The Flash 3-5

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The Flash has, quickly, become one of my favorite shows on television. Grant Gustin has blown me away as Barry Allen. I’m not saying he’s the next Daniel Day Lewis, but he is a perfect fit for the character. As opposed to say, Stephen Amell, who doesn’t really encapture the Oliver Queen from the comics. I love Arrow, but if I don’t see at least a goatee before season five, I’ll commit seppuku.

The episode with Felicity was perfect. We meet Captain Cold, one of my favorite DC villains, played by an actor from a show that I enjoyed reasonably well. The episode before had the guy who could turn into gas and kill people. It was relatively entertaining but had one of the weaker post credit Dr. Wells scenes. “Plastique” featured General Elling played by the great Clancy Brown. Hopefully he has a nice arc, his back and forth between Dr. Wells was a thing of beauty. They have great chemistry, and honestly, Dr. Wells can do no wrong at this point. Tom Cavanagh does such a great job with this role. The way he balances the mentor and creepy secret antagonist is a thing of beauty.

My heart stopped during the latest post credit scene. Obviously Dr. Wells was involved. But we also had our first glimpse of the one and only Grodd, albeit before he became intellectually a genius. I’m incredibly excited to see how they handle that character. No need to rush him, and the special effects have been out of this world so far. I have all the faith in the world of the show runners, they’ve certainly earned my trust.

I look forward to this show more and more every week. Hence why two weeks ago I threw my first temper tantrum in fifteen years when they dropped the bomb that there would be no new episode. That was a bigger disaster than the particle accelerator’s explosion.

Arrow 3-5

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A Thea focused episode, revenge for Sara in the next, and a special origin story for our favorite hacker. That right there is a triple threat. A triple threat focused on some hot babes. It’s a shame that as good as this show is, I’ve sunk to a new low in focusing on the women. What can I say, I’m a single guy in his mid twenties.

Malcolm and Thea have bonded quick during their training filled vacation. Is anyone else curious as to why Malcolm would leave that place? He has a daughter, blah blah blah. It’s 2014. They can Skype if need be. He had a mansion on Corto Maltese for crying out loud. The man had paradise and threw it in our faces.

Laurel is inching closer and closer to becoming the new Canary. Taking boxing lessons, getting tough with her coworkers, taking a punch from a street thug. I feel like Dewey Cox’s father, but the wrong kid died. We should have Sara in our lives right now, not this wanna-be.

It seems like Ollie has been pushed to the background so far this season. Thea is becoming a bad ass, the League of Assassins (and Ras) are becoming more prominent, Diggle is a new father, Felicity is hanging out with ex-Superman, while at the same time being his worst employee, and Roy is about to get a seemingly important arc. Yet Ollie is there as he’s always been. Brooding, serious, still the Wild Bill Hickok of archery.

While I think The Flash has been the stronger show thus far, Arrow is still one of the best dramas currently on TV.

The Walking Dead 2-4

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It’s been three episodes since I’ve last talked about the show. In that time Terminus became terminated, my favorite character, Bob, lost his life (after losing his leg), and Beth has taken up a career in the nursing industry.

I’m not nearly as invested in this show compared to the rest of the world. The fan base is massive, as evidence from its NFL Sunday Night Football beating numbers. But at this point I’m watching due to lack of content.  I’m only watching a handful of television dramas right now.

  • The Walking Dead
  • Arrow
  • The Flash

That’s it right there. Breaking Bad ended a while ago. Boardwalk Empire much more recently. The Netflix originals have already been devoured. Justified, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men don’t return until 2015. Sons of Anarchy hasn’t been watchable since Season 3. FX decided to axe The Bridge. And there are a bunch of shows I’ve yet to start (Hannibal, Masters of Sex, The Americans, etc.).

A few years ago, The Walking Dead may have been on sixth or seventh on my “TV Priority List”. Right now it’s probably third behind the CW’s superhero dramas. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the show, I totally do. It’s dessert for me. Not essential, don’t have to watch every Sunday. Boardwalk Empire on the other hand, had to be watched immediately. I don’t want people telling me how Chalky died. I need to experience that in the moment. But if someone lets slip that Daryl had a bite taken out of his neck? No worries. Unlike him, I’ll live.

Beth’s episode captured what the show can be. I’m always for the episodes centered around a specific character. The Governor’s weren’t entirely all that special, but it was better than any treatment he received the year prior. It also helps that I find Beth incredibly attractive. Hands off, Daryl!

Keep on doing your thing Dub Dee. Head shot zombies, let Rick growl, and keep trying to make me care about Glen and Maggie (do people really?). I’ll take it all in with genuine enjoyment, along with a good supply of eye rolls.

Critters – “The Ballad of Billy Zane”

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 There were a few things I went into this movie unaware of. One, that it would genuinely scare me. Two, the possibility of gaining a new workout song for the rare gym trip. And best of all, I had no idea Critters would treat me to prime, 80’s Billy Zane. Say one thing about this movie, say it has Billy Zane sporting the “wrap your sweatshirt around the waist” look.

If you want to know my feelings on horror films be sure to read the first few paragraphs from my The Sacrament review (not so subtle plug!). Casper is my favorite “horror” film of all time. I’ve sent the people at TBS letters advocating Casper should be played twenty four hours straight on Halloween. One day, perhaps.

So the idea of tiny furry aliens invading a quiet farm town seemed harmless, and it probably is to anyone over the age of six, but I had to turn the light on half way through the movie. The “crites” steal a spaceship, forcing what I can only describe as a half human/half Jabba the Hutt creature, to hire bounty hunters. These two were the real deal. They had bodacious space guns, the ability to transform into a rock star, and would kill in my weekly bowling league.

As I understand it, this movie was a response to the popularity of Gremlins. The latter is definitely a better movie, but Critters I found to be much creepier. Just looking at the theatrical poster gives me the willies. The crites are balls of fur with a smile full of razors. It’s what I imagine the design would be if they were to ever make a Cheshire Cat horror flick. They attack like the spiders in Arachnophobia. Seemingly shot out of cannons, these little guys can end your existence in the blink of an eye. Zane took a flesh eating Furby to the stomach! It’s horrifying. At least Gremlins had the decency to give us Gizmo. There was a good mix of both comic relief and cuteness relief.

The acting was surprisingly good for what the movie was. When I watch actors in scary films all I’m really looking for is if they look frightened. That’s it. Especially with all the CGI we use today I understand it might be difficult to get worked up over a green screen. Just put in the effort. Don’t pull a Tara Reid like in Sharknado 2: The Second One. I mean come on Tara, it’s a sharknado for goodness sake.

You could do worse when staying in on a Saturday night. This coming fall I suggest giving Critters a try. You’ll scream, you’ll sigh. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (E.T. fans will). The plot moves fast. They know we want the fur and they give them to us quick. Okay, not really. But the twenty minutes it takes for them arrive goes fast. There’s that 80’s vibe that stays with every movie from the decade. It’s like driving down to the shore, smelling that sea salt air. Not only is the ending satisfying, but it sets up for a sequel. Oh, just one sequel you ask? One sequel may be enough for that hack movie Gremlins. Critters consists of three sequels, four movies in all. Double its supposed better half! That counts for something, right?

Arrow – “Sara”

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The majority of this episode was spent searching for Sara’s killer. With some help from Diggle and Felicity, the gang narrows it down to Simon Lacroix, or more commonly known as, Komodo. One of the more bad ass comic villains, my expectations for the episode sharply rose.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much time allotted to the archer. Disappointing, but ultimately we’ll be seeing more of him in the future. He happened to not be responsible for Sara’s death, leading to a dead end for Ollie. It felt like this whole episode was a platform for the actors to show off their acting abilities. In my opinion, that didn’t turn out to be a good thing. I didn’t buy how upset Felicity was. She knew Sara for what, half a season? Diggles is my main man, but aside from dropping that, “Don’t die down here” line to Oliver, his acting can be hard to watch. Stephen Amell has come a long way from the first season, there’s no denying that. But it’s not like we’re watching the next Brando out there.

Poor acting rant aside, this episode had a fantastic ending. We had our first glance at Thea, who is training in some awesome house with Malcolm Merlyn. She now has Arya Stark hair, which to me raises her hotness to a level I didn’t think possible. It’ll definitely make the loss of Sara easier.

The flashbacks again left me wary. I’m not sure what the point was of Tommy showing up. There are over twenty episodes in a season, filler episodes are going to happen. It is a testament to how good the show is when a filler episode consists of an awesome “Catch and Shoot” arrow move by Ollie. Regardless, I am excited for the Thea centric episode next week.

The Flash – “Fastest Man Alive”

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It’s amazing, two episodes in and already The Flash knows what kind of show it wants to be. The show runners understand this character. That’s half the battle when you’re adapting a super hero to live action, or any medium really. I could tell right when Barry cuts off from his Arrow-like voice over, “…Let’s get to the good stuff”. And he’s absolutely right. We want to see Barry rescuing a bunch of people from a burning building or sweeping them out of the line of gunfire.

Our villain of the day turned out to be Danton Black, aka Multiplex. He could create, you guessed it, multiple versions of himself. Barry ends up saving the day, as yet another one of his comic foes dies. Unlike Arrow, this show has no problem with killing off the villains for good. Then again it’s a bit premature for me to claim, this being only the second episode. Joe West gives Barry the support he needs, in defeating bad guys and in respect to his father’s innocence. A few thoughts on our fatherly figure this far…

  1. I can’t stress enough how clutch a hire Jesse L Martin has been. While he hasn’t been the biggest surprise (a certain Scrubs alum holds that title), he is definitely carrying his weight.
  2. That weight specifically being the flashbacks. I hope this isn’t a CW trend. They work well in Arrow, and while I’m worried about the move to Hong Kong, I think there are still stories to be told in that manner. On The Flash, it’s absolutely grating. Martin is keeping afloat every scene with that child actor. The dialogue probably isn’t great, but that kid isn’t helping. I have to imagine they’ll continue the rest of the season, for better or worse.
  3. Does anyone else feel like Detective West does a poor job at parenting his daughter? Okay, not a poor job, but definitely focus’ more on Barry. I mean, how does he not realize his daughter and his partner are sleeping together? I’m definitely over thinking this one…

The final fight between Flash and Multiplex was visually outstanding (for CW standards). It’s the second straight week I’ve been impressed with the special effects. Compared to the summer blockbuster The Expendables, this show knocks it out of the park. The army of Danton Blacks was really cool. Seeing Flash do his super fast punch was gnarly. Admittedly the Matrix style dodge of the bullet was cliche, but other than that impressive stuff. The previews for next episode have me even more excited with all the CG smoke.

Once again Harrison Wells steals the episode. These end scenes are gripping, mysterious, and great fodder for conspiracy theories. Tom Cavanagh has come a long way from Scrubs — or more appropriately, Ed — by becoming, possibly the best character on the show. I enjoy the explanation for why Barry wants to save people, his reactions with Iris, Cisco, and Caitlin, but I’m turning in every week to watch Harrison Wells. And that’s just the way it is.

Arrow – “The Calm”

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It felt damn good to have Arrow back in my life. It felt even better having Sara Lance in my life. And I was euphoric to have Brandon Routh back in the world of super heroes.

We pick up the story sometime after Ollie’s defeat of Slade. Roy seems to be exponentially better of a sidekick, emphasized with the upgraded outfit. Diggle is where Terry Crews was in the beginning of Brooklyn Nine Nine, on an indefinite break from field work, this due to his new baby girl. Felicity and Oliver attempt an office romance, their first date bombing, yet Felicity claims she’s had worse. The newly minted Captain Lance is in full support of Arrow now, as is Starling City it seems. Times, they are a changin’.

There’s a new Vertigo in town who has been giving me some strong Scarecrow from Batman Begins vibes. The drug now leaves the user in a hallucinogenic state, one that leads to an awesome Arrow vs Ollie fight.

This guy is definitely a tough foe, but perhaps the bigger threat is Ray Palmer. What’s not to like about Palmer, other than the fact he’s a massive obstacle to Ollie reclaiming his family company. Personally I love Routh’s portrayal, and you can’t argue with the renaming to Star City. I’m not familiar with how prevalent The Atom is in Green Arrow’s life in the comics, but I’m hopeful we see him for multiple seasons. What the hell else is Brandon Routh doing?

Our flashbacks take place in Hong Kong now, and while it was promising, I’m still a bit skeptical. It seems like he will be responsible for some sort of harm coming to his captors family, though.

The biggest shock for me, and most others I’m sure, was the barrage of arrows Sara took to the chest at episodes end. Being Sara’s most devoted and creepiest fan, this one hurt. Caity Lotz doesn’t seem to have much on her plate other than the rare appearance on Mad Men, so I hope this wasn’t the end. As for the culprit? My guess is League of Shadows. Merlyn is hopefully too busy molding Speedy to be a sexy killer.

Great, great start to Season 3, and very nice job at integrating the Flash phone call scene in. The CW meshes these two shows seamlessly.