Beginning its second season this Friday is the thrill a minute series presented by Reelz Channel that never allows us to put our guard down all because of the mysterious XIII.

This series tells the story of XIII (Stuart Townsend), a man who doesn’t know who he is or where he came from. The only identification he has is a tattoo of XIII on his arm. Walking through a towns protest as the police begin their raid, he saves Betty Barnowsky (Roxane Mesquita).

She in turn takes him to the head of VEIL, a protest group wanting to stop the government and their acquisition of the HARP device, a man made device that changes the weather but can be used for war. The device was created by none other than Nikola Tesla, the inventor who wants his work to help the world, not hurt it.

In the midst of this is an election in the United States between President Carrington (Stephen McHattie) and Harriet Treymore (Ingrid Kavelaars). She has help of Amos (Greg Bryk). When Treymore wins, President Carrington burrows himself in the White House next with the objective of keeping Treymore from taking the seat of power from him.

All of this is connected to XIII as he learns of his doppelganger Viktor (Stuart Townsend). Vicktor’s mission is to expose XIII and force him to take the fall for terrorist acts against the United States. There are even more connections as Mr. Barnowsky, Betty’s father (Michael Ironside) has another agenda along the lines of world domination with unexpected results.

XIII decides to flip everything when he seeks out Viktor and the Tesla letters before everything and everyone gets out of hand. He confronts the Xu Corporation and discovers they have HARP capabilities.

The country that betrayed XIII now wants help as President Carrington asks for his help in stopping HARP from being used.

FINAL WORD: Townsend does a phenomenal job portraying XIII, probably as equally astounding is that he also plays Viktor AND Tesla. This definitely isn’t a one-man job yet Townsend gives it everything he’s got and it pleasantly shows. His portrayal of XIII just gets me asking so many questions I need to start a notebook! He is broody, tough, moments of quipping that I enjoy and yet has no problem taking out anyone who gets in the way.

Townsend is straight in the middle of all this mayhem going from one character to the other I almost dare say he’s having a good time, especially playing the bad guy. Viktor truly is a bad guy. Just when I think there may be hope for him the rug gets pulled under, over, around and by me. That’s what makes a good mystery. Shouting at the television is always a good sign that an actor and his series are doing something right.

Mesquita as Betty definitely has some family issues that are so far out that even I didn’t see it coming. She is clearly defiant, wants what’s best for the planet but has a minor slip that I would put in the category of a child-like fit of rage! All of this brought on by daddy played by Ironside, another actor who is very, very good at being double sided in character.

Bryk as Amos is clearly the slime ball here but he does it in such a way that I kind of like him. Plotting and planning his every move Bryk makes it all look so easy never letting the audience in on his real designs.

Finally, the battle of the Presidency! McHattie as President Carrington just makes me totally bat crazy insane – but in a fantastic way. I have never, I don’t believe, seen a President portrayed in such a way as this. What a ground breaking character to play and there can’t be anything more enjoyable as the duality of a good psychosis.

Of course I think I’d be a little psychotic if we had a President Treymore! Played by Kavelaars, this character has the swagger of a crazed cowgirl of the old west mixed in with the insane reasoning of Sarah Palin! Watching these two actors go at it toe to toe brought the series to another level.

Other cast include: Virginie Ledoyen as Irina, Ted Atherton as Wally Sherison, Kristi Angus as Mischa Martin, Paulino Nunes as Frank Giordino, Demore Barnes as Martin Reynolds, Wole Daramola as Mozambique, Caterina Murino as Sam Hubert Tran as Duncan, Bruce Ramsay as Vargas, Ho Chow as M. Pong, Sarah Lian as Ai Ning, and Aisha Tyler as Jones.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give XIII four tubs of popcorn out of five. The series goes from the United States, to London to Shanghi and back. The story is literally filled to the brim with plot twists; plot flips, martial arts, zombiesque creations, and hallucinations. There are matrixy moments, crazy president versus Palin disturbing president elect and, if you need more, about the tease of THE PIT!

XIII is a Belgium graphic novel series created by Jean Van Hamme and William Vance. The series is an extension of the 2008 film XIII: The Conspiracy and there is also a video game of the same name.

REELZ is quickly becoming a channel I can appreciate for good television. They are consistently bringing programs to audiences that are not only out of the ordinary but also worth talking about. To see what is on their schedule go to www.reelz.com.

Play catch up and watch XIII in time to see the second season’s premier this Friday at 10 p.m. on REELZ of XIII.2.

In the end – who he is may not be important as what he can do to save the world!



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Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.

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