REVIEW: MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE RETURN – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Jonah Ray (Attack of The Shw)
Felicia Day (The Guild)
Hampton Yount (The Nerdist Podcast)
Baron Vaughn (Right Now Kapow)
Patton Oswalt (Caprica)
Rebecca Hanson

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Erin Gray (Buck Rogers)
Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met YOur Mother)
Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld)
Bill Corbett (Meet Dave)
Kevin Murphy (The Film Crew)
Joel Hodgson (Freaks and Geeks)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Joel McHale (Spider-Man 2)

The new Mystery Science Theater episodes are very funny, and there are a handful of episodes — simply because of the movie choices and the gloriously dead-on riffs — that I’d totally watch again. As many episodes of MST3K as there are, there are still some specific installments that stand out to fans and certain movies that made for classic episodes. To get there takes the perfect combination of film and snark – the premise, or cheap production, of the movie plus the running gags and jokes that those elements inspire in the writers. Often times, a particularly meat-headed hero is enough to carry a film because of how much the host and the Bots can mock his dense machismo.The film choices for this resurrection are awesome. I’d say, of the 14 entries, there are only a couple of mediocre ones. Which is to say, still fun, but not exactly gut-busting. More often than not though, these are top-shelf choices with some truly hilarious commentary. There’s also a nice fluidity to the choices too. The third movie pick, The Time Travelers, was written by the guy who penned the first movie choice, Reptilicus. From there, one of the stars of the Rock Hudson disaster flick Avalanche, which the show lampoons in Episode 4, was actually in The Time Travelers. After that, there are two movies starring Doug McClure and two starring Caroline Munro, with At the Earth’s Core being the one that features the two of them and standing as the show’s season finale. So there’s a connective tissue, at times, to the film choices.Jonah and the Bots also have to experience, in a row, an awful ’80s fantasy film called Wizards of the Lost Kingdom and its in-name-only sequel, so time away definitely worked wonders for the series as it pertains to title selection.You even get a “Christmas Special” with this season, though the Mads make a funny point about how the new binge model means that no one will ever actually be watching it on Christmas. It’s with this movie, the Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, and the one preceding it, Carnival Magic, where the show really delivers the goods. These two films aren’t just bad, because that’s easy to do. You can have a movie that looks cheap or that’s acted and written poorly, but to have a movie where the story is so bafflingly bizarre that you can’t figure out, for the life of you, how it got made is a true treasure trove.I won’t spoil too much about the films but to say that one is about a a frightfully un-jovial Santa scrambling to make rent while the other involves a talking chimp who whips crowds into a frenzy by performing menial tasks. And Jonah and the Bots have a field day with them. Speaking of Jonah, Ray winds up owning the host role by the end. It takes an episode to get used to him, but by Cry Wilderness he and the jokes hit their full stride and the faster pace of the riffs really begins to settle in as the new style. As does the new mobility of Crow and Tom Servo (now played by Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn, respectively) as they, occasionally, hover around the screen and interact with the movies more. Well, Tom hovers and Crow walks. Even Gypsy (Rebecca Hanson) pops in twice an episode for two wisecracks, while delivering the “payload” and retrieving the “payload.” Whatever the payload is.Toward the end, and this is where I’ll get into some light spoilers, things start to fully gel with not only the entire MST3K mythos — as both Joel and Mike are mentioned a few times as Jonah’s predecessors — but the entire story takes a surprising turn when Felicia Day’s Kinga decides she needs to get married as a stunt to increase her celebrity status. And who does she select as her betrothed? That’s right – Jonah! And this arc actually plays out over the course of the final four or five episodes, giving the season finale an actual season finale feel. One item I won’t spoil for you, however, is the names of the many guest stars who stop by the Satellite of Love (or the Moon 13 base) for some laughs – and a few musical numbers too! Day and Patton Oswalt also shine bright as the new mad scientists, though it takes a few episodes before their true dynamic kicks in. Patton’s Max, TV’s Son of TV’s Frank, carries a torch for Day’s Kinga, and his occasional swooning winds up playing into the final third of the season when Kinga starts eyeing Jonah as her groom-to-be. Both of them play off each other nicely and together they help shape this season into greatness.The new Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a fiercely funny continuation of the classic cult series with an affable new host, a quicker riff pace, and some exceptionally great bad movies to mock.

 

Advertisements

REVIEW: THE ZETA PROJECT

MAIN CAST
Diedrich Bader (Batman: TBATB)
Julie Nathanson (Sofia The First)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST~
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Ethan Embry (Eagle Eye)
Tara Strong (Batman: TAS)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Eli Marienthal (American Pie)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam Baldwin (Chuck)
Tom Kenney (Super Hero Squad)
Chad Lowe (Floating)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angel)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Steven Weber (13 Reasons Why)
Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey)
Chris Demetral (Lois & Clark)
Lukas Haas (Inception)
Mae Whitman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012)
Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap)
Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory)
zeta-b
In this Batman Beyond spinoff, Zeta, an assassination & infiltrator robot, rebels against its programming. The authorities think it has been reprogrammed by their enemies, and tries to bring Zeta in for reprogramming. Zeta goes on the run, trying to find his creators and assisted by an orphan girl, Ro.
zetaproject1
As a spin off for a character introduced in Batman Beyond, this cartoon series went beyond the scope of adventure. Zeta was an experimental infiltration robot equipped with weaponry and a holographic self-projector that allows it to assume any identity. However, negating his own programming, he refused to kill. He fled his employers merely attempting to find his creator to prove that he is acting on his own free will. The government doesn’t know that, and hunt him down as they think he is rogue. Along the way Zeta hooks up with Ro, a teenage girl, and they assist each other in their treks.
165770_fullDiedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) lends his voice to the peaceful, naive and near-human robot, sounding the least bit threatening and true to Zeta’s nature. The friendship between the child-like Zeta and Ro is genuinely portrayed. The supporting characters who chase him are great, including the government agents, and a young genius whom at one point reprogrammed Zeta. The Zeta Project is indeed a combination of Short Circuit and The Fugitive, balanced out by fantastic action, excellent characterization, and plenty of comedic moments.  In one episode, Batman Beyond even makes a cool guest appearance. Sadly, KidsWB canceled this exceptional show after 2 seasons, leaving Ro and Zeta’s quest hanging.

REVIEW: LEGION OF SUPER HEROES

CAST (VOICES)

Yuri Lowenthal (Dino Time)
Michael Cornacchia (Happy Feet)
Adam Wylie (The Smurfs 2)
Alexander Polinsky (Teen Titans)
Will Wheaton (Powers)
Tara Platt (Sailor Moon Crystal)
Dave Wittenberg (The Twelve Kingdoms)
Andy Milder (Weeds)
Keith Ferguson (Legends of Oz)
Kari Wahlgren (wolverine and The X-Men)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Shawn Harrison (Family Matters)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jennifer Hale (Cinderella II)
Heather Hogan (8 Simple Rules)
David Lodge (Family Guy)
Harry Lennix (Man of Steel)
Khary Payton (Teen Titans)
Billy West (Futurama)

The Legion of Super-Heroes of the 31st century traveled back to the early 21st century to try to find Superman for help of against powerful group of super-villains in their era. Unfortunately, they traveled too far back and instead finding a young Clark Kent who haven’t assume his Superman identity yet. Taking him back to their future, Clark embracing his destiny and helps the Legion in fighting evil like Emerald Empress and upholding the laws of the United Planets before he can return to his own time. A new beginning for the Legions on the second season of the show. With Clark returns to the 21st century and began his role as the Man of Steel, The Legions realizes that they still need Superman within their rank. Enter a mysterious Kryptonian from the 41st century, appears to the be the clone of Superman, arrives to the 31st century to aid the Legions.After Teen Titans went off, I’d hoped to find another really good superhero show. This is it! If you are expecting Teen Titans, though, this is not it. A different animation style, different feel, basically everything is different. But different is not a bad thing. Whereas Teen Titans had both its very dark story lines (at times) and its uber-comedic moments, Legion sticks to a straight-forward classic superhero feel. Save the world (or rather, the galaxy).
I had my doubts at the first episode, I will admit, although I stuck through. First episodes usually leave me in doubt. I don’t think I’ve met a cartoon yet that I’ve loved since Episode I. But most cartoons that I’ve actually wanted to check out, I’ve been happy after the first episode. Legion is no exception.

REVIEW: TEEN TITANS GO! – SEASON 1-4

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Scott Menville (Full House)
Hynden Walch (Justice League War)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Greg Cipes (Anger Management)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Ashley Johnson (Avengers Assemble)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Weird Al Yankovic (Halloween II)

“Haters going Hate”(Starfire). The line said by Starfire in the episode Dog Hand, which sets up the general feeling amongst the viewers who have declared this show an abomination, due to not following the original’s compelling story and characters we cared about. Like many, I loved the original Teen Titans, which pretty much was up there with series like Static Shock, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Batman TAS. The original Teen Titans will forever be a part of our childhood, and we as fans will go out in all lengths to defend the honor of the show, but many are missing the point to Teen Titans Go. In doing so, they are missing what seems to be a promising comedic spin on our Titans.Let’s start by stating that this revival of Teen Titans was never meant to follow or be like the original series. Those who thought otherwise did not read up enough on the show’s premise and details. Teen Titans Go takes our Titans and puts them in a skit. Teen Titans Go is a comedic take on the daily lives of our heroes, and has taken a break from all the serious action and storytelling that we all loved in the original. The mistake that fans do is that they take the show too serious and continue to compare it to the original, thus eliminating any chance for the show to strive. Once the public separates the original from the new, then the show’s genius will take off.
Now, you’re probably saying that there is nothing special or great about the show. It’s not funny or the animation is too grade school. That is all fair, perhaps the show is not your cup of tea, but here are some reasons why the show does excel. First reason; believe it or not, this show does a great job by paying tribute to its old counterpart. The episode Pie Bros highlights a familiar villain known as Mother Mae eye, which the old lady uses her customers as the secret ingredient to her delicious pies. Many Teen Titans Go episodes highlight concepts and villains that were present in the original, and put them into a comedic light. Raven’s daddy coming to visit, Jynx hanging out with Raven and Starfire or Speedy challenging Robin for Starfire’s love are but many episodes in which there are hints of our beloved series, but you have to have an open mind to see the hints to the original.
The argument of it being way too kiddy can be true at times, but many miss the wit that the show presents in subtle moments. The episode La Larva de Amor pokes fun at milk mustaches. At one point we have Cyborg look like Mr. T. Raven sports the Gandalf look from the LOR, and Beast boy does his Chewbacca impression. In the episode Tower Power, Cyborg references to VHS, Different Strokes, and The Pointer Sisters. Not to mention that stereotype on Mexicans in the episode La Larva de Armor. These jokes and pokes would fly over a child’s head. Teen Titans go has a little fun for all ages.Lastly, the characters on this show make it all worthwhile. The original voice cast is here and that authenticates the shows respect for the original. Robin is portrayed as being a control freak and has moments of rage and insecurities, sounds familiar. Raven is still emo and has her sarcastic wit that feels like Raven of old. Cyborg and Beast boy are still pals, and they have their fun. Starfire is still innocent at times and loves her Silky. You see, the Titans are still there, but they have transformed into Toon versions, and are put into a new world where doing laundry can be a great evil foe.Everyone has their tastes and by no means is this show perfect. However, the mistake is that going into a premiere with the expectations of a show being just like the original will set you up for disappointment. It’s happen to a lot of revivals that are good, but are ripped because it’s not the original. Teen Titans Go takes a step back from the original and focuses on lighter and wittier moments that make this show hilarious at times. The original will forever be superior, but this new take has its brilliance, you just need to let go for a moment and let the show take its course. Defiantly the show is worth a look or two.

REVIEW: TEEN TITANS – SEASON 1-5

ce09bee54b30957bf2f735bff61de89a

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Scott Menville (Full House)
Hynden Walch (Justice League War)
Khary Payton (The Walking Dead)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Greg Cipes (Anger Management)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Tom Kenny (Superhero Squad)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Tracey Walter (Conan The Destroyer)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Dave Coulier (Full House)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Malcolm McDowell (Heroes)
James Arnold Taylor (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass 2)
Ashley Johnson (Dollhouse)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons)
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Henry Rollins (Wrong Turn 2)
James Hong (BLade Runner)
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (Cosby)
Freddy Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Finder)
Jason Marsden (Return to The Batcave)
Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice)
Judge Reinhold (Ruthless People)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander II)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)

Teen Titans centers around the five main members of the superhero team: Robin (Scott Menville), the intelligent, capable leader of the Teen Titans; Starfire (Hynden Walch), a quirky, curious alien princess from the planet Tamaran; Cyborg (Khary Payton), a half-human/half-robot who is known for his strength and technological prowess; Raven (Tara Strong), a stoic girl from the parallel world Azarath, who draws upon dark energy and psionic abilities; and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes), a ditzy, good-natured joker who can transform into various animals. They are situated in Titans Tower, a large T-shaped structure featuring living quarters as well as a command center and variety of training facilities, on an island just offshore from the fictional West Coast city of Jump City.

The team deals with all manner of criminal activity and threats to the city, while dealing with their own struggles with adolescence, their mutual friendships, and their limitations. Slade, their main enemy, is a newly designed version of the DC villain Deathstroke. The team encounters several allies throughout the series; including Aqualad in the first season; Terra in the second season (who is integral to that season’s story arc), as well as Speedy, Hotspot, and Wildebeest; Bumblebee and Más y Menos in the third season (who join Aqualad, Speedy and bumblebee to form ‘Titans East’), and numerous other heroes adapted from the DC universe in the fifth season to aid in the battle against the Brotherhood of Evil.

I admit I wasn’t sure what to expect from Teen Titans. The show is nothing like the Teen Titans comic books, which it is based on. It ended up being more of a kids show. The characters are quite different than their comic book counterparts.


The animation is definitely inspired by Anime. It is borrowing elements from several children’s anime. There is a emphasis on exaggerated character facial expressions, that definitely add to the charm of the show. The show isn’t shy to admit its cultural inspirations by enlisting the Japanese pop band Puffy AmiYumi to perform the catchy theme song.
Teen Titans isn’t for everyone. Overall, I quite enjoy the show. It is worth giving it a try.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: NEMESIS

CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The GIft)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Crowned and Dangerous)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Tom Hardy (Mad Max:Fury Road)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Shannon Cochrane (The Ring)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

On Romulus members of the Romulan Imperial Senate debate whether to accept the terms of peace and alliance with the Reman rebel leader Shinzon. The Remans are a slave race of the Romulan Empire, used as miners and as cannon fodder. A faction of the military is in support of Shinzon, but the Praetor and senate are set against it. After rejecting the motion, the Praetor and remaining senators are disintegrated by a device left in the room by a military-aligned senator.

Meanwhile, the crew of the USS Enterprise-E prepare to bid farewell to first officer Commander William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi, who are being married on Betazed. En route, they discover a positronic energy reading on a planet in the Kolaran system near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Lieutenant Commander Worf, and Lieutenant Commander Data land on Kolarus III and discover the remnants of an android resembling Data. When the android is reassembled it introduces itself as B-4. The crew deduce it to be a less-advanced, earlier version of Data.

Picard is contacted by Vice-Admiral Kathryn Janeway and orders the ship on a diplomatic mission to nearby Romulus. Janeway explains that the Romulan Empire has been taken over in a military coup by Shinzon, who says he wants peace with the Federation and to bring freedom to Remus. On arrival, they learn Shinzon is a clone of Picard, secretly created by Romulans to plant a high-ranking spy into the Federation, but the project was abandoned and Shinzon left on Remus as a child to die as a slave. After many years, Shinzon became a leader of the Remans, and constructed his heavily armed flagship, the Scimitar. Initially, diplomatic efforts go well, but the Enterprise crew discover that the Scimitar is producing low levels of thalaron radiation, which had been used to kill the Imperial Senate and is deadly to nearly all life forms. There are also unexpected attempts to communicate with the Enterprise computers, and Shinzon himself violates Troi’s mind through the telepathy of his Reman viceroy.

Dr. Crusher discovers that Shinzon is aging rapidly because of the process used to clone him, and the only possible means to stop the aging is a transfusion of Picard’s own blood. Shinzon kidnaps Picard from the Enterprise, as well as B-4, having planted the android on the nearby planet to lure Picard to Romulus. However, Data reveals he has swapped places with B-4, rescues Picard, and returns with Picard to the Enterprise. They have now seen enough of the Scimitar to know that Shinzon plans to use the warship to invade the Federation using its thalaron-radiation generator as a weapon, with the eradication of all life on Earth being his first priority.

The Enterprise races back to Federation space but is ambushed by the Scimitar in the Bassen Rift, a region that prevents any subspace communications. Two Romulan Warbirds come to the aid of the Enterprise, as they do not want to be complicit in Shinzon’s genocidal plans, but Shinzon destroys one and disables the other. Recognizing the need to stop the Scimitar at all costs, Picard orders the Enterprise to ram the other ship. The collision leaves both ships heavily damaged and destroys the Scimitar’s primary weapons. To assure their mutual destruction, Shinzon activates the thalaron weapon. Picard boards the Scimitar to face Shinzon alone, and eventually kills him by impaling him on a metal strut. Data jumps the distance between the two ships with a personal transporter to beam Picard back to the Enterprise, and then fires his phaser on the thalaron generator, which destroys the Scimitar, and Data, while saving the Enterprise. The crew mourn Data, and the surviving Romulan commander offers them her gratitude for saving the Empire.

The Enterprise returns to Earth for repairs. Picard bids farewell to newly promoted Captain Riker, who is off to command the USS Titan and begin a possible peace-negotiation mission with the Romulans. Picard meets with B-4, discovering that Data had copied the engrams of his neural net into B-4’s positronic matrix before he “died”. Though B-4 does not yet act as Data, Picard is assured that he will become like his friend in time.A great film seeing the end for one of the crew as the rest embark on their new positions. The action is great and riveting from beginning to end.

REVIEW: TREKKIES

CAST

Denise Crosby (The Walking Dead)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
DeForest Kelley (Night of The Lepus)
Walter Koenig (Babylon 5)
Nichelle Nichols (Heroes)
Leonard Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
William Shatner (Boston Legal)
George Takei (Space Milkshake)
Grace Lee Whitney (60s batman)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The Gift)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Terry Farrell (Hellraiser 3)
Jonathan Frakes (Lois & Clark)
Chase Masterson (The Flash)
Kate Mulgrew (Ryan’s Hope)
Robert O’ Reilly (The Mask)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Gary Lockwood (2001)
Robert Beltran (Lois & Clark)
Roxann Dawson (Darkman 3)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Tim Russ (Smantha Who?)
John de Lancie (The Hand that Rocks The Cradle)

Image result for trekkies 1997When I first watched Trekkies, I expected mostly to laugh at the weird and wild extremes to which Star Trek fans will go. (I myself a Trek fan, so I was also prepared to do a bit of laughing at myself as well!) But  Trekkies also surprised me with its warm-hearted, caring look at Trek’s most ardent devotees. It managed to tell both a funny story about Trek fans and pay gleeful tribute to their obsession of choice.
Image result for trekkies 1997
Humor-wise, Trekkies scores big. The Klingons eating Big Macs, the Borg from New Jersey, and the Voyager sex scripts received by the Trek producers were all riotously funny. The Trek cast members all had funny stories to tell as well, from DeForest Kelley’s ardent female fan to Kate Mulgrew’s marriage proposal. But there were also some genuinely touching moments in Trekkies as well. James  Doohan’s story about the suicidal fan brought tears to my eyes. I know people who are fortunate enough to have met Mr. Doohan, and from all accounts he is a truly kind, compassionate individual. That really shows through in all of his comments about the Trek fandom. LeVar Burton tells how Gene Roddenberry named his character, Geordi LaForge, after a terminally ill Star Trek fan who passed away; John de Lancie speaks of another paralyzed patient who finds solace in Star Trek.
Image result for trekkies 1997
The spirit of the film shares the same love for Star Trek that motivates the fans. It pays tribute to the groundbreaking nature of the original Trek, and praises the spirit of progressiveness and harmony of the Star Trek universe as a whole.