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Review DC TV shows 2016-2017 seasons

It’s time to review DC Comics’ Television properties, and how they fared this season.  I’ll keep it fairly simple this time around, but will take an overall look at the following: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow season 2, The Flash season 3, Arrow season 5, Supergirl season 2, Powerless season 1, and Gotham season 3.  I’ll also mention the crossover episode “Invasion” as a separate entity.

First up is Legends of Tomorrow Season 2:

dctvWhile the first season was subpar, the concept improved for the second season.  The good: The characters were all done well.  They were really the focus of what made this year work.  Finally seeing a version of the Legion of Doom was a much better antagonist than Vandal Savage the year before.  The cliff hanger at the end of the finale was also really great segue into making me want to come back for at least the premier of ssn 3.  The Bad: The writers of this show have no idea what they are doing with time travel.  They talk about time aberrations and how they are supposed to stop them from happening, but the characters have no problem sleeping with other people from different timelines or killing them.  Then they worry about one mistake that Stein made by talking to his younger self which created a daughter he never had.  I call B.S. that this would be their worst problem.  Overall: This show is just painful to watch.  I keep watching because the comic book nerd in me desires to see these great characters.  There are moments that make me smile, but overall it’s not something a regular audience of non-comic book fans would want to see.  If they could understand a little more about the potential of traveling through time, then it’d have potential, but otherwise it’s just sloppy writing.  I give season 2 a sCrypt rating of 2.5/5.

Supergirl Season 2:

Where to begin… hmmm… The transition of this show to the CW really hurt it, but I can’t just blame the station move.  The Good: Martian Manhunter, Superman, Mon-El, The Guardian and Teri Hatcher were the best things about the season.  Their stories were good, and though I had reservations about the Guardian, he turned out to be quite enjoyable.  The Bad:  Oh where to begin.  Fire all the writers.  It’s the only thing that will save this show because it’s downright hard to watch.  First off is the Alex and Maggie relationship.  I get it.  They are an item.  I have no problem with a lesbian couple in the show, but this was so forced and hard to watch it made me cringe.  They spent more time focusing on this unnatural progression into a gay relationship that it often overshadowed the main narrative.  I knew we’d have Maggie in some sort of relationship with a woman too, but it could have been anyone else.  They changed Alex (who showed that she had an attraction to men in the first season) to being an item with Maggie.  The two characters on their own could be great, but the way this was forced was so bad the writers seemed like amateurs.  And before anyone claims that I’m bashing the LGBTQRSTUV community, that is not the case at all.  I’ve got friends and family who fall into that category.  I would have the exact same issues if they did this with straight characters because it was so badly done and took center stage over the rest of the plot.  Then they cut Cat Grant out of the picture… then they had Supergirl beat Superman in a really lame fighting scene that went on way too long for its lack of showmanship, then they changed Cat from one political standing to another without explanation and tried to force a message, then they had Lynda Carter as an alien president without much explanation as to why they would not feel threatened by a president who had the biggest lie of any president (and that’s saying a lot nowadays), then there’s that weird ending which I can only assume means we are getting Doomsday on a TV budget when they couldn’t even do it right in the movies.  WTF writers?  Did anyone watch this heaping bag of horse manure before they decided to air it on television?  Ugh I’m done my rant.  Overall: When a hero like Supergirl with some major characters is worse than watching a show with bad time travel in its writing, there is something amiss.  I can barely give this second season a 1 out of 5 sCrypt Ratings.

Arrow Season 5:

Thank goodness this got better.  While last season was subpar, this season was my favorite by far.  The Good: Everything in the latter half of the season was great.  I was upset at first that they were going to do ANOTHER Black Canary instead of reforming Laurel of Earth 2, but when it turned out her name was Dinah Drake, I accepted it.  Hopefully we see her and Oliver as an item and keep that Arrow / Black Canary love story.  Deathstroke’s return and the whole final episode was very emotional.  Season 6 could quite literally be a reboot to the whole series with just Oliver and his son, but I’m assuming one or two people will escape the island.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Diggle, Dinah, Speedy, and Slade to have survived.  The Bad: In the beginning of the season it was very rushed.  They jam packed all these new recruits onto the team, and it took away from story.  Wild Dog was annoying at first, but I grew to really like the character.  Other than the expansion of “Team Arrow”, I didn’t find much wrong here.  Overall: There’s a lot they can do for the next season now that the flashbacks are all caught up.  I have no idea where they will go with it, but if they continue this approach it’d be more than welcome.  I give season 5 of arrow a 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Invasion Crossover episode:

I didn’t think they’d be able to pull off crossing over Supergirl, Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, but they managed… sort of.  Obviously their budget had limitations, but the story worked and each character was utilized well.  If I had one complaint it would be that it really wasn’t a 4 part episode, because it began as a stinger at the end of the Supergirl episode, which was rehashed in Flash.  Despite this false advertisement in my mind, it was enjoyable.  I give it a 3 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

The Flash Season 3:

This season had its ups and downs.  The Good: Jay Garrick and Wally West were very welcome in this season.  The Flashpoint approach was done well, and Killer Frost’s story really hit the mark; even if I wanted to see her become a full fledged villain at the end.  Who knows where that’ll go.  They hit an emotional level with the viewers too that won’t be forgotten.  The Bad: Savitar, while not all that horrible of a villain just looked really stupid.  I hated the costume, and wasn’t really sold on the true reveal of his identity.  The story felt drawn out with some great filler episodes to break it up, but that detracted from the continual plot.  There was a point during the Grodd storyline (which I loved, so it’s not all bad), that I almost forgot about Savitar’s threat.  Overall: They managed to clear up some of the cluster-F that was last season, and created a pretty decent flow.  The twists and shocking reveals really held it high on the standards chart.  If there is any season finale that sets up the premier of next season it would be this one.  I hope we see more of Jay Garrick and even Wally suiting up as the Flash would be great.  As long as there isn’t another speedster as the main villain I think Flash can do a whole lot more.  I give it 3.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

Powerless-S01E04-1080p-HDTVPowerless Season 1:

I’ll get straight to it.  The Good: If you enjoy the Office, and it’s type of humor, then this show is for you.  It’s funny and creative.  I loved the characters, and the fact that they are a little over the top.  It sounds like a dumb idea, but the show really worked for me.  It was a break from all the other comic book shows on television right now.  The Bad: Aside from very horrible budget effects and cosplay looking costumes, the only other bad thing I can say is that it was cancelled.  Overall: If I had to say that there was one show that paid homage to the comics, while feeling refreshing it was this one.  I only got to see the first 9 episodes, as the final 3 were pulled when the show was cancelled.  If more people gave it a chance, I think it’d have been a hit.  I give it a 4 out of 5 sCrypt ratings, which would have gotten a whole other point if not for the costumes and effects.

gotham-season-3Gotham Season 3:

The latter half of the season renewed my faith in the show, but it’s still got a lot of work to do.  The Good: The way the villains were handled, and Bruce’s evolution were great.  I feel like the creators are starting to get that Batman feel without the Bat.  I can’t emphasize more that The Riddler and Jerome/The Joker were the best thing all season.  The Bad: Penguin being gay isn’t the issue, but the way they made him during that story arc was flat out pathetic.  He didn’t even seem like the Penguin during that batch of episodes.  It makes sense to make him gay if they were going to because he’s one character that never really had a love interest in the comics.  I just wish they could have made him as good a character as he was before this season, and after Ivy saved him.  Gordon still seems flat to me as well.  Every scene with him and Lee made me cringe.  There are also inconsistencies in the writing.  Why did Freeze’s gun not kill his last victim, when it did so to everyone else?  There was also an opportunity to use the same casting for Ra’s Al Ghul as with Arrow to connect the shows in some way, but they failed to do that.  Overall: It’s starting to really feel like it fits in with the rest of the shows, even to the point where I wouldn’t mind having a crossover if it made sense to do so.  There’s a lot of things set up that make it convoluted, but can be handled well.  At this point I’m not sure how they can keep with the current path without a Batman in there, and though we saw Bruce suit up as some vigilante he’s still way too young and immature with his thinking to become the full fledged Bat.  Time will tell.  I give the season 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt ratings.

What did you think of these shows?  What were the high and low moments for you and where do you see them going?  Comment below, and let’s discuss.  P.S. I realize I didn’t put Izombie in here.  The reason is because I just can’t watch it.  It’s appalling.  Maybe you disagree.

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Review: Luke Cage Season 1 Netflix

luke_cage_netflixNetflix and Marvel successfully do it again.  The question is whether it was as good as the other shows, and if it warrants a second season.  Here’s my breakdown of the characters in the show, how they factored in, and a little bit of speculation on where it could go from here.  There are spoilers, so if you don’t want to see them, scroll down to the final paragraph for my rating.

Luke Cage/Power Man/Carl Lucas: I said it before and this series backs that claim… Mike Colter is the perfect pick for the main character.  He looks as if he enjoys his character, and Cage was presented without flaw in my opinion.  The back story of Carl Lucas, the references to his classic Power Man costume and name, and the evolution of Luke Cage was spot on.  If there was anything I thought could have made it better would be Pop’s barbershop becoming a new place with Heroes For Hire.  Although they didn’t show that, the H4H was certainly set up that way.  Luke was always a character I liked, but never spent much time thinking about.  Now I wonder why he wouldn’t have been the new Captain America instead of Falcon in the comics, but that’s going off on another tangent.

Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes: I’ve never seen Mahershala Ali in anything before, but his acting made Cottonmouth worth watching.  He turned what was a very lame character in the comics into a badass.  I didn’t see his death coming as early as it did, and who’d caused it.  His actions were always a surprise, and though he wasn’t as much a crime lord as Kingpin in Daredevil, he certainly had a great presence.  If I’d have changed anything, it would have been how he didn’t seem like much of a threat in the episode he died.  I felt he should have gone out stronger than he did.  I see why they did it however.  It was a way of making you feel for the character right before ripping him away.  All in all?  Great storytelling regardless of how it was approached.

Mercedes “Misty” Knight: Simone Missick was just proof of more great casting choices.  I love the buildup and portrayal of Misty, and felt sorry for her along the way.  She was the single character in this whole series that had more to deal with than anyone else.  Constantly being stuck in a hard place didn’t mean she couldn’t kick ass either.  Aside from her central role in the story we also got a few other comic references with her.  When she was shot in the arm there was even mention that she could lose it.  This was in reference to her bionic arms in the comics.  Her outfit at the end, when she reentered the club undercover was straight from the pages of Marvel, and her tearing the piece of paper from the light post also gave a nod to another character whom she’ll eventually meet, Colleen Wing.

Hernan “Shades” Alvarez: Theo Rossi was irritating in a good way.  This was THE character that you hated to love.  He’s the type of antagonist that makes the viewer want to see punched in the face, but also never go away.  In the comics, Shades had a visor similar to Cyclops from X-Men.  I’m extremely happy that they took away that aspect and left him as a right hand man for the bosses.  He seemed to have no particular allegiance to anyone, which makes me question one thing… He could pull off being a mob boss on his own, so why does he always end up being someone’s lackey?  And what is it about him that scares his bosses?  I say that because it seemed he could say anything he wanted to them, and there’d be no consequence.

Willis Stryker/Diamondback: Erik LaRay Harvey was a good pick for the character, but I don’t feel Diamondback was one to be taken seriously.  Sure, he was crazy, but that’s what made it seemed out of place to me.  His motivations were lacking and childish, and I can’t see why Cottonmouth was afraid of him.  Okay, that aside, he was a major threat to everyone in the story, including Cage.  The Chitauri metal being used as bullets that could penetrate Luke’s skin was an interesting addition, especially since we got to see how they could possibly do surgery on him.  The final battle with Luke gave Diamondback a comic appropriate costume that made sense, and we’re obviously going to have him getting similar powers to his half brother in the second season or Defenders, after that ending.  I look forward to seeing him return in a less mentally awkward role, and more of a physical threat.

Claire Temple/Nightnurse: Rosario Dawson’s character finally got some good screen time.  She received some more back story, and even talked about how she wanted to help people with powers.  This set up her role as the Night Nurse in Defenders.

Mariah Dillard/Black Mariah: Alfre Woodard has to take the prize for best acting in the series.  She’s stellar in her performance of the corrupt politician.  She’s got motivation and I’m glad to see her overall role remaining a presence.  This woman came off as more of a threat than Wilson Fisk did in DD.  I’m eager to see what will happen with her if she returns.

Comic book cameo roles: Trish Walker was heard over a radio broadcast briefly.  Turk Barrett returned, and though it felt like a forced placement it was welcomed.  Comanche played a role as Shades’ partner in prison, and though I can honestly say I know nothing about that character’s comic book portrayal, it was cool to see another D-lister appear in some way.  Stan Lee’s poster was seen again in the background, just like in the other Netflix shows, and the references to the incident in Avengers as well as the other Netflix heroes brought it all together.

Various other roles: Detective Scarfe, Pop, and the countless other thug and police roles, as well as the countless musicians involved were nothing but pleasing to see.  Method Man’s appearance was downright awesome!

Speculation: here’s what I think.  Defenders are set up (all but Iron Fist, but he’s coming).  We’ve got Luke Cage, who will obviously get out of prison due to a certain Daredevil lawyer.  Aside from those two heroes there’s Misty Knight, The Night Nurse, Jessica Jones, Punisher, and the soon addition of Iron Fist and Colleen Wing.  We might even get Trish as Hellcat.  But who will be the threat?  It was just announced that Sigourney Weaver will be the main villain for Defenders.  Who she will be remains to be seen… Perhaps Madame Hydra?… regardless she has a ripe picking of villains to add to her antagonist army… Diamondback will now have abilities, Mariah Dillard, Shades, Kingpin, Turk and I’m sure I’m missing a few.  I thought Avengers was highly anticipated when it was coming out, but now I’m beginning to think Defenders will be much the same.

Overall review: The music and acting were superior.  Comic book references made old school fans happy.  Real world events fit into the storytelling without pushing an agenda.  This was some great storytelling with some flaws.  It didn’t drag out like Jessica Jones did, and it did give us a good origin for multiple characters.  It’s not perfect, but its earned one of the top places in my book for great action and attention.  This was the first series of ALL of the Netflix shows that I think I could have literally watched all the way through without stopping in one sitting.  I’d never do that, nor have the time to, but it was compelling and really decent.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for my review.  Keep them coming, Netflix and Marvel.


Review: Once Upon A Time season 5

onceuponatime_season5_poster1While I feel this season was the worst this show had to offer, it had its moments and built towards a finale that was worth the wait.  Season 6 is sure to return the show to what once made it so great, but what was it about season 5 that just didn’t match par?  Below is my spoiler filled review.  As usual if you don’t want to see the spoilers, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.

The main characters: Emma / Dark Swann wasn’t convincing as the Dark One for the first half of the season.  There was no personality change short of having different motives, and even that is a stretch.  It wasn’t the switch that we’ve seen with Mr. Gold so well, and felt boring from start to mid season.  Speaking of Mr. Gold… Rumplestiltskin even felt boring for the first half of the season.  It wasn’t until the final three episodes where he began to be interesting again.  I’m hoping season 6 really returns him to that role in the way that makes him a great villain.  Snow White & Prince Charming are questionable at best.  They should never have gone to the underworld with Emma while leaving their daughter behind.  Does someone want to tell them that at this point they are insignificant?  At the end it started to feel like the couple was going to be useful again, but to me they didn’t feel like themselves.  Henry was all over the place, but for some reason this works.  Perhaps its his age and making decisions on his own that brings the realistic feel of his actions into play.  My only critique here is his speech to the New York crowd.  I doubt he’d have gotten that type of response in real life, at least with the verbage used.  Belle was a hinge in the way that directly her presence did nothing to make the show better, but indirectly she served as a pivot for Rumple’s teetering.  Hook and Regina both remained interesting and without them the show may have fallen apart.  I’m happy with where they both started and ended.  Robin Hood was the biggest surprise, and I’m left wondering what will happen to his son after all that’s gone down.  Regina just sent him back to the enchanted forest with the Merry men.

The newcomers:

King Arthur was frustrating for me.  It worked when they made Peter Pan a villain, but Arthur felt like a slap in the face.  This legendary king was nothing more than a thug with power.  Guinevere didn’t even matter in the long run, and Lancelot was as close to the real thing as we were going to get.  The interesting parts were with Excalibur being a part of the Dark One’s dagger.  That alone was the most interesting part of the first half of the season.  And then there is Merlin… Am I wrong to have wanted an old guy to play this part?  I didn’t care about the race change.  What I wanted was someone who seemed to be ancient, and this was a role completely miscast.

Nimue was extremely interesting and great while she lasted, though I feel I wanted to really see what she was capable of as the Dark One.  We only got a tease of that, but she had a nice back story which helped move it along.

Violet came as a surprise.  Her addition gave Henry a love interest, but her reveal of her origins (or at least her father’s) at the end of the season was exciting.  I hope she returns making Henry’s decisions more of a focal point as at this point I think they can take the reigns and run with it.  It’ll be nice to see younger heroes matter more.

Hades was amazing, and his Underworld bringing back many of the dead characters worked well too.  What didn’t work was Hercules and Megara.  Their stories were good, but if they’d have been more utilized then I think the second half would have been more exciting.  Instead the Underworld made me wonder if the writers had been from there with the bland and drawn out narrative.  Zeus‘ quick appearance was a pleasant surprise though and made for a good ending to that part of the season.

Merida and her parents, her story, and her village was absolutely perfect!  In fact I might say she was the best new addition we had all season.  She stole every scene and the source material was well respected.

Dorothy Gale oh Dorothy Gale.  (long sigh).  Anyone who knows me knows that the Wizard of Oz and those L Frank Baum books were a huge inspiration into my writing career.  I love the interpretation of the Wicked Witch in OUAT, but Dorothy made me a bit upset.  Look, I get that you need to put gay characters into the show.  In fact I welcome it.  But the writers not only took creative freedom with her sexuality, they made her a little too much of a warrior in my opinion.  Dorothy in the books was always a sweet girl, and nothing about this actress echoed that.  She looked miserable the entire time, and didn’t seem like Dorothy at all.  To top that off, it wasn’t so much that she was attracted to women, but she fell in love with Little Red Riding Hood, Ruby.  So is it safe to say that she is no longer in the gay community, but into bestiality instead?  Bottom line is the decision made here was a public relations ploy that is insulting to straight and gay alike.  If you’re going to make a person gay, then don’t have them making out with a human/wolf hybrid.  Bestiality is not cool even if Ruby is smoking hot.  All rant aside it was cool to see the cameo by the Scarecrow.

Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde – now THIS is where the show started to feel like it had gone back to its roots.  I love Disney in every way, but the overkill of Disney related stories was getting to me and I think the audiences.  Storybrooke and what made this show work was that ALL story book characters were alluded to.  We got Frankenstein and a few others, so my question was always where are all the other books?  There should be no limits.  I realize rights issues are a problem, but not with all.  Jekyll and Hyde were good interpretations with the separation twist that set up a potentially great season.  I’m curious to see where they go now that Hyde’s minions are in town.  Who are they?  They made references in the book Henry found that showed Paul Bunyan, Frankenstein, and Gulliver’s travels, but who else?  The suspense is killing me.  Top that with wanting to know how Hyde and Rumplestiltskin knew each other, AND Regina now being a separate entity from the Evil Queen and season 6 could be better than all prior seasons combined.  Other than Granny, all of the other characters have returned home leaving a virtually blank slate for those coming on board.

In Conclusion I realize my review is a bit rough in spots, but as a writer source material is important, a compelling story is important, and some sort of suspense or anticipation is important.  Season 5 fell flat on all of these except in some special places.  That aside, I will be returning for season 6 and can’t wait to see what’s in store.  Season 5 gets 2 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for my rating.


Marvel TV shows review: Daredevil, Agent Carter, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Daredevil-Character-Poster-Matt-MurdockI decided this year to review all of the live action shows related to Marvel Comics in one article, so it will be more brief, but will contain some spoilers.  If you just want my ratings then scroll down to the final paragraph of each break, which will be spoiler free.

First up, Daredevil.  What is there to say?  A lot, but so little.  To me, this is the best Marvel live action thing to date, and that is saying a LOT.  Never once have they nailed a character and realism as well as they had with this series.  It also opens up opportunities for so much more, and yet still pays tribute to that which is already established.  It connects the existing cinematic universe without using it as a springboard and does it tastefully.  So, on to the characters:

Daredevil/Matt Murdock is played by Charlie Cox.  From the acting, the abuse that the character takes both mentally and physically, and the way he perceives the world through his senses, you can really get a feel for what it is like to be in his shoes.  His first costume is on point with one of the comic versions, while his final costume and why he dons it are closer to what we all know and love.  Cox really takes us on the ride of not just knowing DD’s origin, but why he does what he does.  He’s not just a hero because he has to be… he’s a hero because he WANTS to be.

Wilson Fisk/Kingpin , played by Vincent D’Onofrio, is believable from the start.  This isn’t just Murdock’s origin as the hero, but moreso Fisk’s origin as the Kingpin.  The look into his childhood says a lot as to why he is who he is, and what he goes through in these 13 episodes shows us why he will become what he has by the end of the season.  He is cunning and powerful in more ways than one, and I doubt those bars will hold him for long.

Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, & Ben Urich: These three drive the series home, and while Foggy was quirky at times he grew on me.  Ben was absolutely outstanding and I wish we could have seen more of him in the future.  Karen proved that she will do what is necessary to survive, and support her friends.  Daredevil would not have been complete without these three supporting characters.

Vanessa & Wesley: Like the above 3, supporting characters I can’t stress how much these two were needed for Fisk.  Vanessa although falling a bit too fast has a dark side that is well balanced with a lighter side, making the perfect compliment for the lead villain.  Every scene that included Wesley was enjoyable because of his dedication and coldness.

Leland Owlsley/The Owl:  Bob Gunton always seems to play the same character no matter what his role, but his acting perfection in that role gave Owlsley the life he needed.  My only regret is that we didn’t get to see the full comic book adaptation of The Owl, but I understand why.  There was no room or need for him to become his better known comic half other than to serve the role he already did in the series.

Claire Temple/Nightnurse played by Rosario Dawson was utilized to the perfect amount.  She didn’t need to do anymore than what she was there for, and I’m glad that they got away from the romance between her and Matt that I thought was going to begin.

Stan Lee: Yes I have to include his cameo, because he’s the man. I can understand if you missed it but he’s there in spirit.  Behind the main desk of the Police office building there is a framed photo on the wall of who might be the chief of police or some retired police hero.  The photo is of Stan Lee in uniform.  His cameo and the avengers references were enough to make any fan boy smile.

Stick: Aside from the brief cameo we see by his partner Stone, Stick was crucial to the history of the man who would become DD.  His persona is countered by the Catholic Priest and I believe it is both of these things that shape our hero and allow him to know what is right and wrong and which lines to cross.

Madame Gao: There are many speculations as to her actually being the Crane Mother, and they are justified.  She knocked DD on his ass and barely had to break a sweat.  Then she claimed that she was from a place much farther than China, so the only thing that could be is another realm… not to mention the symbol that is known to be part of the Iron Fist background.  All of this aside, her role, and the brief Hand ninja appearance became ground work for the future of this series, and others to come.

All in all, I have to rate DD with a 10 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins.  This is definitely NOT for young children, evident by the language and violence, but I think us adults needed something more mature to enjoy in this amazing universe.  Kudos to the writers, producers and cast for an outstanding job.

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Agent-Carter-02Marvel’s Agent Carter is our second review, and while I was very skeptical at first, I found myself surprised by this 8 episode series.  Here are the highlights:

Hayley Atwell breathes life once again into Peggy Carter.  From coping with the “death” of Steve Rogers to dealing with the sexism of the time, she proves herself worthy in so many ways.  With Edwin Jarvis and Howard Stark there to support her, she rises against the odds, kicks ass, and all while feeling real.

Doctor Faustus The Black Widow program prove to be the perfect villains for the series while The Howling Commandoes become a wanted sight to assist Carter.

Stan Lee once again appears as a guy getting his shoes shined, and again you can’t help but smile at his presence.

All in all I found the series to be unnecessary, but enjoyable.  The cast and setting were a decent escape from the norm, and it provided an origin to the organization that would one day be called SHIELD.  That being said, I wish this was a one shot.  There is no need to further tackle this subject in another miniseries, but ABC has officially announced season 2.  Overall I give Agent Carter 6 out of 10 sCrypt coffins.

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Marvels-Agents-Of-SHIELD-Season-2-posterAnd finally Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2…

It began with a bang, progressed on to more boring issues, then got interesting, but not necessarily great.   Then the ending came and the finale went out with a bang.  Here are some of the more notable things:

Phil Coulson has become less interesting, and while I’m a fan of everything Clark Greg does, I’m convinced the newly appointed director of SHIELD may have his days numbered.

Carl Creel/Absorbing Man was easily the BEST thing about this season.  He was given a mention in Daredevil as well, so I think the powers that be know his worth.  The special effects and interesting way that they made him appear (yes even with his ball and chain) had me convinced that this season was going to be absolutely amazing.

The second best thing about this season was the introduction of Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird.  She is what the SHIELD team needed to feel more connected to Marvel’s universe.  She’s an enjoyable character to watch and more likeable than most of the characters.

FitzSimmons is annoying on a whole different level than they were last season.  Fitz has become more likeable, but his memory issue seems to have been a bit overdone.  Simmons on the other hand; for the love of God, she needs to go.  There was no point to her even being there other than being a very annoying character.

Agent 33 is a mystery.  I’m not sure where I stand as of yet on her reliance with Ward, but could she be Madame Masque?  If she isn’t I dont see much of a point to her either.

Raina took a back seat through most of this season, but I like that they introduced her as the Raina character from the comics.  Sure she may have been a C-rate character, but the usage was done nicely.

Daisy/Skye/Quake is the primary focus of the season, and while she has been revealed as being one of the Inhumans, she is not up to her full capacity yet.  This needed to be done with Skye, because if not she’d be another person that would have felt forced if anything at all.  I’m interested in seeing her develop more especially since she will be on a team of powered people working for SHIELD next season (at least that’s what they led you to believe).

Cal/Mr. Hyde Definitely one of the most enjoyable aspects of the season.  He’s a bit nerdy, a bit psychotic, and a bit melodramatic, but I’d never in a million years have thought I’d see him in a live action adaptation.  While I hope for more known characters to appear, Hyde is what this show needs.  It is a less than perfect show, so why not use less than perfect characters that will enhance it?  He is exactly that but it works well.

Deathlok 2.0 is still meh.  I like Mike Peterson, but he is still not the Deathlok I want to see.  I only hope that this version of him will continue to evolve into what he should be.  We know they can pull it off, so they need to make it happen.  I’d much rather see him and mockingbird than the lesser inhuman people.

From characters, to Age of Ultron and movie/tv show tie ins, to the Kree and SHIELD rising and falling, this season had a lot going for it, but also a lot of room for improvement.  It has been renewed for season 3, but if they don’t do something interesting fast then it will get the boot.  I give it 5 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins for season 2.  There was enough to make me interested, but much to forget about.


DC TV Shows Review 2015: Constantine, The Flash, Arrow, Gotham

constantine-sezon-1-constantine-season-1-cover-okladkaAs with the Marvel TV review, I included all the DC shows I’ve been watching for review in this article.  It will be broken down into 3 sections: Constantine Season 1, The Flash Season 1, Gotham Season 1 & Arrow Season 3.  There will be spoilers, so if you’d like to avoid them, then scroll down to the last paragraph of each section for my ratings.  Also feel free to add your own thoughts/speculations.  Here goes:

First up is Constantine Season 1…

While I was familiar with Constantine I had not read the comics at all, so my knowledge was limited.  With any comic series or characters I always tend to research them.  So I did, and soon after I realized how much I enjoyed the character and setting of his world.  For DC this is a very unique world in which to delve, and I’m happy that they have.

The show began a little too cheesy in places for me, but I soon grew to really enjoy it.  The jumpy horror feel aside, the characters and appearances of other DC universe things made it worth while.

John Constantine could not have been done better IMO.  Matt Ryan is the perfect person to play this role, and he set the tone for what the show was.  With a supporting cast featuring Chas, Zed, and Manny (an angel), they work well protecting the world from supernatural threats, all while making it an enjoyable watch.

Papa Midnight was an extremely fun villain to watch, and I’m glad that he was a recurring role.

Unfortunate however were the uses of Felix Faust and Dr. Mist.  Faust’s story was great, but I don’t feel they chose the right actor (though he did a decent job) to play the part.  I felt Faust should have been more intimidating, but that might just be me.  Mist (Nommo) was almost forgettable.

The only other comic book persona that was present was Jim Corrigan, who (as forseen by Zed), will one day become The Spectre.  To me he stole every scene and I’d love to see his eventual death and reveal at becoming that entity.

Other notable references were Dr. Fate’s helmet and Astra.  Both of which were utilized wisely for the fans.

In all, I’m upset that they cancelled this.  Well NBC did.  It appears as though there is a push from Stephen Amell and others to get another network to pick it up and include it in the “arrowverse”.  I don’t think it was given a fair run.  It took ten of 13 episodes to really establish what it was, and just when it got really interesting it was taken away.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for some sort of renewal, but for Season 1 I’ll give it 5 out of 10 sCrypt coffins.

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Gotham-season-1-FOX-poster-2014Gotham season 1 was equally frustrating and fun.  I love that they are tackling the origins of Gotham city, but at times it feels too forced.  Let’s break it down.

GCPD is the most incompetent police force on the planet, and Gotham just made it more unlikeable.  They are corrupt beyond belief, and yet somehow still manage to make you feel bad for them.

Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock are the two likeable things within the department.  As partners they compliment and contradict each other well.  Two sides of the coin seem to come together and balance each other out.  Harvey pushes Gordon to do things a little less moral, while Jim pulls in on Bullock’s rebellious reigns.  Every scene with these two is what really makes this show enjoyable.

Bruce Wayne’s detective skills already surpass that which was shown in the dark knight trilogy, so he’s well on his way to becoming the man he one day will.  He is portrayed well and its fun to watch him develop. Alfred Pennyworth is oddly done here however.  While I like the portrayal, I’m hoping to see a more laid back butler soon.  He’s a bit too harsh for me but I can see it as he’s a standin father for young Bruce.

Falcone and Maroni are two sides to a mob war that have me constantly cheering for the former.  Maroni is unbelievable in his delivery and is somewhat offensive to any Italian.  He seems more wannabe than a threat, and I’m glad he met his fate.  Falcone on the other hand is the real deal, and while he leaves for better ventures, I feel we haven’t seen the last of him.

Easily stealing the show is Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot.  To see the rise of such an underrated villain is interesting to say the least, but it makes one of my least favorite Batman villains very likeable.  His struggles and how he comes to manipulate and in the end achieve his goals is one of the more compelling story plots going on in the series.  The same can be said for Edward Nygma “The Riddler”.  His final scene in the finale was a bit rushed in my opinion, and it almost felt like scenes were cut out before that, but overall he’s highly entertaining to the point of cheering for him (almost).

Now onto the parts I hate about this show, and I don’t want to sound sexist, but for the love of God, the females are horrible!  I don’t know what the writers are doing here.  In Batman the females are always the more likeable people, but they are shown as annoying and incompetent at the least.  Poison Ivy (Ivy Pepper) is the exception but she was shown little.  At first she felt forced, but it works the way she is used.  Sarah Essen also tends to work really well, as did Renee Montoya (and her partner Crispus Allen), but there wasn’t enough of them in the season to make noteworthy.  Barbara Kean, Leslie Thompkins and Selina Kyle are downright hard to watch at times.  Barbara seems like an immature college girl, Thompkins is an obsessive controlling person, and Selina is a snot nosed brat.  My skin curls when these three appear because they don’t at all echo their comic book counterparts.  And don’t get me started on Fish Mooney.  I hope she’s dead.  Jada Pinkett Smith is a horrible actress, and her terrible mannerisms are enough to make me want to puke.  Am I being too harsh?  No.  She doesn’t seem realistic, and while we are dealing with a non realistic show, it doesn’t matter.  She’s as forced as Maroni if not more.

But alas I digress.  Easily I can say that appearances by Mr. Zsasz, Harvey Dent, Lucius Fox, Copperhead, Richard Sionis, Electrocutioner, Amygdala, Jonathan Crane, The Graysons, and The Ogre were all well done, especially The Ogre and Crane stories.  Should I even mention the outstanding performance of Jerome (The Joker)?  He isn’t the iconic villain yet, but to get a back story is exciting.

My last complaint is that the visual effects are terrible, but these are purely budgetary restraints.  The Dollmaker’s experimental Frankenstein like person was only briefly seen, but it didn’t look believeable.  Neither did the people who were using the precursor to the drug that will one day be known as venom (used by Bane).  The CG just didn’t line up.

Was the show enjoyable?  Yes, but I don’t hold out much hope unless it stops feeling forced and starts focusing on the world they have to work with.  I want to see this last until Bruce becomes the man he once will, but for that to happen they really need to stop cramming things in.  An older Gordon appearing in the “Arrowverse” or finding the right story for Barry Allen to travel back in time into this series is a fanboy wish I’d like to see.  I’ll give season 1 of Gotham 5 out of 10 sCrypt coffins.  It is more interesting than annoying, but barely.

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Flash-Season-1-493x700Now onto something a bit more appetizing.  The Flash is a pleasant surprise worthy of any fan of the character, and I may go as far as saying it had the best season finale of any tv show I’ve ever seen.  It was emotional on so many levels, geektastic on so many levels, and the cliffhanger will make the summer months feel longer.

Grant Gustin IS Barry Allen/The Flash.  From his debut in Arrow last season to constantly proving he is right for the role, Grant has gone above and beyond any expectations for the character.  DC casting other characters in their movie universe is flat out stupid, because we’ve got perfection here.

Candice Patton as Iris West is not only a gorgeous person to watch on screen, but she really helped to establish the hows and whys of Barry Allen.  At times, she is naïve and slightly irritating, but she’s overall a likeable and great character.

The same can be said about Detective Joe West and Eddie Thawne.  The moments that they are on screen are perfectly executed.  My only complaint would be that Eddie doesn’t really convey a feeling of true “love” toward Iris until the final episode.  His exit was shocking to say the least, but after seeing him get pulled into the black hole I wonder if that means we’ll see him in some form as Cobalt Blue.

Caitlyn Snow and Cisco Ramon are bound to become Killer Frost and Vibe at one point (as foreshadowed and hinted at in the finale), and it Is great to see their destinies unfold.  Cisco, while a bit dorky, is perhaps THE BEST character on TV.  He is very relatable and doesn’t take his work so seriously that he’s a recluse.  That role is better saved for Snow, who has quite the (pardon the pun) cold demeanor.

Tom Cavanaugh as Dr.Wells/Reverse Flash/Eobard Thawne is every bit what makes Hannibal Lecter and The Joker fun villains.  YOu almost want to see this guy succeed and continue to be a thorn in Barry’s side.  The way his story unfolded was unpredictable in details and I hope we see a lot more of Tom in the future. (yes, another pun)

Ronnie Raymond & Martin Stein becoming Firestorm is also a plot point that worked.  While Robbie Amell’s stiff acting as Firestorm leaves much to be desired, this version of a great character has a lot of potential.  My complaint would be that we need to see his true abilities of rearranging matter.  Otherwise he’s just another human torch with dual identities.

Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold is the same as Cavanaugh in terms of stealing the show.  He’s made to be much more than his comic book counterpart but in a respectful manner true to source material.  His often team ups with Heatwave and Golden Glider click well together and make for a threatening force.  I can’t wait to see where they take Cold.

Other villains who appeared in lesser but still likeable rolls were General Wade Eiling, Prism, Blackout, Mist, Multiplex, Simon Stagg, Plastique, Bug Eyed Bandit, Girder, Deathbolt, and Peek-A-Boo .  It didn’t feel jam packed with comic references and really gave the opportunity to focus on lesser known characters.  I like being introduced to them on some level because it creates more freedom for the show writers to bring to light some of these often overlooked villains.

The Weather Wizard and Gorilla Grodd especially were pleasant surprises that I didn’t think would be doable on TV (especially in the latter’s case), but I was proven wrong.  It wouldn’t be a Flash show without them.  Instead it would be more like the less than notable 90s Flash TV show.  Speaking of that… The 90s show was a childhood favorite for me, and while it wasn’t too true to the comics, I liked it because it brought one of my favorite characters to life.  So, when I saw that Tina McGee was going to return with the same actress, as well as John Wesley Shipp, and the ever awesome Mark Hammil reprising his role as The Trickster I was over excited.  Without crediting or discrediting the 90s series they made great efforts to pass the torch to this new show.

Rip Hunter and Jay Garrick also got shout outs in the finale.

From the crossovers and the buildup to what could be a potential Flashpoint Paradox storyline (look it up if you’re unfamiliar), I’d say we have a series that will last a decade.  The foreshadowing, time travel, and references to the Crisis could make any fan giddy.  I’m giving this show a 9 out of 10 with sCrypt Coffins.  There is room for improvement, but it isn’t far from perfection.

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Arrow-season-3-promo-posterFinally we get to Arrow.  This is the show that started it all and established the term “Arrowverse”.  While we still have yet to get the true version of Green Arrow and others, the cast is beginning to take a step in that direction.  The third season had its ups and downs.  At one point I even worried that The Flash was getting all of the writers’ attentions because Arrow slipped mid to late season in my opinion.  Then the finale came and while the final fight seemed a bit sub par, I think it ended on a high note for everyone.

Black Canary/Dinah Laurel Lance finally came upon her destiny.  Laurel was not just likeable this season, but badass.  And when she finally gave her “canary cry” I couldn’t help but smile at the greatness of it.

Ray Palmer/The Atom was introduced in a great way, and he even dubbed the city “Star” instead of “Starling”, but I’m not sure why that wasn’t mentioned again.  While he was awesome addition to the cast I hate what they did with his heroic side.  I don’t want to see an Ironman rip off.  I want the Atom that I know and love.  Of course I went through 2 and a half seasons waiting for the Black Canary, so I can hold out until next season to see the inevitable shrinking abilities come about.

Thea/Red Arrow/Speedy was finally given a usefulness.  She was pivotal to everything this season and with the departure of Arsenal, it’s nice to see her pick up the reigns.  Plus her outfit is perfect.

Malcolm Merlyn/Dark Archer had a less than perfect role, but it was substantial and a good enough set up to see what he will do now that he is the new leader of the League of Assassins.

Ra’s Al Ghul was no way near as good as Liam Neeson’s version of the character.  I feel that he and Nyssa were just a plot point used to turn Oliver into more of a Batman figure than anything else.  It was wrong and irritating every step of the way, but the Lazarus Pit and mythology surrounding the characters made up for it.

And of course with that mention I’ll rant about our hero.  When is Oliver Queen/Green Arrow going to stop being Batman?  He’s not Batman!  It frustrates me that the writers are taking the personality of Queen and making it something else.  My only hope is that season 4 now has the opportunity to correct this.

Which brings me to Felicity Smoak.  I love the girl, and she’s stunning to look at, but what a cry baby.  It seemed all she did was cry or sleep with someone different every episode.  The ending with her and Oliver seemed misplaced and I hope they start next season well, because this really felt like a series finale.  Diggle has become a favorite of mine, and I’m hoping that he comes back with an even fuller role, perhaps battling H.I.V.E. and bringing the team together again.

While Ted Grant/Wildcat had a nifty little arc it was also great to see other known characters crossover and make their debuts.  New additions to Arrow were: Komodo, Manhunter, Captain Boomerang, Brick, Cupid, Katana, and the mention of Damien Darhk who is bound to be the villain of next season.  There were also numerous references to Green Lantern that were made in both this and The Flash.

I still think Arrow is one of the best comic book shows on TV, but if they really don’t define who he is supposed to be in season 4, then what’s the point?   I’ll give season 3 of Arrow 6 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins.


Day 29: Top 5 for Halloween

For today’s installment of my 31 days of Halloween I made a top 5 list of my personal choices for film, book, etc.  These are stories that not only have entertained me, but inspired me to continuously try exceeding what I did and topping each previous book I write.  I tried to keep them as Halloween related as possible, and even though some aren’t horror, they fall into the thriller category and have spooky elements.  What are your personal choices?  Feel free to comment below.

TOP 5 NOVELS:  The “Area 51” series by Bob Mayer (writing as Robert Doherty), Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” series, Thomas Harris’ “Hannibal Lecter” series, The “Atlantis” series by Bob Mayer (writing as Greg Donegan), Dean Koontz’ “Frankenstein” series (please don’t watch the movie because it’s terrible the books are great though. *Bonus All novels in the FLESH AND LEFTOVERS SAGA by Rick Pipito (had to add them, sorry.) 😛

 

TOP 5 TV SHOWS: Once Upon a Time, Arrow & The Flash (I put these as one because they crossover and exist in the same universe), 24, Law And Order SVU, Hannibal

 

TOP 5 GAMES: The “Tomb Raider” series, The “Resident Evil” Series, “Silent Hill”, “HeroQuest” (This is a board game I had growing up, and I just remember how awesome it was.  I recently found it in my parents’ attic), The “Doom” series.

 

TOP 5 SONGS: Dragula by Rob Zombie, Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett, Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr, Don’t Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult (because everyone needs more cowbell), Mz. Hyde by Halestorm

 

TOP 5 MOVIES: Ghostbusters 1 & 2, The Goonies, Monster Squad, Van Helsing (Kate Beckinsale, Huge Jack Man, and monsters?  I don’t care if its cheesy.  It’s awesome), The Brendan Frasier Mummy Movies.

 

BONUS—-TOP 10 COMIC BOOK Movie List (in numbered order):

1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier

2) X-Men Days Of Future Past

3) Avengers

4) Ironman

5) Captain America: The First Avenger

6) Guardians Of The Galaxy

7) Man Of Steel

8) Spiderman 2

9) Thor The Dark World

10) Batman 1989

*This list is current as of 10/29/14 of course.  It will most likely change, but it is the order I believe works.  I wanted to put both Punisher movies in there as well just for pure fun, but they didn’t make the cut.