REVIEW: THE SIMPSONS – SEASON 1-3

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CAST

Dan Castellaneta (Super 8)
Julie Kavner (Dr. Dolittle)
Yeardley Smith (Dead Like Me)
Nancy Cartwright (Kim Possible)
Hank Azaria (The Smurfs)
Harry Shearer (This Is Spinal Tap)
Pamela Hayden (Recess)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Russi Taylor (Babe)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Christopher Collins (Transformers)
Jo Ann Harris (Most Wanted)
Marica Wallace (Full House)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
Maggie Roswell (Pretty In Pink)
Susan Blu (Transformers)
Miriam Flynn (Babe)
Ron Taylor (Trading Places)
Albert Brooks (Drive)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley)
Harvey Fierstein (Mrs. Doubtfire)
James Earl Jones (James Earl Jones)
Tony Bennett (Muppets Most Wanted)
Tom Poston (Newhart)
Gregg Berg (Muppet Babies)
Alex Rocco (The Godfather)
Phil Hartman (Jingle All The Way)
Doris Grau (Babe)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Larry King (American Crime Story)
Jon Lovitz (Rat Race)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)
Tracey Ullman (Into The Woods)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Audrey Meadows (The Honeymooners)
Ringo Starr (A Hard Day’s Night)
Dustin Hoffman (Hook)
Cloris Leachman (The Croods)
Daniel Stern (Home Alone)
Michael Jackson (Moonwalker)
Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Magic Johnson (She’shaving a Baby)
Jackie Mason (The Jerk)
Sting (Dune)
Steve Allen (The Player)
Beverly D’Angelo (Insatiable)
Christopher Guest (Best In Show)
Michael McKean (Better Call Saul)
Kimmy Robertson (Stuart Little)

What’s really great about the first season is that you get to see the writers trying to figure out what direction the show should take, this provides some interesting experiments as well as some classic episodes. Season 1 does not have a lot of amazing scenes or laugh out loud moments but it does have a sense of realism to it and can actually tackle some pretty dark themes, such as Lisa having depression or Homer trying to commit suicide.kalasIt really does feel great when there’s a happy ending because you do want to see these characters succeed, especially when you can relate to their problems and empathise with them. I really liked Homer’s characterisation here, he is just an average man who just happens to make a few honest mistakes and I think that he has a genuine charm to him. He never does anything hilarious but some of his one liners did get a chuckle out of me.The episodes revolving around Bart were probably the funniest. Although this season proves you don’t always need a lot of jokes to tell a good story, “Life on the Fast Lane” is a fantastic Homer and Marge episode that treats the audience with a lot of maturity and though I personally do not find it very funny, I am still invested in the plot.MV5BMzk4ZDU2OTMtZjM0NC00ZWIyLWFmNmQtMjcyZGQ1OWE0ZWMyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_Even though the plots and characterizations are a lot more subtle when compared to later seasons, there is still a sense of wackiness to it, the best example being “The Call of the Simpsons” where Homer is mistaken for Bigfoot. Obviously in the first season of any show not every episode will be a success but when Season 1 does things right, it can be a pretty damn good season with just a few hiccups here and there.

Season 2 is basically a new and improved version of season 1, the tone is still very similar but now the characters are more developed and the plots have started to become a lot more intelligent. One of the best things about this season is the way it portrays Homer and Marge’s relationship, you never doubt even for a second that they truly love each other.MV5BZGY0N2RmNDYtNzIwNy00YTcxLTk3Y2YtMTAwNjVlMGRmODdhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_Even something so simple as Marge singing to Homer to cheer him up in “Simpson and Delilah” is very effective and I really do have to give credit to Dan Castellaneta and Julie Kavner for the amazing vocal performances. The voice acting in this season is brilliant and it does make the emotional scenes are a lot more powerful. This season also starts to develop the secondary characters, whenever Mr. Burns appears in an episode you know it’s going to lead to some very good moments and even Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner have a chance to shine.MV5BZDFiZGMxOTctZjNiZS00NzAzLTg0MjMtNjFjN2Q0MGY4ZDZmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_The wide variety of different characters and personalities was one the main reasons that the show was so good. The storylines are also great, tackling mature issues such as censorship or the corruption of government politics and the show never talks down to its audience. These writers are so talented that not only can they make us laugh, but they can also make us think as well.

This is my personal favorite season of The Simpsons. The first disc has it’s moments, Homer Defined”, “Bart The Murderer”, “Stark Raving Dad” and “When Flanders Failed” are all great episodes.MV5BOWJlYTI5NmEtY2NmZS00YTcwLWExZTYtNjExMzRjNjFlYTcxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjI2OTgyNTE@._V1_The Second Disc has classic such as “Treehouse Of Horror” which is almost as incredibly well written as the first, “Lisa’s Pony” and “Saturdays Of Thunder” are also great. “Flaming Moe’s” is on a different level altogether to all episodes mentioned previously. It is one of the best written, funniest episodes this show has ever produced and will remain an all time classic.From Disc 3 onwards, especially after “Lisa The Greek”, the episodes seem to run into each other, you can’t put the remote control down, you simply have to keep watching. For you are viewing classic episode after classic episode after classic episode. First you have “Homer Alone”. David Stern decided to use a “deeper vein in comedy” in this episode by focusing on Marge rather than Bart or Homer, as most of the other writers were doing. It’s a fantastic episode with lots of humour and lots goes on, it seems more than 21 minutes.MV5BMTY5MDI4MjE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQwOTQ2MjE@._V1_“Bart The Lover” is another fantastic episode. I love hearing the letters that Bart writes to Mrs. Krabappel. “Homer At The Bat” is probably the episode that made me laugh the most in the entire season. My favourite part was when Ken Griffey Jr. had gigantism. “Separate Vocatians” Is a very interesting episode and another one that you can’t fault. It’s as good as every one of the episodes mentioned in this paragraph. There’s so much great humour in this episode. As for the other episodeson Disc 3, “Radio Bart” is a very cleverly written episode and is one of the best to watch. “Lisa The Greek is also as good as everyone of those episodes. One of my favourite episodes of all time, “Colonel Homer”. I think it’s one of the only episodes where Matt Groening wrote the entire thing.Then there is “Black Widower” in which Sideshow Bob marries Selma, which is a great episode, with a hilarious ending. And then, there is my favourite Simpsons episode of all time, The Otto Show. Disc four has “Bart’s Friend Falls In Love” and “Brother Can You Spare two Dimes”, these two episodes are good episodes but not classed as classics compared to the other episodes in the season.MV5BMTY5MDI4MjE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQwOTQ2MjE@._V1_Season 3 was when the Simpsons hit it’s stride and became the animated juggernaut it is today.

REVIEW: DUNE (1984)

CAST
Kyle MacLachlan (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Brad Dourif (Childs Play)
Linda Hunt (Dragonfly)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander II)
Francesca Annis (The Libertine)
Leonardo Cimino (Amityville II)
José Ferrer (Lawrence of Arabia)
Freddie Jones (Young Sherlock Holmes)
Richard Jordan (The Hunt For Red October)
Siân Phillips (Clash of The Titans 1981)
Jürgen Prochnow (Hitman: Agent 47)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Sting (Brimstone & Treacle)
Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap)
Max von Sydow (Conan The Barbarian)
Alicia Witt (Two Weerks Notice)
Sean Young (Blade Runner)
In the distant future the known universe is ruled by Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV. The most important substance in the empire is the drug known as melange or “the spice”. It has many special properties, such as extending life and expanding consciousness. The most profitable and important of its properties is its ability to assist the Spacing Guild with folding space, which allows safe, instantaneous interstellar travel.
Sensing a potential threat to spice production, the Guild sends an emissary to demand an explanation from the Emperor, who confidentially shares his plans to destroy House Atreides. The popularity of Duke Leto Atreides has grown, and he is suspected to be amassing a secret army, making him a threat to the Emperor. Shaddam’s plan is to give the Atreides control of the planet Arrakis (also known as Dune), the only source of spice, and to have them ambushed there by their longtime archenemies, the Harkonnens. The Navigator commands the Emperor to kill the Duke’s son, Paul Atreides, a young man who dreams prophetic visions of his purpose. The order draws the attention of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, as Paul is tied to the centuries-long Bene Gesserit breeding program which seeks to produce the universe’s superbeing, the Kwisatz Haderach. Paul is tested by the Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam. Paul is forced to place his hand in a box which subjects him to excruciating pain. He passes to Mohiam’s satisfaction.
Meanwhile, on the industrial world of Giedi Prime, the sadistic Baron Vladimir Harkonnen tells his nephews Glossu Rabban and Feyd-Rautha about his plan to eliminate the Atreides by manipulating someone into betraying the Duke. The Atreides leave Caladan for Arrakis, a barren desert planet populated by gigantic sandworms and the Fremen, a mysterious people who have long held a prophecy that a messiah would come to lead them to freedom. Upon arrival on Arrakis, Leto is informed by one of his right-hand men, Duncan Idaho, that the Fremen have been underestimated, as they exist in vast numbers and could prove to be powerful allies. Leto gains the trust of Fremen, but before the Duke can establish an alliance with them, the Harkonnens launch their attack.While the Atreides had anticipated a trap, they are unable to withstand the attack, supported by the Emperor’s elite troops and aided by a traitor within House Atreides, Dr. Wellington Yueh. Captured, Leto dies in a failed attempt to assassinate the Baron Harkonnen using a poison gas capsule planted in his tooth by Dr. Yueh. Leto’s concubine Lady Jessica and his son Paul escape into the deep desert, where they join a band of Fremen, led by Stilgar. Paul emerges as Muad’Dib, the leader for whom the Fremen have been waiting. Paul teaches the Fremen to use the sonic weapons and targets mining production of spice. Within two years, spice production is effectively halted. The Spacing Guild warn the The Emperor of the situation on Arrakis. The Guild fears that Paul will consume the Water of Life. These fears are revealed to Paul in a prophetic dream; he drinks the Water of Life and enters into a trance. Awakening, he is transformed and gains control of the sandworms of Arrakis. He has discovered that water kept in huge caches by the Fremen can be used to destroy the spice. Paul has also seen into space and the future; the Emperor is amassing a huge invasion fleet above Arrakis to regain control of the planet and the spice.
Upon the Emperor’s arrival at Arrakis, he executes Rabban for failing to remedy the spice situation. Paul launches a final attack against the Harkonnens and the Emperor’s elite shock troops at the capital city of Arrakeen. His Fremen warriors defeat the Emperor’s legions, while Paul’s sister Alia kills Baron Harkonnen. Paul faces the defeated Emperor and relieves him of power, then engages Feyd-Rautha in a duel to the death. Paul demonstrates his newfound powers and fulfills the Fremen prophecy that he is the promised messiah by causing rain to fall on Arrakis for the first time ever, as Alia declares him the Kwisatz Haderach.
If you are curious about the film and are familiar with all the bad and discouraging press it has received over the years, yet remain a fan of exceptional fantasy or science fiction, do not be discouraged. You may find that it has elements that may just move you, bewilder you, or tantalise your imagination. You may come to agree, like a growing number of us, that it really is not so deserving of the excoriation that it has suffered at the hands – or pens – of its harshest critics. If you go into it with a forgiving mindset then you may be well rewarded. And then – if you haven’t already – read the saga itself. It is formidably great