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Tag Archive: Mark Sheppard


Never been to a comic book or pop culture convention?  Always wanted to go to San Diego Comic-Con but you don’t have the vacation time available or the funds?  Planet Comicon is next weekend in Kansas City and it’s the sixth year of the show at downtown Kansas City’s giant convention center at Bartle Hall.  Planet Comicon is a great way to get a complete three-day convention experience centrally located in the Midwest, ideal for a last-minute road trip for the family or a car full of friends.  Kansas City is less than 8 hours by car from Dallas, less than 7 hours from Minneapolis, a little more than 7 hours from Indianapolis, and a little more than 8 hours from Denver.  And you don’t need to buy advance tickets–you can purchase them at the door.

So why make the trip?  How about meeting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Firefly star Alan Tudyk?   Also from Firefly, as well as Doctor Who, Supernatural, Chuck, Leverage, Star Trek Voyager (and one of borg.com‘s actors we can’t get enough of), Mark Sheppard?  Want to get a photo with Michael Rooker (“I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!” Yondu) and Pom Klementieff (Mantis), stars of last year’s biggest superhero hit Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2?  Are modern classics your thing?  How about seeing the star of fan-favorite movies like Say Anything, High Fidelity, and Eight Men Out?  Yep, John Cusack is returning to the Midwest for this year’s show (you can even bring your prized Rooker and Cusack Eight Men Out baseball cards for autographs).

Do you want to compare notes on The Walking Dead with stars Khary Payton, Rooker, and  Sonequa Martin-Green (also star of Star Trek Discovery)?  Maybe you’re a Game of Thrones fan.  You can meet both Jerome Flynn and Jason Momoa (also Aquaman in the DC Universe movies).  And speaking of fantasy, Planet Comicon is featuring a rare appearance by Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis, who played the beloved hero Neville Longbottom.  Want to meet the actor who has played the toughest badass characters you’ve ever seen?  Sling TV barista and Machete himself, Danny Trejo will be in the house.

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Supernatural Season 11

Who would have thought Supernatural could make it this far?   Maybe its 2.5 million viewers.  The adventures of Kansas “boys” Sam and Dean Winchester and their black 1967 Chevy Impala, 327, 4-barrel, V-8 engine, automatic, 4-door hardtop remains compelling after all these years.  The Vancouver, BC-based production can only really be compared to The X-Files, also full of watchable single, monster-of-the-week, episodes (that you can just pop in to watch even if you’re not watching every episode of the series) as well as ongoing story arcs.  But The X-Files only made it nine seasons–so far.

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles begin their next journey in only a few weeks.  And fan favorite Mark Sheppard, who has been on some 50 episodes as Crowley, is back as well.  And you can always bet on some good guest stars to show up each season.

Supernatural chevy

Check out the Winchester brothers and Crowley in this preview for Season 11’s premier episode, “The Darkness”–

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Stephen Amell Nerd HQ 2014

Nerd HQ wrapped this weekend’s panels for charity with some good Q&A sessions.  If you haven’t seen earlier Nerd HQ panels, we at borg.com have been covering them since 2011 here when we saw Scott Bakula in San Diego at the inaugural event.  Check out this link for past panels.  We even got immortalized at the beginning of Zachary Levi’s introduction of Bakula as Levi was momentarily startled by a certain Tenctonese alien in the crowd in this video (“Ma’am, do you realize you have no hair on your head?”):

We’re still finding photos on the Web Comic-Con visitors snapping photos of us in that Alien Nation cosplay.

This weekend posted the first days of the panels from this year’s Nerd HQ here and here.  Nerd HQ wrapped with more panels Sunday.  Making his first appearance at Nerd HQ was the man playing one of our favorite characters, Arrow’s Oliver Queen, Stephen Amell:

The Winchester brothers returned again for this Supernatural panel with Mark Sheppard

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borg dot com benchmark logo tape

We kicked off borg.com as a way to catch up on entertainment news, books and movies back on June 10, 2011.  We’ve posted what’s new each day to provide “your daily science fiction, fantasy, and entertainment fix” for two years now and continue to forge ahead as we tick past our 800,000th view by readers today.

We want to say thanks to you for reading.  It’s a lot of fun (and hard work) keeping up on all the great genre entertainment out there, be it on TV, in theaters, in books, or comics.  We also want to thank all the comic book publishers out there that provide us with preview review copies, as well as book publishers and TV and movie studios and collectible companies that allow us to give you first available previews and reviews.  We cover only what we’re interested in and excited about–we figure that if we like it, so might you.

bionic borg meter

Some of the most fun we’ve had is meeting new people as we keep up on the coolest happenings in the genre realm, some at conventions, some are friends we are grateful to chat with each week of the year.  And lucky for us, borg.com has allowed us to meet some of our own favorite celebrities over the past two years, sci-fi stars like Mark Hamill, Joss Whedon, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Anthony Stewart Head, Scott Bakula, Adam Baldwin, Lindsay Wagner, Saul Rubinek, Zachary Levi, Eddie McClintock, Wil Wheaton, and Mark Sheppard.  Sci-fi and fantasy writers like Peter S. Beagle, Connie Willis, James Blaylock, and Sharon Shinn.  And comic book creators like Frank Cho, Jim Lee, Sergio Aragones, Neal Adams, and Howard Chaykin, and scores of other great comics creators like Mike Mayhew, Mike Norton, Michael Golden and Mikel Janin (and several not named Mike).

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Matt Smith as 11th Doctor

BBC announced yesterday that Matt Smith’s last episode as the 11th Doctor on Doctor Who, the oldest series on television, will be this year’s Christmas episode to air on Christmas Eve.  He’ll also appear in the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who episode this fall.  For those of us who never would have given Doctor Who a try but for Matt Smith, he will be sorely missed.  Without Matt Smith’s energetic and brilliant performances, we wouldn’t have seen how awesome David Tennant was as the 10th Doctor, met Christopher Eccleston’s 9th Doctor and his long-running companion Rose, or checked out the numerous audio books, or even peeked at those earlier “other” Doctors.

But just as we quickly have embraced his new companion with Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara (Amy Pond who?) after we thought we’d met the best companion ever, life goes on and so will the Doctor’s next incarnation as he takes the form of another actor… or actress?

So who should be the next Doctor?  Matt Smith has given us some brilliant performances.  If you aren’t a Doctor Who fan and wanted to sample some of the best of Matt Smith’s Doctor, try these:

The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour.  We meet Matt Smith’s Doctor for the first time as he must save the world in 20 minutes with a wrecked TARDIS and broken sonic screwdriver and with the help of Amy Pond–the girl who waited.

The Beast Below

The Beast Below.  The Doctor and Amy travel to a future where residents live on a spaceship called Starship UK.  We meet a future Queen and learn the terrible truth about what keeps the ship–and all its inhabitants–alive.

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Leverage the last con

One reason you shouldn’t write a “best of the year” list before December 31 is someone might slip in something better in the last few days of the year.  Something like the series finale for Leverage.

When Leverage executive producer Dean Devlin was planning this year’s season five finale for the TNT network series Leverage, there was already the possibility the series would not be renewed for a sixth season.  Devlin went forward with the series finale concept that he and series creator John Rogers had planned from the first episode.  Lucky for fans, because the series did not renew.  And instead of a typical season-ending cliffhanger, the story of five loner criminals that formed a team had an honest to goodness finale to tie up every loose end.  In fact, of all the series finales this year, including The Closer, Chuck, House, M.D., and In Plain Sight, Devlin & Co. slipped in a finale by year end that was probably the best of all.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Jonathan Frakes has directed nine of the 60 episodes of Leverage in its first four seasons. Leverage is a good series that lacks some consistency, maybe because it has several creators that have been rotated in and out in the ordinary course of the series. Each of the episodes directed by Frakes demonstrates a knowledge of the material, which includes a level of informality and humor between the characters that is rare in episodic television.  You wonder whether he learned it as cast member Commander Will Riker in his seven seasons and four Star Trek: The Next Generations films, a place where he got to work with a close-knit family of actors that reflect their camaraderie on-screen.  If you happened to see this season’s finale, then you witnessed a perfect episode of TV, with a great ensemble cast, and everyone in prime form.  Frakes and me at Comic-Con in 2008:

Leverage is a good series in its simplicity.  It’s a fun show and never takes itself very seriously.  We’ve compared it before to shows like The A-Team.  There is a mission, these are the good guys, they are understood.  They always get the job done.  And episodes are peppered with the best character actors.  And one of our favorites of any series popped up in this season’s finale–Mark Sheppard as Jim Sterling.

This season’s finale, “The Queen’s Gambit Job,” was a great action drama on several fronts:

Academy Award winning actor Timothy Hutton’s Nathan Ford got to revel in his mastermind role, playing a high stakes game of chess in a Casino Royale story with the fate of a nuclear weapon up in the air.

Parker gets to get stuck in a vault, only to figure her way out and end up on the roof of the second tallest building in the world, the Skyspire of Dubai.  And she gets to free fall over the edge because of a parachute packed by Hardison.

Hacker Hardison (Aldis Hodge) and thief Parker (Beth Riesgraf) get closer and become even more of a team, thinking like each other and covering each others’ backs.

Hitter Eliot (Christian Kane) actually loses this round for once, to none other than Sheppard’s Sterling.  Eliot and Sheppard’s verbal sparring rival any actual fighting Eliot has encountered in the series so far, as well as his verbal sparring with Hardison in several episodes.  This episode shows Sheppard at his best–his normal dark and quiet demeanor gets stretched here and he seems to really lose it when engaging with Eliot in the car.

The only character who doesn’t get much screen time this round is grifter Sophie (Gina Bellman).  For the most part her role is the weakest and some focus from the writing team on her character next season is overdue.

There is always a double cross on Leverage, and clues are carefully laid out for the viewer to catch what is really happening before the big reveal.  The team always gets caught, but are they really?  In this episode, even though team members feel a loss, everyone actually wins.  It is a good spin on the normal Leverage story.  The cast has such chemistry at this point you just hope they can keep it up for a few more seasons.  And while they are at it, since this was his second appearance, why not make Sheppard a series regular cast member?

And how about Frakes as the permanent series director?  His other episodes were also top-notch shows: The Lonely Hearts Job, The Wedding Job, The Snow Job, The Juror #6 Job, The Fairy Godparents Job, The Bottle Job, The Reunion Job, The Studio Job and The Morning After Job.

For the fun of it, here is E.C. Bunce and me at Comic-Con where we ran into Mark Sheppard in the Gaslight District in our Chuck meets Alien Nation garb.  Photo courtesy of the gracious Mrs. Sheppard:

BTW, Sheppard said he read this borg.com article on him in a prior post.  Definitely our favorite guest star on nearly every all of our favorite TV series.

He plays the characters you love to hate.  Some actors are so prolific they pop up as secondary characters for years, fitting nicely in the background, and you could easily overlook them.  Then inexplicably they have a breakout role and show up in everything you watch.  Beginning in 1992, genre actor Mark Sheppard started to amass a volume character roles starting with Silk Stalkings but not until 2005 with Monk did he hit his stride that continues to this day.  Featured in several TV series per year, in the past three years you could almost change from channel to channel and catch him on multiple series within a single season.  And you know what you’ll usually get with Sheppard: a whole lotta deceit, manipulation, sometimes smarmy, menacing, cunning, sinister and sometimes downright evil.  Other than his facial hair, he also looks the same in each series so if you doze off and wake up to Sheppard’s unmistakable sneer, you could easily confuse which Sheppard character you’re watching.  And his appearance has remained basically the same over the years–you could post a photo for each series below, shuffle them, and you’d have a tough time telling the difference (Star Trek make-up aside).  And we like it that way.
 
Here’s a rundown of his most notable appearances (he’s performed in even more TV series and films) and read on and you might see that his various characters tend to follow a similar, dark theme:
 
The X-Files (1993).  As the sinister Cecil L’Ively/Ben the Caretaker, he uses the ability to control fire to murder several British dignitaries, and moves along to the United States where his efforts are foiled by Mulder and Scully.
 
Star Trek: Voyager (2000).  As Leucon, he plays the Brunali father of Icheb, the boy who was once a member of The Borg.  Seemingly a meek and kind father, he actually sent his own son away infected with pathogens in an attempt to kill The Borg.  Luckily, Seven of Nine saves Icheb as Leucon again tries to kidnap Icheb and return him to The Borg.

Charmed (2002).  As Arnon the Aggressor, he plays a demon trying to to kill a retired elder, ultimately destroyed by Piper after the Charmed Ones become superheroes.

Firefly (2002).  As the psychotic Badger, he plays a small time crook turned criminal operation, “business man,” cargo smuggler who convinces the crew of the Serenity to salvage stolen property.
 
Monk (2005).  As Chris Downey the gravedigger, he is unmasked by detective Monk for framing kung fu movie star Sonny Chow.  Once Monk figures it out, Downey knocks him unconscious and buries him alive.

24 (2006).  As Ivan Erwich, he plays a Dawn Brigade Russian separatist working for Vladimir Bierko in smuggling canisters of nerve gas, ultimately killed by his own man Bierko.
 
Without a Trace (2006).  As Ioannis “Johnny” Patani he plays a shifty crime boss, but for once is not revealed as the kidnapper in an episode.

Medium (2005-06).  As Dr. Charles Walker/Jack Walker, he plays a doctor who is revealed by Allison to be a serial killer and then comes back from the dead to haunt Allison and possess vaguely psychic people and turn them into serial killers in a creepy Jack the Ripper-ish story.  A shocking, stunning performance, it is my nominee for Sheppard as his most sinister and creepy character.

Bionic Woman (2007).  As Anthony Anthros, he plays a developer of bionic technology.
 
In Plain Sight (2008).  As the often talked about Russell, he gets Mary Shannon’s sister Brandi in over her head and involved in a drug sale, which sets the tone of the Brandi/Mary relationship for the coming seasons.

Burn Notice (2009).  Sheppard plays the villain of the week yet again.  Michael agrees to help a woman deal with a stalker, Sheppard’s Tom Prescott, only to learn that he is not really a stalker at all, but the leader of a full-scale bank robbery.  Michael and recurring baddie Bly become hostages.  As Fiona blows up the getaway truck Prescott offs his entire gang, to then be caught by the police.
 
Battlestar Galactica (2007-09).  As Romo Lampkin, Sheppard gets to fully flush out and develop a character over several episodes that becomes one of the highlights of the entire series.  Lampkin once had everything, great family, great career, as a lawyer on Caprica, until the Cylon strike that turns the galaxy upside down.  He is smart, manipulative and deceitful, and yet we like him anyway, when he is stuck defending the even more questionable Gaius Baltar, then serving as counsel to Tom Zarek when he takes over, he is ultimately appointed President of the Colonies.  One episode he’ll annoy you and the next you sympathize with Lampkin’s lot in life.  Lampkin became Sheppard’s stand-out role. 


 
Dollhouse (2009).  As FBI agent Graham Tanaka, he refuses to believe in the existence of the Dollhouse.  Here we see him again with Battlestar Galactica’s Tahmoh Penikett, who plays the ex-FBI agent assigned to the Dollhouse.
 
White Collar (2009).  As Curtis Hagen, he plays a crook caught by Neal Caffrey and Peter Burke in the series pilot.

Leverage (2008-10).  As Jim Sterling, former colleague and rival of Timothy Hutton’s Nate, Sheppard appears again with Jeri Ryan, and gets to challenge the entire Leverage team.  Fun to see him spar with Nate–it’s a great recurring role for Sheppard.

Chuck (2010).  On Chuck he is revealed to be the director of the spy organization The Ring.  As you guess, he nails the role.

Warehouse 13 (2009-10).  As regent, Benedict Valda presses Saul Rubinek’s Artie and the rest of Warehouse 13 team to further pursue the shady dealings of Artie’s old friend and former regent, MacPherson.

Doctor Who (2011).  Six months after Sheppard’s FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III quits the force, he is called by President Nixon to investigate mysterious telephone calls Nixon is receiving, ultimately revealed as the man who got Nixon to record everything in the Oval Office.  He meets up with the Eleventh Doctor and they transport to Florida to investigate the little girl making the calls.  Since this is a  recent episode I’ll avoid spoilers, but Canton provides a satisfying double cross involving the creepy turn-away-and-forget’em aliens known as The Silence.  Here we finally get to see the noble side of a Sheppard character.  Here’s the character I would most like to see him return to play.
 
Supernatural (2009-11).  As the evil Crowley, he initially weasels his way in to assist the Winchester brothers Sam and Dean, only to later to be revealed as having darker intentions.

Lucky for us, we can gamble on more appearances by Sheppard in his current series and can look forward to his next surprise appearance.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

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