REVIEW: YOUNG SHELDON – SEASON 3

Young Sheldon (2017)

 

Starring

Iain Armitage (Scoob!)
Zoe Perry (Scandal)
Lance Barber (Gangster Squad)
Montana Jordan (The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter)
Raegan Revord (Wish Upon)
Annie Potts (Ghostbusters)
Matt Hobby (The Grinder)
Jim Parsons (Hollywood)

Zoe Perry and Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon (2017)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sarah Baker (Tammy)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Valerie Mahaffey (Sully)
Brian Stepanek (Green Book)
Ryan Phuong (Shameless)
Danielle Pinnock (The Undertaker’s Wife)
Mary Grill (Father Figures)
Isabel May (Alexa & Katie)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Doc Farrow (The Good Place)
Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist)
Rex Linn (Rush Hour)
Melissa Peterman (How High)
Bob Newhart (Elf)
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Diedrich Bader (American Housewife)
Wyatt McClure (The Fault In Our Stars)
Mckenna Grace (Fuller House)
Andrea Anders (Mr. Mom)
Jim Beaver (Breaking Bad)
Ava Allan (Pretty Little Liars)
Amanda Payton (Trial & error)
Louie Anderson (Baskets)
Katherine Von Till (Sofia The First)
Ryan Stiles (Two and a Half Men)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hall)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)

Iain Armitage in A Broom Closet and Satan's Monopoly Board (2019)I was very hesitant before watching Young Sheldon because the Big Bang Theory was an iconic and loved show. I was surprised at how much heart the show had though and how great Iain Armitage is as a young Sheldon Cooper.Annie Potts and Iain Armitage in Hobbitses, Physicses and a Ball With Zip (2019)The show does many things correctly. Sheldon does not deal with authority well just like BBT and he is very blunt. Sheldon is far more innocent though and is far more gullible making some of the storylines fascinating and emotional.Lance Barber, Zoe Perry, Raegan Revord, and Iain Armitage in A Parasol and a Hell of an Arm (2019)A key part of the show are the emotional relationships that Sheldon has with his parents. Sheldon’s mother played by Zoe Perry is especially touching. She deeply cares for Sheldon and her overprotectiveness is very funny throughout the show.Iain Armitage in Pongo Pygmaeus and a Culture that Encourages Spitting (2019)Another heartwarming aspect is of the relationship Sheldon has with his father. His father in BBT is described as a horrible adulterer and person, but the show makes him kind and sweet to his family, albeit very lazy. Sheldon’s dad played by Lance Barber is responsible for some of the more heartwarming scenes of the show.Annie Potts, Lance Barber, Raegan Revord, Montana Jordan, and Iain Armitage in The Sin of Greed and a Chimichanga from Chi-Chi's (2019)I was happily surprised when I started watching Young Sheldon. I suggest it if you need something simple, dumb, or you just need to laugh. It is perfect for a rainy day or if you are sick. Season 3 continues shows just how good a spin-off this show really is and that I am sure it will on the air for mamy more seasons.

REVIEW: YOUNG SHELDON – SEASON 1

Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon (2017)

Starring

Iain Armitage (Scoob!0
Zoe Perry (Scandal)
Lance Barber (Gangster Squad)
Montana Jordan (The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter)
Raegan Revord (Wish Upon)
Annie Potts (Ghostbusters)
Jim Parsons (Hollywood)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Bob Newhart (Elf)
Valerie Mahaffey (Sully)
Rex Linn (Rush Hour)
Matt Hobby (The Grinder)
Danielle Pinnock (The Undertaker’s Wife)
Melissa Tang (Beginners)
Doc Farrow (The Good Place)
Wyatt McClure (The Fault In Our Stars)
Brian Stepanek (Green Book)
Ryan Phuong (Shameless)
Sarah Baker (Tammy)
Vernee Watson (Bob Hearts Abishola)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Sharon Ferguson (Buffy: TVS)
Harry Groener (Road To Perdition)
Frances Conroy (Joker)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Katherine Von Till (Sofia The First)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hall)
Melissa Peterman (How High)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)

Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon (2017)Anyone expecting ‘more Big Bang’ will be sorely disappointed by Young Sheldon. This is a very different kind of show – and a far, far better show than we had any right to expect. Young Sheldon could have been a quick cash-in on the huge popularity of Big Bang Theory. But it turns out to be a whole new thing, only loosely connected to the previous show.True, Young Sheldon does pick up the backstory established for the Sheldon of Big Bang. But the writing takes off in a whole new direction. Gone are the zippy one-liners, the exaggerated characters, the zaniness, What we get instead is something no one could have predicted: heart.Annie Potts, Zoe Perry, Raegan Revord, and Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon (2017)It’s a huge mistake to think of Young Sheldon as a prequel to Big Bang. This is a slice-of-life story of growing up in Texas. Instead of being set-bound like Big Bang, Young Sheldon is shot largely on locations. Instead of being stylized, it’s realistic. Instead of being glib, it’s thoughtful. There’s plenty of humor, but it’s gentler and more complex. The third episode, for example, deals with a child coming to grip with the possible death of a parent, and with the role of faith in his very logical universe. The script doesn’t judge, and it doesn’t forget to be, at times, hilariously funny. (The last line had us in stitches.)
Lance Barber and Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon (2017)The acting is uniformly superb. Sheldon’s mom perfectly evokes Laurie Metcalf’s older version from Big Bang. Annie Potts playing Sheldon’s ‘Meemaw’ is as brilliant as she’s ever been (and that’s saying quite a lot.) And then there’s Iaian Armitage in the title role. He doesn’t mimic the older Sheldon, but he does ring absolutely true as a precocious yet naive kid, totally out of step with his surroundings. After watching him for a half-hour, I no longer cared whether he was supposed to be a younger version of some other character. He’s a totally memorable character in his own right.Montana Jordan and Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon (2017)Chuck Lorre has taken a huge risk, defying audience expectations with Young Sheldon. Let’s hope he and Steven Molaro (who’ve co-written the early episodes) can keep the series going as powerfully as it has begun. And hope also that audiences can shake off their addiction to Big Bang Theory long enough to appreciate something that’s as fresh and ground-breaking today as Big Bang was eleven years ago.

REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 5

Donal Logue, Morena Baccarin, Cameron Monaghan, Erin Richards, David Mazouz, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, and Michelle Veintimilla in Gotham (2014)

 

Starring

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Shark Night)
David Mazouz (Incarnate)
Morena Baccarin (Deadpool)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (John Wick 3)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Corey Michael Smith (Utopia)
Jessica Lucas (Clvoerfield)
Chris Chalk (Homeland)

Gotham (2014)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jaime Murray (Castlevania)
Francesca Root-Dodson (Free Spirit)
Cameron Monaghan (Amityville: The Awakening)
Shane West (Nikita)
Peyton List (The Tomorrow People)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
BD Wong (Jurassic World)
Benedict Samuel (The Walk)
Richard Kind (Young Sheldon)
Lili Simmons (The Purge TV)

Donal Logue, Ben McKenzie, and Erin Richards in Gotham (2014)Certain aspects of the Batman story seem reasonably immutable and set in stone, no matter how many iterations there are over the years. However, the gap which exists between boy and (Bat)man seems pretty much up for grabs, as there hasn’t really been a definitive account of what young Bruce Wayne did in the wilderness. All we know for certain is that he watched his parents get murdered, fell into a cave filled with bats, and the legend was born.David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova in Gotham (2014)A recent attempt to chronicle this part of Bruce’s life came with DC’s ‘The New 52’, and part of the ‘Zero Year’ storyline was used in the arc for Season 5 of Gotham. In fact, Gotham has probably been the most detailed attempt to cover the journey that takes Bruce from victim to vigilante, over half a decade, while also showing how his Rogues’ Gallery came into being. It seems to have started a trend for prequel origin tales, with SyFy’s Krypton which just finished its second term, and Pennyworth from Epix which goes even further back and show us a younger (and Bruce-less) Alfred.John Martineau, Ben McKenzie, and Robin Lord Taylor in Gotham (2014)With such fertile ground, Gotham could easily have run for longer, but the plug was pulled and a drastically curtailed last outing was planned to wrap up the story. Despite having run for half the length of Smallville, the end goal was always the same – give the audience the payoff after loyally following the show, by building up to the big reveal, where the hero dons his cape (and, in this case, cowl), signifying the end of one chapter, and the start of a new one, where we get into more familiar territory. And then exeunt, Gotham.BD Wong and Cory Michael Smith in Gotham (2014)It was always going to be interesting to see how the makers of Gotham would address the elephant (or, maybe, bat) in the room, as there seems to have been an aversion on the part of DC to allow there to be any more than one Batman – and, even then, only to allow him on the big screen. Animated series aside, the only time we’ve seen Batman on TV is in the 1960s Adam West series; even Titans in its first season only showed him briefly (and then only played by a stuntman), but Season 2 has cast Iain Glen as an older Bruce Wayne, so things may have turned a corner as far as television depictions are concerned.Cameron Monaghan in Gotham (2014)Having only a dozen episodes in which to try and wrap up the four previous years of storylines is no mean feat, and by doing so, Season 5 of Gotham has managed to simultaneously feel both too short and too long; not enough time to breathe, and yet somehow drawn out at the same time. It’s actually quite an achievement when you think about it. The storytelling’s suffered as a result, as you have to cram so much in, but some continuing strands haven’t been handled especially well, and some of the plotting has felt circuitous or circular at times.That’s not to say this last hurrah has been a failure, or there hasn’t been anything to shout about, as it’s still hugely enjoyable. One thing that’s become painfully clear, however, is that things seem to sag when Jeremiah Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) isn’t on screen – he’s come close to being one of the definitive versions of the Joker, and been a welcome breath of fresh air, after the appalling Jared Leto in Suicide Squad. However, he’s so good that when he isn’t around, you’re waiting for him to turn up again, so he’s actually made the show a victim of his own success.Peyton List in Gotham (2014)The next best villain on the show, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), has been a joy to watch, with his manic, calculating glee, and his combative and – sometimes – homoerotic relationship with Penguin, a.k.a. Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), has lifted and carried the series through some weaker patches. However, he’s mostly wasted here, spending much of his time investigating the blackouts he’s been having, and then discovering that he’s been turned into a mind-controlled puppet. Riddle me this: why on Earth did they choose to squander Nygma, and wait until the finale to let him find form once again?Shane West in Gotham (2014)Considering the tale’s been told through the eyes of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), he’s hardly been the most compelling or sympathetic of characters, making some truly questionable moral decisions, and a lot of effort is put into positioning him to become the Commissioner Gordon who we all know; one of these dodgy choices comes with him having a torrid one-night stand with his ex – and gangland crime boss – Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), just so she can get pregnant and give us the future Batgirl, Barbara Gordon. I really won’t miss McKenzie’s irritating growling voice, nor his jutting jaw, all of which he seems to think passes for actual acting.Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie in Gotham (2014)Through it all, the natural core of Gotham has understandably been the pairing of Alfred Pennyworth (the inimitable Sean Pertwee) and young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). It’s actually turned out to be an incredibly intelligent piece of casting by picking Mazouz, as you’d have to have a lot of confidence that he could actually play Bruce on his trajectory from boy to young man, and then credibly setting up his transformation into Batman; Mazouz has managed to grow beyond the rather wet and feeble Bruce who we first met, turning into the proto-Dark Knight who started to emerge in Season 4.David Mazouz in Gotham (2014)Gotham has certainly done a creditable job in working in so much of the whole Batman mythos, setting up the genesis of so many adversaries, including – in this latest season – Bane (Shane West), who thankfully erred more toward Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises, rather than the embarrassing cartoon henchman we saw in Batman & Robin. However, the money shot we’ve all been waiting for comes at the end of the final episode, bringing us our newest Batman. The fact it leaves us wanting more means it really is mission accomplished, and is pretty much the best ending they could have aimed for.

REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 3

 

MAIN CAST

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Ghost Rider)
David Mazouz (New Girl)
Morena Baccarin (Homeland)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (Cold Comes The Night)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Corey Michael Smith (Wonderstruck)
Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield)
Chris Chalk (12 Years A Slave)
Drew Powell (Straw Dogs)
Maggie Geha (Ted 2)
Benedict Samuel (The Walk)
Michael Chiklis (Fantastic Four)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Leslie Hendrix (Arthur)
James Carpinello (Gangster Squad)
Jamie Chung (The Gifted)
John Doman (Blue Valentine)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Magic Mike XXL)
B.D. Wong (Jurassic World)
Chelsea Spack (Blue Bloods)
Raymond J. Barry (Training Day)
Richard Kind (Stargate)
Naian Gonzalez Norvind (The Devil You Know)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
Ivana Milicevic (Vanilla Sky)
Cameron Monaghan (Amityville: The Awakening)
James Remar (Black Lightning)
Nathan Darrow (Preacher)
Camila Perez (Star)
Tonya Pinkins (The Book of Henry)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Clare Foley (Sinister)
David Dastmalchain (Ant-Man)

Maggie Geha in Gotham (2014)Gotham is the crime drama series based on DC Comics’ Batman universe. Having premiered on Fox in the autumn of 2014, the show initially focused on young versions of James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). Over time, though, the series introduced younger iterations of well-known villains in the Batman franchise, as well as lesser-known characters to provide a wider representation of the Dark Knight’s universe. Additionally, with Season Two, the episodes were grouped into “Rise of the Villains” (Episodes 1-11) and “Wraith of the Villains” (Episode 12-22), and that concept was continued in Season Three, with Episodes 1-14 grouped into “Mad Love” and Episodes 15-22, under the subtitle of “Heroes Rise.”Benedict Samuel in Gotham (2014)Concepts deriving from the overarching themes were weaved throughout the various storylines. Betrayal is often associated with love, and this theme was well represented throughout the season. Between lovers, siblings, work colleagues, and enemies, betrayal was a symptom of the deterioration of Gotham. Gordon tried to take the high road with his ex-fiancé Lee (Morena Baccarin) who moved on to a relationship with Dr. Mario Falcone (James Carpinello) and fell into an uneasy sexual relationship with Valerie Vale (Jamie Chung) that included a number of lies and betrayals due to their goals arising from their respective jobs – bounty hunter and reporter. But, the downfall between Gordon and Vale came when he is forced by Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel) to choose between Vale or Lee in “Follow the White Rabbit” (Episode 6). Although he chooses Vale, all parties easily infer that Gordon is still in love with Lee. Later in the season, Bruce commits a deadly betrayal against Alfred (Sean Pertwee) in “Destiny Calling” (Episode 21) after being kidnapped by the Court of Owls to spend time with The Shaman (Raymond J. Barry) and meeting Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig). Surprisingly, one ray of light occurred between Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor). Desperate to know why she didn’t kill him, Penguin was surprised and humbled that Fish saw in him her greatest creation (“Burn the Witch” Episode 2).Robin Lord Taylor and Cory Michael Smith in Gotham (2014)

As often that a character was turning on another individual, sometimes the betrayal came from within. Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) seemed to be one of the most conflicted characters through the season, trying to answer the question, “Who am I?” His identity, publicly as Penguin’s Chief of Staff, and privately as Penguin’s mastermind, resulted in a vacuum of questions after Nygma shot Penguin, believing he had killed his best friend who overshadowed and defined him. As a result, Nygma tested a number of the city’s intelligent people for assistance in determining his own identity separate from Penguin. The Tetch virus enhanced and brought out certain traits of characters and finding themselves at odds with themselves. Captain Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis) received a drop of blood from Alice Tetch (Naian Gonzalez Norvind) which heightened his commitment to the concept of justice, becoming judge, jury, and executioner as well as embodying the law (“New Day Rising” Episode 4). Marios jealousy was amplified, and Lee became a bad girl looking for the bad boy in Gordon, who was forced to self-infect the virus on himself in “Pretty Hate Machine” (Episode 20). As one of the heroes, Gordon was the only one who could control his magnified emotional state.

Amongst chaos, the heroes rise; however, the idea of heroes is a double-edged sword, so the viewer’s traditional definition of hero will be challenged in Season Three. Executive Producer John Stephens said, “Everyone goes through a major character metamorphosis throughout the course of the yea,r” in an interview with Comicbook.com. What is the most dramatic event that a character could go through? Well, it seemed that death (or near-death) and rebirth was a common event for most of the characters. For instance, Ivy Pepper (Maggie Geha) was touched by one of Dr. Strange’s (B. E. Wong) monsters and not only did she age about 10 or so years, but it was the belief of Selina (Camren Bicondova) that Ivy had died. Fish Mooney, Victor Fries (Nathan Darrow), who became Mr. Freeze, and Bridgit Pike (Camila Perez), who became Firefly, actually died and were reborn. It should be noted that while some characters died, they did not embody their familiar mantle: Ivy isn’t known as Poison Ivy, Selena hasn’t become Catwoman, and Jerome Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) may have the iconic creepy wide smile, but nary a whisper of “Joker” has been heard – yet.David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova in Gotham (2014)The parallels amongst pairs of characters did deliver intriguing comparisons. For example, viewers witness the very public destruction of Penguin, each layer of his personae being taken away from him. The betrayal is deliberate, a conscious effort on the part of Nygma, Barbara Keen (Erin Richards), Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas), and Butch Gilzean (Drew Powell). Eventually, even Penguin’s life is taken from him; however, there is also a private betrayal occurring in Lee. She has internalized her loss and although she argues for justice and grabs for the preverbal straws, she finally realizes that she is the root cause of her own betrayal. She hits rock bottom and as a result, injects herself with the Tetch virus, embracing her ruin.Robin Lord Taylor in Gotham (2014)Due to the large ensemble cast of regular cast members, plus the recurring and special guests through the 22 episodes, one of the inherent issues is affording enough screen time to each character so that their origin story is fully explored, resulting in a well-developed character. While Gordon and Wayne/514A (David Mazouz, in a dual role) are central characters and will typically appear in each episode, some of the other regular characters, such as Selina Kyle, Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk), or Butch, seem to disappear from the storyline. For example, in the closing minutes of “How the Riddler Got His Name” (Episode 15), Edward Nygma/The Riddler reveals to Lucius that he is struggling with defining his identity separate and outside of the shadow of Penguin. After announcing to Lucius that he is the Riddler, Nygma knocks Lucius out in his car. Viewers next see Lucius in “Light the Wick” (Episode 18). Fish Mooney is another character that is missing for most of the season after appearing in the season’s opening episode, “Better to Reign in Hell…” Their disappearances do cause some gaps, such as where was Lucius for two episodes, 16 and 17 – one would assume that someone from the GCPD would notice Lucius sleeping off Nygma’s attack in the front seat of his car, parked across the street from the precinct.Drew Powell, Jessica Lucas, and Cory Michael Smith in Gotham (2014)The third season of Gotham provides intriguing complexities to the overarching denigration of the city into chaos and the telling of individual character origin stories. While the origin stories are fascinating, the fact that there is foreknowledge that most of the characters cannot die because they will one day face Bruce Wayne as Batman does cause a wrinkle with the audience’s engagement with the storylines. To compensate, spending more time on character development would alleviate some of the indifference inherent to the nature of prequel narratives. That said, Gotham is a binge-worthy show. The city is visually stunning, and the Steampunk feel captivating. Audiences unfamiliar with the origin stories will likely enjoy the show just as much or more so than those that come to the show with familiarity from reading the comics.

 

REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 2

CAST

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Ghost Rider)
David Mazouz (Mike & Molly)
Morena Baccarin (Firefly)
Zabryna Guevara (All Good Things)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Corey Michael Smith (Carol)
James Frain (The Cape)
Jessica Lucas (Cult)
Chris Chalk (12 Years a Slave)
Nicholas D’Agosto (Final Destination 5)
Michael Chikilis (Fantastic Four)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Kind (Stargate)
Clare Foley (Win Win)
Carol Kane (The Princess Bride)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Peter Scolari (The Polar Express)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
Cameron Monaghan (The Giver)
Dustin Ybarra (Hop)
Drew Powell (Straw Dogs)
Maria Thayer (Hitch)
Natalie Alyn Lind (The Goldbergs)
Michelle Veintimilla (Limitless TV)
Ron Rifkin (Alias)
Michelle Gomez (Highlander: The Raven)
Tommy Flanagan (Sin City)
Lori Petty (Tank Girl)
Chelsea Spack (Dead To Me)
BD Wong (Jurassic World)
Tonya Pinkins (Enchanted)
Nathan Darrow (House of Cards)
Michael Bowen (Lost)
Melinda Clarke (Spawn)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
Ned Bellamy (Termiantor: TSCC)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Collateral)
John Doman (The Company Men)

The origin story continues on Gotham and the stakes are higher than ever, as Super Villains more ambitious and depraved are introduced, and a shift of alliances shakes up the fight for power in Gotham City. In season two, Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and the ethically questionable veteran Detective Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) remain at the forefront of the fight against crime in this dangerously corrupt city. While confronting Gotham’s most notorious criminals, however, Gordon’s moral compass begins to waver, but he is taken under the wing of Nathaniel Barnes (Michael Chiklis), a law-and-order zealot who is unafraid of making enemies. At the same time, Gordon continues his quest to gain the trust of the young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), who is on a clear path towards the man he is destined to become, after discovering his father’s deepest secrets, with the help of his trusted butler and mentor, Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee), and newfound ally at Wayne Enterprises, Lucius Fox (Chris Chalk).

In the epic turf war that occurred at the conclusion of season one, Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) battled his way into power over Gotham’s underworld. Heading into season two, Gotham will continue to follow the evolving stories of the city’s most malevolent villains: Edward Nygma/The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), whose transformation from Gotham PD’s forensic expert to psychologically unhinged villain continues; Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman (Camren Bicondova), whose hard-knock existence propels her into a life of crime; and the increasingly unstable Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), who is out for Gordon and his girlfriend, Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin). Also hoping to leave his mark on the city is Theo Galavan (James Frain), the billionaire industrialist, who appears to be the savior for whom Gotham has been waiting. Theo, along with his sister and lead enforcer, Tabitha Galavan aka Tigress (Jessica Lucas), keep their centuries-old vendetta hidden, as they manipulate their way to power.

Here in Season Two, there is far less dependence on self-contained episodes and more emphasis on the development of long running and serialised story arcs. In my opinion, this is better than Season One.
This remains a highly entertaining show.

REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 1

CAST

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Ghost Rider)
David Mazouz (Touch)
Zabryna Guevara (All Good Things)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Corey Michael Smith (Carol)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Collateral)
John Doman (The Wire)
Victoria Cartagena (Salt)
Andrew Stewart -Jones (Beauty and The Beast)
Drew Powell (Straw Dogs)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Kind (Stargate)
Grayson McCouch (Armageddon)
Brette Taylor (Rescue Me)
Clare Foley (Win Win)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Jeremy Bobb (The Kitchen)
Carol Kane (The Princess Bride)
David Zayas (Dexter)
Frank Whaley (Luke Cage)
Jeremy Davidson (Roswell)
Margaret Colin (Independence Day)
Susan Misner (The Forgotten)
Kim Director (Blair Witch 2)
Leslie Odom Jr. (Red Tails)
Christopher James Baker (Sanctum)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Nicholas D’Agasto (Final Destination 5)
Makenzie Leigh (The Slap)
Lesley-Ann Brandt (Spartacus: Blood and Sand)
Morena Baccarin (Firefly)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Peter Scolari (The Polar Express)
Dash Mihok (Silver Linings Playbook)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
Julian Sands (Smallville)
Maria Thayer (Hitch)
Chelsea Spack (Dead To Me)
Cameron Monaghan (The Giver)
Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek: DS9)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Willa Fitzgerald (Scream: The Series)
Chris Chalk (12 Years a Slave)
John Clarence Stewart (Luke Cage)

MV5BNTQ4MDU3NDQ5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjc0OTM3MjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1445,1000_AL_Gotham City has an old, relatively vague history independent of when Thomas and Martha Wayne were shot down in an alleyway, usually the first and primary thing that comes to mind about the motivation that drives Batman: the crime that got so bad that it took his good-natured parents away from him. The surroundings responsible for the billionaires’ murder weren’t created overnight, though, and intensified in response to their death, a time period that often goes unaddressed unless a detail about Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the brooding hero needs mentioning. As a response to the character’s unrelenting popularity the folks at DC aim to use that largely unexplored space to provide an origin story for the city’s violence and corruption, an attempt to recapture the magic of Smallville in a darker environment. The result is Gotham, a blend of crime-case procedure and mobster politics that also fills in the gaps between the orphaning of Bruce Wayne to where Batman begins.Taking pages out of the playbook of the comic-book series “Gotham Central”, the show largely focuses on the interworking parts of the Gotham City Police Department, notably the arrival of rookie detective Jim Gordon in the midst of rampant corruption. The OC star Ben McKenzie brings initiative and fire to the character, a war veteran and straight-laced servant of the law who’s thrown together with a dirty partner in Harvey Bullock, whose sympathetic flaws are marvelously embodied by Donal Logue. Their first case together? The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, later revealed to be connected to the city’s organized crime activity. In their investigation, Gordon quickly gets introduced to key players pulling the strings in Gotham, notably a swanky nightclub operator in Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and her aging, rational boss, Carmine Falcone (John Doman). Then, there’s Oswald Cobblepott (Robin Lord Taylor), an attendant to Fish whose wavering allegiances also come to the surface in response to Gordon and Bullock’s investigation, working him into a position of persistent danger and upward mobility if he plays his cards right.Against the backdrop of a Gotham City that combines Tim Burton’s gothic vision with Christopher Nolan’s stark approach into a relatively timeless metro area, Gotham comes in hard and fast with its nods to the DC universe, eliminating any early concerns about how much of the mythology it’ll incorporate. In fact, the show actually suffers from an oversaturation of these references, especially in how many of the classic villains have benign links to the GCPD in their pasts and, quite simply, how many have already shown up and taken shape into their well-known personalities. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, nor with tweaking what’s known about the universe into its own continuity, but it does detract from the production succeeding as a credible prequel to the age of Batman — touted early on as a selling point for the show.It’s fascinating to see the riddlesome Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) as an awkward, morbid Dexter-like puzzle-solver working in the precinct, and to see a young Catwoman giving prowler pointers to a young Batman not long after she witnessed the infamous Wayne murder.The areas where Gotham works are within the politics of the GCPD and the evolving criminal element, and, by association, the origin stories of Jim Gordon’s fight against the department and The Penguin’s ascent up the crime ladder. Elevated by Gordon’s furious diligence against the powers-that-be who keep him from properly doing his job. Gotham is in a comfort zone while exploring maneuverings of Robin Lord Taylor’s brilliantly grimy performance as Oswald Cobblepott. Combining the knowledge that he’ll eventually become a massive player in Gotham with the unpredictable, volatile nature of his younger self exemplifies what a prequel can accomplish.1066711-0-q80Gotham really exposes the crux of its issues in the origin story of Bruce Wayne, built around the young orphaned billionaire developing the gumption and skill to investigate his parents’ murder, planting the seeds for his growth into the Caped Crusader. As Gotham grows in it’s first season it becomes fascinating show dealing with the city before Batman came along and as it heads into it’s second season who can truly see the show has found it’s footing and will hopefully be around for sometime to come.

REVIEW: GARFIELD (2004)

Starring

Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Breckin Meyer (Road Trip)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (I Know What You Did Last Summer)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Evan Arnold (Spider-Man)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)
Eve Brent (The Hit List)
Juliette Goglia (Mike & Molly)
Evan Helmuth (Mr. Woodcock)
Alan Cumming (X-Men 2)
Brad Garrett (Christopher Robin)
Debra Messing (Will & Grace)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show)
Mel Rodriguez (Little Miss Sunshine)

Breckin Meyer in Garfield (2004)Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) is a happy, fat, and lazy orange cat who lives with his owner and friend, Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer) in a cul-de-sac in Muncie, Indiana. Garfield passes his time by annoying Jon and mocking a neighbor Doberman Pinscher, Luca. Aside from Jon, Garfield maintains an unlikely friendship with a remarkable mouse, Louis. He also interacts with and occasionally hangs out with his fellow neighborhood cats, including Garfield’s rival Nermal and Garfield’s love interest, Arlene (who are both seen as live-action cats).Garfield (2004)Meanwhile, a local television host, Happy Chapman, known for his cat “Persnikitty” is introduced as supposedly a happy man. In reality he is allergic to cats, jealous of his bad-tempered brother Walter J. Chapman, a news reporter, and wants to outwit him in success wise by performing on TV show Good Day New York. Jon has made a habit of bringing Garfield to the veterinarian, hoping to woo vet Dr. Liz Wilson. Jon tries to ask her out, but due to a misunderstanding, he is given custody of a stray dog, Odie. Regardless, Jon and Liz begin dating. Garfield is displeased at having to share the house with a dog, of whom Jon grows fond. Odie is brought to a canine talent show, where Liz is a judge. Garfield gets involved in a ruckus there with other animals, which moves Odie to the center of the ring, where he begins dancing to “Hey Mama” by The Black Eyed Peas.Jennifer Love Hewitt and Breckin Meyer in Garfield (2004)His impromptu performance is a hit. Happy Chapman, who also is a judge of the dog show is impressed with Odie, and offers Jon a television deal for Odie, but Jon declines leaving Happy to apparently be envious of Odie. After Garfield causes a mess inside Jon’s house in a fit of rage, Jon punishes Garfield by making him sleep outside for one night. Odie comes out to comfort Garfield but Garfield, as selfish as he is, reacts by running inside and locking Odie out. Odie runs away, and is picked up by an elderly woman named Mrs. Baker. A distraught Jon works with Liz to search for him, while the neighborhood animals shun Garfield for what he did to Odie. Meanwhile, Chapman and his assistant find a “lost dog” found poster Mrs. Baker created, of Odie and recognizing the lucrative possibilities, claim Odie as Happy’s own.Garfield (2004)When Garfield sees Odie on television and hears Chapman announce he and Odie are going to New York City by train for a big performance on Good Day New York, Garfield, realizing his selfishness, vows to intervene. Garfield leaves his house on a rescue mission for Odie. Meanwhile, Jon finds out Garfield is missing and he and Liz set out find him. Garfield is able to finally make it to the tower with the help of his friend Louis but sneaks in the air vents which are being worked on. Seen as a blockage from one of the workers’ scanners of the vents, Garfield is blown by the vent air, hitting random walls and it finally ends when he smacks his face on the last wall. At Chapman’s studio at Telegraph Tower, Garfield finds Odie captive in a room; Chapman enters and secures a shock collar to Odie, which, when activated, releases an electric discharge that forces him to perform tricks.Garfield (2004)Chapman heads for the train station, with Garfield in pursuit. However, an animal control officer snags Garfield as a runaway before he can reach Odie. Meanwhile, Jon contacts Mrs. Baker through her poster, and is told Odie’s real owner had already retrieved him. After learning it was Chapman who took Odie, Jon believes Garfield was taken too and he and Liz race to Telegraph Tower and then to the train station, after learning Chapman has left. Garfield is sprung from the pound by Chapman’s abandoned feline star, the boastful Persnikitty who turns out to be actually named as Sir Roland. At the train station, while the P.A. saying that the Texas Eagle is going to Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, Chapman boards the train, with Odie in the luggage car.Garfield (2004)Garfield arrives only to see the train depart. As the train speeds away from the station, and seeing a child with a toy train engine (probably the Flying Scotsman in a different shape and size) makes Garfield remembers that his train set at home is similar, so he sneaks into the control room and attempts to stop Odie’s train. The tracks get rearranged, leading to an impending train wreck. Garfield hits an emergency control and causes Chapman’s train to return, and Garfield frees Odie and they exit the train. However, Chapman notices them walk out and gives chase. Chapman corners the two, and threatens Odie with the shock collar, but is greeted by Garfield’s friends and animals from the pound, led by Sir Roland. They swarm and attack Chapman, allowing for Odie to escape.Garfield (2004)Chapman gets up to find the shock collar has been placed on his own neck, from which he receives two powerful jolts. Jon and Liz arrive to reclaim the animals and find Chapman off-balance. Jon punches Chapman for stealing his pets (although Odie was the only who was taken), and leaves with Liz and the two animals. Chapman is arrested for his supposed involvement with the trains, as well as for abducting Odie and Wendell gives chase to the cops. Garfield regains the trust of his animal friends. Back at home, Liz kisses Jon, while Garfield seems to have learned about friendship, love and not to envy others. He then shoves Odie off his chair repeatedly, and the film closes with Garfield singing and dancing to James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)”. He does a split and can’t get it back up without help. As the credits roll over still pictures from the film (in black and white), Garfield is heard in the background asking Odie for ice.Garfield is still hilariously funny and you’d have to be incredibly sour not to laugh. The special effects are brilliant – not just the CGI Garfield, but the whole facial animation with the other animal characters. The way that Garfield portrays moral developement is also good and I recommend this as a truly delightful family movie.

 

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 3

Starring

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Torri Higginson (Dark Waters)
Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Rachel Luttrell (A Dog’s Breakfast)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Kavan Smith (Mission to Mars)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Julia Benson (The Order)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
David Ogden Stiers (Two Guys and a Girl)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Heather Doerksen (Van Hesling)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Robert Davi (The Bad Pack)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Claire Rankin (Taken TV)
Leela Savasta (Big Eyes)
Laura Harris (Dead Like Me)
Kenneth Welsh (Timecop)
Brenda James (Slither)
Caroline Cave (Van Helsing)
Lara Gilchrist (Battlestar Galactica)
Daniel Bacon (The BFG)
Andee Frizzell (Flash Gordon)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)

Atlantis has emerged as the name not of a location that cannot be moved, but of a truly mobile city that can relocate . well, to anywhere. The season ends with the city blasting off into space. Season Three had some great moments. The season finale . was splendid. And the season featured what may be my favorite episode of the entire series so far in “Common Ground,” in which the Genii kidnap Sheppard and enclose him with a wraith who is allowed to feed on no one else.Christopher Heyerdahl in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Christopher Heyerdahl has played the wraith in this episode he was allowed to give this particular wraith a dignity and complexity not allowed any other wraith with the exception of Michael. He gradually drains the life out of Sheppard out of sheer necessity before the two of them, cooperating as human and wraith never have before, manage to escape from the Genii. Then, in a moment that could lead to interesting plot developments in the future, we discover that the wraiths cannot only drain another creature of life, they can also imbue them with it, and as a sign of comradeship he heals Sheppard.Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Season 3 sets up many changes that carry over into the fourth season, with becketts death in Sunday and Wier leaving the show, and Amanda Tapping taking over, its a great season leaving leaving things on a cliffhanger to be resolved in season 4.

REVIEW: STARGATE (1994)

CAST

Kurt Russell (Big Trouble In Little China)
James Spader (Crash)
Jaye Davidson (The Crying Game)
Alexis Cruz (Dark Wolf)
Mili Avital (Mossad)
Erick Avari (Heroes)
Viveca Lindfors (The Exorcist III)
Leon Rippy (The Patriot)
John Diehl (Crimson Tide)
French Stewart (Mom)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Djimon Honsou (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Carlos Lauchu (The Silencers)
Derek Webster (Godzilla)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)

James Spader in Stargate (1994)A massive metal ring with engraved cover stones is discovered in the sands of Giza, Egypt in 1928, by an archaeologist named Langford and his young daughter, Catherine. Many years later, the elderly Catherine Langford offers Egyptologist and linguist Daniel Jackson the chance to translate the Egyptian hieroglyphs on the cover stones. Jackson accepts and travels to a US Air Force installation where he examines the stones. Special Operations Colonel Jack O’Neil arrives to take command of the project and he declares it “classified” before Jackson can begin his research.Jackson deduces from the hieroglyphs the existence of a “stargate”, a device used to travel to distant worlds. He discovers that the accompanying non-hieroglyphic symbols are star constellations used in a three-dimensional coordinate system. When selected in sequence on the metal ring, they create a stable wormhole to some other place in the galaxy. O’Neil leads a team with Jackson through the Stargate, and they find themselves inside a pyramid in the middle of a desert. The team cannot return home because the necessary coordinates are missing. Jackson, O’Neil, and the others explore the surrounding area and discover a mining operation run by humans. The miners assume that they are emissaries of their god Ra.Jaye Davidson in Stargate (1994)Jackson attempts communication with the locals using pantomime, and later realizes that they speak a modern dialect derived from Ancient Egyptian. The soldiers develop a friendship with local teenager Skaara and his friends, and Jackson is given the chieftain Kasuf’s daughter Sha’uri as a gift. He initially rebuffs her, unaware that she is meant to be his wife, but they develop a friendship that blossoms into romance. Jackson guesses that Sha’uri may know the location of the cartouche containing the return coordinates for the Stargate. Jackson learns that the Egyptian god Ra was an alien lifeform who came to Earth seeking a cure for his impending death. Ra discovered that he could maintain a simpler Human body indefinitely, and he “possessed” the body of a human youth, enslaved the youth’s people and transported some of them to another planet to mine the mineral on which all of his technology is based. The enslaved Humans on Earth eventually rebelled and expelled Ra, and buried the Stargate. Fearful of a similar rebellion on this planet, Ra outlawed reading and writing so the people would forget their origins. Jackson discovers six symbols of the return coordinates but the seventh symbol is missing.At night, a pyramid shaped spacecraft descends over the pyramid. Returning to it the following morning, O’Neil and Jackson are captured and taken to Ra, still alive in the form of an androgynous human youth with glowing eyes. O’Neil tries to disarm the guards and kill Ra, but Jackson is killed and O’Neil and his team are imprisoned. Jackson is regenerated in a sarcophagus-like device and meets with Ra. Ra reveals his intention to return to Earth an atomic bomb brought by O’Neil, its destructive power now enhanced 100-fold with the addition of the mined mineral. Ra states that he will kill Jackson and everyone who has seen him unless Jackson kills the rest of the team to remind Kasuf’s people that Ra is their true god.Once Ra has the local people gathered before the pyramid, Skaara and his friends create a distraction while Jackson turns one of the guards’ weapons on Ra. In the confusion, Jackson and O’Neil’s team escape and take shelter in a cave with Skaara and the others. The next morning, Skaara draws a picture of the victory against Ra, and Jackson realizes that Skaara has drawn the seventh symbol needed to reactivate the Stargate.O’Neil and Skaara’s group attack and overpower the overseers of the mine and convince the people that their “gods” are human. With their help, O’Neil’s team return to the Stargate to deactivate the bomb. Faced with open rebellion, Ra prepares his ship to leave and launches fighters to counter-attack. Sha’uri is killed in the battle, but Jackson takes her into the ship and resurrects her in Ra’s sarcophagus device. Ra orders the augmented bomb be sent to Earth immediately. Ra’s guard captain discovers O’Neil, and they fight. Jackson and Sha’uri are captured by Ra, but O’Neil overpowers the guard and activates a teleportation device. The beam decapitates the guard captain and sends the head to Ra, while retrieving Jackson and Sha’uri. As Ra’s craft escapes the planet, O’Neil and Jackson teleport the bomb to Ra’s ship. The bomb detonates, killing Ra and destroying the ship. Skaara’s people celebrate their freedom and Jackson decides to remain on the planet with Sha’uri. O’Neil and the survivors of his team return to Earth.James Spader and Mili Avital in Stargate (1994)Loved Stargate when it originally came out and watched every episode of all 4 shows. I’m glad the directors cut came out on Blu-Ray. The special edition which added a little more to the movie. This will always be a film classic.

REVIEW: TWO AND A HALF MEN – SEASON 5

Starring

Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots)
Jon Cryer (Supergirl)
Angus T. Jones (Bringing Down The House)
Marin Hinkle (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
Holland Taylor (D.E.B.S.)

Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones, and Brian Turk in Two and a Half Men (2003)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kris Iyer (Buffy: TVS)
Janeane Garofalo (Wet Hot American Summer)
Jennifer O’Dell (The Lost World)
Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jud Tylor (That 70s Show)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Robert Wagner (Austin Powers)
Jennifer Taylor (Shameless)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Jenny McCarthy (Dirty Love)
Cerina Vincent (Power Ranges Lost Galaxy)
Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures)
Ryan Stiles (Hot Shots)
Christina Moore (True Blood)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Human Target)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
Susan Blakely (The Towering Inferno)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)

MV5BMjI2MjMxODI2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODU3OTc3MjE@._V1_Two and a Half Men continues to stand as a testament that a product doesn’t need to be complicated in order to work, as it continues to deliver just as many laughs during its fifth season as it did in its first. The fifth season opens a whole new world of refreshingly snappy one liners between the brothers as Charlie begins seeing matured women, as opposed to the young college meat he normally keeps under the sheets.MV5BMTY5MDQxNzg1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjYxMjg3MjE@._V1_What also helps the brothers dynamic this season is Alan’s son, Jake. This character has been used as a tool to bring a little more depth and variety to the situations the guys can get into, and although this aspect of the show hasn’t changed that much, the changes depicted in Jake’s life ensures the episodic storylines continue to stay fresh. This season we see Jake start junior high, and it brings on all the adolescent phases that comes with it. He starts dating, sneaking out of the house, and begins to cling to Charlie a little more since he’s the cool uncle that won’t father him to death.MV5BMzYwODU4MTY5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODYxNDc3MjE@._V1_Although these central points from season five are adequate enough to keep the show feeling fresh, a most noteworthy episode named Fish in a Drawer is a huge highlight. The episode is part of an ‘episode swap’, as the writers of CSI and Two and a Half Men switched writing duties for a week. The CSI writers have designed this particular episode to be a spoof of their very own series, and focuses on investigating a death that occurs in Charlie’s home during his mother’s wedding reception. Can you imagine the kind of jokes that could be conjured up using crime scene equipment in Charlie’s bedroom?MV5BNjkzMTMzODI4Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDk0NTg3MjE@._V1_Two and a Half Men’s game has also stepped up with the inclusion of numerous guest stars, such as Jenny McCarthy, Janeane Garofalo, Ryan Styles, Robert Wagner and more. Fan favorite characters such as Berta, Evelyn Harper and Charlie’s stalker Rose, are all still here and utilized to a greater extent.