Category Archives: Television

TV Review: The Flash S3E4 The New Rogues

The Flash Season 2Mirror Master joins his old partner, Top and looks to even the score with Snart; Jesse joins the chase, but her decision to defy one of Barry’s orders results in terrible consequences.

The Flash adds a new Rogue to the mix with the Mirror Master making his debut, but his introduction wasn’t the biggest thing about the episode, it’s what revolved around that introduction that is the biggest deal.

The main focus of the episode is Jesse still learning about her power and to be a speedster. This is her real first mission and things don’t go all that well. It’s a pretty typical story arc that gives her some time in spandex and I’m sure it won’t be the last we see of her like that.

And speaking of Jesse, there’s the realization by her father that he’s key in helping the group, but at some point he’d have to head back to his world. So, an interesting plan is hatched taking advantage of the multiverse and giving us another version of Harrison Wells to deal with. The Earth he comes from will give some hints as to what we’ll expect from this character and comic fans should smile about that aspect. It’s a cool twist in the show, but it’s a bit odd for Harrison to be ok with messing with the multiverse when he had issues with Barry messing with time.

Speaking of Barry, he attempts to move his relationship with Iris forward and that’s a hilarious aspect of the show and it’s great to watch so I’ll leave that one for watchers to explore. It’s all really cute and it’s nice to see things not see smooth for all of the characters.

Finally, there’s some movement as far as a character who may be getting an evil turn that was hinted at in the last episode. More is here and it’s really cool to see and something fans of the comics have been waiting for since the first season.

An interesting question is out there if Barry is going to go and change the time stream again at some point and set things back to the way they were. It’s hanging over everything which makes the season really feel like anything can happen. This is the strongest episode of the season so far and continues the fun vibe of the series.

Overall Rating: 8.55

Supergirl S2E3 “Welcome to Earth” Review and Recap

images-1Last night’s episode of Supergirl starts off with the mystery alien escaping the DEO facility where he was being held. The timing couldn’t be worse since J’onn J’onzz has gotten ready of his stockpile of Kryptonite and the President is coming to tour the DEO facility and sign her Alien Amnesty Act into a law. Meanwhile over at Catco, Jimmy Olsen is having a hard time reigning in a super aggressive Snapper who thinks that he’s the new boss and we’re introduced to Maggie Lawson who is a pro “good” alien science cop who’s all about equality.

We’re treated to none other than Lynda Carter, yes the OG Wonder Woman herself, the day after Wonder Woman Day became am actual thing instead of me rocking the tiara at home alone, playing the President. This treat is made all the more sweeter when coupled with the other bad ass ladies taking command over the small screen last night.

After Madam President is almost incinerated on stage by a rogue alien who is not too fond of the Alien Registration Act, Kara and Alex step up to save her and go hunting for the person responsible. After Winn discovers that the mystery alien isn’t form Krypton but, their rival planet Daxam, Kara is convinced that he’s the threat to the president. Alex goes on an alien hunt with Maggie who’s got all the ins with the alien community and after a trip to a dive bar, Maggie reveals to Alex that she’s a lesbian.

Meanwhile back at Catco, Kara in her human life is covering Lana Luthor who is all set to reveal her prototype alien detection device, after some tense conversation and friendly debate Kara destroys the device with her heat vision when Lana is not looking so that her secret isn’t discovered. Kara turns in her article to Snapper who is not too pleased at Kara’s reporting style.

In Kara’s super hero life, she finds the rogue alien, Mor-El and puts him in an alien time out at DEO headquarters. She’s forced to take a look at her own prejudices when another attack occurs and the true alien villain is revealed. It gives her perspective on why some humans feel how they feel and she channels it into a great article.

images-2During the second attack on the president the Danvers sisters try and defeat the rogue alien who escapes and takes Maggie hostage. After they  track her down, there’s a huge boss battle style fight scene that ensues. Obviously, Supergirl kicks major ass and the threat is neutralized. Alex starts to rethink the way she feels about aliens who she’s not related to and Kara has a heart to heart with Mor-El to let him know she won’t be prejudging him and to tell him about the fate of both of their planets.

Jimmy finds a creative, but effective, way of cutting Snapper down to size and making it clear that he is the boss and Snapper works for him and Kara talks to Lana about how even though they don’t agree there can be some respect and understanding in their opposing positions. We also discover that Madam President is an alien herself and, I’m betting she’s a good one. I’m also hoping that this means we’ll be seeing more of her in future episodes this season. And, if that wasn’t enough awesome packed into one episode, they threw in a female bartender at the alien dive bar who like J’onn J’onzz is also a Martian. Making her the last daughter of Mars.

Overall this episode was amazing. We were treated to so many powerful, complex and fiery, nasty women that my head almost exploded from the girl power emanating out of my TV screen. The icing on the cake was the way the writers kept Maggie’s story line in tack and did it LGBT justice.They didn’t try and sensationalize it, or use it as a trope they made her a person first and that person just happened to be a lesbian. I loved that her lesbian status came up and, then they went right back to rogue alien hunting. Kind of like it happens in real life. There was no stigma or using her being a lesbian as a period at the end of every sentence or worse, making it the only thing she was. The writers have been killing it with diversity and their portrayal of minorities, women, LGBT and people of color since the show started and it’s one of the things that I love about Supergirl. We get complex characters, no tropes and no nonsense.

Overall Rating: 9.5

Lucifer S2E5 Weaponizer Review

Lucifer TVLucifer enthusiastically investigates the murder of his favorite movie hero, Wesley Cabot; Amenadiel comes clean about his lost powers; Uriel fights with Lucifer over Chloe and their mother.

Lucifer has so much going for it in this episode and all of that revolves around Tom Ellis as Lucifer who brings new levels of charm and rage to the character in this episode.

Someone is after Chloe because Lucifer hasn’t done what he said and deliver his mother back to Hell. That someone is Uriel an angel who while not being able to directly hurt her he can set things into motion that can. Think the butterfly effect.

The majority of the episode is really focused on that aspect and not the murder of the week, but we’ll get to that in a bit because it’s so good. No, most of the episode is Lucifer trying to protect Chloe while dealing with his decisions.

But, what’s really interesting is a pivotal scene where Lucifer finally states what’s on his mind and attempts to figure out what his father really wants. Is his mother’s appearance on Earth a statement from him? Is it nothing at all? What about what’s going on with the world? Where’s his father when it comes to that? It’s really interesting and adds so much depth to the character. It’s a dramatic turn of events that really shows off Ellis’ acting abilities.

Lets get to that murder though. It’s a action star who Lucifer loves and he, along with Detective Douche, act like children dealing with the movie star(s). The films are bad action film knock-offs, but watching everyone geek out over it is infectious and so cute. Every scene involving the two is hilarious and will put a smile on your face.

As usual the show is beyond entertaining and one of the most fun on television. You can tell everyone is having fun with things and that comes through the screen. This episode stands out due to the dramatic turn of Ellis who really shows that he’s more than a smile, smirk, and line delivery. He’s a hell of an actor and the center of the show.

Plus props for the Gaiman nod.

Overall Rating: 8.9

TV Review: Immigrants Get the Job Done in Supergirl S2E3 Welcome to Earth


In a single hour of Supergirl, writers Derek Simon and Jessica Queller grapple with racism, homophobia, and xenophobia through both metaphor and reality. Instead of going the original X-Men route where Stan Lee used a team of white teenagers to explore racism in the United States, Simon and Qweller deal with it head it on in pointed speeches from J’onn, who mentions how being taking the form of an African American man has had an impact on how he is treated, and new supporting cast member Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima), who talks about how growing up lesbian and Latina in Nebraska, has caused her to connect with the more extraterrestrial citizens of Metropolis. Rachael Talalay’s (Doctor WhoTank Girl) direction of the scene captures why science fiction and superhero stories have captivated people of color and LGBTQ folks as she lovingly closes in on the different features at the aliens at the bar. Chyler Leigh (who plays Alex Danvers) also has magnetic chemistry with Lima, and even though, they are chasing a lead on a possible Kryptonian assassin of the president of the United States (played by a a positively regal), it seem like they are on a date at a gay bar. Text and subtext mingles to create an over the top, yet wonderful episode of Supergirl.

The main plot of “Welcome to Earth” is centered around the signing of the Alien Amnesty Act, which allows all extraterrestrials to become American citizens. There are overt parallels with the amnesty towards undocumented immigrants in the United States, and both the real policy and Supergirl one are connected to the fact that the United States is a nation of immigrants from all over the world. However, instead of having Supergirl fight against some xenophobic figurehead, Simon and Queller have her confront her own implicit racial biases towards Mon El (Chris Wood), who is from Daxam, a planet that was involved in a civil war with Krypton years ago. While Mon El is being held in DEO containment, Kara basically tells him that Krypton is a more “enlightened” planet than Daxam, which characterized as a lawless, warlike land. She is the good guy, but this is flat out racism. This scene is painful to watch, but shows that everyone (Even paragons of virtue like Supergirl.) have biases and prejudices that we need to overcome. This is in spite of Mon El’s inclusion in the plot being your usual run of the mill red herring deal as it’s revealed that an alien named Scorcher is behind the attack on the president.

Scorcher is the weak link of this episode. Her powers look cool, but there is really no substance to her character. She is just there so Supergirl and the DEO have something to fight and investigate. But Simon and Queller don’t revert to superhero comic politician cliches with the president’s reactions to her attack as she (slightly naively) continues to push the Amnesty Law even when she is attacked by an alien twice. These attacks are also a chance to show Supergirl’s unflinching heroism as Talalay zooms in on shots of her covering the president with her cape, or carefully using her freeze breath to make sure that the Amnesty Act is unharmed. It’s unfortunate that Scorcher is a pyrokinetic plot device, but she is a small setback in an episode filled with real world connections underneath a warm sci-fi veneer. Plus Lena Luthor returns in this episode and shows the signs of being a possible, excellent Big Bad as Katie McGrath delivers her lines to Kara with a casual friendliness even as she channels her inner Donald Trump and says that humans must have the ability to detect the aliens among them. Lena has the makings of a great villain because she thinks she is helping out (and making a buck) with this new technology, and because she isn’t impulsive like Metallo or Scorch, but quite the chess player.

Supergirl also continues to do an excellent job showing the difficulties that Kara has in her day job while also finally giving James Olsen some scenes that channel his undeniable charisma in Season 1 as he and Snapper Carr butt heads. By the end of “Welcome to Earth”, it is clear that he is the boss as he rewrites Carr’s choosing to take a moral stand instead of hiding behind the cloak of objectivity. Snapper does get to show off that he’s a journalist’s journalist as he pursues all angles (including religious) of the Amnesty Act and helps Kara channel her passion for the truth while filtering out her “pro-alien” bias to be an objective reporter. It’s nice to see Kara learn the craft of being a reporter instead of just using her day job as a way to set up plots, and the bias discussion with Snapper dovetails with a conversation she has with Mon-El where she admits her bias towards his planet.

Supergirl -- "Welcome to Earth" -- Image SPG203b_0160 -- Pictured (L-R): Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers and Floriana Lima as Maggie Sawyer -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Maggie Sawyer is truly a great addition to the supporting cast of Supergirl as she instantly connects with Alex Danvers with their similar take charge attitudes as they try to one-up each other at the scene of the attack on the president.. And on her own, she fills in a gap in Supergirl as she is connected to both the human and alien citizens of National City in her job as a police officer. She also happens to frequent an alien bar and be the ex-girlfriend of a certain prominent DC character, who gets revealed in a gorgeous flourish of CGI and yet another tense confrontation scene from Talalay. Talalay builds the connection between Maggie and Alex through glances similar to the looks Cate Blanchett throws Rooney Mara’s way in the 2015 LGBT indie film Carol. Add some sharp banter, and the fact that Maggie helped Alex have a more sympathetic view towards aliens and see them as nuanced individuals, and we have the start of a beautiful friendship, er, romance.

Supergirl soars to new heights in “Welcome to Earth” as Derek Simon and Jessica Queller pay tribute to the Super-mythos’ immigrant roots while taking racism, xenophobia, and homophobia head on through superpowered metaphors as well as great characters, like Maggie Sawyer, J’onn, Mon-El, and even Supergirl herself, who confronts her flaws in this episode while continuing to be adorable, especially in her interactions with Lynda Carter’s president, who is an alien herself…

Overall Rating: 9.5

TV Review: Gotham S3E6 Mad City: Follow the White Rabbit

season_3_posterMad Hatter sets his eyes on his next victims, forcing Jim Gordon to make some tough decisions. Meanwhile, Penguin and Nygma’s relationship evolves, and a familiar face comes back into Nygma’s life.

Gotham his season feels like it has a bit of an identity crisis as it doesn’t know what it wants to be and what it wants to focus on. There was Mooney and Indian Hill. There’s Bruce’s dupe. There’s the Mad Hatter. There’s Penguin as Mayor. Each episode feels like it focuses on something else in a series that suffers from ADHD.

This episode attempts to focus on two things, Gordon and the Mad Hatter and the bromance between Penguin and Nygma.

The Gordon/Mad Hatter duel is the strongest thing of the episode and series with interesting acting and some twists and turns that are actually frightening in some ways. This is a psychotic villain who’s obsessed with Gordon and wants to hurt him like he thinks Gordon has done. There’s a strangeness to it all and as things spiral, it’s the most entertaining with performances that both enthrall and scare a bit. There’s also some twists, especially at the end as the game becomes more and more deadly and the stakes rise at each level. It also forces Jim to face his feelings with his two latest loves as to which he cares more about.

Speaking of love, people will either love or hate the Penguin/Nygma plotline after this episode. Last episode there was some hints of a bit more than a bromance and this episode ups that to whole other levels with a Penguin that’s gay? Bi? It’s not quite laid out, but it’s a new take on that classic character. I’m not sure how I feel, but when I yelled at the screen last episode for them to kiss, I wasn’t that far off.

The episode has some good and it has some bad in the usual mix of a show that doesn’t know what it wants to be. There’s some solid acting as usual, it’s the story that tends to make no sense for the series or characters. Still, the season is stronger than last year, though that’s not saying a whole lot. If it could just focus a bit more, then it’d be something that’s really a must to watch.

Overall Rating: 7.45

TV Review: The Strain: S3E9 Do or Die

the strain s2 imageEph and Dutch fanatically race to finish their device to stop the Master; Justine, Gus and Angel take a final stand to stop the spreading virus; Palmer takes revenge for past wrongs.

With just one more episode to go, The Strain begins to wrap up its third season with things looking really bleak.

The episode is an interesting one in that we get some history about Eldritch Palmer, who up to this point is a character we haven’t learned too much about. How’d he become the wealthy power wielder he is today? That’s somewhat answered here.

The episode really has a couple of things its focused on, Palmer as I mentioned before, Angel and Gus, and Eph and Dutch’s tool.

Palmer is a big focus as he makes some big moves against the Master and his crew. I’m definitely not ruining it as it’s something that’s somewhat unexpected and really cool to watch. Lots of action there and it comes in a way that’s actually interesting. In it all, we find out what’s in the crate and it’s something I’ve been wondering about for some time.

Speaking of action, there’s Angel and Gus who are attempting to get out of the city, but so is a lot of the police who decide to abandon it. Justine is left with just a small group and they eventually cross paths with Angel and Gus. That I definitely am not spoiling. There’s some really touching moments between Angel and Gus and makes me want a show of just the two of them. They’ve been some of the best things of the series as a whole. But, this particular segment is pretty explosive and there’s quite a few deaths. It’s definitely not something I saw coming at all and there’s a bit abruptness to it. Still, blaze of glory.

Finally, there’s Eph and Dutch who we get to see test their new weapon dealing with a signal the Master omits. It’s a really cool aspect of the show and feels like something new in this sort of genre. I’m digging this aspect and it gives a way for the series to wrap up easily and quickly if it needs to.

With just one episode to go, there’s a lot to still wrap up. There’s another season to go, but it’s a big question as to how far the series will go in its finale. There’s an interesting direction it could go if it follows the books and comics, but I have no idea if that’s the intention. If so, the finale could be one hell of a season ending.

Overall Rating: 7.85

Hasbro Announces 2017 Renewal of My Little Pony ‘Friendship is Magic’ and ‘Equestria Girls’ Series

My Little Pony Comic Con Exclusive 2Hasbro, Inc. has announced the 2017 return of two of the company’s most popular series – My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and My Little Pony: Equestria Girls.

The franchise’s iconic ‘Mane 6’ ponies will experience their most exciting adventures yet in Season 7 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The series will return to Discovery Family Channel in Spring 2017.

The spirited teens of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls will also return with three brand new TV specials in 2017. These brand new 22-minute specials will follow this year’s popular “Legends of Everfree” TV movie with more fun, fashion and friendship than ever before.

Both of these renewals will help drive excitement for Hasbro’s previously announced animated feature film My Little Pony: The Movie, which will premiere worldwide on October 6, 2017. The film features the voices of some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including nominated actress Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), winning actress Emily Blunt (Into the Woods, Gnomeo & Juliet), winning actress Kristen Chenoweth (Rio 2, The Peanuts Movie), Taye Diggs (Murder in the First and Best Man Holiday), Michael Pena (Ant-Man, The Martian), nominated actor Liev Schrieber (Ray Donovan and Spotlight) and pop super star Sia.

The Walking Dead S7E1 The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be Review

walking-dead-5 photoAs the members of the group remain helpless, Negan takes action that will forever haunt those who survive.r.

The Walking Dead‘ seventh season debut may be one of the most anticipated season debuts of any show. The sixth season ended with Negan figuring out who will be the one that’ll receive the end of Lucille. The seventh kicks off with Rick swearing he’ll kill Negan as blood sits on his face.

Much like the summer, the episode is all about the build up to what amounts to be a brutal 10 minute span as we find out the victims of Negan’s “justice.”

20 minutes. That’s how long we have to wait to find out who is on the other end of Lucille and it can only be described as brutal and excessive. I remember first reading The Walking Dead #100 and the scene in that comic was so over the top it had me contemplating giving up reading the comic series. What’s portrayed on screen is excessive with an amount of gore that’s kind of shocking to see on television that’s not paid premium channels. It had my stomach churning at the brutality.

What’s impressive is we all knew what was going to happen this episode yet the writers are able to stretch things out and leave us guessing as to what happens next. Death after death as Rick in shock reflects on what his decisions has lead to.

But, what’s interesting is it’s not until almost the one hour mark that we get our main cast talking to each other. For almost the entire hour we’ve had what amounts to a soliloquy by Jeffrey Dean Morgan who channels Negan with a fury and messed up charm that makes it all gripping.

But, even though it’s gripping, it’s sound and fury signifying nothing.

I don’t know what it is about the episode. I was enthralled to see who was killed, but when that moment comes and goes it feels empty. Shock for shock’s sake. It’s not until the final minutes of the show the real emotion hits as Maggie, Rick, and the rest of the survivors begin to talk and react to what’s happened. And in that moment it shows off the heart of the sow. It’s not about the shock. It’s not about grossness. It’s about these characters and their relationships. It’s about the humans of this world and how they survive through it all.

The episode wasn’t quite the tour de force that I was hoping for, but it’s a hell of a start that sets the seventh season off on one hell of a journey.

Overall rating: 7.95

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency S1E1 Horizons Review


I hadn’t heard of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency until New York Comic Con. While waiting in line for something else, I looked into it on my phone and was instantly intrigued. I marked my calendar and looked forward to checking it out, especially after I talked to some of my friends who were fans of the book.

The opening scenes of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency sets the tone for the show perfectly. If you’ve come for a serious, moody, dark show then you’ve come to the wrong place. The first five minutes of the show gives anyone who was curious a chance to get out or get sucked in as it lays out what you can expect ahead. If you’re like me and settled in for the full ride, you were in for a treat.

Although the title implies that this is going to be an adaptation of the Dirk Gently books, you realize pretty early on that while some of the elements of the original story remain intact mostly the show is its own thing. The books center more on Dirk but, this new series seems to add an extra person into the mix. Todd, a new character amazingly portrayed by Elijah Wood, is a nice transitional character who often acts as an observer and unwilling accomplice/assistant to Dirk.

downloadThe first episode of this hilarious series focuses mostly on Todd and his horrible, very bad day. In a matter of 24 hours he’s had his car destroyed by his landlord over stolen rent money, gets fired from his job after finding a gruesome crime scene, had Dirk break into his apartment and get into a slap boxing fight with him, travel to his sick sister’s to cheer her up and jam with her before she has a pain attack, be attacked by a gang of thugs, almost gets shot on multiple occasions and almost gets arrested, TWICE. Things do turn around in the very end of the episode when he starts to believe some of Dirks mumbo jumbo thanks to a found dog and a winning lottery ticket

download-1The rest of the  characters in this aren’t exactly living a normal life either. We get introduced to Ken, who is dragged along on what can only be considered a murderous rampage with Bart, a Holistic Assassin, two cops who seem to turn up whenever Todd is in the vicinity of a murder scene and, a couple of supernatural hunting FBI agents.

The writing in the show is clever and hilarious. As someone who hasn’t made it through an entire book in this series, I found it easy to follow and hella interesting. Even the supporting characters were complex enough to warrant notice, which is helped by the amazing acting. The visuals also impress from the darkness to the red overtones in the murder room.

dirkken-800x450-1475865696210_largeOverall,  I found the premiere episode pretty darn interesting, they managed to mix murder, mayhem, and humor in a way that I haven’t seen since Dexter and I’m looking forward to not only finally finishing the books but seeing more episodes and finding out where the show will take us. I’m fully prepared to strap in for the ride because wherever this show goes, it’s going to be fun. Things are pretty heavy and dark all over but, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency might just be the light, fun diversion we’ve been waiting for

TV Review: Luke Cage Season 1

luke-cage-2As far back as I can remember, I have been reading comic books, any and every comic book from both DC and Marvel, and very few heroes resonated with me. I was never a fan of Spider-Man, even though I’m also from Queens. His adventures never felt personal to me. I loved Batman growing up but at times he seemed far too eccentric to identify with. Then my Dad introduced me to Luke Cage.

The very first issue I read, just so happened to be my Dad’s copy of his #1, the seminal one that has been on dozens of prints and t-shirts It was as if this ordinary guy, much like the men in my family, my dad , my uncles and my grandfathers, acted like him, and held the same sepia tones that runs in my family. After that first issue, I was all over every issue, I can find of Luke Cage, even picking up Luke Cage and Iron Fist issues. Eventually I moved away from reading Luke Cage, and got into war comics, like Sergeant Rock and Unknown Soldier.

luke-cage-3Fast forward years later, where my love affair with comics had been reignited, and I found the Marvel Noir series, where they introduced a crime noir version of the character, “Sweet Christmas,” I was back in it with Power Man. Unfortunately, until recently, the character was not given enough love to sustain an ongoing series , except for a few failed attempts. So when news came that Netflix was starting a series based on a few more mature superheroes, I was excited to learn that they were going to include Luke Cage, I knew they had to do it right. As the history of black superheroes, including Blade on television, is a very short history, and if there is any hope for the world to see for diverse characters, this show had to work.

When they introduced the character in Jessica Jones, the actor portraying him was pretty much what I expected him to look like, as the only other actor who could play him was Terry Crews, but his resume seemed more astute to comedy, than Mike Colter, whose resume includes Halo and The Good Wife. I knew that they were going the right direction, as they not only picked the right actor, but they also picked a showrunner with a hip-hop pedigree, Mr. Cheo Hodari Coker, (who used to write for The Source and Vibe magazines).

As he said in an interview “this was the Wu-Tangification of the Marvel Universe,” and this creative team made no qualms about that, starting off with each episode title, as they are named after a Gangstarr song, as each episode fell right in with Guru’s lyrics. Then there are subtle Biggie references throughout the series topped off with the iconic painting of the rapper that hangs in Cottonmouth’s office in Harlem’s Paradise. The music sounds like it came from a 1970s score, as Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest weaves funky beds of rhythms and silky voices courtesy of Jidenna and Faith Evans, that prove that Marvel properties can have music you would want to listen to. Can anyone name a movie soundtrack from the MCU, in which was as memorable and enjoyable to listen to?


Another important piece is how the series portrays both Asians and Black women. Miss Connie and her husband Jin are portrayed very realistically and nowhere near stereotypical. As was pointed out in the recent Hamilton documentary by Lin Manuel Miranda’s father that “most immigrants , and all immigrants he met, were hard workers,” and I can say this for myself, as my father and my mother were immigrants as well, and I never heard them complain. The two character’s portrayals were very true to the experience, much like Netflix’s Master of None’s second episode, “Parents,” where they explored the connection and the gap between 1st generation Americans and 1st generation Asian Americans, (incidentally, the same actor, Clem Cheung who played Jin, also played one of the parents).


Now the portrayal of women within this series, is by far eye opening for a TV show. I’m pretty sure this one either came close to or pretty much did pass the Bechdel Test. Let us start with Misty Knight, as her character is to say very least complex and actually not like most female detectives on television, she is focused, strong and always on the job, and despite her one night stand with Luke, it does not affect her decision making nor veers her away from her integrity, diffusing the usually false trope of “a woman makes decisions emotionally,” and the character actually is more like the junkyard dog detectives of the 1970s, much like Popeye Doyle, from The French Connection.

luke-cage-6Then there is Clare Temple, as with each new series from Marvel on Netflix, her character becomes more developed, and we learn more about her, as her introductory scene shows her beating up a robber and showing an actually positive relationship between her and her mother played by Sonia Braga. We also find out how brilliant she is, as she assists Dr. Burstein, in removing the Judas bullets from Luke’s body in later episodes. Then there is Mariah, known to comic book fans, as Black Mariah, thank goodness they went the total opposite form the cartoonish version they have in the comics. This version is much more developed, lucid, and more sinister than the comic book version. The character that pretty much made Mariah and Cottonmouth, Mama Mable played masterfully by Latanya Richardson-Jackson, looms large over the series, as you not only understand how these characters came to be but what dreams they deferred on their way to becoming who they are.


My favorite scene out of the whole series, is when Mariah and the mother of a young boy who gets beat up by a detective while under police custody while he was being investigated about Luke’s whereabouts, who just so happens to go to night school to become a lawyer, confronts Misty and her female captain, about the incident, never mind that you have four women in a scene alone together, but each were portraying a strong black woman, with a job and goals, as portrayals like these are few and far between, truly a treasure of a scene.

luke-cage-8Now let me talk about the big bad guys, each of them a strong change from the comic book portrayal, not only by look but also character motivation. There’s Shades, who is totally different from his comic book incarnation. In the comics his shades actually become a weapon, much like Cyclops. Instead, in this portrayal he’s named that because of his affinity to wearing sunglasses. But he’s just as insidious as his comic book portrayal and proves to be the kingmaker before the season ends. Now, the one character, which occupies the role of nemesis for much of the season is Cottonmouth, who doesn’t have razorsharp teeth, but is ruthless, and rules Harlem with an iron fist, he reminds me of Nucky from Boardwalk Empire, got his hand in everything, steal power from his mentor (Pops) and has no hesitation to kill or mame anyone who gets in his way. Lastly, there is Diamondback, who is probably the most complex of the three as the underlying truth of his and Luke’s connections are the bane of his ill will towards him and his youthful indiscretion, of a prior betrayal. When he enters the series no one would ever think that he knew Luke prior to this confrontation (unless you read the comics). When they delve into their backstory is the exact moment, I found myself forgetting that this was a Netflix Marvel story, and saw it purely as a story, a damn good one, at that. The truth that they are blood brothers, prove to be too much for Luke. There’s also the experiential weapon that Diamondback wields as he carries a Bible just like he carries a gun. When Luke finally connects it all, the viewer gets a glimpse of how the two men saw the same scenes differently, and although Luke was considered the legitimate son, he assures Diamondback he was treated not so well himself. This level of story development would never have been seen on network TV, that is why Netflix’s flexibility is what makes this series so astonishingly good.


With the advent and introduction of shows like Empire, and Black-ish, America has gotten a more well developed view of what Black Americans must face every day. But until shows like Atlanta, Queen Sugar, and Luke Cage, we now get to see some of Black America’s realities explored. Luke Cage, does not shy away from the issues from police brutality to stop and frisk, America gets to see just how those without privilege actually get treated, even if you have superpowers. This ended up creating a movement within the TV show which culminates with Method Man talking about how Luke Cage saved him and creates a folk hero rap song “Bulletproof Love” telling the world and the streets that everyone has Luke Cage’s back. This amount of love for a character has not been seen in the Marvel Universe, in the movies or television, in fact it is mostly venom that’s aimed out the “heroes.” Luke’s universe, like the rest of the Netflix shows, does not involve the bigger stages we see in the films, instead it just focuses on Harlem. That focused setting helps makes the series the best so far.

I did not want to end this review, without talking about the relationship of Luke and Pops. This by far is the most positive relationship of the whole series and is definitely a form of a father-son relationship. Pops’ wisdom and emotional intelligence only makes Luke a better man, and as his stance as “Switzerland” of Harlem is upended, that’s the point where Luke actually becomes the hero in his journey. We see Luke evolve as he cannot stay out of any wrongdoing anymore. Overall, it’s probably one of the best portrayals of a positive male relationship in a while.


I often describe the series to friends since I binge watched it as “The Wire meets Barbershop,” which is the snapshot description, but not for the reasons most would think. I think it’s like The Wire, as it digs into the ills of society, and shows the world that not everything nor its inhabitants are black and white. It is like Barbershop because of the many issues that are discussed and how it shows what people would do when their backs are against the wall. Overall, it exceeds both of these, and more than sets the example for other comic book based series, that one does not need to appease to a wide appeal.

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