REVIEW: BABYLON 5: THE LOST TALES

 

Starring

Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Tracy Scoggins (Highlander: The Series)
Peter Woodward (Dystopia)
Bruce Ramsey(Alive)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Craig Veroni (Dark Angel)
Keegan MacIntosh (Legends of The Fall)

:Tracy Scoggins and Alan Scarfe in Babylon 5: The Lost Tales (2007)Babylon 5: The Lost Tales marks the first of potentially many Direct-to-Video journeys back to the Babylon 5 universe. Due to marketing strategies — likely covering the scenario where sales are poor and no more are produced in this series — the full title is buried in small print on the back of the case: Babylon 5: The Lost Tales – Voices in the Dark. Trimmed from the original plan for three half-hour stories, Voices in the Dark features two independent 35-minute character pieces that are thematically related and loosely bridged together in the middle to form a single film.Babylon 5: The Lost Tales (2007)The first of these stories features now-promoted Colonel Elizabeth Lochley (Tracy Scoggins), still in control of the station in 2271, 10 years after the formation of the Interstellar Alliance. She has requested the assistance of Father Cassidy (Alan Scarfe) in handling a somewhat distressing situation: in Brown Sector, the stench is even more foul than usual and a resident named Simon Burke (Bruce Ramsay) is claiming to be possessed by the fabled demon king Asmodeus and is demanding an exorcism. Asmodeus suggests that God knew man would one day take to the stars and would be less inclined to continue following the more Earthbound concepts of the Christian religion, so he banished some demons to the outer reaches of space to one day return and remind us of the great evil in the universe and ultimately bring people back to the faith. The premise of this story is interesting enough, and the philosophical debate is performed well by Scarfe and Ramsay.Babylon 5: The Lost Tales (2007)Unfortunately, Lochley comes across very stilted, as if Scoggins is out of practice with the character. In an ensemble show like the original series, this wouldn’t be that big a problem, but this first half of Voices in the Dark is essentially a three-character play with only a handful of minimalist interiors, and the story must survive almost completely on the strength of the dialogue and the actors. Without all three of them at the top of their game, the ultimate resolution of the episode becomes a little underwhelming. Also detracting from the quality of the piece is some of the camerawork in Burke’s cell. Obviously, director J. Michael Straczynski is trying to create a level of disorientation in these scenes, but the effect is too overt and poorly executed.ISA President John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) stars in the second story, dovetailing with the first through a communique with Lochley that implies the two events take place concurrently. As Sheridan prepares to return to Babylon 5 for a 10th Anniversary celebration of the Interstellar Alliance, he is visited in a dream by Galen (Peter Woodward). The mysterious technomage shows him a vision of the future (eerily similar to Enterprise’s “Shockwave”) where New York City is destroyed by the current third in line for succession to the Centauri throne and son of Cartagia, Prince Dius Vintari (Keegan MacIntosh). As it just so happens that Vintari will be accompanying Sheridan on his journey to Babylon 5, Galen tries to convince the President to take matters into his own hands and ensure that the Prince does not return from the voyage alive.MV5BMmRkNzk2M2EtNTkxMC00NjQ0LWJmMWItM2YyMTk1YzEzY2JjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzU1NzE3NTg@._V1_CR0,45,480,270_AL_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_Boxleitner eases back into the character of Sheridan so effortlessly that it’s hard to imagine he ever left. Whereas Scoggins seemed to struggle with her section of Voices in the Dark, Boxleitner takes control of his and turns the somewhat overused “What if you could kill Hitler?” concept into something more compelling than it probably deserves. His scenes with the Centauri Prince hold together well, and MacIntosh captures some of that underlying insanity we came to know from Emperor Cartagia. Woodward is also very strong here and maintains Galen as an edgy and disturbing character instead of softening him into some lovable sage delivering wisdom from beyond. Rounding out the cast is a small but very effective performance from the always dependable and still gorgeous Teryl Rothery as an ISN reporter hoping to gain some insight from the President as he returns to the site of his greatest triumphs.voices-in-the-dark-02There are some obvious and expected changes between this new release and the original Babylon 5, including a wonderfully reverent title sequence. Notably, digital effects technology has evolved so much since the mid-1990s that a lot more can be accomplished for less money and still look dramatically better than some of the cheesy effects we became accustomed to. The potential certainly exists for some fantastic battle sequences, and we get a brief glimpse of that during Sheridan’s story. Unfortunately, due to budget concerns with a Direct-to-DVD release, the digital effects and green screening are leaned on very heavily, to the point where the physical interiors feel cheap and inauthentic. Combine this with the narrow scope of the short stories and the handful of characters involved, and it just doesn’t feel like Babylon 5. The original arc was so vast and epic and was bigger than anything television had ever seen and may ever see again, yet Voices in the Dark is so isolated and tiny and, to be blunt, inconsequential. That doesn’t necessarily make it bad, simply unremarkable, and adjusting to Babylon 5 in that state makes for a very difficult transition, one that I hope is easier to swallow in future releases. As it is, Voices in the Dark provides a chance to spend a few more minutes with some beloved characters, including a couple of genuine lump-in-the-throat moments, but there isn’t much else here.

REVIEW: CRUSADE

Tracy Scoggins, Gary Cole, Daniel Dae Kim, Carrie Dobro, and Peter Woodward in Crusade (1999)

 

Starring

Gary Cole (Tammy)
Tracy Scoggins (Highlander: The Series)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
David Allen Brooks (Castaway)
Peter Woodward (Dystopia)
Marjean Holden (Beastmaster)
Carrie Dobro (A Marine Story)

Peter Woodward in Crusade (1999)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Zeus Mendoza (Passengers)
Tim Thomerson (Trancers)
Alison Lohman (Drag Me To Hell)
Marshall R. Teague (Road House)
Edward Woodward (Hot Fuzz)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
John Novak (War)
Tim Choate (Blow Out)
Joel Swetow (The Orville)
James Parks (The HAteful Eight)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Bill Mondy (THe Dead Zone)
Lance LeGault (Stripes)
Richard Biggs (Tremors)

Science fiction on television tends to fall into a few small groupings; the space epic of shows like Star Trek and its spin offs and the smaller, more intimate shows like Firefly, that seem far more realistic (if a bit less fantastical). As a fan of all such shows, I’ve followed the ups and downs, ins and outs, and trials and tribulations of a host characters in various settings that were written with varying amounts of care and creativity. One of my favorites from the 1990’s was the epic series Babylon 5, a show created by genius writer Joseph Michael Straczynski. The series was set in the year 2257 and detailed the events of an intergalactic meeting place, a sort of United Nations in space, initially designed to be a means to prevent misunderstandings and promote peace. As the series progressed, its focus moved about a bit but the largest arc of shows dealt with the Shadow War.crusade_visitorsEssentially, two races of highly advanced sentient species; the Vorlons, a secretive race that believed in order and obedience, and the Shadows, a secretive race that believed in chaos and Darwinism, sought to continue their struggle for dominance as they had done every thousand years. Each employed highly advanced technology to further their goals and made alliances with some of the younger races that were ascending into dominance by virtue of their expansion into the Universe. Through several seasons of manipulation and intrigue, the war continued until ultimately concluding in a somewhat unique manner as all the players came to the table. The Babylon 5 series continued with the aftermath of the war and tied up many of the threads started during the five season run as well as the handful of television movies that furthered Mr. Straczynski’s vision of the future.MV5BMjIwNTU0Mzc0Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzQyMTQ2MjE@._V1_After the fifth and final season wound down, the last TV movie, A Call to Arms, was financed and released by the TNT network. The movie dealt with one of the Shadows’ former allies, The Drakh, trying to enact revenge for what they perceived as the treachery of the humans in ridding the Universe of their former masters. In essence, the Drakh used Shadow technology in the form of a deadly virus to contaminate Earth and doom its population to a slow, lingering death. The new Interstellar Alliance commissioned a unique ship, the Excalibur, to find a cure by searching the Universe for remnants of Shadow technology (or anything else) that might help find a cure. The name of this second five year series (ala Star Trek) was Crusade: The Complete Series.brainonfire-chloegracemoretz-stressed-streetThe main cast of the show included the no-nonsense captain, Matthew Gideon, his telepathic first officer, John Matheson, the gifted doctor, Sarah Chambers, the thief with the past, Dureena Nafeel (brought over from the movie), the gifted archeologist, Max Eilerson, and the mysterious technomage, Galen, with appearances by various others from the original series on an irregular basis. Each seemed patterned after some of the more familiar characters of popular culture and the same holds true for the show itself. Few would argue that the “five year mission” could’ve come from anything other than Star Trek and fans of Japanese anime are quick to point out the similarities between the series and the Americanized version of Space Cruiser Yamato (Star Blazers) with the main cannon of the Excalibur firing a powerful blast that forces a recharge lasting far too long for most military situations and the overall concept of a single ship sent on a mission to save a dying Earth. I’m not going to spoil the show for you by pointing out the rest but fans of Stargate SG-1, King Arthur, and a great many other fantasy shows/books/movies will have a lot to think about as the show borrowed heavily from many sources.

Each episode managed to deal with the usual crisis of the week while developing the characters and big picture at the same time. Fans of the Babylon 5 series will appreciate how some of the events that took place in the series were touched upon as well. From the aftermath of the telepath war in The Well of Forever and The Path of Sorrows, showing how the newly established equivalent of the Psi-Corps could be just as oppressive as anything Bester could come up with; albeit in a more subtle manner; to the routine discussion about the technomages (one of the more interesting groups that were neglected in the original series).

The series didn’t just stick to a set script from the original series either, looking at a variety of themes that have all been done to death but showed some interesting insights into the mind of Mr. Straczynski. From the usual “ends justifies the means” to the “common good versus individual freedoms” to the relativistic morals many of the cast displayed in the weekly dilemmas they faced, the show managed to provide a means for viewers to explore their own ideas in relation to the show rather than spoon feed. Mr. Straczynski did use his sly sense of humor (look for some of his recent work on Marvel’s Spiderman comic book for even more of his anti-corporate, anti-war outlook) in each of the ten episodes he wrote (out of the thirteen), like in Patterns of the Soul or Racing the Night, but also added his usual touches in other episodes.MV5BMTcwODM2NjQxM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTE3ODE3NzE@._V1_What made the vast majority of Babylon 5, Crusade, and the books so interesting was the writing (not the special effects) of both the characters and the situations they found themselves in. Unlike far too many shows of the past, the characters in Mr. Straczynski’s universe are virtually all flawed in some significant manner. This allows the viewer to more fully identify with the characters, much like Joss Whedon’s Firefly; another show that lasted 13 episodes and was cut down by corporate decision making at its worst. TNT cancelled the show before it even aired; doing everything it could to cut short their contract with Straczynski (trying to make creative changes that hogtied him into a corner by making the show use more sex to boost ratings, more space battles to intrigue the non-fans, and a host of conceptual alterations that reportedly drove him half crazy).crusadeIn the end, Babylon 5 fans will have to simply accept that things didn’t work out and for all the promise Crusade had that went unfilled, a movie is currently in the works, The Memory of Shadows which will hopefully tie up the majority of loose ends. Straczynski has indicated that the actual theme of Crusade was not going to be five years of searching for the cure (it was planned to be found in the middle of the second season) so much as dealing with the aftermath in general of the Shadow technology let loose upon the Universe and humankind’s attempts to harness it for their own purpose. Humanity was the race viewed as having the most potential of the major Babylon 5 races to further the positive aspects of life but also considered the most likely to cause harm due to our various character flaws (this being a thinly veiled reference to the USA for the most part) and how various factions tried to capitalize on the advanced technology, regardless of the dangers involved or the cost of using them, would’ve been fleshed out in the fullness of time. The show had plenty of flaws (many relating to those of the first season of Babylon 5) but it managed to provide a different taste of Straczynski” Universe before it slipped into the night.

REVIEW: BABYLON 5: A CALL TO ARMS

Babylon 5: A Call to Arms (1999)

 

Starring

Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Jeff Conaway (Grease)
Carrie Dobro (A Marine Story)
Peter Woodward (Dystopia)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Tracy Scoggins (Highlander: The Series)
Tony Maggio (Bad Influence)
Michael Harris (Suture)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Marjean Holden (Hostage)

Babylon-5-Thirdspace-Loony-LytaThis made for TV movie was actually made to set the stage for a Babylon 5 spin off series, CRUSADE. In this movie, a huge showdown with the evil minions of the Shadows (the Drakh) is about to occur with the Earth. However, no one is aware of this and the only clues to the impending holocaust are weird dreams and visions that are experienced by Sheridan and two others who he has never met. One is the captain of an Earthforce ship, the other is an annoying and difficult to like alien named Dureena. Dureena is a thief “with an attitude” (quite the cliché) and I never warmed to her character in this movie or on the nine episodes she was in on the show CRUSADE. In addition to these characters, Galen (a reappearing character on CRUSADE) also makes his first appearance. Unlike Dureena, his character did improve over time–so the idiots producing CRUSADE decided to take him off the show. In fact, after this excellent movie with an excellent premise, it seemed like TNT (who produced the series) did everything they could do to kill it, such as moving the show about, alienating the head writer and not bothering to publicize it. It’s a shame–in seeing this movie, you have a good idea of what COULD have been had the series continued receiving network support.Howling0403Overall, this movie is quite watchable and exciting, but many of the familiar characters (Delenn, Londo, Vir, others) are absent. Plus I don’t know if I am being too picky, but during the big battle with the Drakh, things seemed to really drag and take forever–this part could have been tightened up a bit and would have resulted in a higher score.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DRACULA: THE COMPLETE SERIES

Image result for draculA 2013 LOGO

MAIN CAST

Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors)
Jessica De Gouw (Arrow)
Thomas Kretschmann (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Victoria Smurfit (Bulletproof Monk)
Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Faster)
Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones)
Katie McGrath (Supergirl)

Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Dracula (2013)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Ben Miles (V For Vendetta)
Robert Bathurst (Toast of London)
Jemma Regrave (I’ll Be There)
Anthony Calf (New Tricks)
Anthony Howell (Foyle’s War)
Andrew Lee Potts (Alice)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Richard Dempsey (Chronicles of Narnia BBC)
Tamer Hassan (Kick-Ass)
Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Invisible Man)
Thomas Doherty (Legacies)

‘Dracula’ is a bold and modern reinvention of Bram Stoker’s classic gothic masterpiece, and although it may not boast the strongest scripts or the most interesting dialogue by today’s standards, this is nonetheless a very vivid and watchable new take on a legend retold time and time again.

Dracula effectively reignites the spark of forbidden lust and desire that was at the heart of the original novel, but turns up the eroticism a few notches more. Yes, this is a very sexy show, and just as new Dracula Jonathan Rhys Meyers turned Henry VIII into a sex symbol in the outstanding series ‘The Tudors’, this time he’s giving the Prince of Darkness himself the same treatment. Vampires have always been metaphors for forbidden lust ever since Stoker first conceived the idea back in the 19th Century, and this has been prevalent during the recent vampire renaissance of the modern era. Vampires will always been inextricably linked to sex, and if you’re looking for something that is steamy, dark, romantic and tasteful all at the same time, then ‘Dracula’ should fulfil your wish.


As you might expect, a few changes have been made to the original legend, and most of them work quite well, bar a few exceptions. In this version of the story, Dracula has travelled to London in the guise of wealthy and charismatic American Alexander Grayson, who has come to London to promote a new form of safe and renewable energy that will make Thomas Edison look like an amateur arts dealer. Yes, it’s every bit as absurd as it sounds, but in reality Dracula’s entire scheme is nothing more than a smokescreen to avoid being detected and to cover up his latest scheme. What better way to avoid detection and suspicion than hiding in plain sight? There’s also an ironic poetry about a creature of the night endorsing new forms of light energy. Of course, Dracula’s real plan is far more nefarious than merely being a poster boy for efficient energy sources, as The plots to annihilate a mysterious cult known as ‘The Order of the Dragon’ from the shadows (an organisation based on a real historical order of the same name.) But after meeting Mina Murray, whom he is convinced is a reincarnation of his dead wife, Ilona, can Dracula’s heart’s desire lead him to uncover the humanity still left within him, or will it only complicate his plans further? Naturally, I’m not going to spoil anything, but Mina’s presence certainly has a profound effective on the old Count.


As you might expect, Rhys Meyers is as intense and brooding as you’d expect his version of Dracula to be, and when he’s actually playing Dracula he’s definitely at his best. His performance does falter slightly as his Alexander Grayson persona due to his dodgy attempt at an American accent, but considering Dracula isn’t American either, maybe this could be interpreted as adding authenticity to the performance. His relationship with his loyal servant, Renfield (Nonso Anozie) is definitely one of the most intriguing aspects of the whole affair, as Renfield’s character is both complicated and fascinating to observe, despite his often one-note dialogue and characteristics.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Dracula (2013)
Professor Van Helsing, who is almost as famous as Dracula himself these days, also plays an antagonistic role, but I felt very disappointed by this depiction of Van Helsing, as he lacked the presence and menace necessary to face-off against Rhys Meyer’s formidable prowess. Jonathan Harker is also present, but frankly his character is far too dull and bares very little relevance to the plot beyond being a tool to keep Mina in Dracula’s orbit. Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s performance is also very poor, as he only ever seems capable of being mildly aloof or really pissed off, with no further spectrum to his emotional range. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the relationship between Mina Murray and Lucy Westenra, and while I won’t spoil any secrets, the show certainly takes their friendship into unpredictable territory, and it was always with great expectation I waited to see how it would unfold. Jessica De Gouw does a very commendable job as Mina, but really it’s Katie McGrath (also Morgana in ‘Merlin’) who really steals the show, giving an outstanding performance as Lucy throughout the 10 episode run.


Sadly after 10 episodes the show was cancelled leaving a shocking cliffhanger that will never be resolved.

REVIEW: PENNYWORTH – SEASON 1

 

Pennyworth (2019)

Starring

Jack Bannon (Fury)
Ben Aldridge (The Railway Man)
Hainsley Lloyd Bennett (King of Crime)
Ryan Fletcher (Shetland)
Dorothy Atkinson (Harlots)
Ian Puleston-Davies (Vera)
Paloma Faith (St. Trinian’s)
Jason Flemyng (From Hell)
Polly Walker (Clash of The Titans)
Emma Paetz (Gentleman Jack)

Jack Bannon in Pennyworth (2019)
Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Emma Corrin (The Crown)
Jarren Dalmeda (The Outpost)
Salóme Gunnarsdóttir (Knightfall)
Richard Clothier (Above Suspicion)
Ramon Tikaram (Jupiter Ascending)
Ben Wiggins (Mary Queen of Scotts)
Jessica Ellerby (Lovesick)
Danny Webb (Alien 3)
Freddy Carter (Wonder Woman)
Harriet Slater (Faunutland and the Lost Magic)
Anna Chancellor (Trust)
Felicity Kendal (Rosemary & Thyne)
Peter Guinness (Sleepy Hollow)
Sarah Alexander (Stardust)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Charlie Woodward (Postman Pat)

Jack Bannon in Pennyworth (2019)Stories that have well-known, predetermined endings are tricky. Stories about peripheral characters before the main draw gets involved are tricky. Origin stories aren’t that tricky, but they become tricky when you’re telling one with the two previous requirements in place. In these ways (and few others), “Pennyworth” is a lot like “Better Call Saul” — the origin story of a supporting player in a larger story that hasn’t started yet, EPIX’s new series about Batman’s future butler doesn’t feature the Dark Knight or even the promise of getting to his story, eventually. Instead, it starts its own story of Alfred Pennyworth and finds compelling new life within — just like “Better Call Saul!”Emma Paetz and Ben Aldridge in Pennyworth (2019)OK, maybe not just like Vince Gilligan’s heralded spinoff, but it’s off to a great start through four episodes. The hour-long drama starts Alfred’s story shortly after his service in the war, as the 20-something Pennyworth (played by Jack Bannon) returns home to his mother and father, determined to run a security business and lead a more peaceful life. While that’s getting off the ground, he works as a bouncer and doorman at an underground London club, and it’s here he first runs into a young American by the name of Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge).Emma Corrin and Jack Bannon in Pennyworth (2019)It’s here that “Pennyworth” makes its first good impression, built on the back of many smart choices. For one, Wayne isn’t treated like royalty. He’s kind of a smarmy dick — like a lot of billionaires — and his introduction sees him as a bit of an overprotective, inept brother, relying on the good luck of Pennyworth’s talents and discretion to get out of an ugly situation. That the show doesn’t treat the Wayne name with an air of royalty, as if he’s the most important person in a show that’s not really his, is really encouraging, and it only bears out from there.Emma Corrin, Jack Bannon, and Ben Aldridge in Pennyworth (2019)Alfred himself is a well-rounded central figure, built from the heroic goods of more-than-capable soldier, but not such a smoothed-over goodie goodie to be made boring. He shows off his fighting abilities in the middle of a restaurant, careful not to bother the other patrons too much while tossing a hooligan over a table. There are shades of Future Alfred there, but not too many — he’s still got to become that wizened advisor to Master Wayne, so it’s nice to see he’s also got a few blindspots, too.Jack Bannon in Pennyworth (2019)Namely, women. One sucker punches him near the end of that early scene, foreshadowing many problems to come with his overconfident self-perception. Alfred doesn’t really know who he is yet, and that’s reflected as it so often is to men: through the (smarter) people they date. To get into much more might enter spoiler territory, but the women of “Pennyworth” are pretty well characterized on their own, outside of Alfred’s, too, even if there is a bit of a James Bond element to his lifestyle, as well as the show’s style. (The opening credits look like they’re ripped straight from Bond 20, while Alfred’s “for Queen and country” attitude compliments his 007-esque abilities.)Jack Bannon and Ben Aldridge in Pennyworth (2019)here’s where we talk about how damn good “Pennyworth” looks. Considering how gorgeous Bruno Heller (executive producer and writer) and Danny Cannon (executive producer and director) made “Gotham” — even with a broadcast budget — it should come as no surprise that London has rarely looked better than it does here. The lighting, both diegetic and non-diegetic, is stunning, making the crisp imagery pop when enemies are fighting and bringing beauty to a smoky side street when a noir-ish vibe is more appropriate. The costumes are pristine, sets expansive, and locations exciting in both their look and disparity. One episode is off to the countryside while another is buried in the bowels of a city. Along with sharp scripts, these touches help each hour stand out, and build on the overall enjoyment of spending time with “Pennyworth.”Jack Bannon in Pennyworth (2019)Though there are some structural issues (the premiere is nearly feature length, with wobbly beginning and ending notes) and the big-picture strife between warring political parties takes up a bit too much time, “Pennyworth” establishes an admirable long-game and introduces a number of characters you’ll grow attached to quite quickly. Bannon is a talented lead, flashing charm and strength as well as he balances immediate assuredness (for those hard-to-escape scenarios) and long-view obliviousness (toward his own path in life). The show mimics his versatility, coming across as an exciting new chapter in Bruce Wayne’s growing televised saga. “Pennyworth” sounds like a bad idea, but Batman die-hards and casual fans should both soon discover how very good it is.

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 2

Starring

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Torri Higginson (Dark Waters)
Rainbow Sun Francks (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem)
Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Rachel Luttrell (A Dog’s Breakfast)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)

Joe Flanigan and Mitch Pileggi in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Clayton Landey (Sully)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Kirby Morrow (Ninja Turtles: Next Mutation)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Lucia Walters (Fifty Shades Darker)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Nicole Muñoz (Van Hesling)
Kavan Smith (Mission to Mars)
Jonathon Young (Sanctuary)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Claire Rankin (Taken TV)
Brenda James (Slither)
A.C. Peterson (Mutant X)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Aaron Abrams (Hannibal)
Andee Frizzell (Flash Gordon)
Jenn Bird (Blade: The Series)
Chad Morgan (The Purge: Anarchy)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Peter Flemming (The X-Files)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
William MacDonald (Riverdale)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Mark Gibbon (The 6th Day)
Ryan Robbins (Caprica)
Sonja Bennett (The Fog)
Colm Meaney (Star Trek: DS9)
Heather Doerksen (Van Hesling)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Brandy Ledford (Androemda)
Kevin McNulty (Fantastic Four)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)

Rainbow Francks in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Season one not only established this show as a unique rival to its fellow series `Stargate: SG-1′, but also set the bar very high for a second season with this new breed of adventurers continuing to battle Wraith and other foe in the far-removed Pegasus Galaxy.Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Just as with its sister series, `Atlantis’ is adept at balancing a large season story-arc while at the same time providing its audience with inventive one-off stories that act both to attract new viewers to the show and also give the loyal fan-base a break from the on-going threat of the Wraith. This second season is no exception.Rachel Luttrell and Jason Momoa in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)The Siege Part III – As last season closed, the cliffhanger had Atlantis under siege by the Wraiths and things were not going well. Atlantis was ready to self destruct and Maj. Shephard was on the way to a suicide mission. As is customary in such situations, the cavalry arrives just in the nick of time in the form of the Earth Ship Daedelus. It has some advanced Asgard technology on board which saves Shepherd and helps to destroy the hive ships attacking Atlantis. Some manage to get away and they are heading back with reinforcements. While the cleanup is going on, a lieutenant is rescued but he has been severely damaged by the wraith. He is irrational and jumpy about the others who do not fully trust him. As the enlarged wraith fleet arrives, Atlantis decides to gamble on deceiving them that a self destruct has really taken place. This occurs just as the damaged lieutenant steals a puddle jumper and flees through the gate.Runner – A team from Atlantis is investigating a planet with extremely high solar radiation. While there, they find a dead Wraith. There is evidence that he was killed by Lt. Ford, the guy who fled in the first episode of the season. The team heads back to try and get him to come back. They find a surprise. There is another human on the planet who has had a transmitter mounted in his back so that he can be the guest of honor in a sort of trophy hunt. He has managed to elude the Wraith for 7 years before being captured. He is set free by Lt. Ford who is deranged. Now it is a 3 way manhunt with nobody trusting anyone else.David Hewlett and Paul McGillion in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Instinct – While investigating a new planet, the Atlantis team comes across a village that is intermittently plagued by a Wraith. The team agrees to hunt it down but finds something unexpected. They find a local scientist who has been raising a juvenile female Wraith as his daughter. He swears that it is not her who is terrorizing the village. He also maintains that there is another Wraith out there. The science types at Atlantis think they might be able to use the girl to develop a vaccine to fight the virus that causes humans to become Wraiths. It might even turn Wraiths back into humans. The research is promising until the young Wraith girl jumps the gun causing no end of problems.David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrell, Paul McGillion, Jason Momoa, and Kavan Smith in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Conversion – At the close of the previous episode, LTC Shepherd was injured by the Wraith girl who had tried the experimental virus. Some of their blood mingled. Now he is infected with the parasitic virus that produces Wraiths. Now the race is one to capture an alien bug, get some stem cells and find a cure. The col. is going stir crazy while this happens and is getting more and more volatile. The Lost Boys – The team is following up on a tip and is captured. They are quickly taken to another planet where they find that they have been captured by a force led by the AWOL Lt. Ford. He has been on a rampage and has been taking Wraith “enzyme” from all of his victims. He feeds the enzyme to his followers to give them super strength. He thinks that is the way for humanity to defeat the Wraith. The enzyme prevents him from thinking straight. And, by the way, this one is a cliffhanger.Joe Flanigan and Jason Momoa in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)The Hive – Lt. Ford’s plan to prove the worth of the enzyme is simple. They use a stolen dart and use it to blow up a hive ship. That’s what they were doing at the end of the last episode when they got captured. Remember, Ford doesn’t think all that well under the influence of the enzyme. After the capture, all grow through withdrawal from the enzyme. The longer it has been used, the worse the withdrawal. Help comes from an unexpected source from the least likely hero. Critical Mass – Stargate Command on Earth and Atlantis are plunged into chaos when it is revealed that a Goa’uld operative is hidden in Atlantis. The operative has orders to set a bomb to blow up Atlantis when the Stargate is used to dial Earth. They apparently want to destroy Atlantis to keep the Wraith from getting anywhere near them. The mole is very highly placed.Connor Trinneer in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Michael – Something is not quite right. The episode begins with a man in sick bay. As he is awoken, all of the command staff is notified to be there. He has amnesia and cannot remember anything. He is told that he was a member of a team captured by the Wraith and recaptured by Atlantis. That is not quite the truth which is quite a bit uglier. He was a Wraith upon whom an experimental retrovirus had been tried. The experiment threatens the existence of Atlantis itself.Andee Frizzell in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Allies – A Wraith hive ship arrives. Instead of opening fire, the Wraith ship opens communication. It is being led by Michael, the Wraith upon whom experiments were conducted. He is offering all sorts of Wraith military secrets…for a price. They want the retrovirus used to create Michael. They believe that will give them supremacy over other Wraith. They are a slimy group though and hidden agendas are not beyond the realm of possibility. The alliance is not what it seems. Earth is in trouble in this season ending cliffhanger.

REVIEW: POSTMAN PAT: THE MOVIE

CAST (VOICES)

Stephen Mangan (Rush)
Susan Duerden (Flushed Away)
Mike Disa (Hoodwinked Too)
Jim Broadbent (Game of Thrones)
Rupert Grint (Harry Potter)
David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Ronan Keating (Goddess)
TJ Ramini (Spivs)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Parminder Nagra (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jo Wyatt (Tales of The Night)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Enn Reitel (Prey)
Jean Gilpin (The Stud)
Jacob Witkin (Hail, Caesar)
Anastasia Griffith (Shadow of The Sword)
Craig Ferguson (Brave)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)

Patrick “Pat” Clifton also known as “Postman Pat” (voiced by Stephen Mangan), is a friendly postman who has been delivering letters in the village of Greendale in the north of England for years. He wants to take his wife, Sara (voiced by Susan Duerden), on a late honeymoon to Italy. He plans to afford it through a bonus from his employer, the Special Delivery Service (SDS), but their new boss, Edwin Carbunkle (voiced by Peter Woodward), has cancelled all bonuses. He plans to make SDS more efficient by replacing its human workers with robots, thinking that being friendly is a waste of time.When Pat gets home and tries to tell Sara about the fact that the honeymoon is cancelled because the new boss has cancelled all bonuses, his son Julian (voiced by Sandra Teles) shows Pat a TV talent show, You’re the One, hosted by Simon Cowbell (voiced by Robin Atkin Downes in typical Simon Cowell voice), which states the next auditions are coming to Greendale. Cowbell also confirms that the person who wins the contest will be awarded a holiday to Italy and a recording contract. Pat decides to take part in the contest and his unexpected singing voice (played by Ronan Keating) wins the contest. Pat is to sing again in the finale, in a head-to-head contest with the winner of another heat, Josh (voiced by Rupert Grint). His manager, Wilf (voiced by David Tennant), however, is very keen to make sure it is his client who wins at all costs.The Chief Executive Officer of the SDS, Mr. Brown (voiced by Jim Broadbent), and Edwin Carbunkle had been watching the contest on TV. They say that they would like to use Pat in a publicity campaign including his own television series. Carbunkle also confirms that because Pat will be away participating in the contest, a robot replica of him called the “Patbot 3000” will be taking over his postal duties, along with another robot replica of Jess called the “Jessbot” as well. After Pat has gone, the Patbot delivers the rounds like Pat normally does, but it behaves oddly and the people of Greendale are starting to complain about Pat behaving in such a way. Sara and Julian are starting to worry about Pat too.Meanwhile, Ben Taylor (voiced by TJ Ramini), the manager at the SDS, is fired by Carbunkle and is convinced that Pat doesn’t want him anymore, not realising that Pat is a robot. Meanwhile, Wilf tries his schemes to stop Pat, not realising that Pat going around Greendale is in fact a robot. The more Pat’s family and friends become concerned, the more Pat feels guilty about coming on the contest in the first place. But, after a while, Sara and everyone else in Greendale discovers that Pat has been replaced by a robot, and find out Edwin Carbunkle’s true intent. It turns out that Carbunkle is in fact making these robots to try and take over the world. Sara and Julian now know the terrible truth about what Mr Carbunkle’s plan is. Moments before Pat leaves for London, Sara tells Pat that she forgives him and is fully aware of the Patbot 3000. She reassures Pat that she knows that Pat only entered You’re The One to win their honeymoon that she and Julian will be there for him and they both share an optimistic goodbye as Pat leaves for London.big_1473912748_imageNow fully aware of Mr Carbunkle’s plan, Sara decides it’s time to stick up for Pat and she takes everyone else in Greendale to see the You’re The One finals. Meanwhile, Jess, who had been stowing away on one of the SDS helicopter replicas that one of the Patbot 3000s used, manages to make his way to where Pat’s performance, and he helps Pat escape after he is almost locked away in a dressing room by a Patbot and Mr Carbunkle, who reveals that Pat’s publicity was just to make people like him, so Mr Carbunkle could replace him with Patbots. They are then pursued by the Patbots. Meanwhile, in the performance, a Patbot performs instead of Pat, unbeknown to the audience. Wilf, knowing it to be a robot (and not realising there is the real Pat too), tries to unmask the Patbot. Then, the real Pat interrupts the performance. As Carbunkle releases the first few Patbots to kill off Pat, Simon Cowbell and Mr Brown, revealing that he has had enough of them hindering his plans, Pat’s wife, Sara along with everyone else from Greendale enter the auditorium within seconds. They manage to switch off the Patbots and stop Mr. Carbunkle’s evil schemes, revealing that they all forgive Pat for turning a blind eye when the Patbot was first put into action.BaseketballFeatAs soon as Carbunkle is arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, everything is back to normal. Sara gives Pat a great, big hug and claims that she can more than happily forgive him. Now fully aware that Sara has forgiven him, Pat decides to do his act, but decides to change the act slightly. Sara also takes part in the act. They both win the holiday to Italy, but pass the recording contract to Josh, so Wilf is happy too, and all is forgiven. baseketball4-620x349It’s entertaining and simple enough for the kids to follow that their interest will be captured enough not to annoy you for an hour and half!