10/09/2015 Week in Comics’ TV

After some discussion with the boss and lord high of TV for the Rest of Us, we’ve decided that I’ll take on reviewing all the comic shows, but do it all at once at the end of the week.  Except for Arrow.  She wants to do that and I prefer binge watching its seasons on netflix anyway.

the Flash

(2.01) The Man Who Saved Central City

So we begin 6 months after last season’s finale which means this show is going to try and keep a very “real time” feel to it (since it’s been nearly six months since we last watched it).  But it ends up being a bit of a waste as everything which changed the status quo, happened off screen during that time, meaning when we, the viewers, return it’s for an episode where they spend effort restoring the old status quo.  I can’t decide whether “don’t worry viewers, we made sure nothing interesting happened while you were away” is brilliantly meta or insultingly so.

Still, THIS IS THE FLASH!  A show with the single best supporting cast in it of probably any other out there (especially if we set aside Once Upon a Time for a debate of who’s supporting, who’s featured) and I just can’t hate a show with people I like this much and want to spend time with.  Whether it’s just getting to watch Cisco and Joe have uncle/nephew banter or Victor Garber… just in general, these are people that are just a pure joy to watch before you even get into all the references to comic books.

Otherwise it was just a by-the-numbers setting the stage for the coming season.  We get hints of a new arc villain, Martin Stein moves into the vacancy left by Wells as Team-Dad and Jay Garrick arrives to possibly fill the vacancy left by Wells as Superhero-Mentor.  I am disappointed that John Wesley Shipp gets out of jail, only to immediately get on a bus for… scheduling reasons is about all I can figure because the excuse of “I’ll hold you back as the Flash” makes no sense given what we’ve seen of these characters.  Why he couldn’t remain in Central City and off screen for episodes needed is just beyond me.  Since we know that later Stein has to leave to go work on Legends of Tomorrow, the cast spot of “Supervising Scientist” will be opening up later this season, so here’s hoping JWS gets to return and play Henry filling in that role.  It would be nice to see him in a lab coat again.

Final Grade: Solid, standard establishing mediocre. C+

iZombie

(2.01) Grumpy Old Liv

It’s strange how the flavor of this show is very similar to Flash, yet quite distinct.  A lot of this episode seems to be working to get things back to status quo, yet it establishes several forces that are set to pull it all apart.  While Flash had the disaster solved off screen (between seasons), iZombie starts up pretty much immediately after the season finale, so the pending disaster could still be coming…

But before that, where does this episode leave us?  Looks like the show is trimming up its cast and leasing the new space to more villains.  Family and old friends seem to be out of Liv’s life for the forseeable future (a shame potential wise, but as nothing was really being done with them, may as well have the show ditch ’em) while keeping the core of detective, co-worker, estranged-lover.

Though the revelation that Major now has some kind of zombie-detecting power as a side effect of the cure makes for some delicious story potential.  Last season we watched as he slowly became something of a zombie hunter.  Now he not only has a literal ability, but even further incentives pushing him further down that path.  Meaning this could be one of the first things (I can think of) where we watch the lovers, previously perfect for each other, become star-crossed.  Yeah I’m a bit of a sucker for SC-lovers (part of why I’ll always be a Buffy/Angel shipper) but part of me is very interested to see where this goes.

But more than tragic romance, I also love examinations of thorny issues and choices with tricky answers.  On the one hand, the Big Corporation (who cares what it’s actually called, they’re all the same) in the story is supposed to be pure evil… yet are they?  They made a mistake and they do want to clean it up, but there’s no societal or governing standard for cleaning this particular mess.  Heck, while zombieism in this universe isn’t a full on plague (yet), it is nonetheless an unsustainable condition for a society if a great number of members carry it and it has a very high risk factor.  I mean, Blaine was just spreading his around to make a buck, what if say… a cult or militant leader started using the condition to gain followers?  I’m interested to see where they’re going with this this season and hope they maintain a lot of these moral quandaries instead of chickening out and simplifying them (like I’ve seen many shows do).

And of course, while Flash may have the best supporting cast around, iZombie is working hard to challenge that position.  Well done by everyone all around.

Final Grade: Some “Holy S****” moments give this a solid A-.

Vixen

Did you know this show is on the cw seed and takes place in the same universe as Flash/Arrow (even though it’s animated)?

6 episodes about 5 minutes each.  With only a half hour to run… pretty much an entire season, it’s not bad.  Animation is solid and well done in a Young Justice style with decent enough action.  A lot of this will come down to how much you like Vixen in general.  I’ll admit, the “any/all powers of the animals” never really interested me much in a superhero (not Animal Man, not B’wana Beast, not Beast Boy…) and it was hard to get much invested in the character herself just in the brief time we were with her (or even during Justice League).  But here’s hoping maybe future seasons will win me over.  At the very least, I recommend everybody go watch it just to send some positive ratings CW’s way and let them know we’re encouraging them to experiment with TV and storytelling in general.  Besides you may really like the Cinderella story told via Superheroics.

Final Grade: C.

Legends of Tomorrow

Not on the air until mid-season. *sigh*

Supergirl

Not on the air until Oct 26th. *soon*

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