This Week in DCTV – 19/3/21

It would appear that the teams week was focused on the Snyder Cut understandably, so here are just a few views on the shows this week

Season 1 Episode 4 ‘Haywire’

Alan – I have to confess, I watched this right after watching Zack Snyder’s Justice League, so I was a little TV drained.

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the episode. This seemed to more Superman than previous episodes, but still have a really small amount of Superman, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

I feel a little sorry at times for Jordan, he seems to have something go his way and then something happens that’s puts him back on a downer.

We also seem to have a rift developing between General Lane and the Kent/Lane family.

Overall, this is still the show to watch for me, and despite using all lot of time on Justice League. I still felt the need to try and fit this one in.

Justin – This series keeps getting better and better. This is shaping up to be a great season already. Not only does this series showcase incredible action and stunning visuals, it presents a fascinating key conflict in the Superman mythos: he can’t be everywhere at once. Clark wants to help everyone, but he simply can’t, which causes a plethora of issues for him. This episode does a fantastic job of illustrating this central conflict.

I loved seeing Clark and Lois handle their respective issues and stand up for their family. It will be interesting to see how their relationship progresses with Sam. I also enjoyed the villain of the week played by Arrow’s Brenda Fletcher. Fletcher, who portrayed Oliver’s prison buddy turned psycho in the series’ seventh season, does a great job bringing this obscure Superman villain to life. All in all, this series is shaping up to be one of the best in the Arrowverse.

April– Another strong episode this week, Jordan continues to excel on the football field which creates a little bit of tension in the family when General Sam Lane figures out that Jordan is exhibiting some super abilities. The lack of ‘Superman’ sightings in Metropolis has also given the General cause for concern and he asks Clark to escort a prisoner transfer. Clark however, chooses to stick to his plan in Smallville and try to be involved in his sons lives. I think the story is developing nicely as it is becoming more clear to Clark that his job as Superman will always disrupt his ability to be a good father and a good husband.

We also learn a bit more about Morgan Edge’s plans for Smallville as he discovers a form of kryptonite hidden in the mines, it seems to be a slow build but I am really interested to see where this part of the plot is going. Lois’ efforts to expose him continue to be thwarted and we even get a nice little scene with Lana and Lois sharing their troubles over a drink. The tone of the show is very serious, which is what makes it so compelling but I also like the little moments of levity where the characters can have a bit of fun.

Season 7 Episode 3 ‘Mother’

Jim – Loved this weeks episode! It was everything I love about The Flash, the team together trying to solve issues with the return of the OG Harrison Wells but with other Wells memories, nice! This saw the end of the Mirror Master/Monarch arc and I have to be honest I’m glad, that one dragged on a bit but it has brought everything back together so they’re ready for the next big bad!

Did anyone else notice Wells seemed to look at something when Barry was getting his speed back with a little smirk on his face? I wonder what that’s about?? Even though he left at the end with his new time travel powers I think he’ll be back sooner rather than later. I didn’t like the Ralph bits, I would’ve been happier if they’d just left him out saying he was still on a mission but it appears he’s gone for good now.

With the ending of all new coloured arcs of lightning I wonder if that means they’re going to add some new speedsters and will they be good or bad??

Justin – “Mother” though a bit rushed at points, ultimately served as a highly enjoyable conclusion to the Mirror Monarch arc. This episode had all the hallmarks of a classic The Flash season finale. The intended finale for season six featured an exciting action sequence, impressive visual spectacles, heart, and humor. It was great to see the original Team Flash (Barry, Cisco, Caitlin, and Iris) team up and stop Eva together. I also enjoyed the fact that the series continues to focus on  the team’s love for each other and how that love always triumphs over any evil they face. Sure, it is a bit cheesy and sappy, but I have always found it endearing.

In addition, I also liked the fact that Eva was spared. Maybe she can come back as an ally later on. I also hope that our new Wells will be back as well. I found his new power set fascinating though a bit poorly explained. I hope the series explores the character more as we never truly got to know the original Harrison Wells. The way the show handled the Ralph situation was silly yet clever as well. Hopefully, we will see him (played by a different actor) and Sue again in the future as their relationship was a joy to watch.

Now onto the next arc which is sure to be exciting given the new lightning bolts that shot up from S.T.A.R. Labs!

Season 2 Episode 7 ‘It’s Best You Stop Digging’

Justin – Once again, Batwoman delivers an exciting and enjoyable episode! The search for Coryana continues to heat up! Alice, at the moment, seems to be leading in the race to the mysterious island and thus her revenge. However, Team Batwoman is on her heels thanks to the tracker that is now placed on the crazed criminal. It was great to see Ryan (who continues to be extremely compelling) confront Alice finally. The fight, in my opinion, is one of the better choreographed fights of the series in my opinion.

Speaking of Alice, I found the flashbacks to her time on Coryana fascinating. It seems that Safiyah and her hypnotist Enigma are somewhat responsible for Alice’s derangement. Alice continues to be one of the most interesting and complex characters in this series. I stand by my claim last season that she is in the Top 5 Arrowverse villains.

I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here!

Season 4 Episode 6 ‘The Book Of Ruin Chapter 2: Theseus’s Ship’

Justin – This episode was a return to form for the season and the series. I was beginning to worry after last week’s installment, but my fears are dissipating once more. This chapter does a great job of addressing the sudden change to Jennifer, essentially using the classic Ship of Theseus thought experiment (that seems to be quite popular these days).

Jennifer is still Jennifer despite her change of appearance. Laura Kariuki delivers a fantastic performance in this role. Kariuki’s earnest performance assuaged any awkwardness I had about the recast. It was great to see Jefferson accept being Black Lightning again as well apologize to Jennifer and accept this “new” her.

Looking forward to the next chapter (the backdoor pilot for Painkiller) which airs after a three week break!

 

Smallville – S2 Ep12 – Insurgence Review

Smallville delivers an action packed episode as we reach the mid-way point of season two. The ongoing rivalry between Lex and Lionel is escalating as Lex finds out that his father has bugged his office in order to steal a lucrative business deal from him. In retaliation Lex decides to fight fire with fire and arranges for a crew to plant surveillance in Lionel’s Luthorcorp offices.

At the Kent farm, Jonathan is busy preparing an anniversary meal for Martha, however she has been called into an emergency meeting at work with Lionel. As you can imagine this does not sit well with Jonathan as he feels Martha is continuously putting her job above her family. Unbeknownst to Lex, Martha and Lionel turn up to work at Luthorcorp at the same time he has arranged for the offices to be bugged. When Clark goes to Lex to ask for help in making things right between his parents, Lex realises where his Dad is and tries to call the whole thing off. Unfortunately for him, the team he has hired goes rogue, and we discover their agenda was to empty the Luthorcorp vault and escape with the money.

In the ‘b’ story Lana has an uncomfortable first meeting with her birth father’s wife, Jennifer Small. Lana is worried about fitting in with Henry’s family but his wife Jennifer doesn’t think that Henry will stick around long enough to be a father figure to Lana. So she offers her a warning to not get too attached to Henry. I always found this story a bit odd and that the writers just needed Lana to have something to do as it doesn’t really fit in with the otherwise fast pace of this episode.

Martha is a little ticked off with Lionel for making her work on her day off, but it seems Lionel has an alternative agenda as well. He tells Martha he wants to promote her and give her an office at Luthorcorp, and he also gives her an engraved watch as a gift. It is clear Lionel is quite enamoured with Martha and thinks he can woo her with a title and expensive jewellery. It is quite amusing for me to know that it was John Glover’s idea to have Lionel get a bit closer to Martha in a way to humanise his character. As they are talking the robbers discover them and take them hostage. Lionel alerts the police by pressing a panic button and the hostage situation quickly makes the news. When Clark and Jonathan find out they make their way to Metropolis along with Lex, who is keen to resolve the situation without anyone getting hurt.

A very exciting part of the episode for me were the scenes shot outside of Luthorcorp where the standoff is taking place. Mainly because we get our first glimpse of the Daily Planet building, located across the street from Luthorcorp. Clark comes up with a plan to leap from the roof of the Daily Planet and into Luthorcorp in an effort to save his mother. It truly is Clark’s boldest move yet, as not only is he afraid of heights, but he has never tried to leap that far before.

When the robbers break into the vault they are disappointed to find no money inside, but very large quantities of meteor rocks. As they empty the vault of the contents Martha sees the extent of Lionel’s secrets, as not only does he have a file with Clark’s name on it, he also has the octagonal shaped disc that disappeared during the tornado. As the robbers try to negotiate a route out, Clark makes his move and jumps from the top of the Daily Planet to save the day. It was definitely one of the biggest moments in the show to date. When Clark takes out the power to the building and makes it to where Martha and Lionel are being held he is immediately knocked out by the meteor rocks, Martha takes action and pushes it back into the vault so Clark can regain his strength. Luckily for Clark, Lionel is still blind so he doesn’t witness Clark’s heroic rescue, while Martha sneakily steals the octagonal disc and tells Clark to burn all the files with his heat vision.

With the situation defused the police burst in to arrest the robbers. Lionel and Lex part ways on bad terms with Lionel saying he will be moving out of the mansion, having figured out it was Lex who orchestrated the whole attack in the first place. I do feel for Lex as it was not his intention for the situation to become violent and he is left standing alone watching Clark embrace his parents. These little moment really help us to understand how much Lex wants to have the life that Clark does. Back at home Martha shares with her family, all the evidence Lionel had on Clark stored in his vault, all except the octagonal disc which she mysteriously hides in her flour pot! Certainly not my first choice of a hiding place! Why has Martha decided to hide her discovery from Clark and Jonathan I wonder? Overall a thrilling episode with everything you could want from a superhero show.

This Week in DCTV – 12/3/21

So we have a new member joining our little group of DCTV reviewers this week, April has decided that doing Smallville reviews wasn’t quite enough and wanted to get in on all the new action and what an exciting time it is!

Season 1 Episode 3 ‘The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower’

Jim – Ok so it’s clear, I have a new favourite show! I love everything they’re doing in this and episode 3 is no exception. the balance between Superman heroics and Smallville daily life is great I loved the Superman Vs unknown meta fight, how he turned up when Lois hit her emergency signal button was just awesome. I’m defintely seeing the breakdown in the relationship of the twins, I think we might be getting a Superboy Prime kind of scenario, which I am totally cool with, also a new big bad at the end with heat vision, who could it be??

Rob – I felt like we got a lot more Superman action this week which was great. I’m really enjoying the relationship between Jordan and Jonathan and I think we are witnessing the seeds of a broken relationship between the two of them. Jonathan is having a very different high school experience to what he was previously used to and sports seemed to be his thing. Now that Jordan is muscling in on that surely there’s going to be a rift!?

The scene in the motel was the highlight for me this week. Who the hell was that guy and what the hell is going on? I can’t wait to find out.

Alan – A slight dip in quality for me this week, but only very slight. Mainly because  I got a sense of “movie special effects on TV budget” with the early bridge sequence.

That’s a minor gripe however and, outside of that, still a very enjoyable episode. We got to see Lois doing more into Morgan Edge, while being told she’s not at the Daily Planet any more, and the nerdy kid getting some sweet revenge on the football bullies with some maybe not quite super strength, but certainly what appears to be elevated.

I didn’t think it was quite on the level of the first two, but it’s still the best thing the CW have done with DC for a while.

A worthy successor to Arrow as the flagship show.

Justin – This show continues to deliver high quality storytelling and brilliant visuals. I am thoroughly impressed with each new episode. The writing and acting are simply stellar. Jordan Elsass and Alex Garfin shine as the twins navigate high school and football. Their brotherly relationship is a joy to watch. It is great to see brothers that honestly respect each other even though they get on each other’s nerves at times.

I also find the mother-daughter relationship between Inde Navarette’s Sarah and Emanuelle Chriqui’s Lana very compelling. It was great seeing their bond strengthen in this episode. This show does an incredible job balancing drama and action. Speaking of action, the Superman versus Subjekt-11 fight is just another example of the top notch fight choreography and visual effects on this series.

Can’t wait to see where the story goes from here!

April – This show ticks all the right boxes for me in that it has just the right amount of epic action scenes, combined with family drama, intrigue and most importantly a lot of heart. This week it focussed more on Jonathan and Jordan’s struggles with fitting in at high school, and as a bonus we got to see Tyler play the dorky Dad role to perfection!

The episode also continued to progress Lois’ investigation into Morgan Edge. I enjoyed the scene where Superman fought off a seemingly super powered human to save Lois, as it wouldn’t be a Superman show without Lois getting herself into trouble on a frequent basis. We also got a little more insight into the Cushing family, specifically Lana’s turbulent relationship with her daughter. I hope we get to see more of a friendship build between Lana and Lois as opposed to some sort of rivalry. Already looking forward to next week!

Season 7 Episode 2 ‘The Speed of Thought’

JimSo episode 2 of the Flash is a big improvement over the premiere, the team is back together and things are getting very interesting! Barry’s new speed thinking starts off well but that doesnt last long much is the way for team Flash lol Grant is defintely getting to stretch his acting muscles early in the season and it’s nice to see, he plays this character so well, I hope we can get back to a fun Flash soon though.

its great to see Cisco and Caitlyn back, I’ve missed them but I am intrigued how all of the crew work together now, there sure is a lot of them! Also we didnt have to wait long for the ressurection of Wells, but how is this version going to differ, does he know everything the other Wells did or is he coming in with no memory at all, either way, awesome!

Rob – I’m going to have to say this episode is up there as one of the best episodes we’ve ever had of The Flash. It was slower paced than last week which is good, but still manage to pack a huge amount in. Was it hugely convenient that Barry gained super fast thinking for the benefit of the plot? Yes! Was it still absolute brilliance? Yes!

It was a fun time watching Barry discover his super smarts and in particular, the scene with the different boards was great. I’m really pleased Cisco and Caitlin/ Frost are back even if this episode has created a whole new battle between Cisco and Barry. Seeing Frost take Barry’s speed was something I never knew I needed, Danielle Panabaker must have loved that brief moment of being a speedster (albeit an icy one). Iris is free from the mirrorverse!! Barry’s decision is sure to have huge repercussions for him and the rest of the team.
… and let’s just get to it … OMG!!!! OG Harrison Wells is back! That scene really tied in brilliantly with the opening homage to all the different Wells. This is going to be SO interesting! I really, really hope season 7 keeps to this standard.

Justin – Only two episodes in and this season of The Flash is simply stellar! This episode, clearly meant to be a finale lead-in, was full of surprises and tension. Grant Gustin once again delivers an incredible performance as a Spock-like emotionless Barry. This well written episode reflects the passion that the cast and crew has for these characters and the source material. Eric Wallace has done an incredible job at the helm of this series and has taken it to new heights.

It was great to have Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker back as well. I missed Cisco’s humor and Frost’s sarcastic wit. Speaking of Frost, I was completely blown away by the speedster Frost vs Flash sequence. The visual effects were top notch! Also, color me intrigued with the reveal of the original Earth-1 Harrison Wells returning.

Can’t wait for the next episode!

Season 4 Episode 5 ‘The Book Of Ruin Chapter One: Picking Up The Pieces’

Justin – This episode, while compelling overall, fell flat in a few places for me. The acting and family moments were strong, but the constant discord is beginning to weigh the season down. I also found the surprising recasting to be a bit strange given that this is the final season. Given China McClain’s decision to leave the series, I felt that writing her character off, while not ideal, would’ve been more appropriate. Simply put: a recasting in the final season of the show is more than awkward. However, I look forward to seeing Laura Kariuki in this role and wish her the best.

Hopefully the season picks up and finishes strong!

 

Stargirl TPB Review

There is a lot of negative media surrounding different creators and some discussion, though not without a lot of productivity, on how to address this. It is difficult to separate the artist from the art, it is difficult to reconcile that a morally questionable human being created so many great characters, stories or concepts. It is also difficult to be a victim. Can we separate the artist from the work? Yes. We have discussions like this, explain how a work can have a positive influence, even if we do not share the same values or views as the creator, and discuss why someone’s actions can and should have consequences. Their names need not be repeated in order to still appreciate their output or discuss them. Balances can be found.

Star-Spankled Kid, aka Stargirl would debut in the late 1990s, on the popularity heels of another young, blonde woman taking on the mantle of a hero. Courtney Whitmore while young and inexperienced as a superhero was also more than capable of handing things on her own, yet perhaps did so better, with a little help from her friends. This was paired with some great underused Jerry Siegel concepts (Star Spangled Kid & Stripsey) and gave us a modern spin on the sidekick/hero dynamic, the struggles of being a popular teen, and dealing with a new step-parent. Courtney Whitmore did in fact fill a big need in the DC Comics slate at the time; a relatable, down to earth young super heroine (Robin filled that role well, but his experiences were far different living in Gotham). Characters like Supergirl had too much baggage, the majority of the Teen Titan females had become women in their own right, and any other attempt at female teen characters as headliners were mostly failures (Anima).

Coupled with art by Lee Moder, the adventures of the young Stargirl were illustrated in a more cartoony fashion that works well to appeal to fans of both comic books and animation alike. It was also a great showcase for Moder, who at this point had largely pencilled Legion-related titles with a large cast of characters. A trimmed down cast for this title resulted in Moder being able to flex his visual talents more, giving us some of his best work to date.

Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. as a title that would ultimately not last long. Cancelled due to low sales within in its second year, it would not prove to be either the writer or the character’s undoing. Both would get promoted to a new JSA title, one that further created uniqueness for Courtney’s character; here was a new legacy hero with strong Golden Age ties. Under subsequent writers, Courtney has not only grown into a capable woman, she has also become a hero and even a role model. It is under this current stewardship we can see how some good came from… something.

Contains: Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. 0-14 & more!

This Week in DCTV – 5/3/21

He’s back!! The Flash joins our screens once again, lets find out what the team thought of the season 7 opener among the other shows this week…

Season 1 Episode 2 ‘Heritage’

Jim – I thought it might be difficult to follow up what was an amazing pilot but episode 2 kept things on par! We get more development for Jonathan on Jordan (who as expected is named after Jor-El, nice touch) I loved the scenes in the Fortress meeting the new Jor-El and Angus Macfadyen brings a new version to the screen and a new version of the Kryptonian costume which I really dig.

I feel like this show is going to be very character heavy and I like that, quite often a Superman show can focus on his feats more than anything else but this is breaking down the character in a very human way and tbh I love it!

Rob – Wow, wow, bloody wow! I will admit I was worried that the second episode wouldn’t stand up to the brilliance of the pilot but wow – it totally did.

For me, this episode was very much showcasing Lois as the head of the family and as an accomplished journalist. Elizabeth Tulloch is giving us brilliance! I also liked the take on Jonathan starting school in Smallville and seeing this kid who was clearly very popular at his old school dealing with being the underdog now is interesting. The end of the episode was flipping awesome and this storyline with Captain Luthor has completely reeled me in. I’m already finding myself looking forward to the new episode each week.

Alan – I was really pressed for time this week, but I made sure I found time to watch this show to see if the quality continued from episode one. What can I say? Superman & Lois smashed it again. A journey to the Fortress of Solitude to see Jor-El! Awesome, it felt like I was a kid watching Superman The Movie again.

I know we are only two episodes in, but so far so good. I really like the characters, I think Tyler Hoechlin makes a great Superman, and Bitsie Tulloch is great as Lois. Lois is already off and, well, being Lois Lane, and I’m enjoying the family group dynamic. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they build on it and what more we get. Roll on next week!!

JustinSuperman & Lois delivers once again! With Lois front and center this episode, this exciting and revelatory hour made up for what seemed like a lack of the strong intrepid reporter in the premiere. Bitsie Tulloch shines as Lane, who begins her quest to bring down the charming, but secretly devilish Morgan Edge (who now is British due to Crisis apparently). I loved seeing her stick to her guns against both Edge and Kyle Cushing, who continues to be blind to the billionaire’s shady dealings. I am intrigued to see how she continues her investigation now under the banner of the Smallville Gazette.

The writers also do a beautiful job of tying Lois to her son Jonathan as the two non-powered members of the family. They both make sacrifices by moving to Smallville. They do it though out of love for Clark and Jordan, who gain more by the move than they do. Speaking of Jordan and Clark, I enjoyed seeing them bond at the Fortress though their journey ends in disappointment. It is also refreshing to see the twins still have that brotherly love for each other though they are still jealous of each other at times. Captain Luhtor’s backstory was fascinating as well!

Can’t wait for more!

Season 7 Episode 1 ‘All’s Well That Ends Wells’

Jim – So season 7 starts off with trying to tie up all the things that we should’ve got at the end of season 6 so with that I think the season premiere felt a little over full, there were just so many stories going that probably would’ve been spread over the last couple of eps last season.

However, I have always enjoyed the Flash, it has all the heart and comedy that just makes it a joy to watch and I’m looking forward to this season maybe slowing down a touch and opening out the story again, though I would like to move away from the Eva story sooner rather than later and it has to be said I dont know if I like a world of Flash without Wells in it, he has always been one of my favourite characters and I hope they find a way to bring him back somehow!

Rob – I feel like at this point The Flash is like an old friend so I am very happy to have the show back and the comfort it brings. Jumping straight back into the story made the opening scene feel grand and they dealt with Ralph’s absence pretty swiftly. One thing the show always does well is humour and I do really enjoy it’s more light hearted moments. I totally appreciated how brilliant Grant Gustin was when Barry was infused with the spirits of the other Wells. Who knew he was so good at accents!

I missed Cisco and Caitlin but it gave us a chance to reacquaint with Allegra and Chester and see them take place in the team and interact with Barry. Tom Cavanagh, as always, was excellent!!! The ending with Eva was intriguing and I’m wondering how that reveal will impact on what’s going to happen. Someone needs to hurry up and save Iris though.

JustinThe Flash is finally back after nearly a year! This premiere (though not initially intended to be one) kicked off the season in grand and emotional fashion. “All’s Wells That Ends Wells” proved to be quite a literal title.

Surprisingly, this exciting episode served as a beautiful send-off for the various versions of Harrison Wells as played brilliantly by Tom Cavanagh. Wells has been a major part of this series since the start so this “goodbye” hit hard for me. I admit I was nearly brought to tears (as Barry was) during the emotional sequence. Cavanagh and Grant Gustin delivered incredible performances once again in this episode. However, as noted by showrunner Eric Wallace, this is not the end of Tom Cavanagh on the series as Wells did not bid farewell to Cisco or Caitlin whom he was also close with. I for one am glad at this news as Cavanagh is one of my favorite actors in the Arrowverse. It will be interesting to see what’s next for him.

Season 2 Episode 6 ‘Do Not Resuscitate’

Justin – This episode was perhaps my favorite episode of the season so far. The writers continue to do a commendable job juggling the various characters while properly giving each of them compelling motivations. Coryana has now become a major focus for all of the characters. It is not just a race to find Kate, but now the Desert Rose.

This episode also focused on the various relationships of the series. While Ryan and Angelique’s relationship fell apart once again, her bond with Luke strengthened finally. In addition, Ryan saves Sophie, despite her feelings about her and the Crows. I hope this is the beginning of a partnership and friendship between the two. Another highlight of the episode for me was the Mary and Jacob dynamic. It was refreshing to see their father-daughter relationship explored more as it isn’t usually a focus.

I look forward to what is next!

Season 4 Episode 4 ‘The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter Four: A Light in the Darkness’

Justin – This is easily my favorite episode of the season so far. The emotional core of the show continues to shine as Jefferson and his family deal with their collective trauma. Tobias’s plans begin to take shape with his secret assassination of the Mayor and his interest in Lynn’s research. Marvin “Krondon” Jones III continues to deliver brilliant performances as this now beloved villain. His one liner calling the Pierce family “the chocolate covered Incredibles” was hilarious.

This episode featured some deeply emotional moments with Jefferson, Lynn and Jennifer. Speaking of Jen, this chapter also delivered a shocking moment as Jen seemingly disintegrated. I sincerely hope that this is not the official end of the character. China Anne McClain is to appear in only a few episodes this season so it is entirely possible that this could be what leads to her exit. All in all, this was another great episode!