Category Archives: Television

TV Review: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow S2E7 Invasion!

legends-of-tomorrow-season-2The Legends work with The Flash, Supergirl and Green Arrow to kill the invaders; while working out how to defeat the Dominators, Stein gets distracted by the aberration he created in 1987.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow  does its part in the four night “Invasion” crossover that intertwined The Flash, Supergirl, and Arrow. And it does a decent job of wrapping up the event with some fun action and time hopping. The story is split into two parts with a team having to head to the past to deal with the Dominators and the team in the present dealing with them too.

We also finally get a solid motivation for the alien invasion and that has to do with Barry changing the time stream. We don’t really know how the Dominators know, they just do, but it puts Barry’s meddling with the time stream front and center. What’s odd though is.. do the aliens not care or know about the Time Lords? Or how about Zoom running around through time?

What this event has really done is put the concept of changing the time line front and center as the Legends must deal with what they’ve done as well, especially Stein. There’s ramifications, both good and bad for everything they’ve done. It also shifts the “Flashpoint” timeline into the other series, something we were promised before all of their seasons kicked off. This is the first real acknowledgment by the whole over what’s happened. There also will likely be ramifications going forward due to this too.

A solid ending to the event that brings some of the greater themes and issues explored in Flash over to this series and opens up a hell of a lot of opportunities (and hints) as to what’s to come.

Overall Rating: 8.05

The Flash “The Present” Trailer, the Midseason Finale

The Flash is new Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW, and available next day on The CW App!

TV Review: Arrow S5E8 Invasion!

arrowOliver wakes up to a life in which his parents are still alive and he is about to marry Laurel; Felicity faces a new threat with the help of The Flash and Supergirl.

Arrow celebrates its 100th episode as part of the 4 night crossover “Invasion” event. The result is a bit mixed overall, but it’s entertaining. For those that missed last night’s The Flash, there’s aliens who are up to… something, and at the end of the episode they abducted some of the heroes.

This episode is interesting in that it uses the bigger picture story, but doesn’t get to caught up in it. Instead it celebrates the history of the series taking us through the years in its own version of “Flashpoint.”

In this shared dream world Oliver and crew live different lives where Ollie is marrying Laurel, Diggle is the Arrow, and everything is kind of… normal. The different take on folks is kind of cool and it’s a nice “what if” riff on everything about the series. Seeing each character awaken is entertaining as well, especially what triggers them.

But, what’s really special is all of the guests that show up in the episode. Villains from the past as well as friends and family are all on board in a celebration of the last five seasons. They kept it all under wraps which is even more impressive and for folks who have watched the series, they should be happy with the touch of nostalgia.

There’s some things that don’t quite work as everyone wakes up and the story takes a hard sci-fi spin. I don’t want to ruin it, but the special fx work against the episode at this point and it just doesn’t feel like Arrow. But, the point is to bridge to the next chapter which is on the next day.

This episode works some and fails in some ways, and it’s not as strong as The Flash‘s entry, but better than Supergirl’s. With one more to go in this event, it feels like there’s a lot still to wrap up, but so far, it’s been a fun ride.

Overall rating: 7.85

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4E7 Deals With Our Devils

agents of shield season 4After losing half of their team, the remaining members look for answers as time begins to run out for Ghost Rider.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back after a bit of a break and some of the team has been sucked into the ghost world (not sure what else to call it). That leads to one of the more interesting things of the season where the episode is split between color and black and white depending on whose perspective it is.

It’s a bit of a distraction storywise, but the bigger aspect of it is its focus on Robbie and Ghost Rider. Robbie was sucked in which causes Ghost Rider to jump to Mac. Some coolness is a nod to classic Ghost Riders as he drives around on a motorcycle with a shotgun on his back. Fans of Blaze and Ketch Ghost Riders will notice the nod.

It also forces us to get a better idea of the relationship between Robbie and Ghost Rider and the deal they’ve got between them. It hasn’t been fully explained, but here it’s laid out pretty well. It also gives us a bit question mark as to what’s next for the character who is rumored to get a Netflix spin-off at some point. There’s also the fact Mac has now experienced the Ghost Rider, so he and Robbie are tied together in some ways which should play out nicely.

There’s also the reveal of Ada to a bunch of folks and she steps up to help save the day in a way. For those that have seen Doctor Strange, some of what happens there looks and feels very familiar and it’s a nod to the movie without directly tying into the film.

Overall, a not bad episode with some interesting new aspects thrown in. It feels fresh in many ways, both visually and storywise. Though the danger doesn’t every quite gel and feel like it’s a big deal, it’s better than the villain of the week fights we’ve seen over and over. It also moves along the story while setting some other things forward as well. One of the stronger episodes of the season.

Overall Score: 7.95

TV Review: The Flash S3E8 Invasion!

The Flash Season 2Barry asks Green Arrow for help when aliens attack Central City, but when they realize that won’t be enough, they track down the Legends of Tomorrow so they can bring Supergirl in on the battle.

The Flash really kicks off the 4 night crossover between Supergirl, Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and The Flash. While it technically started on Supergirl, that episode really didn’t deal with much of the greater story. This is the real beginning.

The episode is broken down into two parts, the gathering of all of the heroes and the first battle with the alien invaders.

That first part, where everyone is gathered, is absolutely fantastic. Watching the various personalities come together is so much fun. Sueprgirl’s perky/bubbly personality with Oliver’s grumpiness is the perfect oil and water situation and then there’s Heatwave, and more to contend with. It really feels like all of the actors are having a lot of fun with it all. It comes across on the screen and that makes the episode a lot of fun. That melding of so many just creates an energy all of the shows on their end don’t quite reach and some really lack.

The episode is also really smart in its use of Kara/Supergirl. Through her viewers are introduced to all of the other characters, their names and personalities. It’s an interesting way to go about it all and very intelligent writing. There’s a chance that there’s not crossover between viewers so to catch folks up is a good thing to do.

The second half of the story is the initial attack by the heroes. That’s somewhat paint by numbers with some being turned and their battling each other. It’s entertaining and interesting in seeing who steps up and how and how the different characters’ powers interact. It’s good, but feels like a typical comic story.

But, what’s really interesting is the episode diving into the fact that Barry has changed the timeline. This is his first chance to dish to Team Arrow and things really blow up as far as that. There’s also some teasing about Barry in the future and what’s to come. Throwing that in the episode will hopefully intrigue new viewers, but also get long time viewers excited. It’s a fantastic balance of focusing on the crossover, but setting up the future too (no pun intended).

Overall, a solid episode that really gets things running and I can’t wait to see what else is still to come.

Overall Rating: 8.85

Machinima and Hasbro Announce Final Two Chapters of the The Prime Wars Trilogy

Machinima_LogoFollowing the massive worldwide interest in Transformers: Combiner Wars, Machinima and Hasbro have announced that they will join forces to develop Titans Return and Power of the Primes, the final two installments of the animated Prime Wars trilogy. Since launching the trilogy’s first installment in August 2016, Transformers: Combiner Wars, has garnered more than 122 million global views on a wide variety of platforms, including go90 (United States), SkyQ (U.K.), AMC Iberia (Spain and Portugal), Sohu (China), and YouTube (rest of world).

The first sequel, The Titans Return, will take the action of the series to new “heights,” and feature return appearances from many fan-favorite Transformers characters as well as introduce a new set of Autobots and Decepticons. Set in the period following the excitement of The Combiner Wars, the depleted forces of Cybertron and a broken Council of Worlds must now face-off against a new threat that is larger than anything that has come before.

Combiner Wars Executive Producer and Showrunner Eric Calderon is returning to oversee the development of the final two installments.

Supergirl S2E8 “Medusa” is More Mother/Daughter Relationships than Crossovers

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While the lion’s share of the advertising and general hype surrounding this episode of Supergirl is about its impending crossover with the other CW superhero shows, writer Jessica Queller and Derek Simon don’t abandon the show’s arcs and relationships for guest stars and dimensional rifts. “Medusa” is centered around relationships between mothers and daughters and family in general as Lillian Luthor tries to get Lena to join the family business and release a bio-weapon killing. On the more heroic side of things, Supergirl works with her adoptive mother, Eliza Danvers (a very pleasant Helen Slater). The intertwining of the family secrets and the passive aggressive sniping of the Luthors thanks to Brenda Strong along with the added side dish of Martian Manhunter struggling with becoming a White Martian elevates the plot, which is a standard quarantine disaster movie or the X-Men “Legacy Virus” crossover without them.

The theme of family is definitely fitting for an episode immediately airing after Thanksgiving, and director Stefan Pleszysnki uses warm lighting and plenty of shots of Kara and her friends and family to show their bond despite “secrets,” like James Olsen being the vigilante Guardian, or more seriously, Alex Danvers coming out as lesbian to her mother. Alex does come out to Eliza later in the episode in a warm moment of acceptance, but thankfully the Guardian subplot is sidelined for this one. Helen Slater is basically a human sunbeam, and even though she mainly plays the role of scientific exposition or fixer of bio weapons, she brings intelligence and love to each scene. This is a total contrast to Kara’s real father, Zor-El, who is responsible for creating the basically racist bio weapon Medusa, which can destroy the DNA of any non-Kryptonians as a last ditch weapon.

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It’s disconcerting that Kara’s father, who instilled in her the values of goodness, hope, and being “stronger together”, created something that could be used for genocide and could kill innocents. Melissa Benoist’s performance as Supergirl is less bright and more pensive than usual after this reveal as she talks to Martian Manhunter about her father’s terrible legacy. As the lone survivor of a world he would have given anything to save, he slightly understands Zor-El’s motivation, but mentions this in passing and instead comforts Kara. David Harewood channels the noble, honorable warrior inside of J’onn Jonzz that comics fans and viewers of the Justice League cartoons have loved for years as he flies out to help stop Lillian Luthor from releasing the bio weapon. He has a passion for good that can’t be drowned out by the White Martian DNA devouring his body even if this disease makes for some nifty special effects makeup.

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In “Medusa”, we finally get to see Lena and Lillian Luthor share some extended screen time, and Queller and Simon make their pacing around an office scenes more tense than Cyborg Superman getting his block knocked off or doing a “super punch” for the umpteenth time. (There is nothing wrong with punching just a character that exists as a one-dimensional goon, punching bang, and waste of David Harewood’s acting talent.) Brenda Strong continues to be the queen of passive aggressive condescension mixed with the cold, hard truth. (Yes, she prefers Lex to Lena.) Katie McGrath pulls out all the acting stops going from being the easygoing friend as Kara “interviews” her to get information about Cadmus and her mother to the cold, disdainful daughter measuring each syllable in venom when her mom decides to drop in. And she is especially entertaining in villain mode with raised eyebrows and a purr that evokes Eva Green if she ever decided to play Lady Macbeth. And Pleszynski holds the reveal that she sabotaged the bio-weapon for quite a while hinting at some dark irony as aliens celebrate red sparks that fall from the sky and do nothing.

And this being a CW show, this review wouldn’t be complete with an overindulgent discussion of the romantic pairings in “Medusa”. Queller and Simon go to the soap opera well and have Kara and Mon-El share a kiss while he is on his “death bed” after being exposed to the bio weapon. It isn’t really logical that Kara would fall for a kind of sexist, kind of adorkable, and slightly cowardly guy like Mon-El, and the “bonding” scenes where they play Monopoly and discuss the meanings of “crush” and “like” don’t really help. He is attractive, but it seems like the Supergirl are trying to do Romeo and Juliet with DC Comics aliens and hopefully less bloodshed in their relationship. It lacks the spark of, say, Alex and Maggie or even Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak in early seasons of Arrow. Plain and simple, Mon-El is way too douchey to be with Kara.

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But, on a happier note, Maggie Sawyer and Alex share a beautiful scene at the end of “Medusa” , which acts as a rousing conclusion to Alex’s coming out arc. It’s kind of cute, kind of awkward, and also very empowering as Maggie finally realizes that Alex came out not so she could be with her, but that she could finally completely be herself. There’s great symmetry between both her chat with her mother and Maggie about finally being able to feel her full identity, but substitute familial for romantic love. Maggie and Alex finally share a long kiss, but it’s the little pause where Alex asks Maggie if she likes her that encapsulates their relationship as Alex is still a little unsure of herself after Maggie previously rejected her. This hesitancy and fear makes Alex’s coming out that much more organic because even if your friends and relatives aren’t homophobic, the process can be a little awkward. Luckily, Alex has a supportive mother and sister.

As Supergirl Radio podcast host Carly Lane astutely tweeted, “Medusa” is like a zero issue or prologue for the “Heroes vs. Aliens” crossover with The Flash and Vibe enlisting the help of their extraterrestrial ally in a battle against a mysterious alien threat. There is a scene with aliens on a ship that seems spliced in from a later episode or another show altogether, but mostly the “crossover” scene at the end is a reminder of Gustin and Melissa Benoist’s adorable chemistry (They give the best hugs. with a tinge of sadness as Barry and Cisco aren’t on the best of terms. And in true comic book fashion, the episodes ends on an energetic cliffhanger as Kara will get to meet Team Flash (and possibly more people) tomorrow night.

With the reveal of Zor-El as potential destroyer of worlds, Jessica Queller and Derek Simon find a real commonality between Lena and Supergirl in “Medusa”. They are both daughters trying to make something better out of their family’s misdeeds even if Luthor will always have a more villainous ring to it than El unless you’re a disgruntled train commuter. This through line of family, especially mothers and daughters, keeps this Supergirl focused, but some fun romantic, Martian, and speedster detour don’t derail it.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Lucifer S2E10 Quid Pro Ho

Lucifer TVCharlotte is determined to get Lucifer to leave Earth by turning Chloe against him. Meanwhile, Amenadiel has begun working as Charlotte’s soldier, which makes Maze question his loyalty.

Lucifer has finally left me speechless with an episode full of reveals to things that have been teased out since the first season and it’s a twist I didn’t see coming at all.

The episode mainly focuses on the trial of the murder of Chloe’s father. Charlotte is the accused’s lawyer and she uses that opportunity to drive a wedge between Lucifer and Chloe as the trial goes on and on.

But, the episode isn’t so much about the trial as it is the reveals throughout.

Amenadiel through his actions reveals to Maze that he’s working for Charlotte and Maze of course has some issues with that, threatening them both if something were to happen to Chloe. Battle to come? I know I want to see Amenadiel and Maze duke it out.

But there’s a lot more reveals. Detective Douche’s relationship with Charlotte is revealed to Lucifer and with that some great laughs. It’s the lighthearted aspect of the episode along with a fun sequence of Maze getting to kick some ass.

And then there’s a scene at the end involving Detective Douche… well I’ll just leave that one to be seen.

But the biggest aspect of the episode of the final reveal as we get the truth about Chloe. The series up to this point has been hinting there’s something going on with her… something almost divine and we get all the answers. It’s a hell of a twist and flows really nicely. It’s not over the top or feels forced, instead like a lot of the series things just seem like they fit together.

This is an episode that had me entertained from start to finish with a fantastic mix of everything. There’s some solid acting, fun writing, and a lot of reveals throughout that really ups the drama a ton. Easily the best episode of the season and one of the strongest of the entire series.

Overall Rating: 9.45

TV Review: Gotham S3E11 Mad City: Beware the Green-Eyed Monster

season_3_posterAs the virus begins to spread in Gotham, the laboratory that is developing a cure is compromised. Mario and Gordon face off before the wedding, Selina meets an unexpected face and Barbara comes to Nygma with information about Isabella,

Gotham continues its ups and downs this year with yet another uneven episode that features a lot of good and a lot of bad.

The bad is Gordon’s pursuit of Mario who he’s convinced is infected and will do harm to Leslie and wants to stop the wedding. It’s a bit all over the place with a set-up that’s revealed and so complicated it’s eye rolling. To say more would be to spoil things, and I do my best to avoid that. Lets just say as you go down the rabbit hole things get more and more detached. Keeping it simple would have done this plotline a lot of good.

The other issue is that key scenes shows the acting hole actor Ben McKenzie has dug himself. Unfortunately, he does angry, and that’s about it as he channels Christian Bale’s Batman with growling and teeth clenched. There’s some scenes that’d be fantastic with a different style, but the opportunity to show some dramatic flair and let McKenzie act isn’t taken. How it all ends leads up to a direction that feels predictable and a bit to soap opera.

Then there’s Bruce’s mission to figure out what the key is for and his assault against the Court of Owls. Where to begin with this one other than it feels completely insane and reiterates the character should have been sent off to boarding school a long time ago. A Mission Impossible type undertaking is thrown in there complete with over the top tightrope action. The mysterious person who I think is supposed to be one of the Court of Owls’ assassins but looks like Kato also shows up to make things more complicated. Overall, it’s a stinker of a plot.

Then there’s the sort of good part of the episode which focuses on Edward Nygma and the death of Isabella. Barbara of course has to stir things up so she tells Edward what she’s figured out (seriously, she got it before the guy who’s supposed to be good at this stuff?) and that leads Edward into crazy territory again. How it all plays out is really good and hopefully sets the series back up to where it’s strongest when it focuses on the mob flavored stories.

The episode is the usual mix. There’s some good. There’s lots of bad. And the series as a whole feels like it still doesn’t know what it wants to be. As the season goes on it feels more like the campy nature of Schumacher is winning out though it’s diving more into the visuals and color palette of Burton. Maybe at some point we’ll get the Batman we deserve, but it more feels like someone is looking down and whispering “no” right now.

Overall Rating: 6.70

Archie and The CW’s Riverdale Gets Its First Look

Riverdale, the new one-hour live-action drama based on the classic Archie Comics characters premiering January 26th, 2017 at 9/8c on The CW.

Riverdale is written by Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and produced by Warner Brothers Studios and Berlanti Productions and has been described as a subversive take on the classic Archie mythos. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter, Jon Goldwater, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa serve as executive producers.

The live-action series offers a bold, compelling take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and their friends, exploring small-town life and the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade. The show will focus on the eternal love triangle of Archie Andrews, girl-next-door Betty Cooper, and rich socialite Veronica Lodge, and will include the entire cast of characters from the comic books—including Archie’s rival, Reggie Mantle, and his best friend, Jughead Jones.

Riverdale stars KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy, Luke Perry as Fred Andrews, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, Ross Butler as Reggie Mantle, Casey Cott as Kevin Keller, Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper, and Marisol Nichols as Hermione Lodge.

The show’s premiere on January 26th will be followed one week later on February 1st, with a special tie-in one-shot comic book written by Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and members of the show’s writing staff with art by Alitha Martinez. The Riverdale One-Shot promises to reveal new secrets and stories from the summer before the eternal love-triangle debuts on television screens.

An ongoing Riverdale comic book series will debut in comic book stores and digital platforms in March by Aguirre-Sacasa and Martinez that will run alongside the show, expanding on the events of the series and diving deeper into the characters and their relationships.

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