Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Superhero Shows Recap

As we get into the main TV season, the superhero TV shows I enjoy are coming back. The CW features several shows based on DC comics: Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, which all share a continuity, and iZombie, which is based on a title published by DC Comics imprint Vertigo. DC's Gotham is on Fox as well as Lucifer, also based on a Vertigo title.

Marvel's TV presence is right now represented by ABC's Agents of SHIELD. Agent Carter sadly didn't get renewed for a third season. Legion, Cloak and Dagger and a series based on the X-Men will be joining them. Also Netflix's Marvel originals Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and the upcoming Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders are also around.

Which do I watch? ALL OF THEM.

So, here's my recaps of all of the shows so far as the DC shows on the CW come back.

Gotham - "Better to Reign in Hell...," "Burn the Witch," "Look Into My Eyes": Gotham is the oddest show as it follows young versions of Batman's James Gordon, nearly all the villains and even a young Bruce Wayne being cared for his butler Alfred. Frankly, it's also the least-regarded DC show. The show gives us engaging villains and uninteresting protagonists who are frankly no better than the villains. My personal favorites are what I've dubbed the "Murder Bros," Oswald Cobblepot and Eddie Nygma, better known as the Penguin and the Riddler.

Basically, Season 3 of Gotham has the city in an uproar as a resurrected Fish Mooney and enhanced people from Arkham Asylum begin striking the city. One of them ages up "Ivy," Bruce is trying to figure out who's really running Wayne Enterprises as a boy identical to him shows up. Oswald calls for justice and begins running for mayor. James is currently not working with the GCPD and is hunting down the escapees from Arkham as a bounty hunter. In the latest episode, he runs into Gotham's terrifying hypnotic version of the Mad Hatter who wants to find his sister Alice.

I'm not holding out much hope for Gotham's ratings as Supergirl Season 2 debuts on the CW next week. Generally, Gotham paints some nice characters we want to see Batman interact with, but Batman isn't around in this universe yet. Most episodes are otherwise unremarkable. If there's one show I'd be fine with going away, it'd be Gotham.

Agents of SHIELD - "The Ghost" and "Meet the New Boss": Daisy Johnson/Quake is hiding out from SHIELD in the Los Angeles area when she discovers gang members being killed by a mysterious man in a flaming car, who she discovers to be Robbie Reyes, who turns into the flaming skull entity known as Ghost Rider. After some clashing with each other, Daisy and Robbie decide to team up.

Meantime, Coulson and the rest of the SHIELD team are dealing with a new director. Leo Fitz is secretly helping keep a new lifelike artificial intelligence android (LMDs: Life Model Decoys) under wraps as its further developed.

Meantime, agent Melinda May gets infected and begins seeing ghostly visions that confuse her.

SHIELD can drag, but Season Four is off to a good start. Hopefully with the inclusion of Ghost Rider, we're in for a more memorable season.

Lucifer - "Everything's Coming Up Lucifer" and "Liar, Liar, Slutty Dress on Fire": Lucifer is literally about the Devil taking a vacation in Los Angeles and helping the police department solve murders. Meantime, he's also keeping tab with an angel from heaven. Season 2 finds Lucifer's mother coming to earth, which has proved to be an entertaining plotline.

The strength of Lucifer is how well it develops a character based on who's supposed to be the most evil entity ever, but this character is extremely likeable and has problems and is someone you can relate to. Otherwise, it's mainly a regular "solve a murder each week" show.

The Flash - "Flashpoint": The Flash is probably the most fun superhero show on, period. Most takes on grounding superheroes in a believable setting steer it away from how wacky comics can be. The Flash manages to ground its characters, but still go exceptionally comic book as it follows Barry Allen as he gains super speed and becomes the hero known as the Flash.

After going back in time and saving his mother from being killed, Barry finds the present altered. Wally West is now the Flash, his sister Iris is no longer Barry's love interest but an all but total stranger to Barry, Joe West has little drive anymore, Cisco Ramon is a billionaire instead of a STAR Labs employee (but still inventive as ever), and other team member Caitlin is a simple doctor. While Barry's life is fine, are his friends' lives any better? Barry is forced to make a difficult choice: let Eobard Thawne murder his mother and restore the timeline, or let this new Flashpoint universe become the norm?

Arrow - "Legacy": Arrow, the first of the current batch of CW superhero shows, follows Oliver Queen as he takes on the mantle of the Green Arrow and the other people who become heroes along with him. It stays very grounded (even when dealing with some more comic book-style plots). It has borrowed a little bit from Batman mythos (season 3 even featured Batman villain R'as Al Ghul), but very much found its own identity.

Season 5 finds Oliver balancing his life as mayor of Star City and life as the Green Arrow. However, it becomes clear that the fight against crime needs to strengthen, and Oliver begins to decide he needs to recruit more heroes to fight crime in the city.

Luke Cage - Episodes 1-4 (so far): This show follows Luke Cage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Harlem. The Netflix shows have a more mature tone than the popular Marvel films, taking time to flesh out the characters and more gritty violence and intense character moments than you'd find in the movies, taking advantage of what being a Netflix original can offer with little FCC control and much more time than a movie can offer.

Luke Cage works and lives in Harlem, which is under gang warfare, not helped by "Cottonmouth." Cage's origins are also explored. It's a very character-rich experience and well-reccomended.

See you next week with more recaps as Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow return for their second seasons.

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