10/30/2015 Week in Comics’ TV

We’ve finally got more than 2 shows to review!

Supergirl

(1.01) Pilot

It’s finally here!  How did the show hold up?

There is an ongoing debate – I can’t even really call it a new debate because I’m reasonably certain it’s come up a lot in the past – about the style comic books should adapt.  They can be pretty much summed up as “camp” style (think very silver age) vs “grimdark” (think bronze/dark age).  To translate to muggle talk think of it as “silly” styling vs “serious” styling.  In the general I can appreciate both and think that like you should try and eat a well balanced meal, it’s important for your artistic diet to probably be a mix of silly vs serious. (the problem in comics & much else is that cultural forces have a hard time doing anything halfway, usually ending up as a pendelum with a majority of the affected stories swinging back and forth between the two extremes)  I do enjoy the serious comic mediums.  The Dark Knight remains one of my favorite movies and Daredevil was a damn good Netflix show, I don’t want any of that to stop being made.

But there is a place for the silly – for the camp, and I enjoy those too.  I’ve seen some reviewers critique Supergirl as being “campy” (aka silly) and I’m here to say: Yeah it was, that’s why I loved it.  I like the heroes that are motivated to do what’s right BECAUSE it is right, and those who can find joy both in life and their accomplishments.  Supegirl hit that niche perfectly and was just plain fun.

There were about 2 spots I counted that a few “messages” had to try and slip into the script – bringing up some points about sexism (which any attempt to portray oppression fall apart WHEN YOU CAN SHOT LAZERS OUT OF YOUR EYES) but they didn’t intrude to the point of spoiling the entire episode.  Overall the plot is quite the paint-by-numbers origin, which is fine, best to get the audience used to the characters & features of the show rather than throw too many curve balls right out of the gate.  I do think I’m going to like how they’ve set up Superman not being involved in this series though one can have a fun drinking game of every time they mention him without saying his name.

Casting is overall well done.  Supergirl herself is heartbreakingly cute (so much so the most unbelievable part of the episode is that we’re supposed to believe she’s chronically dateless) and one of my hollywood crushes Chyler Leigh plays her adopted sister only to end up in a role far more than the “supportive/hindering family member.”  I’m looking forward to seeing how these two play out over the season.  Jimmy Olsen is… just wrong though.  The guy could be John Henry Irons (another friend of Superman) but Jimmy is just too… dweebish.  Kara’s nerdy IT friend (who was alright) is far more like how Jimmy Olsen is supposed to be than the guy they’re calling Jimmy.  The villains were the weakest part of the episode as I think the concluding shot took place in an all dark room because they had eaten the set.  Terrance Stamp could pull off the melodramatic megalomaniac but these guys and gals certainly can’t.

So in conclusion, unless you just can’t stand the silly, fun side of comics, check out this episode (especially with you family) and let CBS know we want more.

Final Grade: (although later episodes might adjust the curve) A+

the Flash

(2.04) the Fury of Firestorm

More Firestorm!!!

But other than what happened?  Uh…. not much until the close where Barry finally intersects with Earth-2!Wells (and right as the guy who was playing older-mentor-scientist at Star Labs left… convenient).  Sharp eared fans (and those scouring sites) also confirmed that Wally West (Mama West’s 2nd child) is definitely now a part of the universe.

Firestorm wise… the show was pretty good, if not feeling a bit rushed what with having to establish the problem AND find a solution (it probably would have worked better had it been a 2-parter).  Jax is in fact drawn from the comics and was one of Ronnie’s teammates on the football team.  Thus on TV he remains true to his roots AND ends up being a bit more like the original Ronnie than Robbie was (nothing against Robbie, of course). Of course Martin Stein nearly dying is nothing new to Firestorm stories and there have been arcs where one member could merge with anybody to become match-head so this episode was a mythology treat to comic fans.  I do kind of wish the failed merge had been a bit more explosive but I know how TV budgets can be.  Still, I’m going to miss Victor a lot but hope to see him soon on Legends of Tomorrow.

Otherwise, this was a workhorse episode, moving the plot along but lacking in anything engaging save for the last ten minutes (land shark FTW).

Final Grade: Objectively speaking, it’s a C-.  Personally as a fan, I give it a B-.

iZombie

(2.04) Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues

I’ll admit, I really kind of dig Babineaux and I think we got more of him in this episode than any other this season as he seems to be moving more formally into the group than being the outsider “who we have to work with for legal reasons.”  Heck given that Ravi & Liv are certainly a little odd themselves, one can believe that the rest of the department doesn’t mind having Babineaux always be the one to go down to the spooky morgue.  As Major’s story drags him down into tragedy, Babineaux now does a great job of playing the straight man to the main wacky pair.  A couple of times tonight one could almost see a glimmer of the old Star Trek as Babineaux/Spock bounced off of Ravi/McCoy and Liv/Kirk.  I keep hoping before this season’s out he’s brought into the zombie-know fold to really let his personality play off Liv (and whoever she’s got in her today).  Plus it was nice to see him make another cop friend and hints that he has a bit of a life outside of our protagonists.

That does remind me that I enjoyed the case of the week more than usual as it wasn’t too predictable and Babineaux got to show off a little (his interrogation of the vengeful wife was great).  Heck, even Liv’s kawntry aksent did make me want to stab my ears (which is why I can’t watch True Blood).

Unintentional comedy of the episode was piecing together that, ONCE AGAIN, Major is totally interfering with and ruining Blaine’s day.  It’s almost like watching Batman & the Joker fight each other without ever knowing about each other.  Not to mention the horror and comedy that Blaine is again being drawn into Liv’s life by attraction (only this time involving her friend – which reminds me, 2 episodes in a row the show’s felt like showing off some of their females in workout clothes – not that I’m complaining).

Then there’s Major’s story over all.  I thought they might spend more of the season seeing how far down he can go but apparently rock bottom was tonight.  (Though I’m glad the poor guy finally got a hug.)  I’m hoping this time he can come clean to Liv about his new job and maybe him, her, Ravi & Babineaux can start taking on both Max Rager and the zombie infection problem.  Again this show just keeps surprising me with how compelling and thought provoking it is.

Finally, can I just say how grateful I am at how religion was treated this episode?  Like… they got stuff correct!  And the debate between Blaine’s minions was hilarious while also being technically accurate.  I’m starting to like Blaine’s big mute guy, he’s weirdly lovable while being a heartless maniac.

Final Grade: B.

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