REVIEW: VIXEN

 

Starring

Megalyn Echikunwoke (That 70s Show)
Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls)
Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance)
Grant Gustin (The Flash)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas 2006)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Kari Wuhrer (Eight Legged Freaks)
Toks Olagundoye (The Neighbours)
Kimberly Brooks (Jimmy Neutron)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Franz Drameh (See)
Victor Garber (The Orville)

Megalyn Echikunwoke in Vixen (2015)When Mari returns to Detroit after searching for information on her birth parents, she ends up in jail for stabbing a potential employer in the hand with a pen. Her foster father, Chuck, posts her bail, and the two are confronted in an alley by some thugs looking to take Mari’s Tantu Totem, which she inherited from her birth parents at a young age.Mari uses the totem’s powers to defeat the thugs, and the next day, visits Professor Macalester hoping to learn more about the totem and her family. Elsewhere, at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco becomes aware of Mari and her powers, and the Flash and the Arrow go to Detroit to investigate. In Detroit, Mari shows Chuck the totem’s powers, when Barry and Oliver show up at their house. Convinced they want to imprison her, she flees, with the two heroes giving chase.Megalyn Echikunwoke, Brandon Routh, Katie Cassidy, Stephen Amell, and Grant Gustin in Vixen (2015)Finally getting Mari to stop, the Flash and Arrow try to convince Mari to let them help her. Not trusting them, Mari leaves and returns to Professor Macalester in hopes of getting more answers.Unbeknownst to Mari, Macalester is working for Kuasa, who shows up looking to retrieve the totem. Unable to remove the totem from her neck, Mari tries to escape and is shot by Kuasa’s men. She wakes up in an abandoned African village near the river of Zambezi, where Kuasa reveals she is her older sister and this is her birthplace, telling her the history of the totem and the village’s destruction. Kuasa reveals she was chosen to protect the totem and attempts to sever the bond it has with Mari. The attempt fails and Mari flees, though she passes out shortly after, allowing Kuasa to claim the totem. After coming to, the animal spirits of the totem confront Mari, telling her she is its true wielder. With their support, Mari returns to the village and defeats Kuasa and her followers, regaining the totem.Megalyn Echikunwoke, Brandon Routh, and Katie Cassidy in Vixen (2015)Back in Detroit, Mari begins fighting crime as the vigilante “Vixen”, finally knowing her purpose in life, with Arrow and Flash promising to offer assistance should she ever ask.Months after returning to Detroit, Mari attends a lecture by Macalester on the five totems of Zambezi, which grant their wearers the powers of the elemental forces–air, earth, water, fire, and spirit. He reveals that the fire totem has been found, and would be on display at the Detroit Museum. Mari confronts Macalester about kidnapping her, and he tells her her Tantu Totem is also one of the lost totems of Zambezi, the spirit totem. Mari gets a call from Cisco to help the Flash and Firestorm defeat Weather Wizard. Mari ends up in the hospital after fighting Weather Wizard, and learns that the fire totem and other gems had been stolen from the Detroit Museum. Searching for the person who performed the heist, she eventually learns that Benatu Eshu has stolen the fire totem, traveling from Zambezi to claim it.Megalyn Echikunwoke in Vixen (2015)As she confronts him, Eshu claims to know Mari’s birth mother.The two fight, but Eshu proves too powerful for Mari. Mari goes to Macalester to find a way to stop the fire totem and he suggests they visit Kuasa. Finding her in an African hospital, Kuasa tells them that Eshu was a general who raided their village in search of Kuasa and Mari’s mother and the Tantu Totem. She suggests that in order to defeat Eshu, they must find the water totem, which leads them to Star City. Once they find the water totem, Kuasa double crosses Mari and takes the totem for herself. Mari gives chase and is able to contain Kuasa with the help of Black Canary and the Atom. Felicity Smoak informs the heroes that Eshu is rampaging through Detroit, which makes Mari reluctantly ask Kuasa to help them defeat Eshu.Megalyn Echikunwoke in Vixen (2015)The heroes travel to Detroit to confront Eshu, where Macalester calls Mari and tells her that each totem has a core, which, if destroyed, will cause the totem to lose their powers.The heroes are quickly overpowered, and despite her use of the water totem, Eshu kills Kuasa, leaving Mari the only one remaining. Mari is able to subdue Eshu underwater to weaken him, and takes the fire totem. Macalester arrives to tell her that in order sever Eshu’s ties to the totem, it needs to be smashed by someone with great strength. Mari summons many spirits from the animal kingdom and is able to destroy the totem. Later, she joins Green Arrow, Flash, Black Canary and Atom in Coast City to take on a threat.Vixen is based on the DC Character Mari McCabe / Vixen, a costumed superhero crime-fighter with the power to mimic the abilities of any animal that has ever lived on Earth.Megalyn Echikunwoke in Vixen (2015)The series is set in the same fictional universe as Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. The “Movie” is the entire series of shorts put together as a film. A lot of the stuff that Vixen can do would be very hard to pull off on a TV budget, which is why introducing her this way is so important. I’ll admit that the 5 minute segments can be a bit annoying at times, but it gives that need for the next chapter so all-in-all, the formula works. It’s great to see the series as one whole entity.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE NEIGHBORS: THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

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MAIN CAST

Jami Getz (Twister)
Lenny Venito (The Brave One)
Simon Templeman (Lois & Clark)
Toks Olagundoye (Castle)
Clara Mamet (Bad Neighbours 2)
Tim Jo (Glory Daze)
Ian Patrick (Looper)
Max Charles (The Strain)
Isabella Crovetti-Cramp (Joy)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Chasty Ballesteros (The Ranch)
Megan Park (What If)

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MERRY CRAP-MAS

The Weavers ask the Bird-Kersees to hide the Christmas gifts they’ve purchased for Amber, Max and Abby. However, Marty and Debbie’s kids feel they are entitled to the holiday gifts and the parents decide to return all gifts and go on a family vacation to learn the true meaning of the holiday. But Larry accidentally opens one of their gifts, which snowballs into a gift-opening frenzy among the aliens, and the Weavers are left with no gifts and no way to pay for the trip.

This leads the Weavers to wake up on Christmas morning to find a living room full of carolers, Hawaiian dancers, a pig, and Larry dressed as Santa Claus bearing more gifts.

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A CHRISTMAS STORY

Debbie accidentally spoils the Christmas surprise Larry had for Dick. Reggie and Amber try to find the perfect gift for each other to show their true feelings.

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I was worried that after a few episodes the running gags would wear thin and they’d run out of ideas. Not so at all! It was a series that went from strength to strength but put on in American in the Friday night death slot, so sadly only 2 seasons were made. The 2 Christmas episodes are brilliant the first more than the second as you get to see the Aliens immerse themselves in Christmas for the first time with hilarious results. The Second ones highlight is the lady dresses as Princess Leia.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE NEIGHBOURS: THE HALLOWEEN EPISODES

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MAIN CAST

Jami Gertz (Twister)
Lenny Venito (The Brave One)
Simon Templeman (Lois & Clark)
Toks Olagundoye (Castle)
Clara Mamet (Bad Neighbours 2)
Tim Jo (Glory Daze)
Ian Patrick (Looper)
Max Charles (The Strain)
Isabella Crovetti-Cramp (Joy)

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After plotting a trick-or-treat route for the kids for their first open neighborhood Halloween, the Weavers learn that the Zabvornians believe they are being invaded each Halloween for the last decade and prepare for “war” each time. Trying to properly teach the aliens, the Weavers try to inform the Zabvornians how to trick-or-treat. After letting the kids into the neighborhood, the aliens are afraid and, trying to be a great leader to his people, Larry Bird shows there is nothing to fear. Meanwhile, the Weaver children try to change their Halloween tradition and do different things: Max stops match-dressing with his dad, Abby stops walking with her parents to the door, and Amber sexes up her costume. After seeing they don’t like the change, the kids rejoin the parents and enjoy the rest of Halloween.

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Larry tries to combine Halloween and Chanukah to create a new super-holiday. Meanwhile, an obnoxious couple challenges Marty and Debbie to a family Halloween costume contest. After Reggie decided to spend Halloween with his family, Amber stops speaking with him. As Reggie tries to figure out what he did, Jackie is conflicted with telling him or pretending to be ignorant so she can spend the holiday with her son.the-neighbors-s1-e05-09I was worried that after a few episodes the running gags would wear thin and they’d run out of ideas. Not so at all! It was a series that went from strength to strength but put on in American in the Friday night death slot, so sadly only 2 seasons were made. The 2 Halloween episodes are brilliant the first more than the second as you get to see the Aliens immerse themselves in Halloween for the first time with hilarious results.

REVIEW: UGLY BETTY – SEASON 3

Starring

America Ferrera (Real Women Have Curves)
Eric Mabius (Resident Evil)
Judith Light (Transparent)
Vanessa Williams (Shaft)
Becki Newton (How I Met Your Mother)
Ana Ortiz (Ralph Breaks The Internet)
Ashley Jensen (Sherlock Gnomes)
Tony Plana (Lone Star)
Michael Urie (Uptown Girls)
Mark Indelicato (Dead of Summer)

Tony Plana and America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rebecca Romijn (X-Men)
Christopher Gorham (2 Broke Girls)
Kelly Ripa (American Housewife)
Eddie Cibrian (The Cave)
Freddy Rodríguez (Planet Terror)
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls)
Derek Riddell (Gunpwder)
Alec Mapa (Doom Patrol)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Ralph Macchio (Cobra Kai)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Grant Bowler (Lost)
Lenny Venito (The Neighbours)
Sarah Lafleur (Earth: Final Conflict)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Toks Olagundoye (Castle)
Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray)
Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Luna Lauren Velez (Oz)
Bernadette Peters (Smash)
Daniel Eric Gold (War of The Worlds)
Michael Stuhlbarg (The Shape of The Water)
Steve Schirripa (The Sopranos)
Peter McRobbie (Daredevil)
Cheyenne Jackson (Watchmen TV)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Brennan Brown (Focus)
David Rasche (Men In Black 3)
Dreama Walker (Compliance)

America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)The Third Season of the amazing show “Ugly Betty” shows even further strengthening of the programme- from the very good Season One, the show improved to be excellent in Season Two and this season returns to be truly amazing. There’s brilliant character development this season and the plotlines and ongoing storylines in this season are excellent; with some truly outstanding drama and comedy moments.America Ferrera in Ugly Betty (2006)Following on from the first two seasons, “Ugly Betty” continues the story of New York underdog Betty who dreams of being an editor for a magazine. The show centres around her adventures as the “ugly” and “fat” girl at America’s top fashion magazine ‘Mode’, working with shallow, stick-thin, martini sipping socialites and arrogant, womanizing men. The characterisation remains to be great, and there is some outstanding character developments during this season- especially Mark, Amanda and Justin who are audience favourites- the former infact finally gets a more front-seat role in this season- Mark has been an excellent character since the first episode and this season it feels like he finally gets the screentime and storylines he deserves.Image result for ugly betty the manhattan project.With better comedy, improved writing and great storylines, fans of the show are sure to adore this season- and for those who are tempted to mingle with the show, this certainly satisfy those appetites. An excellent season; a brilliant show; and I highly recommend this boxset.

REVIEW: THE NEIGHBORS – SEASON 1 & 2

MAIN CAST

Jami Gertz (Twister)
Lenny Venito (The Brave One)
Simon Templeman (Lois & Clark)
Toks Olagundoye (Castle)
Clara Mamet (Bad Neighbours 2)
Tim Jo (Glory Daze)
Ian Patrick (Looper)
Max Charles (The Strain)
Isabella Crovetti (Joy)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Megan Park (Diary of The Dead)
Doug Jones (Batman Returns)
Leslie Grossman (Popular)
Amy Farrington (Faking It)
Matthew Glave (Argo)
Meagen Fay (Agent Carter)
Maribeth Monroe (The Back-Up Plan)
Stacy Keach (Two and a Half Men)
Debra Mooney (Everwood)
Billy Malone (Sleepers)
Leslie Jordan (Ugly Betty)
Carla Renata (Hart of Dixie)
Nora Dunn (Bones)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club)
Grant Harvey (Billy Boy)
Lora Plattner (Turkey)
Patrick Cassidy (Smallville)
Sandra Bernhard (2 Broke Girls)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Ranch)
Jerry Springer (The Ringmaster)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Meredith Baxter (Family Ties)
Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard)
Jack Scalia (Red Eye)
Lori Loughlin (Full House)
Rhea Perlman (Cheers)
Kevin Thompson (Blade Runner)
Rosalind Chao (Star Trek: DS9)
Candace Cameron Bure (Full House)
John Karma (Scream: The Series)
Scott Weinger (Shredder)
Lilli Birdsell (Doom Patrol)
Erik Estrada (Chips)

3rd Rock from the Sun is a tough act to follow. The Neighbors does a pretty good job, but uses wit and timing instead of zaniness and slapstick comedy to get its laughs. That makes it consistently funny, just not side-splittingly funny. Naming all of the aliens after sports heroes was an inspired choice– they’ll never run out of funny names (a tot named Dick Butkus?), and the fact that the aliens are dorky doubles down on the running gag. So are all their matching outfits/uniforms that remind us of golf clothes from the 1970s.

Also on the upside, some of the cast members are real gems. I don’t know where Toks Olagundoye has been up til now, but she’s got real movie star power as the glamorous alien mom. Her rapid fire back and forth with alien husband Simon Templeman, who has perfect comedic timing and never wastes a good line, are my favorite parts of the show. Jami Gertz and Max Charles are good enough as the earthling straight man/woman, but I think maybe too much of the plot compares their unfunny ordinariness to the aliens’ backwards/upside down view of what humanity is like. The child actors are pretty good, too, even if the show relies a little too much on alien child Ian Patrick’s precociousness. Clara Mamet is exceptional as the brooding, frighteningly calculating and cynical teenager.

I was worried that after a few episodes the running gags would wear thin and they’d run out of ideas. Not so at all! It was a series that went from strength to strength but put on in American in the Friday night death slot, so sadly only 2 seasons were made.