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Review/Recap: Stargirl S2E1 “Summer School: Chapter One”

Stargirl’s season two premiere starts off with a flashback to the a Golden Age, with a young Rebecca meeting a young boy named Bruce in small town Indiana. Young Bruce coaxes her to disobey her mothers’ order to stay on the porch, causes her to almost get hit by a car and steal a present from her neighbors birthday party stash on the nearby front porch. The present turns out to be a possessed doll and Bruce turns out to be an evil entity and Rebecca ends up presumably dead and found by her mother with her screams heard while the camera ominously focuses in on her family mailbox in front of the abandoned front porch and the name McNider.

We then flash to the future with Stargirl and her team patrolling before curfew strikes on the hunt for supervillains but, no one believes that any ISA members remain free except Courtney who really wants to stay on patrol. The other team New JSA members head home and Stargirl retreats to her home to go over old JSA files to find some new evil to go up against.

Life As They Know It: Courtney becomes so involved in finding evil where there might not be any that Pat tries to remind her to enjoy the quiet moments and life itself. With no one willing to go on her over vigilant quest with her this episode sets Stargirl up to be the superhero who cried wolf, especially when we seen the glowing orb in her makeshift lair near her research. This set up makes it feel like the supervillains aren’t going to be the only foil to the team this season, Stargirl is going to have to go up against finding a workable solution for maintaining work/school/life balance. Courtney isn’t the only one having problems, Beth discovers her parents are getting a divorce, Hourman Jr., finds a mysterious trouble site in the woods on his way to school and Yolanda/ Wildcat has made crying in a confessional her daily routine as she deals with the memory of losing someone she cared about and then having to kill his father to save herself and the rest of the JSA.

Episode MVP: Not a major character by any means but, Zeek gave me joy. His character is a comedic delight that added a bit of levity to an otherwise dark and serious episode. He oversteps, he’s nosy, pushy and wants to put a flamethrower on Stripsey but, damn it if watching him do whatever he’s gonna do no matter what Pat says and watching Pat get all flustered while trying to be small town polite isn’t the most awesome thing, IDK what is.

New Storyline, Who This? This season Courtney has an unfortunate run in with Artemis in the lunchroom where she flips her classmate and the run in leads me to believe that we are about to get more Artemis. Whether she’s going to be a villain or join the JSA is yet to be seen but, whichever way this storyline goes I’m sure it’s going to be interesting. There’s also the OG Starman who’s looking for his old sidekick/driver and potentially his staff.

Best Scene: It’s a tie for best scene. This episode we get an emotional scene between Pat and Courtney in the school hallway after finding out that not only did she attack a fellow student (see above paragraph) but, she is failing several classes and has to go to summer school in order to continue on the junior year. The two talk about how her Stargirl duties in some cases are going to have to come in second to school , Courtney makes a quip about Pat quitting his superhero duties which stings a little but, they come back full circle and compromise enough to have them both leave without a bad taste in their mouths. The second scene that’s worth mentioning is a more action based one than an emotional and cerebral one. Watching Stargirl go toe to toe with the owner of the green orb in what we are lead to believe is an intruder with villainous intent we discover it’s actually the Green Lantern’s daughter! But, that fight scene was amazing!

Overall: As far as second season premieres go, this was a solid episode. It tied up some lingering questions from the season finale, delved into the emotional and mental backlash of the teams actions from last seasons finale, added some new insights and storylines , all while making sure the episode was cohesive and interesting. The premiere also set up a less campy tone than the other CW /DC collaborations and even though the show is centered around high schoolers some of the plot point are not only universal but border on adult. The show goes dark but, in a way that pulls you in and revolves around emotional depth, multidimensional character development and a genuine story that you care about. The writers and director managed to hook me in by the time the credits rolled and make me eager to see how the rest of the season plays out.

Rating: 8.4

Review/Recap: DC’S Legends of Tomorrow S6E12 Bored on Board Onboard

Still stuck in space after saving the Earth in the cosmic bowling competition, The Z’s swap back and the Legends find themselves ship bound for over two weeks trying to find ways to keep themselves busy. Mick’s still pregnant, Constantine and Fancy Z stay cozied up, Nick and B enjoy some gaming bro time and Eva & Sarah get their wedding planning on.

In order to kill time Constantine uses his magic to transform the team into a live action magical version of Gary’s board game that is a murder mystery adventure using his house as a board game. Mick and Gary are still on the ship in real time and a distressed vessel docks the ship carrying a wounded Kayla.

Constantine’s vamp blood powered magic has terrible consequences for the team making everything wonky, Legends are becoming their characters, some are dying and they might end up trapped in the game forever. Back on the ship Kayla is super peeved that they left her and took her ship and while Mick wants to tell her about their bundles of brain incubating joy, Gary advises it against it because she could decide to kill him and or the babies.

Episode MVP: There was very little interaction between this episodes villain and a majority of the team. So, the episode MVP this time around is based on an unexpected pairing who yielded an entertaining result. Gary and Mick. They did not get as much screen time this week as the rest of the team but, their team up to stop Kayla from resurrecting a big baddie is comic gold. In a show with so many extreme personalities and a double dose of camp it was fun to watch them play off of each other and even though they get knocked out for their efforts it was good to see their characters bond a little.

Best Scene: In keeping up with the romantic arc between Fancy Z and Constantine that hit a nice peak with the Buzzcock’s duet on national TV that saved the planet this episode gave us some more depth to the relationship between the ships other couple. But, the best scene didn’t involve Z and Constantine but, Z and B who talk feelings, red flags and love. The siblings share a super sweet moment where they both share their thoughts on the Constantine situation and how something is off but, dig deeper into their own sibling relationship in a way that feels authentic , pulled the heartstring and added depth to their characters.

Overall: Even though only about five minutes of the episode moved the story along and set up the seasons final battle, this episode was a damn good filler. It showcased the personal issues of the characters in a way that added depth and gave us insight into their motivations and needs. There were a lot of moments and scenes that played in a way that made me have very real feelings about imaginary characters and at times I got swept up in the show, which is a good thing especially when watching something in the space cowboy/fantasy /comic/sci-fi genre. Legends is always a treat to watch and six seasons in it is still consistent and one of the best DC shows on the TV.

Rating: 8.9

Stargirl Gets a Trailer Teasing its Second Season

Stargirl‘s second season premieres on Tuesday, August 10 on The CW and we’ve got a look at it.

In the trailer, we get a look at Shade, played by Jonathan Cake. It offers a tease of the magical Thunderbolt genie featuring the voice of Jim Gaffigan. Also, we get to see Jennifer Lynn-Hayden, the daughter of Alan Scott played by Ysa Penarejo.

Review/Recap: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow S6E1 – “Ground Control to Sara Lance”

The Recap: Last season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow ended with the Legends defeating the Fates, this season picks up with Sara MIA after a night of celebrating their victory. Long story short, Sara was kidnapped by Aliens who release her somewhere in the timeline after her attempts at escaping them is unsuccessful, the rest of the team uses their individual skills in small teams to find her and there’s an unexpected but, familiar bad guy behind Sara’s disappearance.

The Sweetest Thing: It is totally mushy but, adorable that Ava finds out about Sara deciding to finally propose to her thanks to a super 8 film from David Bowie. But, that’s not the only level-up relationship status going on aboard the Waverider, turns out Constantine and altered timeline Zari are getting all cozy and lovey-dovey and it’s about time.

Finding Sara: The team enlists the help of a former alien abducted named “Spooner” to aid in their current quest after she traps two team members and refuses to believe the team is not Alien in origin. There was a lot of wiggle room in her introduction and we find out that she’s quite savvy in a lot of ways that could come in handy with future missions leaving the door open for a possible new team member.

The Big Reveal: One of the coolest things about this episode is that we discover that the dear sweet, bunny rescuing, Gary is in fact an alien. He was sent to earth to capture Sara. But, finding out that one of the oddest, most fanboyish members of the Legends and Sorcerer’s apprentice Gary is an alien isn’t all that shocking, the biggest reveal of the episode is that Gary is/was engaged to the alien who wanted to collect Sara. Gary has a fiancé and a whole life outside of the team and I need to know more.

That’s So Ava: Ava has a whole check less and index of ways to find Sara. Her Type A neurosis is adorable in it’s completely organized way and her focus on the problem at hand as if it was another mission is completely in character for her.

Overall: There was a long wait to get back to one of my favorite shows on The CW and while the tone is different, the execution is still top-notch. Things have always been dark and deep with a perfect touch of camp thrown in and this episode keeps the traction and tradition going. It is well written, beautifully shot, expertly directed and the acting is superb. The team serves the writing and does the script justice in a way that makes even the most absurd storylines and phrases believable and interesting. The new baddies, Aliens, seem to make sense and don’t come off as far-fetched in the context of the show because the talented cast and showrunners sell the hell out of the current scenario. I thought this episode was a top-notch intro into the world of The Legends and the way that things played out to set up the rest of season six has me super hyped to see what comes next. The episode was a nice intro into the world they live in and the show itself, so even if this was a viewer’s first episode ever, you could still hop on board and be ready and interested in taking a ride on the Waverunner to see what the merry band of outcasts has come their way next. The writers are still amazing at creating characters that you can empathize and connect with and they tell a story that invites you into the world of The Legends in a way that makes you cheer for and feel for them.

Overall Rating: 8.7

Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes Exit The Flash After 7 Seasons

The Flash will be around for an eighth season by original cast members Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes will not be a part of it.

Valdes plays Cisco Ramon and will end his run in the seventh season with an appearance in the finale. Cavanagh has played a few roles like Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash and Harrison Wells was to end his role at the end of Season 6 but due to the pandemic, things were extended. He ended his run with the third episode of Season 7, “Mother” and was a recurring guest star after.

The two were of the six remaining original cast members that include Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, and Danielle Panabaker. Gustin is contracted for Season 8.

Get a First Look at DC and The CW’s Naomi

DC and The CW have released an official image from the anticipated series Naomi. The image is of actress Kaci Walfall as Naomi McDuffie.

Created by Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker, and Jamal Campbell, the series is about Naomi an adopted high school student living in a small town unaware of her history.

The released image is a bit of an homage to the cover of the first issue that introduced the character which you can see below. If given a green light, the series will stay true to the comic series which ran for six issues (so far).

Along with Walfall, Naomi also stars Alexander Wraith as Dee, Cranston Johnson as Zumbado, and Camila Moreno as Lourdes. It’s executive produced by Ava DuVernay, Jill Blankenship, Sarah Bremner, and Paul Garnes, and produced by DuVernay’s Array Filmworks in association with Warner Bros. Television.

TV Review: Kung Fu S1E1 Pilot

Kung Fu The CW

Kung Fu “Pilot”

Director: Hanelle M. Culpepper
Writers: Christina M. Kim
Starring: Olivia Liang, Tzi Ma, Valencia Budijanto, Yvonne Chapman, Vincent Chang, Kheng Hua Tan, Tony Chung, Shannon Dang, Vanessa Kai, Sunghee Lapell, Link Baker, Eddie Liu, Rebecca Olson, Debbie Podowski, Nitin Prasad, Jon Prasida, Gavin Stenhouse

Summary

A quarter-life crisis causes a young Chinese-American woman, Nicky Chen, to drop out of college. She goes on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. When she returns, she finds her hometown overrun with crime and corruption. Nicky uses her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice. All the while she searches for the assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor and is now targeting her.

Positives

Kung Fu “Pilotintroduces us to a very likable protagonist, Nicky. The development that is present concerning the complexity of the character, proves Christina M. Kim’s storytelling abilities are superior to most. Within the first episode, she gets sent to China so that she can meet a husband. It gives us a new angle on the arranged marriage trope that only endears to her from the get-go. It adds layers to what some may view as an anachronistic cultural pillar.

The character of Pei-ling, played by the immensely talented Vanessa Kai, makes me wonder why she has not more juicy roles like this. The role showcases her talents. The show has two of my favorite actors. Tzi Ma, who coincidentally played Mulan’s father in the live-action remake, and Kheng Hua Tan, who played Constance Wu’s mother, in Crazy Rich Asians. Both of these actors are not only prolific but have long-deserved roles like these which have shown their range.

The family dynamics within the show have a unique voice. The main character’s relationship with her parents and her siblings is where the show really shines. The mythology that is introduced is probably the other thing I most liked about this show. It certainly makes the original show feel pedestrian. The sensitivity and research devoted to the world-building, makes this show already stand heads and shoulders above the rest of the shows at the CW. This show has so many people in the cast that are Asian. Much like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, it acknowledges the fact but doesn’t dwell on it. It envelops the audience into what eventually is a well-told story.

Negatives

Kung Fu is what the world needs now. The only things I can really gripe about is some of the story choices. The first being that her love interest is not really interesting, but only time will tell if he is fully rounded as a character. The second is the similarities to the story of Mulan, which I understand is a zeitgeist touchpoint for most viewers, but this story is gripping enough without evoking it.

Verdict

Kung Fu “Pilotis an excellent introductory episode that only shares a name with the original show.  This is a relevant show which infuses family dynamics and martial arts, something I have been missing since Into The Badlands.

Ava DuVernay’s New Gods and Games Wan’s The Trench Not Moving Forward

DC Logo

The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop that Warner Bros. has shelved two of its upcoming, and high-profile, films based on DC properties. Ava DuVernay‘s New Gods and James Wan‘s The Trench are not going forward at this time.

In a statment, Warner Bros. and DC said:

As part of our DC slate, some legacy development titles including New Gods and The Trench will not be moving forward. We thank our partners Ava DuVernay, Tom King, James Wan and Peter Safran for their time and collaboration during this process and look forward to our continued partnership with them on other DC stories. The projects will remain in their skillful hands if they were to move forward in the future.

New Gods was a take on the classic Jack Kirby characters with DuVernay directing and working with comic writer Tom King. The film has been in development since 2018. DuVernay is working on the television series Naomi based on the DC character which will air on The CW.

The Trench was a spin-off from the blockbuster Aquaman. The horror-tinged film featured Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald on the script with Wan developing as producer with Peter Safran. Wan is still working on Aquaman 2 which will begin shooting later this year.

While these two projects have been shelved for now, they may happen down the road. It is believed the issue is there was no “natural” place to release the films in the current upcoming plans.

DC is currently focused on a multi-platform approach with films like The Suicide Squad and The Batman bleeding over into television with the HBO Max series Peacemaker and a show focused on the Gotham police department.

DC is still focused on creating a film universe with The Flash, tackling the DC multiverse, being key to what comes next. Upcoming films include Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and projects featuring Blue Beetle, Batgirl, Supergirl, Static Shock, and Green Lantern Corps. There’s also the third Wonder Woman film, newly announced Zatanna, and Superman film produced by J.J. Abrams and written by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Almost American
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