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Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Week In Superhero TV...

The Flash Vs The Mist...

1) The Flash: Things You Can't Outrun - Another fine example of how to make a good comic book superhero show, mixing a light touch with solid storytelling, tweaking aspects to translate them from the page to the screen without urinating on the source material, The Flash continues its winning streak.

This episode, which pitted The Flash against The Mist (Anthony Carrigan), a villain able to morph into poisonous gas, featured some telling flashbacks to the day of the particle accelerator accident as well as the usual plethora of Easter Eggs for fans.

These ranged from Caitlin referring to her relationship with her fiancé Ronnie as "ice and fire", which foreshadows her eventual change into the villainous Killer Frost and Ronnie's rumoured return as Firestorm, to a passing reference to the idea of a "Flash museum" (a staple from the old comics that I'd love to see become a reality in later seasons of this show).

Visual Easter Eggs included the marquee of cinema that Barry and Iris walk out of promoting films about Blue Devil and Rita Farr, both classic DC comic book characters with cinematic backstories, and the STAR Labs particle accelerator being located in Section 52 (a very important number in the DC Universe).

It also made a change for the story to end with the villain incarcerated rather than killed - although, as we all know, death isn't the end in the worlds of superheroes anyway.

Meanwhile, Dr Wells' comments ("I feel like I've waited centuries for this day") and actions continue to support my not-particularly insightful theory that I spelled out last week about him being Professor Zoom.

2) Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D: Face My Enemy - When May gets kidnapped, Hydra sends out an impersonator to lure Coulson into a trap. Fitz tries to find the confidence to join the rest of the team in their social activities.

3) Constantine: The Devil's Vinyl - Now this is more like it. Perhaps it's my penchant for films and stories about cursed objects, but I really loved the central story of this episode which set Constantine on a hunt for a dangerous old recording of a blues musician who'd sold his soul to the devil.

Another familiar horror-story trope, but handled with a fair amount of panache. Initially, I'd expected a predictably linear story, but The Devil's Vinyl quickly threw in some curve balls and nice extrapolations of its core theme.

My main issue with Constantine now is the presence of Zed (Angélica Celaya), a dull, two-dimensional companion for the lead character, to give him someone to talk to and whose 'visions' can help create convenient plot short cuts.

4) Arrow: Corto Maltese -While the main plot (about a traitorous A.R.G.U.S. agent on the island of Corto Maltese) was rather contrived, relying heavily on co-incidence, the episode's sub-plots were what made this story enjoyable.

It was great to see Laurel striving to take up Sara's mantle, which resulted in her turning to Ted Grant (J.R. Ramirez), aka comic book hero Wildcat, to start her training (to become the new Black Canary).

Meanwhile Felicity was adjusting to working for Ray Palmer, and these two are always good value. Nice Easter Egg there of Felicty reading a blog about sightings of The Flash (which, ultimately, led to her heading to Central City for next week's Flash story).

And finally we had Thea's brutal training regime with her father and her eventual return to Oliver and Roy. Suddenly a character I was never that bothered about before has become very interesting and I look forward to seeing where the show goes with Thea.

5) Gotham: Viper - Focussing on a dangerous new drug that's hitting the streets of Gotham, the titular Venom, this could have been such a great mythology-building episode (for instance, the sneeze-and-you'll-miss-it reference to Venom, the drug that creates Batman's nemesis, Bane), but despite the show's best efforts to be gritty-and-realistic, there's no escaping the verisimilitude-challenging campness of having a key character whose name is E. Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) that the police talk about with a straight face or the rapid rise of Bruce Wayne, Boy Detective. I inwardly groan every time the action cuts away to a scene with Young Master Bruce (David Mazouz) or he and Alfred are shoehorned into the main plot.

Then you have the canny crime boss, Carmine Falcone (John Doman), one of the show's strongest characters, not being in the slightest bit suspicious when a young girl - who just happens to look a bit like this late mother - just wanders up to him while he's feeding pigeons (where was his security detail, by the way?) humming what just happens to be his favourite aria, that his dear departed mother used to sing to him? Puh-leeze!

2 comments:

  1. I didn't realize Caitlin was anything other than a TV show addition to possibly be a rival to Iris.

    Gotham has some nice payoff (I think) in two more episodes (I think).
    I'm not as bothered by BW as you. I think it's a nice change seeing him take the first steps to being "The World's Greatest Detective", something that is usually given scant attention because hitting people is more exciting for film (and comics).
    That being said, if they don't do a time jump between seasons-he probably will become insufferable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's a large part of my problem with Bruce, because the writers feel the need to include him and move his character forward every episode, he's "growing up too fast".

      In just a few episodes he's already gone from a grieving orphan to piecing together the intricate - and corrupt - workings of Wayne Enterprises. At this rate he'll be hitting the streets with Gordon by the end of this season and solving JFK's assassination at the start of season two.

      I liked the idea you mentioned some time ago of "time jumps" between seasons... otherwise it's going to be about ten years (seasons) until we get a sniff of Batman ;-)

      Delete

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Black Widow (2021) + Shangi-Chi (2021) + Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) + The Batman (2022)

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