REVIEW: BONES – SEASON 11

MAIN CAST

Emily Deschanel (Easy)
David Boreanaz (Angel)
Michaela Conlin (Enchanted)
T.J. Thyne (Ghost World)
Tamara Taylor (Serenity)
John Boyd (Lady In The Water)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Patricia Belcher (Jeeprs Creepers)
Pej Vahdat (Lie To Me)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Dilshad Vadsaria (Second Chance)
Kim Raver (24)
Matthew Holmes (Blue Heelers)
Dan Hildebrand (Game of Thrones)
Michael Grant Terry (Grimm)
Gil Darnell (Reign)
Betty White (The Proposal)
Brian Klugman (Cloverfield)
Erin Chaill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Paul Johansson (Van Helsing)
Tom Lenk (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow)
Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Ringer)
Malcolm David Kelley (Lost)
Laura Spencer (The Big Bang Theory)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Nicholas Gonzales (The Flash)
Eugene Byrd (Arrow)
Kevin Fonteyne (Melissa & Joey)
Ignacio Serricchio  (The Wedding Ringer)
Callard Harris (The Originals)
Rachel Melvin (Zombeavers)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)
Gavin MacIntosh (The FOsters)
Carla Gallo (Superbad)
Sara Lafleur (Ugly Betty)
Michael Reilly Burke (The Vampire Diaries)
Andy Milder (Seven Pounds)
Skyler Vallo (The A-List)
Eddie Shin (That 80s Show)
Sara Rue (Mom)
Alyssa Diaz (Army Wives)
Joel David Moore (Julia X)
Nishi Munshi (The Originals)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Brooke Lyons (2 Broke Girls)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (How I Met Your Mother)
John Shea (Mutant X)
Jim Pirri (Lois & Clark)
Bridgett Newton (Man of Steel)
Nicole Bilderback (Dark Angel)
Sebastian Roche (The Originals)
Gilles Marini (2 Broke Girls)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Eric Millegan (On_Line)

At the end of season 10, Bones (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz) both decided to quit their jobs at the Jeffersonian and the FBI respectively. Now, six months later, their daughter Christine (Sunnie Pelant) has a little baby brother, and Booth is training new FBI recruits for a living. They seem to be happy in their new situation, and today seems like no other when Booth takes off to work. Meanwhile at the Jeffersonian, Cam (Tamara Taylor), Angela (Michaela Conlin) and Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) are called out to a crime scene, where they find a body in a burnt car. The team fear the worst when they find out that the gun that was found with the victim belongs to Booth. Also the initial examination of the bones makes it appear that he is the victim. Dr. Brennan decides to come to the Jeffersonian herself, as the situation is driving her crazy, and she eventually finds out that the remains aren’t Booth’s, but his brother’s, Jared. The question remains where Booth is, and how his brother ended up dead.

Eventually, everything turns back to normal by episode three, and Bones and Booth are back at their old jobs, just like they used to be. Murders keep on happening, and Booth and Aubrey (John Boyd) work closely together with the team of the Jeffersonian to bring the killers to justice. While the season focuses foremost on the cases themselves, there are some developments in the personal lives of the characters as well.006-1-m
Each episode has a good flow to it, where many suspects are considered along the way, and the outcome is often unpredictable. The format remains the same as in the previous seasons, namely a focus on the cases, where reexamining the bones over and over will eventually prove to be vital in finding the murderer.
While the flow of the individual cases is quite enjoyable, the personal story of the characters gets to the background quite a lot. Every now and then you will find out more about Cam’s love life, Angela and Hodgins’ marriage or Aubrey’s new crush, but nothing major steps out until halfway the season. There have been no major changes to the cast since last season, and it’s safe to say that the current team of actors all did well.

Bones has been one of my all time favourite series and season 11 is no exception! with a great cliffhanger leaving you hanging for Season 12 (the final season) .

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REVIEW: SAMANTHA WHO ? – SEASON 1 & 2

Image result for samantha who ? logo

MAIN CAST

Christina Applegate (The Sweetest Thing)
Jennifer Esposito (Summer of Sam)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Barry Watson (Boogeyman)
Jean Smart (Garden State)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

William Abadie (The Pink Panther)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Turbo)
Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids)
Kiele Sanchez (Lost)
Eddie Cibrian (The Cave)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Jerry O’ Connell (Scream Queens)
Rick Hoffman (Hostel)
Cybil Shepherd (Moonlighting)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Rachel Cannon (Two and a Half Men)
Mary-Kate Olsen (Full House)
James Tupper (Revenge)
Billy Zane (Zoolander)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch)
Nora Dunn (New Girl)
Angie Harmon (Agent Cody Banks)
Teddy Sears (The Flash)

What if you had the chance to start over, to do it all again? For Samantha Newly, this fantasy becomes a reality after a hit and run accident leaves her in an eight day coma. When she awakens in the hospital, she is surrounded by family and friends. The only problem is that she has no idea who they are or who she is. In medical terms, Sam has retrograde amnesia, which allows her to fully function in the world but leaves her with no personal memories. Most people would deem this disorder a curse. But Sam may come to call it a miracle. As she sets out to rediscover herself, Sam is forced to rely on the only people who can help her an eclectic bunch of friends and family. Although now strangers to Sam, it’s not long before she begins to get an idea of who she was before the accident.

Life,as we all know,can be extremely unfair at times.Samantha Who? was cancelled after just 2 seasons.

Samantha Who? is a terrific sitcom.Why was it cancelled then,i hear you cry.As i understand it,the 1st season was well received and got good ratings,all was well,but the 2nd season was for some reason buried in a bad time slot and never recovered.Also,i gather there were cost issues involved due to financial cut backs regarding the making of the programme.A real shame because this is a gem of a show with Christina Applegate outstanding as Samantha,a shallow,obnoxious,yuppie type who awakes from an 8 day coma caused by a car accident and realises that she can’t remember anything due to amnesia.

As she starts trying to put her life back together,she realises,with some horror,just what an awful person she was.Thats where the fun starts,and its to Applegates credit that,although its her characters mission to make amends and change for the better,the programme never gets too treacly or soft,partly due to the naturally mischevious look that Christina Applegate has that suggests Samantha could never be too goody-goody.The support cast is terrific,the lovely Jean Smart is wonderful as Sams amusingly uncaring mother and the fabulous Melissa McCarthy as her old friend Dena.

To sum up,this is a very funny,smartly written,well acted sitcom that should have been up there with the best of them.And,refreshingly,just like the brilliant Gilmore Girls,no laugh track,just provide your own!

REVIEW: BOOGEYMAN 2 (2007)

 

CAST

Danielle Savre (Heroes)
Matt Cohen (South of Nowhere)
Chrissy Calhoun (Open Road)
Michael Graziadei (Into The Blue 2)
Mae Whitman (The Duff)
Renee O’ Connor (Xena)
Tobin Bell (Saw)
Johnny Simmons (Jennifer’s Body)
David Gallagher (Super 8)
Lesli Margherita (The Number 23)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)

The film focuses on Laura Porter (Danielle Savre), who as a child witnessed both her parents being brutally murdered by a hooded man, along with her brother Henry (Matt Cohen). Henry, who was in the same therapy group, seems to be doing fine and is seemingly cured. Henry goes off to a job interview. Laura gets comfortable with the group which consists of scotophobic Mark (David Gallagher), germaphobic Paul (Johnny Simmons), masochistic Alison (Mae Whitman), agoraphobic Darren (Michael Graziadei) who is scared of commitment and relationships, and Nicky (Chrissy Griffith), a bulimic girl who fears extreme weight gain. Laura struggles in facing her fear of the Boogeyman, the entity that Laura believes killed her parents.Soon, the therapy group begins to get murdered, one by one. All of their deaths relate to their fears. Mark falls down the elevator shaft, trying to escape from the darkness when the lights go out, and is torn in half. The next is Paul, who accidentally eats a cockroach after finding them in his bag of chips. The killer, a mysterious man wearing a Boogeyman mask and cloak, then hands him a bottle of cleaning solution, which Paul drinks and burns a hole in his throat. Laura begins to suspect these were not accidents. The lights go out at the hospital and all that’s left is Laura, Alison, Darren, Nicky, Dr. Ryan and Gloria, the receptionist. Gloria (Lesli Margherita) goes to the basement to check the lights. Alison is killed when the Boogeyman ties her to the bed and places maggots on her arms, which crawl into Alison’s skin using the cuts, forcing her to cut them out, killing herself in the process.Dr. Ryan goes to the basement to check on Gloria and is electrocuted when the Boogeyman throws an electrical cord into a puddle of water she is standing in. Laura finds a file on her brother and ones on other patients with Bogyphobia (what Laura has). She finds out that all Bogyphobia patients including Tim Jensen (the protagonist from the first film) have committed suicide after being treated by Dr. Allen. Darren and Nicky have sexual intercourse in the locker room as Laura finds Alison. She gets Darren and Nicky to where Alison was, but the blood and the maggots have been cleaned up. Darren and Nicky think she’s crazy. Darren and Nicky go to Darren’s room, where they have an argument. Darren thinks they shouldn’t have a relationship. Darren forces Nicky out of the room and is killed when the Boogeyman painfully cuts him open and takes out his heart.Laura goes to the basement when she hears Nicky scream and finds her on a table. Nicky has hoses attached to her, filling her with bile until she explodes. Laura runs away in shock, and the Boogeyman attacks her. He chases her through the hospital, where she finds Gloria dead and Dr. Ryan barely alive and mumbling, in some sort of trance. Laura begins a cat and mouse game with the Boogeyman, who chases her through the underground storage area, finally running into Dr. Allen, who thinks Laura committed the killings. He tries to sedate her, but the Boogeyman stabs Dr. Allen and shoves two needles in his eyes. The Boogeyman is revealed to be Henry, Laura’s brother. Dr. Allen abused Henry, locking him in a closet.Image result for boogeyman 2 (2007)Henry was beginning to doubt the Boogeyman’s existence, until the Boogeyman himself appeared in the closet and entered into him. Whist possessing Henry, the Boogeyman decided to take revenge on those who didn’t believe in him, and this way he would make himself known to the world. Henry then chases Laura. She hides in a room, but Henry finds her and she decapitates him with garden shears. The police arrive and discover that under the Boogeyman mask was Dr. Ryan. Between killing Dr. Allen and Laura running and hiding, Henry put a delusional Dr. Ryan in the Boogeyman mask and Laura decapitated Dr. Ryan. Laura knows that Henry is running free as she is about to be arrested after blood is found on her hands. Laura then has a breakdown, which prompts a paramedic to send in back up and she is dragged away by the police.Image result for boogeyman 2 (2007)In a post-credits scene, the Boogeyman looks at a picture before it disappears.Image result for boogeyman 2 (2007)The acting was great, the direction surprisingly well done & the film manages to stay at a quick pace with plenty of stalk scenes a few suspenseful moments & lots of neat kills. Tobin Bell is also in this playing the head doctor & fares well in the role. Worth a look for slasher fans, just don’t expect anything to spectacular & you should have fun. Neat twist ending too.

REVIEW: THE GUILD – SEASON 1-6

CAST
Felicia Day (Dollhouse)
Vincent Caso (Humble Pie)
Jeff Lewis (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Amy Okuda (How To Get Away With Murder)
Sandeep Parikh (The Legend of Neil)
Robin Thorsen (Parks and Recreation)
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NOTABLE / RECURRING GUESTS
Fernando Chien (Iron Man 3)
Michelle Boyd (Cheerleader Massacre 2)
Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory)
Teal Sherer (My Grumpy Life)
Mike Rose (Community)
Alexander Yi (KIssing Strangers)
Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory)
Hayley Holmes (The Middle)
Lamorne Morris (New Girl)
Brea Grant (Heroes)
Grant Imahara (Sharknado 3)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
Maurissa Tancharoen (Dr. Horrible)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Erin Gray (Buck Rogers)
Richard Hatch (Battlestar Glactica)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
Claire Grant (Black Snake Moan)
Dichen Lachman (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse)
Danielle Yuan (Learning Town)
Ted Michaels (June)
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
Sujata Day (Larry & Lucy)
Corey Craig (Godzilla)
Derek Basco (Alien Raiders)
Alexandra Hoover (Mike & Molly)
J. Teddy Garces (Dragon Age)
Each episode opens with Codex (Felicia Day) recapping the previous events in the story in the form of a video blog. Usually it gives the audience a recap of the previous episode and shares Codex’s feelings on the subject. The video blogs appear to be outside the timeline, as she is usually wearing an outfit (typically her pajamas) different from that in the episode itself, though some blogs take place in time line with other characters or situations interrupting Codex. Each season is divided into 12 episodes (with the exception of season 1, which is divided into 10 episodes).

Season 1 (2007–2008)
Cyd Sherman struggles to limit her time online, where she games as her alter ego Codex, a member of the Knights of Good. After the guild realizes that Zaboo has been offline for 39 hours, he appears on Codex’s door step. Zaboo misunderstood Codex’s in-game chats as flirting, and became a stalker living in the same apartment. On the in-game side, trouble also arises when Bladezz is banned from the game for using a macro (to spam expletives “a few thousand times”) in the trade house. Codex uses this as an excuse to have the guild help her with her Zaboo problem. The guild (sans Bladezz) reluctantly meets up in person—for the first time—at Cheesybeards, a local restaurant, only to find out that Vork had transferred all of their in-game valuables to Bladezz’s account as part of a team building strategy. If they decided to kick out Bladezz, they would lose everything. Things get worse when Bladezz begins to slander the Knights of Good by showing inappropriate videos of the members’ characters, and Codex is no closer to getting Zaboo to go home. Then, Zaboo’s home comes to him in the form of his overbearing mother. Zaboo confesses that his mother controls every aspect of his life besides the Internet, which she is beginning to read about. He saw this as his only escape.
Codex comes up with a plan to bring Bladezz down, using Zaboo’s stalking skills. Zaboo finds out about Bladezz’s modeling career and blackmails him into giving the gold and equipment back to the Guild. The Guild then fights off Zaboo’s mom, and Bladezz redeems himself by landing the final blow. Codex soon realizes that she got Zaboo’s mother’s loot- Zaboo.
Season 2 (2008–2009)
Zaboo’s mother takes revenge for losing Zaboo by having Codex evicted. Codex and Zaboo move into a new apartment, where Codex meets a new love interest: Wade (Fernando Chien), a stunt man. Codex tries to get Zaboo to move out by telling him that he needs to level up before they can be together. She arranges for him to live with Vork, who will take in-game gold as rent, something Zaboo is really good at: farming. Codex focuses on trying to get Wade interested in her. The Guild finds a valuable in-game orb which Clara and Tink fight over. Just as Vork lets it go up for bid, Clara’s children unplug her computer from the Internet and, upon re-connecting, Clara finds out Tink wins it. Clara vows revenge on Vork for giving it to Tink, and spends an entire weekend betraying Vork by corpse camping him on an alternate account as well as searching for her own orb.
Bladezz believes Tink is romantically interested in him and begins to max out his mother’s credit cards to buy her stuff, when, in fact, Tink is using him to get what she wants. Vork is annoyed with Zaboo’s lack of logic and his antics in trying to ‘man-up’ for Codex. Codex finds out that the stunt-man has a “stupid tall hot girlfriend,” Riley (Michele Boyd). The Game announces that the online play will be shut down for maintenance for four hours, during which Vork plans a strategy lecture for Zaboo and Bladezz, while Codex plans a quiet party with Clara and Tink. Bladezz coerces Vork to abandon the lecture in favor of a poker game (offline), hoping to make up some of what he spent on Tink. Clara advertises Codex’s party and it becomes a crowded kegger.
Among Clara’s random invitees, Wade and Riley come to the party. After finding out that Riley is Wade’s roommate and Wade is single, Tink and Clara try to hook Codex up with him. Zaboo, learning of this, persuades Vork and Bladezz to go to Codex’s party to try to stop it. Vork discovers that Clara has been attacking him, and begins to question his quality of leadership. Bladezz confronts Tink about their relationship; upon learning that he has been used, Bladezz steals Tink’s laptop and deletes her character. Meanwhile, Zaboo walks in on Wade and Codex kissing and challenges Wade to a fight. Wade is a much better fighter, but Zaboo’s seriousness about Codex leads to Wade giving up his interest in her. Codex yells at Zaboo that she doesn’t like him, and he leaves dejected. Then Codex sees a drunken Clara kissing with Wade, and decides to chase after Zaboo to apologize, but is hurt when she sees him making out with Riley.
Season 3 (2009)
Codex was able to recover from the disastrous party by the announcement of the new expansion pack for the game, Spires of Dragonor. The Knights of Good are first in line at GameStop until a rival guild, the Axis of Anarchy, cuts in front of them. After the Axis tricks a GameStop worker into sending the Knights to the back of line, Vork, still not over the events of the party, resigns as Guild Leader. Codex is elected as his successor, causing Tink to leave the Knights and join the Axis.
While Vork goes on a self-discovery journey, Clara’s husband George demands that she spend more time with the family after discovering her gaming has severely distanced her from him. As a result, Clara proposes that he take Tink’s place, after auditions for a sixth member fail. Riley, who becomes increasingly domineering to Zaboo, offers to join, but Codex chooses Clara’s husband instead, adding “Mr. Wiggly” to the Guild. Meanwhile, Bladezz begins to be targeted by Tink and the Axis of Anarchy, who expose his modeling alias to his school and plant weapons in his locker; later, Bruiser (J. Teddy Garcia), a member of the Anarchists, seduces his mom. Codex issues a message on the game’s public forum to stand up against the Axis for the behavior, and in retaliation the Axis puts a bounty on the Guild. Mr. Wiggly unknowingly gives away information about the Guild to other gamers in exchange for loot, which leads to his expulsion from the Guild. With this he tells Clara to quit the game, and she does to save her marriage. To end the Axis’s harassment of Bladezz, Codex and Zaboo track down the Anarchist Valkyrie at his job, where is he playing the game on company time. After they take away some of his character’s possessions and threaten to expose him, Valkyrie tells them where and when the next Axis of Anarchy meeting will take place. Vork returns after regaining his confidence to lead and, with Codex, reassembles the Guild to challenge the Axis at the Internet café where they planned to have a group raid. The battle begins, but both sides lose members quickly. Some of the Knights die in-game when their real life problems manifest: Clara’s husband shows up, angry that she is playing the game; Riley destroys Zaboo’s computer for not meeting her demands. Clara tells her husband that they are going to have another child and he forgets about their argument, and redeems himself in the eyes of the guild by helping Clara kill the Anarchist Kwan in game. Zaboo breaks up with Riley, who then proceeds to make out with Venom.
Finally, only Codex is left to face off Tink and Axis leader Fawkes (Wil Wheaton). After Codex makes Bladezz apologize to Tink, Tink decides that the Axis members are even bigger jerks than she can stand and lets Codex kill her in-game. Codex, in a hallucinatory conversation with her game character, musters the courage to defeat Fawkes. The Knights welcome Tink back into the guild, and Bladezz makes tentative peace with the Axis member who seduced his mother. Fawkes invites Codex for drinks; she initially refuses but, in a twist ending, wakes up in bed with him the next morning.
Season 4 (2010)
An unexpected and unintentional one-night stand with Fawkes (Wil Wheaton) causes Codex to stress over what the guild thinks of her and persuades him to cover for her in a pretend relationship. But after spending more time together, Codex realizes he is a “total tool-bag” and reevaluates her criteria for relationships with men. Her computer breaks and she is forced to get a job at Cheesybeards to pay for repairs but has no idea how to fulfill the expectations of her boss, Ollie (Frank Ashmore). Zaboo tries to be a good friend to Codex during her fake relationship with Fawkes instead of trying to win her love. He dives into this new pursuit with his usual smothering intensity. When the truth of the relationship is revealed he realizes that his feelings for Codex have changed and he wants to be her friend. An earnings competition for a new guild hall sparks a real life business for Tink and Clara that strengthens and strains their friendship.
Vork enlists Zaboo’s mother, Avinashi (Viji Nathan), for her “brilliant economic mind” in his pursuit of his vision for the guild’s hall and he sets up a stock market and loan company that is bankrupting players. However, her smothering tendencies enrage him to the point that he “make[s] a giant gesture that’s really inappropriate” and proposes marriage in an attempt to repulse her. To his horror she accepts. Codex and Bladezz film an online Cheesybeards commercial but the result is so horrible that it spawns a series of prank calls to the establishment. Ollie is furious and fires Codex. The guild helps Codex get her job back by organizing a celebration at Cheesybeards that attracts a large population of gamers. Bladezz attempts to perform a magic trick involving fire, which ends up torching the restaurant (costing Codex and Bladezz their jobs). Zaboo begs Codex to intercede in the upcoming nuptials between his mother and Vork. And when Zaboo reveals he has used the money from auctioning a romantic painting of Codex and Fawkes he had commissioned to buy her a new computer she is touched by the gesture and resolves to break up the wedding.
Avinashi and Vork are about to speak their vows to each other, at a virtual wedding ceremony in the newly purchased prison-like Knights of Good guild hall, when all of the guild members object. Codex manages to convince Zaboo’s mother that it is wrong to marry “someone [she] can’t stand in order to be close to someone who doesn’t want to be near [her]”. Zaboo helps by suggesting that she visit every few weeks when she gets lonely, causing Codex to realize that he possesses all the qualities on her new litmus test, and consider a relationship with him. The season wraps up with an official gamemaster crashing the ceremony to put an end to Vork’s “Trogothian Stock Market” scheme. Codex convinces the GM, Kevinator (Simon Helberg), to change the design of the guild hall to the “bitchin’ fairy palace” that Tink and Clara wanted. Kevinator is impressed to meet Bladezz, who has become an internet celebrity, and invites the whole guild to a gaming convention.
Season 5 (2011)
The Knights of Good travel to MegaGameORama-Con, a three-day gaming convention. Bladezz believes that he is invited by Kevinator as a special guest, but his name is not on the invite list. With all nearby hotels booked, Rachel, a member of the convention staff, manages to secure a room for them. However, it is not offered for free, and Bladezz convinces the rest of the guild that he will clarify the situation to Kevinator. Meanwhile, Codex is more interested in getting close to Zaboo, but he becomes engrossed in attending the events and panels. On the first day of the convention, Bladezz and Vork discover that Kevinator had been fired from The Game before the day of the convention and Bladezz was one of his joke invites. To compensate for hotel fees, both of them start up a photo booth for the Cheeseybeard’s pirate. Tink attempts to sell the T-shirts she and Clara made, but is forced to find a booth to avoid from being caught by the convention staff for selling without a permit. When she and Clara come upon a steampunk-themed booth, Clara is more interested in it than selling the shirts. Zaboo is denied entry to a panel because the seats are full, causing him to form a seat-saving network.
Codex tries out the new demo at The Game’s booth, but unknowingly insults the creator, Floyd Petrovski (Ted Michaels). She becomes even more preoccupied when Zaboo spurns her advances, and is continuously stalked by a convention-goer in a furry costume. When she follows Floyd to apologize, she discovers that he plans to sell The Game into a mainstream market. Codex becomes concerned about the future of the game, which is the only thing in her life holding her friendships together. Tink, who continuously changes costumes to hide her identity, reveals to Codex at a party that she is hiding from her adoptive family, who have attended the convention, fearing that they will discover her switching majors from pre-med to fashion design. Codex arranges a dinner with her family to reconcile against Tink’s will. Meanwhile, Clara tries to join the steampunk group and is trained as their fourth member to help them win the costume contest, but the members of the group ultimately turn her away. Zaboo has become so preoccupied with his seat-saving network that he briefly goes power-hungry. He is stopped by Clara, who brings back his old personality, ending his involvement with the seat-saving network.
Bladezz and Vork’s booth becomes successful, but Vork rejects all of the celebrities who want to spend time with Bladezz. His attention, however, is turned towards Madeline (Erin Gray), an actress who played his favorite character, Charity, on the show Time Rings. The two are invited to a party that night, but Bladezz realizes that all the celebrities lead normal lives, finding them boring. Still, he rejects Rachel and her friends for the celebrities and openly humiliates them. Vork, on the other hand, ends up repulsing Madeline. The next day, Bladezz has lost all support from the celebrities and his fans, so he is unable to continue the Cheeseybeard pirate’s photo booth. Zaboo helps Clara build a steampunk-themed blimp to help her win the costume contest. Codex and Tink discover that Codex’s stalker is Fawkes, who wants to join their guild after the Axis of Anarchy broke up, but Codex rejects him. The girls later eavesdrop on Floyd’s conversation and discover he plans on revealing his decision at the costume contest that night. Both of them convince the rest of the Guild to help them save The Game from going “freemium”. The Guild is able to stop the changes with much success: Clara wins the costume contest, Bladezz is able to win back his fans, and Vork reconciles with Madeline. As all of them leave the convention the next morning, Floyd has decided to give Codex a job.
Season 6 (2012–2013)
Codex begins her new job working for Floyd Petrovski at the headquarters for “The Game”, only to discover that he’s a thoughtless tyrant who immediately turns all the other employees against her. Meanwhile, Tink discovers that the men she manipulated for services and gifts have all slandered her on local websites, losing all of her connections. Bladezz gets kicked out of his house by Bruiser and spends time at Clara’s, convincing her long-suffering husband that she is devoted to her children by uploading videos of her parenting to the Internet, though he is more interested in monetizing the videos. Vork, who is dating Madeline, becomes disillusioned when Zaboo uncovers photos of her protesting nude, while Zaboo suffers separation anxiety from the members of the Guild going offline, seeking refuge from a collage of his ideal “sweetheart.” Codex is pressured by her co-workers to convince Floyd to release the underwater expansion pack they have been planning for months, but is forced to do menial chores in order to appease him. When the Guild visits her workplace, Tink steals Codex’s key to the testing server and initiates a casual relationship with Donovan (Corey Craig), where they agree that he will do chores for her if she spends time with him. Unbeknownst to her, she begins to fall in love with him for real. Zaboo, who enters the server posing as an IT technician, becomes smitten with Sabina (Justine Ezarik), an NPC of The Game and the spitting image of his ideal girl.
Vork, who has gotten through with an argument with Madeline about his personal goals, confronts Floyd about his unanswered complaints about The Game. This gets his character permanently banned, and he retaliates by protesting and gaining support from other gamers. Meanwhile, Bladezz is forced to spend time with Wiggly while Clara continues making videos. When Clara becomes Internet-famous, other parents turn to her for advice, one of them being Bladezz’s mother. Clara encourages her to keep dating Bruiser, causing Bladezz to convince Wiggly to quit his job. The underwater expansion patch notes are leaked onto the Internet and wildly rouses the protest. Codex is unsuccessful in finding the culprit, but convinces Floyd to release the expansion pack anyway. Donovan reveals to Tink that he was the one who caused the leak in order to push Floyd to release the expansion pack, and Tink tells him that Codex and Vork are in the same guild. He uses this information against Floyd to blame the leak on Codex and gets her fired. Vork’s protest culminates in a riot, but his acts have renewed Madeline’s faith in him and the two reconcile.
As her final act for Floyd, Codex quells the rioters by questioning their acts and informing that their poor attitudes contributed to the problems at the Game HQ. Floyd unexpectedly steps out and challenges the crowd to insult him to his face instead of typing online insults, but the entire crowd congratulate him on his work and cite their insecurities as part of their bad behaviors. Inspired, Floyd announces a troll-themed add-on for the Game. By the end of the day, Clara is successful in convincing Bruiser to break up with Bladezz’s mother and secures a position at a vlogging network, Tink and Donovan begin a relationship, and Zaboo discovers his real-life Sabina. Codex, happy with getting her job back and realizing how much her friends are loyal to her, makes a final vlog and tearily shuts down her computer, bringing the season (and the series) to a close.
The Guild is funny for it’s portrayal of the inter-personal relationships between people who are only used to talking to faceless colleagues. I was particularly impressed with Felicia Day who plays Codex and her depiction of the archetypal addicted gamer, struggling to cope with everyday life. Her reaction to Zaboo, one of her online friends, suddenly turning up on her doorstep is priceless.

REVIEW: DATE MOVIE

CAST
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Adam Campbell (Epic Movie)
Sophie Monk (Click)
Eddie Griffin (Undercover Brother)
Meera Simhan (Iron Man)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Jennifer Coolidge (2 Broke Girls)
Marie Matiko (Xena)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie 4)
Tony Cox (Bad Santa)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Josh Meyers (That 70s Show)
Julia Jones (Alyson Hannigan) is an obese woman, who dreams of marrying Napoleon Dynamite (Josh Meyers), but even in her dreams she is rejected. Writing in her diary, she thinks she will never find her true love. Julia goes outside and dances to impress men on the streets, but is unsuccessful. Julia goes to work at her father Frank’s (Eddie Griffin) Greek diner. There she meets Grant Fockyerdoder, with whom she forms an instant attraction. When Frank yells at Julia to get an order, she turns to respond and hits Grant over the head with the coffee pot she is holding, knocking him to the floor. She turns around only to find his table is suddenly empty and figures he ran away. Julia wants help and goes to see a love therapist, Hitch, who rejects her at first but reluctantly agrees to help her. Hitch takes her to a garage where she gets “pimped out” and made slimmer.She earns a spot on a reality television dating show called The Extreme Bachelor, the bachelor turning out to be Grant, the man she met in the diner. Host Ty Andrews (Scott Speedman) introduces Grant, who greets all the women and is asked to eliminate the losers, which he does by shooting them one by one. Julia is the last woman standing and is rewarded with dinner for two at a restaurant called “A Restaurant”. After their meal, Julia and Grant head back to her apartment, where they have sex. Julia takes Grant to meet her parents.
Later, Grant takes Julia to Tiffany & Co., where they turn on the lights to reveal the salespeople ready to let her pick whatever she wants. Grant then confesses he loves her and proposes to her. Julia happily says yes. Julia and Grant go to a wedding planner named Jell-O (Valery Ortiz) who has a large butt. She suggests they go to taco butt. When they decline she gets annoyed. When Grant says he has a best man she shows them what she booked for the entertainment which she uses her butt to knock over her desk and rips off her clothes to reveal a gold liquid spandex tight suit. She shows off her moves and then twerked and backs up with her giant butt and crushes and twerk on their faces crushing and suffocating them. Andy helps Julia shop for her wedding dress. At the dress store, Julia hits her head on a power box and finds that she can read people’s thoughts. Julia finds from reading Andy’s mind that she wants to get back together with Grant and plans to split the two of them up. Julia and Andy fight each other, Kill Bill-style.
 She cannot forgive Grant, and agrees to marry Nicky. Once at the altar with Nicky, Julia is regretting it and has flashbacks about her and Grant. They get back together and get married, with Hitch officiating. Andy and Nicky meet at the wedding, and fall in love. Meanwhile, Grant and Julia leave in a horse and carriage. Julia also gets a present from her mother-in-law: a vaginal thermometer which apparently has been in their family for generations and is regarded as good luck when it is not washed.
On their honeymoon, Grant and Julia go to Kong Island and film a woman, Anne (Carmen Electra), tied to two pieces of wood. King Kong comes on and rips off her dress, leaving her clad in a leopard print bikini. Kong then gropes her, she says “I like hairy guys” and Kong roars and flattens her.
This movie funny from start to finish, A good funny family movie for all

REVIEW: ARGO

 CAST

Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Bryan Cranston (Godzilla)
Alan Arkin (Get Smart)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield lane)
Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Tate Donovan (Shooter)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Scoot McNairy (Monsters)
Kerry Bishe (Red State)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Zeljko Ivanek (Heroes)
Titus Welliver (Lost)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Bob Gunton (Dardevil TV)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
John Boyd (Bones)
Michael Parks (Django Unchained)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Nelson Franklin (New Girl)
Lindsey Ginter (S.W.A.T.)

After Iranian militants stormed and took control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 taking 56 Americans as hostages, six Americans managed to get away and took refuge in the home of the Canadian Ambassador. After two months of the Canadians putting their lives on the line everyday, the CIA and the US State Department try to come up with a plan to get their people out.Tony Mendez is a specialist who proposes that they pose as a Canadian film crew scouting locations for a science fiction movie called Argo. Using Hollywood connections, Mendez creates a back story for the movie – ads in Variety, casting calls, inviting he media to a production launch – and then heads off to Iran to lead the six Americans out. When I first heard this film was being made, I had no education on the history of the movie, all I knew is that is was a true story based on something political in the middle east, with a really strange title.Affleck once again proves just how good of an actor her is in Hollywood and the way he mixes comedy with intense drama is wonderful. Some scenes are just genius, like the scene where there is a rehearsal, and the captives are treated to a pseudo execution, and then Affleck showing us that both sides can put on a show.Arkin And Goodman are the brilliant comic relief, and whenever they are on screen, the tension is ever so slightly lifted and relief sets in, apart from one scene involving a phone. Affleck, considering he is the director, is really restraint in this movie, and plays it down, whilst the rest of the cast go for it, and it’s to his credit, as it shows that his character has a lot riding on this. It never lets up on tension, even when the six are enjoying their final meal, there is a sense that the door could be broken down at any second.The final third is genuinely edge of your seat stuff. All in all, it’s a wonderful movie, a perfect antidote to some of the dross movies that get dumped on us around the time of year, and really worthy of your attention

REVIEW: ANGEL – SEASON 1-5

 

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MAIN CAST

David Boreanaz (Bones)
Charisma Carpenter (Scream Queens)
Glenn Quinn (R.S.V.P)
Alxis Denisof (Dollhouse)
J. August Richards (Agents of SHIELD)
Amy Acker (The Cabin In The Woods)
Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men)
Andy Hallett (Chance)
James Marsters (Smallville)
Mercedes McNab (The Addams Family)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Christian Kane (Just Married)
Josh Holloway (Lost)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Michael Mantell (The Ides of March)
Elisabeth Rohm (Joy)
Obi Ndefo (Stargate SG.1)
Johnny Messner (Anacondas)
Jennifer Tung (Masked Rider)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Andy Umberger (Deja Vu)
Tushka Bergen (Mad Max 3)
Beth Grant (Wonderfalls)
Bai Ling (The Crow)
Jesse James (Blow)
J. Kenneth Campbell (Mars Attacks)
Henri Lubatti True Blood)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
John Mahon (Zodiac)
Kristin Dattilo (Intolerable Cruelty)
Carlos Jacott (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Lee Arenberg (Once Upon A Time)
Jeremy Renner (Avengers Assemble)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Stephanie Romanov (Thirtten Days)
Tamara Gorski (Man With The Screaming Brain)
Julie Benz (Punisher: Warzone)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Alastair Duncan (The Batman)
Sam Anderson (Lost)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Justina Machado (Final Destination 2)
Matthew James (American Crime)
J.P. Manoux (Birds of Prey)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
David Herman (Futurama)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
Daisy McCrackin (Halloween 8)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Brigid Brannagh (Army Wives)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
Tony Todd (Wishmaster)
Jim Piddock (The Prestige)
Julia Lee (A Man Apart)
Gerry Becker(Spider-Man)
Eric Lange (Lost)
Leah Pipes (The Originals)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Brody Hutzler (Days of Our Lives)
Persia White (The Vampire Diaries)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Mark Lutz (Bitch Slap)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Frank Salsedo (Power Rangers Zeo)
David Denman (Outcast)
Justin Shilton (Little Miss Sunshine)
Rance Howard (Chinatown)
Kristoffer Polaha (Ringer)
Jack Conley (Payback)
Jim Ortlieb (Roswell)
Laurel Holloman (Boogie Nights)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Losers)
Sunny Mabrey (Snakes On A Plane)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
John Rubinstein (Red Dragon)
Alexa Davalos (Clash of The Titans)
Kay Panabaker (No Ordinary Family)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Adrienne Wilkinson (Xena)
Gina Torres (Hannibal)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Sarah Thompson (Cruel Intentions 2)
Jonathan M. Woodard (Firefly)
T.J. Thyne (Bones)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Simon Templeman (Black Road)
Roy Dotrice (Beauty and the Beast)
Brendan Hines (Lie to Me)
Tom Lenk (Argo)
Navi Rawat (Feast)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Jaime Bergman (Soulkeeper)
Stacey Travis (Easy A)
Dennis Christopher (Django Uncahined)

When Joss Whedon pitched Angel: the Series, he described it as a detective-style film-noir-themed take on the supernatural, much in the same way Buffy was pitched as a look from the viewpoint of the Horror genre. Buffy’s style took some time to get right, but the aesthetics of this show in its first year are well thought out and crafted; darkness and emotive shadow creep over, tense musical swells linger, and the picture is shot in a large resolution to provide just a bit of grain. I’d be damned if it didn’t seem intentional. Joss also said that where Buffy looked, metaphorically, at the hell of High School, Angel’s show would look at life past it in your early adulthood and the life and relationship issues of that unique, big city world. This metaphor is dominant in the first season, and is one of the main themes.

Angel, as a series, is always and will always be about redemption, but the themes of its respective seasons are about the different facets to it. Exploring what it is, losing the chance at it or the responsibility one pledges to it is all covered over the duration of the show. With season one, it was most direct: How do you get it? At the start of the season we see Angel arrive in LA, see him save lives, but we also watch him slip deeply into apathy about his goal. To understand the importance and worth of a human and life and soul, Angel learns in “City of” (1×01) that one must have a human connection; friends and allies that make his life worth living so his mission can be worth fighting for, and most importantly so that he doesn’t become detached from (and even dangerous to) those he hopes to save.

The season, as I mentioned, does lack a cohesive arc, but it also has a tremendous amount of hugely entertaining and well-written standalones. Many of them focus on Angel’s mission: “helping the helpless.” Angel makes it his goal to not only save lives, but save souls and make life worth living for others, and as a result of this his connections are solidified as he carries this out. He and his group slowly form into a legitimate investigation team which takes cases and makes money off of them, and many of the seasons situations out of which the characters are developed are a result of these cases. Cordelia, who in “Rm w a Vu” (1×05) is still defining herself by her possessions, searches for a place to live. Instead what she finds is a stronger sense of self, and in that a connection to the world of humans rather the one of plastic. Doyle and Wesley both find their own connections, as well. Episodes such as these are the season’s order, in every one of which something new happens that alters the main or supporting characters, or teaches the audience something about them.

This is, in my opinion, what sets shows like Buffy and Angel apart: relevance. More than any other show, each episode contains progressive, ongoing development that charts development in a very realistic way. On a more specific level, this particular season has an extremely strong episode to episode consistency, with each individual showing striking its own tone and exploring the main theme in different ways. A few larger, more exciting events may have helped, but at the same time I appreciate this season for what it is and how it does something a bit different from most other seasons of Buffy or Angel. There’s a lot more to talk about, including the metaphorical basis’ used and what we’re being fed through them, as well as the general ups and downs. The strongest suit this season has is its extremely fluid use of theme. Though the ponderings on connection, redemption and starting a new life are not as intricately detailed, subtle or socially penetrating as the themes of any other season, the careful and consistent way they’re used to develop characters and give the stories real world relevance is masterful. Angel made it his mission to save souls, and we were shown him connecting with people by helping them, failing to help them, or losing them altogether. All the supporting characters followed, gaining their own redemption through helping Angel and the helpless.

With the exception of Wesley being overly bumbling at times, nothing felt out of character this season, and that’s extremely impressive considering the length of a season. Doyle’s sacrifice in “Hero” (1×09), Angel’s re-ignited belief in himself in “To Shanshu in LA” [1×22] or Kate’s decision to see Angel kiss daylight in “Sanctuary” [1×19] were all thematically conclusive, resonant and well built up to.

The preceding season was,strong and coherent. While looking at the tribulations of life after High School in the big city, it managed to do so in a way that developed the characters within another major theme: Connection; Human emotions and growth that make us a part of the world, make us human. By the end of the season, Angel had been given a purpose, both short and long term, and a mission to fight for: Fighting in the final battles and surviving to be made a breathing human being again. Season Two, with a much broader theme, builds logically on that, and asks our vampire hero just what it means to really be human. Much of the season’s development is split in that way, with Angel increasingly being led off into his own world, with his friends developing entirely in a place away from him.screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-18-22-am-e1473430782777While he and the fate that ties him to Darla explore the complexities of human existence, Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn become forced to suffer through and succeed in it on their own. Though not as characterized by pain and hopelessness as much as S3 post “Sleep Tight” [3×16] through to the end of the series is, there’s much darkness and suffering abound, especially for Angel. His epic trials and will for revenge separate him harshly from humanity, only for him to realize that his worst actions are indeed wholly human, and that this is what humanity really can be. Season Two has such interesting ideas in spades, and its theme looks at all the best (“Untouched” [2×04], “Guise Will Be Guise” [2×06], “Epiphany” [2×16]) and worst (“Reunion” [2×10], “Reprise” [2×15]) sides of our existence: forgiveness, self-control, image, obsession, revenge, victory, belonging and the very nature of evil itself. By the time the season closes, Angel’s re-examined entirely what his mission is and how he’s to fight it, and goes from a champion vampire-with-a-soul to simply a genuinely good human being who helps people.fake-dwarvesWith the exception of the brilliant period piece Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?, and a few rare others, the season doesn’t have quite as much use for pure standalones. Its arc employs its best metaphors and situations in the interest of exploring all sides of the characters’ journey, and as such, the season gives the impression that more happens this year than last because of the depth of each phase of the arc: the four episode standalone period, the first part of the Darla arc (“Dear Boy” [2×05] to “Reunion” [2×10]), the second part of the Darla arc (“Redefinition” [2×11] to “Epiphany” [2×16]), another couple of standalones (“Disharmony” [2×17] and “Dead End” [2×18]) and the Pylea arc (“Belonging” [2×19] to “There’s No Place Like Plrtz Glrb” [2×22]).

This is likely why the season finds such a strong and undivided following. While some dispute the worth of the standalones or the Pylea arc, others like them, and everyone loves the story arc; there’s something for everyone. The best aspect of this year of the character’s journey in L.A. is how broad and all encompassing the season is. With the exception of Season Five, I find this to be the best season of the show. It has a few great metaphors, an engaging, unpredictable story arc, fun standalones, important character development, strong drama, and some of the most intelligent moral and social considerations I’ve ever seen on a TV show or in a movie.

Like at the start of Season Two, the writers seemed to have a clear direction in mind at the start of Season Three, and they wisely picked up the story at the logical introductory point: With Angel having conquered his innermost doubts about his own humanity. He begins to live a truly human life. He’s accepted his role in the world as a good person rather than a champion, and recognizes the world as a wide-open, random place with no greater destiny or order about it. It’s the kind of world where even the smallest acts of kindness mean everything, because they mean someone is able to shrug off the horrible burdens of life long enough to make another life better.screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-10-18-22-am-e1473430782777It opens with a six episode prelude looking at various facets of the responsibilities and obligations of normal human life, and then really begins with “Offspring” [3×07] when Darla returns to L.A. in a very, very pregnant state. Like “Dear Boy” [2×05] was for S2, this is where the beginning of S3 truly lies. With Darla’s death and the birth of baby Connor (“Lullaby” [3×09]) as the emotional forces driving the season, the writers used the question of responsibility and all the ideas that fall under it (justice, deserving, chaos and guilt) to create some truly, gut-wrenchingly impossible situations for our characters to face. If I have to commend this year for one thing alone, it’s the painstaking drama that the writers plunge the characters into throughout the main arc and in the mini-arcs that follow. Although there’s not nearly as much thematic depth as S2 or as much consistency as S1, the tragedies and difficult moral situations our beloved Angel Investigations team members are forced to face moved me deeper than a lot of other episodes in the series.

Aesthetically, S3 also has a much more sprawling scope than the previous two seasons. While the first six episodes were essentially standalones, everything that followed “Offspring” [3×07] was in some way tied to the main plot arc of the show, even when some of its key players disappeared following the epic tragedy of “Sleep Tight” [3×16]. Just when it seemed the story was about to move in another Pylea-like offshoot after the main storyline concluded, Connor and Holtz returned and the plot kept on chugging. This led to some problems, of course, as all season-long arcs eventually do. Tension sometimes tried to take the place of real content and it often showed. It also led to there being an uncomfortable setup/payoff ratio on the episode list. But on the plus side, S3 (and S4, which moves even further in this direction) had a feeling of epic scope that no other seasons manage, so to even think of the better aspects that lie within strikes me. Such a sprawl is one of the reasons many people love S3 even if they haven’t looked very deeply at it.Image result for angel forgiving“Forgiving” [3×17] was another gem, as it looked at the human need to assume we live in an ordered world where someone is responsible for everything that happens. But it’s never that easy, and watching Angel struggle with that was fascinating. The final three episodes (“A New World” [3×20], “Benediction” [3×21], “Tomorrow” [3×22]) made up another interesting stretch where we saw how our characters could be motivated by pain, hatred or love and the effects of all those things.

Having already been on the air for three years, Angel had more then enough time to establish its theme, characters, and relationships. It was in its fourth year that it would bring all of these elements to the forefront and then mix them up in a season that would come to be known for its complex twists and turns.The season begins with our title character trapped at the bottom of the ocean – put there by his son – with the rest of his gang broken up. From this grim beginning, things only get darker – literally. Enter the Beast, a rock-encrusted devil whose arrival is heralded by a rain of fire and promptly blocks out the sun over L.A. All signs are pointing to the apocalypse, and it’s up to Angel and the rest of his demon-fighting crew to put a stop to it. From a storytelling point of view things just keep getting worse and worse and it’s a credit to the writers that they somehow manage to end it all on a positive note.Since Season 2 Angel has been a very arc-heavy show, but in its fourth year it would approach almost 24 levels of continuity and follow-through. In addition to being very cool to watch, the interlinked episodes add up to a season that is one big experience unto itself. It’s as if the entire season is one episode with many chapters.This year we get to watch everything get shaken up. Wedges are slowly driven between certain relationships while jealousy quickly divides others. The great thing about it is that you get to see what has caused all of these problems. Despite their best efforts to hold together, these characters have no choice but to push each other apart. It makes for gripping television.Visually and stylistically the show is very well put together. The directing efforts of Joss Whedon (who is always excellent), Tim Minear (who has grown by leaps and bounds over the course of the series), and even Sean Astin (yes that Sean Astin) give the show a very polished and theatrical feel. The producers repeatedly stated that they were going for an ‘operatic’ feel to the season and they pulled it off very well. The use of darkness and shadow deserves special mention as does the great use of wide shots and the directors’ ability to fill each frame with as much information as possible. Wesley goes from bumbling dork to dark James Bond. Cool! While the twists and turns are great, the really cool thing to the season is the multiple layers that you’ll find within. Just when you think you know who the real ‘big bad’ is or in which direction the show is going, the rug is pulled out from under your feet. The entire season keeps you guessing from start to finish. Of course, our heroes win in the end — but everyone is left wondering if they did the right thing. And that’s what sets the show apart: It’s action with substance.

Nobody, not the producers, not the actors, and certainly not the fans could have predicted where this show would go. Where it could go. After all, this is an hour-long fantasy about a guy who spends so much time sitting in the shadows and brooding so much he would give Batman a run for his money. Or utility belt, as the case may be. So why is it that after five years and over a hundred episodes this show was still one of the freshest on TV? Simple: this is a story about something. What started off as just a Buffy spin-off has ended up as a massive epic that challenges, if not surpasses, its parent show. Unfortunately, the WB didn’t think so. After giving the producers a hard time and insisting on several changes, the network decided to bring the show back for a fifth, and what would be its final year.

 

So, in previous seasons we’ve had operatic apocalypses, quests for meaning, and our hero even went evil for a while. There’s only one place left to go. Into the belly of the beast, into hell itself: a law firm. Based on the out-of-left-field plot twist that was thrown at Angel and the gang in previous season’s finale, the team is now in charge of wolfram and hart the evil law firm that they’ve spent the entire series battling. The trick then becomes changing the system from the inside, all the while making sure that it doesn’t change them.


Unfortunately when the network decided to renew the show for a fifth year, there were conditions. First and foremost, it had to be more stand-alone. No more back-to-back cliffhangers. Next, the budget was cut. And finally, to sweeten the deal, the producers decided to bring over Spike – who was barbequed in the Buffy finale – in the hopes that his fans would follow. Luckily the introduction of Spike worked out well. He added a nice flavor to the show and helped flesh out Angel’s character in a way that nobody else could have. The punky vampire brought out the worst in our hero, which ended up resulting in some great comedy. Even if this Spike was different from whom he became on Buffy, he made for a nice addition.

The most unwelcome change was the standalone mandate. Yes, it can work, but it’s just not as good. The greatest strength of this show has always been its own history and tying the hands of the writers was a mistake. It resulted in a bump in the show’s overall flow. Even though it seems rushed, things tie up nicely and the finale certainly puts the “grand” in grandiose; now there’s a balls-to-the wall showstopper for you. Most people will agree that the show finished with perfect thematic closure. These characters fight an impossible fight knowing they’ll probably lose, but that’s not the point. They fight, not to win, but because that’s who they are. They don’t give up. No matter what.