Monday, August 14, 2017

National Treasure

In my high school and college days, history was always my favorite class. In elementary school I would learn the order of all the US Presidents and all the US capitols and in down time would look up presidential election results and population sizes on state atlases. For fun! Yup, I was that kid. I also like treasure hunter type films like Indiana Jones (which I plan on covering here down the line), so I was absolutely giddy when history and treasure hunting combined for 2004’s National Treasure (trailer).

National Treasure features Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Gates, who is a modern day treasure hunter spending most of his life chasing after a long lost family treasure that has ties all the way back to the original founding fathers of the country. The film kicks off with Gates, his assistant tech wiz, Riley (Justin Bartha) and his investor partner Ian (Sean Bean) finding a major clue to the family treasure they spent decades searching for. Their discovery contains a riddle that Cage does a masterful job hamming it up like only he can when he solves the riddle and deduces that the Declaration of Independence has a secret treasure map on it. Ian matter-of-factly states “ok, time to steal this sacred document” and of course Gates is not about that so Ian turns on him right there. Now, both men are off to steal the Declaration and set about a greater chase with Ian right on Ben’s tail to track down the sought-after family treasure.

The history fan in me is incredibly biased towards this movie. Gates is constantly spouting quick history anecdotes as him, Riley and Declaration expert Abigail (Diane Kruger) venture on their expedition across historical US cities such as Philadelphia, Boston and Washington DC. There is a big setup for the Declaration heist, and as far-fetched as the whole ordeal is, I still enjoyed the big heist scene. Cage is perfect as treasure hunter in over his head, and is awesome whenever he shows off his uncanny acting ability at solving riddles. Ian is a serviceable antagonist, and as expected is always one step behind Gates, but he has a few tricks up his sleeve later on in the film to keep the heroes constantly watching their back.

As much as I love this film I could see why others would dislike it. If you do not have an interest in US History, I can see how some would dismiss National Treasure with a ‘hard pass.’ Like other treasure hunter franchises such as Indiana Jones and Uncharted expect many ‘yeah right’ and ‘BS’ stunts/heroics throughout the film. If those kinds of stunts can ruin a film for you than there are a few eyebrow-raising scenes in National Treasure that will most likely infuriate you. Again, the history nut in me made it easy to justify these faults with some convenient lines of dialogue or other Hollywood tricks, but be forewarned, expect some ridiculous-ness.

The BluRay is stacked with extra features. There is 75 minutes of bonus material broken up into 10 parts. I would recommend cruising through the deleted scenes with director introductions as there are a few fun scenes I wished that would have made the cut with a unique strip club scene standing out the most! Of the many behind-the-scene features included the two I would recommend the most are Ciphers, Codes & Codebreakers and To Steal a National Treasure. The former is about how deciphering codes has evolved over time and the latter is about how the filmmakers researched breaking into the National Archives with its then severely-outdated security system.

There is also an entertaining commentary with director Jon Turtleaub and Justin Bartha worth checking out. It is one of the better commentary tracks I have endured as the duo are constantly self-deprecating and have a good rapport throughout. They react to criticism to the film, jest about how dated the film’s effects will look in several years and Jon recites old high school stories of Nicolas Cage. Finally, there is an interactive Declaration of Independence where you can use your BluRay remote to ‘decode’ various phrases from it to unlock mini-documentaries relating to Colonial life at the time of the document’s inception. If you are patient enough with it, there is a ton to unlock and check out!

13 years later National Treasure still holds up. The special effects are not as dated as Jon & Justin hint they might be, and it is a fun, by-the-numbers treasure hunt/chase film. Again, being at least a little bit of a fan of US History is recommended going into this, but if you are not you may be into this if all you are looking for is a good ‘ol fashion treasure hunting film. I plan on covering the sequel, Book of Secrets next month so please join me again in a few weeks for one more round with Cage and company!

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christmas Eve
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Fast and Furious I-VIII
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Gravity
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
The Interrogation
Interstellar
Jobs
Man of Steel
Marine 3-5
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XIII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
UHF
Veronica Mars
The War
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Roseanne - Season 5

Time does not stop for the Roseanne marathon. Welcome to my blog covering season five of my all-time favorite sitcom (s5 excerpt). If you missed my past season write-ups, click here to consume the previous installments. As with my past editions, I will continue my format of bullet point highs and lows of the season:

-Like last season’s blog, I will kickstart this season’s list with a job status roll call. If you recall, the café in the mall Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) worked at last season closed down in the season four finale, so Roseanne starts off the season jobless. Also as I alluded to season four ended with Dan (John Goodman) not being optimistic about the future for the bike shop, and his worries prove true as the bike shop closes the in the first episode of season five. I loved the bike shop! I was sad to see it go, and the show goes to great lengths to make it feel rotten for a family investing it all and striking out. The first few episodes of the season are pretty depressing for the Connor family as the episodes have a despondent undertone for them as the Connors try to find work and make the most of what they have.

Things take an upswing a few episodes later as Roseanne, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), their mom Beverly (Estelle Parsons) and friend Nancy (Sandra Bernhard) open up their own diner, The Lunchbox. Now this is the restaurant I primarily associated the Conner family working at from what I recalled watching growing up. Things end up going well for the Conner ladies, while Dan struggles finding multiple new jobs throughout the season. I love the homey atmosphere of The Lunch Box. Leon (Martin Mull) is not their manager as I recalled, but he does make a cameo as a health inspector in one episode in a scene that he and Roseanne instantly pick up their love/hate relationship where they left off.

-The first few episodes of the season have a lot of heavy material. Aside from what I mentioned above of the bike shop closing down and the Conners falling on hard times, Becky (Lecy Goranson) and Mark (Glenn Quinn) elope and move to Minneapolis. There are a lot of intense verbal spats between Becky and her parents where the three really bring it in an explosive first two episodes that saw some of the best acting in the entire series by this point. Becky and Mark are only in the first three episodes this season. This is because Lecy took a break from the show to pursue college, and would explain Sarah Chalke filling in for Becky for the remainder of the series.

-The relationship between Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and David (Johnny Galecki) also escalates. I enjoyed the running gag this season that the two would never have sex. In the latter half of the season, a family blow-up causes David to be taken in and made an official part of the Conner family. This gets thumbs up for me as David seemed like an unofficial member of the family by this point anyways as he was always making himself at home. Darlene and David spend a good chunk of the season debating on leaving town for a writing school, and their relationship is put to the test in the final episodes of the season when only one of them gets accepted to the school.

-I was a fan of Roseanne’s new neighbors this season, The Tildens. The daughter Molly (Danielle Harris) is an awesome foil for Darlene this season. Charlotte (Mara Hobel) is the motherly older daughter filling in the mom role for the family since they are only raised by their father Ty (Wings Hauser). There is a fun episode where the Conners and Tildens all squeeze into Ty’s Winnebago for a cross-country road trip filled with nonstop family feuding that brought back countless memories of my family road trips. I was dismayed to find out when researching this blog that the Tildens were only featured in season five of Roseanne as I was a fan of all three by the end of the season.

-Roseanne’s and Dan’s friends are dialed back a lot this season. I was a little bummed by this as I was a big Crystal (Natalie West) fan and she only appears briefly in two or three episodes. DJ (Michael Fishman) is mostly in the background again this season and completely absent in a couple episodes. DJ primarily is only around to be the weird kid who chimes in with an awkward zinger or two an episode. He does have a couple fun scenes with a really young Joseph-Gordon Levitt in the season finale though.

-Other than a couple exception episodes, most of the middle third of this season is kind of a lull. To be honest, the crowd took it away from me with them suffering from cracking up way too much at every joke and one-liner regardless of how funny it actually was. This part of the season had a big reliance on one-liners and cheap jokes, and a good chunk of the middle episodes this season suffered because of it. I got the vibe from the crowd that Darlene’s new emo-character was the ‘hip/edgy’ character of the year as the audience triply reacted to all of her lines. This lead to what felt like all of Darlene’s lines becoming forgettable cheap laughs to give the audience their edgy-Darlene fix. It got to be insufferable halfway through the season, but thankfully Roseanne dialed it back a couple notches in the season’s final episodes.

-Other real quick tidbits to touch on are that I was surprised by the dark twist that transpires with Jackie her latest boyfriend, Fisher (Matt Roth) this season. Props to the show for touching on controversial issues in the early 90s. They also regularly feature a couple gay characters this season which was uncommon among most network sitcoms at the time. I like the 4th-wall breaking scenes where the actors portray themselves in quick little sketches during the end-credits, but I could not help but get the feeling season five jumped the shark on them with a few too many of them this season. I will give DJ props for keeping the Super Nintendo and Game Boy spirit alive in a couple moments again this season. Other notable celebrity cameos in season five include Tim Curry, Chris Farley, Bill Maher and Joan Collins to look forward to. There is only one extra feature on the DVD, but it is a goodie which is a five minute Q&A session with Roseanne Barr where she answers some of her most FAQs concerning the show lore and certain recurring gimmicks that made for a fun little bonus.

-That wraps it up for season five! It has a strong first few and final few episodes, but only a few worthwhile episodes in the middle which makes it a bit of a challenge to get through. Only five more months until the new season of Roseanne premieres on ABC this January! Get stoked!

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
2016-17 TV Season Recap
Adventures of Briscoe County Jr: The Complete Series
Angry Videogame Nerd Volumes 7-9
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
OJ: Made in America: 30 for 30
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
Superheroes: Pioneers of Television

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

TNA Lockdown 2005

To commemorate the recent news of the highly-desired, long-overdue, better-late-than never, name change of TNA to GFW, I finally have my first TNA/GFW DVD review of the inaugural Lockdown PPV back in 2005. For those not familiar with TNA/GFW (Global Force Wrestling) , it has been around since 2002 a year after WCW was bought out by WWE. Essentially all in-and-out of the ring WCW talent that was not picked up by WWE came together with a number of indy wrestlers to form Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. TNA since has went on to acquire a lot of star indy wrestlers and a good chunk of wrestlers who ran their course or who got lost in the shuffle in WWE. TNA’s first two years on the air were kind of hard to track down since their shows were only available as weekly PPVs for $10 each week.

Lockdown took place in April 2005. TNA was just several weeks away from winding down their first year of their flagship TV show, iMpact! (I will now reference ‘iMpact!’ as ‘Impact’ for convenience sake) on FSN. I loved Impact in this era from 2004-07. It was then on at an oddball time of 4pm on Fridays on Fox Sports Net back then because TNA bit their teeth and took the only major cable deal they could get so they could get their foot in the door to more viewers and off weekly PPVs. Lockdown was TNA’s third or fourth traditional monthly PPV at this point. TNA had a roster size comparable to WWE at the time, but only an hour timeslot to work with for the first few years of iMpact so TNA branded the show ‘the one hour adrenaline rush.’ All matches had 10-minute time limits with a ‘Fox Box’ at the top of the screen to keep track of time and who was in the ring so that made it have a nice sports-like feel. Since TNA tried to cram so many wrestlers in each week, there were a lot of quick cuts during and immediately after matches to other backstage skirmishes or interviews so each piece of talent could get their camera time in each week. It was pure nonstop chaos each week, for better or worse.

In April 2005, good ‘ol Dusty Rhodes was the commissioner of TNA, and he was the mastermind behind the Lockdown concept where every match on the PPV would take place in a cage. It did not matter if it was the main event, a semi-main, the mid-card or opening acts, all matches would be in the ‘six sides of steel.’ For those unaware, TNA has primarily used a six-sided ring throughout its existence. I recall this lead to all kinds of crazy outcomes in matches to make them try and stand out from the rest of the cage matches on the card. Sometimes this lead to crazy spots and weaponry getting involved, or sometimes to outrageous gimmicks and interference that took away more from the bout than it added. It is because of the unique gimmick and unpredictable nature of a Lockdown PPV and the fact I never saw one before in its entirety I decided to kick off my venture to review every Lockdown PPV TNA/GFW has released on DVD from 2005-2014.

The first ever Lockdown match had unforeseen dire consequences. In what was supposed to be a no-frills tag encounter between Chris Candido & Lance Hoyt against Apollo & Sonny Siaki a freak botched landing in the opening minute lead to Candido legit breaking his leg and getting stretchered out mid-match. The wrestlers improvised and Siaki pinned Hoyt minutes later with a top rope splash. Several days later, a post-surgery blood clot led to the untimely passing of Chris Candido. They did tape one more episode of Impact before his passing where Candido was a manager for his tag team buddies, the Naturals, and Candido assisted them in winning the tag titles from America’s Most Wanted in the closing moments of Candido’s last on-screen moment being him celebrating the title change, immediately followed with an ‘in memory’ image of his passing. I vividly recall watching that moment back then and just being in a different headspace upon learning the news. Props to TNA for including that tag title match along with a couple other Candido moments in his TNA run as bonus features on this DVD.

Back on track, I am a big fan of Mr. Glorious and current NXT champion, Bobby Roode. Well, he was a TNA mainstay for over a decade and you can see him here representing the villainous Team Canada faction against Dustin Rhodes in a ‘2-out-of 3 falls, Prince of Darkness Deathmatch.’ This was a No DQ match where if a third fall were to transpire, it would happen with both wrestlers being blindfolded. Sure enough, there was a third fall and both Roode and Rhodes did their best to top the Jake Roberts/Rick Martel Wrestlemania VII classic. We are still several years away from the CTE/Concussion controversies leading to safety changes in football and wrestling, and this is first of several matches that made rampant use of unprotected chairshots to the head, and is how Dustin Rhodes won the match in the final fall. I have to admit, it was kind of shocking to see that kind of chairshot several years after both TNA/GFW and WWE has banned them.

The next match would be an annual Lockdown tradition, the ‘Xscape Match.’ It featured stars from the X-Division, which is essentially WCW’s cruiserweight division, but with no weight limit to make room for the occasional bigger competitor also capable of high-flying moves that most Cruiserweights are associated for. This match featured Matt Bentley, Sonjay Dutt, Chris Sabin and Shocker. It is a Fatal 4-Way Tag Elimination match, but when it comes down to the final two competitors, the rules change into a WWF-style ‘escape to win’ cage match. The finish here came down to Chris Sabin and Shocker in a photo-finish to escape, with Shocker’s feet barely touching the floor first in an entertaining high-flying affair start to finish.

The next bout saw Jeff Hardy take on Raven in a tables match in a bout that would be my match of the night. That is kind of surprising to say since both Hardy and Raven washed out of WWE at this point in their careers, but both found new success in TNA. Raven gets busted open, and Hardy misses a Swanton through a table off the top of the cage in my pick for spot of the night because of how effortless Hardy made that daring move seem. Raven would later stack four tables together, only to see them used against him as Hardy would drive Raven through them with a leg drop from the top of the cage to the delight of a raucous crowd for the victory.

The tag titles were up for grabs next with the team of America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) defending their gold against Team Canada’s Eric Young & Petey Williams. I am smiling right now realizing how far all four of these guys would evolve throughout their TNA runs, but we will get there in forthcoming Lockdown reviews. For now, Young & Williams are evil Canadians, and AMW are good ‘ol butt-kickin’ cowboys. Match has a nice story with Storm getting jumped outside early on and Harris having to fend for himself 2-on-1 for awhile. There is a nice finish here with a failed powder-toss spot that lead to Petey Williams getting pinned following AMW delivering their ‘Death Sentence’ finisher. The X Division title was at stake next with Christopher Daniels defending against his former tag partner, Elix Skipper. The video package preceding it was a nice refresher of their rivalry and was a good reason for the hot crowd and intensity between the two in this match. Skipper got a nice splash off the top of the cage, but ultimately it was Daniels who got the win with his Angel’s Wings finisher in another good X division match.

The Lethal Lockdown followed, and it is essentially TNA’s version of War Games/Elimination Chamber with two teams of three squaring off. It starts one-on-one for five minutes, and then another competitor would enter every two minutes. After the final entrant is in, the team that scores the first fall is declared the winner. This match saw TNA champ, Jeff Jarrett teaming up with Monty Brown & Kip James (who was new to TNA at the time and fresh off renaming his character of ‘The Outlaw’ because of how close it resembled his old WWE Tag Team name) against Sean Waltman, Diamond Dallas Page and Kevin Nash. In a twisting shock, Nash was injured on match day, and got replaced last minute by BG James, aka The Road Dogg. I have no idea what was going through BG’s head, but on his way to the ring he brought a bedpan and clocked the cameraman with it for no apparent reason, and in the highlight of the night would proceed to clock the ref on the head with the bedpan. To top that, when most normal refs would be incapacitated indefinitely after a spot like that, this pudgy, scrawny TNA ref would get up and shake off the weapon attack within 60 seconds, just in time to make the surprise pinfall count when Sean Waltman would pull off a victory roll on Monty Brown that he botched mere seconds earlier. Brown would be the third person to bleed of the night so far. Like most War Games/Elimination Chamber style matches, this was another chaotic match that kept me on my toes to see who would come out next. Throw in the TNA-X-Factor of surprise weapon spots, and refs that no-sell and it made for a one-of-a-kind encounter TNA is only capable of delivering.

The main event saw AJ Styles face off against Abyss. For those unaware, Abyss is another TNA veteran still with the promotion today that I look forward to covering his unique evolution throughout the years with. I always considered him a hybrid of Mankind and Kane, and he always had a unique lust for weapon spots that usually went against him. For fans of AJ Styles today unfamiliar with his 12 years of TNA work, if you thought he is killer in the ring today, you should have seen him back in 2005 where he moved with the grace of a young Rey Mysterio and it seemed like AJ was capable of damn near anything in the ring. After brawling all over the arena for awhile, the two eventually clash in the ring where Abyss busts out the thumb tacks, but only to see them used against him when AJ would deliver a Styles Clash on top of them(!). AJ would follow that up with a sunset-flip off the top of the cage onto the tacks (!!) for the awesome finish to end the first Lockdown PPV.

Random final thoughts on the show: It was fun seeing Dusty with a couple of the TNA ‘Knockouts’ (TNA’s term for ‘Divas’) backstage as he drew names out of a hat to determine the order of the Lethal Lockdown entry. Shane Douglas was retired from wrestling at this point of his career and was the innocuous backstage interviewer which I did not mind him in. One constant in TNA’s history is there usually being a few botched camera angles on each show with them missing a key move/moment in a match, and sure enough that happened tonight.

I forgot to mention this took place at the Universal Studios lot in Orlando, FL where TNA has recorded a majority of their shows since 2004. It is the same arena where WCW use to tape their old syndicated Worldwide show for about a decade. I always thought TNA did an admirable job at getting the most out of that recording studio and making it come off with good production effects and clever camera angles to give it as close to a big-arena vibe as they could on their budget. Aside from a half hour of assorted Chris Candido extras, there is another half hour of extras on the DVD primarily consisting of quick preshow interviews and alternate camera angles of the primary spots of the night.

Thanks for sticking with me on this debut Lockdown blog. Apologies for the length, but I felt obligated to include a little TNA/GFW history at the beginning for those who are not that familiar with the promotion. Like I said at the beginning, TNA released these on DVD through 2014, but Lockdown specials after that moved to premiering on cable as Impact specials and thus have not been released on video. I will try and knock one of these out every several months, so stay tuned for the next installment later!

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Best of Monday Nitro Volume 3
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
DDP: Positively Living
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History
Owen: Hart of Gold
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Ultimate Fan Pack: Roman Reigns
Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
Wrestlemania 32
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestling Road Diaries Three: Funny Equals Money
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2016
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2017

Saturday, July 22, 2017

WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2017

I am posting this a little later than I wanted to, but I am finally here with my recap of original content for the WWE Network for the first half of 2017. I want to kick off this installment picking up where two new series that premiered last year left off and see how they have since progressed.

Holy Foley - WWE released the final five episodes of their version of The Osbournes in January of this year. The first five episodes reminded me why I detest most reality TV shows with so many painfully telegraphed family issues being pushed to the forefront. Once again, the focus is on Dewey breaking in as a WWE storyline writer and Noelle trying to make it as a wrestler, or as she likes to painfully call it in corporate WWE speak several times every episode ‘Superstar.’ Mick is also up to some hijinx in each episode in his post-wrestling career, and most are unfortunately insufferable to endure. A lot of the primary plot lines in this second batch of episodes are a chore to get through with only a sprinkling of genuine entertaining scenes like Noelle getting five star tutelage in promos from Enzo. If you are looking for a reality show fix on the WWE Network stay away from this and stick with some of the original Tough Enough seasons instead.

205 Live - When I last talked about 205 Live, it was only several episodes into its run and Neville just debuted on the 205 scene. Since then Neville has stole the show and is one of the few legit high marks of 205 Live as he has been the main draw of the show and its champion since January of this year. His three-PPV feud with Austin Aries was the promotion’s runaway best rivalry for the first half of 2017. I was bummed to see Aries ask for and was granted his release shortly after his feud with Neville wrapped up since Austin could have been a great mentor to newer talent.

The other feuds on 205 Live have been more lighthearted in nature, and since they rarely get spotlighted on PPV, they kind of drag on for two-to-three times longer than they should, for better or worse. On the last WWE Network blog I mentioned how Alexander and Noam Dar were vying for Alicia Fox’s affection, and that whole angle played out until just a couple weeks ago when Dar finally dumped Alicia after several months of the two being constantly hot and cold in their relationship. Drew Gulak and Mustafa Ali had a lengthy feud over Gulak protesting Ali’s high-flying style and Gulak promoting his grounded/technical style more. Their feud finally wrapped up with a PPV quality, 2-out-of-3-falls match this past week. These are just two examples of feuds with wrestlers that probably would not have been promoted as highly on RAW and Smackdown. 205 Live is missing something keeping it from being destination programming and must-see like the Cruiserweight Classic tournament last year. Hopefully they can work in those missing pieces this year, or else I fear the writing may be on the wall for the cruiserweight division.

Talking Smack - Wrestling fans reading this likely heard the news last week that WWE has cancelled the Smackdown Live post-talk show, Talking Smack as a weekly show which is horrible news. WWE did say it will stay on following Smackdown-branded PPVs however. Renee Young and Daniel Bryan have great chemistry and shined as hosts on the show. I loved seeing them interview talent who were sticking to their characters but did not have all their verbiage scripted out for them like they do on television which allowed the wrestlers to be more like an amped up version of themselves and get great practice at finding their voice for their on-screen personas. Speculation as to why WWE cancelled the show is because they had to wait an extra hour for 205 Live to finish before starting Talking Smack, and Shane McMahon not being as plugged in and engaged as a backup co-host while Daniel Bryan was away on Paternity Leave.

I loved watching Kevin Owens, The Miz, The Usos and Baron Corbin the most on Talking Smack. All four of them are great natural heels, especially Owens as he went the extra mile to mess with the hosts. A recent Talking Smack will also mark the only time that Eric Rowan was legit entertaining in his sole appearance on the program that had me cracking up at how unpredictable he was and how he was throwing Renee off her game. I will also give mad props to the Usos doing fantastic work as heels this past year, while also having some of the best segments on Talking Smack when they team up with Bryan for the most endearing improv rap sessions in pro wrestling history (just check out how affable Daniel is with his rap hat in those videos and you will know what I mean). Rest in peace, Talking Smack, at least it will still be on once a month.

Legends with JBL - Speaking of cancelled WWE Network shows, JBL’s shoot-interview series got cancelled this past February after it aired its final two installments with interviews for Stan Hansen and Jimmy Hart. Of those two I would recommend the Hansen interview because he has rarely done interviews with WWE before and he has a ton of classic stories from his career that will likely be new to those hearing from this legend for the first time. Just like before, JBL does his research and asks tons of good questions and follow-ups, so make sure to binge through his entire archive if you have not before.

Bring it to the Table - This is a new show that debuted this year that WWE runs around once a month. Radio personality, Peter Rosenberg is joined by Corey Graves and JBL as they breakdown the latest main event storylines and behind-the-scenes news in a ESPN PTI/Around the Horn format of time limit debates. It makes for an interesting show, as everyone is trying to be quick on their feet with their two cents and sometimes will get called out on the following show for sometimes biting off a little more than they could chew like Corey Graves was called out for when he gave his thoughts on Shane McMahon. Nothing will beat Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith debating sports in my book, but I will give WWE credit for trying something new and I will keep tuning into this since they occasionally dive into some insider news that would surprise me they would touch on.

WWE UK - WWE has premiered its UK division at the beginning of this year capitalizing on the hot UK wrestling scene from the past couple of years. They signed a lot of top UK talent and placed them in a 16-person tournament for the new WWE UK Title in Blackpool, England and had it transpire as a two-part special on the WWE Network. The atmosphere was something special as the UK fans always bring a unique dynamic to a wrestling show. Their singing and other soccer-style chants had me distracted and cringing for a good chunk of the first part of the special, but after the first round matches when most of the competition and matches amped up, the crowd also got serious and put their shenanigans to the side and got more engaged and their unique chants seemed more organic than distracting and helped made the gritty, strong UK style really pop.

Nigel McGuinness made his WWE debut announcing for the UK Championship tournament, and him and Michael Cole had a natural chemistry together, which was kind of surprising on two levels because I always thought of him as an average announcer at best before from his RoH commentary, but something must have gelled right with the two here because Cole especially stepped up his game and delivered easily his best commentary ever. Most of the matches in the tournament delivered with a unique rough, ‘smash-mouth’ style that is not that common on WWE TV, but if you were a fan of William Regal’s work then you will really love what the UK competitors bring to the ring. WWE only did the two-part special in January, and a follow up UK special in May for their UK division shows so far. From what I understand WWE is planning a weekly UK show for the Network and already has locked down dates to record their first several weeks worth of programming in the near future so be on the lookout for that premiering soon.

Miscellaneous - There were four installments of WWE 24 so far this year. The one highlighting Kurt Angle stands out the most as it is nearly an hour and covers most of the key highs and lows throughout his career. They even track down former head of TNA/GFW, Dixie Carter for her thoughts on Kurt. There is also a nice piece on Finn Balor focusing on his recovery from his brutal injury last year, and two 24 specials focused on Wrestlemania 32 weekend from Dallas in 2016. I will continue to promote Ride Along and Table for Three as entertaining and low-cost programming for WWE since it only involves placing a couple cameras around a dinner table/rent-a-car while the wrestlers talk shop and reminisce about their past. WWE pumps out about one installment a month for those two shows, and my favorite ones of 2017 so far have featured Jericho and Owens in one of their last car rides before their on-screen breakup and Maryse and Miz celebrating their anniversary in their car ride. Table for 3 has had a lot of good installments this year with the newest edition featuring a Nation of Domination reunion having a lot of good stories between Mark Henry, Godfather and Ron Simmons. WWE dug up Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly and Maryse as the trio stood up for their work during the controversial ‘Diva Search’ era of the women’s division. Also make sure to watch two explosive personalities collide as Michael Hayes does his best to keep the peace between Eric Bishoff and Jim Cornette.

Thanks for sticking with me through this. For the second half of 2017 I am anticipating WWE debuting its weekly UK show, as well as the 32-person Mae Young Classic tournament starting next month. WWE gave a sneak peak introducing all the competitors last week and after how well WWE produced the cruiserweight and UK tournaments this past year I have only high expectations that the women will step up and deliver just as effectively. Huzzzah for the WWE getting me excited about tournaments again, for the longest time WWE treated them as throw-away filler, with even the last few King of the Ring tournaments lacking the pomp and circumstance that the tournaments on the WWE Network manage to pull off. Join me again in several months to see how well they pulled it off!

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Best of Monday Nitro Volume 3
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
DDP: Positively Living
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History
Owen: Hart of Gold
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Ultimate Fan Pack: Roman Reigns
Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
Wrestlemania 32
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestling Road Diaries Three: Funny Equals Money
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2016

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Marine 5: Battlegrounds & The Interrogation

A couple years ago I enjoyed myself so much with a two-for-one review special of the latest DVDs from WWE Studios that I decided it was the proper time to bring that feature back. Today I am covering last year’s Interrogation (trailer). It is a crime thriller featuring Edge in the lead role as a FBI interrogator where he is involved in a cat and mouse game with a suspect dangling multiple bomb threats in front of him. Marine 5: Battlegrounds (trailer) hit earlier this year and features an ensemble cast of WWE stars with the Miz once again reprising his lead role as an ex-Marine trying to live a normal life, but finds himself mixed up in a gang war at a amusement park.

WWE has been pumping out what seems like several movies a year now. WWE is all in on the direct-to-video movie train because it appears they are content with their low budget films making a small enough profit due to filming them in Vancouver where they get considerable tax breaks. I use to rent their films from Netflix just to see what they would unleash upon movie fans next, but WWE put the kibosh on Netflix rentals from their last several films, so now I am forced to purchase their movies and thus they enter my backlog which means you all get to suffer/experience them with me in the form of my review.

Marine 5 captures the same raw, gritty feel of most WWE Studios’ action films that serve as a prime selection for Movies for Guys Who Like Movies night on TBS. The Miz is once again Jake Carter, after failing his last job as a personal security detail in Marine 4, Carter takes up the role of an innocent, everyday EMT. Things go horribly awry his first day on the job however when him and his partner Zoe (Anna Van Hooft) get mixed up in a gang war with biker gang, The Lost Legion. Miz must protect Lost Legion target Cole (Nathan Mitchell) from gangsters comprising of WWE stars Naomi, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas.

A bulk of Marine 5 is Jake, Zoe and Cole trying to stay one step ahead of the biker gang in a parking garage. After playing hide and seek from the gang in the garage for awhile, the final act takes place in a big final showdown at an amusement park. Once I got over the hoki-ness of the bulk of the WWE stars involved, I was surprised to find myself legit getting into Battlegrounds. I got into Carter and friends combining their wits to fend off the Lost Legion and the final act amps up in a big chase throughout the city until a big showdown between Miz and Bo’s characters. This is Miz’s third time in the lead role of this franchise and he actually developed some marginal acting chops by this point and manages to carry the lead role well enough for this type of low budget action film. Bo Dallas was also a pleasant surprise as the most prominent Lost Legion member throughout the film and proves to be a viable head villain by the end of the movie. As for Curtis Axel, Heath Slater and Naomi…well they gave it a good effort for it being their first film!

The Interrogation is a little more complex and not your by-the-numbers action film. It reminded me a lot of Die Hard: With a Vengeance, just not as good. It starts off with the film’s antagonist, Vasti (Patrick Sabongui) bombing an office building and immediately turning himself in. He is questioned by pro-FBI interrogator Lucas Nolan (Edge). Oh yeah, WWE star Lana is in this film too in a minor role as part of the anti-terror team that assists Lucas throughout the film. I never got use to her in here because it is befuddling seeing Lana without her trademark Russian accent she is notorious for on WWE programming. Vasti wants to play mind games with Lucas though and quotes literature and uses other subtle tells to clue Lucas in on his next several targets that he has rigged up to explode. The film makes use of a “memory house” technique where Lucas goes into deep thought to piece together Vasti’s clues that is fun to play along with.

If you are into these sorts of mystery-thrillers that invite the audience to solve the mystery along with the hero, than The Interrogation may be up your alley (for the record, The Prestige is my favorite type of these films). I am awful at putting clues and hints together in these sorts of mind-benders, so I sat back and enjoyed the ride where Lucas and his anti-terror team were constantly on the move attempting to stop the next bomb to mixed results. I did not see the big twist coming as it took me by surprise, and I thought the filmmakers did a good job at justifying how it all played out. The Interrogation appears to have a little more of a production budget compared to the average WWE film as it implements more dynamic city-wide shots and far more intense action scenes than what I am use to from WWE Studios. Edge is OK as Lucas, and I think he gave this serious role his best shot, but I am so use to seeing him as a more lighthearted character in both his WWE and non-WWE roles.

Both Interrogation and Marine 5 follow the same blueprint for their meager sampling of extra features. Both BluRays have two short behind-the-scenes features around four-to-five minutes long each. I dug how Interrogation broke down how it pulled off its impressive explosions with their DIY approach. Marine 5’s extras were entertaining as it was mostly the WWE stars being thrilled and about making their acting debuts and loving the spooky amusement park setting. I would have loved for all six WWE stars to sit down with the director of Marine 5 for the ultimate commentary track, but alas it was not to be.

I know this is faint praise, but Marine 5: Battlegrounds is easily my favorite of the five. Set aside the fact it is The Miz with an ensemble cast of opening act WWE stars, and there is a fun tale of an EMT taking on an army of biker thugs to be had. It is a prime popcorn action movie to enjoy with your loved one! As for Interrogation, well I as I stated earlier it is a poor man’s Die Hard 3, and I just happened to have seen that Die Hard just a few months ago and The Interrogation simply does not measure up, but it does have a couple of good moments and shows a few glimpses of being an entertaining mind-bender throughout, but not enough to warrant a viewing. Stick with Die Hard 3 and/or The Prestige instead!

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christmas Eve
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Fast and Furious I-VIII
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Gravity
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
Interstellar
Jobs
Man of Steel
Marine 3-5
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XIII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
UHF
Veronica Mars
The War
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Star Trek XIII: Beyond

Longtime readers of this blog had to have figured this one was coming. For newer readers, in 2014 I reviewed one of the 12 Star Trek films each month and I somehow managed to stay on pace and review all 12 films by the end of 2014. 2016 saw the release of the third Star Trek film in the new ‘alternate’ universe, Beyond (trailer). I recall going into this movie at the theaters with a few different scenarios rummaging around in my mind.

One scenario had me trepid that this film saw the director of the most successful Fast & Furious films, Justin Lin at the director’s chair replacing JJ Abrams (who stayed on as a producer). Those films have always been a guilty pleasure of mine, but I was not sold that Lin would successfully transition from the blockbuster heist/racing/action beasts he was known for into the world of science fiction. Another part of me was a little hung up on the recent deaths of cast members Leonard Nimoy (original era Spock) and Anton Yelchin (Chekov) going into this film. Suffice it to say I did not go into this without reservations.

Beyond kicks off with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) failing miserably making a peace offering to a new race they encountered a few years into the Enterprise’s five year exploration mission. After Kirk makes yet another dramatic, last-second escape the crew of the Enterprise make a pit stop on the space station, Yorktown for some much needed shore leave. It is there Spock (Zachary Quinto) discovers the news about the passing of the elder Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Kirk is also in the midst of a personal crisis and is considering stepping down as Captain so both of the Enterprise’s top officers are at a crossroads in their careers.

Kirk and Spock’s personal dilemmas get set aside when the Enterprise answers a distress call on an uncharted planet. This ultimately leads up to the Enterprise crash landing on the mysterious planet and the crew getting split up. This made for a unique twist on the film as we saw the primary cast team up with the supporting cast members in teams that ordinarily would not have happened and provided some interesting dynamics. Beyond has Kirk & Chekov on one end of the planet, and Spock & Bones (Karl Urban) on another side while Uhura (Zoe Saldana) & Sulu (John Cho) are imprisoned with the rest of the crew at the base of this film’s villain, Krall (Idris Alba). Scotty (Simon Pegg) finds himself isolated until he meets another person stranded on the planet by the name of Jaylah (Sofia Boutella).

Jaylah is a fun addition to the cast, and by the end of the film it appears she is going to be a mainstay among Starfleet. Her unintended dry humor provides most of the levity for Beyond and it cracked me up more often than not. For better or worse, she is the one responsible for a scene set to Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” Without spoiling the scene too much, they manage to kind of have a somewhat meaningful justification for their music, but the song overstays its welcome a smidge too long, especially when the Enterprise crew starts to nod along and mildly jam out to it….I am not kidding.

Naturally, there are a couple big action set pieces in the film’s final act. One is where the Enterprise crew reunites to make a retreat from Krall’s planet and a short while later while Kirk and friends are hot on the tail of Krall to stop his invasion of Yorktown. The CG and special effects do not disappoint in these showcase scenes, but it was the Krall himself who did not get me fully invested in these scenes as I would rank him among the weaker villains of the Trek films. Beyond tries to add some substance to Krall by diving into his origin toward the end of the film, but by that point it seemed too late for me to get invested in him and I was ready for Krall to meet his demise.

There are 17 behind-the-scenes extra features to indulge totaling a little less than two hours. If that is a bit much for you, than I would advise skipping around half of the features that go into the nuts and bolts of the CG, costumes, special effects and stage design. They are all well made, but those ones in particular I cannot help but feel are aimed directly at enthusiasts of those fields only. Divided & Conquered stuck out to me as the cast and crew talk about the challenges of having the Enterprise crew split up for a good portion of the film. Beyond the Darkness is another recommended extra as it is all about welcoming Lin to the director’s chair and introducing the new characters debuting in Beyond. For Leonard & Anton features countless testimonials from the cast and crew for what both actors meant to them and the franchise. Finally, I would recommend Live Long and Prosper because it is about celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary and defining its legacy.

I hate to give it this distinction, but I would have to rank Star Trek: Beyond as the least enjoyable of the current era of Star Trek films. As stated above it was Krall not being an antagonist worth buying into that knocked the film down a couple pegs for me. There are still a lot of great moments and killer special effects throughout, and I am on board with Jaylah being part of the Enterprise team and I feel like she can be a great movie exclusive addition to the team much like Savik was in Star Trek II-IV. I thought Paramount did an admirable job at how they handled writing Nimoy’s Spock out of the film and the tributes for Nimoy and Anton during the credits were simple, but effective, and all I needed. I will conclude here as I did with all my previous Star Trek blogs with my individual ratings for each film so you can see how they all measure up.

Star Trek Film Ratings

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - 5/10
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - 10/10
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - 7.5/10
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - 9/10
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - 6/10
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - 7.5/10
Star Trek VII: Generations - 8/10
Star Trek VIII: First Contact - 9/10
Star Trek IX: Insurrection - 8/10
Star Trek X: Nemesis - 9.5/10
Star Trek (XI, 2009) - 10/10
Star Trek XII: Into Darkness - 9/10
Star Trek XIII: Beyond – 8/10

Additional Star Trek Blogs

Star Trek Evolutions and Captains Summit BluRay Bonus Discs

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christmas Eve
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Fast and Furious I-VIII
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Gravity
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
Interstellar
Jobs
Man of Steel
Marine 3 & 4
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XIII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
UHF
Veronica Mars
The War
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Monday, June 26, 2017

Roseanne - Season 4

I continue to plug away at my Roseanne DVDs, and today I bestow upon you my review for season four of one of my favorite sitcoms (s4 excerpt). Click here for my previous reviews of the first three seasons for those who desire to catch up. Without further ado, here are my key takeaways from season four…

-I think I need to kick off these bulleted lists with a job status roll call for the season. As I alluded to at the end of season three, Dan (John Goodman) and Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) decide to take a second mortgage on the house so they can open up Dan’s dream bike shop. Dan hires Becky’s (Lecy Goranson) boyfriend Mark (Glenn Quinn) on as his mechanic. A lot more scenes this season transpire at Dan & Rosie’s workplaces than usual, and it served as a better variety of scenery after three seasons of scenes mostly happening at the Connor household. I loved the dynamic of the Connors in the bike shop as many times family life would carry over into the family business. Things do not look up for the business at the end of the season, which is odd because I want to say I remember the bike shop being more of a constant throughout Roseanne’s run.

Roseanne helps out at the shop, but still primarily works at the café in the mall with Bonnie (Bonnie Bramlett) and their boss Leon (Martin Mull). I love this trio’s chemistry on screen as they seem to have a mutual love/hate relationship by the end of the season and it was nice of the Connor family to have Leon over for one of Dan’s poker nights. Roseanne’s run in the café as the worst waitress ever constantly had me cracking up, with the highlight being where she was having back pain in one episode so she had the customers start doing her job for her, and the customers being all the willing made it stand out even more! It was a bittersweet moment to see the café close up at the end of the season, but this was probably the catalyst for what I remember being Roseanne, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Leon working at a more traditional diner later on in the series. Becky lands her first gig as a supermarket cashier to save up for a car and finally, Jackie takes up a new career path as a trucker.

-One of my favorite episodes this season features Roseanne getting hooked on bingo after Krystal (Natlie West) takes the gang out on a Bingo night. I can kind of relate to this as I progress into my 30s that Bingo has been an entertaining outing to partake in every couple of months. That episode also saw Krystal announce having her second kid during the show’s run. Krystal is an awesome character and I feel awful for completely forgetting about her before starting to relive the DVD seasons several months ago.

-Old school videogame fans will like that the then newly launched Super Nintendo is prominent this season when it is DJ’s (Michael Fishman) sole demand for his birthday. It is in the background throughout the season thereafter to the point where Rosie warns DJ not to waste his life playing games…I wished I would have heeded her advice.

-Shortly before he started work on ER, George Clooney reprised his role as Booker and made his final appearance on the show’s history in this season’s annual Halloween episode. Roseanne explains in a commentary for the Halloween episode that she had to battle to bring back Clooney as the writers kept coming up with excuses not to have him on. Barr said she is a huge fan of his and she had to fight for three years to get him to come back for one episode and then Barr stated that Clooney appreciated it but said it was probably for the best to move on.

-In seasons three and four, Roseanne gets awesome neighbors that she does not hit it off with and it was a pleasure to see their rivalry escalate. It was another bittersweet moment this season when they wrote them off the show towards the end of the season and had them move, but at least they had a hilarious exit where the Connor family gives them the five-star shoulder treatment when she wishes them farewell.

-Finally, season four sees Darlene (Sara Gilbert) go through a metamorphosis as she embraces her slacker/emo character I remembered her the most for in the show’s run. The show kind of overkills it at the beginning of the season where Darlene dresses in all black and confines herself primarily to her room for most of the season. I think the writers realized they went a little too off the wagon in this direction and they gradually weed her back into the family’s everyday happenings by the end of the season, but she is now a complete 180 from her outgoing/tomboy character she was in the first two seasons. Season four also sees Darlene starting her relationship with David (Johnny Galecki). I did not realize until this season that David is Mark’s brother and I lost it at his debut this season when Becky was suppose to watch DJ but she wanted to run off with Mark so they brought over David, who was a stranger to everyone else in the Connor family until this point, to watch him instead.

-There are a handful of extra features in season four. There are two short interviews. One is a five minute interview with Barr about Roseanne hitting its stride that season and the other is with Fishman and Goranson having random backstage anecdotes about the show, with the highlight being about how Goranson overcame management’s objections to her wanting to a haircut. Finally, Barr provides video commentary for the Halloween and Thanksgiving episodes this season and there is a handy factoid ticker that helps elucidate on some of Barr’s commentary and questions she raises. I dug these commentary tracks and hope the remaining seasons has more of them with more cast members!

-Oh hey, I almost forgot, since I recapped season three a couple months ago ABC announced they are resurrecting Roseanne this coming January! Badass! I highly doubt it, but in my moment of glee I will take a modicum of responsibility for my season recaps being helpful with the frothing demand to bring that show back! As long as it is better than the return of Arrested, Development! See you all soon with my season five recap!

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
2016-17 TV Season Recap
Adventures of Briscoe County Jr: The Complete Series
Angry Videogame Nerd Volumes 7-9
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
OJ: Made in America: 30 for 30
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season