REVIEW: BABYLON 5 – SEASON 2

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Starring

Bruce Boxleitner (Supergirl)
Claudia Christian (9-1-1)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Richard Biggs (Strong Medicine)
Andrea Thompson (24)
Stephen Furst (Animal House)
Bill Mumy (Lost In Space)
Robert Rusler (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2)
Mary Kay Adams (Guiding Light)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)

Bruce Boxleitner in Babylon 5 (1993)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Robin Sachs (Buffy: TVS)
Robert Foxworth (Transformers)
Kim Strauss (ER)
Beth Toussaint (Red Eye)
Michael Ansara (The Message)
Russ Tamblyn (The Haunting)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Jessica Walter (Archer)
Jeff Conaway (Grease)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Lois Nettleton (Centennial)
Jane Carr (Legends of Tomorrw)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Walter Koenig (Star Trek)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
Malachi Throne (Catch Me If You Can)
Michael O’Hare (C.H.U.D.)
Ardwight Chamberlain (Swiss Family Robinson)
Paul Winfield (The Terminator)
Ryan Cutrona (Hot Shots!)
Ken Foree (The Devil’s Rejects)
Jsu Garcia (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Marshall R. Teague (Road House)
Paul Williams (Battle For The POTA)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Ian Abercrombie (Army of Darkness)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Julie Caitlin Brown (All My Children)
Kim Zimmer (Body Heat)
Alex Hyde-White (The Fantastic Four)
Carmen Argenziano (Stargate SG.1)
Andrew Craig (Conan The Adventurer)
Patricia Tallman (Dead Air)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Roy Dotrice (Hellboy 2)

Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, and Jerry Doyle in Babylon 5 (1993)“It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind… the year the great war came upon us all.” This evocative phrase, in the new opening credits voiceover for the second season of Babylon 5, captures the anticipation, suspense, and drama that are waiting for us as we embark upon a season appropriately, and ominously, named “The Coming of Shadows.”Stephen Furst in Babylon 5 (1993)As I commented in my review of Season 1, what makes Babylon 5 really stand out is its storytelling. Creator and main writer J. Michael Straczynski is telling one story, planned from the beginning to develop over the course of five years; within that larger story are interconnecting story arcs that span several seasons. As a result, Babylon 5 has the richness, depth, power, and complexity of a great novel; it’s not like anything else on television.Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan in Babylon 5 (1993)If you’re used to “reset button” style television shows in which everything must return to the status quo at the end of the episode – for instance, however much I love Star Trek, that series is a prime example – then Babylon 5 offers quite a shock in this respect, especially now that the plot is really developing in Season 2. Each episode is a piece of the larger story, and it moves that larger story along; the events in an episode matter in the larger sense. That means that in any given episode, major events can happen: events that will shape the course of the season, or dramatically affect a character, or shed new light on any number of mysteries.Bruce Boxleitner and Claudia Christian in Babylon 5 (1993)From the large-scale plot to the pacing of the individual episodes, Babylon 5 is an extremely well-conceived and well-written show. What’s more, it’s an intelligent and challenging one. Viewers are richly rewarded for paying attention and thinking about what’s going on: what happened last week, or last season, may very well turn out to be of utmost importance as the plot develops. Season 2 starts out with an excellent reminder of this, when the events of a first-season episode turn out to be crucial in Dr. Franklin’s attempt to save Garibaldi’s life.While Season 1 set the stage, introduced the players, and got a few seemingly small events rolling, it’s now, in Season 2, that things really get explosive. Season 2 jumps into a tangled weave of plot threads from the very beginning, clearly showing that we’re in for quite a ride. Since Babylon 5 is so intensely plot-driven, I’m taking pains here to avoid spoilers. If you are watching the show for the first time, you absolutely, positively do not want to have any of the fantastic plot developments spoiled for you… and if you’re watching it for a second (or third, or fourth…) time, then a few hints will be enough to whet your appetite for seeing the episodes again.Bruce Boxleitner in Babylon 5 (1993)Commander Sinclair has been mysteriously removed from his command of Babylon 5, and sent to Minbar as an ambassador; indeed, strange things are afoot with the Minbari, as Ambassador Delenn embarks on a perilous transformation in accordance with prophecy, and the Minbari reveal something that they have previously kept hidden from the humans… though they aren’t telling the whole story. A new commander, Captain Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) takes command, but with a past that’s shadowed by personal grief as well as by his infamy among the Minbari, who call him “Star-Killer.” Is he a pawn in some larger political game? Will he be able to continue Babylon 5’s mission?Bruce Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, and Jerry Doyle in Babylon 5 (1993)Then there’s the issue of Earth President Santiago’s death, which may have been foul play at the hands of a conspiracy… but just how deep does that conspiracy go, and who can the Babylon 5 crew really trust? The Centauri ambassador Londo Mollari is on the ascendance after the destruction of the Narn colony in Season 1… but it seems that Londo’s relationship with the mysterious Mr. Morden is far from finished. In fact, the events of Season 1 have only served to increase the tension in the bitter rivalry between the Narn and Centauri empires. We also get developing threads about the Psi Corps and the Mars colony tied in, with the return of the Psi Cop Bester (Walter Koenig) as well as the telepath Lyta Alexander. And in the background, we learn of the appearance of strange ships, ships that G’Kar has a theory about…Bruce Boxleitner, Mira Furlan, and Bill Mumy in Babylon 5 (1993)I haven’t mentioned any specific episode titles so far, in part because the story threads are so interwoven that it’s difficult to pick out individual episodes to discuss and in part because it’s hard to talk about specific episodes without spoilers. Season 2 has 22 episodes, and they’re all good ones; even the more “ordinary” episodes are very entertaining stories in their own right, and serve to lay the groundwork for later high-tension episodes, both in terms of plot developments and in terms of pacing and theme. I’ll point out a few highlights, and leave you to find out exactly why they’re so important.Stephen Furst and Bill Mumy in Babylon 5 (1993)“The Coming of Shadows” should tell you from its title alone that it’s a momentous episode… and trust me, it is. “All Alone in the Night” likewise moves forward into deeply dramatic territory, involving Sheridan as well as Delenn. Then there’s “In the Shadow of Z’ha’dum”… let’s just say that you’ll be seeing more of Mr. Morden. “A Spider in the Web” and “A Race Through Dark Places” showcase interesting developments among the Psi Corps. “The Long, Twilight Struggle” brings certain events of the Narn-Centauri struggle to a head. And “The Fall of Night” will have you biting your nails for Season 3.

 

REVIEW: SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (2019)

Featuring

Mark Patton (Amityville IV)
Cecil Baldwin (Gravity Falls)
Robert Englund (Freddy vs Jason)
Robert Rusler (Babylon 5)
Marshall Bell (Starship Troopers)
Kim Myers (Hellraiser: Bloodlines)
Clu Gulager (Feast)
JoAnn Willette (Real Genius)
Linnea Quigley (Graduation Day)
Jeffrey Marcus (Frozen)
Joshua Grannell (The Diary of a Teenage Girl)
Heather Langenkamp (New Nightmare)

Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)While there have been a few lengthy explorations of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series, “Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street” doesn’t have much interest in the screen wrath and pop culture influence of Freddy Krueger. Instead, filmmakers Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen quest to spotlight the life of Mark Patton, the star of 1985’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge,” who was set to hit the big time with his turn as Jesse, the boy tormented by the razor-fingered menace, only to find himself crucified by viewers for the gay overtones of the movie created by screenwriter David Chaskin. Patton was destroyed by the experience, erasing his desire to continue acting, but “Freddy’s Revenge” wouldn’t go away, growing in popularity and analysis as the years passed, giving the feature a second life, while Patton was singled out as the first male scream queen, complicating his relationship with a despised horror sequel he thought would rocket him to the big time.Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)Patton labels “Scream, Queen!” as a “testimony,” not journalism, permitting cameras to follow him as he embarks on a 2015 tour of horror conventions. Going around the country, Patton engages with fans, but these are people he never knew existed, as the actor elected to keep away from his grim reality in Hollywood, moving to Mexico to set up shop on a dusty road, finding peace far away from his past life. The Patton on display in the documentary is eager to be of service, taking the responsibility of these paid interactions seriously, greeting all sorts of “Fred Heads” who are quick to share their fandom and, most importantly, their gratitude. Amazingly, over the decades since the release of “Freddy’s Revenge,” Jesse has become a gay icon, with the saga of the meek, feminine boy possessed by the rage of a movie maniac becoming a beacon for LGBTQ viewers, with some experiencing the first stirrings of something special within while watching the feature.Kim Myers and Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)While film nerds and horror hounds have been aware of this resurgence of interest in “Freddy’s Revenge,” the news comes as a surprise to Patton, who experienced hellacious mockery and bullying for his portrayal of Jesse, exposed to the worst criticism and, later in life, the full blast of online ugliness, with fans singling him out as the element that ruined the hotly anticipated follow-up to “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” “Scream, Queen!” explores his reunion with “Freddy’s Revenge,” but Chimienti and Jensen aren’t making a movie documentary, instead using the event to dig deeper into Patton’s life, which was filled with promise before participation in the sequel. “Scream, Queen!” tracks Patton’s upbringing with his troubled family and his initial move to New York City, using his naivety to land an agent, soon embarking on a career in commercials and eventually scoring a role on Broadway, working with Cher on “Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean,” where he received his first taste of the fame he craved.Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)Patton was primed for the big time, but he was also a gay man in an industry that didn’t want to acknowledge such a thing, forcing him to lead two lives in a way. “Scream, Queen!” inspects his private life, falling in love with “Dallas” actor Timothy Patrick Murphy, and it also details the experience of AIDS in the 1980s, with the disease destroying the gay community, forcing professionals to experience agony in secret, including Patton, who couldn’t bear the extraordinary homophobia of the era. A surprising amount of screen time is devoted to an understanding of the AIDS crisis and Patton’s own battles during the decade, which turned him into an advocate while taking on his own health issues. While “Scream, Queen!” deals with “Freddy’s Revenge,” Chimienti and Jensen also have something to share about the personal struggles of gay men facing a dire future of illness and condemnation, with Patton emotionally recalling his survival during a harrowing time.Robert Englund and Mark Patton in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)“Scream, Queen!” returns to “Freddy’s Revenge,” highlighting its resurgence of popularity and critical examination, with the filmmakers visiting a college classroom and revival screenings to capture this newfound excitement over what’s now proudly considered to be classic by gay audiences, appreciated for its camp appeal (including Jesse’s awkward bedroom dance) and dark fantasies. If there’s a villain to be found in the documentary, it’s Chaskin, who for years blamed Patton for the erasure of his “subtext,” only to claim ownership of the material when the movie returned to prominence. Patton wants to confront the screenwriter, making the feature one long trip to this uneasy sit-down, which permits the actor a chance to share his complex feelings on the matter, purging himself of anger (director Jack Sholder coldly tells Patton to “get over it”). “Elm Street” fans are sure to enjoy this arc of the picture, which reunites Patton with his friendly co-stars (including Kim Myers and Robert Rusler), getting to the heart of issues surrounding “Freddy’s Revenge,” though curiously missing is Patton’s own assessment of the sequel. “Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street” packs a lot of material into its run time, following extreme highs and lows, but the helmers never lose sight of Patton and his intimate journey, with the actor coming to terms with his position as Jesse the Scream Queen, finding closure as he finally deals with the role that forever changed his life.

REVIEW: NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY

 

CAST

Robert Englund (Wishmaster)
Heather Langenkamp (Hellraiser: Judgement)
Wes Craven (Scream 4)
Robert Shaye (New Nightmare)
Amanda Wyss (Highlander: THe Series)
Jsu Garcia (Along Came Polly)
John Saxon (From Dusk Till Dawn)
Leslie Hoffman (Star Trek: DS9)
Robert Rusler (Weird Science)
Kim Myers (Hellraiser 4)
Clu Gulager (The Virginian)
Marshall Bell (Total Recall)
Ken Sagoes (Intolerable Cruelty)
Rodney Eastman (I Spit On Your Grave)
Penelope Dudrow (After Midnight)
Jennifer Rubin (Screamers)
Ira Heiden (Alias)
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Priscilla Pointer (The Flash)
Brooke Bundy (General Hospital)
Lisa Wilcox (Watchers Reborn)
Tuesday Knight (The Fan)
Lisa Zane (Bad Influence)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Kane Hodder (Jaxon X)
Breendan Fletcher (Bloodrayne 3)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Marshall Bell (Starship Troopers)
Erika Anderson (October 22)
Alice Cooper (Dark Shadows)
Miko Hughes (Roswell)
Whit Hertford (Jurassic Park)
Monica Keena (Aftermath)
Jason Mewes (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Kelly Jo Minter (The Lost Boys)
Mark Patton (Amityville: Evil Never Dies)
Lin Shaye (Insideous)
Brooke Theiss (Catwoman)

The documentary itself lasts just under 4 hours, each film gets at least 25 minutes dedicated to it, and Freddy’s Nightmares and New Line Cinema get a brief discussion as well. Asides from Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette more or less everyone from the 8 films is interviewed. I watched the whole documentary in one sitting, at no point does it drag. It isn’t just talking heads there are interesting behind the scenes photos and videos, some of which feature unused special effects and deleted scenes – including a replacement for Robert Englund if he had wanted to much of a pay rise for the second film, I’ll say this, thankfully the two parties came to agreement! The interviewees don’t just pander to one another and pat each other on the back, they are quick to point out flaws in their own performances and disappointment with others.537b56a81cd15eae281b892a881f5538Highly recommended. It is the perfect companion to the films.

REVIEW: AMITYVILLE: A NEW GENERATION

 

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CAST

Ross Partridge (Stranger Things)
Julia Nickson  (China Cry)
Lala Sloatman  (Pump Up The Volume)
David Naughton  (An American Werewolf In London)
Barbara Howard  (Friday The 13th – Part 4)
Jack Orend (Casino)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
Terry O’ Quinn (Lost)
Lin Shaye (Insidious)
Robert Rusler (Babylon 5)

image-w856Struggling artist Keyes Terry, (Ross Partridge) wife Llanie, (Lala Sloatman) and friend Suki, (Julia Nickson-Soul) try to make it with an art show, and manage to take a mystical mirror home. The rest of their friends, Dick, (David Naughton) and Janet Cutler, (Barbara Howard) think it’s a useless purchase until a series of accidents plague them and their friends. As the strange occurrences begin to mount, Keyes begins to suspect that the mirror might be responsible. Doing a little digging into it’s past, he discovers a startling secret that puts him and his loved ones in grave danger.untitledThere’s a couple of pretty decent things about this one. First of all, the different gags done with the mirror itself are pretty good. The way that it is able to show a special image and is able to trick the participant in the mirror to kill themselves to look exactly that way is a nice trick to see. The kills are pretty cleverly done and do manage to get some shock out of them. The opening kill with the glass looks creepy, and is the best overall kill. The loft killing is the most suspenseful, as the fallen portraits, creepy in their own right, are brought in with a maze that is brought in to play is a nice addition. The final half hour is it’s best part, with some nice action scenes and a little bit of suspense thrown in as well.

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There’s still a couple of major things wrong with this one. The fact that there’s hardly any action at all in the film is a big factor. The only thing that happens is the kills, which are pretty much it. The rest is useless running around without much of anything done, and it’s hardly anything interesting that happens during that time. It just makes for a boring experience. The second is that it really has nothing at all to do with the story of the first film and has no real connection at all. That only a small number of references are made and that nothing even takes place in the fabled house makes it weird how the connection is made. These are the main problems, as the major bore-ness hammers it home more than anything.u5urutrutrutru
It does have enough moments to really give fans of the series a couple of rather interesting scenes. Take a shot on it, there’s worse films out there than this one.

 

REVIEW: STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE – SEASON 1-4

Image result for STAR TREK ENTERPRISE LOGO

MAIN CAST

Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Jolene Blalock (Starship Troopers 3)
Connor Trinneer (Stargate: Atlantis)
Dominic Keating (Heroes)
Linda Park (Jurassic Park 3)
Anthony Montgomery (Leprechaun In The Hood)
John Billingsley (Cold Case)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tommy Lister (The Dark Knight)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Jim Beaver (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Gary Graham (Alien Nation)
Thomas Kopache (Catch me If You Can)
Melinda Clarke (Spawn)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Henri Lubatti (Angel)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Jane Carr (Treasure Planet)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Keith Szarabjka (Angel)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal)
Dennis Christopher (Angel)
John Rubinstein (Legends of Tomorrow)
Fionnula Flanagan (Yes Man)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Rudolf Martin (buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Keone Young (Alias)
Brad Greenquist (Heroes)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
J.G. Hertzler (Roswell)
Larissa Laskin (Earth: Final Conflict)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Brigid Brannagh (Angel)
Keith Carradine (The Big Bang Theory)
Robert O’Reilly (The Mask)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Stephen Culp (Scream Queens)
Tucker Smallwood (Traffic)
Maury Sterling (The A-Team)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Emily Bergl (Carrie 2)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead)
Erin Cummings (Spartacus)
Casey Biggs (Broken Arrow)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Bruce Thomas (Army of Darkness)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Robert Foxworth (Beneath Loch Ness)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Lee Arenberg (Once Upon A Time)
Brian Thompson (Hired To Hill)
James Avery (That 70s Show)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Mark Moses (Mad Men)
Wade Williams (Gangster Squad)
Lamont Thompson (Mike & Molly)
Barbara Tarbuck (Walking Tall)
Stephanie Niznik (Everwood)
Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap)
Ann Cusack (Tank Girl)
Larry Cedar (Deadwood)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Gregg Henry (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Christopher Shea (The Specials)
Robert Rusler (Babylon 5)
Roger Cross (The X-Files)
Suzie Plakson (How I Met Your Mother)
Cullen Douglas (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Andreas Katsulas (Babylon 5)
David Andrews (Terminator 3)
Christopher Neame (Colditz)
Jack Donner (Stigmata)
Kris Iyer (Two and a Half Men)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Michael Reilly Burke (THe Collector)
Michael Nouri (The Proposal)
Bruce Gray (Cube 2)
Kara Zediker (Contagion)
Bill Cobbs (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Leslie Silva (Odyssey 5)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood)
Patrick Fischler (The Finder)
Joel Swetow (The Orville)

Out of all the Star Trek series and films, Enterprise is easily the most overlooked, and was the only one since the original to be canceled. This isn’t because it wasn’t as good as the rest, but simply the way it was marketed. The show is in fact a prequel to Kirk’s Enterprise, and does take place before the Federation, but what the show lacks in technology, is more than made up for with realism and some of the best character development in the Star Trek franchise.

100 years after Zefren Cochrane’s warp flight, the human race has had enough of Vulcans holding them back, and have created the first warp five star ship in human history. Over the Vulcan’s objections, Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), the son of the engines designer, has been selected to Captain the ship and explore a galaxy that humans know very little about.
This show is extremely important to the franchise and all Trekkies, as it not only shows humanities first trip out of our solar system and first contact with all the races we’ve come to know over the years, but the show fills in a lot of the gaps from all the other series and films! Enterprise explores the origins of Data’s creator, the Eugenic Wars (which created Khan), the development of many protocols and much of the tech we see on future ships, but most important of all the series shows how the foundation for the Federation and the creation of star fleet all came together.
Enterprise was also unique for it’s character development and realism, in that it takes place in the not to distant future. We get to know the crew intimately, from their fears to their families, and we see them doing and discussing things never before seen in Star Trek. The Enterprise crew has a classic movie night, watches sports on TV, has pets, and they even talk about sex. The cast is lead by Scott Bakula, which was another great move by producers. Casting a veteran science fiction actor, whose been in long running series, automatically gives him that air of experience and authority that Picard had. He’s also a younger man, so with no federation policies in place yet, Archer can be just as much of a risk taker as Kirk was, even more so.
Star Trek Enterprise was extremely enjoyable, and a series people could relate to more than any other in the Star Trek franchise. The show isn’t simply about the future and the Federation, it’s about what it means to be human and how that compares to other species. It shows what we need to do in order to get along with and understand other cultures, but most of all it fills in so many holes from previous films and episodes, that it truly was the missing link.

Unfortunately for Star Trek fans, the show barely made a hundred episodes, because it was on a dying network, that folded shortly after the show was canceled, screwing us Trekkie’s out of three more seasons. As with all the previous series, the story has been continued in books, but in this case, the books were written by the main writers of the series, and do encompass everything that would have happened in seasons five, six, and seven.