HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1999)

CAST

Geoffrey Rush (Shakespeare In Love)
Famke Janssen (X-Men)
Ali Larter (Heroes)
Taye Diggs (Basic)
Peter Gallagher (American Beauty)
Chris Kattan (Undercovr Brother)
Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (Billy Madison)
Max Perlich (Blow)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator)
James Marsters (Caprica)

Still from House on Haunted Hill (1999)

The head of a now abandoned asylum, Dr. Richard B. Vannacutt (Jeffrey Combs), once performed grotesque experiments on the patients, killing many in the process. The hospital was closed in 1931 after the patients escaped from their cells, killing the entire staff (except five who were not present) and setting fire to the hospital. Vannacutt had rigged the building with numerous iron gates, activated by cranks and levers that cannot be reset for twelve hours, to keep patients from escaping. He closed the gates during the fire, dooming the patients and himself to death. Decades later, during reconstruction of the facility, several unexplained deaths result in the building being dubbed “The House on Haunted Hill”.
Still from House on Haunted Hill (1999)
In 1999, Evelyn Stockard-Price (Famke Janssen), a spoiled trophy wife, is in a disintegrating marriage with Steven Price (Geoffrey Rush), an amusement park mogul with a wicked sense of humor. Price leases the house from the owner, Watson Pritchett (Chris Kattan), for Evelyn’s birthday party. Evelyn gives Price a lengthy guest list; he shreds it to spite her and then creates one of his own. Five guests arrive for the party – Jennifer Jenzen (Ali Larter), Eddie Baker (Taye Diggs), Melissa Margaret Marr (Bridgette Wilson), Dr. Donald Blackburn (Peter Gallagher), and Pritchett himself. The guests are not the ones Price invited—neither Evelyn nor Price know who they are. Despite this, Price continues the party’s theme, offering $1 million to each guest who stays in the house and survives until morning, with any person not making it having his money added to the pot.

The security gates are tripped, locking everyone inside. After finding some hand guns, Jennifer, Eddie and Pritchett decide to take one of the guns. Meanwhile, Price scolds Carl Schecter (Max Perlich), a company employee – who has developed a series of harmless traps to scare the guests— for not letting him know he planned to pull a stunt like closing the iron gates. When Schecter states that he is not responsible, Price believes Evelyn is responsible. Meanwhile, Pritchett, Eddie and Jennifer go into the lower levels to find a way to open the gates. As Eddie and Jennifer explore the dungeon-like basement, Jennifer confesses to Eddie that her real name is Sara Wolfe, and that she’s an out-of-work assistant to the real Jennifer Jenzen. And that she attended the party in Jennifer’s place because she needed the prize money. However, the two are separated, and Sara is nearly drowned in tank of blood by a ghost impersonating Eddie. Though the real Eddie arrives in time to save her.

Melissa disappears when she wanders off in the basement, leaving behind a massive trail of blood. After Melissa’s disappearance, Price goes to Schecter to accuse him of faking the killing and hiding her; when he turns the seat around Schecter is found brutally murdered. Price sees a doctor walking through the room with a bloody knife on a surveillance monitor and fruitlessly chases after him. Shortly after, Evelyn dies in front of the others, when they find her mysteriously strapped onto a hypercharged electroshock therapy table. Furious, Price pulls a gun on the guests, demanding to know which one of them killed his wife. Sara nearly shoots him, but Eddie knocks him out before either one can kill the other. The remaining guests lock Price in the “Saturation Chamber”, an archaic device that Vannacut used to treat schizophrenics. Blackburn volunteers to stay behind to guard Price, while the others search for another way out. Seemingly clueless as to what the machine is or how it works, Blackburn turns the chamber on with Price still inside, and leaves him trapped. The chamber bombards Price with moving images and ghostly hallucinations until it drives him catatonic.

Meanwhile, Sara and Eddie find Vannacut’s office. Inside, they find a portrait of all the head staff, most of which have their last names, as well Price’s and Evelyn’s maiden name, on a staff picture from the asylum. Pritchett explains that that the spirits themselves created the guest list specifically to include the descendants of the five members of Vannacutt’s staff who did not die in the 1931 incident. The only exception is Blackburn, whose name does not appear amongst the staff.

Blackburn is revealed as Evelyn’s lover and they are working together to kill Price. Evelyn, who was brought back to life by Blackburn, kills him and uses his body to frame her husband. Sara, who heard Melissa moaning in the basement, comes across an incoherent Price in the basement, still delirious from his “treatment” in the saturation chamber. Believing that he is Blackburn’s murderer, shoots him as he begs her to help him. After the others return upstairs, Evelyn approaches Price to gloat, and Price, protected by a bullet-proof vest, attempts to kill Evelyn. The two scuffle before Price throws her through a decaying door. Inside the rotting room, the two realize they just stumbled upon the evil core of the house. The Darkness – a dark, shape-shifting creature composed of the spirits in the house – awakens and begins to take form. Evelyn is captured by the Darkness, which assimilates Evelyn into itself, killing her while Price watches in horror. The Darkness emerges in front of Price, revealing that it is composed of “everyone who died and is responsible”. This force begins to pursue Price. Pritchett is killed by The Darkness, allowing Price to evade it. Price tells Sara and Eddie that “the house is alive” and deduces that the only way to get out is through the attic. The three flee as The Darkness begins to seep through the house, manipulating the walls and shattering the floors as it chases them.

As they flee, Sara trips, and the Darkness uses Melissa’s form to try to lure her to it. Price activates a pulley that reveals an opening in the window of the attic. When the Darkness seeps into the attic, Price sacrifices himself to give the others time to escape, but the Darkness reactivates the iron gate after Sara escapes, trapping Eddie inside. When The Darkness confronts Eddie about his ancestor’s actions, it takes on several forms of all the guests who died during the party. Eddie screams out of desperation that he was actually adopted. As the Darkness prepares to assimilate Eddie, Pritchett’s ghost appears and opens the iron gate. The Darkness is distracted by Pritchett long enough for Eddie to escape out the window to Sara on an outside ledge. Pritchett’s ghost and the Darkness then both fade away. As Sara and Eddie watch the sun rise, they notice an envelope on the ledge. It contains all five $1 million checks, made out to cash. After the credits, a black-and-white film shows the patients torturing Evelyn and Price in the afterlife.

Overall the film starts like any other Hollywood horror but the clever direction, creepy music and imaginative visuals of Dr Vannacutt all create a creepy feel to the film that is better than the gore that also comes. The final section slides back into standard fare with the old CGI evil coming to get us – but up till then it’s surprisingly good stuff.

REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 8

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica)
Thomas Lennon (Santa Clarita Diet)
Ashley Williams (A Most Violent Year)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Bill Fagerbakke (spngebob Squarepants)
Suzie Plakson (Red Eye)
Jane Carr (Legends of Tomorrow)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
David Henrie (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Joe Manganiello (Justice League)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Chelan Simmons (Good Luck Chuck)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Peter Gallagher (New Girl)
Alexis Denisof (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Ashley Benson (Pixels)
Abby Elliott (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
James Van Der Beek (Varsity Blues)
Jason Priestley (Tru Calling)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
Dave Thomas (Rat Race)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Mike Tyson (The Hangover)
Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Jayma Mays (Heroes)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (S.W.A.T.)
Mircea Monroe (The Change-Up)
Frances Conroy (Catwoman)
Ralph Macchio (Ugly Betty)
William Zabka (The Karate Kid)
Keegan-Michael Key (The Predator)
Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Ted visits Robin on the day of her wedding to Barney, causing him to remember how he and Victoria ran away from her wedding to be together. The summer is spent with Ted, Barney and Robin enjoying their current relationships however all subsequently break up with their partners. Victoria splits up with Ted over his friendship with Robin, Barney and Quinn break up due to their inability to trust each other and Robin breaks up with Nick realizing his immaturity. Robin and Barney kiss but decide not to get together, despite Barney’s wishes. Barney then begins dating Robin’s hated co-worker Patrice (Ellen D. Williams), a relationship later exposed as a ruse to make Robin realize her true feelings for him. In a culminating scene Barney proposes to Robin, who says yes.Ashley Williams and Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Marshall and Lily attempt to get used to being parents, which causes a brief estrangement from the gang as Baby Marvin takes up the majority of their time. Lily’s father Mickey becomes Marvin’s nanny, freeing the two up to spend more time with their friends. The Captain, ex-husband of Ted’s old girlfriend Zoey, offers Lily a job as an art consultant due to her identifying a painting that made a huge profit for him. Lily accepts, happy to finally achieve her dream of having a job in the art industry while Marshall decides to apply to become a judge. The Captain offers Lily a year’s work in Rome, which she accepts with Marshall’s blessing. However, just before Barney and Robin’s wedding, Marshall is informed that his application to become a judge has been granted, a development that would require them to stay in the US.Ted briefly dates Jeanette (Abby Elliott), a girl who stalked him after he appeared on the cover of New York Magazine due to his design of GNB headquarters. He quickly realizes he’s made a mistake and breaks up with her. Ted’s feelings of loneliness grow, especially as he is now the only single member of the group, and he decides he is truly ready to settle down. He argues with Lily over hiring a DJ or a band for Barney and Robin’s wedding, but is forced to provide a band at short notice when Lily concedes the argument. During a chance meeting on the subway, Cindy offers the services of her roommate’s wedding band; said roommate is Ted’s future wife.Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother (2005)As the week of the wedding approaches, Robin has doubts about marrying Barney and shares an emotional moment with Ted. Guilty, Ted realizes he can’t be around Barney and Robin after they’re married and decides to move to Chicago the day after the wedding. The season concludes with everyone travelling to Barney and Robin’s wedding, including the mother of Ted’s children (revealed on screen for the first time and portrayed by Cristin Milioti), who is seen buying a train ticket to the venue and holding her yellow umbrella.Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother (2005)The Second to last season brings us closer to the endgame and the big reveal of the Mother is the biggest of all the revelations.

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 6

Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

Starring

Zooey Deschanel (Bridge to Terabithia)
Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Game Night)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone, Lamorne Morris, and Ayden Mayeri in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Nelson Franklin (Scotty Pilgrim vs The World)
Curtis Amrstrong (American Dad)
Rebecca Reid (I Live With Models)
Andy Samberg (That’s My Boy)
Andre Braugher (The Mist)
Chelsea Peretti (Game Night)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Let’s Be Cops)
Nora Dunn (Bones)
Peter Gallagher (American Beauty)
Emily Chang (The Vampire Diaries)
Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Megan Fox (Transformers)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery)
Rob Reiner (EDTV)
June Diane Raphael (Year One)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)

Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, and Hannah Simone in New Girl (2011)Entering its sixth season, ensemble comedy New Girl takes a modern look at friendship and romance, as a group of five friends attempt to find their respective places in the world, while begrudgingly accepting the responsibilities of adulthood–with often hilarious results. As the series’ fifth season came to a close, the loft-mates celebrated the wedding of Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Cece (Hannah Simone), as Jess (Zooey Deschanel) contemplated her renewed romantic feelings toward Nick (Jake Johnson). Meanwhile, Winston (Lamorne Morris) took his pranking to a whole new level, and found himself stuck in an actual marriage, while also attempting to get his cat, Furguson, into a Hollywood blockbuster and carrying on an illicit affair with his police partner, Aly (Nasim Pedrad).Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone in New Girl (2011)

Highlights Include

House Hunt

Schmidt and Cece have a hard time looking for their new house. In the meantime, Jess attempts to get Nick out of her mind when he returns earlier than expected and Winston tries having a long-distance relationship with Aly.
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Max Greenfield in New Girl (2011)

Hubbedy Bubby

Jess and Cece attempt to recruit voters for the upcoming Presidential election to win a bet with Schmidt, while Nick learns the ways of modern phone sex from Winston.
Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone, Lamorne Morris, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)

Homecoming

On a trip to New York, Jess helps detective Jake Peralta with a case and meets Captain Ray Holt and Gina Linetti at his precinct, while Nick and Winston attempt to impress Charles Boyle and Cece faces off with her mother-in-law.
Peter Gallagher and Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

Last Thanksgiving

Jess and the gang are determined to have the best Thanksgiving ever, but everything falls through when Robby shows up unexpectedly and Schmidt’s father arrives with a broken heart.
Megan Fox and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)

Christmas Eve Eve

Jess plays Secret Santa for the loft.
Megan Fox in New Girl (2011)

The Cubicle

Jess goes to the extremes to pay Robby’s medical bills upon learning the total.
Zooey Deschanel and Nelson Franklin in New Girl (2011)

The Hike

While on a day hike, Jess and Robby discover something unexpected about their relationship. Also, Winston throws a surprise welcome home party for Aly. Meanwhile, Schmidt and Cece fail to impress their new neighbors.
Zooey Deschanel and Max Greenfield in New Girl (2011)

Rumspringa

Nick and Schmidt take Jess on a trip to Solvang when she gets nervous about her new job as principal.
Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, and Hannah Simone in New Girl (2011)

Socalyalcon VI

Jess thinks she’s been spending too much time acting like Reagan; Schmidt and Cece try to make their new home more secure; Aly tells Winston an embarrassing secret.
Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone in New Girl (2011)

Five Stars for Beezus

Jess prepares to tell Nick how she really feels about him. In other events, Nick has a meeting with a book publisher, Aly helps Winston reconnect with someone important and big news comes along for Schmidt and Cece.
Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)
 Featuring fresh writing, standout performances, New Girl is just as lovable funny as ever!

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 5

Starring

Zooey Deschanel (Bridge to Terabithia)
Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Game Night)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Anna George (The Lovely Bones)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Nelson Franklin (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Taran Killam (12 Years A Slave)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle Creation)
Fred Armisen (Anchorman)
Kiersey Clemons (Dope)
Ally Maki (Cloak & Dagger)
Megan Fox (Transformers)
Clea DuVall (Better Call Saul)
Elizabeth Berkley (Showgirls)
Peter Gallagher (American Beauty)
Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
David Walton (Bad Moms)
Busy Philipps (Made of Honor)
Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery)
Kal Penn (House)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Let’s Be Cops)
Nora Dunn (Bones)
Kim Wayans (Pariah)
Meaghan Rath (Being Human)

Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Hannah Simone, Lamorne Morris, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)The laughs continue as one of television’s wittiest comedies returns for a hilarious fifth season–and it’s landmark 100th episode. Although Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) remain broken up, Schmidt and Cece (Max Greenfield and Hannah Simone) are headed down the aisle. Disaster arrives when the loft becomes an Airbnb, Schmidt’s bachelor party hits the road and Cece’s judgmental mum shows up. Meanwhile, Jess lands a fantastic teaching gig, only to learn her boss is dating her ex and Winston (Lamorne Morris) gets a great new girlfriend – or does he?Zooey Deschanel and Anna George in New Girl (2011)

Episode Highlights Include

Big Mama P

Schmidt and Cece give the honor of best man and maid of honor to Nick and Jess, respectively. Jess plans an elaborate engagement party for the couple, with the intent of surprising Cece with a visit from her mother, Priyanka (Anna George). Nick is given the responsibility of picking up Cece’s mother from the airport, but picks up the wrong woman. After saving a boy’s life from under the weight of a car, Winston becomes tired of being labeled as a hero instead of being known for his pranking side.Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

 

Jury Duty

Jess is thrilled when she is called for jury duty, but an opportunity to be acting principal presents itself with her now wanting to get out of jury duty. Nick and Cece’s constant bickering about the apartment rules puts Schmidt between them.

No Girl

With Jess sequestered at jury duty, Nick turns the loft into an air b-n-b in order to help pay for Schmidt’s upcoming bachelor party. Meanwhile, Winston asks Cece for help when he suspects KC is cheating on him in the all-new.

Megan Fox in New Girl (2011)

Reagan

A beautiful pharmaceutical rep enters the gang’s life when she agrees to sublet Jess’ room while she is on jury duty.
Megan Fox and Lamorne Morris in New Girl (2011)

Wig

When Nick’s attraction to Reagan starts affecting Schmidt and Cece’s relationship, they enact a plan to demystify her, in hopes of helping Nick get over her. Meanwhile, Winston teaches Reagan the art of the breakup.
Zooey Deschanel and Megan Fox in New Girl (2011)

Goosebumps Walkaway

Jess returns from jury duty and attempts to uncover the real identity of a juror sequestered with her. Meanwhile, Reagan prepares to move out of the loft and out of Nick’s life, and Winston and Cece help Schmidt get over his fear of public dancing.

Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

D-Day

After Cece receives an exciting new job offer, Jess agrees to help Schmidt with the wedding preparations, but things don’t go as planned when Schmidt’s dad, Gavin, appears. Meanwhile, Winston and Nick get into a competition over whose job is harder.

Zooey Deschanel and Lucy Punch in New Girl (2011)

Sam, Again

Jess applies for a job at a progressive new school, but things take a turn when she finds out the principal is dating her ex-boyfriend, Sam. Meanwhile, Nick gets a cold and Schmidt quarantines the roommates to prevent himself from getting sick before his big presentation.

Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

300 Feet

When Jess is served a restraining order by her former boyfriend, Sam, she sets out to clear her name with Winston’s help. Nick and Schmidt plot against the owner of a trendy new bar that opened on their street.
Max Greenfield and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)

Road Trip

After being emasculated in front of Cece, Schmidt insists on a manly bachelor party weekend in Vegas, but the road trip goes awry when the guys end up at a desert biker bar and he must put his newfound bravado to the test.
Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

Dress

The wedding is coming up and Jess hasn’t finished Cece’s wedding dress. Schmidt has been ignoring work while doing the wedding planning.
Cece_bride

Landing Gear

Schmidt makes a last ditch effort to convince Cece’s mom to come to their wedding, but in doing so, he might miss the special day himself.
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 Featuring fresh writing, standout performances and popular guest stars Henry Winkler, Julie Hagerty, Fred Armisen and Nasim Pedrad, New Girl is as lovable funny as ever!

REVIEW: SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 3

Starring

Tim Daly (Madam Secretary)
Dana Delany (Desperate Housewives)
David Kaufman (Stargate SG.1)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)

66ecc5cb9e5f69f97e34a97d45d7e8f4--warrior-queen-queen-maxima

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sharon Lawrence (The Ranch)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Renée Taylor (The Nanny)
Jack Carter (McCloud)
Brad Garrett (Christopher Robin)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Steve Sandor (The Yellow Rose)
Joseph Bologna (Big Daddy)
Bruce Weitz (Half Past Dead)
Victor Brandt (The Batman)
Mike Farrell (Patch Adams)
Shelley Fabares (Coach)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
Diane Michelle (Robotech: The Movie)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
William H. Macy (Fargo)
Peter Gallagher (The Gifted)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mathew Valencia (The New Batman Advntures)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
John Glover (Smallville)
Paul Williams (Smokey and The Bandit)
Henry Silva (Above The Law)
Bob Hastings (The Poseidon Adventure)
Charity James (Space Jam)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Jason Priestley (Tru Calling)
Jason Marsden (Hocus Pocus)
Chad Lowe (Unfaithful)
Melissa Joan Hart (No GOod Nick)
Joely Fisher (The Mask)
Bud Cort (Harold and Maude)
Townsend Coleman (The Tick)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Gilbert Gottfried (Critters: A New Binge)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Carl Lumbly (Supergirl)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 & 2)
Ted Levine (The Silence of The Lambs)
Michael P. Greco (Bleach)
George Dzundza (Crimson Tide)
Peter Mark Richman (Defenders of The Earth)
Melissa Disney (Superman vs The Elite)
Malcolm McDowell (Star Trek: Generations)
Billy West (Futurama)
Stephen Root (Barry)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
David Warner (Tron)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
Michael Horse (Roswell)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)

3447328-absolute-powerSuperman is everywhere. He’s also been everywhere; for nearly seventy years now the character has been inspiring us with his tales of heroism, adventure, and fantasy. Seventy years is a long time and with a character as popular as Superman it equates to a lot of different interpretations. From the original comic books to a radio series to a handful of television shows, it seems that the Last Son of Krypton has done it all. We are very lucky then to have these DVDs, because in all of that time, throughout all the years, the stories found in Superman: The Animated Series are his best. The fifty-four cartoon episodes (spread across three boxed sets) that make up the complete run of Superman: The Animated Series aren’t just the best take on the character because they’re faithful. Nor is it because they’re animated, for all ages, or very imaginative. It’s for all of these reasons. And several more.3447300-little_big_head_manThe creative team behind the series has plundered the rich mythology of the character and come up with a fantastic take on each and every piece of the Superman universe. For starters, their Clark Kent and Lois Lane interpretation is spot-on. Clark isn’t too much of a goof, nor is he too simple. Similarly, Lois is fiery, funny, and lovely. Seeing the characters come together at the end of Legacy, Part 2 makes for a great cathartic moment. Superman has saved Lois a countless number of times, it is only fitting then that Lois save him when he needs it. The main arc of this season borrows from the comic book universe and brings Darkseid and his homeworld to the forefront. Hinted at earlier in the show, it’s in this third volume that the Lord of Apokolips finally gets his payoff – and his payback. In a trio of two-parters, Apokolips… Now!, Little Girl Lost, and Legacy, Superman fights one of his most ruthless foes in a series of episodes that offer some excellent action, drama, and science fiction fun.maxresdefault (1)While these episodes are very faithful to the mythos, we’ve also got a great selection of original stories that go to prove that with a character like Superman, there is no limit to the stories that you can tell. One of my favorites is Knight Time. When Batman goes missing, Superman pays a visit to Gotham City and tries to find out where his friend has gone. Supes inadvertently ends up masquerading as Batman – dressing up in the Dark Knight’s costume and everything! – and teams up with Robin to solve the mystery of the missing Bruce Wayne. Not only is the episode entertaining, but it’s also got a great sense of humor. Seeing Superman do his best impersonation of Batman is wonderful – Clark doesn’t know which utility pockets contain what, and his attempts at being grim (nodding his head instead of speaking) are great.stas-legacy7Watching these shows you get the feeling that it was during this final stretch of episodes that the show’s producers were finding new ways of playing with the formula that they had designed, and perfected, with both Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series. Not only do these Superman episodes have a lot of two-parters, but we’ve also got some great guest-stars; it seems that this show is the precursor to Justice League. We’ve got heroes, Kyle Rayner from In Brightest Day, and villains, Ra’s Al Ghul in The Demon Reborn, and everyone in between – everyone’s favorite master of the sea, Aquaman in Fish Story. We also get an expansion of the Superman supporting cast when Supergirl makes a welcome appearance in the Little Girl Lost two-parter.Superman_TAS_2x27_001The animation is somewhat more limited when compared to the fancy digital effects that more modern shows exhibit, but the handcrafted style gives the show a wonderful atmosphere. If you pay close attention you’ll notice that a lot of effort has gone into the design of the animation – much more so than most animated series. The framing here is frequently packed. Helping flesh out the world are all of the voice actors; everyone from Tim Daly (as Superman/Clark) to Clancy Brown (as Lex Luthor) is perfect in his or her role. The only thing holding the show back, and this is a small point, is the fact that the stories, due to their child-friendly animated nature, are a little more limited than the best television shows tend to be. Even so, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better adventure series – animated or live action.Superman_meets_SupergirlIn one of the episodes found in this collection, Superman pays his final respects to a recently departed friend. In the graveyard, Superman comes to realize something very important: “In the end, the world didn’t really need a Super man. Just a brave one.” This show gives us a character who is both brave and super. It gives us a real hero. It gives us Superman… as good as he’s ever been.

REVIEW: EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT – SEASON 1

Starring

Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Lisa Howard (Highlander: The Series)
Von Flores (Never Cry Werewolf)
Richard Chevolleau (Hannibal)
Leni Parker (Screamers)
David Hemblen (La Femme Nikita)

Earth: Final Conflict (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Filipowich (24)
Lisa Ryder (Andromeda)
John Evans (Street Legal)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek: TNG)
Miranda Kwok (Jane Doe)
Shary Guthrie (Highlander: The Raven)
Malin Akerman (Watchmen)
Emily Hampshire (12 Monkeys)
Peter Krantz (Exotica)
David Calderisi (Flashpoint)
Richard McMillan (Cube Zero)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Colette Stevenson (Mutant X)
Anita La Selva (Dead End Road)
Jonathan Potts (Rupture)
Claudette Mink (Paycheck)
Nigel Bennett (The Shape of The Water)
Maurice Dean Wint (Cube)
Damon D’Oliveira (Relic Hunter)
Sonia Dhillon Tully (Taken)
Kari Matchett (Cypher)
Jody Racicot (Flash Gordon)
Shauna MacDonald (Hemlock Grove)
Kristin Lehman (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
Blu Mankuma (2012)
Patricia Gage (American Psycho)
William deVry (Stargate SG.1)
Kate Trotter (Covert Affairs)
Paul Johansson (Van Helsing)

Horizon_zero_01I started watching this with rather low expectations — everything with Roddenberry’s name on it, other than Star Trek , has been a bit of a flop. So I was pleasantly surprised that this story of alien contact with a hidden ulterior motive is done quite well.efe2f80f2d4219ea2683df4e134d1cb1--kevin-oleary-finalsThe Taelons arrived on Earth three years ago, and have helped eliminate much poverty and hunger. Selected members of their race — Companions — live on earth, and are aided by human agents implanted with a CVI, an alien virus that increases intelligence and has a motivational imperative to be loyal to the Taelons. But the Taelons are secretive, and not all humans are convinced of their good intentions. A Resistance sets up, and they place an agent, William Boone, with a modified CVI that has no such motivational imperative. The series follows Boone’s adventures as he tries to find out what the Taelons are up to, without blowing his cover.61e9bec633b987021515c8c2da512249That the Talons do have a secret purpose becomes clearer as the season progresses, but what it is precisely remains a mystery. The uncovering of the secrets, and the story arcs, are well handled. The Taelons come across as an interestingly conflicted race, some more pro-human, and less happy with whatever it is they are up to, than others. And the Resistance is nicely complex, too — sometimes seeming to be irrationally fanatic, sometimes seeming to be Earth’s last best hope for freedom. Boone does the agonised man trapped between two worlds bit quite well.maxresdefaultThere is thankfully very little techno-babble, although some implausible technology rears its head (yet another case of whipping up an antidote to a disease in less than an episode — and a DNA sequence alone is not sufficient to recreate an adult person — and if the Taelons simply monitored Boone’s video phone, they’d get a nasty shock!) Yet, minor quibbles aside, this has been a fun journey.

REVIEW: DARK ANGEL -SEASON 2

Starring

Jessica Alba (Machete)
Michael Weatherly (Bull)
Valarie Rae Miller (Crank)
J. C. MacKenzie (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Richard Gunn (Hemlock Grove)
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Kevin Durand (Lost)
Ashley Scott (Birds of Prey)
Martin Cummins (Bates Motel)

Jensen Ackles in Dark Angel (2000)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John Savage (American Romance)
Nana Visitor (Star Trekk: DS9)
Yee Jee Tso (Antitrust)
Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica)
Nicki Clyne (Saved)
Jesse Moss (The Uninvited)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Craig Veroni (Two For The Money)
Connor Widdows (X-Men 2)
Rob LaBelle (Watchmen)
John DeSantis (Arrow)
Tyler Labine (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Byron Mann (Arrow)
Kris Pope (Josie and The Pussycats)
Rekha Sharma (The Core)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
John Mann (Pathfinder)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Mike Dopud (The Predator)
William Gregory Lee (Xena)
Brian Markinson (Wolf)
Gus Lynch (North Country)
Jesse Hutch (Cedar Cove)
Anita Brown (The A-Team)
Kendall Cross (Paycheck)
Emily Holmes (The Wicker Man)
Michael Bower (Evolution)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (I, Robot)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Michael Kopsa (Apollo 18)
Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time)
Eric Breker (Stargate SG.1)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Enuka Okuma (Impulse)
Sarah Strange (Men in Trees)
Jerry Wasserman (Alive)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)
Camille Sullivan (Kingsway)
Zak Santiago (Shooter)
Tracy Ryan (The Blows)
Callum Keith Rennie (Jessica Jones)
Gabrielle Rose (Sanctuary)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Devin Douglas Drewitz (X-Men 2)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Henri Lubatti (Zoo)
Rick Worthy (The Vamnpire Diaries)
Erin Karpluk (Being Erica)

Jessica Alba and Kevin Durand in Dark Angel (2000)James Cameron’s and Charles H. Eglee’s Dark Angellasted a short two seasons back in 2000-2002, launching Jessica Alba’s Hollywood career.  Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this show had a similarly headstrong, wise-cracking, female superhero at the helm.Jessica Alba and Valarie Rae Miller in Dark Angel (2000)Set in the near future in rainy Seattle, Washington, Max was a bike courier by day and thief by night, struggling to get by in Post-Pulse America.  She burgles the wrong rich guy one evening who recognises her for what she is, an escaped genetically-engineered human from Manticore, a secret training facility that creates kids like Max and raises them to become soldiers and assassins.  With rich guy Logan’s (Michael Weatherly) guidance/nagging, Max grudgingly uses her physical and mental talents to do some good in the world.Did I mention she did it grudgingly? Max is not a smiley, cheerful young woman.  Most of the time she’s got a scowl on her face but deep down she’s got heart, and despite the tough, ‘I don’t care about anyone but myself’ front she puts up, she’s still a normal young woman trying to put the trauma of being raised to be a weapon of destruction  behind her.  The torture and abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of those in Manticore still haunts her. Max was among a dozen children that fled the prison-like institution ten years previously.  She tries to keep a low profile, fearful that her worst nightmare and personal bogey man Lydecker (played chillingly by John Savage) will find her.  She’s also trying to track down her “brothers” and “sisters”, the other kids who fled.  Logan agrees to help her in this quest in exchange for her help with his noble causes.  Logan is “Eyes Only”, an underground journalist and thorn in the side of criminalsJessica Alba and Kevin Durand in Dark Angel (2000)Keeping Max company is her best friend Original Cindy (Valarie Rae Miller), Sketchy (Richard Gunn) an idiot who works alongside her and Normal, the grouchy but actually easy-going boss at the courier company Jam Pony.  Normal frequently shouts ‘bip bip’ at his employees in order to motivate them to do some work.  It rarely works!  Along the way we meet Zach (William Gregory Lee), her “brother” who is totally in love with her and Alec (played by hottie Jensen Ackles from Supernatural), another Manticore soldier.   We can’t forget about Joshua (Kevin Durrand), the dog-man, one of Manticore’s earliest experiments that left many of their people/creatures looking decidedly non-human.  They were confined to the basement in Manticore until Max releases them into the world in season 2 with devastating consequences. Max looks after Joshua and along with Alec, the three of them form somewhat of a weird, dysfunctional but tight-knit family.Logan’s and Max’s relationship continues the will they/won’t they line for the duration of the two seasons.  A lot of fans wanted her to hook up with Alec but it never happened, despite a few lingering looks.  I loved the universe and characters of Dark Angel.  It’s one of my favourite supernatural/sci-fi tv shows of all time, right up there with BuffyRoswell  and The X- Files. The music was great, the characters awesome and the dialogue snappy.  For me, the most intriguing character was Lydecker.  Yes he was a bad guy, but in a creepy way he was also like the father figure of the group.