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)
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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.
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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: STAR TREK (2009)

CAST

Chris Pine (Into The Woods)
Zachary Quinto (Heroes)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Simon Pegg (Paul)
John Cho (Total Recall)
Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog)
Bruce Greenwood (Thirteen Days)
Eric Bana (Hulk)
Leonard Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
Ben Cross (Live Wire)
Winona Ryder (Little Women)
Clifton Collins, Jr. (Westworld)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Jennifer Morrison (How I Met Your Mother)
Rachel Nichols (GI. Joe)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Brad William Henke (Lost)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Tyler Perry (Gone Girl)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Amanda Foreman (Alias)
Jimmy Bennett (No Ordinary Family)
Bob Clendenin (Scrubs)
Lisa Vidal (The Event)
Oz Perkins (Secretary)
Mark Bramhall (Annabelle Creation)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory)

In the 23rd century, the Federation starship USS Kelvin is investigating a “lightning storm” in space. A Romulan ship, the Narada, emerges from the storm and attacks the Kelvin. Narada’s first officer, Ayel, demands that the Kelvin’s Captain Robau come aboard to negotiate a truce. Robau is questioned about the current stardate and an “Ambassador Spock”, whom he does not recognize. Narada’s commander, Nero, kills him, and resumes attacking the Kelvin. George Kirk, the Kelvin’s first officer, orders the ship’s personnel, including his pregnant wife Winona, to abandon ship while he pilots the Kelvin on a collision course with the Narada. Kirk sacrifices his life to ensure Winona’s survival as she gives birth to James T. Kirk.

Seventeen years later on the planet Vulcan, a young Spock is accepted to join the Vulcan Science Academy. Realizing the Academy views his human mother Amanda as a “disadvantage”, he joins Starfleet instead. On Earth, Kirk becomes a reckless but intelligent young adult. Following a bar fight with Starfleet cadets accompanying Nyota Uhura, Kirk meets Captain Christopher Pike, who encourages him to enlist in Starfleet Academy, where Kirk meets and befriends doctor Leonard McCoy.

Three years later, Commander Spock accuses Kirk of cheating during the Kobayashi Maru simulation. Kirk argues that cheating was acceptable because the simulation was designed to be unbeatable. The disciplinary hearing is interrupted by a distress signal from Vulcan. With the primary fleet out of range, the cadets are mobilized. McCoy and Kirk board Pike’s ship, the Enterprise. Realizing that the “lightning storm” observed near Vulcan is similar to the one that occurred when he was born, Kirk breaks protocol to convince Pike that the distress signal is a trap.

Enterprise finds the fleet destroyed and the Narada drilling into Vulcan’s core. The Narada attacks the Enterprise and Pike surrenders, delegating command of the ship to Spock and promoting Kirk to first officer. Kirk, Hikaru Sulu and Chief Engineer Olson perform a space jump onto the drilling platform. Olson is killed but Kirk and Sulu disable the drill. Despite their efforts, Nero launches “red matter” into Vulcan’s core, forming an artificial black hole that destroys Vulcan. Spock rescues the high council and his father Sarek, but Amanda dies.

As the Narada moves toward Earth, Nero tortures Pike to gain access to Earth’s defense codes. Spock maroons Kirk on Delta Vega after Kirk attempts mutiny. Kirk encounters an older Spock, who explains that he and Nero are from 129 years in the future. In that future, Romulus was threatened by a supernova. Spock’s attempt to use “red matter” to create an artificial black hole and consume the supernova failed, and Nero’s family perished along with Romulus. The Narada and Spock’s vessel were caught in the black hole, sending them back in time. Nero stranded Spock on Delta Vega to watch Vulcan’s destruction.

Reaching a Starfleet outpost, Kirk and the elder Spock meet Montgomery Scott. With the elder Spock’s help, Kirk and Scott beam onto the Enterprise. Following the elder Spock’s advice, Kirk provokes younger Spock into attacking him, forcing Spock to recognize he is emotionally compromised and relinquish command to Kirk. After talking with Sarek, Spock decides to help Kirk. While the Enterprise hides itself within the gas clouds of Titan, Kirk and Spock beam aboard the Narada. Kirk fights with Nero and Ayel, killing the latter and rescuing Pike while Spock uses the elder Spock’s ship to destroy the drill. Spock leads the Narada away from Earth and sets his ship to collide with Nero’s ship. Enterprise beams Kirk, Pike and Spock aboard. The older Spock’s ship and the Narada collide, igniting the “red matter”. Kirk offers Nero help to escape, but Nero refuses, prompting Kirk to give the order to fire, dooming the Narada to be consumed in a black hole.

Kirk is promoted to Captain and given command of the Enterprise while Pike is promoted to Rear Admiral. Spock encounters his older self, who persuades his younger self to continue serving in Starfleet, encouraging him to do what feels right instead of what is logical. Spock remains in Starfleet, becoming first officer under Kirk’s command. The Enterprise goes to warp as the elder Spock speaks the “where no one has gone before” monologue.The story does what it needs to, the casting is great (especially Spock and McCoy), the effects are fantastic and Abrams manages to do character moments on the move so there’s hardly time to take a breath – oh and Simon Pegg is great as Scotty! Maybe the best thing is, die hards and newbies alike will all find something to like.

REVIEW: THE GUILD – SEASON 1-6

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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
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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.
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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.
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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: BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD – SEASON 1-3

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MAIN CAST

Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Will Friedle (Batman Beyond)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Marc Worden (Ultimate Avengers)
Grey DeLisle (The Replacements)
John Dimaggio (Futurama)
Tom Kenny (Super hero Squad)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Corey Burton (Critters)
R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)
Vyvan Pham (Generator Rex)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Mikey Kelley (TMNT)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville)
Will Wheaton (Powers)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Jeff Bennett (James Bond Jr.)
Oded Fehr (The Mummy)
Ellen Greene (Pushing Daisies)
Armin Shimmerman (Star Trek: DS9)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Tom Everett Scott (Scream: The Series)
Billy West (Futurama)
Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers II)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
James Remar (Flashforward)
Jeffrey Combs (Gothman)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
William Katt (Carrie)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Mark Hamill (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Adam West (BAtman 60s)
Julie Newmar (Batman 60s)
Dana Delany (Body of Proof)
Tony Todd (Chuck)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
Cree Summer (Batman Beyond)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and Thje X-Men)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Olivia D’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Mae Whitman (Independence Day)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars: Revels)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting)
Michael Jai White (Arrow)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Tippi Hedren (The Birds)
Gary Owens (That 70s Show)
Ted McGinley (Highlander 2)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)

There’s a gloriously meta moment in the back half of this season of Batman: The Brave and the Bold where the show’s producers are raked over the coals at Comic-Con. One of the twentysomethings in the crowd grouses and groans about how the Caped Crusader in the cartoon isn’t his Batman, and…well, he’s not wrong. DC’s comics anymore are joylessly grim and gritty…22 monthly pages of misery and scowling and torture and dismemberment and death and high collars and way too much crosshatching. Batman: The Brave and the Bold, meanwhile, is defined by its vivid colors and clean, thick linework. It’s a series whose boundless imagination and thirst for high adventure make you feel like a six year old again, all wide-eyed and grinning ear to ear.


You know all about The Dark Knight’s war on crime, and in The Brave and the Bold , he’ll duke it out against any badnik, anywhere. He doesn’t go it alone, either, with every episode pairing Batman up with at least one other DC superhero. Heck, to keep it interesting, The Brave and the Bold shies away from the obvious choices like Superman and Wonder Woman. Instead, you get more interesting team-ups like Blue Beetle (more than one, even!), Elongated Man, Wildcat, Mister Miracle, Kamandi, and B’wana Beast.
Other animated incarnations of Batman have been rooted in something close enough to reality. Sure, you might have androids and the occasional Man-Bat, but they tried to veer away from anything too fantastic. The Brave and tbe Bold has free reign to do just about whatever it wants. One week, maybe you’ll get an adventure in the far-flung reaches of space with a bunch of blobby alien amoebas who mistake Batman for Blue Beetle’s sidekick. The next might offer up Tolkien-esque high fantasy with dragons and dark sorcery. Later on, Aquaman and The Atom could play Fantastic Voyage inside Batman’s bloodstream, all while the Caped Crusader is swimming around in a thirty-story walking pile of toxic waste. He could be in a Western or a post-apocalyptic wasteland or a capes-and-cowls musical or even investigate a series of grisly something-or-anothers alongside Sherlock Holmes in Victorian England.

Batman has markedly different relationships with every one of those masked heroes. There’s the gadget geekery with an earlier incarnation of the Blue Beetle. With the younger, greener-but-still-blue Beetle, Batman takes on more of a mentor role.

More of a stern paternal figure for Plastic Man, and a rival for Green Arrow. Sometime it might not even be the most pleasant dynamic, such as a decidedly adult Robin who doesn’t feel like he can fully step outside the long shadow that Batman casts.

There are some really unique takes on iconic (and not so iconic!) DC superheroes here, and far and away the standout is Aquaman. This barrel-chested, adventure-loving braggart is my favorite incarnation of the king of the seven seas, and if Aquaman ever scores a cartoon of his own, I hope he looks and acts a lot like this. Oh, and The Brave and the Bold does a spectacular job mining DC’s longboxes for villains too, and along with some of the familiar favorites, you get a chance to boo and hiss at the likes of Kanjar Ro, The Sportsmaster, Kite Man, Gentleman Ghost, Chemo, Calendar ManKing, Crazy Quilt, and Shrapnel. The Brave and the Bold delivers its own versions of Toyman, Vandal Savage, and Libra while it’s at it, the latter of whom has the closest thing to a season arc that the series inches towards.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold is every bit as fun and thrilling as you’d expect from a series where every episode’s title ends with an exclamation point. Each installment is fat-packed with action, and the series has a knack for piling it on in ways I never saw coming. Even with as imaginative and off-the-walls as The Brave and the Bold can get, it still sticks to its own internal logic, so the numerous twists, turns, and surprises are all very much earned.

The majority of the episodes have a cold open not related to the remainder of the episode. Despite its episodic nature, if you’re expecting a big storyline in these 26 episodes, you’re going to be pretty disappointed as the extent of an overarching story in the season is the occasional villain that appears more than once, like Starro, but that’s really the only connecting bridge between episodes.

Season 2 contains one of my favorite episodes of not only this particular season, but probably in the entire series, “Chill of the Night!”, which goes back to Batman’s origins as Bruce Wayne learns more about the man who murdered his parents, turning him into the crime-fighter he would become, it’s one of the most well known origin stories in media, ever, but it’s done so well here. Another reason I love this episode is my blinding nostalgia for the voice cast.

The original 1960’s Batman, Adam West, guest stars as Batman’s father, Thomas Wayne, while Julie Newmar, who starred opposite of West as Catwoman from the original Batman TV show, plays Batman’s mother, Martha Wayne. My favorite Batman of all time, theatrical or not, Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman from Batman: The Animated Series and various other series/movies/games, voices the Phantom Stranger. Lastly, the baddie of the episode, The Spectre, is voiced by none other than Mark Hamill, the definitive voice of the Joker.

The Episodes in season 3 are wildly imaginative; so much so that purists will probably be put off, at least initially. They range from “Night of the Batmen”, where batman is incapacitated and it is up to Aquaman, Green Arrow, Captain Marvel, and Plastic Man to don the cowl, and keep gotham safe. As weird as that may sound, this episode is pure fun, and a joy to watch. Other stand outs are the never before seen in the states “The Mask of Matches Malone”, “Shadow of the Bat”, “Scorn of the Star Sapphire”, and “Powerless”.

Special mention has to be made of the final episode of the series however, “Mitefall”. In this meta episode, Batmite does a fantastic job breaking down why the series is ending, and the disconnect of the so-called “purists”, whose baseless, closed minded, ignorance eventually doomed this excellent series.

When all is said and done, we received three outstanding, and criminally underrated, seasons and it is a joy to see.

REVIEW: THE BIG BANG THEORY – SEASON 1-8

CAST

Johnny Galecki (Hancock)
Jim Parsons (Garden State)
Kaley Cuoco (Killer Movie)
Simon Helberg (Dr. Horrible)
Kunal Nayyar (Trolls)
Sara Gilbert (Poison Ivy)
Kevin Sussman (Ugly Betty)
Melissa Rauch (I Love You, Man)
Mayim Bialik (Blossom)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Vernee Watson (Mike & Molly)
Brian Patrick Wade (Agents of Shield)
Laurie Metcalf (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Mark Harelik (Election)
Rachel Cannon (Fresh off the Boat)
Brooke D’Orsay (Two and a Half Men)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Carol Ann Susi (Cats & Dogs)
Brian George (Ghost World)
Alice Amter (The Good Girl)
Sarayu Blue (Monday Mornings)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Riki Lindhome (The Muppets)
Sara Rue (Mom)
Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica)
John Ross Bowie (The Heat)
Christine Baranski (Into The Woods)
Summer Glau (Terminator: TSCC)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Will Wheaton (Powers)
Katee Sackhoff (Riddick)
Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years)
Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Ally Maki (Wrecked)
Brian Smith (The Flip Side)
George Takei (Heroes)
Aarti Mann (The Monogamy Experiement)
Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse)
Eric Andre (2 Broke Girls)
Jesse Heiman (Chuck)
Keith Carradine (Dexter)
Rick Fox (Holes)
Jessica Walter (Dinosaurs)
Joshua Malina (Scandal)
LeVar Burton (Star Trek: TNG)
Katie Leclerc (Switched at Birth)
Brent Spiner (Star Trek: TNG)
Courtney Ford (Revenge)
Lance Barber (Gangster Squad)
Becky O’Donohue (Fast & Furious)
Peter Onorati (Goodfellas)
Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek)
Stephen Hawkings (Futurama)
Margo Harshman (Sorotiy Row)
Ken Lerner (The Running Man)
Howie Mandel (Gremlins)
Ryan Cartwright (Bones)
Casey Sander (16 Blocks)
Meagen Fay (Barton Fink)
Regina King (Ray)
Kate Micucci (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012)
Bob Newhart (Elf)
Brian Posehn (New Girl)
James Earl Jones (Conan The Barbarian)
Carrie Fisher (Family Guy)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Laura Spencer (Bones)
Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa)
Stephen Root (King of the Hill)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Kevin Smith (Daredevil)

As the series opens, into this world in walks Penny (Kaley Cuoco). She’s literally the beautiful girl next door since she moves into the apartment across the hall from Leonard and Sheldon. She’s an aspiring actress, which naturally means she’s making a living as a waitress. Most of the guys immediately develop crushes on her, but it’s Leonard who is the most serious about her.And despite how little they have in common, the five main characters form a friendship. But first, Penny has to deal with Sheldon and Leonard cleaning up her place for her while she slept. Sheldon gets fired for telling his new boss exactly what he thinks of him. Leonard and Sheldon stop speaking to each other after Leonard decides to present a paper they both authored. Sheldon tries to tell a sufficiently complex lie to Penny. And Penny must take care of a sick Sheldon. If there is any standout character that makes this show hilarious, it’s Sheldon. The guy may be brilliant when it comes to his job, but he is a complete idiot when it comes to interacting with anyone. His reaction to things, or lack of reaction, makes for some of the best jokes in the show.
The acting on the show is universally great. The main actors are great as breathing life into their characters and really rounding them out. Yes, even Simon Helberg is good as Howard. Special praise must go to Kunal Nayyar whose Raj is too terrified to talk to women. His facial expressions alone are priceless. But the undisputable star of the show is Jim Parsons. He makes anti-social Sheldon completely believable and funny without resorting to too many stereotypes. He was born for this role pure and simple.
Due to the writer’s strike of the fall of 2007, there were only 17 episode in the first season. All of them are here on three discs in widescreen and stereo sound. They look and sound great. There is one 17 minute behind the scenes type featurette that talks about the creation of the show and the characters.

In season two, the laughs continue as the goofy cast gets into many hilarious situations, as the combined brain power of The Big Bang Theory is no match for normal life. This season continues to build upon the romance between Leonard and Penny, which has its ups and downs. Leonard also dates a couple girls and Howard has his eye on both. Sheldon’s neurotic and weird portrayal of life continues to be the butt of almost every joke, as he is far from normal. Raj has his fifteen minutes of fame, which go to his head. Overall, it is a strong season.
The season premiere episode is “The Bad Fish Paradigm”. Leonard and Penny have their first date. Unfortunately, it is their only date. At first, Leonard thinks the date went well. However, his odd friends convince him that things did not go as he thought. Penny confides in Sheldon. She does not feel smart enough for Leonard and fears he will get bored with her. She forces him to keep it a secret, which causes Sheldon to move out of the apartment, staying with Raj and Howard. Eventually Leonard learns about Penny’s fear and only makes it worse. The episode is fun way to start the season with Sheldon’s neurotic behavior stealing the spotlight.In the next episode “The Codpiece Topology”, Leonard is jealous of Penny who is dating again. He considers his options, which are slim. Oddly enough, Leslie Winkle (Sara Gilbert) has her eyes on him. They had a brief romance in the past, but Leslie was only looking for short-term fun. Now, she wants to settle down and thinks Leonard might be Mr. Right. The new relationship causes complications for Sheldon and Penny. The episode is really fun. Gilbert and Galecki have great chemistry together, which is a rehash from their time together on Roseanne. Gilbert shows up in additional episodes this season and has a romance with Howard.“The Griffin Equivalency” is a fun episode where Raj gets put in the spotlight. He is listed by People magazine on their ’30 Under 30 to Watch’ for his contributions to science. When Raj tells his friends about it, they do not give supportive reactions. Sheldon attacks him for getting lucky. Leonard and Howard decide to take him out to dinner to celebrate his accomplishment. However, the tables turn when Raj is given special treatment by the university, which causes jealous amongst his friends. He invites them to a party and they refuse. Penny agrees to go with him and it turns out to be a little more than she bargained for… Penny meets Raj’s parents and it does not go well for anyone.
In “The Barbarian Sublimation”, Penny is feeling down about not accomplishing any substantial with her life and turns to Sheldon for comfort. He gets her hooked on online gaming, which is a real fun sight to see. Penny takes on an odd persona and even scares Leonard. It is a classic and geeky episode. In “The Euclid Alternative”, everyone is tired of Sheldon leeching off of them for rides and force him to get his driver’s license, which he is apparently incapable of. Sheldon, again, steals the spotlight with his neurotic physical comedy and turns this very common situation into a bunch of laughs.
“The Lizard-Spock Expansion” introduces a multi-episode story arc and Stephanie Barnett (Sara Rue), a new love interest for Leonard and Howard. Howard uses his access to the Mars Rover to pick up Stephanie, but when he crashes it, he calls on his friends for help. Leonard and Stephanie hit it off and start dating, behind Sheldon’s back. Oddly enough, Howard thinks they’re together. The Leonard-Stephanie-Howard threesome produces a lot of laughs. Stephanie also appears in “The White Asparagus Triangulation”, Sheldon tries to help Leonard’s relationship, but only dampens his style, and “The Vartabedian Conundrum”, Leonard realizes Stephanie is living with him.As for the rest of the season, there are many more fun episodes, such as “The Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem”, Sheldon gets a girlfriend (sort of) and no one understands what is happening, “The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis”, Penny dates Dr. David Underhill (Michael Trucco), Leonard’s better looking counterpart, “The Friendship Algorithm”, Sheldon befriends someone at work to everyone’s amazement, “The Maternal Capacitance”, Leonard’s mother visits and her personality is identical to Sheldon, ” The Terminator Decoupling”, the guys run into Summer Glau (Firefly, Serenity, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) on a train, and “The Hofstadter Isotope”, Penny goes with the guys to the comic book store and exchanges phone numbers with someone, and it eats away at Leonard.Overall, The Big Bang Theory’s second season continues to be very strong. The cast has a great dynamic together. The leading males’ geeky views of life provide neurotic and hilarious situations. Cuoco is a good balance to them, and also provides her own silliness. However, Parsons repeatedly steals the spotlight with physical comedy and excellent delivery of dialogue. He manages to turn many common situations, as he interacts with the other cast members, into a riot. The show’s writing is also topnotch. It provides witty dialogue that leaves you laughing. The plotlines can be simplistic, but they work and never fail to draw in your attention. In the end, The Big Bang Theory is a major success with its second season.

At the end of season 2, Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard were leaving for a three month expedition to the North Pole to test one of Sheldon’s theories. Leonard was sad to be leaving Penny behind, though they weren’t dating and surprisingly, Penny was upset to be away from Leonard too. As this season opens the group has just gotten back from the far north and when Leonard knocks on Penny’s door to inform her of their return she leaps into his arms and kisses him passionately.  Turns out Penny really missed Leonard, and they go into her apartment and close the door.
The Big Bang Theory continues to remain one of the funniest sitcoms on network television today. eason 3 showed us exactly why this is the case bringing us some of the funniest BBT episodes yet to date. This show is at its very best when its five main characters, rather than being shoehorned into conventional sitcom devices like hook-ups and infighting, are simply allowed to be their smart, socially awkward, idiosyncratic selves. And for the most part, they were.

One of the pleasures of this show is that you can throw together practically any two characters and have a unique, unpredictable and funny dynamic. Forget Leonard and Penny — perhaps the best odd-couple pairing we got all season was Sheldon and Penny, who despite all odds, have figured out that they enjoy each other’s company. Something about his smug childishness gels perfectly with her unsinkable good humor and ability to deliver a zinging comeback. “The Adhesive Duck Deficiency” showcased Sheldon and Penny’s unique chemistry to great effect on multiple levels — not only did Sheldon have to tolerate hours alone with Penny, but he was forced to adopt the role of caretaker while the other guys were off getting stoned in the desert. The episode culminated in a newfound trust between the two, who by the end of the season grew to think of each other as friends.

Speaking of Sheldon, he continues to be an amazing comic force. Jim Parsons shone this season, and the writers wisely showcased him at every possible opportunity. It’s hard to imagine this actor ever playing any other role. We followed Sheldon from the North Pole to his home state of Texas (where Laurie Metcalf did a very funny turn as his uber-conservative mother), learned the back story of his friendship with Leonard, and best of all, saw him face off against his sixth most hated rival, Wil Wheaton. Wheaton’s guest appearance in “The Creepy Candy Coating Corollary” was so well received that the show brought him back a second time, in “The Wheaton Recurrence.” Sometimes you can tell when actors are really enjoying themselves onscreen and this always seemed to be the case when Wheaton showed up, so hopefully he’ll continue to play himself on a semi-regular basis. Season 3 also introudced us in the finale to  Amy Farrah Fowler, (played by Mayim Bialik) who would become a regular in season 4.

The writers introduced two female characters to the regular cast this year, although both did show up in season three. Melissa Rauch returns as Howard’s girlfriend Bernadette. And Mayim Bialik, who appeared in the final few moments of season three, is back as Amy Farrah Fowler, Sheldon’s not girlfriend but friend who is a girl. Since both either have doctorates or are going for doctorates, that still leaves Penny as the only non-super smart person of the cast. However, everyone has trouble relating to us mere mortals, and that’s where Penny really shines. Her heart comes through in every moment she is on screen..
Over the course of the season, Sheldon breaks up with Amy Farrah Fowler over scientific differences and buys a bunch of cats to ease his loneliness. Howard’s past mistake comes out when the FBI investigate him for a security clearance. The guys enter a New Year’s Eve costume contest with some surprising additions to their group. Leonard’s idea for a smartphone app gets out of hand when Sheldon gets involved. Raj begins to have feelings for Bernadette while Leonard starts seeing Raj’s sister Priya (guest star Aartia Mann). Everyone winds up at an out of town science convention where friendships get tested. And in one of my favorites, Amy Farrah Fowler and Sheldon decide to experiment with gossip by starting rumors and seeing how long it takes the entire group to find out.

Of course, with this show, some of the sub-plots can be just as great as the main plot. I’m especially fond of one involving Howard performing a magic trick that Sheldon can’t figure out. Another memorable one involves Sheldon and his new three person chess game.
The new additions haven’t dampened the acting at all. The original cast knows their characters and invests everything they have in bringing them to life every week. Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik slip into the cast seamlessly and feel like they’ve been playing these characters just as long. Jim Parsons went into this season having just won a well-deserved Emmy for Lead Actor in a Comedy, and his work is just as impressive here.

Season 5 picks up exactly where season 4 left off. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) has just spent a drunken night with Raj (Kunal Nayyar). While it wasn’t quite what it appeared, they quickly go back to normal, which isn’t hard when Raj will only talk to women when he’s drunk.
Meanwhile, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) tries to maintain a long distance relationship before putting his relationship with Penny back in a beta test. Sheldon (Jim Parsons) is forced to take his relationship with Amy (Mayim Bialik) to the next level – and he insists they both sign a relationship agreement. Leonard finds a loophole in his relationship with Sheldon when he voids the friendship clause. And Howard (Simon Helberg) gets ready for a trip into space and his marriage to Bernadette (Melissa Rauch).
That’s just a few of the bigger storylines of the season. Each episode is filled with laughs. Some people complain the show isn’t as funny as it used to be, but I find it hysterical just about every week. Yes, they have one or two weeks that fall flat, but they are by far the exception rather than the rule. And even then, there are some great lines and classic moments. Howard and Bernadette have the biggest story arcs of the season, and I must say I love watching the two of them interact. Usually, they are so sweet together, although when they fight it can be pretty funny as well. Howard used to annoy me like crazy, but now I actually find I like him.As far as guest stars we’ve got Wil Wheaton, Brent Spiner, and Dr. Stephen Hawkins appear as themselves, and Leonard Nimoy voices a Spock doll. The show pasted the 100 episode mark this season, and that means the cast is very familiar with their characters. It shows, too, in the acting. Everyone is believable and comfortable with their parts, and it’s easy to just sit back and laugh as the show plays.
Season 6 starts off with 5 overarching plot episodes based around Howard’s trip to space and return to Earth with a less than warm welcome. These are some very good episodes, the premiere has some nice moments during Amy and Sheldon’s anniversary. Another highlight in the first 5 is when Game night turns into Men vs Women. These episodes put quite a bit of spotlight onto Howard and his accomplishment that no one else acknowledges, and I enjoyed them immensely, some character developing episodes for him.The season has some great highlight episodes. We get a very good dramatic episode (rare for TBBT) called “The Closet Reconfiguration” where Sheldon being Sheldon, he cleans out Howard’s closet and comes across an unopened letter sent to Howard from his father who abandoned him. They all get to show off their acting chops in this episode (especially Helberg). We get another appearance from Wil Wheaton in “The Habitation Configuration” (Which Jim Parsons just won an Emmy for his work in) that turns into another fantastic episode when Sheldon has to choose between his friend or his girlfriend. “The Closure Alternative” involves one of Sheldon’s favorite shows being cancelled, and lastly “The Proton Resurgence”, which features Bob Newhart in an Emmy award winning guest appearance as Sheldon’s childhood hero, Professor Proton.

As for the relationships, this season was a huge one. Leonard and Penny finally take the next step in their relationship. Sheldon and Amy continue to move forward at a Snails pace, with Sheldon finally considering more. Raj gets some much needed character development when he finally finds a girlfriend, who is essentially A reflection of himself, named Lucy. The cast is as great as ever, with their chemistry remaining tip top…Parsons again steals the show with his excellent physical comedy and strong delivery of his dialogue. Galecki plays off perfectly against Jim. Simon Helberg gets some meat to chew on this season and he kills it, especially the episode where he finds the letter from his father that was sent years earlier. The writing remains witty and top notch, that is conveyed perfectly on screen through the excellent performers. The writers need to continue with this great writing, The Big Bang Theory proves here why it’s still one of the funniest shows on TV.

This season picks up exactly where the last one left off. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) is on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a research trip. Back at home, the gang must learn to deal with his absence, especially his roommate Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and his girlfriend Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). However, when he comes back, his desire to spend some time with Penny over Sheldon shows the beginnings of the first changes in the group, a theme that actually echoed through the season.

Following up on the sixth season finale, Raj (Kunal Nayyar) is now able to talk to girls even when he’s sober. What didn’t change there is that he still isn’t a lady’s man, although it does open up a few new relationship possibilities for him. Speaking of relationships, Sheldon and Amy (Mayim Bialk) wind up taking what for them is a huge step forward in their relationship on a romantic train ride up to the Napa Valley. Penny makes a huge change to forward her career as an actress and finds herself in a less than desirable roll opposite a surprising co-star. I would argue that the only main characters not to have major changes this season are Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), but since they adjusted to married life last season, maybe that’s for the best. They still get some great stories, like Howard’s drastic change after trying to help out his mother and how they deal with having Raj has a house guest for a week.

And the geekiness continues. Stuart (Kevin Sussman) and his comic book store regularly appear in the series. When the guys don’t get into Comic Con, Sheldon decides to start his own, leading to a day with James Earl Jones. Speaking of which, the show finally celebrates Star Wars day in what is a touching and funny episode featuring the third appearance of comedy legend Bob Newhart.

Relationships are a key element of the season, which starts with the socially-awkward Sheldon stuck in an Arizona railroad station without any pants, the victim of poorly-received changes in his life. What exactly is going on between him and Amy, as well as what is happening with Penny and Leonard and their extended engagement, are the engine of this run of episodes, as Sheldon faces the need to overcome his off-putting personality, and Leonard has to overcome Penny’s new-found success. After seven seasons, the show hasn’t felt the need to artificially change its main characters and their lives, instead going in a more organic direction, choosing to highlight change that happens naturally in a relationship. That evolution also powers an impactful cliffhanger of a season finale.

The series did have a sudden change to cope with though, when Carol Ann Susi, the actress who gave voice to Howard’s unseen harpy of a mother, died, and her passing was written into the series, creating more change for Howard and giving a bit of a goose to the other characters, who took from her death in different ways.

Season 8 once again had excellent guest stars such as  Laurie Metcalf, Christine Baranski, Billy Bob Thornton, Nathan Fillion, Wil Wheaton and Stephen Hawking. The Shocking Cliffhanger leaves fans wondering where certain relationships will end up.