Supergirl is the latest superhero TV series and joined the likes of The Flash (2nd Season), Arrow (4th) & Agents of SHIELD (3rd) in an ever-increasing costumed tights buffet. I don’t count Gotham as a superhero TV series as it is just a (boring) police procedural set in the Batman universe & worse still, a prequel (I hate prequels).
Ironically, despite the fact that the pilot was leaked online months ago, Supergirl’s premiere episode did very well out of the blocks. Presumably, the female lead and Superman associations put the new series in good stead. Apparently this series is based on the Christopher Reeve Superman continuity and thus adopts a more light-hearted tone. And thus has nothing to do with current DC comics continuity (which is messed up) or the DC movie universe as established by Man of Steel (very very dark) – which makes sense.
However, because of this, there is less Geek Out value to Supergirl compared to the other series above-mentioned & will probably appeal more to the Gotham crowd than hardcore comic book geeks. The Flash and Arrow still have an edge over Agents of SHIELD, due to the CW writers and producers being more faithful to the source material than even Marvel itself, surprisingly.
Oliver Queen’s running for Mayor of Star City (Arrow) and the appearance of King Shark (!!!) in The Flash (not to mention the new Firestorm) in the latest episodes gives us geeks exactly what we want in a superhero TV series – nods to original material, over the top heroics & of course, ridiculous villains! Awesome fun!
Well, it may have taken 54 years but better late than never! Finally, the concept of the DC multiverse first mooted in The Flash #123 (1961) makes its way into mainstream pop culture.
The second episode of CW’s The Flash Season 2 sets up this premise as the core storyline for the series with the introduction of Jay Garrick (the Flash of Earth-2). Kudos to the writers and producers of the show for diving boldly into this challenging scifi-superhero concept. That last bit teasing the Earth-2 Harrison Wells was brilliant as well – could Wells be Zoom? Can’t wait to see how The Flash develops this in the episodes to come!
The last two years have been amazing for superhero comic book geeks. In the wake of the mega-success of The Avengers, superheroes have gone from strength to strength with Arrow and Agents of SHIELD setting the pace for superhero TV as well. But it is with The Flash, that geeks can truly see the potential of TV series that are faithful to the core values of the original comic book. From the very beginning, the folks behind The Flash have been committed to the tone of DC Comics’ Silver Age – superheroes created by science, tongue-in-cheek reference points without sacrificing the crucial human element – by getting the casting right (Grant Gustin must be the find of the season!), ensuring quality writing on the episodes and giving something back to the diehard geeks on a consistent basis (Mark Hamill saying the line “I am your father” for one!).
Could the much anticipated finale live up to the hype? Yes it could and how! The pacing of the finale kept keen watchers on tenterhooks for most of the duration as Barry Allen tried to resolve the conundrum – should he change the past and lose his present? The emotional resonance was kept to a reasonable degree but that didn’t stop me from crying buckets at different points. Along the way, the writers also offered glimpses of things to come in Season 2, even as The Flash made his critical decision to pursue justice instead of mere sentimentality. Still that did not prepare me for the shock twist at the end! A brilliantly conceived denouement that brought about a catastrophe that left Season 1 on a cliffhanger.
And so, we are left hanging and looking forward to DC’s Legends of Tomorrow before The Flash Season 2 speeds into our lives! Can’t hardly wait!
CW and DC up the ante in the Superhero TV stakes with a super-team of time travellers. This is really ambitious but if done properly could be a game-changer and force Marvel/ABC to look beyond the lame grey super-spy concept of Agents of SHIELD. It’s a good time to be a geek!
Time to consolidate reviews on the weekly superhero TV fare out there.
FLASH Season 1 Episode 15 (CW)
By all accounts, a pretty dark instalment in the Flash’s story so far. Things go wrong for quite a few of the supporting characters : for Cisco as he discovers Dr. Well’s secret and for Joe as the new Weather Wizard seeks revenge, though the Barry-Iris relationship takes a new twist and in attempting to save Central City from destruction, the Flash goes literally faster than time. A critical point in the narrative.
Now, I will come right out and say that a lot of Oliver’s motivations on “Narda Parbat” make little sense. I mean, after everything that Malcolm Merlyn has done, why the hell would Oliver risk, not only his own life but that of Diggle’s, to save Merlyn? Kudos to John Barrowman for making Malcolm a deliciously despicable villain that nobody but nobody has any sympathy for. C’mon, at least Slade was utterly messed up in the head by the mirakuru in his system. So what’s Malcolm’s excuse?
Anyways, much of this episode feels like a re-tread of the one where Oliver voluntarily challenged Ra’s Al Ghul despite everybody (but Malcolm!) trying to dissuade him and for that reason it falls rather flat most of the way. It does seem that ever since the mid-season finale, Oliver has been guilty of incredibly stupid decision making! And… did anyone expect Oliver and Diggle to succeed, against the bloody League of Assassins? C’mon! That all said, I did not expect that final scene with Ra’s – alright, you got me there. Well done!
By the way, can someone tell me why Atom comes across as a second rate Iron Man? That is NOT the Atom, CW? WTF
Like Thea, viewers of Arrow might be getting a little exasperated at the little twists and turns the CW series needs to take, in order to tell its stories. The last few episodes have been tough on Oliver’s little sister as she has had to deal with an almighty info dump and this latest episode was probably the worst, when she discovered that she was responsible for Sara Lance’s murder. The episode was a bit of a stopgap, serving as an incredulous training lesson meted out by Malcolm Merlyn (why do the Queen siblings continue to trust him when he has proven time and again to be untrustworthy?) but at least brought back Wilson Slade/Deathstroke for more unnecessary violent fun.
In the flashback narrative, Oliver finds himself back in Starling five years ago with Maseo (who is one of the brighter cast additions) which leads to Oliver acquiring his fathers guilty list notebook (remember?). Naturally, the show could not resist throwing in familiar faces into this mix – 2010’s version Tommy, Laurel, John, Felicity, Thea and a drunk Det. Lance all featured in mostly character-revealing moments with the introduction of Lt. Matthew Shrieve (Marc Singer!) at the conclusion spicing things up once again.
But in the present day, things need to move forward with the Ra’s Al Ghul plot line and soon. C’mon!
The Firestorm two-parter may well have been the best Flash episodes so far – which is really saying something. No stone was left unturned to flesh out the characters that make up Firestorm (i.e. Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond) and there was a sense of inevitability that the two would eventually merge once again. Harrison Wells (Reverse-Flash) is manipulating events behind the scenes and as the ending suggests is also somehow related with Gorilla Grodd as well! I am curious to see what Wells’ motivation in the scheme of things because the writers have done a good job in keeping Wells’ true intentions hidden.
The episodes worked so well that it played like a set up for a Firestorm spin-off and depending on how the audiences respond, I am guessing that that series may happen sooner than later. Victor Garber (Stein) and Robbie Amell (Raymond) have settled into their respective roles rather well and it would be intriguing to see how a Firestorm series will explore this unique dynamic. But for the Flash, it does feel that we getting ever closer to Barry’s encounter with the Reverse-Flash in a race to save his mother. Can hardly wait!
Just an aside to pay tribute to the creators of these wonderful super-heroes. Even as the credits omit this fact (based on characters in DC Comics), the Barry Allen-Flash was of course created by writers Robert Kanigher & John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino, whilst the original Firestorm was created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Al Milgrom. Credit where it is due!
Getting more and more intense with each passing episode, Arrow season 3 is maintaining its status as the best dark superhero soap opera out there.
Secrets are revealed left, right and centre and the impact on the series remains to be seen. Laurel Lance is accepted in her new role as the Canary and Ra’s Al Ghul makes his play and the Queen siblings realize that they have to trust Malcolm Merlyn, for better or worse.
Meanwhile, Oliver’s flashback narrative brings us an unexpected twist.
The secret origin of Firestorm! It took some time but finally The Flash revealed to us how Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond merged to become the Nuclear Man. In the meantime, Joe West recruits Cisco Ramon to investigate further the death of Barry Allen’s mother, with Dr Harrison Wells being the prime suspect.
Well written overall, with emotional resonance but somehow Firestorm’s lack of a costume made him look terribly lame. But Cisco’s investigation turns out some shocking results and the cliff-hanger ending kept the interest high. And.. where is Grodd?
The ‘death of Arrow – Brick takeover’ saga comes to a conclusion. But the threat of retribution from Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Assassin towards Merlyn and Arrow remains very real. A myriad plotlines come together nicely but not without setting off more new ones.
Laurel settles into her role as Canary as the Arrow team plot to take down Brick. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen struggles to return to Starling City, after rising from the dead. There is some back-story for Merlyn to get through, which humanizes him just a little, so that perhaps the audience can accept somehow Arrow’s difficult choice at the end.
When CW’s Arrow debuted, it opted to follow the Christopher Nolan interpretation of the superhero. Functional costumes, real world scenarios and realistic heroes. Another leaf that was taken from the Nolan book was the parallel narratives that were set in different times and places.