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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.

Get a Look at Nick E. Tarabay as Eclipso in Stargirl

As Stargirl‘s first season came to a wrap, we got the hint that Eclipso would be coming to the show for its second season.

The classic villain will play a big role when the show returns this summer to The CW and will be play by Nick E. Tarabay.

This isn’t the first time Tarabay has played a DC character. Tarabay also played Digger Harkness, aka Captain Boomerang, in three episodes of Arrow.

This is the first time the character has been brought to live action.

Eclipso is a classic character who has been imprisoned within a black diamond called the Heart of Darkness. He’s able to take possession of anyone who holds a shard of the diamond and has hatred in their heart. Once he’s possessed someone, he can take control of anyone by just looking at them allowing his control to spread quickly. Since the entire Justice League or Justice League Dark has been needed to take the character down in the comics, how will Courtney Whitmore, aka Stargirl, stop him?

Nick E. Tarabay as Eclipso

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

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