On that note, this season is also a real showpiece for Abby’s Liv Hewson. The character goes through a metamorphosis that is a lot of fun to watch. Abby redefines who she is in both school and real life and it’s a fascinating arc for her character. Sometimes your mom turning into a zombie can be just as life changing as turning into the zombie yourself.20190221-PAGEONE-SANTA-CLARITASanta Clarita Diet’s second season features strong storytelling and performances, but it also doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the extreme visuals and gore. This season features gruesome sights like broken thumbs, the lesson of what microwave settings to apply to frozen body parts, spider balls, and explosions of blood that make it seem like humans are carbonated soda that are just waiting to burst. In this sense, the show’s humor is still particularly on point and many conversations should make audiences laugh out loud, such as the prospect of sprucing up a kill room so it doesn’t so obviously look like a kill room or the debate of whether it’s discriminatory to kill a Nazi who’s in a wheelchair and the moral relativism of such a murder. Santa Clarita Diet proves that it has a sustainable vision and that this show is more than just some one-season fad. If anything the show is only getting better and it doesn’t suffer from the usual problems that can afflict Netflix shows, such as the season’s pacing. Admittedly, some of the show’s fight scenes play out a little awkwardly and look low budget, but it’s hardly a big deal. This isn’t Daredevil. The show’s second season snowballs and culminates in an impressive way where the year ends on a huge note that once more questions the status quo of the series. The bottom line here is that it’s consistently compelling and enjoyable to see if Joel and Sheila can continue to keep all of their blood-soaked balls in the air.

 

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: TWO GUYS AND GIRL: THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

Image result for Two Guys and a Girl LOGO

MAIN CAST

Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Richard Ruccolo (Rita Rocks)
Traylor Howard (Son of The Mask)
Suzanne Cryer (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Jillian Bach (Julie & Julia)

4x17-a-very-crappy-christmas-south-park-21651796-500-375

GUEST CAST

Marguerite MacIntyre (The Vampire Diaries)
Michael Welch (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Robert Goulet (Scrooged)
Adam Caine (Days of Our Lives)

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TWO GUYS, A GIRL AND A CHRISTMAS STORY

Pete embarks on a new relationship with an older woman who has a 10-year old son. Sharon is having trouble organizing an office Christmas party and it’s only 4 days till Christmas. Berg is having trouble with one of his older patients who doesn’t seem to like him.

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OUT WITH THE OLD

Berg treats Robert Goulet for an ear infection. When Goulet learns that he cannot fly to the destination where he is doing a gig, Berg seizes the opportunity to get him to sing at Ashley’s New Year’s Eve party. But Berg has to work that night, so he swaps with another doctor whom Ashley has a crush on. She thinks he did it intentionally. Johnny tries to get out of a romantic evening with Sharon to hear Robert sing saying that his late grandfather used to sit him on his lap when he was a kid and play some of Goulet’s songs. Pete invites Irene to the party and she surprises him by acting normal. He even starts to fancy her, but Goulet moves in on his gal before he can get anywhere with her. To be a nice guy, Berg goes back to the hospital and swaps back his shift with the English doctor that Ashley likes. Ashley goes to the hospital to thank him and they end up having sex on a hospital bed.

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This was one of the funniest sit-coms ever, and it’s a shame that it had low ratings. Both the writing and acting were top rate. I usually hate TV sit coms. The actors tend to over do it, and most stories are trite, ie, been there, done that. But Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place was always inventively funny, and, I think, very genuine for the age group it was portraying. The Christmas episodes were some of the best they ever made. I highly recommend it.

REVIEW: PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS

CAST

Logan Lerman (Fury)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw)
Douglas Smith (Big Love)
Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games)
Stanley Tucci (Easy A)
Jake Abel (Love & Mercy)
Anthony Head (Buffy: TVS)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Brandon T. Jackson (Fast & Furious)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express)
Robert Knepper (IZombie)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Robert Maillet (Hercules)
Paloma Kwiatkowski (Bates Motel)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (Flashforward)
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl)
Yvette Nicole Brown (500 Days of Summer)
Derek Mears (Hatchet III)
Alisha Newton (Heartland)

While in Camp Half-Blood, Percy recounts the story of Thalia and her sacrifice. A young Annabeth, Luke, Grover and Thalia are running to Camp Half-Blood while being pursued by monsters. Thalia sacrifices herself to get the others into the camp, and her father Zeus transforms her into a pine tree, creating a magical border around the camp. Soon a Cyclops passes through the border and is revealed to be Tyson, Percy’s half-brother. The camp is later attacked by a Colchis Bull who breaks through the border and ravages Camp Half-Blood. Percy defeats it with the help of Tyson, Annabeth, and Clarisse. Following this, Luke (who had survived his and Percy’s battle in the previous film) appears and confronts Percy, trying to convert him to his cause. When Percy refuses, Luke disappears.The campers realize that Thalia’s tree has been poisoned by Luke and they are vulnerable to attacks. Percy visits the Oracle, who tells him of a prophecy of a half-blood of the eldest gods either saving or destroying Olympus. Chiron tells Percy that he is the only living, human half-blood of the eldest gods, so the half-blood in the Prophecy may refer to him. Annabeth and Grover learn about the Golden Fleece, which has the power to heal anything, and propose a quest in which they retrieve the Fleece and use it to heal Thalia’s tree. Mr. D chooses Clarisse to lead the quest, much to Annabeth’s and Percy’s dismay. Percy convinces Grover and Annabeth to accompany him on the quest, and Tyson joins them. Annabeth hails the Chariot of Damnation, and Percy threatens the three drivers (the Graeae) to tell him of his prophecy, giving him coordinates for the Sea of Monsters (the Bermuda Triangle) before ejecting the group from the cab in Washington D.C. because they lack money.While walking down the street, Grover is kidnapped by Chris Rodriguez and taken to Luke. Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson first locate Luke with the help of Hermes, then ride a Hippokampos to his yacht, the Andromeda. Luke reveals his plan to revive Kronos using the Fleece so Olympus will be destroyed. Percy and they are then locked in the brig, though they later escape when Percy uses his ability to manipulate water. The group is consumed by Charybdis, and they discover Clarisse in the monster’s stomach. Percy and Clarisse work together to escape Charybdis by shooting a hole through its gut, and soon they arrive at Circeland, Polyphemus’s lair. Percy finds Grover, and the five escape Polyphemus, retrieving the fleece and trapping him in his cave. Afterwards, Luke arrives and demands the fleece from Percy, who refuses. Luke shoots a crossbow bolt at Percy, but Tyson takes the bolt in the chest and falls into the water below.Luke begins reviving Kronos and Annabeth encourages Percy to take leadership. The team escapes captivity, and Percy grapples with Luke over the Fleece, like the prophecy said they would, but Luke easily gains the upper hand. Luke is suddenly thrown away by Tyson, revealed to have survived his wound due to the water healing it, as he is Poseidon’s son. Kronos rises from the sarcophagus and consumes Luke and Grover before battling Percy. Percy realizes that Riptide is the “cursed blade” of the prophecy and slices Kronos into pieces imprisoning Kronos in the sarcophagus once again, causing him to regurgitate Grover and Luke, the latter landing in Polyphemus’s Lair. Their victory is short lived as Annabeth is stabbed by the Manticore, who is killed in turn by Clarisse and Grover. Annabeth dies in Percy’s arms but is resurrected by the Fleece. Percy then gives the fleece to Clarisse, and they return to Camp Half-Blood. Clarisse places the fleece on Thalia’s tree. The group returns the next day to find Thalia alive, as the fleece returned her to human form. Percy realizes that Thalia, as a child of Zeus, is another possible child of the prophecy about either preserving or destroying Olympus. The film ends showing the sarcophagus with Kronos’s remains in it glowing, implying that Kronos still has some degree of his power, and is still planning to return.Exciting fantasy film with excellent effects and light hearted banter, great for all ages, sequel to Percy Jackson and the lightening thief.