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Renegade: Windy City Blues (1993)
One of the best Renegade episodes
One of the best Renegade episodes. I remember back in the 90s Renegade ran along with Highlander and there was a great commercial with Lorenzo lamas and Adrian Paul touting their strengths (the Highlander was 400 years old but the Renegade had 400 horse power). Both of these shows were the type where you either loved or hated the series. They both provided a lot of entertainment to the people that loved them. This episode of Renegade broke the formula (Reno chasing a bounty) and got down to the roots of the show, with creator Stephen J. Cannell's character Dutch Dixon heavily involved in the plot line, along with great character actors in guest starring rolls, namely Charles Napier as Reno's cop father and Don Stroud as an escaped criminal from father Raines's past. It was one of those episodes where Dutch Dixon was a hair away from capturing Reno. The only negative to this episode is we never see the gorgeous Kathleen Kinmont.
The Avengers: Who's Who??? (1967)
One of the top episodes
Definitely a top Avengers episode, and probably the best of Season 5. Fantastic guest stars Patricia Haines and Freddie Jones as Lola and Basil, the criminals who switch bodies with Emma and Steed. While in this switched state, we see Mrs. Peel do some groovy dancing and Steed plant a kiss on her lips, as well as some other uncharacteristic behavior for our heroes. At the same time, the real Emma and Steed, now in the bodies of Lola and Basil, must figure out a way to switch things back, providing some great humor and action for the viewers. I watched this on DVD shortly after the news of Patrick Macnee's passing away. He was brilliant as Steed and had unmatchable chemistry with Diana Rigg. The Avengers enabled many other great British shows like Benny Hill, Monty Python, and Doctor Who to cross the pond into our television sets in the USA. The thought and detail that went into every episode makes it watchable some 50 years later. Very few great shows like this on modern TV. Game of Thrones is one of them (any coincidence that Diana Rigg is on this show as well?). A disappointing effort to start a film franchise some years back as even great actors Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman couldn't come close to recreating the magic of Macnee and Rigg.
Phantom Punch (2008)
When I saw Robert Townsend directing and so many actors I respect like Ving Rhames, David Proval and Stacey Dash I really expected a lot more out of this film. It showed absolute zero of the ferociousness of Sonny Liston, the way he paralyzed Floyd Patterson with fear (in real life Patterson brought a fake beard and glasses to both Liston fights so he could sneak out unnoticed after getting his inevitable beatings) and it showed absolute zero of the build up to the first Cassius Clay fight. In real life Liston slapped Clay in a casino, and Clay famously left a bear trap on Liston's front steps. Sonny Liston was one of the most enigmatic figures of the 20th century, but this film shows none of that. It's basically: convict gets paroled, boxes, deals with bigotry and eventually...well, honestly, I turned it off during the first Clay fight, so I don't know how the film goes after that. This looked to me like a payday for everyone involved. I hate to post a bad review, especially after all the years that I've enjoyed Robert Townsend's work, but this movie was a real stinkeroo! You look at a film like Raging Bull where they were able to make Jake LaMotta sympathetic, even while showing his violent side. None of that is done in Phantom Punch. It's like making a film on Mike Tyson and simply showing that he raised pigeons while he wasn't boxing.
Hawaii Five-0: Kekoa (2013)
Summer Glau and Grace Park
Summer Glau and Grace Park on the same episode of a TV show! My nerd heart is beating out of my chest! On those credentials alone this should be the greatest episode of all time! Alas, McGarrett and Danno lose credibility when they don't arrest the shrimp truck guy, even after they catch him with a gun. Treat Williams could be a fantastic guest star but he basically chews scenery with Christine Lahti as he portrays a private investigator (as a Magnum PI fan I will never say private eye) trying to get info out of Lahti as McGarrett's mom. So McGarrett lets the shrimp truck guy off the hook and he can't even confront his own mother? Where's Jack Lord when you need him? Just when it starts to really drag they finally have Grace and Summer share a scene. Unfortunately the other detective has way too much dialogue and arrests Summer's character. She could have resisted arrest and then Grace would of had to wrestled her to the ground in a clothes tearing catfight, but no, denied! Chin Ho and Kono investigate Summer's character's father's fight club and then they watch fight films with McGarrett. The fights in the film look more staged than a WWE match. They can afford Treat Williams but can't get better fight footage? Fortunately Grace Park has now been on screen for a good 10 minutes straight (seven of those minutes included Summer) so I'm still watching at this point. An unseen assailant hits Summer with a stun gun. It was her father's assistant, and apparently he was disgruntled at being in Summer's father's shadow. They make Summer fight another woman in an empty swimming pool while drunks watch. Summer totally beats her ass. She hasn't kicked this much ass since the Serenity movie. The 5-0 come to save her. The main goon pulls a knife on McGarrett, who responds by shooting him in the leg. Although story wise it would have been better to see McGarrett best the goon in combat, shooting him in the leg was probably the only realistic moment of this entire episode. Treat Williams and Christine Lahti return in the final scene for some comic relief. If you get a great guest star like Treat Williams you can do a lot more with him than that. I should rate this episode a 3, but Summer Glau and Grace Park being on the same episode bring it back up to a 7. I try hard to like this show but I really hate the way that the 5-0 is totally dependent on computers. I also hate when they finish each others sentences. It takes 5 people to relay dialogue that 2 actors could easily handle and make more interesting (Scott Caan is the only one who avoids this pitfall).
Highlander: The Samurai (1994)
One of the best Highlander episodes
"Samurai" stands as a top 3 Highlander episode. It is the episode that explains how McCloud obtained his katana sword. It also has top notch guest stars and has probably the best acting of any episode. The flashbacks feature Robert Ito as Hideo Koto, a samurai who protects McCloud from the Shogun, and in doing so has condemned himself to death. Hideo teaches McCloud the martial arts, sword mastery and most importantly, honor. Robert Ito was always great as Sam on Quincy but in this episode you see him as a totally different character, and you also see what a great actor he really is. Eventually McCloud must assist Hideo in his own suicide (the punishment for him helping the outsider McCloud). Adrian Paul's game seems to be upped in his scenes with Ito, as well as his scenes with another fantastic guest star, Tamlyn Tomita, who plays 2 roles in the past and present. She was so good in Karate Kid II I'm surprised she hasn't been in a lot more stuff with prominent parts. It was nice to see her as a main character in this episode. In the past she is Hideo's daughter Maia and has some great scenes with Adrian Paul. In the present she is a Koto descendant, Midori, who is unfaithful to her husband (and an immortal) Kent, portrayed by yet another great guest star in character actor Stephen McHattie. For a one episode villain Kent comes off as one of McCloud's most formidable opponents. McCloud had promised Hideo 200 years earlier that the Kotos would always have a protector, and Midori calls in the favor by showing McCloud an old telescope that McCloud had given Hideo in the flashbacks. The fight at the end is also one of the best. McCloud's sword gets driven into the ground, and as Kent prepares to stab McCloud he catch's Kent's sword between his palms and turns it on him. The cinematography is also superb in this episode. Beyond Philip Akin as Charlie there are no other regular cast members in this episode, likely to give room to all of the great guest stars. This was the first episode of Season 3, which in my opinion is the season where Highlander really hit it's peak.
T.J. Hooker: Requiem for a Cop (1983)
David Caruso meets TJ Hooker
Just caught this episode on a TJ Hooker marathon on Clue network. Classic episode with a Rambo era David Caruso. Adrian Zmed makes some great Blue Steel faces while Hooker berates people. Richard Herd before he was George Costanza's boss. James Hong also makes an appearance as Dr. Hong. They put a lot of thought into that one. Hooker says "Hong, you're beautiful!". Episode climaxes with David Caruso arming an old school 70s bomb with the digital clock ticking down. He tries to get away on a motorcycle but Hooker blows out the bike's tire with one shot from several yards away. Unfortunately there's minimal Heather Locklear in this episode.