REVIEW: STARGATE SG.1 – SEASON 9

Starring

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

Ben Browder in Stargate SG-1 (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Claudia Black (Pitch Black)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Obi Ndefo (Star Trek: DS9)
Gary Jones (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Matthew Walker (Alone In The Dark)
April Telek (Rogue)
Lexa Doig (Arrow)
Julian Sands (What/If)
Wallace Shawn (Young Sheldon)
Barclay Hope (Final Destination 3)
Maury Chaykin (My Cousin Vinny)
Louis Gossett Jr. (Enemy Mine)
Cliff Simon (Project Eden)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Peter Flemming (Staragte: Atlantis)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Chilton Crane (The 4400)
Jason George (Fallen)
Jarvis W. George (Gamer)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Ty Olsson (War For TPOTA)
Cameron Bright (Birth)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Don S. Davis (Twin Peaks)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
William Atherton (Ghostbusters)
JR Bourne (The 100)
Teryl Rothery (Arrow)
Reed Diamond (Agents of Shield)
Dakin Matthews (Child’s Play 3)
Veena Sood (Timecop)
Eric Breker (Scary Movie 3)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
John Aylward (Alias)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Chelah Horsdal (You Me Her)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Matthew Glave (Argo)
Eric Steinberg (Supergirl)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Daniella Evangelista (Ripper)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
John Noble (Sleepy HOllow)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Noah Danby (Bitten)

Claudia Black and Ben Browder in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Avalon, Part 1 is a great season opener, introduces  new kid on the block Ben Browder,  as the season progresses the character is definitely fleshed out more and he soon fits in nicely with the tightly-knit S.G.1 team.Ben Browder and Michael Shanks in Stargate SG-1 (1997)However, the bottom line is that this is still a character who bares a striking similarity in disposition to Browder’s other well-known TV personality- Farscape’s John Crichton- with that same irreverent humor and easy-going attitude, but it’s a style that clearly works for Browder and it’s difficult not to find that likable. Beau Bridges’ introduction is made with equally good fanfare, his character is one who I found myself liking more readily- he approaches the role of the General of the base differently to Don S. Davis, with more of an every man approach, although he never hesitates to exert the full force of his office against unfriendly aliens, or humans when required.Mark Houghton in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Largely thanks to the development of this season’s main story-arc with the introduction of God-wannabes the Ori and their powerful minions known as Priors, this ninth season becomes surprisingly mesmerising in very short order. Beginning with the concluding part and then into episode 3- `Origin’, this season soon establishes itself as one of the best `Stargate: S.G.1′ offerings in years. The use of Arthurian legend in this season is spread pretty thickly in the beginning and had me worried that this fantasy element might not work in a predominantly science-fiction-oriented series, but very soon the parallels the writers draw between the Arthurian myth and the familiar Stargate set-up, become very inventive and come to work surprisingly well at contrasting against the new and growing force of evil spreading through the galaxy. In the first five episodes that other recognizable `Farscape’ regular Claudia Black and her seductively disobedient alter-ego Vala are another reason to be enchanted by this season. Vala brings such humor and life to the series that I was really disappointed when she parted company with S.G.1, despite the welcome return of Sam Carter following her brief career change. Thankfully Vala returns towards the end of the season and here’s hoping it’s not the last we see of her.Larry Cedar in Stargate SG-1 (1997)This season’s other major success is in its stand-alone stories that continue to present unique, punchy and creative sci-fi ideas to its audience. In particular episode 9- `Prototype’ and episode 13- `Ripple Effect’ are a couple of my favourites, the first of which concerns the discovery of a prodigy of Anubis frozen on a distant planet and the second has multiple S.G.1 teams pouring through the Stargate from diverse alternate realities , both of which had me glued to my seat

REVIEW: ANDROMEDA – SEASON 3

Starring

Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Lisa Ryder (Jason X)
Keith Hamilton Cobb (All My Children)
Gordon Michael Woolvett (Bride of Chucky)
Laura Bertram (50/50)
Lexa Doig (Arrow)

Laura Bertram and Lisa Ryder in Andromeda (2000)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Winston Rekert (Neon Rider)
Lawrence Bayne (X-Men: TAS)
Kirsten Robek (Cats & Dogs)
John de Lancie (Stargate SG.1)
Venus Terzo (BEast Wars)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Sarah Deakins (Rogue)
A.C. Peterson (Mutant X)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica)
William Katt (Carrie)
Geordie Johnson (The English Patient)
Leila Johnson (Foursome)
Steve Bacic (Flash Gordon)
Jayne Heitmeyer (Earth: Final Conflict)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Peter Kent (Total Recall)
Adam Harrington (The Secret Circle)
Chris Potter (Queer as Folk)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Kristi Angus (Jason X)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)
Colin Lawrence (The 6th Day)
Jody Thompson (The 4400)
Paul Campbell (88 Minutes)
Kevan Ohtsji (elektra)
Helene Joy (Durham County)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Stacy Grant (First Wave)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Krista Allen (The FInal Destination)
Marie Stillin (Stargate SG.1)
Michael Ironside (Scanners)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Smallville)
JR Bourne (The 100)
Christopher Judge (Stargate SG.1)
Marion Eisman (Riverdale)

Lexa Doig in Andromeda (2000)

Andromeda starred Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journey’s) in a science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) with a variety of executive producers Robert Hewitt Wolfe (The 4400, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Majel Rodenberry (Earth: Final Conflict), Allan Eastman (Star Trek: Voyager), Robert Engels (seaQuest DSV), Jay Firestone (Mutant X, La Femme Nikita), and Adam Haight (Mutant X, Highlander: The Raven). With its diverse crew of producers with extensive experience in science fiction and drama productions, Andromeda put in five solid seasons from 2000 to 2005 and totaled one-hundred and ten episodes. The premise of Andromeda is about the adventures of the crew the Andromeda and their efforts to rebuild a massive civilization that spanned the universeLisa Ryder in Andromeda (2000)In the close of season two, the signing of the Commonwealth charter was under attack by mysterious alien forces. The disruption caused chaos and the crew had to make sacrifices to deal with the matter. In the third season premiere episode “If the Wheel is Fixed”, the story is concluded. Tyr and Beka were left trapped in another dimension. Dylan frets and considers a way to get them back. He takes the Eureka Maru to reconstruct the events that led to the crew members being sucked into the alternate dimension. He is successful and Tyr and Beka return. Unfortunately, the two are not who they seem to be. Many problems happen on the Andromeda and it eventually turns into a mysterious plot to kill them all–Tyr and Beka are being controlled by a force in the other dimension.Steve Bacic in Andromeda (2000)The unfortunate thing about this episode is the direction the story takes. In the end of season two, the story had a lot of promise with aliens from another dimension attacking. However, in the concluding half of the episode, the story gets pretty hokey. I suppose the aliens from another dimension were not the strongest approach itself, but I liked it in the first part. The subsequent episodes also fail to be as strong as they could. This is not to say they are terrible or anything, but rather that they could have been better. The story arcs that ran through the first two seasons start become less significant. The content is more episodic with the Andromeda crew out on missions that are wrapped up in an episode.Lexa Doig in Andromeda (2000)“The Unconquerable Man” is a pretty solid episode, but one you do not want to think too much about. The storyline is based on time travel and alternate realities. The episode begins with Harper moving Gaheris Rhade’s body and Dylan notices a mark on his hand he had never seen. Then the episode jumps into a point in time when a future Rhade had the opportunity to destroy the time machine Harper built in the season two episode “Ouroboros”. Trance is with Rhade and tries to convince him not to do so. Rhade reflects on his life (an alternate reality of the events thus far). In this reality, Rhade killed Dylan and survived for three hundred years in the black hole. He teamed up with Beka, Rev Bem, Trance, Harper, and Tyr to rebuild the Commonwealth. As the episode unfolds, Rhade comes to realize it is Dylan’s fate and not his. He sacrifices himself so that the original timeline is restored and Dylan is once again put in charge of the Andromeda.Kevin Sorbo, Laura Bertram, Keith Hamilton Cobb, and Lisa Ryder in Andromeda (2000)“The Dark Backward” is an exciting episode because it explores Trance’s reality. There is a deadly intruder aboard the ship trying to kill the crew. The episode focuses on Trance and one her of mysterious talents. In past episodes, she has offered advice that could only be explained by foresight of some kind. She has the ability to play out situations in many different scenarios in mere seconds. Trance explores different ways to maximize the crew’s life and stopping the intruder. It is an interesting episode because it details more about how mysterious and special Trance is as a character.Laura Bertram in Andromeda (2000)Another strong episode this season is “What Happens to a Rev Deferred?”, where Rev Bem returns. While monitoring the evacuation of Empyrium, a world that is on the brink of destruction, the crew receives a communication from Rev Bem asking to be rescued. To complicate matters, a group of renegades are after Rev. Dylan and crew go to the planet’s surface to rescue Rev and witness a miracle. Rev under goes some spiritual phenomena when an unknown entity confronts Rev and he professes his sorrow for all his ill-natured acts as a savage Magog. He is given redemption and physical changed into a new being. Rev Bem has been an interesting character, with his struggles to be “civilized” over “savage”, and his ties into the Spirit of the Abyss make him an even more interesting character. It is too bad he is not investigated further.In the season finale “Shadows Cast by a Final Salute”, things take a turn for the worst for the Andromeda crew and the Commonwealth. The assistant minister of war informs Dylan that there is something afoot with the Nietzschean clans in the Commonwealth. There have been rumors going around that they are considering leaving the allied forces and forming their own united front. They are rumors no longer, but fact. Afterwards, Andromeda is put on high alert when an elite strike force of Dragans takes hostages and demands their lives for the bones of Drago Musevini. As the sitatuion unfolds, it becomes evident Tyr’s hand had play in the situation. With his son, the genetic clone of Drago Musevini, he plans to unite his people and save the universe. At the end, Dylan and Tyr bid a final farewell to each other with no promise their next meeting will be peaceful. But the situation was more than just Dylan and Tyr, as a plot to stand against the Commonwealth became an important issue. The Nietzscheans and several other forces joined in a battl against the Commonwealth fleet, which ended with the fall of the Restored Systems Commonwealth.Kevin Sorbo in Andromeda (2000)Overall, I was not nearly as impressed with this season as I was with seasons one or two. The episodes were more episodic with Dylan and his crew going on this or that adventure. The overall story arc with the Commonwealth, the Spirit of the Abyss, the Magog, Trance’s past, and others were not addressed as they were in the past seasons. The focus was a lot different. While this is not an awful move (the episodes were still entertaining), it just was not as good. The fortunate news is that the pace picks up again with the season three finale and it puts the entire universe of Andromeda in upheaval

 

REVIEW: DAREDEVIL – SEASON TWO

MAIN CAST

Charlie Cox (Stardust)
Deborah Ann Woll (Ruby Sparks)
Elden Henson (The Buttefly Effect)
Jon Bernthal (World Trade Center)
Élodie Yung (Gods of Egypt)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Stephen Rider (Safe House)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Men In Black)

GUEST CAST
Scott Glenn (The Silence of The Lambs)
Michelle Hurd (Flashforward)
Royce Johnson (Jessica Jones)
Peter McRobbie (Lincoln)
Rob Morgan (Pariah)
Amy Rutberg (The Mansion)
Carrie-Anne Moss (Jessica Jones)
Wai Chang Ho (Robot Stories)
Peter Shinkoda (Masked Rider)
Matt Gerald (Terminator 3)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Daredevil is a character about contrasts. Matt Murdock practices as a lawyer by day, but beats criminals as a vigilante at night. He’s a practicing Catholic, but dresses up like the devil. Also, he’s blind, but he can see the world around him unlike anyone else. Coincidentally, it is the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil that chooses to really explore the dichotomies, not only in its title hero but in those around him and the world at large. Charlie Cox once again stars as the Man without Fear in the series, and brings the same amount of dashing charm and selflessness that makes Matt such a great character. Cox has transcended himself in the role, too. Much like Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man or Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool, there is no separating the actor from the character; they are one. He provides the pivotal anchor for the rest of the cast, who also continue to hit home run after home run. Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson is still the perfect Milhouse to Matt’s Bart, the right combination of endearing, annoying, and funny. A combo that personifies the comic book character to a T, and makes him integral to Matt’s story. Furthermore there’s Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, bringing a lightness to this supremely dark (in tone and lighting) series. Woll and Cox also work off of each other in perhaps the most believable romantic subplot of the MCU. Then there’s Frank Castle.
Jon Bernthal takes on the role of The Punisher for the series, and he brings the goods. This is a character that also has two sides at work, not simply inherent to his actions but in how he is written as a piece of the puzzle. Bernthal can handle the militaristic elements with ease. No one has looked more natural walking down a hall while aiming a shotgun with precision, but when the more sensitive aspects of the character and his background unfold, he’s got it covered. The Punisher is at his most satisfying for an audience as an unstoppable killing machine, always five moves ahead. At his most interesting and nuanced, however, The Punisher is a fatally-flawed and broken individual that is two steps behind. The good news is that you get to have your cake and eat it too. When Bernthal isn’t laying waste to criminals, he’s tasked with delivering Shakespearean monologues, which he hits like a headshot.
The second season of Daredevil also brings along Elodie Yung as Elektra Natchios, the perfect wrench for everything Matt Murdock. Though The Punisher may be at his most satisfying when he’s a human hurricane leaving a path of destruction, Matt Murdock is at his most satisfying when literally everything is going wrong for him, and Elektra is a guarantee for that. Yung embodies the spirit of Elektra that shines a light on the character’s personality in exciting ways. She brings duel ferocity and gentleness that made me recognize something I had never thought before – Elektra is like a cat; Playful when it suits her, but mysterious and often a supreme and bitter jerk when she doesn’t get her way. The same way that Charlie Cox and Deborah Ann Woll hold onto everything wholesome and good about love, Cox and Yung grab all of the dangerous and potentially hurtful parts and hang them out the window while speeding down the highway.
The true achievement of Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 is not how in how it escalates the stakes from Season 1 or how it manages to properly juggle new and returning characters with satisfying arcs, it’s in its narrative composition as a whole. Season 2 is perhaps the most comic book-like series on TV, because it mirrors the structure of comics in a way that ceases to feel like television. While the first season held onto the framework of serialized TV, guiding us through every turn, Season 2 takes the graphic novel approach. Clusters of episodes form their own cohesive arc for a few hours, but when all combined they form the grander story at hand of the season. And that larger story? A further example of the two dividends of Daredevil. Daytime Matt and nighttime Matt get equal footing, which you need in order to make them both special.
As hard as it may be to believe, Daredevil‘s second season is a step up from the first. By embracing the comic book form, the series has further separated itself from the rest of the MCU and scratches an itch none of them can reach. It’s not all perfect though, as what worked the first time keeps working, and what didn’t work remains a drag, specifically the tired exposition wherein characters must explain to other characters the things the audience already knows. The drama screeches to a halt in these moments, but luckily they are few and far between.
If you were as enthusiastic about the first season of Marvel’s Daredevil, I hope you’re as pleased as I am with the new episodes. There’s an intensity and toughness in the storytelling that gets at the heart of the character and provides further proof why Daredevil is the one of the best heroes in comics. The new additions to the series are welcome and only enhance the storytelling in thrilling ways.

REVIEW: WAR

CAST
Jet Li (The Mummy 3)
Jason Statham (Spy)
John Lone (The Shadow)
Devon Aoki (Sin City)
Luis Guzmán (Traffic)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Ryo Ishibashi (The Grudge)
Sung Kang (Fast & Furious)
Nadine Velazquez (My Name Is Earl)
Andrea Roth (Ringer)
Kane Kosugi (Ninja Sentai Kakuranger)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3)
Peter Shinkoda (Masked Rider)
Kenneth Choi (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Aaron Pearl (Stargate SG.1)
During a shootout against Chinese Triads at a San Francisco dock warehouse, FBI agents John Crawford (Jason Statham) and Tom Lone (Terry Chen) stumble across the notorious assassin Rogue (Jet Li), a former CIA assassin who now works for the Japanese Yakuza. Rogue ambushes Crawford and is about to execute him when Lone appears and shoots Rogue in the face, causing him to fall into the water. Rogue’s body was never found and he is presumed dead. However, Rogue survives and retaliates against Lone, his wife and his daughter. He kills them, burns down the house, and leaves their three corpses in the ashes of their home.
Three years later, Rogue re-appears, working under Chinese Triad boss Li Chang (John Lone). Rogue is assisting Chang against Chang’s arch-enemy and Rogue’s former employer, the leader of the Japanese Yakuza, Shiro Yanagawa (Ryo Ishibashi). Rogue first attacks a club run by the Yakuza by killing the gangsters and later on the runners in order to recover a pair of antique gold horses, family heirlooms of Chang. However, Rogue is secretly setting the Yakuza and the Triads against each other, in order to push the two factions toward all-out war.
Now the head agent of the FBI’s Asian Crime Task Force, Crawford is determined to hunt Rogue down and exact revenge for Lone’s death. Crawford’s obsessive pursuit of Rogue has taken a toll on his personal life causing him to be estranged from his family. Crawford comes close to catching Rogue in the wake of Rogue’s various killing sprees against the Triads and Yakuza, but Rogue always manages to stay one step ahead.
Ultimately, Rogue’s actions have gained the trust of both Chang and Yanagawa. Rogue succeeds in betraying Chang, but spares Chang’s wife and child, turning on the Yakuza. With Chang dead, Yanagawa is finally ready to come to America, where he intends to take over and expand Yakuza business operations. However, he is confronted by Crawford and the FBI; Crawford presents Yanagawa with proof that Rogue has betrayed him and spared Chang’s family, but Yanagawa refuses to assist Crawford in locating Rogue.
Later, Rogue delivers the horses to Yanagawa personally. Knowing of Rogue’s betrayal, Yanagawa captures Rogue and demands the location of Chang’s family. Rogue turns the tables on Yanagawa’s men and kills them all, and engages in a sword fight against Yanagawa himself. Yanagawa discovers that Rogue is actually FBI agent Tom Lone (who, after undergoing plastic surgery, changed his voice to obtain a Japanese accent); and killed the real Rogue, assuming the assassin’s identity. Rogue/Lone reveals that his actions have all been designed to bring him face-to-face with Yanagawa, so he could kill the man who ordered the death of his family. Yanagawa reveals that Crawford was in his pocket that whole time and responsible for leaking Tom Lone’s identity and home address to the real Rogue. Angered, Rogue/Lone disarms and decapitates Yanagawa.
Meanwhile, Chang’s wife receives a package from Rogue/Lone, containing one of the two golden horses that belongs to Chang’s family and a message reading, “Make a new life”. Yanagawa’s daughter also receives a package with the same message and inside the box is her father’s head. Rogue/Lone then calls Crawford as he is packing up his office, asking him to meet him at the dock warehouse where they last made their investigation. Before going to the warehouse, Crawford enlists the help of Goi (Sung Kang), an FBI sniper that aided Crawford throughout the investigation. At the warehouse, Crawford and Rogue/Lone battle each other in an intense hand-to-hand fight in which Rogue/Lone reveals who he really is to Crawford. When Rogue/Lone reveals his true identity, a devastated Crawford reveals that it was true that he was working for Yanagawa at the time but had no idea that Rogue was still alive. He was then blackmailed and gave Yanagawa Lone’s address thinking that Yanagawa’s men were only going there to “rough him up a bit”. Ever since, Crawford was angry at himself and wanted revenge against Rogue and everyone else involved in what he thought was his partner’s death.
However, Crawford begs Lone for forgiveness, but Lone denies him, coldly replying “Tom Lone is dead, my name is Rogue”. As Rogue takes out a gun to shoot Crawford, Goi takes aim at him. Crawford jumps in Goi’s line of fire, and allowing Rogue the opportunity to shoot him in the back, killing him. The next day, Rogue/Lone later drives out of town to start a new life.
Very good movie overall and I would definitely recommend it for those who are and aren’t familiar with past roles of Statham and Li.

REVIEW: DAREDEVIL – SEASON ONE

 

MAIN CAST

Charlie Cox (Stardust)
Deborah Ann Woll (Ruby Sparks)
Elden Henson (The Buttefly Effect)
Rosario Dawson (Sin City)
Toby Leonard Moore (John Wick)
Vondie Curtis-Hall (Die Hard 2)
Bob Gunton (The Lincoln Lawyer)
Ayelet Zurer (Man of Steel)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Men In Black)

Charlie Cox and Deborah Ann Woll in Daredevil (2015)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Peter McRobbie (Spider-Man 2)
John Patrick Hayden  (Yin/Yang)
Nikolai Nikolaeff (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Peter Shinkoda (Masked Rider)
Rob Morgan (Stranger Things)
Scott Glenn (The Silence of The Lambs)
Wai Chang Ho (Robot Stories)
Amy Rutberg (Recount)
Royce Johnson (Ghost in the Graveyard)
Matt Gerald (Terminator 3)

 

Daredevil was a fun, ferocious look at Marvel’s own city-saving vigilante. Similar to DC’s Batman and Green Arrow, Matt Murdock loves his city. Even more so, the neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen which was hit hard by the Chitarui attack – one of the show’s only mentioned connections to the MCU. In place of a crime-ravaged Irish immigrant-heavy neighborhood (as per the 60s/70s Daredevil comics), the choice was made to portray the square mile of crowded city as “mostly good people on hard times due to recent alien events.” Still folksy, but more modern. A smart move that helped tie Daredevil to the rest of the MCU happenings, despite the fact that the show is the grittiest, most violent entry into Marvel’s TV/movie canon so far. Strong, grounded performances, smart writing, and hard-hitting fight scenes immediately helped elevate Daredevil above fans’ expectations (which were already quite high). Buffy/Angel alums Drew Goddard and Steven S. DeKnight (who took over as showrunner early on after Goddrad left for the ill-fated Sinister Six) delivered a taught, thoughtful, and appreciatively earnest take on Matt Murdock – one of Marvel’s most complex, hard-to-get-a-handle-on characters (and one of the most religious). A hero no movie would ever be able to get quite right.

Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk  served the show well. Fisk was portrayed as a very vulnerable man. A seriously dangerous one, no doubt, but also one who came with his own formative backstory and current web of lies and betrayals. Also…a love story. Fisk’s moments spent, early on, wooing and doting upon Ayelet Zurer’s art gallery curator Vanessa was a daringly wonderful way to introduce us to the character. Especially since Fisk had remained off-screen for a few episodes while the show built him up. D’Onofrio performance as Fisk was, simply put, one of the best parts of the show. As a man who almost seemed to be learning the actual mechanics of how to speak to other people every time he opened his mouth, Fisk’s shyness/awkwardness helped not only separate him from most crime boss cliches, but also helped us understand why a man as lonely and isolated as he was would become so lethally attached to Vanessa. While also seeing someone like Wesley, his right hand man, as a “true friend.” Despite them never showing any real bonds of brotherhood. Just an intense, loyal employer/employee relationship.

Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock was no slouch either, of course. As Matt constantly wrestled with how far he should morally go as a vigilante, Cox handled things with care and relatable concern. Of course, even with the act of killing as a point of spiritual debatelaire, Matt was willing to do just about most everything else under the sun to achieve his goals – including maiming, torturing, and knocking people into comas. He even, on a few occasions, threatened to kill villains via not saving them from their serious injuries. It was enough make one easily believe that all of this would weigh heavy on a Catholic’s conscience. The supporting cast was great as well. I really liked that this season didn’t go the trite, soapy “love triangle” route with Matt, Foggy, and Karen. There was some flirting, and a few seeds planted here and there for possible romantic tension – but the show politely waved at the idea while graciously passing it by. Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen was to be no one’s prop. And she wouldn’t seek solace “in the arms” of another. And she’d fight back, on whatever level was available to her. Also, Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson was able to equally provide humor and drama in his fresh take on the “sidekick” role.

This praise also goes for Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple and Vondie Curtis-Hall’s Ben Urich – both important characters here (though Claire had never been tied to Daredevil in the comics) in their own right, given unique (and sometimes surprising) treatments. The fight scenes are, naturally, worth noting. You’ll find most folks raving over a sequence in the second episode, “Cut Man” (one of the show’s best entries), as well as a few others. And again, expert choreography aside, it’s the fact that Matt quite often takes an extreme shellacking that gives these battle sequences extra “oomph.” It really draws you in when you can almost feel how hard it is for Matt to face down a squad of thugs. When every blow to his body rocks yours. Daredevil was a thrilling, ultra-starisfying take on Daredevil’s material and lore. One that, like Favreau’s first Iron Man film, helped breathe new life and fandom into a somewhat B-tier Marvel character.

REVIEW: POWER RANGERS – SEASON 1-3

MAIN CAST

Austin St. John (Footsteps)
Amy Jo Johnson (Flashpoint)
Walter Jones (Garden of Evil)
Thuy Trang (Spy Hard)
David Yost (Degenerate)
Paul Schrier (Wicked Game)
Jason Narvy (Masked Rider)
David Fielding (Super Task Force One)
Jason David Frank (The One Warrior)
Steve Cardenas (A Brother’s Badge)
Karen Ashley (Sawed)
Johnny Yong Bosch (Marvel Anime: Blade)
Catherine Sutherland (The Cell)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Richard Genelle (The Death Merchant)
Barbara Goodson (The CHosen)
Robert Axelrod (The Blob)
Wemndee Lee (VR Troopers)
Kerrigan Mahan (Supernova)
Richard Steven Horvitz (Crazy, Stupid, Love)
Bryan Cranston (Godzilla)
Richard Lee Jackson (Bring it On Again)
Renee Griggs (Walker Texas Ranger)
Richard Rabago (VR Troopers)
Royce Herron (Rocky Road)
Carla Perez (VR Troopers)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Sabrina Lu (Idle Hands)
Alissa Ann Smego (Star Kid)
Ted Jan Roberts (Masked Rider)
Traci Belushi (Big Bad Beetleborgs)
Ken Merckz (Orgazmo)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil TV)
Winston Story (That 70s Show)
Jennifer Tung (What Lies Beneath)
Ralph Votrian (Masked Rider)
Bob Papenbrook (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Gregg Bullock (Evil Acts)
Tracy Lynn Cruz (Power Rangers In Space)
Karim Prince (How To Make a Monster)
Alan Palmer (Lovers and Liars)
Jim Gray (Diamonds in The Rough)
Rajia Baroudi (Starship: Rising)
David Bacon (True Friends)
Nakia Burrise (Hart of Dixie)

In 1993. It was an intriguing time in the United States as we saw elements of Japanese pop culture starting to make its way to television. From Japanese animation being shown on television, so was a sentai series known as “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”.mmpr-4

Based on the 16th installment of the Super Sentai franchise and known as “Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger” in Japan, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” became an amazing hit as it aired on Fox Kids and made Saban Entertainment a household name for people growing up at that time. Instead of releasing the Japanese version of the series and providing an English dub, Saban Entertainment wrote new episodes and just used the footage featuring the action sequences including the rangers and their mecha vehicles incorporated to the new footage. “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” was a simple story focusing on five teenagers in the fictional city of Angel Grove, California. The five teenagers, who are good friends, included the fitness jock Jason Lee Scott (as portrayed by Austin St. John), the dancer Zack Taylor (as portrayed by Walter Jones), the gymnast Kimberly Hart (As portrayed by Amy Jo Johnson), the intelligent Billy Cranston (as portrayed by David Yost) and the always happy Trini Kwan (as portrayed by Thuy Trang).the_power_is_on___power_rangers_2017_movie_v2_by_bilico86-da2fbbo
While the teens put hang out at a teen Youth Center owned by Ernie (As portrayed by Richard Genelle) and are often upset at the local wannabe bullies Bulk (as portrayed by Paul Schrier) and Skull (as portrayed by Jason Narvy), everyone likes to have fun at the center.y4cA0YbWhile in space, two astronauts discover an extraterrestrial container and when they open it, they inadvertently release the evil alien sorceress named Rita Repulsa who was confined in the container for over 10,000 years. And now Rita has her sights of conquering the planet Earth with her evil space aliens and monsters.The wise sage known as Zordon, who was responsible for capturing Rita and confining her, now needs to make sure Earth is protected. So, Zodon has his robotic assistant named Alpha 5, find five teenagers who can help defend the Earth from Rita’s attacks. And the five teenagers are brought to headquarters to meet Zordon and Alpha 5 and find out that they have been selected to defend the Planet Earth from Rita Repulsa’s attacks. They will be given the power of the Power Rangers, dino-powered warriors of goodness. Jason becomes Red Ranger, Zack becomes Black Ranger, Billy becomes Blu Ranger, Trini becomes Yellow Ranger and Kimberly becomes Pink Ranger. The five are given weapons and a vehicle to control. And when their opponent becomes too strong for all five to challenge, the five can use their vehicles to become one huge robot known as the Megazord. As the five teens use their new powers to defend the planet from Rita Repulsa’s monsters, a new teenager with martial arts skills shows up in Angel Grove. His name is Tommy Oliver (portrayed by Jason David Frank), who has the power of the Green Ranger, but is he friend or foe? As the first season focused on Rita trying to use the Tommy/green power ranger against the Power Rangers and then trying to regain the power, the second season would introduce new antagonists.

In season two, Rita Repulsa’s superior, Lord Zedd has arrived and upset with her performance, he throws her into the space dumpster and focuses on his own personal campaign to conquer Earth. But because of the new threat, Zordon and Alpha upgrade the Dinozords into the Thunderzords, with the exception of Tommy who must continue to use the Dragonzord.

Meanwhile, as Zedd ties to focus on eliminating Tommy, Zed creates a special green crystal in order to take away the powers of the Green Ranger and also power up Zedd’s Dark Rangers. Meanwhile, Jason, Zack and Trini are chosen to attend the World Peace Conference in Switzerland and that means that the Power Rangers will need new members. And the three’s powers are transferred over to new members Rocky DeSantos (portrayed by Steve Cardenas), the new red ranger; Adam Park (portrayed by Johnny Yong Bosch), the new black ranger and Aisha Campbell (portrayed by Karan Ashley); the new yellow ranger. This will eventually lead to a new storyline featuring a transformation of Tommy into the White Ranger with a Tigerzord and become the new leader of the group. As for Rita Repulsa, she makes her re-appearances, albeit with a special makeover to have a younger and prettier face. Thus creating two power-house antagonists that the Rangers must contend with.In season three, a new antagonist known as Rito Revolto (Rita’s skeletal brother) has now arrived on Earth and showing his might, destroys the Power Rangers Thunderzords and even the Tiger Zord. Needing new zords, the Power Rangers seek the creator of the Power Coins, Ninjor and the result is the creation of powerful Ninjazords and the Falconzord and later to the Shogunzords.the_power_is_on___power_rangers_2017_movie_v2_by_bilico86-da2fbbo
The third season introduces us to Katherine Hillard (portrayed by Catherine Sutherland) who arrives from Australia to Angel Grove and becomes the new replacement for Kimberly who chooses to pursue her dreams of competing in the Pan Global Games and becomes the new Pink Ranger. The third season also, introduces us to Rita’s father, Master vile and turns the Power Rangers into children and leads to the ten-episode mini-series (a.k.a. Season 3.5), Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers (which is included in the season three DVD release).


With Master Vile using the Orb of Doom to turn the Power Rangers into children, Zordon recruits the Alien Rangers of Aquitar for their help. Meanwhile, Billy tries to find a way to restore everyone back to their normal ages and that is to find the fragments of the Zeo Crystal.the_power_is_on___power_rangers_2017_movie_v2_by_bilico86-da2fbbo

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

Morphin Time! – (32:44) A look back ad the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” phenomenon with new interviews with the cast and creative team.
A Morphenomenal Cast: A Look at Becoming a Power Ranger – (35:06) Casting director Katy Wallin and the stars of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ” talk about being cast for the show and the camaraderie of teh cast members.
Lord Zedd’s Monster Heads – (25:03) A video montage of the various monsters featured in the series.
Alpha’s Magical Christmas – (23:14) The original Power Rangers Christmas special episode featuring Alpha celebrating Christmas with the children.
The Good, The Bad and the Stupid! The Misadventures of Bulk and Skull – (52:13) A special episode featuring Bulk and Skull as Civil Defenders and recalling their past adventures.
The Fans Power Up! A Peek Inside the Power Rangers Fandom – (13:46) Fans of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” talk about what they remember of the series when it first aired on television and the cast talk about how the fans are phenomenal and loyal.
Rare Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fan Club Video – (29:48) The original video created for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Fan Club featuring the original season one cast. And a chance for fans to learn more about the cast behind the Power Rangers.
MMPR Karate Club: The White Ranger Kata – (51:17) The karate club videos that were originally included in the VHS tapes featuring Jason David Frank teaching how to do martial arts.
Power Rangers Live: The World Tour – (1:11:59) Featuring the Power Rangers live stage show.the_power_is_on___power_rangers_2017_movie_v2_by_bilico86-da2fbboPlus a 40-page booklet with information on the series, character bios, episode summary and more. The set comes with a big slipcase to hold all the DVD’s. It’s brilliant to be able to relive the entire series from the beginning a must purchase for fans old and new.

REVIEW: MASKED RIDER

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MAIN CAST

Ted Jan Roberts (Magic Kid 1 & 2)
Rheannon Slover (The Stooge)
Ashton McArn (VR Troopers)
David Stenstrom (Power Rangers Zeo)
Candace Kita (Two and a Half Men)
Ken Merckx (Power Rangers Time Force)
Jennifer Tung (What Lies Beneath)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUESTSTARS

Ralph Voltrian (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Libby Letlow (The Bedtime Story)
Matthew Bates (V for Vendetta)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil TV)
Winston Story (That 70s Show)
Traci Beluishi (Power Rangers Zeo)
Wendee Lee (Ninja Scroll)
Michael Sorich (VR Troopers)
Steve Kramer (Chronicle)
Michael McConnohie (Akira)
Julie Maddalena (Children of The Corn)
Jason Narvy (Mighty Moprhin Power Rangers)
Bob Papenbrook (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Paul Schrier (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Ali Afshar (Power Rangers Turbo)
Verne Troyer (Austin Powers)

When Power Rangers was at its peak, children’s television saw a massive influx of Japanese-adapted tokusatsu series. Other studios such as DIC tried their own shows, but Saban truly led the way with no less than four shows of this type. Power Rangers had Super Sentai covered, and the Metal Heroes franchise was channeled into VR Troopers and Big Bad Beetleborgs. Meanwhile the Kamen Rider franchise saw a single Western release in the form of Masked Rider. The character himself appeared in Power Rangers season 3 for a 3-part story before appearing in his own 40-episode show between 1996 and 1997.

On the distant planet of Edenoi (where Power Rangers’ Alpha-5 was created), Prince Dex has been given the powers of the Masked Rider by his grandfather King Lexion to battle his evil uncle, Count Dregon, who is intent on ruling the planet and taking the Masked Rider powers for himself. When Dregon sets his sights on planet Earth, Dex pursues and is taken in by a Hal and Barbara Stewart and their adopted children, Molly and Albee. Following Dex is Ferbus, a small furry creature with a mischievous personality. Using the Masked Rider powers, Dex fights Count Dregon and his army of Insectivores while trying to learn more about human life and keeping his identity a secret. He is aided by two superpowered talking vehicles – a car named Magno and a bike named Battle Chopper (or just Chopper).


Masked Rider is a pretty awful series riddled with flaws. The best place to start with is the beginning, and that’s with the lead characters – Dex and the Stewart family. Much like the original Power Rangers cast, far too greater lengths have been gone to to make these characters “perfect”. An idealised happy family isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t make for particularly interesting viewing. Dex is your run-of-the-mill alien on Earth, spouting out TV nonsense and misunderstanding Earth phrases. He also seems to pull a lot of powers out of nowhere when untransformed (such as telekinesis and super speed), which begs the (in-story) question of why the hell he never uses these when fighting as Masked Rider? The series even has its own Bulk and Skull-esque duo in the form of nosey neighbour Patsy Carbunkle and her stereotypical geek friend Herbie, but the less said about these two the better. Masked Rider later gets two extra modes to call on, the originally named “Super Gold” and “Super Blue” modes.While their introductions are among the better episodes Masked Rider has to offer, the real potential of these abilities isn’t really explained and its left to the viewer to draw their own conclusions. Both forms also have the power to upgrade Chopper, but nothing is actually ever done with these upgrades outside their first appearances.

Count Dregon and his band of villains aren’t much better on the character front either. While the (ridiculously awesome looking) Spiderbase is manned by Count Dregon and his generals Nefaria, Double Face, Cyclopter and Gork, Dregon and Nefaria are the ones hogging the majority of the screentime (and also the only ones who actually appear in original footage). Since the show has no real conclusion, Dregon is an “all-talk, no action” villain and we never see him actually do anything than rant. It’s a shame really, because Double Face and Cyclopter are great looking villains and actually engage Masked Rider when they have the opportunity to do something. And even though he doesn’t get the spotlight very often, there’s still too much of the rhyming Gork in this show. The use of source footage was always ropey back in the 90s but Masked Rider has to be one of the worst examples out there. While mainly drawing from the aforementioned Kamen Rider Black RX, the series also uses footage from two other Kamen Rider movies – ZO and J. With both of these film featuring riders with VERY different suits to Black RX you might think that careful editing is involved to make to footafe work, but the fact is most of the times it doesn’t even feel like they tried. Masked Rider’s suit changes every 30 seconds, with tiny bits of new footage added inbetween to (badly) make it seem like everything fits. Blink and you’ll miss it moments they are not. The chopping and changing between American and Japanese out-of-suit footage is equally bad, to the point where you wouldn’t be wrong for thinking the show starred both Prince Dex and Kotaro Minami.


And of course what Masked Rider review would be complete without discussing Ferbus, the furry little creature which many hold as the worst aspect of the series. Ferbus’ antics do indeed ruin a lot of what could be considered the more “serious” episodes of the show, but his inclusion isn’t the biggest misstep this series makes by any means. Had he been toned down a lot more, maybe the series could have struck a better balance between comedy and drama. Masked Rider was a pretty big part of my childhood, and so when I set about rewatching it deep down I hoped it would still hold some charm for me despite knowing how universally disliked it is. But all hope was lost after the first few episodes, as the terrible characters, minimal fight footage and horrific editing became more and more apparent. The lack of a proper ending is just the icing on a rather horrible tasting cake. If you are by any way curious about this series, my advice is to simply watch episodes 1, 2 7, 8, 21 and 37 because they are only ones that are anyway decent (and funnily enough, the only ones that have any real bearing on the overall plot).