HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: GALACTICA 1980 – THE NIGHT THE CYLONS LANDED – PART 1 & 2

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CAST

Kent McCord (Predator 2)
Barry Van Dyke (Airwolf)
Robyn Douglas (The Lonely Guy)
Lorne Green (Bonanza)
James Patrick Stuart (Pretty Woman)
William Daniels (The Graduate)
Lara Parker (Dark Shadows)
Peter Mark Richman (Santa Barbara)

THE NIGHT THE CYLONS LANDED – PART 1 & 2

A new and considerably more powerful Cylon fighter is intercepted by a Galactican patrol, but is forced to crash-land on Earth. Troy and Dillon must stop the Cylon survivors from commandeering radio equipment to contact baseships. Like most Galactica 1980 episodes, ‘The Night The Cylons Landed’ starts off with a bang but collapses in the middle, to recover (and that’s stretching it) only by the very final scene. Recon Patrol Delta, a two-man viper crewed by Captain Kanon and Lieutenant Britton, is picking up some ominous readings of a size and shape apparently too advanced to be your common-or-garden Cylon fighter. As if out of nowhere, a tremendously powerful new type of Cylon warship jumps them and fountains fire onto their position. Not only is the enemy ship jamming any attempt they are trying to make to contact the Galactica, but, alarmingly, its crew appear to exhibit human outlines. Realising that their single viper is hopelessly outclassed against the A-B craft where firepower is concerned, Kanon decides on a desperate strategy and rams the ship, putting both out of commission. The Cylon gunship tumbles out of the sky, and Britton is injured in the collision.

The compilation movie ‘Conquest of the Earth’, which combines this episode with the first third of ‘Galactica Discovers Earth’ has considerable additional footage of the A-B craft, which is identified as such in that movie, and which term I’ll use to refer to the ship from now on. Without a doubt the best starship design of Galactica 1980 (in fact, the only new model) if not of the entire series, the A-B craft is about twice the size of the usual Cylon raider, with commensurately improved firepower and speed (which certainly have Recon Patrol Delta quaking in their cockpit). It fairly thunders along with the roar of an express train fighting an 80mph crosswind. Crewed by at least five (possibly six, if there is a centurion on each wing), two commanders are now specified to control the standard pilot and gunner. The commanders of this prototype ship (which, to be picky, had already made its combat debut against the Delphi) are humanoid Cylons of a new type of construct – and what fellow Cylons must make of comrades designed after their worst enemy, who can say? Andromus is in command, with sidekick Andromidus, and together they figure out very quickly that the A-B craft has an Achilles heel that the Galactican pilots have well and truly hit, if somewhat by sheer luck. Presumably the signalling equipment is located in the belly, and it’s been put out of order, with the A-B ship unable to call for reinforcements or assistance of any kind from their baseship. And, as if that’s not enough, the ship is drifting towards an as yet unidentified blue planet. Transmissions emanating from the service indicate that not only is the planet heavily populated (we are, of course, treated to some educational dialogue concerning Earth’s precise dimensions), but the sentient (well, just about) population is composed entirely of humans. Andromus’s face lights up as he exults that ‘we have done what no Cylon before us has been able to do. We have found the lost human civilisation. The planet Earth.’ But for some engine trouble, the war could be close to won. Spirits are deflated (if you can apply such an analogy to machine Cylons) when the crew make computations indicating that it’s highly unlikely any of them will make it down at all.

And here’s where we meet the human stars of this show (come on, you know you preferred the Cylons. Even in the original Battlestar Galactica). Troy and Dillon have taken the kids to watch a movie. They must reckon that sitting the twelve scouts down for a couple of hours in front of a flickering screen would cure them of their irritating propensity to leap fifty feet into the air and throw baseballs from California to New Mexico (this is a good decade before they rolled out Ritalin for mass use against American children), but the choice of film hasn’t impressed them. It’s a cheesy 1950s B-movie horror flick starring a butt-ugly monster (I forget the precise title, but you can be sure it’s A Universal Picture), but the kids are reminded of a life form they ran into on their way to Earth. I would have liked to see the Gorkons, they sounded like a laugh.

Who said this show wasn’t up to date? A good fifteen years before you wanted to belt the guy whose mobile phone went off in the cinema, Troy’s communicator goes and Adama’s on the line. Transpires that the Galactica has lost contact with its Recon Patrol Delta, and the last telemetry they were able to decipher placed it on a collision course with Earth. Troy and Dillon are ordered to meet the stricken viper at the point it’s likely to come down, which is as yet undetermined, but which is predicted to be in the New York area. Unfortunately, the Air Force have been a little too diligent in picking up vipers on their way to and from Earth, and the lads are instructed to use alternative means of transport if they can possibly help it. Which means taking a plane to New York. The kids are ferried to Griffith Observatory in the Hollywood Hills and dumped on Jamie, who I believe makes herself useful with a spot of abridged astronomy. Brows are furrowed at the Air Force headquarters when they too pick up an ‘incoming’ of unknown provenance, and worry that it’s going to be ‘Skylab all over again’. As Troy and Dillon board the flight to New York, they still believe it’s the viper on its way. Please note that the pair manage to get through customs without passports, apparently without tickets, and additionally armed with a laser pistol each! Aren’t domestic flights great? Every time I fly, the bastards make me take my belt off, turn my pockets out for loose change, paw me with a Geiger counter and mess with my computer! I’m surprised they haven’t looked up my arse yet – that’s where I keep the drugs! (But you never heard that).

As it happens, they needn’t have worried, because someone else has brought artillery. Badly disguised as a female, a suitably shifty Latino stereotype and his ‘husband’ have also boarded, with a pushchair and (later to be revealed as plastic) infant. Once the plane is airborne, and Troy and Dillon finding out as quickly as any Earthling that flying is a serious bore (‘I could have flown to Pluto by now,’ Dillon opines), the drag artist unscrews his buggy and assembles a rather intricate ‘Day of the Jackal’ single-shot rifle (wonder how many kids watched this show and had a try at the very same?). He doesn’t get much further than brandishing the weapon around the cabin and ordering the pilot to divert to Cuba before Troy and Dillon drop him with a joint round of stun fire apiece. His partner is brought down on his way to the bogs, which are also used to good effect by the stewardess. She’s played by Sheila DeWindt, who played the hard-as-nails female viper pilot Dietra in ‘Lost Planet of the Gods’, and after Richard Lynch, is the second ‘name’ cast member to be recycled in Galactica 1980. All the poor girl gets to do however, is be pushed against the wall as the lads activate their invisibility screens in the toilets (do they have the room?!) and hustle off the plane as soon as it lands at JFK.

Troy and Dillon are already on a cab and on their way ‘north’, Dillon having brandished a big wad of bills at the driver as an incentive. By now it becomes clear that their mission is of greater concern, as Recon Patrol Delta has managed to make its way back to the Galactica. A noticeably injured Kanon, speaking from the Life Center (actually, what appears to be some corridor segments bolted together to form a corner) has delivered the footage of the A-B craft’s occupants to Dr Zee, who repeats his infamous ‘Since the time of our defeat, the Cylons have not been idle’ speech. The expected landing zone of the Cylon gunship is narrowed down to ‘sixty miles north of New York City’, and the Air Force, now under the command of Colonel Briggs (poor old Sydell presumably having gone Section 8) is also aware. Thus it’s a race to the spot between Troy and Dillon and a number of blue-and-whites and ambulances. The A-B craft comes down, but it’s a bad landing. Four of the six crew are destroyed and the ship is blown to pieces. Surviving are Andromus, and pilot Centurion 9, who is, from here on, referred to inexplicably as Centuri. The centurion frees Andromus from the wreckage and both exit, activating a self-destruct sequence so as to destroy any remaining evidence. At a safe distance from the impending explosion, the two Cylons confer. Andromus surmises that they have come down ‘within a thousand metrons of a primary communication centre’, and is additionally confident that he can use his human configuration to pass amongst humans without suspicion, especially since the transmissions indicate that Earthlings do not know there’s a war on. Centuri he’s not so sure about, but they can worry about that later as they stroll the short distance to Interstate 95. All Centuri is bothered about is to ‘destroy all humans’, which is quite reasonable, but their priority is to find somewhere from where to signal their baseship.

It starts going downhill as the two Cylons find themselves picked up as hitchhikers by a couple dressed for Hallowe’en. Yes, only this far into the episode do we determine that it’s October 31st, and William Daniels (of Knight Rider’s KITT voiceover fame) can count himself lucky that his face is obscured by half a ton of white greasepaint). Norman and Shirley witter endlessly on their way to New York, casually dropping in that they’re on their way to a party where Wolfman Jack will be present. Andromus’s ears prick up at the talk of someone with anything to do with radio, and he humours their two hosts. More important for our purposes is that their mutual friend Arnie cooks meatballs that have a higher body count than the two Cylon warriors, who are sat there wishing they could simply tear the heads off these infuriating creatures and bowl them over the horizon. Wolfman Jack is, of course, the legendary American DJ immortalised in (was it American Graffiti?). Even us Brits had heard of him, so there you go. Centuri just sits there, all seven feet of him crammed into the back seat, and looks hard. ‘What a great costume!’ Shirley enthuses, which is the whole reason she picked them up in the first place. Tell that to Rex Cutter, who must have been busting for a leak inside that suit!

While the tin cans are putting up with this ignominy, Troy and Dillon have reached the crash site just in time to have to run for their lives again as the self-destruct goes off. They do however manage to inspect Andromidus’s smashed remains and realise that some of his comrades have got away. Just then, the long arm of the law arrives, and Troy and Dillon look distinctly suspicious sniffing round a crash site and trying to palm it off as their ‘plane’ crashing. The police frisk them and take their guns (a cheerfully gratuitous shot permits one bemused copper to blast a tree to bits with one shot from what he thinks is ‘some kind of cigarette lighter’. Taking advantage of the cops’ astonishment, the lads snatch their weapons back, stun their assailants and steal their cruiser! Anyone considered how much crime takes place in this so-called children’s show? In only the space of a few hours’ air time, Troy and Dillon have stolen cars, clothes and money, broken the speed limit on both land and in the air, abused police officers, and shot security guards, businessmen, nurses, policemen, and members of the United States Air Force!

Tapping into the Cylon frequency on their wrist computrons, the lads discern that the Cylons are moving south, heading for New York City. It’s not long, however, before fellow cop cars lay in pursuit to reclaim their stolen vehicle, and after a fairly uninteresting car chase, Troy and Dillon end up putting their cruiser into the East River. In this way they’ve thrown the fuzz off the trail for a bit, but have irreparably soaked their highly fashionable PVC puffa jackets. After alerting Adama to the situation, another spot of theft is called for as they sneak through the first open doorway they can find. This scene is unbearably chronic, only livened up when Dillon gapes in astonishment at a revue of costumed Universal Studios cartoon characters (the sublimely un-entertaining Woody Woodpecker, for example) cavorting on stage. ‘Dancing mammals?!’ he manages to gasp, as if Earth wasn’t screwed up enough. ‘Strange,’ Troy concurs as the two of them sneak backstage and grab the first garments they can find off the rack. To be fair, our unloved heroes do look sharp in their dazzling white tuxes (are you sure this isn’t a ‘gone back in time’ sequence?) but they have the grim bad luck to be forced on stage and made to participate in the revue. The only way they can save their faces is to activate their invisibility screens and make a run for it, leaving the rest of the cast apparently suspended in mid-air. As are half the audience, unfortunately. It does pick up – honest it does!

Andromus and Centuri prove to be big draws at the party, but they’re not particularly sociable guests until Wolfman Jack shows up, his bulk artfully concealed by a Henry VIII costume. I have a good feeling that the eponymous Wolfman ad-libbed every single line he was given in this episode, and I wouldn’t blame him one bit. The Cylons make plans to remove Wolfman Jack from the party, but are thrown for a loop when the infamous Arnie unleashes some of his dreaded meatballs. I was surprised they had microwaves by 1980, but when Arnie turns it on to give his speciality a bit of a final going over, Centuri freezes, short-circuits dramatically and crashes to the ground. Andromus has to waste the microwave with a burst of red energy from his hand, setting the place on fire. This is their cue to spirit Wolfman Jack away from the blazing apartment and to the radio station they’d got him chatting about earlier. On their way through what is presumably Central Park (yep, only tourists brave it by night), the three of them run into some disgracefully stereotyped Italian-American muggers, who posture at them distinctly un-threateningly until Centuri (shot from waist level to accentuate his great height) simply glares at them. Two or three minutes later, if I’ve got this in the right order (and it probably doesn’t matter that much if I haven’t, let’s face it), Troy and Dillon happen upon these ridiculous rejects from The Warriors, an otherwise excellent cult film of the same era, but simply jump out of their way. They employ the same tactics to rescue a kid who’s got himself caught in the burning apartment. You may be interested to note that this kid’s dog is the second dog in Galactica 1980 to be called Skippy, or variations thereof. Come on, everyone knows that’s a kangaroo’s name!sasasWolfman Jack is herded to WSHIT or whatever call letters denote his radio station, whose remit is grotesque adult contemporary that curdles the blood. You’d think that wall-to-wall automated Dr Hook would make Cylons self-destruct right off, not to mention his incessant blather, which finally irritates the Cylons into threatening him. Centuri simply presses his glove to his chest panel and short-circuits himself, which would presumably be a man-sized deterrent when applied to fat motormouthed humans with no respect. Andromus himself now gets on a tear and can’t resist a lecture, to the order of ‘Soon, you humans will realise just how unimportant you are to running a truly efficient society,’ before finally ordering Wolfman Jack to escort them to the roof, where rests a satellite dish. All this to the strains of ‘Daydream Believer’, or some nauseating piece of late-1970s dreck that passed for music back then. Troy and Dillon now enter the building and are hot on their tail, but the Cylons have thoughtfully put the lift out of action. Here ensues some tiresome leaping from floor to floor (fifty storeys), but you’ve got to admire the lads for not putting so much as a speck on their white tuxedos.

 No small amount of concern ensues on the Galactica when Dr Zee picks up a weak signal emanating outbound, towards the star Balcon (which I believe actually exists, and is a point at the edge of the galaxy where the Cylons have parked awaiting further instructions). At the same time as ordering massive electronic jamming of everything non-ABC flowing in this direction, Adama (or, to be more accurate, Dr Zee, who is quite obviously running the show here) has a patrol launched, and you’d think this’d be the cue for a proper battle, but no such luck. Andromus and Centuri have barely got the surprisingly titchy satellite dish set up and transmitting when Troy and Dillon bust in. Full marks to Troy for dispatching Wolfman Jack with a bellowed ‘Get out of the way!’, and he’s also on the ball when a moderately interesting firefight ensues. Centuri receives a burst full in the chest, and Andromus’s reaction to a similar wound shows that for all their advanced nature, Cylon humanoids do feel pain. He doesn’t half scream when a malfunctioning, thoroughly disorientated Centuri tenderly cradles him, and together they stumble off the roof to their doom. One laser blast from Troy takes out the satellite, and the skies are safe once more for soft rock classics. Thank God that up in the Bronx around this time, hip-hop was being invented!thenightwolfmanjacklanded3A cheap chuckle ensues when the Cylons land right in a trash compactor, which drives innocently off past Troy and Dillon as they exit the radio station, their work done. I don’t know how Lorne Greene could have brought himself to utter Adama’s shameful cop-out line ‘then they are hardly so advanced that we cannot win’, but we can put that out of mind when we are given one last glimpse inside the garbage compactor. There lies Centuri’s severed head, still functioning, and repeating the faithful stuck record of his allotted function. ‘I will protect you… I will protect you…’

REVIEW: GALACTICA 1980

Starring

Lorne Greene (Bananza)
Herbert Jefferson Jr. (The Bastard)
Kent McCord (Predator 2)
Barry Van Dyke (Diagnosis Murder)
Robyn Douglass (Freeze Frame)
Jeremy Brett (Moll FLanders)
Allan Miller (Star Trek III)
Robbie Rist (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
James Patrick Stuart (General Hospital)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Richard Lynch (Puppet Master 3)
Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch)
Pamela Susan Shoop (Halloween II)
Sharon Acker (Lucky Jim)
Richard Eastham (Wonder Woman)
Brion James (Blade Runner)
Mickey Jones (Total Recall)
Paul Koslo (The Omega Man)
William Daniels (The Blue Lagoon)
Lara Parker (Dark Shadows)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th – Part 8)
Wolfman Jack (Motel Hell)
Dennis Haysbert (24)
Ana Alicia (Halloween II)
Dirk Benedict (The A-Team)
Judith Chapman (Days of Our Lives)

ABC’s decision to cancel Battlestar Galactica after one season didn’t sit well with viewers, and the show’s strong ratings (it out-rated almost every ABC series renewed for 1979-80) easily justified continuation. But with costs rising faster than expected ABC and Universal Studios wanted the show for substantially less than the per-episode costs of the original show, and at a time when SFX technology was not as advanced as today, there was no practical argument against the economics angle that hurt the show. Nonetheless, ABC tried to continue the Galactica mythos on a budget, and regardless of whether series creator Glen Larson was involved. Larson signed on to try and make it work, but the result, Galactica 1980, was a bitter disappointment to all.
The show’s weaknesses were extensive, but by far the greatest weakness lay in the deception used in promotion before the first episode aired. Promotions used the footage of Cylon raiders blasting Los Angeles extensively and gave the impression that the Cylon empire had found Earth and was in process of slaughtering the last planet of humanity, a premise that would have given the show a much stronger punch. But this footage was merely part of a “what if?” computer simulation to illustrate why the survivors of the Twelve Colonies cannot colonize Earth – “If we land, we will bring destruction upon Earth as surely as if we’d inflicted it ourselves,” as Commander Adama succinctly puts it in one of the show’s best lines.

With this premise of real life Cylon predation against Earth thus vetoed, the show begins to suffer, hurt even more by the excessive juvenile angle in the platoon of children rescued from the freighter Delphi after it is ambushed by Cylon raiders and forced to land on Earth, and also in the use of the mysterious Seraph youth Doctor Zee – had Doctor Zee been a Cylon creation (like the humanoid Cylon featured in “The Night The Cylons Landed” or better yet the Cylon IL Lucifer from the original series) that had turned against its masters, this angle would have made more sense – as it was, Zee’s genesis did make for the show’s best episode and surprisingly one of the best sci-fi episodes of any series, “The Return Of Starbuck.”

The show also suffered from several embarrassing incidents, notably the Halloween angle of “The Night The Cylons Landed” and the general incompatibility of the Kobollian survivors with the culture of Earth, leading to numerous bits of forced comedy that really aren’t funny.

But despite these weaknesses, the show did have some superb moments – the Cylon attack on Los Angeles, deception or not, is compelling footage, lasting roughly ninty seconds on-screen and superbly mixing stock matte-FX footage of Cylon raiders over outtake footage from Universal’s 1974 disaster film “Earthquake.” The sequence thus becomes one the best SFX sequences ever done for television – I especially liked the shots of Cylon raiders blasting the Capitol Records building, Cylon raiders diving into strafing runs then cutting to the Cylon POV shot of a street being attacked, the street being strafed as seen from above then from low angle as a raider flies toward and then past the screen, and the triumphant flyover of Cylon raiders over the now-ravaged city.
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The introduction of new Cylons in the human-form combat ILs in “The Night The Cylons Landed” as well as the new command-class AB raider (first seen mixed with the stock FX shot of Cylons strafing the Delphi in “The Super Scouts” but not fully explored until “Night”) is also an intriguing look into the evolution of the Cylon empire; not surprisingly this idea was developed to great fruition by Ronald Moore for the 2003 version of Battlestar Galactica.
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The arguments between Commander Adama and Commander Xavier (Richard Lynch) in the three-part pilot episode are well done – Lynch’s Xavier gives the show as compelling a villain in his own way as John Colicos’ Baltar, whose non-presence is particularly missed here. Also well done is the interaction between Troy (Kent McCord) and Dillon (Barry Van Dyke), especially early in the opening episode when we learn something of Troy’s background. The presence of Boomer (Herbert Jefferson Jr.) is welcome with no other original cast members available except for Dirk Benedict’s appearance in “Return Of Starbuck,” and the series does tackle some moral dilemmas (notably the Nazi-Jewish angle in the three-part opening episode) generally avoided in the original series.
Related imageBy no means is Galactica 1980 great television, but it does have some excellent moments, and the cast deserves credit for trying to make it work.

REVIEW: THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1977) – SEASON 5

Starring

Bill Bixby (My Favorite Martian)
Lou Ferrigno (I Love You, Man)
Jack Colvin (Child’s Play)

Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk (1978)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider)
Anne Lockhart (Battlestar Galactica)
Paul Koslo (Stargate SG.1)
James Saito (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Diana Muldaur (Star Trek: TNG)
Jerry Hardin (The X-Files)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th 8)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Mickey Jones (V: The FInal Battle)
Lewis Arquette (Little Nicky)
Faye Grant (V)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)

Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk (1978)After watching the fourth season it’s not too difficult to see why the series was cancelled early on in the fifth. With only seven episodes to its name, the final year is a sore spot compared to the earlier ones, which featured many highlights.Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk (1978)The episodes here simply weren’t very entertaining, most were poorly written, and even the actors didn’t seem as invested in it. It’s a shame that the series couldn’t have found a suitable ending and that it ended with such a whimper, but while it lasted it was a comic lovers dream come true.Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk (1978)Even if you weren’t into the comic, The Incredible Hulk was quite a show for the time it was released. The dark nature of the program coupled with Bixby’s acting skills and some “decent” writing presented a unique television experience that became an icon. While the later seasons of the show definitely weren’t the best, the first three seasons were rock-solid entertainment.Tuning in each week to see David turn into the Hulk was a hoot and reliving the show again thirty years later proves to be a nice nostalgic trip into the history of everyone’s favorite green giant.

REVIEW: WONDER WOMAN – SEASON 3

Starring

Lynda Carter (Supergirl)
Lyle Waggoner (The Carol Burnett Show)

Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Lerner (Elf)
Leif Garrett (The Outsiders)
Lance LeGault (Stripes)
Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist)
Ed Begley Jr. (Better Call Saul)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
Gavin MacLeod (The Love Boat)
Michael DeLano (Commando)
Wolfman Jack (Motel Hell)
Joan Van Ark (Knots Landing)
Eric Braeden (Titanic)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th 8)
Mako (TMNT)
Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: DS9)
George Cheung (Rush Hour)
Tim O’Connor (Buck rogers)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Fam)
Judge Reinhold (Beverly Hills Cop)
Rick Springfield (Ricki and The Flash)
Barry Miller (Fame)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Bob Hastings (Batman: TAS)
Marc Alaimo (Star Trek: DS9)

Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)Wonder Woman still remains an icon to this day, thanks in many ways to the TV series and the performance of Lynda Carter in the lead role. As I stated in my Season 2 review, not many actresses could have pulled it off. But Lynda, however, had it, and still does. Between Seasons 1 and 2 of Wonder Woman things became a bit more modern. With Season 3 things seemed to change a bit more, and in my mind, for the better. Gone were the comic book-style captions. Although the comic book opening sequence and theme song were fun, it was nice to get something a little more serious for the third year. Diana Prince’s huge glasses also disappeared over time.Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)The Season 3 DVD set maintains a really nice packaging design that maintains the comic book roots of the original series while at the same time not looking cheesy. And, like I said, it’s nice to have all three sets side by side.Lynda Carter in Wonder Woman (1975)The set features commentary on the episode “My Teenage Idol Is Missing” with Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter. In the commentary, Ms. Carter talks about where she hoped the show would have ended, about the fads and feminism at the time of the show, and, of course, she talked about that episode’s guest star, then-teenage heartthrob Leif Garrett. (Leif did the rounds on late 70’s television during his pop star years… look for him also on other series such as CHiPs) Although it seemed that Carter had a list of things or a script she may have been referring to, it was really nice to hear her talking about it and even better considering it’s 25 years after the fact and she’s still willing to discuss it. The third season also features some of Wonder Woman’s alternative costumes, like the groovy motorcycle outfit, and she sometimes wears a cape.Wonder Woman (1975)Anyway, for comic book fans, or for fans of the Wonder Woman character, Wonder Woman is a great package, and a great series to own all the way through. I’ve only been able to watch a few of the episodes thus far, but the ones I’ve seen so far – particularly in this third season – I have liked a lot. Episodes that I haven’t watched yet, with titles like “The Boy Who Knew Her Secret,” sound very intriguing and I can’t wait to see more. Bonus! Look for guest stars like Craig T. Nelson, Ed Begley Jr., Joe E. Tata (“Nat” from 90210!), Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing!), Wolfman Jack, Knots Landing couple Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark, Rene Auberjonois, and Rick Springfield – all in the third season

 

REVIEW: BATMAN BEYOND- SEASON 3

Main Cast
Will Friedle (Batman Ninja)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Cree Summer (Bambi II)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast
George Lazenby (Gettysburg)
Sarah Douglas (Superman I & II)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Parker Stevenson (Baywatch)
Gabrielle Carteris (The Event)
Angie Harmon (Agent Cody Banks)
Nicholas Guest (Trading Places)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Ryan O’Donohue (Toy Story)
Victor Raider-Wexler (Dr. Dolittle 2)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Shannon Kenny (The Invisible Man)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th 8)
Clyde Kusatsu (Paradise Road)
Stephen Baldwin (Bio-Dome)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Gary Anthony Sturgis (Demise)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Malachi Throne (Catch Me If You Can)
Christopher McDonald (Stargate Universe)
Farrah Forke (Lois & Clark)
Wayne Brady (How I Met Your Mother)
Jodi Benson (Enchanted)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Alexis Denisof (Dollhouse)
Takayo Fischer (War of The Worlds)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Grey Griffin (The Book of Life)
Diedrich Bader (American Housewife)
Henry Rollins (Wrong Turn 2)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Julie Nathanson (Dallas & Robo)
Keone Young (Crank)
Kerrigan Mahan (Power Rangers Lost Galaxy)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Sean Marquette (Van Wilder)
Victor Rivers (Hulk)

MV5BNDc3MTU5NDY2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODg5OTQ1MjE@._V1_The episodes in this final release aren’t as dark as some of the great shows in the first box, but they’re still very exciting. The villains don’t have that tragic quality which translated so well from the regular Batman universe, but this lack of atmosphere is made up for with a great sense of adventure and fun.MV5BMTc1NTIxNTUwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzA5OTQ1MjE@._V1_“The Call”, for example, is a fantastic two-parter that sees Batman team-up with a future Justice League – it’s probably too much to assume that this “Justice League Unlimited” was a conscious forbearer to the actual series, but it’s certainly a great cartoon-geek moment. In the episode, Terry McGuiness uproots a villain who conspires to take over the JLU in a suspenseful story that has a great connection to the original comic book origin of the League.MV5BMTgwMzc0MTY4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTk4OTQ1MjE@._V1_But the champion episode of the box – and perhaps the series – is “Out of The Past” (would it surprise you to learn that it’s penned by Paul Dini?). Not only does the episode bring back two excellent characters from Bruce Wayne’s past, Ra’s Al Ghul and Talia, and not only does it do it in a way that resonates with both Batman and Bruce, but it’s got, hands down, one of the best tongue-in-cheek moments in the entire DC Animated Universe. It is the stories, and their execution, where the true appeal of these episodes lies. Sure there’s a great setting and a great character, but each of these mini sci-fi/fantasy stories is a very fun and exciting peak into a great imaginary world. Sure, one that happens to borrow a lot from the Batman mythology, but it’s the show’s imaginative qualities that make it a unique world that translates perfectly to the cartoon form.x1080-lasWhile the traditional episode structure does tend to bore, it also does its job. Furthermore, the imaginative fight scenes – whether they be with a villain who is physically untouchable, or a fight in a giant wind tunnel – will keep your attention long after more kinetic, but ultimately rote new series have lost their appeal.  A major sticking point to this set is the lack of a satisfactory conclusion. The series was rather abruptly put to a stop after its checkpoint 52-episode run in 2001. It wasn’t until Justice League Unlimited’s Season Four finale, “Epilogue”, that Batman Beyond was given a proper send-off. But what a send-off it was! After you finish this set it is highly recommended that you seek out the aforementioned episode. While this box’s closer, “Unmasked”, is a nice story, it’s not the series finale that, ironically – yet thankfully – another series would provide. Batman Beyond was born out of a WB executive’s desire to cash in on a popular and recognizable franchise. Because of the fantastic people behind the show, what might have been a hollow concept was turned into something fresh, imaginative, and very worthwhile.

REVIEW: BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES – VOLUME 3

Starring

Kevin Conroy (Justice League Doom)
Loren Lester (Red Eye)
Bob Hastings (General Hospital)
Robert Costanzo (Total Recall)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (Hot Shots)

MV5BYjkxZjgzYmItMGIwMC00NjBkLTk5MzUtN2IzNmYzMjgwMWVmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1368,1000_AL_

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Mari Devon (Digimon)
Melissa GIlbert (House on The Prairie)
John Vernon (Animal House)
Richard Moll (Scrry Movie 2)
Tim Matheson (The West Wing)
Diana Muldaur (Star Trek: TNG)
Lloyd Bochner (Point Blank)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Paul Williams (Battle For TPOTA)
John de Lancie (Star Trek: TNG)
Manu Tupou (Payback)
Helen Slater (Supergirl)
David Warner (The Lost world)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
George DiCenzo (She-Ra)
William Sanderson (Blade Runner)
Pat Fraley (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Steve Susskind (Star Trek V)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Bess Armstrong (Jaws 3D)
George Dzundza (Crimson Tide)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Neil Ross (Back To The Future – Part II)
Marilu Henner (Taxi)
Roddy McDowall (Planet of The Apes)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Aron Kincaid (Transformers)
Brad Garrett (Ratatouille)
Jeffrey Jones (Howard The Duck)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Arleen Sorkin (Days of Our Lives)
Stephanie Zimbalist (A Timeless Love)
Diane Pershing (Gotham Girls)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek)
Megan Mullally (Will & Grace)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
Bill Mumy (Lost In Space)
Hector Elizondo (The Princess Diaries)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Alan Rachins (Dharma & Greg)
Alan Oppenheimer (He-Man)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Roscoe Lee Browne (Logun’s Run)
Henry Silva (Above The Law)
Diane Michelle (Robotech: The Movie)
Alison La Placa (Fletch)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Jason Marsden (A Goofy Movie)
Robbie Rist (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Alan Young (The Time Machine)
Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween 2007)
Michael Bell (Transformers: The Movie)
Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched)
Bill McKinney (First Blood)
John Glover (Smallville)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th 8)
William Katt (Carrie)
Linda Gary (He-Man)
Nicholas Guest (Trading Places)
Henry Polic II (Mighty Max)
Bruce Weitz (Half Past Dead)
Andrea Martin (SCTV Network)
Michael Ansara (The Message)
Dan O’Herlihy (Robocop)
Edward Asner (Elf)

MV5BYzBmZjM1MzItNzU2Ny00MzcxLTg2YWYtZmM1NWQ4NzExMmE0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_One of the things Batman: The Animated Series does particularly well is infuse its villains with personality. They’re not a rotation of thugs with a different gimmick and costume each week — the writers go to great lengths to humanize these characters, and although they’re still unambiguously the bad guys, they still manage to be sympathetic at times. “His Silicon Soul”, following up on the two-part “Heart of Steel” from the previous collection, features a robotic duplicate of Batman unable to come to grips with the realization that he’s a machine. It’s surprisingly moving.MV5BYTFiODEyZDQtNmRmZi00ZjlhLWE1NDQtOTY3OWE2ODM0OWQ3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_The title character of “Baby-Doll” was created especially for the series. Think Webster with the race and gender reversed; Mary Louise Dahl was in her twenties but looked like a three-year-old, and she cashed in on that rare disability with a successful and hopelessly bland sitcom. An ill-advised career move derailed her as an actress, and a decade later, she’s systematically kidnapped all of her former co-stars in an attempt to reclaim those happy years. Again, as outlandish as the premise might sound, it really does work. You might smirk at reading about a teary-eyed Baby Doll attempting to fire an already-emptied doll-shaped pistol into a funhouse mirror, but the immeasurably talented writers are gifted enough to eke more pathos than I ever would have thought possible out of that.MV5BOTEwMmFhM2MtN2NmOC00ZGQ2LThmMGMtYTc4YWFjOTllOTY5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1344,1000_AL_Redemption, whether seized or tossed aside, is also frequently touched upon. “Sideshow” opens with a grueling chase between Batman and an escaped Killer Croc, who manages to stumble upon a remote farm that’s home to a group of former sideshow acts. They offer Croc a chance at an honest life, but old habits die hard. Another example is “House and Garden”. When a poisonous plant-creature starts a reign of terror in Gotham, Batman naturally turns his sights towards the recently-released Poison Ivy. She insists that she’s rehabilitated, and by all accounts, Ivy is happily married and living the mundane suburban life. The investigation continues to point back to her, and the final revelation involves some of the creepiest imagery ever seen in the series.MV5BY2U0ZTAwZDYtNjZjNC00YzVhLWJjMGItZDg5MTMzYTM1MjhjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1334,1000_AL_Harley Quinn is also featured in a couple of episodes centered around her attempts to stick with the straight ‘n narrow. She’s a fan favorite for a reason, and these appearances are some of the most memorable episodes in this collection. “Harlequinade” is a chaotic team-up with Batman in an attempt to track down The Joker, who’s managed to get his hands on a bomb that’ll turn Gotham into a smoldering mushroom cloud. “Harley’s Holiday” documents her release from Arkham Asylum, and even though she’s determined to leave that life of crime behind her, an attempt to legitimately buy a pretty pink dress at a store spirals into a bad day…a really, really bad day, culminating in being chased by Batman, an underground gambling kingpin, Detective Bullock, and…gulp!…the military.MV5BMWNjYWJmNjQtNzQ3Ny00ZGQ2LTkzNjEtNmQ5OTcyM2EwYzBkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_It’s particularly great to see the villains interact with one another. That’s part of the fun of “Trial”, which has a reluctant prosecutor attempting to defend Batman in an insane trial when the inmates take over the asylum. The flipside of that coin is seen in “Lock-Up”, when a cruel jailer’s overzealousness gets him fired from Arkham and compels him to hunt down the left-leaning scum he blames for the state of the world. Another stand-out is “A Bullet for Bullock”, an episode in which the slovenly detective is rattled by death threats and reluctantly teams with Batman, and the ending is just one example of how clever the show’s writers can be. “Clever” is also the first word that instantly springs to mind for “Make ‘Em Laugh”, an episode where The Joker co-opts a fellow criminal’s technology to create a small army of fumbling costumed criminals with inane gimmicks.MV5BMmIzZTQ4NmItMjRlMS00ZDBiLTllNzktNDUwZTAyNjI3MWI3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_These episodes introduce a couple of recurring villains ripped from the pages of the comics. Most notable among them is Ra’s al Ghul, who makes his first appearance in a two-parter penned by Len Wein and Denny O’Neil, familiar names to longtime readers of Batman’s four-color incarnation. The centuries-old Ra’s has virtually unlimited resources at his disposal, equally intrigued by Batman’s boundless skills as a detective as he is frustrated by his foe’s determination to disrupt his machinations. Ra’s often lends a Saturday morning serial flavor to the show, from the globe-trotting in his first few appearances to the flared pants of “Avatar”. The charismatic character has such a presence that he’s able to carry “Showdown” largely by himself in an episode that barely features Batman or Robin in any capacity. “Showdown” is set during the westward expansion of the mid-1800’s as Ra’s’ opposition to the sprawling railroads is pitted against scarred bounty hunter Jonah Hex (one of the few DC characters not connected with the Batman mythos to appear on the show). The other noteworthy recurring villain is The Ventriloquist, a fairly timid-looking middle-aged man who seems more likely to be a CPA than a ruthless crimelord. Taken by himself, that seems to be the right impression, but when he has his puppet Scarface on the end of his arm… The Ventriloquist’s first appearance, “Read My Lips”, is one of my favorites of the season, and he returns twice after that.MV5BMjI2OTQ0NTMwNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTM4MTg3MjE@._V1_Several other characters from the comics briefly appear, including Maxie Zeus, the back-breaking, Venom-fueled Bane, and the fairly obscure masked criminals of The Terrible Trio. The majority of Batman’s rogue’s gallery is present and accounted for, with The Penguin, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, The Mad Hatter, The Joker, Harley Quinn, The Clock King, Catwoman, The Riddler, The Scarecrow (though only as a supporting character; no “fear!” episodes this time around), Two-Face, and Mr. Freeze all wreaking havoc throughout Gotham City at some point or another. Even with the opening titles shifting on disc three from Batman: The Animated Series to The Adventures of Batman and Robin, there’s no discernable drop in quality.MV5BNGI1YTBiYzYtODI2ZS00NzUzLThkMjktMDhkMzI3Yzk5ODAxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ0NjQzNTE@._V1_Batman: The Animated Series does everything right. It doesn’t dumb itself down or resort to hyperkinetic editing to try to appeal to a younger crowd. The retro-styled art design and dark visuals contribute immeasurably to the overall tone of the show, as does the award-winning music. The writing’s consistently impressive, avoiding falling into some formulaic “villain of the week” trap, and the casting choices for its voice actors is incredibly inspired. Henry Silva, LeVar Burton, Dick Miller, Megan Mullally, Brad Garrett, Bill Mumy, David Warner, Elizabeth Montgomery, Jeffrey Jones, Adam Ant, William Katt, and Robert Pastorelli are just a few of the familiar voices contributing to the series for the first time, joining the usual favorites like Paul Williams, Mark Hamill, and Roddy McDowall. These three collections are required viewing for anyone with an interest in Batman, and fans who have picked up the first two collections should certainly consider buying this third set as well.