The Peril of Season Premieres

The amount of joy I felt today about my superhero TV season starting up again was probably a little extreme.  Summer is great – I love summer, but I also love my nerd TV.

First out of the gate tonight was “Flashpoint” the season premiere of The Flash.  In some ways I loved it – it was great to see Kid Flash and normal optometrist Caitlin, however it also kind of bugged me.

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One of my pet peeves about standard episodic television is how the structure artificially manipulates the story line.  The standard now is that in April or May you needs some sort of epic gamechanging cliffhanger and/or something that wraps up the story line of the show in some way….

….And then you have to come back in October and start the story all over again.  And if you want to keep your show in “real time” you have to explain where those three months went. (I could write a whole separate rant about “real time” – especially with superhero shows which feel like they can mess with the space-time continuum but heaven forbid it should be July in their fantasy world when it’s October in ours.)  Some shows manage to do this gracefully – but honestly it’s a rare phenomenon.

Often the show comes back from those three months and tells, or quickly shows, us what has changed. We, as the audience, are supposed to just take it on faith and try not be irritated that we’ve been left out of a whole chapter of the story.  On Arrow, for those of us who like the Oliver and Felicity relationship, it’s meant that the happiest (and for my money some of the most anticipated) bits of their dynamic have taken place off the screen. Super, super, frustrating. No wonder people write fanfiction.

The other thing that seems to happen is that the finale winds up to that big cliffhanger/game changer and then the season premiere finds some way to write everything back the way it was.  This drives me nuts – it wastes some of the best moments of the story and makes it hard to invest in those big moments.

Unfortunately (spoiler alert) – that’s kind of the route The Flash went. Barry’s decision from last season radically altered the timeline – but we only get one brief shallow glance at that timeline before the show finds a way to put everything back.  Yes, at the tail end of the episode we get a hint that there have been consequences to Barry’s actions, but to me it’s not enough.  To me they’ve shortchanged a multi-episode worthy arc that could have explored, in detail, the power of what we think we want versus what we need.  If Barry’s going to literally ask the bad guy to murder his mother – that moment should be HUGE – and not a 2 second throwaway to quickly get the show back to normal.

Am I still excited that my shows are back? Absolutely!  I just occasionally wish that writers and networks would be as brave and bold as the heroes they’ve written and trust their audiences enough to tell a more complex story.  Really guys, trust me, we can take it.

 

 

 

DC TV Crossover Wish List: Superhero Saturday

WishList

So the DC TV universe has hinted that the CW shows will probably have some massive crossover event this year.  Here’s my wishlist for that event:

  • For the adventure plot to be character based – and centered around a character or characters we know and love- like Kara, Barry, Oliver, Ray, Cisco, Felicity, or Caitlin etc.  I’d rather not see it used just to further some new character or villain.
  • At least one “Super” in-joke between Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer and the Supergirl gang.
  • That we get to see John Diggle’s reaction to Supergirl – both the flying and the fact that she’s an alien (apparently David Ramsey said he wanted this too so I’m hopeful)
  • Maybe a sort of “nerds united” vibe – with the mega brain trust of Winn, Felicity, Curtis, Cisco, Ray, & Dr. Stein.
  • If someone (or they themselves) could notice that Kara and Felicity have a lot in common that could be fun.  A simple “I love your glasses” would be enough.
  • I’d like to see one of our heroes be really out of their element and have to deal with that – Kara dealing with being in another universe or Oliver having to deal with being  a normal human in the midst of all these powered folks.
  • Honestly, even if this just happens and I get to see Oliver, Barry, and Kara on screen together in some way – I’ll be very happy.

Favorite Heroes in 3 Words: Superhero Saturday

Just a little exercise to see if I could be succinct for once 🙂 This list is based on nothing but my own, “Hey, I think he/she is pretty awesome” criteria.

#10 The Atom/Ray Palmer

Genius, Optimist, Nerd

#9 Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff

Tenacious, Dry-Witted, Assassin

#8 Captain America/Steve Rogers

Patriotic, Loyal, Fossil

#7 Professor X/Charles Xavier

Wise, Telepathic, Wheels

#6 Hawkeye/Clint Barton

Sassy, Everyman, Archer

#5 Supergirl/Kara Zor-El Danvers

Adorkable, Powerful, Committed

#4 Wolverine/Logan

Indestructible Claws Bub

#3 The Flash/Barry Allen

Sincere, Lightning, Geek

#2 Green Arrow/Oliver Queen

 Stubborn, Smart-Aleck, Survivor

#1 Superman/Clark Kent

Original, Incorruptible, Hero

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Squee Warning: Fandom Collision in Progress

Today The Flash announced that Tom Felton of Harry Potter fame will be joining the series as a cast regular.  Now we get to wonder – good guy or bad guy?

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Honestly, one of the most awesome things about the DC TV universe is that they seem to revel in cross-fandom friendly casting. Wonder Woman Linda Carter is joining Supergirl to play the President of the United States.  Between Arrow and Legends there are four different members of the Doctor Who cast playing regular or recurring roles.  Heck Arthur Darvill even plays a “Time Master.”

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They also don’t shy away from fun winks and nudges to the origins of the actors, especially on The Flash.  When Star Wars’s Mark Hamill played a villain he got to evilly cackle the famous, “I Am Your Father” line.  And the first time Superman Brandon Routh’s character Ray Palmer was introduced it was with the classic “Is that a bird? Is that a plane?”

Yes I’m a nerd.  And it’s so so awesome.

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The Flash, 5 Best Episodes: Superhero Saturday

Here are my picks for the five best episodes of The Flash, so far anyway.

4. Fallout, Season 1

As you can tell from my favorite episode lists I’m a sucker for multi-hero episodes and to me this episode really introduces Firestorm (well Firestorm 1.0 anyway) plus one of my favorite characters is Caitlin – and I think the story line of this episode, gaining back her once dead fiancé only to be okay with letting him go to keep her life, is one of the strongest for her in Season 1.

3. Crazy For You, Season 1

Okay -so I’m not the ‘shipper on The Flash that I am on Arrow.  Really, I don’t care who Barry dates, but I do think he and Caitlin, as friends or whatever, are kinda sweet. This has one of the cutest sets of scenes (and one of the most gentlemanly uses of Barry’s superpower) in all of the show – I’m especially fond of the karaoke.  There’s also some great scenes between Barry and his dad, or well, both his dads 🙂

2. Welcome to Earth-2, Season 2

As a geek I’m always kind of a sucker for time travel or cross dimension stories when they’re done right.  And this one is.  I love the evil versions of Caitlin, Cisco, and Ronnie, a Barry who on one hand, finally has Iris, but on the other is kind of a wimp, and getting to hear Joe West sing.  (Seriously they need a musical ep of The Flash, for proof see this video)

1. (Tie) I couldn’t bring myself to choose between these two episodes

Fast Enough, Season 1 Finale

Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash was a terrific bad guy and Team Flash takes him down in an epic episode that causes the death of not one, but two, likeable characters.  (Poor Eddie, the minute my husband heard the villains last name he predicted the guy was toast).  I was also particularly moved by Barry’s choice to be there for, but not save, his mother when he traveled back in time – which is kinda why I didn’t totally love Season Two’s finale, but that’s a story for another day.

Flash vs. Arrow, Season 1

Of course.

This was the first of what has been, and hopefully will be, a series of great crossover episodes in the DC TV universe.  The Arrow gang (OTA only, thank you!) is in Central City – and everything from Digg’s reaction to Barry’s superpowers, to Oliver’s snicker right before he shoots Barry in the back for “training,” to Felicity & Cisco’s joint geekout over bad guy tech is pure superhero television magic.

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Fantasy and Sci-Fi Book Wish List – Part I

WishList

Just a little list of things I wish there were more of:

  • Female protagonist, character-centric sci-fi like Shannon Hale’s Dangerous and Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles
  • Novelized versions of major comic arcs like Roger Stern’s Death and Life of Superman
  • American magical realism that isn’t super dark or gritty – seriously I could read twenty books like Sarah Addison Allen’s The Girl Who Chased the Moon
  • Official in canon tie-in novels, featuring the “good guy” characters (and this could even be published online), for Arrow and The Flash

Some of these don’t exist, unfortunately, but if anyone’s got suggestions for me, let me know!

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