25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: FULL HOUSE – THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

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MAIN CAST

Bob Saget (How I Met Your Mother)
John Stamos (Scream Queens)
Dave Coulier (The Real Ghostbusters)
Candace Cameron Bure (Journey Back To Christmas)
Jodie Sweetin  (Redefining Love)
Mary-Kate Olsen  (Beastly)
Ashley Olsen (It Takes Two)
Lori Loughlin (When Calls The Heart)
Andrea Barber (Days of Our Lives)
Scott Weinger (Shredder)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Yvonne Wilder  (West Side Story)
John Aprea  (Bullitt)
Nancy Dussault  (The In-Laws)
Jordan Christopher Michael  (The Flavour)
Yvette Nipar  (Robocop: The Series)
Debra Stipe (Queen Sugar)
Robyn Donny  (Love Stinks)
Sherrie Rose  (Unlawful Entry)
Mickey Rooney (Night at The Museum)

2.9) OUR VERY FIRST CHRISTMAS SHOW

The family is on a flight to Colorado to spend Christmas with some relatives, and this is a trip that Danny has spent months planning – but on the way to Colorado, a blizzard forces an emergency landing at an unfamiliar airport. The family is forced to spend Christmas in the baggage claim room, where everyone thinks Christmas is ruined this time around. Among the things that happen here are: Jesse’s father Nick tries to get Jesse to kiss Becky under a mistletoe, D.J. is upset that the gifts that the family brought along on the flight with them are missing, and Michelle is afraid of Lionel (Sorrell Booke), a man who made her cry on the airplane because of his toupee. Jesse, becoming ever so frustrated by everyone’s sour attitudes, speaks to the people in the baggage claim room about the real meaning of Christmas. Then Santa Claus shows up and shows the family where the missing gifts are, and it turns out that Lionel is Santa Claus.

3.11) AFTERSHOCKS

In the wake of a frightening earthquake, Danny is initially willing to deny Stephanie’s excessive clinginess. It all seems relatively harmless to him at first, but Danny finally recognizes the seriousness of the situation when his distraught daughter won’t even let him go on a business dinner for a few hours. Unable to get Stephanie to share her feelings with him, Danny reluctantly agrees that this is not something that a dad can handle on his own. Meanwhile, D.J.—who wakes up one morning with a zit on her nose—nervously anticipates her role in a school play.

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4.13) HAPPY NEW YEAR

Danny and Jesse set up Joey with a date for New Year’s Eve, but he becomes so smitten with her that he wants to elope. Meanwhile, Rusty convinces Stephanie that he is going to kiss her at midnight, but when midnight comes and Rusty reveals he was just kidding, Stephanie ends up kissing him.

6.12) A VERY TANNER CHRISTMAS

The Tanners celebrate Christmas, only for D.J. to find out that Steve is planning to move to Florida for college, upon graduating. Meanwhile, Becky misses having white Christmases in Nebraska, and Jesse takes Stephanie and Michelle to a homeless shelter to show them the real meaning of Christmas.

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7.13) THE PERFECT COUPLE

Joey gets a job as the host of a local game show, The Perfect Couple. He gets the family to do the first show with him, with D.J. and Steve as the dating couple, Jesse and Becky as the married couple, and Danny and Vicky as the engaged couple. Vicky cannot make it on time, so Danny has to pair up with an old woman named Estelle. The director of the show tells Joey to embarrass the contestants, and he does, much to the family’s dismay. At the end of the show, Vicky arrives and tells Danny that she accepted a job as a network anchor in New York City. Danny tells her that he cannot take a long-distance relationship, and the two break off their engagement and break up, although they still have feelings for each other. Back at home, Stephanie has trouble getting Nicky and Alex into their pajamas and in bed.

8.11) ARREST YE MERRY GENTLEMAN

Jesse and Michelle get locked in a toy store on Christmas Eve when they attempt to return a gift to the grumpy owner (Mickey Rooney). The twins begin to fear Santa Claus. The owner then dresses as Santa Claus and comes to the Tanners’ home, after they realize what a nice man he is.

54e985cb6bc6317f8a658bf206d27762These episode are fun to watch around the holiday time, and with Fuller House celebrating Christmas in the Second Season you have plenty of episodes to watch and spend Christmas with the Tanner family.

REVIEW: VAMPIRE CLAN

CAST
Drew Fuller (Charmed)
Alexandra Breckenbridge (The Walking Dead)
Timothy Lee DeProest (Dragon Age)
Marina Black (Swordfish)
Kelly Kruger (Mysterious Skin)
Richard Gilliland (Star Kid)
Larry Dick (Speck)
Mimi Craven (Swamp Thing)
Stacy Hogue (The Perfect Tenant)
Spencer Redford (Look)
Yvette Nipar (Robocop: The Series)
Nate Dushku (Antitrust)

This 2002 drama horror is based on the horrific true story of the 1996 Vampire Killings in Florida and starts with Jeni Wendorf [Stacy Hogue] on an illicit rendezvous with her boyfriend, returning home late she finds her mum and dad dead and younger sis Heather [Kelly Kruger] has run off with the four killers. All five are soon caught and the police begin their investigations. The charismatic leader Roderick ‘Rod’ [Drew Fuller] is questioned and tells part of the story, claiming they are a vampire clan. As the film, and interrogations develop the story is revealed, but are they really vampires or just troubled teens living a vampiric lifestyle and exactly what did happen at the family home.MV5BNzk3ZWY1MGYtZDBmNy00NDdmLTk3Y2EtYWFiOGNkNTAxZjE3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjczNjE2MDg@._V1_
This is a gripping story illustrating the ease one can be lured into dangerous friendships. With some bad language and bloodied corpses it merits its 15 age rating. What makes this is that it seems to stick to the facts of the case and doesn’t embellish it in any way  and is generally well acted by the cast. Adding to the disturbing nature is the fact that the killers were only aged 16 or so at the time -something not made apparent in the film. A Great film that’s made more disturbing by the fact the its based on a true story.

REVIEW: THE FLASH (1990)

CAST

John Wesley Shipp (Dawsons Creek)
Amanda Pays (The Knife)
Alex Desert (Swingers)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Paula Marshall (Veronica Mars)
Michael Nader (All My Children)
Tim Thomerson (Trancers)
Priscilla Pointer (Carrie)
Lycia Naff (Total Recall)
Richard Belzer (Law & Order)
M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner)
Vito D’Ambrosio (Arrow)
Biff Manard (Zone Troopers)
Mike Genovese (Point Break)
Sven-Ole throsen (Mallrats)
Joyce Hyser (This Is Spinal Tap)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Elizabeth Gracen (Highlander: The Series)
Ian Buchanan (Panic Room)
Jonathan Brandis (Seaquest)
Remy Ryan (Robocop 3)
Adam West (60s Batman)
Mark Dacascos (Crying Freeman)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Clifton Collins Jr (Westworld)
Gloria Reuben (Timecop)
Robert Shayne (Adventures of Superman)
Angela Bassett (Green Lantern)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Timothy Stack (My Name is Earl)
Yvette Nipar (Robocop: The Series)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Robert Z’Dar (Maniac Cop)
Robert O’Reilly (Star Trek: DS9)
Richard Burgi (Firefly)
Michael Champion (Toy Soldiers)
Jeffrey Combs (Gotham)
Francois Chau (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
David Cassidy (Instant Karma)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Claire Stansfield (Xena)
 The series is a mash-up of the Barry Allen and Wally West eras of the comics. The show’s producers, Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, wisely chose to use the Barry Allen version of the character (played by John Wesley Shipp). This was probably due to the greater story possibilities that Allen’s job as a police forensic scientist could offer. It didn’t matter that Barry had been killed off in the comics five years prior to the show. The character of Dr. Tina McGee (played by the savoury Amanda Pays) comes from the Wally West comics. She is a scientist who helps Barry understand and cope with his new powers of super speed.  The solid performances of the core cast make this show work despite its cartoony conventions. Barry Allen is an easy character to like because we can appreciate and empathize with his underdog-makes-good nature. Barry has always been inferior to his Dad and his overachieving older brother Jay. When he gains his extraordinary powers we can’t help but think that it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy.

Also noteworthy is the impish chemistry between Shipp and Pays. Their characters have an intimate, yet platonic relationship that is almost as charming as Pays’ accent. Alex Désert is underused as Barry’s friend and coworker, Julio Mendez. Désert’s easy-going, friendly presence provides a necessary counterpoint to Barry’s no-nonsense ‘get-the-job-done’ attitude. It’s too bad that he didn’t have more to do than set Barry up on blind dates and make wisecracks. The show was produced in the wake of the massive success of Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. The mood and tone of that movie is a huge influence on the first few episodes of The Flash, especially the Pilot episode, “The Origin of a Super Hero.” That episode begins with an establishing shot of Central City that is a blatant copy of the opening scene in Batman where we first see Gotham. We also see the same ‘evil steam’ shooting up from the sewers and citizens scurrying to get indoors, away from all the immoral activity that abounds on the mean streets of Gotham . . .er. . . Central City. Later on, the confrontation between Flash and the bad guy is also an obvious lift from Batman, complete with the “You made me!” line.As the series progresses, it stops trying to ape the manner and feel of Batman and takes on more of a 1940s film-noir motif – only a lot more colourful. The ‘Tim Burton Effect’ still lingers though. One such pastiche, which ironically is not in the Pilot episode, is the use of period props such as 1950s automobiles. Burton can get away with such an aesthetic because his films often take place in an ambiguous timeline where stylistically, anything goes. In The Flash, the out-of-time props are an unnecessary distraction. They’re especially irrelevant during the episode titled “Ghost in the Machine” where The Ghost, a villain from the 1950s, comes out of a deep freeze to again wreak havoc on Central City in 1990. It’s hard to buy into The Ghost’s future shock when people are still wearing trilbies and driving around in Ford Fairlanes.
The show didn’t have great villains but like most genre entertainment, thinking is the real enemy. The Trickster, played by Mark Hamill, is definitely the show’s greatest and most memorable antagonist, even if he is just a check-in-the-box inclusion of a Joker-like homicidal clown. Hamill is great, playing the character as an obsessed, erotomaniacal master-of-disguise while the script, unfortunately, wants him to be a poor man’s Joker. Ironically, he would later go on to recycle his Trickster performance as the voice of the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series. Even Captain Cold works reasonably well within the context of the series, reinvented here as an albino mercenary with an ice gun. Actor Michael Champion plays the role relatively straight and plausible, as if shooting people up with frost is an everyday occurrence. He even gets to deliver the line, ‘The Iceman Cometh,’ six years before Arnold Schwarzenegger would as Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin.

Michael Nader’s stone-faced overacting as outlaw motorcycle gang leader, Nicholas Pike is way too over-the-top to be taken seriously. Casting soap opera or sitcom actors as villains is always a bad idea. The difference between Hamill and Nader’s performances is that Hamill is trying to be humourous, Nader isn’t. David Cassidy and his widow’s peak are unfortunately a non-presence as Mirror Master in “Done with Mirrors.” He comes off as more of a Bizarro-Keith Partridge than a threatening adversary. One of the highlights of the series is “Fast Forward” where Flash is accidentally propelled 10 years into a bleak future where his powers are unstable. He’s got to find a way to get back to his own time and set things right. Every super hero / sci-fi show has to have its ‘evil parallel universe’ or ‘undesirable future’ story and The Flash is no exception. This episode reminds me of the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon where Spidey would be sucked into some twisted alternate dimension that he would have to fight his way out of. The scene where Flash is “falling” into the psychedelic void is a direct homage to that show. It really is an entertaining story if you can plow through the painful first act of Nader’s scenery chewing and hamming it up.One episode that is way more endearing than it probably has any right to be is “Twin Streaks” where an obligatory mad scientist type tries to clone Flash and ends up creating a sort of Bizarro-Flash in a story that vaguely resembles Bride of Frankenstein. The laughs, intentional or not, are effortless. Bizarro-Flash or Pollux as he’s called, wears a blue Flash costume. It would have been a nice wink-nudge to the fans if they had given him a yellow suit as a reference to Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash. Zoom was mentioned in another episode, after all. One of the show’s major clunkers is “Be My Baby” where Barry has to care for an infant that was left on his doorstep. It’s nothing but recycled humour from 3 Men and a Baby and countless sitcoms. This episode reads like an attempt to inject some feel-good, warm fuzzy moments into the show. I actually felt sorry for the then-unknown Bryan Cranston, who had the thankless job of playing the bad guy on this one. If the show’s producers truly wanted to feature more heartwarming stories they could have done an episode or episodes that focused on the heroic endeavors that Flash has performed for the medical community. There was one story from Mike Baron’s run on the comic where Wally West was charged with transporting a human heart across the US to a transplant patient. Story lines such as these could have been an untapped goldmine of drama and suspense as long as they didn’t get too sappy with it. It also would have been a welcome break from the hit-or-miss villain of the week.

Shirley Walker’s score music is tailor made to suit the flavour of each individual episode. “Beat the Clock”, a story about a jazz musician falsely accused of killing his wife, appropriately has a lonely sounding Chicago jazz score while “Watching the Detectives” features music that evokes old private-eye films of the 1940s to compliment that episode’s subject matter. The Flash’s opening theme song is composed by Danny Elfman and sounds like a recycled version of his Batman theme. The Flash is a keen show that had the potential to be much greater than it was. Its adherence to the original source material and the earnest portrayal of the characters by the core cast give the series its irresistible allure. This is essential viewing for comic book and sci-fi fans and it definitely deserves a spot on your DVD shelf.