REVIEW: BABYLON 5: THE GATHERING

The Gathering (1993)

Starring

Michael O’Hare (The Adams Chronicles)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Day After Tomorrow)
Jerry Doyle (Open House)
Mira Furlan (Lost)
Blaire Baron (Foreign Correspondents)
John Fleck (Waterworld)
Paul Hampton (Senior Prom)
Peter Jurasik (Tron)
Andreas Katsulas (The Fugitive)
Johnny Sekka (The Message)
Patricia Tallman (Dead Air)
Ardwight Chamberlain (The Toy Warrior)

Babylon 5 (1993)In the Earth year 2257, a multitude of humans and non-humans gather deep in neutral space at a new station, Babylon 5, which has recently become operational. Babylon 5 was built as a neutral venue for discussing and resolving issues between the five major spacefaring races of the galaxy, the humans, Narn, Centauri, Minbari, and Vorlons. Commander Jeffrey Sinclair is in overall charge of the station.Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas in Babylon 5 (1993)As the crew awaits the arrival of the fourth and final alien ambassador, Ambassador Kosh from the Vorlon Empire, a transport ship arrives from Earth, bearing Lyta Alexander, a human telepath who joins the station crew, and Del Varner, a civilian. Ambassador Kosh arrives two days ahead of schedule, and is on board the station less than a minute when he suddenly falls ill, apparently from poisoning. Babylon 5’s chief medical officer, Dr. Kyle, conducts a medical investigation and seeks to prevent Kosh’s death, while Security Chief Michael Garibaldi conducts a security investigation. Worried that, if Kosh dies, the Vorlons will attack and destroy the station, Dr. Kyle and Lt. Cmdr. Takashima persuade Lyta to perform an unauthorized mind scan on the unconscious Kosh. As she conducts the scan, Lyta sees Commander Sinclair poisoning the Ambassador. Lyta accuses Sinclair of attempted murder. A meeting of Babylon 5’s Council, made up of delegates from all five races, resolves to extradite the Commander to the Vorlon homeworld for trial. Sinclair is told that he will be deported in twelve hours.Ardwight Chamberlain in Babylon 5 (1993)Garibaldi comes to suspect Del Varner might have been involved in Kosh’s poisoning. When he enters Varner’s quarters, however, he discovers Varner dead in a fish tank. Lyta enters the medical lab, where she begins adjusting some of the settings that are keeping Kosh alive; when Dr. Kyle realizes what she’s doing, he tries to stop her, and she attacks him. At that moment, the real Lyta Alexander enters the room; her double escapes.Mira Furlan and Michael O'Hare in Babylon 5 (1993)Upon further investigation in Varner’s quarters, Garibaldi learns that Varner had been smuggling illegal items between systems, and that he most recently had gone to the Antares sector to acquire a changeling net: a device that can make an individual appear to look like somebody else. The crew realizes that Kosh had not been poisoned by Sinclair when he arrived at the station, but by someone using the changeling net to imitate Sinclair. Since the use of such a device would put out a lot of energy, Takashima uses the station’s scanners to pinpoint an area of the station with a high concentration of unidentified energy use. Sinclair and Garibaldi head for that part of the station, just as a Vorlon squadron arrives in the vicinity of the station to pick up Sinclair for his voyage to the Vorlon homeworld.Michael O'Hare in Babylon 5 (1993)Sinclair and Garibaldi confront the mysterious assailant. Garibaldi is injured in the firefight and Sinclair faces the assassin himself. The changeling net is disabled, revealing the assailant to be a Minbari assassin. The assassin is a member of the Minbari warrior caste and wanted to discredit Sinclair as retribution for Sinclair’s role in the Earth–Minbari War ten years earlier. Sinclair asks the assassin why he did it; the assassin replies simply, “There is a hole in your mind.” Sinclair, being informed that the assassin has triggered an explosive charge, manages to get away just before an explosion rips a hole in the station’s hull, throwing the station off its axis and beginning to tear it apart from the inside. Takashima uses the station’s stabilizers to reestablish its axis.Mira Furlan, Ardwight Chamberlain, Jerry Doyle, Peter Jurasik, Michael O'Hare, Johnny Sekka, and Patricia Tallman in Babylon 5 (1993)The Vorlon delegation, now satisfied that Sinclair is innocent, drops all charges against him. In the station’s garden, Sinclair reveals to Delenn what the Minbari assassin had said about the “hole” in Sinclair’s mind. Delenn claims that it is just an old Minbari insult. Sinclair, however, tells her that he had fought in the climactic battle of the Earth–Minbari War, and that there is a twenty-four-hour period in the climactic battle, just before the Minbari surrendered, which he can’t account for. Takashima declares Babylon 5 open for business.Babylon 5 was a hugely ambitious sci-fi show to get off the ground with complex characters and story arcs that went on over the entire 5 series run. This was the first pilot movie and it paves the way to what would follow. It’s an intriguing piece of sci-fi with some strong performances in particular Peter Jurasik as Lando Mollari and Andreas Katsulas as G’Kar. The special effects are a bit limited in places but thats to be expected from a show just finding it’s feet. Some of the actors in this initial show would leave to pursue other projects but the core remained in. There are some story lines (that could have been further explored had Takishima and Lyta stayed on the show. The acting quality is mixed and this was ironed out as the series went on. All in all it’s a good TV movie that does stand on it’s own well but it will leave you with a few questions and a good reason to pick up on the series which just get’s better as it goes along.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: PICARD – SEASON 1

Patrick Stewart and Dinero the Dog in Star Trek: Picard (2020)

Starring

Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Alison Pill (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)
Isa Briones (Takers)
Evan Evagora (Fantasy Island)
Michelle Hurd (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Santiago Cabrera (Heroes)
Harry Treadaway (Honemoon)

Patrick Stewart in Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2 (2020)
Recurring / Notable Guest Stars

Brent Spiner (Independence Day)
Jonathan Frakes (Camp Nowhere)
Jeri Ryan (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Marina Sirtis (Crash)
Jamie McShane (Gone Girl)
Orla Brady (Into The Badlands)
Peyton List (Gotham)
Tamlyn Tomita (Heroes)
Jonathan Del Arco (Major Crimes)
Merrin Dungey (Alias)
Sumalee Montano (10 Cloverfield Lane)
David Carzell (Sophomores)
Ann Magnuson (Panic Room)
Rebecca Wisocky (For All Mankind)
Amirah Vann (Tracers)
Evan Parke (King Kong)
John Ales (Burn notice)
Necar Zadegan (NCIS: New Orleans)
Dominic Burgess (Santa Clarita Diet)
Barbara Eve Harris (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Lulu Wilson (Annabelle: Creation)
Derek Webster (Stargate)

Peyton List and Harry Treadaway in Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2 (2020)Star Trek: Picard’s best aspect is also its biggest issue: It has one foot firmly in the past of the long-running sci-fi franchise, and another in a more modern, darker present. The show is a big, fan-servicey return to the story of legendary Starfleet captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), complete with visits from a few beloved characters along the way, and no end of Easter eggs and references that often feel like high-fives to the dedicated viewers who’ve been enjoying the sci-fi franchise for decades, especially in the mid-1990s. Throughout its first season, it often works to update those series, reimagining some of their best ideas through the frame of the modern world. Though it can get bogged down in its attention to Treks of the past, Picard is a darker look at a future that challenges the franchise, not by just telling the stories of great people doing great things–but by amplifying their flaws and forcing them to choose to be better.Patrick Stewart and Jeri Ryan in Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1 (2020)Picard picks up the story of Jean-Luc 15 years after he’s suffered a major failure: He attempted to lead Starfleet in an enormous rescue to save the endangered Romulans, the Federation’s oldest enemies. An immense tragedy, the destruction of the Starfleet’s rescue fleet, led to the Federation abandoning the plans to save the Romulans and Picard’s resignation in protest. More than a decade later, the series finds him languishing in his French vineyard, while Earth’s branch of the Federation has become isolationist and bigoted. Hardship and injustice have festered, especially against synthetic lifeforms, the apparent perpetrators of the tragedy–and Jean-Luc has done little in the intervening years to stop it. That’s a stark contrast to the unwaveringly principled captain seen in The Next Generation, which makes it a perfect starting point for Star Trek: Picard.Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Evan Evagora, and Isa Briones in Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1 (2020)Picard is shaken out of his complacency with the arrival of Dahj (Isa Briones), a young woman being hunted by Romulan assassins, on Picard’s doorstep. Dahj turns out to be a synthetic created in violation of the ban from the remnants of Data (Brent Spiner), Picard’s former android crewmember and old friend, who died to save Picard’s life. Stirred by his loyalty and friendship for Data, Picard takes it upon himself to protect Dahj and her sister, Soji, gathering a ragtag crew and taking to the captain’s chair one last time.Patrick Stewart and Isa Briones in Star Trek: Picard (2020)The season is slow to start, especially as it gets bogged down in setting up a world that’s something like 30 years ahead of where The Next Generation left off. After the first three episodes, though, Picard hits its stride as it fuses two Star Trek identities: the more action-packed, adventure-focused takes of more recent Trek movies, and the moralistic, cerebral approach of The Next Generation. It’s a hybrid that mostly works, too, with Picard occasionally interspersing fun, well-produced action and fight scenes with the moral quandaries and diplomatic conundrums of the Enterprise’s voyages. In a lot of ways, slick CGI space battles and choreographed hand-to-hand fights between Romulan agents and super-fast androids make Picard a more modern take on the franchise. With the budget and the effects technology, some of The Next Generation might have looked a little more like Picard.Marina Sirtis and Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: Picard (2020)The darker, more modern take on Star Trek also makes Picard feel more relevant to the world in which we’re watching it. The show focuses on the plights of refugees, including the Romulan survivors who were scattered across the galaxy after the failed rescue, and the XBs, victims assimilated by the deadly cybernetic Borg who have been freed from enslavement to its Collective, but who are still mistrusted and exploited. The Starfleet of the future is more insular, abandoning much of its focus on exploration of the galaxy and understanding other life and cultures. It’s a Star Trek that uses the lens of science fiction to explore the plights and issues of a more reactionary world than the one in which The Next Generation was made.Patrick Stewart and Isa Briones in Star Trek: Picard (2020)But much of Picard’s power comes from its dedication to the past. Few opportunities slip past for references to The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine, or the Star Trek movies. It’s not all just about appeasing Trekkers, though–Picard has a deep, encyclopedic knowledge of everything that’s happened to its characters over the years, and does a brilliant job of rejoining their stories, exploring their traumas, and advancing their characters in ways that feel true to them.Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: Picard (2020)The new additions to Picard, however, function less well. Where returning characters like Jean-Luc and Voyager’s Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) get the benefit of the show building on their lengthy histories, the new ragtag crew often don’t really have enough to do, even as the show spends a little time rounding out their backstories. Jean-Luc’s often-drunk former first officer, Raffi (Michelle Hurd), exists to tap away on holographic computers; what interesting conflict she has with Jean-Luc, based on him abandoning her after the Romulan rescue along with everything else, evaporates not long into the season. The same is true for cyberneticist Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill), who struggles with her role in the creation of Dahj, Soji, and the other synthetics, but who gets back to normal for plot reasons.Patrick Stewart, Michelle Hurd, Alison Pill, and Santiago Cabrera in Star Trek: Picard (2020)Rios (Santiago Cabrera), the hardnosed captain of the ship Picard hires, is mostly just angry and stoic, and the childishly idealistic, sword-wielding warrior Elnor (Evan Evagora) seems to primarily exist for fight scenes and innocently misunderstanding situations for laughs. There’s also Narek (Harry Treadaway), a Romulan spy tasked with getting close to Soji, who struggles a bit with his task but never really evolves as a character because of it. All of the characters are interesting, with well-built backstories and strong performances, but none can really take the room needed to grow with the show so often putting a hard focus on Picard and Soji, who spends most of the season unaware of her nature as an android and slowly catching up to a point the audience reached much earlier.It all makes Picard’s 10-episode run feel just a touch too short to really expand on any of the new characters, especially with the show making lots of detours down the memory lane of The Next Generation. As mentioned, those looks to the past are strong if you’re an established Trek fan, but they often hobble the show’s present. Much of what goes on Season 1 of Picard feels like it’s setup for a more fleshed-out Season 2. Still, there’s a lot Picard does right. Its update on the Star Trek formula is a sorely needed catch-up to the modern world that makes it feel like Trek has something important to say, and its signature optimism is a perfect fit for the times. It’s also keenly aware of everything that made Jean-Luc Picard such a resonant character, and it revisits those aspects without retreading old ground. On the whole, Star Trek: Picard does well to bring Treks of the past forward, and for fans of Jean-Luc and The Next Generation, it’s a powerful and emotional revisit to beloved characters.

REVIEW: HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES – SEASON 3

Starring

Adrian Paul (Arrow)
Stan Kirsch (Shallow Ground)
Jim Byrnes (Sanctuary)
Philip Akin (Robocop 2014)
Lisa Howard (Earth: Final Conflict)
Michel Modo (The Troops Get Married)

thesamurai0

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tamlyn Tomita (The Day After Tomorrow)
Stephen McHattie (Watchmen)
Robert Ito (Quincy M.E.)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb (Raising Arizona)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Michelle Thrush (Pathfinder)
Miguel Fernandes (Trancers)
Liliana Komorowska (Screamers)
Andrew Kavadas (Ninja Turtles: Next Mutation)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Elizabeth Gracen (Marked For Death)
Brion James (Blade Runner)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Bones)
Rob Stewart (Painkiller Jane)
Gabrille Miller (Corner Gas)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Mark Acheson (Elf)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Catherine Lough Haggquist (The Flash)
Jonathan Scarfe (Van Helsing)
Myles Ferguson (Edgemont)
Jesse Moss (Ginger Snaps)
Cameron Bancroft (Legends of Tomorrow)
Sherry Miller (The Virgin Suicides)
Laura Harris (Dead Like Me)
Garwin Sanford (Stargate SG.1)
Frank C. Turner (IT)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Tamara Gorski (Hercules: TLJ)
Stella Stevens (The Poseidon Adventure)
Barry Pepper (True Grit)
Vivian Wu (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Richard Lynch (Puppet Master III)
David Robb (Downtown Abbey)
Eugene Lipinski (Arrow)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
John Tench (Andromeda)
Roger Daltrey (Tommy)
Peter Wingfield (Sanctuary)
Kim Johnston Ulrich (Passions)
Ben Pullen (Prince Valiant)
Paudge Behan (Love/Hate)
Robert Cavanah (Pimp)
Roland Gift (Brakes)
George Harris (Layer Cake)

Highlander - The Samurai 55After a few growing pains and struggles to find its footing and players in its first two seasons, Highlander: The Series’ third year sends the heads rolling with plenty of fine drama, sweet action, and immortal style.239560Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul) once again faces Kalas (David Robb) – an evil immortal enemy from his past- in a battle that threatens to expose the existence of Immortals and the secret Watcher organization to the world. Watcher Joe Dawson (Jim Byrnes) struggles between his oath to not interfere with immortal confrontations and his continuing friendship with Mac. Richie (Stan Kirsch) takes up bike racing- a risky prospect despite his immortality while 1,200-year-old thief Amanda (Elizabeth Gracen) just can’t stay on the right side of the law. However, is Dr. Anne Lindsey’s (Lisa Howard) budding romance with Duncan just as dangerous or is it the exact solace he needs?Highlander The Cross of St Antoine 68At last, Season 3 establishes some internal consistency for Highlander: The Series and the result is a damn fine season with nary a bad episode in sight. The mortal crimes and drama in “Blackmail” and “Take Back the Night” are fresh and dynamic, tying in nicely with the immortal deceptions and relationship angles presented in “Line of Fire” and “Shadows.” The Watchers are made useful and brought into the forefront, particularly in “Those Who Serve,” where we get a chance to see the Immortal Game from their supposedly uncolored perspective. Consequences to one’s actions and inactions are investigated wonderfully this season with immortals debating their ability to change for good or evil.MV5BNzY3NTI4MjAyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODg0NTEzMjE@._V1_Can worthwhile redemption for horrid past doings be found for them? Whose place is it to forgive and judge immortals? Religion, spiritual motifs, and even immortal drug use are examined in “Courage,” “Blind Faith,” and “Mortal Sins.” Normal life issues such as parenting and the difficulty with computers also carry through Season 3, along with thoughts on the extreme price of perpetual youth in “The Lamb.” While die-hard Highlander fans may know an episode title when they see it- even if you don’t recognize the titles, almost every show had me saying, ‘Oh yeah! I remember this one!’MV5BNzY3NTI4MjAyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODg0NTEzMjE@._V1_We learn a lot about our titular Highlander this season, beginning with the 1994 opener “The Samurai” and going straight through to the two-part “Finale.” Paul shows plenty of layers in Duncan through his past loyalties and contemporary justices. The sword fights and kick ass are without a doubt kick ass indeed, but there’s plenty of time for questioning immortality and space for 400 years of melancholy to get to someone. While he’s often shown enjoying himself in the flashbacks, Mac is afraid to open up again to another mortal girlfriend like Anne Lindsey. Of course, the audience knows there will be trouble thanks to all those pesky immortal secrets! While some may not like Anne simply because she follows Tessa in Duncan’s heart, its nice to have someone unaware who can be good for MacLeod.

MV5BYTkzMDExNWItZGZkMC00ZWI1LWI3ZmEtMzlhNGZlODczNzI5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjk3NDI3OTk@._V1_Howard (Earth: Final Conflict) keeps Anne independent, intelligent, confident, and likeable. But could the good doctor deal with immortality? Her job is to save lives, so a man devoid of a medical history and no immunization scars is just too much of a mystery for Anne. Fortunately, Elizabeth Gracen adds some spice and familiar fun as Amanda in “The Cross of St. Antoine” and the two-part season ender. Her duck and run immortal loyalty and devotion to MacLeod are perfectly at odds with her inability to go legit and not screw things up.kalasUnfortunately, once again Richie and Philip Akin as Charlie DeSalvo get the short end of the supporting stick. Charlie is written out of Season 3 nicely- not that his leaving is super good, but the episode “The Revolutionary” is sublime. The character should have been a guest player as necessary all along, rather than been squeezed in willy nilly. Likewise, Richie, despite being in the opening credits, only appears in half the episodes this year. While the youthful immortal needed to go off and explore, sure, it’s tough to care again when he does come around for some motorcycle action. The stock footage for the races and the intercut of Richie and his pals getting rough doesn’t help either. Why not let him have a season off so we can enjoy when he returns with heavy, living forever angst? Sometimes we see recurring players more than the folks actually in the opening credits. Despite such a cool opening scheme, Highlander: The Series never seems to balance its core players or its ensemble repertoire properly in its listings. Michel Modo’s lovable but often drunk chef Maurice is also downgraded to a guest star this season, and it’s wonderfully that his few special appearances give him respect and something to do.finalepart2cWatcher Joe Dawson again doesn’t appear as much as I might have liked, but the growth of the watchers as a help, hindrance, or detriment comes along wonderfully in Season 3. Dawson is there for MacLeod despite the rules, and Duncan likewise. Joe’s new bar is also a great place for mortals and immortals to mingle, and the neat introduction of Peter Wingfield (24) as Methos adds a separate watcher buddy angle for Dawson to explore. Thankfully, this crack team unites wonderfully against David Robb (Swing Kids, I Claudius) as the Highlander’s bane this season, Kalas. His midseason trilogy of “Song of the Executioner”, “Star-Crossed,” and “Methos” is perhaps when Highlander: The Series truly becomes great TV. There’s not a crappy Renegade knock off plot in sight- just awesome immortals like Hugh Fitzcairn and Xavier St. Cloud- both played by cool rockers Roger Daltry and Roland Gift. By time things get juicy for the two-part “Finale” there isn’t anything in this season of Highlander: The Series not to like.finalepart2aI dare say it, but even the styles this season are catching up, with toned down dojo action, great blues music, and sweet French locations. But my goodness they use that same Tudor house for every frickin’ thing! Anne dresses a little edgy for a doctor- with short skirts and tall boots; but hey, it looks good and is actually still in relatively recent fashion. Of course, the period piece scenes are top notch again, and we spend more time in the past- even having flashbacks within flashbacks. The times and places we visit also vary it up some, but a few return nicely to places and people we’ve already seen. The transitions to the flashbacks are also nicely done; sometimes they are set up in crafty ways but other times they know the viewer knows and just cut right to it. The audience isn’t underestimated with excessive montages and unnecessary action anymore. Although sometimes entire swordfights and quickening flashbacks from previous episodes are revisited, I’m glad they now put the dates, times, and places onscreen for the past storylines. Some of those orgasmic quickenings still amuse me – but there are some seriously good ones this season as well.
highlander0322Once again, the DVD features for Highlander: The Series Season 3 are packed to the gills with bloopers, deleted scenes, interviews, audio and video commentaries, scripts, and more. The interface is a little dated, but its fun to go through the embedded Watcher’s Chronicles and look for all their treats within the episodes. Again, new fans or those who wish to remain unspoilt are better served with rental or online options or a features marathon post- series. If you’ve been remiss on the first two seasons, new audiences can still jump in here as well. Honestly, there’s no reason for anyone not to give this season a chance.

REVIEW: TEKKEN

CAST

Jon Foo (Left For Dead)
Kelly Overton (Van Helsing)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal KOmbat: Legacy)
Ian Anthony Dale (Mr. 3000)
Cung Le (Into The Badlands)
Darrin Henson (The Express)
Luke Goss (Death Race 2)
Tamlyn Tomita (Heroes)
Candîce Hillebrand (Blood of The Vikings)
Gary Daniels (The Expendables)
Mircea Monroe (The Change-Up)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Blake Shields (Heroes)

Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)Jin Kazama, Kazuya’s son has been raised by his mother, Jun, She has trained him in martial arts and has been a mentor, yet she never speaks of Jin’s father, claiming he is dead. In 2039, Jin is now a rebellious 19-year-old teenage fighter and contraband runner who lives in the Anvil, and usually goes into fights and cooperates with the resistance groups to earn money to provide food (fruit, coffee and chocolate have become expensive and rare commodities in the Anvil). One night, Jin is targeted by the Jackhammers, the elite specs group that patrols the Anvil and ensures the safety of Tekken City, for cooperating with the resistance groups. He tries to return to his home, only to find his mother, Jun, killed by the Jackhammers bombarding the house.Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)Grieving the loss of his mother and feeling guilty that he had not protected her, Jin swears revenge against Heihachi. In the ruins of his former home, he finds a Tekken Fighter I.D. belonging to Jun, revealing she was once an Iron Fist fighter. Furious about this, he decides to try out at the Open Call, which lets the Anvil pick a fighter for the tournament. After defeating the disgraced Marshall Law, who was dropped out of the Tournament and forced to fight in the Open Call, Jin is sponsored by former boxer Steve Fox, sponsor of the Open Call and former Iron Fist fighter, and is hailed “The People’s Choice”, who takes him to Tekken City.Kelly Overton and Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)Upon entering Tekken City, Jin befriends mixed martial artist Christie Monteiro. After witnessing Raven overpower Capoeira fighter Eddy Gordo in the first match, Jin wins the match against Miguel Caballero Rojo, nearly killing him in a fit of rage. Heihachi’s son, Kazuya Mishima, is impressed and offers Jin a place in Tekken Corp., but Jin refuses. Later that night, after sneaking out with Christie and visiting a nightclub, Jin is attacked by masked assassins, on the orders of Kazuya, who is scheming to take over Tekken and sees Jin as a possible obstacle since he is hailing as People’s Choice. Jin survives the assassination attempt, thanks to Christie’s interference. Steve and Christie attempt to discourage Jin from continuing in the tournament, but Jin vows to win Iron Fist and kill both Heihachi and Kazuya, and he gives Fox Jun’s ID, he realizes he is her son, telling him that he knew her. Meanwhile, Kazuya blackmails the tournament’s champion, Bryan Fury, into killing Jin in a match or be exposed as a partial cyborg, banning him from the tournament for life (cyborgs are banned from fighting).Gary Daniels and Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)During the quarter-finals, Christie is paired with Nina Williams. But before the fight, Jin notices Nina’s face, she was one of the assassins. After Christie defeats Nina, Jin is matched up with an elite swordsman named Yoshimitsu. Heihachi, liking this young fighter, deems that this match be reserved for the semi-finals and attempts to change the order, but Kazuya, who controls the Jackhammers, stops him. Kazuya then has Heihachi imprisoned and orders the match to begin, effectively seizing control of Tekken. Jin narrowly defeats Yoshimitsu, thanks to Heihachi tripping a security alert in the arena.Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)Following the match, Kazuya orders all of the fighters to be detained. He tells them that the rules have changed, and so they must now fight to the death. Jin, Christie, and Steve try to escape, along with Raven, leaving Nina & Anna Williams and Sergei Dragunov behind, since they were in a separate cell. Kazuya notices them escaping and brings down some guards, causing a firefight. Steve, Christie, and Raven cover Jin but he walks across Heihachi’s cell. Angry, he tries to taunt him, saying he is responsible for killing his mother. However, because Heihachi is their only chance of escaping Tekken, Steve frees Heihachi and joins the group. On the gunfight, Raven is wounded and recaptured, while the others make it out to the Anvil.Candice Hillebrand, Kelly Overton, and Lateef Crowder in Tekken (2010)In the warehouse that Jin uses as protection, Heihachi reveals to Jin the true nature of his origin. 20 years ago, Jun was fighting in the first Iron Fist tournament placed by the Tekken Corporation after the war, and she impressed Kazuya, who raped her, making him Jin’s father, and left her for dead. She survived the assault and Heihachi took her out of Tekken City to the Anvil to keep her alive. Heihachi also tells Jin that since he is Heihachi’s grandson, he could become the next Chairman. He also states the corporation’s true purpose is to restore order to the world, though Jin can’t believe what he is being told, believing that the corporation is spreading terror and fear to its residents. Heihachi entrusts Jin with the task of defeating Kazuya. Later on, the group is located by Jackhammers, who kill Steve Fox in a firefight and recapture the rest of the escapees. Before taking them back to Iron Fist, Kazuya orders the Jackhammers to execute Heihachi.Jon Foo and Roger Huerta in Tekken (2010)Back in Tekken City, Raven comforts a dispirited Jin, saying that he saw what Jin did to Miguel Rojo and reminding him that anger doesn’t fuel the soul, but incinerates it. Raven tells Jin that because there are many people depending on him, he can become champion without letting anger take control of his body. In the Finals, Jin is forced to fight against Bryan Fury, who had already killed Sergei Dragunov in a death match, while Kazuya holds Christie in the control room. At first he is outmatched, but remembering his mother’s teachings, Jin kills Bryan. Angered about Jin’s victory, Kazuya enters the tournament himself, armed with half moon axes, and begins the final match. The weaponless Jin is battered and is about to lose. He is saved, though, when Christie escapes by shooting the Jackhammers guarding her, creating a distraction. This allows Jin to wound and pin Kazuya, who baits Jin by claiming that he remembers how Jun “put up quite a fight.” Kazuya taunts him into inheriting the Mishima Curse (Heihachi imprisoned and killed his father and Kazuya presumably murdered Heihachi), but Jin refuses to kill his father, stating that it is not his curse.Ian Anthony Dale and Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)Christie comes to the stage and declares Jin the new Champion of Tekken. Elated, the crowd both in and outside the arena cheer for him. When Christie asks where he will go, he replies that he will go home to the Anvil, since he doesn’t want to run the corporation. He walks out of Tekken City’s gate and is saluted by the Jackhammers – symbolizing his new role as CEO of Tekken Corp. In a voiceover, Christie explains that Jin’s victory made the Kazama family name synonymous with hope in the Anvil, but that the true legacy of Tekken is only beginning. After the credits, the scene shifts to Kazuya, who walks out of the arena and realizes that he lost control of the Jackhammers, who refuse to salute him. Back at Heihachi’s execution, he kneels in front of a Jackhammer, who is holding him at gunpoint. His final words are: “I am Heihachi Mishima. I…am…Tekken. You will obey.” The Jackhammer lowers down his gun and obeys his command.Gary Ray Stearns and Jon Foo in Tekken (2010)All in all, it’s entertaining to watch since it’s Tekken after all and it’s not everyday that people get to watch live action renditions of their favorite console games. My only gripe is that my favorite character was not in it, unfortunately (Ling Xiaoyu, at your service) and it would have been more interesting if there was a particular solid timeline that the story arc related to and not just put everyone in a big melting pot.

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 5

Starring

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Rachel Luttrell (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)

Paul McGillion in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Kavan Smith (Mission To Mars)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Leela Savasta (Battlestar Galactica)
Sharon Taylor (Smallville)
Rainbow Francks (Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Michelle Morgan (Deep Six)
Robert Moloney (Man of Steel)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Nicole de Boer (Star Trek: DS9)
Janina Gavankar (True Blood)
Christina Cox (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Apollonia Vanova (Watchmen)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Van Helsing)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Chelah Horsdal (Hell on Wheels)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Daniella Alonso (The Hills Have Eyes II)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Aaron Craven (The Predator)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heores)
David Lovgren (Antitrust)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
Jonathon Young (Sanctuary)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Jody Thompson (The 4400)
Frank Vincent (Goodfellas)
Steve Schirripa (The Sopranos)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)

Robert Picardo and Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Carson Beckett is back for no less than five episodes, and despite heavy use of the Wraith ship set, the stories are good and justify it. The characters are as well written as ever, I really felt the writers stepped it up a notch this season.Jewel Staite in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Robert Picardo is back as Richard Woolsey and promoting him to the role of Commander was a stroke of genus. No disrespect to Commander Weir and Colonel Carter, but in Richard Woolsey, Stargate Atlantis had finally cast its ideal leader. There are also a couple of deadpan in-jokes about his holographic Doctor character hidden in the dialogue, which are extremely funny when you spot them.Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Despite the technology getting more and more advanced, there is less of a reliance on the technology itself selling the story. There is more focus on the characters than before and all the characters get at least one episode where they take centre stage in the story – for example, David Hewlett puts in an incredibly moving performance in The Shrine where McKay is struck down with a fast acting Pegasus equivalent of Alzheimer’s. Very good use is made of the popular Wraith characters Michael and Todd, and the budding relationship between McKay and Keller is a refreshing antidote.

 

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 SG.1 – SEASON 9

Starring

Ben Browder (Farscape)
Amanda Tapping(Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)

Ben Browder in Stargate SG-1 (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Claudia Black (Pitch Black)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Obi Ndefo (Star Trek: DS9)
Gary Jones (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Matthew Walker (Alone In The Dark)
April Telek (Rogue)
Lexa Doig (Arrow)
Julian Sands (What/If)
Wallace Shawn (Young Sheldon)
Barclay Hope (Final Destination 3)
Maury Chaykin (My Cousin Vinny)
Louis Gossett Jr. (Enemy Mine)
Cliff Simon (Project Eden)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Nicola Correia-Damude (October Faction)
Peter Flemming (Staragte: Atlantis)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Chilton Crane (The 4400)
Jason George (Fallen)
Jarvis W. George (Gamer)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Kurt Evans (Izombie)
Ty Olsson (War For TPOTA)
Cameron Bright (Birth)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Don S. Davis (Twin Peaks)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
William Atherton (Ghostbusters)
JR Bourne (The 100)
Teryl Rothery (Arrow)
Reed Diamond (Agents of Shield)
Dakin Matthews (Child’s Play 3)
Veena Sood (Timecop)
Eric Breker (Scary Movie 3)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
John Aylward (Alias)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Chelah Horsdal (You Me Her)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Matthew Glave (Argo)
Eric Steinberg (Supergirl)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Daniella Evangelista (Ripper)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
John Noble (Sleepy HOllow)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Noah Danby (Bitten)

Claudia Black and Ben Browder in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Avalon, Part 1 is a great season opener, introduces  new kid on the block Ben Browder,  as the season progresses the character is definitely fleshed out more and he soon fits in nicely with the tightly-knit S.G.1 team.Ben Browder and Michael Shanks in Stargate SG-1 (1997)However, the bottom line is that this is still a character who bares a striking similarity in disposition to Browder’s other well-known TV personality- Farscape’s John Crichton- with that same irreverent humor and easy-going attitude, but it’s a style that clearly works for Browder and it’s difficult not to find that likable. Beau Bridges’ introduction is made with equally good fanfare, his character is one who I found myself liking more readily- he approaches the role of the General of the base differently to Don S. Davis, with more of an every man approach, although he never hesitates to exert the full force of his office against unfriendly aliens, or humans when required.Mark Houghton in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Largely thanks to the development of this season’s main story-arc with the introduction of God-wannabes the Ori and their powerful minions known as Priors, this ninth season becomes surprisingly mesmerising in very short order. Beginning with the concluding part and then into episode 3- `Origin’, this season soon establishes itself as one of the best `Stargate: S.G.1′ offerings in years. The use of Arthurian legend in this season is spread pretty thickly in the beginning and had me worried that this fantasy element might not work in a predominantly science-fiction-oriented series, but very soon the parallels the writers draw between the Arthurian myth and the familiar Stargate set-up, become very inventive and come to work surprisingly well at contrasting against the new and growing force of evil spreading through the galaxy. In the first five episodes that other recognizable `Farscape’ regular Claudia Black and her seductively disobedient alter-ego Vala are another reason to be enchanted by this season. Vala brings such humor and life to the series that I was really disappointed when she parted company with S.G.1, despite the welcome return of Sam Carter following her brief career change. Thankfully Vala returns towards the end of the season and here’s hoping it’s not the last we see of her.Larry Cedar in Stargate SG-1 (1997)This season’s other major success is in its stand-alone stories that continue to present unique, punchy and creative sci-fi ideas to its audience. In particular episode 9- `Prototype’ and episode 13- `Ripple Effect’ are a couple of my favourites, the first of which concerns the discovery of a prodigy of Anubis frozen on a distant planet and the second has multiple S.G.1 teams pouring through the Stargate from diverse alternate realities , both of which had me glued to my seat