Netflix added a few game shows to its South African offering the other day, one of which did enough to pique our interest and then subsequently have Chantelle and myself happily make our way through all of the first seaon over the next couple of days.
Idiotest essentially pits two teams of two against one another as they strive to answer a series of brain teaser and puzzle questions. None of the questions are devilishly difficult and there is always only one answer to any screen – all you have to do is make sure that you figure out the trick before time (and the money meter) runs out.
The wonderfully sardonic Ben Gleib ably hosts the show and although the stakes aren’t particularly high (the big prize is $10,000) and essentially only the very last question screen is the one that decides who makes it to the final screen, the series is wonderful to watch with your partner as you battle it out to see who can a) get the answer the quickest or b) see who can figure it out at all.
It’s all a lot of brain scratching fun really. For example:
(The answer is the flowers in case you were wondering…)
Star Wars Rebels from Lucasfilm Animation (currently showing on Disney XD), is a pretty enjoyable animated Star Wars romp that serves as the follow up to the excellent Star Wars: The Clone Wars, telling the story of a group of rebels as they take on the Galactic Empire – and then find themselves being chased by some pretty scary adversaries!
The show is a 3D CGI animated television series, and although I’ve never truly been a fan of the look (having always preferred the flatter style associated with more classic animation), the visuals that are pulled off work pretty well for what in the end is a pretty action-packed, story-driven kids show.
However, it’s the score, sound effects and voice acting which really, really hits the high notes.
Lucasfilm Animation have pulled in some excellent heavy hitters in the world of American animation voice overs, roping in Steven Blum (Digimon, Naruto, Transformers: Prime, Ben 10, The Legend of Korra, and Wolverine and the X-Men) as Zeb, Vanessa Marshall (Avengers Assemble, Ben 10, Sym-Bionic Titan, The Spectacular Spider-Man, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice, and Guardians of the Galaxy) as Hera, Kath Soucie (Futurama, The Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Totally Spies!, Kim Possible, W.I.T.C.H. and Ben 10) as Minister Maketh Tua, and Stephen Stanton (Archer, King of the Hill, Wolverine and the X-Men, MAD, Hero Factory, and Breadwinners) as Grand Moff Tarkin, to name but a few.
And mind you, they certainly don’t limit themselves just to actors known for voice over roles either!
For example, Jason Isaacs (best known as Malfoy from Harry Potter) voices the intimidating Grand Inquisitor. Brent Spiner (best know as Star Trek’s Lieutenant Commander Data) brings to life Senator Gall Trayvis. Samuel Witwer (from Being Human) is Emperor Palpatine. Tiya Sircar (Vampire Diaries and 17 Again) voices Sabine Wren.
Perhaps the most surprising of all though, is film actor Freddie Prinze, Jr. picking up the role and rebel cell leader, Kanan Jarrus – a human Jedi survivor of Order 66, trained under master Depa Billaba, and the de facto leader of the Ghost crew, armed with a two-piece dual-phase lightsaber and DL-18 blaster. It has to be said, Freddie does a fantastic job of bringing this rough-edged Jedi to life!
Maybe that’s why Lucasfilm Animation then went ahead and roped his equally famous wife in to cut him down to size in season 2, unveiling Sarah Michelle Gellar as the deadly force-sensitive, steel masked Seventh Sister Imperial Inquisitor.
Definitely a fun way to pit husband against wife!
(Not that either of them steal the show mind you – that honour belongs – as always – to the impeccable James Earl Jones, the only man alive that can bring the intimidating Darth Vader to life!)
Fourteen years after the fall of the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Council in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, a rag-tag group of rebels unite aboard a freighter starship called the Ghost, and conduct operations against the Imperial garrison on and around the planet Lothal.
If you recognise that premise, then you’ve obviously been watching the action-packed Star Wars Rebels, the animated follow up by Lucasfilm Animation to their successful Star Wars: The Clone Wars series.
Of course, the Galactic Empire is the primary villainous force of the story here, but naturally it is the agents on the ground that will provide the biggest thrills and threats!
Season 1 had Ezra and the rest of the rebels being relentlessly chased by Agent Kallus, a high-ranking agent of the Imperial Security Bureau and skilled rebel hunter. Kallus eventually goes on to serve Darth Vader and work alongside the Inquisitors. He is particularly adept at spotting rebel traps and setting up his own, and as highly trained hand-to-hand combatant, Kallus also carries a rare Lasat bo-rifle which he personally pried from the dead hand of a Lasat Honor Guard when their homeworld fell to the Galactic Empire.
Then there are the insidious Inquisitors – force-sensitive agents of the Galactic Empire, armed with gyroscopic double-bladed lightsabers, and used by Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine to hunt down the remaining Jedi.
The first season introduced us to The Grand Inquisitor, tasked with hunting down any Jedi who survived Order 66, as well as luring any Force-sensitive children the Jedi in question take as their Padawans to the dark side or destroying them if they refuse. Particularly strong and adept at combat using his unusually lethal lightsaber, The Grand Inquisitor is easily superior to Kanan and any of the other rebels – thus making him by far their most immediate threat!
Season 2 also introduces two new Inquisitors into the mix, The Fifth Brother and The Seventh Sister. Eager to take the place of the Grand Inquisitor, these two Inquisitor partners are particularly energized in the carrying out of their mission of bringing down the rebels.
That said and done though, you can’t talk about the villains of Star Wars Rebels without mentioning the infamous Darth Vader. Pulling many of the strings and inflicting the heaviest damage against Ghost and her crew, the legendary cyborg Sith commander is at his imposing best, front and center in the fight against the rebel scum!
The first season of Star Wars Rebels was a pretty fun ride. Set fourteen years after Revenge of the Sith and five years before A New Hope, Rebels takes place during an era when the Galactic Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy. Imperial forces are hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights while a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking form.
It introduced us to the hot head, street smart, Ezra (who it turns out, might just make a pretty decent Jedi), the cowboy Jedi and leader of the rebel cell, Kanan, Ghost pilot Hera, the gruff and irritable Zeb, the creative but also good with explosives Sabine, and of course the annoying and slightly broken astromech droid Chopper.
Chased by the relentless Agent Kallus, and then hunted by the brutal Grand Inquisitor (with his awesomely designed lightsaber), the Rebels slowly moved from being a small thorn in the Empire’s toe to a rather large pain in it’s side!
Kanan was forced to wield his lightsaber once more, and as it turned out, became an unwilling mentor when it was shown that Ezra might just have a connection to the force.
Loads of action, tons of nods to franchise and of course lots of awesome guest appearances, season 1 certainly didn’t disappoint – and ended on an absolute thrilling note: the introduction of Lord Vader himself!
So yes. The kids and I are most definitely looking forward to season 2 kicking of on Disney XD!
There is virtually nothing that you can dislike about the insanely fun, targeted at young kids, Teen Titans, who return for their third 13 part season, this time ditching the manipulative Slade as lead bad guy and instead replacing him with the hypnotic, cult leader Brother Blood instead!
Terra who was introduced in the last season is dropped and the team is returned to the core of level-headed leader Robin, the adorable and likeable Starfire, the cool techno wizard Cyborg, the enigmatic and grouchy Raven, and of course the over the top, ball of silliness that is Beast Boy.
Stories are again an equal mix of all out action and over the top silliness, where pretty much anything goes, as seen in particular by the groovy Mad Mod and out of the hat Amazing Mumbo episodes. In-addition to the variety of villains, both old and new, that get tossed at us during the run, we also get treated in the latter part of the series with the introduction of the new Titans East franchise, consisting of Bumblebee, Speedy, Aqualad, and the super fast Guatemalan twins Más y Menos.
With just the right mix of action and slapstick comedy, combined with a great voice cast, fun music, and the loose but fun animation style that often dips into the super deformed sort of stuff one usually only encounters on Japanese anime shows, Teen Titans is an absolute delight that is sure to be loved by your kids, and if you are a comic book fan, will probably entertain you in the process of watching it with them as well!
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_Titans_%28TV_series%29
The insanely catchy and fun opening theme by Puffy AmiYumi is back, heralding of course the return of the awesomely fun superheroes for kids television series, Teen Titans!
The second season of Warner Bros. Animation’s Teen Titans consists of 13 episodes (just like the first season), and was aired back in 2004, making it pretty old already.
Following on from the first season, this new outing kicks off with the introduction of the new and sixth Teen Titan, Terra, who has the ability to manipulate rock (although she only hangs around for the first episode or two, then disappearing for most of the remainder of season, before returning right before the end to kick off the big finale arc).
As you might imagine, everyone that made up the team in the first season is back for this second run, giving us the adorable and likeable Starfire, the level-headed but headstrong Robin, the cool techno wizard Cyborg, the enigmatic and grouchy Raven, and of course the over the top, ball of silliness that is Beast Boy.
The series also brings back Slade (Deathstroke) as the principle manipulator behind the scenes, and after an enjoyable and action-packed two thirds of the episodes are done, the show really kicks into high gear, shifting to an even heavier amount of action and drama as Slade shows his hand and things get pretty serious!
With just the right mix of action and slapstick comedy, combined with the loose but fun animation style that often dips into the super deformed sort of stuff one usually only encounters on Japanese anime shows, Teen Titans is an absolute delight that is sure to be loved by your kids, and if you are a comic book fan, will probably entertain you in the process of watching it with them as well.
Light hearted (but with plenty of butt kicking superhero action), and with a great voice cast, fun music and silly but enjoyable animation, Teen Titans shouldn’t disappoint anyone in their target market – i.e. your youngsters! :)
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teen_Titans_%28TV_series%29
Legion of Super Heroes volume 3 wraps up the first season of this great kid’s super hero show, bringing it home with five episodes, namely “The Substitutes”, “Child’s Play”, “Chain of Command”, and finally “Sundown” parts 1 and 2.
Continuing where the first two volumes left off, volume 3 has a young Superman who is now quite comfortable with his position in the Legion, and the first two episodes are really two fun entries, the first playing around with a team of misfits who fail the Legion draft, but end up helping anyway, followed by a tale involving a magical imp child who causes headaches for everyone in his path.
The third episode starts picking up the intensity of the storytelling, dealing with the picking of a new leader for the Legion of Super Heroes, before ending off the season on an action-packed note by having the team call in just about all their members as they battle to deal with the ultimate weapon – a sun eater device capable of destroying any star it comes into contact with!
The writing is still aimed at the younger audience, think Teen Titans which is a similar target demographic, but despite this, I found the series to be an enjoyable, light-hearted (at times) super hero romp that is fun to watch (particularly if you are already a fan of the Legion), and thus the perfect title to catch with in the company of either your young son or daughter when they finally give you a break in order to catch your breath! :)
The animation is vibrant and fun, and suits the tone of the show perfectly. Simple designs and line work, but fluid animation, good choreography, and thus quite visually entertaining. Similarly, the voice cast all do a stellar job, making for an all round enjoyable viewing experience.
In summary, well worth watching if you can find it and are already a comic book fan with exposure to either Superman or Legion of Super Heroes. Lots of fun to watch with your kids, but enjoyable enough if you just want to sit down and take in some uncomplicated super hero fare when you get a chance.
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legion_of_Super_Heroes_%28TV_series%29
The final 13 episodes of what truly is an enjoyable animated series featuring everyone’s favourite vigilante dressed up as a bat, season 5 departs in a big way from what has up until now been a very Batman-centred universe, and instead introduces a number of different heroes from the DC universe Justice League line-up, turning this outing into very much a “Brave and the Bold” season!
Of course this means character and world development is out of the window in favour of super-powered team-ups and big brawls, which is not really that much of a drawback when you consider just how awesome and action-packed these resulting episodes actually are!
Interestingly enough, all of a sudden mainstays of the previous three seasons, Commissioner Gordon and Batgirl get sidelined to cameo appearances, with the Bat line-up settling into a more traditional Batman and Robin setup for just about the whole run.
In terms of the heroes we get to see on screen, we start things off with Superman, before being followed by the likes of Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, The Flash and Hawkman, never mind the entire Justice League who show up for the final story arc! Of course, the injection of new heroes comes with new villains for Bruce to tackle, including the likes of Lex Luthor, Mercy Graves, Metallo, Count Vertigo, The Wrath, Shadow Thief, Sinestro, Mirror Master, and the Terrible Trio (who actually aren’t all that terrible after all).
As per usual, Jeff Matsuda’s unique character design influence comes across strongly in the animated visuals, leaving us with a simple but extremely pleasing to the eye visual adventure that is jam-packed with action, intrigue, and of course a laugh or two, courtesy of course from a stellar panel of writers which includes the likes of Alan Burnett, Stan Berkowitz and Alexx van Dyne.
Overall this is a great looking show with an excellent voice cast (though I still lament the loss of the first season’s theme music from U2’s The Edge), backed by enjoyable and action-packed stories that bring the five year long franchise to a satisfying conclusion.
A lot lighter in tone than season 1 (a trend that happened across the seasons), season 5 of The Batman will definitely entertain all the boys, plus their comic book enjoying dads! :)
(Not so sure about the girls though – wifey didn’t really enjoy the last couple of seasons of the show. Too silly for her she said…)
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Batman_%28TV_series%29
After three very solid seasons before it, the hit animated television series featuring everyone’s favourite caped crusader is back, and this time around it brings even more to the table.
With the Teen Titans show finally having closed its curtains, finally we get Robin added into the mix, and the decision is made to bring in a very young Robin, far younger than Batgirl who was introduced last season. One can only assume that the decision around this was twofold, one to carry on from where Teen Titans left off and try and poach those fans into coming over to this show, or two, try and broaden the market of kids actually watching the series.
Anyway, the addition of the young daredevil Dick Grayson brings even more light hearted moments to the show, and the childish and fun interactions between Batgirl and Robin adds another enjoyable dimension to the series, following the same “pulling back a little from the overwhelming dark” pattern that was first established by the third season when the decision to add Barbara and use her a bit like a comedic foil was carried out.
Nevertheless, despite this very apparent lightening of the tone of the show as a whole, Batman continues his further descent into the darkness, visibly maturing as he becomes even more confident and assured in his abilities as a vigilante, as well as in his role of being team leader to his young recruits.
As with the other seasons of the series, this season packs in 13 very cleverly written and action packed stories, though it still doesn’t feature an overarching storyline and instead opts to go the villain of the week approach. However, this series does pack in some brilliantly executed and pretty heavy stories, making it one again a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable watch from start to finish.
There are a couple of new characters thrown into the mix, and as such Jeff Matsuda once again manages to come up with some fantastic character designs, the result of which is a fairly stylized but well animated television show that uses its simple line approach to its fullest and provides the view with some brilliantly choreographed and then executed fight sequences!
Once again the voice artist team is top notch with Rino Romano leading the way as Batman/Bruce Wayne, backed up by a great soundtrack and theme music.
In summary, The Batman season 4 contains some of the strongest stories yet (like Artifacts and Seconds for example), features excellent action sequences with loads of new gadgets as per usual, and successfully expands on what is already a winning franchise – with the added bonus of some more than normal quips and light heartedness to make for an all around enjoyable and engaging show.
In other words, there is simply no way that comic book fans won’t be able to enjoy this one! :)
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Batman_%28TV_series%29