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TV Review: Superman and Lois S1E2 Heritage

Superman and Lois "Heritage"

Superman and Lois‘ second episode does a solid job of building off of the extended debut taking the series in a few focused directions. What’s impressive, much like the first episode, is the series’ ability to juggle and balance time for each of the characters. Each feels like they’re getting enough focus. Each plotline feels organic and makes sense. There’s nothing forced in at all. Most importantly, everything in the episode feels like it fits the episode’s title “Heritage“, a concept explored in multiple ways.

With the discovery of Jordan’s powers in the previous episode the lives of the Kent boys diverge a bit. Clark spends time attempting to teach Jordan a bit more about his heritage while also figuring out what he can do.

But, in Jordan’s absence, Jonathan is the one suffering for actions from the first episode. It’s clear that the crap is rolling over with Jordan’s issues impacting Jonathan. Jonathan suffers for his brother setting up the conflict to come between the two. It’s real world friction and something so many can relate to.

Clark has his own issues concerning the mysterious Captain Luthor doing… something. We get teases and hints as to what’s going on there. It appears this Luthor is from a different world and that Superman destroyed his. He’s now attempting to prevent that from happening to this planet as well. I’s an interesting plotline and leaves viewers wondering what about this world’s Luthor? We get our first idea of that.

But, the most grounded direction is that of Lois. Her examination of Morgan Edge, his promise of jobs, and whatever else he’s doing to Smallville, is the type of story that so many have experienced. There’s a real-world aspect to it that’s nice and brings the otherworldly aspects of the show into our world. The over-promise of large corporations and their lack of delivery is something we see in the real world. Exactly where this goes should be intriguing.

Superman and Lois does a great job of giving each of the characters screen time. “Heritage” allows the exploration of the Kryptonian aspects of the characters as well as their history in Smallville and that of their family. It easily moves around all of those effortlesly and does so in a way that everything works to enhance each other. While there’s flashy action sequences, Superman and Lois‘ best moments are the grounded ones.

Overall Rating: 8.0

Superman and Lois Delivers a Near Flawless Pilot

Superman and Lous

Summary: Superman and Lois’ return to idyllic Smallville is set to be upended by mysterious strangers.

Positives

The Superman and Lois Pilot gives an exceptional angle on the relationship between its protagonists. The previous live-action iterations have shown a more idyllic interpretation, but this one shows more of a partnership. It’s also clear that Clark is smitten with Lois. Elizabeth Tulloch’s portrayal of Lois is more grounded than every previous one by other actors. It’s more in line with her current portrayal in the comics. The introduction of their children gives me vibes of a show which I actually liked, Jack and Bobby. It also stands out in giving one of the children a disability, something we have not seen at all in any of the shows about superheroes. 

Tonally, this show is much different than the other CW shows, which actually is great. Many of Berlanti’s shows tend to take the same tone after a while. It feels like something that was conscientiously done differently in this debut. The casting in this show is phenomenal, as everyone in this, fits perfectly, especially Emmanuelle Chriqui, as Lana Lang, and Tulloch as Lois Lane. Tyler Hoechlin is probably the most natural casting of Superman since Christopher Reeve wore the tights. Hoechlin gives both gravitas and relatability in the same breath. The fact that the show introduces relevant issues, like predatory lending, reverse mortgages, and xenophobia, puts a spotlight on societal ills much like Black Lightning has done in their previous two seasons.

Negatives

Superman and Lois is a near flawless pilot. The only things I can really gripe about is some of the story choices. The first being that his child doesn’t know his true identity. I’m guessing this is something that they are using as a plot device and will explore further in the future. The second one being that Clark’s parents have passed away. I would have loved to see more of that dynamic in this series.

Verdict

The Pilot for Superman and Lois is an extremely compelling and remarkable episode that proves the hype is to be believed. This is a very unique show which mixes family dynamics and superheroes, improving on Black Lightning’s formula. This is one that everyone should be watching.


Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Writers: Greg Berlanti and Todd Helbing
Starring: Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch, Erik Valdez, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jordan Elsass, Alex Garfin, Katrina Kwan, Inde Navarrettem, Julie Nolin, Joselyn Picard, Adan Rayner, and Dylan Walsh

HBO Max Gets Green Lantern, Strange Adventures, DC Superhero High, Doom Patrol, and More

DC logo

HBO Max got a massive amount of information dumped today with reveals of what subscribers can expect.

The digital service is showing some love for fans of DC Comics with multiple shows. DC and HBO have the same parent company.

DC films of the last decade will be available within the first year of launch as well as every Superman and Batman movie from the last 40 years. Joker will debut on the service in 2020 as well.

But, it’s not just about movies, it’s television shows as well.

Greg Berlanti is developing a pair of shows for the service. Strange Adventures will be a DC superhero anthology that features DC characters from across their history. A series that focuses on the world of Green Lantern is also being worked on but details are scarce.

Also announced is a teen comedy, DC Superhero High from Elizabeth Banks. The series concept sounds a bit like the popular young reader comic series DC Super Hero Girls.

Finally, HBO Max will compete a bit with the DC Universe app as Doom Patrol will debut on the platform.

HBO Max will be available for $14.99 launching May 2020. It will be free for those with HBO and AT&T service and those with HBO Now will get HBO Max. Those who subscribe to HBO through a cable provider are currently in the dark.

Batwoman Starring Ruby Rose Gets a Pilot Order by The CW

Batwoman

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise but The CW has given a pilot order for a new show starring Ruby Rose as Batwoman. The show will be guided by DC TV czar Greg Berlanti and being penned by Caroline Dries. David Nutter will direct the episode. Berlanti, Dries, Nutter, Sarah Schechter, and Geoff Johns are exec producers.

Batwoman/Kate Kane debuted on the Arrowverse group of shows and their crossover event “Elseworlds.” Green Arrow and the Flash were forced to travel to Gotham in hopes of figuring out what was messing with reality. There, they meet Kate. In this version, Batman is missing (and a myth) and Kate has stepped in to fill the void. The event was a trial to see the reaction, which was overwhelmingly positive.

The character is described as an out lesbian and highly trained fighter who has no problem speaking her mind. With Batman missing, she’s forced into life as a crime-fighter when Gotham is overrun by chaos. She must “overcome her own demons” before she can save the city.

There have been numerous versions of the character who debuted in 1956 for DC Comics.

TV Review: Titans S1E2 Hawk and Dove

DC UniverseDC Entertainment‘s new digital service, is here and with it the promise of original programming, the first of which is TitansTitans is a live action adaptation of the classic characters and team that debuts October 12. The first season consists of 12 episodes with new ones debuting weekly.

Titans follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and loveable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes.

We’ve got an early look and is the wait worth it? Find out! You can read the review of the first episode here.

Positives

As this episode alludes to, we get to meet the lovesick duo of Hawk and Dove. The pair feels more like Bonnie and Clyde than the squeaky-clean version fans grew up reading in comic books. This episode also brings the new streaming service and current flagship show its first sex scene. It’s not played out graphically but you won’t see this scene on any of Berlanti’s shows streaming on the CW.

We also see how though Dick is no longer part of the Bat Family he’s not afraid to request assistance, seeking help from the other who raised him. We find out how far back the duo has a history with Robin, one that is more muddied than one expected.

Hawk, in this version, is less likable while Dove is much more flawed, but affable nonetheless. Also, in what might be look like a swipe is more like and, is several characters fandom for Game Of Thrones, making them more relatable to the viewer, thus more visceral.

In the episode a family of killers is hunting one of our protagonists. It gives the show its first big bad. Another landmark for this show, is that this is the first time we see a superhero kill some bad guys, as this show already has more blood splatters than all of the DC shows combined. And that’s only in its second episode.

The whole thing wraps up with a major cliffhanger. One that will definitely shock viewers instantly.

Negatives

None

Verdict

This is one to definitely watch as it lets the viewer know more about these characters and how even superheroes can get their love lives messy like the rest of us.


Director: Brad Anderson
Writers: Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, and Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Brendon Thwaites, Liza Colon-Zayas, Teagan Croft, Anna Diop, Mina Kelly, Jarreth J.Merz, Ryan Potter, Alan Ritchson,

TV Review: Titans S1E1 Titans

DC Universe, DC Entertainment‘s new digital service, is here and with it the promise of original programming, the first of which is Titans. Titans is a live action adaptation of the classic characters and team that debuts October 12. The first season consists of 12 episodes with new ones debuting weekly.

Titans follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and loveable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes.

We’ve got an early look and is the wait worth it? Find out!

Positives

One of the first things that you get about Titans is how dark it is, the mood that is set somewhere between the tones of the DCEU movies and Netflix’s Marvel shows, something that pulls you in right away and is quite a pleasant surprise. As even the Netflix Marvel shows restraint in certain aspects, this  show doesn’t as was seen and heard in the show’s first trailer, from a scene in Episode 1 X 01, where Robin/Nightwing verbally disavows Batman in the most straightforward way, something fans thought they would never hear from the character, and as can be seen throughout the first episode he explains the fallout to his partner and how it ha temporarily swore off having a partner because of what happened between Bruce and Dick. The majority of the show focuses on Raven, as we get a good backstory about her , as we see her relationship with her mother, played by the prolific Sherilyn Fenn,  and how she ends up meeting Dick, through an iconic comic book scene .  As in this version, which is much more faithful to the origin story in the comic book, is also being hunted, which at first looks like a child sex trafficking ring but eventually is seen to be a group of zealots who sees her only as the daughter of Trigon.  We also get to meet Starfire, where she wakes up with no memory of how she got there and who she is , as well as why she is dressed the way she is. This part makes sense once you find out what capacity Cory Anders is before she used her powers in this version.  As was seen online in social media, the instances of backlash, regarding Diop’s race and later her look, which as I have seen in this pilot episode, was gravely premature and downright abhorrent. In what is the last ten minutes of the episode, we see out first glimpse of Beast Boy, , which I feel will pay off in the second episode. As far as the special effects, Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy uses their powers to what fans can rejoice, as all three characters in this episode, are quite formidable and the CGI used showcases it perfectly.

Negatives

None as the truth is the DCEU movies can take some notes from DC’s first unfiltered not family friendly show, as I feel this show captures the grit is sought to add to these characters onscreen canon.

Verdict

Watch as this first episode pulls no punches.


Director: Brad Anderson
Writers: Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, and Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Brendon Thwaites,  Liza Colon-Zayas, Teagan Croft, Anna Diop, Mina Kelly, Jarreth J. Merz, Ryan Potter, Alan Ritchson,

SDCC 2018: Stargirl is Coming to DC Universe, Plus Shazam, and Three Jokers

Geoff Johns had some reveals at his Spotlight panel Thursday at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 with the news that he is writing and executive producing Stargirl for the DC Universe digital subscription service. Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter will also executive produce. The original series is the sixth for the brand-new service and focuses on the character that started Johns’ career as a comic book writer when he created her in 1999, lovingly inspired by his late sister who was killed in a 1996 plane explosion.

Stargirl follows High School sophomore Courtney Whitmore who inspires an unlikely group of young heroes to stop the villains of the past. This new DC Universe series reimagines Stargirl and the very first superhero team, the Justice Society of America, in a fun, exciting and unpredictable series premiering in 2019, produced by Warner Bros. Television, Mad Ghost Productions and Berlanti Productions.

Before the crowd could settle down, Johns revealed he will return to Shazam! with an ongoing comic book series, reuniting with artist Dale Eaglesham. Shazam! #1 will debut on November 21, the same Wednesday before Thanksgiving that Johns debuted Doomsday Clock #1 in 2017.

Speaking of Doomsday Clock, Johns revealed new art by Gary Frank from issue #6, out July 25. Johns shared that the new issue will provide fans with Mime and Marionette’s origin stories.

Finally, Johns revealed a first look at Batman: Three Jokers by artist Jason Fabok and announced that the series will be published under the DC Black Label imprint, which promises a provocative and daring storytelling.

Doom Patrol is Coming to DC Universe as a One-Hour Live Action Drama

DC Entertainment has announced that the upcoming DC Universe digital service has ordered its next original series, the one-hour live-action drama Doom Patrol, from executive producers Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns, Jeremy Carver, and Sarah Schechter. Doom Patrol is direct-to-series with 13 episodes ordered.

Written by Jeremy Carver, the series is based on DC characters originally written and drawn by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney, and Bruno Premiani.

Doom Patrol is a re-imagining of one of DC’s most beloved group of outcast Super Heroes: Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Crazy Jane, led by modern-day mad scientist Dr. Niles Caulder (The Chief). The Doom Patrol’s members each suffered horrible accidents that gave them superhuman abilities — but also left them scarred and disfigured. Traumatized and downtrodden, the team found purpose through The Chief, who brought them together to investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence — and to protect Earth from what they find. Part support group, part Super Hero team, the Doom Patrol is a band of super-powered freaks who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them. Picking up after the events of Titans, Doom Patrol will find these reluctant heroes in a place they never expected to be, called to action by none other than Cyborg, who comes to them with a mission hard to refuse, but with a warning that is hard to ignore: their lives will never, ever be the same.

Doom Patrol will begin production this year for a 2019 debut on DC Universe.

DC Universe is a new digital service operated by Warner Bros. Digital Networks. The platform includes the announced Titans, Swamp Thing, Young Justice: Outsiders, and Harley Quinn.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch Returns to Television Courtesy of The CW

Get ready for an intense look into the world of magic and witchcraft with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a new one-hour dark drama/horror project based on the classic Archie Comics character. The new project is eyed to debut in The CW‘s 2018-19 television season as a companion to Riverdale. It shouldn’t be surprised to see the series as Riverdale has been a hit for The CW and the comic series it’s based off of is well regarded.

The new show will be written by Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer and Riverdale Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, directed by Lee Toland Krieger, and produced by Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Brothers Studios. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schecter, Jon Goldwater, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lee Toland Krieger serve as executive producers.

Sabrina will draw from the comic book series from Archie Comics written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Robert Hack, detailing the compelling and shocking re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s occult origins. This dark coming-of-age story deals with horror, the occult, and witchcraft and will see Sabrina struggle to reconcile her dual nature of being half-witch and half-mortal while protecting her family and the world from the forces of evil.

Casting and additional news on the new series will be revealed in the months to come.

TV Review: Supergirl S2E6 “Changing” is literally and metaphorically draining

Supergirl -- "Changing" -- Image SPG206a_0103 -- Pictured (L-R): Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers and Melissa Benoist as Kara -- Photo: Liane Hentscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

In “Changing”, writers Caitlin Parrish, Andrew Kreisberg, and Greg Berlanti round off several characters subplots as James Olsen and Mon-El wrap up their heroic journeys, Alex Danvers comes out to her sister, Supergirl, and Martian Manhunter and Miss Martian are brought closer together in a traumatic way. Oh, and there happens to be a villain in this episode as director Larry Teng pays homage to The Thing with an alien parasite taking out scientists at a remote base near one of the poles in its cold open. Parasite (Lost’‘s William Mapother) that extremists can be on both the left and right side of the aisle. Climate change is terrible, but killing human beings isn’t the solution

But Berlanti, Parrish, and Kreisberg  use Parasite less as a global warming parable in classic Superman villain form and more as a way to cause the cast of Supergirl  external discomfort to go with their inner pain. The strongest emotional beat in “Changing” and one of the best character arcs on a TV show in 2016 belongs to Alex Danvers. Chyler Leigh excels at changing her vocal timbre and has great range as an actor going from aloof to happy to completely broken at the drop of the hat while also kicking ass in the action scenes against Parasite. She doesn’t have to speak to show the depth of her uncertainty about how to talk about being a lesbian, or the depth of her feelings towards Maggie Sawyer. The scene(s) where Alex comes out to Kara are the complete opposite of an after school special as Teng uses soft lighting with a minor piano score from Blake Neely as well as getting rid of Kara’s “glasses disguise” for a true moment of authenticity as she is there for her sister. Alex coming out as lesbian wasn’t a stunt for ratings or titillation, but an organic part of development of a character as she strives to be whole in her personal life as well as her professional life as an agent of the DEO. The ending of her storyline is completely happy, but thankfully Berlanti, Parrish, and Kreisberg go the route of Carmilla rather than The 100 as far as tragic queer characters are concerned.

Last episode, I described Mon-El as “adorkable”, but maybe he is more of a douche than a dork. His storyline in “Changes” starts out promisingly enough with Chris Wood flexing his impeccable comedic timing with Mon-El’s reactions to various aliens sending him drinks at the alien bar, which has become the show’s most memorable setting with Catco being a pale spectre of its Season 1 self. But it all goes to hell after this as Mon-El uses his powers to be an enforcer for an alien bookie and not feel any guilt about it. His amorality has gone from naive to downright frustrating or disgusting, and it’s kind of cathartic to see Alex light into him for using his powers to hurt people weaker than him and call him a coward. Mon-El does pathetically participate in the fight against Parasite as he takes baby steps towards being a superhero. He’s not very likeable though, but his role in the episode’s cliffhanger opens up a possibility for him to regain some face in the long run.

jamesolsenguardian

I have mixed feelings about the James Olsen becomes a superhero subplot, and all of Mehcad Brooks’ charm goes out the window when he is covered up behind a helmet and voice modulator. But his transformation into the vigilante Guardian has brought him and Winn closer together as well as added another black superhero to television. Even though he ends up cracking wise in the heat of battle when James battles Parasite while Supergirl and Martian Manhunter are down for the count, Jeremy Jordan plays Winn very seriously in “Changes” as he basically tells James to back off his demands for the Guardian suit. He cares for James and doesn’t want to kill himself while playing superhero. Winn is skeptical about James’ actions and kind of a stand-in for Supergirl fans, who are wary of his arc in Season 2. However, he ends up coming around when he realizes that telling a guy in a suit how to punch and defend himself is kind of an adrenaline rush. Olsen might have the gruff, grating voice of Christian Bale’s Batman, but he and Winn have a genuine good time as superheroes even if his origin story is rooted in the death of his father and his own insecurities as a “sidekick”. Some better sound editing would make the patter on Olsen’s side a tad bit snappier.

parasitesupergirl

Due to dramatic timing (and probably budget constraints), Larry Teng saves the reveal of Rudy Jones’ final Parasite form for the last third of “Changes”. Unlike the shoddy CGI of a recent of “monster” in The FlashSupergirl”s visual effects artists give him the purple hue of the comic book version to go with intimidating size and scale. The makeup and visual effects team should also be commended for their work on the wounded Martian Manhunter and Supergirl, who look like they’re on death’s door and completely drained of their health and vitality. They definitely don’t look like powerful, adorable superheroes or cool, regal Martians. In the big brawl between Mon-El, Guardian, and this week’s villain, Teng doesn’t neglect the horror giving Parasite a “chest burster” for a mouth that he breaks out when fighting Mon-El on the streets.  His direction (and the writing) does falter a little bit with the quick reveal of a limitless energy MacGuffin that Supergirl gives Parasite to finally defeat him which is even little too much deus ex machina for a superhero show. However, the image of Kara taking on a huge burst of energy that could destroy any of her friends is a visual representation of her ability to inspire James Olsen to become a superhero, Alex Danvers to embrace her queer identity, and for Mon-El to “show up”.

On the surface, “Changes” get its title from the physical transformation that Dr. Rudy Jones endures as he goes from an overzealous scientist to a character in an early David Cronenberg movie to a tricked out supervillain. However, it is truly about the transformations in Supergirl”s well-rounded supporting cast. Some changes are more thoughtful (Alex Danvers) than others (Mon-El), but the episode is another shining example of how Supergirl has reached new heights by focusing on the people behind the icons aka their feelings and not just flying, alien punching, and shapeshifting. All those things are cool though.

alexcomesout

Finally, Changes” is also yet another stellar example of how inspiring science fiction and superhero stories can be towards queer people as Kara finds common ground with Alex in their shared “secret identities” as a superhero and queer woman respectively. But Supergirl doesn’t stay in the world of metaphor and strives for nuanced LGBT representation as Alex and Maggie are at very different places, and maybe a romantic relationship isn’t the best option for them right now even though all the fans want them to smooch.

In a country where the government will be run by a man who allowed queer teenagers to be literally tortured and shocked into “becoming straight”,  Chyler Leigh’s portrayal of Alex Danvers is a beacon of hope and a reminder that you can come out at any stage of your life.

Overall Rating: 8.5

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