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TV Review: Arrow S5E23 Lian Yu

arrowOliver assembles a group of unlikely allies – Slade, Nyssa, Merlyn, and Digger Harkness – to engage in an epic battle against Chase and his army.

Arrow wraps up its fifth season with an episode that’s generally good though feels like it’s both stretched out and compacted at the same time.

The good is the episode wraps up Oliver’s Russian adventures and we get to see glimpses of his heading home, which is a new revelation and answers some questions. That all feels a bit packed in and could be an entire episode on its own.

Most of the episode is focused on taking on Chase and action scene moves to fight scene moves to action scene with fights that feel like they’re choreographed well or not at all. It’s an odd experience as things look tight are a bit sloppy. That’s apparent early on when Oliver takes a swing in a badly delivered punch.

In the few moments where there’s not fighting or running for safety, there’s reflections on what it means to be a father with Deathstroke and Merlyn sounding somewhat reasonable. The moments are a bit bizarre as they’re in danger, but there’s enough time to talk about fatherhood? The scenes are good, but the situation they’re in between they feel odd.

Then there’s the ending which I’m not about to ruin, but it doesn’t feel like an ending at all instead it’s an unresolved aspect of the episode. Yes, it’s a cliffhanger, but in this case it doesn’t feel like it’s a good payoff it feels like something that should be resolved within the season. It’s hard to describe, but something didn’t sit right.

It’s not a bad episode, but as a season finale, something feels like it’s missing.

Overall rating: 7.45

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TV Review: iZombie S3E8 Eat a Knievel

normal_izombietv_s01promo_001-1~0Liv and her boyfriend become closer when she shares the brain of a former daredevil with him; Blaine is back to his old ways; Ravi makes progress in his new research; a discover puts Major in grave danger.

iZombie is an ok episode with one focused on the murder of a daredevil and an attempt to move the various stories forward. The issues lay in the fact the murder mystery isn’t all that interesting and while Rose McIver is her usual amazing self in the acting aspect, it’s not enough to distract from the rest of what’s going on.

There’s some focus on Liv and her boyfriend which is a rather blah storyline. The attraction is clear but the case hasn’t quite been made to me caring.

Then there’s Major being human now and cured. Why doesn’t he quit his job? I can’t figure this out. Why put himself in danger?

Then there’s Blaine, who’s back to his old self. While it’s interesting to see him get his revenge it has a been there done that aspect to it.

The good of the episode is a bit more of a focus on the anti-zombie folks as a decision is made to infiltrate them. It’s also a little odd that other avenues aren’t taken to take care of them, like turning them into zombies or outright killing them.

For as different as the season began, in these last few episodes it’s all gotten back to where it was seasons ago. The series looked like it was evolving in its formula this season and in some aspects it’s branching out, but in others it’s taking a bunch of steps back.

Hopefully this is just a bridge episode moving things along and getting us to the next phase of the season, but this is an episode that’s largely forgettable in so many ways.

Overall Rating: 7.05

TV Review: The Flash S3E23 Finish Line

The Flash Season 2With nothing left to lose; Barry takes on Savitar in an epic conclusion.

The Flash wraps up its third season with the team reeling from the shocking ending of the last episode. Though, things aren’t as they seem which also kicks off the episode in a way that’s unexpected and definitely kept me on my toes fore the rest of it.

Someone does die, and it’s not some cheap trick where the person is alive and survives. That’s not quite a spoiler and I think important because I was fully expecting the episode to undo the death and just wasn’t convinced of what I saw.

What follows is some of the best and most frustrating things about this series all wrapped up in an hour. The team both reaches out to and fights Savitar in what’s at times predictable and at other times out of left field. It’s good, it’s bad, but it wraps things up in something interesting ways.

What’s good is they bring everything together and there’s characters that play big roles that are unexpected and in that it’s good. The bad is of course there’s the moment where they want to try to help Savitar which you just know isn’t going to go well. It’s the superhero version of the villain monologue. As I said, it’s frustrating.

There’s also good in that the episode focuses on the paradox that would happen by stopping Savitar. It’s been something on my mind and here it’s addressed perfectly.

But, the episode gives us a lot packed in there and also delivers a lot to come setting up the next season, again something that’s somewhat frustrating in that there’s a pretty clear solution.

This is a good finale that wraps up a season that had its ups and downs and hopefully, we get a rejuvenated next season.

Overall Rating: 8.50

Riverdale: The Complete First Season coming August 15 to Blu-ray & DVD

Unlock the mystery and dive into small town secrets as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Riverdale: The Complete First Season on DVD on August 15, 2017. Premiering with 2.4 million viewers, The CW’s top new show across all major demos* is created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Glee, Big Love), produced by Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Blindspot), and stars KJ Apa (Shortland Street), Lili Reinhart (The Kings of Summer), Camila Mendes (Randy Doe), Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody), Marisol Nichols (Big Momma’s House 2), Madelaine Petsch (The Curse of Sleeping Beauty), Ashleigh Murray (Deidra & Laney Rob a Train), Mädchen Amick (Twin Peaks), and Luke Perry (Beverly Hills 90210). Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is also an executive producer, along with Sarah Schechter (Arrow, Blindspot, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), and Jon Goldwater (Publisher/CEO, Archie Comics). The release contains all 13 gripping episodes from the first season, and includes new bonus content, and never-before-seen deleted scenes, and a gag reel. Riverdale: The Complete First Season is priced to own at $39.99 SRP. Riverdale: The Complete First Season is also available to own on Digital HD via purchase from digital retailers.

Riverdale: The Complete First Season will also be available on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Archive Collection. The Blu-ray release includes all bonus features on the DVD and is also arriving August 15, 2017. Warner Archive Blu-ray releases are found at Amazon.com and all online retailers.

Based on the characters from Archie Comics, Riverdale gives a subversive take on small-town life. Things aren’t always what you expect in Riverdale. As a new school year begins, the town is reeling from the tragic death of high school golden boy Jason Blossom. The summer’s events made all-American teen Archie Andrews realize that he wants to pursue a career in music, but his fractured friendship with Jughead Jones, and Josie McCoy’s focus on her own band leaves Archie without a mentor. Meanwhile, girl-next-door Betty Cooper is not ready to reveal her true feelings for Archie, and new student, Veronica Lodge, has an undeniable spark with Betty’s crush. And then there’s Cheryl Blossom, Riverdale’s queen bee, who stirs up trouble amongst Archie, Betty and Veronica. But is Cheryl hiding something about the mysterious death of her twin brother, Jason? Riverdale may look like a quiet, sleepy town, but there’s so much more to the story.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Riverdale: 2016 Comic-Con Panel
  • Riverdale: The New Normal
  • Riverdale: The Ultimate Sin
  • I Got You – musical piece
  • These Are Moments I Remember – musical piece
  • Gag Reel
  • Deleted Scenes

13 ONE-HOUR EPISODES

  1. Chapter One: “The River’s Edge”
  2. Chapter Two: “A Touch of Evil”
  3. Chapter Three: “Body Double”
  4. Chapter Four: “The Last Picture Show”
  5. Chapter Five: “Heart of Darkness”
  6. Chapter Six: “Faster, Pussycats! Kill! Kill!”
  7. Chapter Seven: “In a Lonely Place”
  8. Chapter Eight: “The Outsiders”
  9. Chapter Nine: “La Grande Illusion”
  10. Chapter Ten: “The Lost Weekend”
  11. Chapter Eleven: “To Riverdale and Back Again”
  12. Chapter Twelve: “Anatomy of a Murder”
  13. Chapter Thirteen: “The Sweet Hereafter”

DIGITAL HD

The first season of Riverdale is also currently available to own on Digital HD. Digital HD allows consumers to instantly stream and download all episodes to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices.  Digital HD is available from various digital retailers including Amazon Video, CinemaNow, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others.

TV Review: Supergirl S2E22 “Nevertheless She Persisted” has Kick-Ass Action and Human Emotion

Supergirl‘s Season 2 finale “Nevertheless She Persisted” opens up a potent can of whup ass with a no holds barred throwdown between Supergirl and Superman, who is being controlled by Rhea with silver kryptonite that makes Kara look like General Zod, courtesy of veteran Arrow and Smallvile director Glen Winter. And it has a Battle of Pelennor Fields-esque second act with White Martians, a Superman and Martian Manhunter team-up, and even Mon-El busting out some kung fu to defeat the Daxamites. However, where this episode really shines is how writers Robert Rovner, Caitlin Parrish, Jessica Queller, and Andrew Kreisberg,  and actor Melissa Benoist show how far Kara Danvers has come along as a woman, reporter, and hero. She’s not afraid to make the hard choice and irradiating the atmosphere with lead to make the Daxamites go away but feels terrible about having to send her boyfriend Mon-El away before he dies. Her grief comes out in teary, silent close-ups of Benoist as she flies in the twilight and wishes there was some way she could be with Mon-El. Also, having a nice trial by combat between Supergirl and Rhea is an excellent main plot point.

And this is where Cat Grant is kind of perfect in a more dialed down performance from Calista Flockhart even though she makes some great, leaning on the fourth quips about never seeing Star Wars to Winn and Kara. She gives Kara the pep talk of all pep talks by praising her investigative reporting while giving her constructive criticism about her writing style. Then, Cat hits what is honestly the thematic core of Supergirl as a TV show: women can be emotionally vulnerable and still fight on. And this goes for all the women of Supergirl, including the bad guys. Rhea is a terrible, cowardly tyrant, but she still has love for Mon-El even as she collapses in lead dust. On the other hand, Lillian Luthor will do whatever it takes to protect the world from aliens, but she regrets being so negative towards Lena while she was growing up and straining their relationship.

Even more so than the MacGuffin/mind control/Myriad season 1 finale, Supergirl Season 2’s finale is a war story. Most of the shooting is done in the dark, but Winter occasionally shows shots of buildings, fountains, and windows being caught in the crossfire of powerful aliens from the Superman vs. Supergirl battle in the beginning to Supergirl vs. Rhea and finally the all out Martian/human/Kryptonian/Daxamite battle royale. But unlike its higher budget cousin, Man of Steel, “Nevertheless She Persisted” consciously shows the heroes helping every day people, like Martian Manhunter carrying civilians out of harm’s way or Superman protecting them with his freeze breath. Superman and Martian Manhunter have a truly epic moment when they say “Stronger together” in their native tongues before giving us one of the coolest superhero team-ups in TV history.

But they get emotional stories too with Superman playing a supporting role even though Tyler Hoechlin has leading man charisma, and you can tell why Cat Grant has a crush on Clark Kent. In a sparring session, she opens up to him about her fear of losing Mon-El if she activates Lillian Luthor’s fail safe, and he empathizes with his fear of losing Lois. Except for when he’s under the influence of silver kryptonite (Which I didn’t know was a thing), Superman is kind, compassionate, and a team player. And the writers of Supergirl use him in small doses so he doesn’t overshadow Kara and the main supporting players’ arcs.

They don’t spend a lot of time onscreen together thanks to the frantic flying and rushing to fight Rhea and the Daxamites, but “Nevertheless She Persisted’s” writers manage to get a few great scenes out of Kara and Alex’s interactions. Their bond as sisters has been this season’s bedrock and even enhanced the romantic relationship between Alex and Maggie, which gets a bit of an upgrade in this episode. Alex nurses her back to health in the Fortress of Solitude and then later on thanks her for helping her come out as lesbian earlier in the season although she was struggling to be herself. Kara is definitely thinking about Mon-El as she flies and broods above National City, but her last great interaction is with Alex, the woman who she inspires and is inspired by in turn.

Supergirl is a TV show about women of action who also have rich emotional lives, and when the writers strike that balance between those two things (Instead of following Mon-El down a douchy rabbit hole), it can be a great genre show as “Nevertheless She Persisted” (And a great Cat Grant speech.) demonstrates. Supergirl Season 2 has definitely been a rocky ride, but by doubling down on the relationships between female characters and villains, it stuck the landing while leaving some threads for next season like Lillian Luthor being free as a bird, yet another pod being sent from Krypton, and perhaps a romance between Kara and Lena Luthor.

Overall Rating: 8.50

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Season 2 coming August 15 to Blu-ray/DVD

Their time is now! Just before their third season premiere on The CW, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray and DVD on August 15, 2017. Fans can zoom through 17 exhilarating episodes from the second season, plus exciting special features including the show’s 2016 Comic-Con Panel, crossover featurette, gag-reel and deleted scenes. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Second Season is priced at $39.99 SRP for the DVD and $44.98 SRP for the Blu-ray, which includes a Digital Copy.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow amps up the firepower for Season Two of the Super Hero team-up series by enlisting both a league and a legion of new characters to join the legendary crew of the Waverider.  Charged with protecting the timeline from temporal aberrations – changes to history that spawn potentially catastrophic consequences – the Legends reassemble with the addition of historian Nate Heywood (aka Citizen Steel) and Justice Society of America member Amaya Jiwe (aka Vixen).  And yet, for every force of good, there is an opposing force of darkness.  In Season Two, the Legends of Tomorrow face off against the first ever team of DC Super-Villains: the Legion of Doom, including Malcolm Merlyn, Damien Darhk, Captain Cold and the Reverse Flash.  After saving the world from Vandal Savage and the corrupt Time Masters, the Legends of Tomorrow are now charged with protecting time (past, present and future) itself, taking them across history and up against the power of the Spear of Destiny – a threat unlike any humanity has ever known.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray release will include 1080p Full HD Video with DTS-HD Master Audio for English 5.1. The 3-disc Blu-ray will feature a high-definition Blu-ray and a Digital Copy of all 17 episodes from season two.

BLU-RAY & DVD FEATURES

  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: 2016 Comic-Con Panel
  • Allied: The Invasion Complex (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow)
    • Deleted Scenes
    • Gag-Reel

17 ONE-HOUR EPISODES

  1. Out of Time
  2. The Justice Society of America
  3. Shogun
  4. Abominations
  5. Compromised
  6. Outlaw Country
  7. Invasion!
  8. The Chicago Way
  9. Raiders of the Lost Art
  10. The Legion of Doom
  11. Turncoat
  12. Camelot/3000
  13. Land of the Lost
  14. Moonshot
  15. Fellowship of the Spear
  16. Doomworld
  17. Aruba

DIGITAL HD

The second season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is also currently available to own on Digital HD. Digital HD allows consumers to instantly stream and download all episodes to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices.  Digital HD is available from various digital retailers including Amazon Video, CinemaNow, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others. A Digital Copy is also included with the purchase of specially marked Blu-ray discs for redemption and cloud storage through participating retail services including CinemaNow, Vudu and Flixster Video.

TV Review: iZombie S3E7 Dirt Nap Time

normal_izombietv_s01promo_001-1~0When a womanizing preschool teacher is murdered, Liv and Clive bring the teacher’s jealous girlfriend in for questioning; Peyton is assigned an interesting case; Blaine gets into a bad situation.

iZombie interestingly runs multiple stories in a bit of a different way this episode where it has the murder investigation (pretty standard), the bigger story for the season, and then they continue some from the dominatrix episode, and to see the series pick that up (without it clearly connecting to anything else yet) is interesting, as it gives the series something else to juggle and entertain us.

As usual, Rose McIver in the main role is amazing as she eats the brain of a school teacher and takes his lessons to a bit extreme, especially when it comes to interrogating the suspects. That brings the humor to interesting levels and McIver goes over the top and delivers it all in a somewhat creepy way (but really funny). How Clive reacts to it all helps add to the humor as his amusement at first turns into irritation eventually. There’s also references to things she does not on the screen which really brings the laughs and does so by having us imagining what she did (and what else she might have done). I’m sure our imagination is funnier than anything the writers would have been able to deliver.

The other two other plotlines are interesting. You’ve got the bigger story of the zombie brains war and the individuals hunting for proof of zombies with Major stuck in the middle of that. This episode is a good one in that it adds a little to that, but doesn’t dive too much in. But, the thing I really like is the follow up to the dominatrix episode where the person may been using the information for blackmail. Where that goes is interesting and while I expect that to dovetail into the bigger story, it very well may not. It’s nice to see it come back the way it does.

The episode is a good one that feels like it’s adding layers to what’s come before as much as it is moving the plots forward. The episode feels like it’s a step into making episodes a bit more complicated going forward.

Overall Rating: 7.95

TV Review: The Flash S3E22 Infantino Street

The Flash Season 2Barry chooses to use any means necessary to save the woman he loves; The Flash turns to Captain Cold to help.

The Flash gives us the last 24 hours before the fateful showdown between Barry and Savitar with Iris’ life on the life. The episode does some reall solid work in setting the somber tone and mood, with some good humor mixed in to lighten it up a bit.

The two stand out things from this episode are Iris and her father dealing with the fact she might die. There’s a recognition of the possible and everyone reacts perfectly. What’s especially good is a scene between Joe and Iris where she admits some things and he admits some things as well. It’s very touching and got me to think about what I’d do in that sort of moment, where you’re sure someone you love is about to die. It’s a disaster film in a way where the people embrace each other just before the disaster actually hits to wipe them out. Heartfelt, appropriate, surprisingly touching.

The other thing is Barry’s interactions with Captain Cold who he rescues from time to help him steal something he needs in hope of defeating Savitar. What works here is the fact that not only is actor Wentworth Miller brilliant in the role, the show really gets what works between the two, so much so they lay it out for the audience. Captain Cold sees the dark side in Barry and Barry sees the good in Captain Cold. They feel like the flip side of the same coin and this episode is where it’s acknowledged and bluntly laid out.

There’s also some good for comic fans as well. The title, “Infantino Street” is a reference to Carmine Infantino, the comic editor, and artist who drew the landmark “Flash of Two Worlds” introducing us to Earth-Two and the concept of the multiverse.  The episode and series knows its roots and recognizes it.

The bad is, it’s clearer in this episode that if Barry stops Savitar it’ll result in a paradox and some horrible circular logic.

The episode is a good one in that it leaves us wondering to the last moments whether Iris will live or die and what will happen. Mix that with touching moments, you’ve got an episode that really delivers and has me excited and scared for what happens next.

Overall Rating: 8.50

The CW Gives Us a First Look at Black Lightning

TV channels are showing off what we can expect during the next television season and The CW has given us a first look at the latest DC Comics character to come to television Black Lightning!

TV Review: Arrow S5E22 Missing

arrowBlack Siren returns to help Chase; Felicity organizes a birthday party for Oliver; Lance is furious when Rene misses the custody hearing for his daughter.

Arrow deals with Chase in jail, who still has some tricks up his sleeve in the end game that feels like it’s adding about 3 more episodes than needed on to the season.

The episode mainly deals with Chase who has a contingency plan that we saw begin to play out in the last episode. Oliver’s son is kidnapped and then hits go out on the rest of his team. It all feels a bit needlessly complicated in that Chase could easily reveal Oliver and his past crimes which would land him in jail where he could be tortured. Wouldn’t a smarter play be to prosecute him instead?

Instead, we get a season that’s played out a bit too long and the return of Black Siren among other characters.

That puts Oliver in a corner and he has to team up with individuals who used to be adversaries. We once again have a story asking how far Oliver will go. We know he’ll go far, this has come up over the last five seasons multiple times. It’s a plotline that’s played out. Here though, we’re given a twist at the end that’s supposed to shock viewers as a familiar bad guy returns. Sadly this was already spoiled online so the impact wasn’t quite as much as it’d have been otherwise. But, there’s some potential to see Oliver team up with the likes of Merlyn and Nyssa. That interaction is keeping me going (along with having to review the episodes).

It’s not this is bad at all, it just feels stretched out and as I said before a theme we’ve seen too many times. For a season that attempted to get away from an over the top bad guy, it still is giving us situations that are eye rolling in how needlessly complicated they are.

Overall rating: 7.0

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