November 12, 2014

Social Media | Arrow 3.6 Live-Tweet

Out of the four DC shows I presently cover for Gloryosky, the Berlanti shows are the most frustrating. They tend to swallow a wide chunk of the DC live-action multiverse. Last week, Arrow was about OMAC, and showcased a younger, far less mystical (for now) version of Ted Grant, d/b/a Wildcat. Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Marc Guggenheim’s strategy for Arrow is to nail down as many costumed vigilantes as they can.

Ted Grant’s not the recipient of a spell gone horribly right, with the “nine lives” stipulation. I’d actually like to see that, yet Arrow is a relatively realistic show with the odd fantastic element, like the Mirakuru drug. At least Wildcat doesn’t have a were-panther for a son…although Arrow name-drops Tom Bronson as a boxer at Ted Grant’s boxing school. The show loves its Easter eggs.

The frustrating part, at least to me, is the relative seriousness of both Arrow and The Flash. Arrow likes to show Sara Lance, arrows in her midsection, plummeting off a building. It drives Roy Harper’s subplot, and dovetails into the drug withdrawal storyline that is part of the foundation for the Arsenal character. It’s the main reason for Laurel Lance training with Ted Grant. The problem is, after Sara Lance’s death is shown a few times, it’s the equivalent of a Batman-related storyline showing a picture of Bruce Wayne’s murdered parents. The scene is overplayed by now. I guess it’s there for narrative convenience, yet this show also laid groundwork for OMAC, and introduced Ra’s al Ghul. Once the Jack Kirby and Dennis O’Neil cards are played, they can’t be ignored for long.

Keep in mind, I don’t hate Arrow. It can be predictable and angsty at times, yet it’s partially the reason DC Entertainment has four shows on prime-time television right now. Is it a show I enjoy? Honestly, I prefer Constantine; that show has more weirdness potential than it presently shows on NBC. Also, I don’t think I’ll ever see the Phantom Stranger on Arrow.


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November 11, 2014

Social Media | The Flash (2014) 1.5 Live-Tweet

Clancy Brown – Lex Luthor, Mr. Krabs, The Kurgan, you know who this man is – debuts as General Wade Eiling. That is all.

Oh, there’s Plastique, another villain ganked from Firestorm. Apparently, she blows shit up, or something. The question is, does she angst in true Greg Berlanti fashion? This is a question for our age.


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November 10, 2014

Social Media | Gotham 1.8 Live-Tweet

One of the things I notice with the current DC Entertainment live-action shows is their different approaches to storyline progression. The Flash (2014) and Arrow are flashback-heavy; The Flash (2014) doesn’t rely on backstory as much as Arrow, but Greg Berlanti shows use the flashbacks to cram in as much of the DC universe as they can. Constantine is the most straightforward show so far, sticking to whatever evil John Constantine needs to fight that week, and adapting Hellblazer stories to NBC Standards and Practices’ guidelines. Where else would characters like Dr. Fate and The Spectre logically appear?

Gotham, for its part, loves juggling its many plot threads. The whole point of the show isn’t that Bruce Wayne becomes Batman. This is not fucking Smallville, where everything leads up to Clark Kent becoming Superman; Gotham is about a city with shaky moral grounding. To that end, I wish Gotham would rely on two or three plot threads each week – “The Mask” has Fish Mooney, Oswald Cobblepot, young Bruce Wayne, Barbara Kean, and Edward Nygma’s threads competing against the nominal A plot introducing Black Mask. The loopy Carol Kane cameo has evolved into the loopy Carol Kane recurring character. Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Fish Mooney, in particular, gets a lot of screentime…which has me thinking she dies before Gotham’s first season is over.

Gotham is a consistent performer for Fox. Granted, it’s a Batman-related series; DC relies on the Bat and his associates to spackle its walls and clean its gutters. That typed, I’m amazed how often DC Entertainment goes to the Bat-well and still manages to succeed, in spite of Batman’s current overexposure. This has me worried that Scooby-Doo will get a gritty, hour-long live-action drama in a few years. Fox is threatening something similar with Riverdale, so it’s not that farfetched.


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November 5, 2014

Social Media | Arrow 3.5 Live-Tweet

This week’s episode is “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak”. That a superhero show has a long-running character who may be hiding parts of her past is like saying the Golden Age Vigilante dressed up like a cowboy. It’s an implicit tenet of superhero shows, especially vigilante dramas. The trick is to figure out which character adopts which identity. For instance, Laurel Lance doesn’t have to take over as Black Canary, although the direct connection to the Modern Age character’s name is an obvious tip-off.

The more interesting thing to me is this promo, and this Twitter post. At this point, I wonder if Arrow gives Jack Kirby credit for using his ideas, as Arrow’s tie-in comic explicitly mentions Brother Eye, and the show has referenced OMAC in previous episodes. I don’t understand why the supposed “most realistic” DC Entertainment live-action show needs to hint at Captain America of the future. Perhaps only the Arrow writers see The World That’s Coming!

As an aside, pick up Jack Kirby’s OMAC, and/or the Jack Kirby Omnibus featuring Green Arrow. Kirby’s DC work isn’t as well-known as his Marvel work, but then, Marvel just recently admitted how important the man is to its current bottom line. He is Jack “The King” Kirby, after all.


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November 3, 2014

Social Media | Gotham 1.7 Live-Tweet

Last week’s episode of Gotham, “Spirit of the Goat”, is the first episode I feel should define the show. Gotham isn’t strictly Batman Without BatmanArrow was that two years before Gotham, and it’s the show currently using Ra’s al Ghul – but the five episodes previous to “Spirit of the Goat” feel like a show that doesn’t know in which direction to run.

Batman will be rehashed, multiversed and Elseworlded as frequently as Bob Kane taking credit for something he didn’t actually do, but early Gotham has the problem of wasting three-quarters of its running time on mob wars, and how Oswald Cobblepot uses them to further his career. The other quarter is spent on a throwaway villain with a dumb gimmick taken from, I don’t know, Metal Men or whatever title the Gotham writer glances at that week.

“Spirit of the Goat” is more of the same – Ben Edlund taking the piss out of the Bat-mythos, I guess, as Crazy Steves are brainwashed and told to put on a Bat Goat-Cowl. The main differences are Gotham focusing on characters that aren’t Fish Mooney, allowing the villain of the week to be the definite A story, and committing to more mature storytelling. I know Beware the Batman catches shit for not being Batman: The Brave and the Bold, yet Gotham is a prime-time live action series, and it feels more camp and childish than the Batman shows made for children. It’s a weird trend.

This week, Victor Zsasz appears, played by Anthony Carrigan. Carrigan was The Mist in the third episode of The Flash (2014), if you’re keeping score, and I’m sure the hardcore DC followers are. Things you can’t outrun, and all that.


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October 29, 2014

Social Media | Arrow 3.4 Live-Tweet

Ra’s al Ghul makes his Arrow debut here, Arrow’s fiftieth episode. There is the niggling question of why a top-tier Batman villain appears on Arrow first, and not Gotham. This ignores the nature of the DC multiverse – he can exist both in Arrow and in Gotham, and not be the same character. I’ll start to worry once he appears in Teen Titans Go!…wait, that sort of happened.

Also, I wonder how much longer Arrow will let viewers know the dead Sara Lance is still dead, thanks to her getting killed and stuff.


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October 28, 2014

Social Media | The Flash (2014) 1.4 Live-Tweet

The thing that most annoys me about the first three episodes of The Flash is how non-Flash elements are shoehorned into the series so early – Multiplex, Java, STAGG Industries, Caitlin Snow, Ronnie Raymond, and The Mist – yes, the last one’s a Starman villain.

I realize The Flash and Arrow share the same executive producer in Greg Berlanti, and Metamorpho was hinted at in Arrow, yet The Flash is one of the founding Justice Society of America and Justice League of America members. The character boasts a one-season show on CBS, a film slated for 2018, and a wide cast of supporting characters. It’s like Superfriends establishing Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog’s backstories extensively, when the audience is there to watch the Justice League stop whatever crack plot the Hanna-Barbera employees shit out that episode, and to laugh at Aquaman.

On the plus side, Captain Cold appears for the first time, played by Prison Break star Wentworth Miller.


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October 27, 2014

Social Media | Gotham 1.6 Live-Tweet

Goat!

GOAT!!!


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