REVIEW: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: RAZOR

 

CAST

Edward James Olmos (The Green Hornet)
Mary McDonnell (Independence Day)
Katee Sackhoff (Riddick)
Jamie Bamber (Pulse 2)
James Callis (Flashforward)
Tricia Helfer (Two and a Half Men)
Grace Park (Hawaii Five-O)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Stephanie Jacobsen (Terminator: TSCC)
Nico Cortez (Hacksaw Ridge)
Matthew Bennett (Stargate SG.1)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Fulvio Cecere (The Tortured)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Graham Beckel (Pearl Harbor)
Eileen Pedde (Juno)
Peter Flemming (Stargate SG.1)
Shekhar Paleja (Sanctuary)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Emily Hirst (Blade: The Series)
Ben Cotton (Staragte Atlantis)
Stefanie von Pfetten (Cracked)

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Razor straddles two stools. On the one hand, it is a balls-to-the-wall action story with huge, epic CGI battle sequences and lots of emotional intensity which is designed to appeal to newcomers as well as established fans. On the other, it features a lot of fan-pleasing asides and references to the original series. This is a somewhat odd idea (going for newbies and hardcore fans at the same time) but just about works, with the new character of Kendra providing a worthwhile ‘in’ to this story and universe for new viewers but at the same time allowing established fans to see stuff they’ve wanted to see since the series began.Image result for battlestar galactica RAZOR
The TV movie lives or dies on the performance of actress Stephanie Jacobson as Kendra Shaw and thankfully she delivers a competent performance. The actress has a great rapport with Katee Sackhoff and Michelle Forbes, and in these scenes she is extremely good. The other actors are as trusty and reliable as ever.Image result for battlestar galactica RAZOR
Overall, Razor  an enjoyable slice of Battlestar Galactica. The DVD edition is extended over the TV cut by some 15 minutes and features a lengthy flashback to the First Cylon War (complete with another huge battle sequence) as well as other new scenes, plus a writer and producer’s commentary.

REVIEW: TWO AND A HALF MEN – SEASON 9

Starring

Ashton Kutcher (The Ranch)
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.)

Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men (2003)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jenna Elfman (Fear The Walking Dead)
Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds)
John Stamos (Full House)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Jenny McCarthy (Dirty Love)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager)
Jennifer Taylor (Shameless)
Liz Vassey (The Tick)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Human Target)
Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures)
Ryan Stiles (Hot Shots)
Joel Murray (Mad Men)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Stephany Jacobsen (Terminator: TSCC)
Courtney Thorne-Smith (Melrose Place)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Joe Manganiello (Rampage)
Macey Cruthird (Hope & Faith)
Taylor Cole (The Originals)
Rebecca McFarland (Scream 2)
Amanda Schull (Suits)
Gary Busey (Predator 2)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Sophie Winkleman (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad)
Graham Patrick Martin (Major Crimes)
Jim Piddock (Best in Show)
Jane Carr (Legends of Tomorrow)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Travis Van Winkle (Transformers)
Talyan Wright (Five)
Patton Oswalt (Young Adult)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Eddie Shin (Westworld)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)

Two and a Half Men (2003)This season focus on Alan (Jon Cryer) and his son Jake (Angus T. Jones) moving on with their lives after Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) unexpectedly dies off-screen due to a subway train while in Paris with Rose with the help of their new housemate, internet billionaire Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher), who buys the Malibu Beach House which was put up for sale by Alan and Jake Harper. Walden, who is a dot-com billionaire, is in the process of being divorced by his wife.Jon Cryer, Conchata Ferrell, and Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men (2003)Alan temporarily moved in with his and Charlie’s mother Evelyn after Charlie’s beach house was sold to Walden. Alan and Jake were invited to move back into Charlie’s beach house by Walden after Alan with the help of Walden’s ex-wife Bridget saved him from a con-artist. Walden, Alan and Jake eventually bond and formed a surrogate family unit. Walden starts to date Zoey, a British woman he met at The Malibu Grocery Store. Charlie pays Alan a visit from the afterlife, as a ghost trapped in a woman’s body (Kathy Bates) but his intentions for coming back are rather suspicious. Jake approaches adulthood fast pending his graduation from high school. Jake joins the army after graduation and leaves Malibu at the end of the season.Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men (2003)Although season 9 takes some getting use to without Charlie Sheen, I think Ashton Kutcher adds a freshness to the show, with his child like nature and blossoming friendship with Alan makes this season worth while. Waldans relationship with Zoey is just adorable and its nice to see her in several episodes

REVIEW: TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES – SEASON 2

Starring

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Thomas Dekker (The Secret Circle)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Richard T. Jones (Santa Clarita Diet)
Brian Austin Green (Anger Management)
Garret Dillahunt (12 Years a Slave)
Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games)
Shirley Manson (Top Wing)

Thomas Dekker in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

James Urbaniak (Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay)
Carlos Sanz (Runner Runner)
Max Perlich (Beautiful Girls)
Dean Winters (John Wick)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Busy Philipps (White Chicks)
Sonya Walger (Lost)
Leah Pipes (The Originals)
Mackenzie Brooke Smith (A Winter Rose)
Jillian Armenante (Bad TEacher)
Jon Huertas (Castle)
Jonathan Jackson (Nashville)
Will Rothhaar (Battle Los Angeles)
Dorian Harewood (Full Metal Jacket)
Shane Edelman (Flightplan)
Stephany Jacobsen (Star-Crossed)
Derek Riddell (Gunpowder)
Emilio Rivera (Venom)
Richard Schiff (Man of Steel)
Adam Busch (Buffy: TVS)
Eddie Shin (Westworld)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Rebecca Creskoff (Bates Motel)
Samantha Krutzfeldt (A Mann’s World)
Carlos Jacott (Big Love)
Ned Bellamy (Twilight)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
Laura Regan (Dead Silence)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Jamison Jones (Hollywood Homicide)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Alanna Masterson (The Walking Dead)
Adam Wylie (Child’s Play 2)
Cyd Strittmatter (Gone Girl)
Michelle Arthur (Goldeneye)
Manny Montana (Conviction)
Julie Ann Emery (Better Call Saul)
Alex Carter (Out of Time)
Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)
Chad L. Coleman (The Orville)
Yuri Lowenthal (Young Justice)
Sabrina Perez (American Exit)
Joshua Malina (The Big Bang Theory)

Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)I enjoyed the first season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, despite its shortened season which fell victim to the writer’s strike, I was looking forward to what they had in store for Season Two. The first season had excellent performances and action sequences, appealing storylines, and show runner Josh Friedman was performing his job well. I expected things to fall in line for Season Two, however I had a small bit of apprehension: the addition of Shirley Manson, normally the lead singer of the band Garbage, to the cast.Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)I thought this was a dicey proposition. Manson had not done any real acting work before, and Friedman might have been overreaching. Granted, his casting masterstroke in Season One was Brian Austin Green, formerly of Beverly Hills 90210, now appearing as Derek Reese, brother of Kyle. As a brief overview for those unfamiliar with the mythology, Kyle is father to John Connor (Thomas Dekker, A Nightmare on Elm Street), leader of the resistance against Skynet and the cyborg army of terminators. John’s mother Sarah is played by Lena Headley (300). And of course, it wouldn’t be a show about terminators without one as a cast regular; enter Summer Glau (Firefly) as Cameron. More on all of them in a minute.Shirley Manson in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Back to the risky decision. Manson plays Catherine Weaver, CEO of a high-powered technology corporation called ZeiraCorp. Manson is a T-1000, similar to Robert Patrick in T2, and she assumes the life of the real Weaver, who died in a helicopter crash with her husband. Their daughter is still alive, which presents a unique challenge, as a terminator hasn’t been placed in a truly maternal role before. Oddly enough, Manson’s role as an emotionless being trying to figure out how to be a mother is one of the season’s better performances (in “The Tower Is Tall But The Fall Is Short”), and she proves to be a capable actress. This introspection from non-feeling machine against a motherly disposition is fascinating in how Manson can show her emotions and yet not reveal her hand, as it were.Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Fortunately, we see similar stories behind other characters. In the episode “Allison From Palmdale,” not only do we discover Cameron’s origins but also why her physical traits were used as a model for a terminator. The performance is not as deep as Manson’s, but Glau does admirably. The self-evaluation continues with John as he gets involved in a relationship with Riley (Leven Rambin), which is almost like the last part of teenaged life he’ll enjoy before his imminent future with the resistance, of which Sarah dutifully reminds him. Sarah continues to struggle with her mortality because of a possible illness, and Derek has a particular conflict with Jesse (Stephanie Jacobsen, Life on Mars), who also came back from the future with motives that appear to differ from Derek’s. The quality of guest stars improved as well: Dean Winters (Oz) and Garret Delahunt (No Country For Old Men) reprise their roles as Charley and Cromartie, respectively. As Agent Ellison, Richard T. Jones is a guy who questions his spirituality and later rationalizes it to believe that what he does is right, though we know otherwise. Some of the other faces in Season Two include former West Wing regulars Richard Schiff and Joshua Malina, and Dorian Harewood (Full Metal Jacket) plays a psychiatrist whose work affects several cast regulars, and has long-lasting impacts for future episodes.Brian Austin Green, Lena Headey, and Dean Winters in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)But it’s not like any Terminator project is known for its ensemble work. This has the requisite amount of action sequences and visual effects, and that action helps emphasize the points the story is trying to tell. For a good CG illustration, Manson kills the staff of a warehouse before blowing it up, but normally most of the stunts are done practically and look convincing as a result.Brian Austin Green, Lena Headey, and Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Sadly though, I have to think that there weren’t enough people willing to take a leap of faith and give the show a chance because it wasn’t a big-budget action film. It told stories with each of its characters and did so well. I’m guessing that wasn’t appreciated. Additionally, the release of the fourth Terminator film in the summer of 2009 probably gave the show an over saturation point with the public which hampered any acceptance of it. So now the show’s gone from our televisions, and while we have a new crop of reality shows and sitcoms with retread stars to pore over, I’d encourage people to give The Sarah Connor Chronicles a second view. It’s funny, smart, suspenseful, intriguing and artistic. And yes, it’s a science fiction show. Further proof that the genre has some quality creative minds contributing to it.