Like an RPG blowing up your favorite romantic dinner spot, the third season of Arrow began with more plot, exposition and character development than a skid full of C4. Following quickly on the heels of last night’s very well-received premiere of The Flash, it was Arrow’s turn to assert itself. The gold standard of comic book-based series, there were a lot of expectations for this first new episode of the season, but did it deliver? Mostly yes, but a little bit no. This premiere episode has packed from beginning to end with some slick action, interesting new characters, interesting twists for old favorites, and a gut punch in the end that will have reverberations all season long. (more…)
Two episodes in and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 is already blowing season 1 out of the water. For the last few episodes, we’ve been watching as Coulson tries to get the fractured S.H.I.E.L.D. into some sort of order, using mercenaries and guerilla tactics. There aren’t too many S.H.I.E.L.D. allies left, so he’s using what he can to fight off H.Y.D.R.A., the enemy organization that seems just as screwed up as S.H.I.E.L.D. is. But with last episode’s Absorbing Man finally defeated, what will the team have to deal with in episode 3, ‘Making Friends and Influencing People’? As it turns out, another familiar face is returning to the show. (more…)
DC is definitely hitting the small screen with a vengeance this season. In addition to their highly successful property, Arrow, DC premiered Gotham this season, Constantine hits NBC in just a few weeks, iZombie will be airing on CW soon, and there are plans for a live action Teen Titans in the works, as well as plans for live action versions of Lucifer and even Supergirl. One of the most highly anticipated adaptations, however, is the Arrow spin off, The Flash. Ever since the superhero spin off was announced, fans of both Arrow and the comic book incarnation of The Flash have been excited to see just what CW had in store for them. Would it be a dark and gritty take on the character, much like Gotham is offering? Would it be a bit too heavy on the soap opera side, such as Smallville had a tendency to lean? Flash fans can rest assured now that the premiere has finally aired. Not only was the pilot episode of the new series a separate creature unto itself, it was a perfect way to introduce Barry Allen, aka, The Flash. (more…)
In my review of last week’s installment of Gotham: “Selina Kyle”, I discussed my main objection to the series thus far: That the first two episodes seemed overwritten and unmanageably complex.
I’m not arrogant enough to even consider the notion that the Gotham writers heard my complaints and wrote “The Balloonman” specifically to address them, but if I could have asked them to, this is precisely the episode I’d want them to make. It’s streamlined, straightforward, and easy to follow–and if the rest of the season follows The Balloonman’s lead, Gotham has a real shot at being a truly great show. (more…)
The Twelfth Doctor’s introductory season has been a bumpy one. The opener was a bore and just about each episode since has been a mix of highs and lows. With “Listen” and “The Caretaker,” Series 8 has begun to come into its own, better defining its characters. “Kill the Moon” builds off those previous installments and ways I never expected, and it all pays off tremendously well. (more…)
When last we left the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. team, they were struggling on despite a distinct membership deficiency. After the events of season 1, the once proud government organization wasn’t exactly welcome anymore. The remnants of the team, now led by Agent Coulson, consisted of mercenaries, a jailed Ward and a crazy version of Fitz. When they went to retrieve an artifact, they were confronted by Crusher Creel, aka the Absorbing Man. He got the best of them and the artifact was in the middle of being stolen away from S.H.I.E.L.D. for good. So what does ‘Heavy is the Head’ have in store? (more…)
Coming off an exhilarating bank heist it’s back to the daily grind of Coal Hill School for Clara and… The Doctor? Yes, this week’s episode sees The Doctor again trying to blend in with humans, going deep undercover in “The Caretaker” from returning writer Gareth Edwards (“The Lodger”, “Closing Time”) and Steven Moffat. What is it that brings The Doctor to Coal Hill? Aliens? Robots? Alien robots? (more…)
Gotham‘s pilot began with the genesis of every version of the Batman backstory: The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne–Bruce’s parents. As the killing was investigated, we were introduced to the series’ main characters (check out Brandon Marcus‘ superlative review of the Gotham Pilot if you need a refresher).
Episode 2 of the show’s freshman season is entitled, “Selina Kyle”, and–as one would expect–offers further insight into the girl who would be Catwoman (Camren Bicondova). Ms. Kyle didn’t have much to do in the Pilot save for perching on statues and fire escapes–watching the goings on in Gotham almost as though she too was a member of the show’s audience. (more…)
[Pardon the tardiness of this review, and instead enjoy an extra helping of Doctor Who critique and discussion this weekend!]
Switching gears – yet again, like only Doctor Who can – Series 8 transitions from a spooky inspection of fear to a bank heist, or in this case, a “Time Heist.” Written by Steven Moffat and Stephen Thompson, it’s a less profound episode than last week’s but that doesn’t it make it any less interesting. (more…)
The doorbell rings, startling Laura Peterson (Sheila Kelley) out of a silent grievous moment. She rises and opens the door to find a handsome young man (Dan Stevens) waiting for her on the front porch. He has striking blue eyes; piercing crystal spheres that soften with kindness upon taking in her form. He says his name is David. He says that he knew her son and served with him in the war. He says that he was with him when he died. He says that he promised to ‘check on’ her family, and that pledge is what led him to this encounter. Laura asks David if he’d like to come inside and opens the door a little wider, letting him know that he is welcome in her home.
Thus begins The Guest, the latest from Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard, the writing/directing team behind You’re Next and A Horrible Way to Die. Outside of being a sparse set up for the mess of mayhem which follows, this opening scene acts as a kind of manifesto for the rest of the movie. This time out, Wingard and Barrett are playing with the unassuming; subverting the trust we put in those who have earned it. What results from the basic conceit is an evolutionary leap forward in craft for both the writer and director, as they combine the sure-handed simplicity of early Cameron with the meticulous, widescreen framing of Carpenter. Not only the best film both artists have put their name on, The Guest is easily one of the most economically entertaining action films since the original Terminator. (more…)