REVIEW: ARROWVERSE – CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS

Starring

Melissa Benoist (Whiplash)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Jesse Rath (The Howling Reborn)
Nicole Maines (Bit)
Azie Tesfai (Superstore)
Lamonica Garrett (The Last Ship)
David Harewood (Homeland)
Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: OOTS)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Tom Cavanagh (Yogi Bear)
Katherine McNamara (Shadowhunters)
Ruby Rose (The Meg)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Camrus Johnson (Luke Cage)
Candice Patton (The GUest)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)
Matt Ryan (Layer Cake)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Hartley Sawyer (The Young and the Restless)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Rick Gonzalez (Reaper)
Juliana Harkavy (Last Shift)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas 2006)
Jes Macallan (Kiss Me)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)

Stephen Amell in Supergirl (2015)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf)
Elizabeth Tulloch (THe Artist)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Osric Chau (2012)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Burt Ward (Batman 60s)
Robert Wuhl (Batman 1989)
Wil Wheaton (The Big bang Theory)
Alan Ritchson (Titans)
Curran Walters (Titans)
Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Tom Welling (Smallville)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Jonathan Schaech (Prom Night)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Cress Williams (Reign of The Supermen)
Ashely Scott (Birds of Prey)
Stephen Lobo (Painkiller Jane)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash 90s)
Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers)
Melanie Merkosky (An Eye for Beauty)
Ezra Miller (Batman V Superman)
Reina Hardesty (The Honor List)
Eileen Pedde (Dark Angel)
Brec Bassinger (47 Meters Down: Uncaged)
Yvette Monreal (Faking It)
Dereak Mears (Friday The 13th)
Teagan Croft (Titans)
Tom Ellis (Lucifer)
Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights)
Anna Diop (US)
April Bowlbry (Two and a Half men)
Diane Guerrero (Justice League vs Fatal Five)
Joivan Wade (The First Purge)

LaMonica Garrett in Supergirl (2015)To prepare for the coming Crisis, the Monitor recruits Oliver Queen and sends him on missions to collect various items. He also retrieves the cadaver of Lex Luthor and revives him. Barry Allen and Iris West-Allen learn that the Crisis date has moved up to December 2019 and that to save billions, the Flash must die.To learn more about what happens to him, Barry travels to Earth-3 to see Jay Garrick and Joan Williams, who have been tracking antimatter signatures across the multiverse. They send Barry’s mind forward in time, causing him to see billions of timelines where the multiverse is destroyed and the one where he dies saving it.Tyler Hoechlin, Brandon Routh, Melissa Benoist, Grant Gustin, and Ruby Rose in Supergirl (2015)Meanwhile, on one of his missions, Oliver witnesses the destruction of Earth-2 from an anti-matter wave. Back in Star City, William Clayton, Connor Hawke, and Mia Smoak mysteriously time travel from 2040 to the present, while Oliver and John Diggle learn that Lyla Michaels has been working with the Monitor. Minutes before the Crisis begins, Nash Wells is teleported into a chamber under Central City after being promised a new life. At the start of Crisis, red skies loom over Central City and Lian Yu, where Lyla, now a “Harbinger of things to come”, collects Oliver and Mia.Tyler Hoechlin and Grant Gustin in Supergirl (2015)On an unspecified Earth, the skies turn red over Freeland, causing Jennifer Pierce’s powers to adversely react and tear her between her Earth and those of two of her alternate counterparts. As the Pierce family and Peter Gambi try to bring her back, the antimatter wave overtakes them while Jefferson Pierce is teleported away.Brandon Routh, Audrey Marie Anderson, Caity Lotz, and Grant Gustin in Supergirl (2015)As the Crisis begins, the antimatter wave destroys countless parallel universes. Meanwhile, on Earth-38, Brainiac 5 detects the antimatter wave approaching Argo City, prompting Kara Danvers to warn her mother Alura Zor-El, her cousin Clark Kent, and his wife Lois Lane. Clark and Lois narrowly send their son Jonathan off into an escape pod just as the wave wipes out Argo. Across Earth-1, Harbinger brings Barry, Kate Kane, Sara Lance and Ray Palmer to Earth-38. While Harbinger also rescues the Kents from Argo, Alura was not as fortunate.Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch, and Ruby Rose in Supergirl (2015)Harbinger briefs the gathered heroes on the threat of the Anti-Monitor as the Monitor raises a quantum tower to impede the antimatter wave while the DEO and Lena Luthor work to evacuate the inhabitants of Earth-38 to Earth-1. Brainy locates Jonathan’s pod on Earth-16, so he, Lois, and Sara leave retrieve him while the others stay behind to fend off the Anti-Monitor’s forces. In preparation for his death, Oliver passes the mantle of Green Arrow to Mia. When he learns Barry is fated to die however, he argues with the Monitor over the deal they made last year. The heroes make their stand at the tower and fend off an army of shadow demons until the Monitor teleports them off-world, deeming the battle to be lost. Refusing to leave, Oliver temporarily nullifies the Monitor and stays behind to ensure the exodus succeeds. Back on Earth-1, Lois’ team returns with Jonathan before the Monitor brings a dying Oliver to say good-bye, commenting that this was not how he was supposed to die. Nash, now a “Pariah” for releasing the Anti-Monitor, appears and announces that events have changed and everything is doomed.Brandon Routh in Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two (2019)With the Earth-1 Legends unavailable, Harbinger travels to Earth-74 to recruit Mick Rory so the heroes can use his Waverider as their base of operations. In the wake of Oliver’s death, which he cannot undo because of the Anti-Monitor’s growing power, the Monitor consults the Book of Destiny and learns of seven Paragons who could turn the tide. Four of them are Kara, the “Paragon of Hope”; Sara, the “Paragon of Destiny”; the “Paragon of Truth”, another Superman who has suffered “more than any mortal man”; and the “Paragon of Courage”, who is described as the “Bat of the Future”. Clark, Lois, and Iris locate the second Superman on Earth-96, though Lex uses the Book of Destiny to mind-control Clark-96 until Lex is knocked out by Lois.Tom Welling in Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two (2019)Kara and Kate travel to Earth-99, where the latter fails to recruit an elderly crippled Bruce Wayne, who became a killer. Bruce is in turn accidentally killed in a heated confrontation with Kate and Kara. Elsewhere on Earth-18, Sara, Barry, Mia, and John Constantine take Oliver’s body to a Lazarus Pit in an attempt to resurrect him, but the accumulating antimatter across the multiverse prevents them from bringing his soul back. Back on the Waverider, the Monitor tasks Ray with building a “Paragon detector”, which identifies Kate as the true “Paragon of Courage”. Unbeknownst to everyone, Harbinger is secretly contacted by the Anti-Monitor.Cress Williams in The Flash (2014)With Cisco Ramon’s help, Ray’s “Paragon detector” identifies Barry as the “Paragon of Love”, J’onn J’onzz as the “Paragon of Honor”, and Ivy Town scientist Ryan Choi as the “Paragon of Humanity”. Iris, Ray, and Ralph Dibny attempt to recruit a reluctant Choi, who eventually complies when Iris assures him that ordinary humans can be heroes too. After the Monitor restores Cisco’s powers, he, Barry, and Caitlin Snow meet up with Pariah at the Anti-Monitor’s chamber beneath Central City, where they find an anti-matter cannon powered by the Flash of Earth-90. When Cisco frees Barry-90, the cannon goes critical, so Pariah recruits Jefferson from his recently-destroyed Earth to contain the energy.Brandon Routh, Cress Williams, Osric Chau, Grant Gustin, and Hartley Sawyer in The Flash (2014)Barry-1 volunteers to destroy the cannon, which would result in his prophesied death. However, Barry-90 stops him, claiming the Monitor didn’t specify which Flash would die in the Crisis and takes Barry-1’s place. Meanwhile, Constantine, Mia, and Diggle visit Lucifer on Earth-666 to get his help in entering Purgatory to retrieve Oliver’s soul. Before they can leave, Jim Corrigan appears and bestows the Spectre’s power on Oliver. He accepts, and Constantine’s team is returned to the Waverider without him. While the heroes regroup, the Anti-Monitor sends a brainwashed Harbinger to kill the Monitor so he can absorb his power and finish destroying the multiverse. Before the remaining heroes and Earth-1 are destroyed, Pariah sends the Paragons to the Vanishing Point to keep them safe, where they witness Lex replace Superman-96 with himself using a page from the Book of Destiny.Melissa Benoist and Ruby Rose in The Flash (2014)A flashback to the planet Maltus 10,000 years ago shows Mar Novu experimenting with time-travel to witness the birth of the universe, only to accidentally end up in the antimatter universe and reveal the multiverse’s existence to the Anti-Monitor. In the months since the multiverse was destroyed, the Paragons have struggled to survive. Once Corrigan teaches him how to use the Spectre’s power, Oliver heads to the Vanishing Point to rescue the Paragons and strengthen Barry’s powers. With his increased speed, Barry drops off Kara, Choi, and Lex on Maltus, but is then attacked by the Anti-Monitor, losing everyone else across the Speed Force. Despite an expected double-cross from Lex, Kara and Choi convince Novu not to go through with his plans. Once Barry retrieves everyone, they arrive at the dawn of time, only to learn the Anti-Monitor will always learn of the multiverse’s existence as there will always be a Novu in the multiverse who cannot give up his ambitions. The Paragons battle the Anti-Monitor and his shadow demons until Oliver uses the Spectre’s power to restore the multiverse, with the Paragons providing additional assistance via Lex’s Book of Destiny page. As a result, Oliver dies a second and final time in Barry and Sara’s arms.Jon Cryer, David Harewood, Osric Chau, Caity Lotz, Melissa Benoist, Grant Gustin, and Ruby Rose in Arrow (2012)Waking up in the newly recreated universe, the Paragons discover they are the only ones who remember the Crisis and that both Earth-38 and Jefferson’s Earth have been merged with Earth-1 into a composite universe later designated as Earth-Prime, among other changes throughout the multiverse. While J’onn uses his psionic powers to bring their allies up to speed, Sara attempts to find Oliver, though without success. Later that night, the Paragons are attacked by shadow demons. A restored and remorseful Nash discovers that the Anti-Monitor is still alive and plotting to renew his destruction of the multiverse. To stop him once and for all, Nash, Ray, Barry, and Choi work to develop a bomb capable of shrinking the Anti-Monitor for eternity while the other heroes distract him. Once finished, Kara uses it on the Anti-Monitor and sends him to the microverse. Sometime later, Barry, Kara, Sara, Kate, Clark, J’onn, and Jefferson hold a memorial service for Oliver before agreeing to come together as a league of heroes to protect their new world in Oliver’s memoryCress Williams, Caity Lotz, Melissa Benoist, and Grant Gustin in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)

The CW Arrowverse will never be the same again, this crossover is amazing on an epic level. Witth nods to such classic shows and movies as 60s Batman, Smallville, Birds of Prey, Titans, Doom Patrol and Batman 1989. Even a sneek peek at the upcoming Star girl. It’s an end of era for the franchise with the death of Green Arrow, but with his sacrifice starts a new era with the CW version of Super Friends (Justice League, and after 3 Seasons Black Lightning finally joins the Arrowverse. Green Arrow will be missed but Crisis shows that his legacy will live on.

REVIEW: BLACK LIGHTNING – SEASON 2

 

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Starring

Cress Williams (The Death of superman)
China Anne McClain (Descendants 2 & 3)
Nafessa Williams (Black and Blue)
Christine Adams (Batman Begins)
Marvin Jones III (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
Damon Gupton (Bates Motel)
Jordan Calloway (Riverdale)
James Remar (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Cress Williams in Black Lightning (2018)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Robert Townsend (The Meteor Man)
Skye P. Marshall (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Clifton Powell (Saints and Sinners)
Bill Duke (Predator)
Charlbi Dean Kriek (Blood In The Water)
Kyanna Simone Simpson (Chambers)
Myles Truitt (Kin)
Chantal Thuy (Half Magic)
Jason Louder (Prodigal)
Andy Allo (Pitch Perfect 3)
Shein Mompremier (Swiped)
Erika Alexander (Bosch)
P.J. Byrne (Rampage)
Jennifer Riker (Mad Men)
Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Eureka)
Birgundi Baker (The Chi)
Sofia Vassilieva (Looking For Alaska)
Tonia Jackson (Greenleaf)
Kearran Giovanni (Major Crimes)
RJ Cyler (Power Rangers)
Tosin Morohunfola (The Chi)
Yolanda T. Ross (Love Triangle)
Dabier (Reawakened)
William Catlett (First)
Tracey Bonner (Den of Thieves)
Michael Wright (V)

Cress Williams in Black Lightning (2018)Season 1 of Black Lightning was chock full of social commentary, exceptional scenes of emotional gravitas and the bulkiest superhero costume known to man. Season 2 looks to keep the ball rolling, opening with scenes of police brutality and civil unrest within the black community of Freeland. The series’ main strong point has been its grounded characters, and its willingness to deal with real-world issues.Black-Lightning-_-The-Book-Of-The-Apocalypse_-Chapter-Two_-The-Omega-Promo-_-The-CW-0-14-screenshot-600x326The show’s uncompromising depiction of gang violence, police brutality, racism, messages of peace, and the pursuit of black excellence all make a compelling, and sometimes uncomfortable drama. Witnessing a young black man high on Green Light being strangled to death by the police is difficult to watch. The writers are willing to go that far to both ground Freeland and raise awareness of daily injustices. The Pierce family continue to be the glue that holds the drama together. The interplay between Jefferson (Cress Williams) and Lynn (Christine Adams) is always a treat. Watching these parents bicker about the health of their children, and their ongoing communication issues make the world feel real. It’s not always about super-powered people throwing each other around.Black-Lightning-S02E01-84ba81effe57f3f78066464cb7f72c4b-fullJennifer Pierce (China Anne McClain) continues to shine on screen as well. Her ongoing struggle with her new reality as a meta-human and her inability to return to a normal is portrayed beautifully by McClain. Jennifer exudes the angst of a teen trying to fit in, all while her former life slips away. As her powers evolve, it will be interesting to see what makes her accept her destiny as Lightning.The women of Black Lightning steal the show in the Season 2 premiere. Syonide (Charlbi Dean) and Kara (Skye P. Marshall) have a well-choreographed fight together, all backed by a beautiful soundtrack. Anissa (Nafessa Williams) also puts on a show of strength as undercover Thunder. Her tussle with a den of drug dealers feels like a well-done homage to the much-heralded hallway fight scene from Netflix’s Daredevil. A suited up Black Lightning takes a back seat in the season premiere.black-lightning-season-2-episode-16-reviewThe titular character makes a short cameo but never shoots a bolt. Instead, Jefferson takes center stage as he deals with Garfield’s School Board, his family’s adjustment to all these weather-based powers cropping up in their household, and a much-needed confrontation with his friend and ally Deputy Chief Henderson, who has finally worked out his secret identity. When The second season of Black Lightning came to a close . Though it was a few episodes longer than the first, The CW seems to be sticking with shorter seasons for this show. That has its advantages. It makes for tighter storytelling. The finale brought us the first real use of Thunder. In the finale Jenn figured out how to use her powers to fly.black-lightning-season-2-finaleI have to admit, that’s probably the coolest visual the series has given us so far. hopefully we do get amore of this in the third season of Black Lightning, She reaches Tobias first and she’s more powerful than her dad ever was. She wraps him up in energy, holding him to the ceiling. The radiation starts killing him. It would have if Jefferson hadn’t shown up and convinced her not to. He had to grab onto her, nearly killing himself. When Jenn realized her dad would sacrifice himself to stop her from becoming a murderer, she finally relents. That’s when we get the episode’s coolest fight scene. The Black Lightning-Thunder team up has been great, but seeing Jenn and her father work together to kick Tobias’ ass is the most cathartic moment of the series. He’s taken everything from both of them, and it felt so good to watch Black Lightning kick Tobias over a railing. I laughed out loud when Tobias tried to shoot them both only to find out he had no bullets.Black-Lightning-the-Book-of-the-Apocalypse-Chapter-Two-the-Omega-featuredThat simultaneous “please” from Jenn and Jeff was amazing. And hey, for now it really looks like Tobias has been defeated. He’s been classified as a dangerous metahuman, meaning he’s sent to a black site prison where even his lawyer can’t get him out. I’m generally not an advocate for extrajudicial imprisonment like this (gets real fascist real quick), but at least this lets the show move on to a different story for a while. We find out just what that is right at the end. That teleporting bounty hunter we’ve been seeing? Turns out he works for Markovia. He’s been hired to kidnap Dr. Jace to work on their metahuman weapons program. Agent Odell shows up at the Pierce home to catch the entire family up to speed. He tells them he knows who and what they are and delivers a warning. The Markovians plan to use a metahuman army to become the dominant power in the world. Freeland’s high concentration of Green Light metas makes it a guarantee that it’ll be the first place they’ll attack.Black-Lightning-s2-finale-13-600x400It’ll take Black Lightning, Thunder and now Lightning all working together to keep the city standing. So we have our plot for Season Three.black-lightning-jennifer-costumeThe finales end was just setting up for the big war coming next season. As a result, a lot of story elements set up by the last few episodes ended on a whimper. Lala showed up to kill Tobias only for Tobias to disable him with a second trigger phrase. The police shootings and riots got little more than lip service and were completely forgotten. Dr. Jace and the pod kids…. well, the show kicked those cans down the road to next season. It leads to a finale that feels more like a stopping point than a definitive end to any story. It’s important to set up hooks and maybe even a cliffhanger for the next season, but too much of that leaves us unsatisfied. We get the sense that only surface-level story elements changed. Everything else was either forgotten or put off. Of course this episode at least balanced that out with some fantastic action and the introduction of Jenn as a full-fledged superhero. Bring on Season 3

REVIEW: ARROWVERSE – ELSEWORLDS

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Starring

Grant Gustin (Affluenza)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Danielle Panabker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Hartley Sawyer (Saving The Human Race)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Stephen Amell (The Vampire Diaries)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Melissa Benoist (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Echo Kellum (Girlfriend’s Day)
Kirk Acevedo (Dawn of TPOTA)
Mehcad Brooks (Dollhouse)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jesse Rath (The Howling Reborn)
David Harewood (Homeland)

Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)
Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf)
Jeremy Davies (lost)
LaMonica Garrett (The Last Ship)
Elizabeth Tulloch (The Artist)
Ruby Rose (The Meg)
Cassandra Jean Amell (Roswell, New Mexico)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash 90s)
Liam Hall (Before I Fall)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
Adam Tsekhman (Deadly Exposure)

John Wesley Shipp, Stephen Amell, Melissa Benoist, and Grant Gustin in Arrow (2012)On a ravaged Earth-90, The Flash escapes as a mysterious figure uses a powerful book. On Earth-1, the same figure gives the book to Arkham Asylum psychiatrist John Deegan, who uses it to rewrite reality according to his will. The following day, Oliver Queen and Barry Allen wake up in each other’s lives. Team Flash does not believe them and locks them up in the S.T.A.R. Labs pipeline. Oliver and Barry use each other’s abilities to escape and travel to Earth-38 to get help from Kara Danvers and acquaint themselves with her cousin Clark Kent and Lois Lane, at Smallville, Kansas. Meanwhile, an android called A.M.A.Z.O. awakens and threatens Central City. Cisco Ramon retrieves Oliver and Barry from Earth-38, with Kara and Clark helping. After defeating A.M.A.Z.O., Clark returns to protect Earth-38. Cisco vibes Deegan and the mysterious figure, who sees them vibing him and tells the group that something is coming and they will not be able to stop it. Oliver realizes the figure and Deegan were located in Gotham City.In Gotham, Barry, Oliver and Kara are arrested by the GCPD. They are bailed out by Wayne Enterprises’ CEO Kate Kane, who tells them Deegan is at Arkham Asylum. The trio, with the assistance of Caitlin and Diggle, break into Arkham to confront Deegan. They retrieve the “Book of Destiny” but Deegan escapes by causing a mass breakout. During a confrontation with inmate Nora Fries, Barry and Oliver are exposed to fear gas and believe each other to be Eobard Thawne and Malcolm Merlyn, respectively. After stopping the breakout, Kate, as the vigilante Batwoman, rouses them from their hallucinatory state and tells them to leave Gotham. They head to A.R.G.U.S. to restore reality, where Earth-90’s Flash warns them about Mar Novu / Monitor, who is testing worlds for an impending crisis. They confront Novu, who breaches away Earth-90’s Flash, reclaims the book and returns it to Deegan, who writes a new reality in which Barry and Oliver are powerless criminals known as the Trigger Twins and are confronted by a black-suited Superman.Melissa Benoist in Arrow (2012)Oliver realizes the Superman impostor is actually Deegan before forcing him to save innocents while they escape to find Cisco. Deegan and his forces, including the Earth-1 doppelgänger of Kara’s adoptive sister Alex Danvers, are holding Kara at S.T.A.R. Labs. Barry and Oliver locate Cisco and persuade him to take them to Earth-38. They find Clark, who agrees to return with them to Earth-1 while Kara persuades Alex to release her. Arriving on Earth-1, Clark and Oliver fight Deegan and his forces while Alex, Barry, and Kara locate the Book of Destiny in the Time Vault and take it to Clark, who restores Barry, Oliver, and Kara to their real selves. Deegan retrieves the book and attempts to rewrite reality again.

To impede his progress, Barry and Kara slow down time by speeding around the Earth in opposite directions. Oliver confronts Novu, asking him to spare Barry and Kara, but Novu demands something from Oliver in exchange. Clark, joined by Lois, Brainiac 5, and J’onn J’onzz, fights Deegan and a revived A.M.A.Z.O. Barry and Kara are nearly torn apart by their speed but Oliver shoots the book with an arrow enhanced by Novu. Deegan reverts to himself, though heavily disfigured, and reality is restored. After returning to Earth-38, Clark and Lois tell Kara they are expecting a child and will return to Argo City, leaving Earth’s protection to her. On Earth-1, Oliver is contacted by Kate, who says Deegan, now incarcerated at Arkham, has made a new friend who tells Deegan: “Worlds will live, worlds will die, and the universe will never be the same”.Another brilliant crossover, the only downside is Legends of Tomorrow is not part of it, but still amazing. Showcasing the introduction of Batwoman was a good idea so we get a small tease of what the Batwoman TV show will be like. Thou the best part this crossover is the big set up for Crisis on Infinite Earths where the Arrowverse will never be the same again.

 

REVIEW: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – SEASON 4

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Starring

Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals)
Tala Ashe (American Odyssey)
Jes Macallan (Mistresses)
Courtney Ford (Supernatural)
Amy Louise Pemberton (The Laundromat)
Ramona Young (Santa Clarita Diet)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)
Matt Ryan (Layer Cake)

Matt Ryan in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Adam Tsekhman (You’re The Worst)
Thomas F. Wilson (Back To The Future)
Susan Hogan (Warehouse 13)
Jane Carr (31)
Laura Regan (Mad Men)
Jordyn Ashley Olson (The Shack)
Gerard Plunkett (Travelers)
Anjli Mohindra (Wild Bill)
Andrew Lees (Unfriended 2)
Daniel Cudmore (Twilight: New Moon)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Wesley MacInnes (The 100)
Sisa Grey (SMILF)
Sachin Bhatt (Bumblebee)
Jenna Rosenow (Neighbours)
Jason Schombing (Mutant X)
Olivia Swann (Doctors)
Casper Crump (The Legend of Tarzan)
LaMonica Garrett (The Last Ship)
John DeSantis (Thirteen Ghosts)
Shayan Sobhian (The Chosen)

Dominic Purcell, Brandon Routh, Matt Ryan, and Caity Lotz in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)If any DC series is deserving of a “most improved” award, it’s most certainly Legends of Tomorrow. Sure, there were some definite highlights to fondly remember from the first two years such as “Star City 2046,” but I often kept watching just for the sake of keeping current on all things Arrowverse. Now, however, I look forward to tuning in on a weekly basis.Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Though it’s hard to credit one person alone for the turnaround because everyone making up the cast and crew deserve a round of applause, I hope that others will agree with me in saying that season 3 was when this show really found its footing. In short, the time traveling adventures were finally enjoyable, and the appropriate injection of comedy was delivered.Brandon Routh, Matt Ryan, Caity Lotz, and Jes Macallan in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Admittedly, I’m one to lean toward the more serious stuff and prefer darker material offered up by the likes of Arrow, Gotham and Black Lightning, but that doesn’t necessarily work for everything. Furthermore, Legends can pull off silliness better than The Flash, a sister series that has shown it can’t tip the scales too far in the direction of either drama or comedy, lest the fanbase express consternation. What I’m getting at is how this landscape created thrives by allowing for each show to establish its own flavor, and although it took this baby a while to get there, it can certainly go places that others can’t – and I’m not just talking about historical periods. I mean, where else could you see a man express his love for a hallucination of his dead pet rat and not be taken out of the story?Matt Ryan in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Speaking of which, the producers allowing for Legends to feel more like its own thing by worrying less about continuity with other Arrowverse shows has also provided a big boost. It’s kind of like how you know Batman and Booster Gold exist within the same comic book universe but they’re best left to their own devices. As for what’s actually going on this season, we pick up with the Waverider crew rounding up the final anachronism, thereby fixing history. Surprisingly, this forces the suits at the Time Bureau to recognize them as heroes – but the celebration is short-lived. You see, what had been previously hinted at during the closing moments of last spring’s finale comes home to roost. To put it simply, the defeat of Mallus has opened the floodgates for numerous other monsters to go hog wild on the timestream. So, naturally, it’s up to the people who created the mess to clean it up.Interestingly enough, the first threat for this season comes in the form of a unicorn, so I implore you not to trust one should you ever encounter their kind in the wild. And as it turns out, this fabled equine is dealing sparkly death at Woodstock (1969, so you don’t have to worry about hearing anything from Limp Bizkit), with the team coming back together from opposite directions. It may otherwise seem like a no-brainer to enlist the help of John Constantine (Matt Ryan) in situations such as these, so I’m glad the character’s once again in play for showrunner Phil Klemmer to utilize. Make no mistake, it’s seemingly going to take Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) some time to convince the demonologist to fully join her cause, but I’m glad nothing’s being rushed in a storytelling sense.Caity Lotz and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)If you were to ask me, this  should serve as a fantastic consolation prize for NBC cancelling Constantine a few years back. t Legends of Tomorrow‘s fourth season has carried over the momentum established by its previous effort. Legends of Tomorrow continues to be a fun addition to the Arrowverse.

REVIEW: SUPERGIRL – SEASON 4

october-faction-netflix-review-1Starring

Melissa Benoist (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Jesse Rath (The Howling Reborn)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)
Nicole Maines (Bit)
April Parker Jones (Jericho)
David Harewood (Homeland)

Sam Witwer in Supergirl (2015)

Recurring/ Notable Guest Cast

Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman)
Brenda Strong (Starship Troopers)
Rhona Mitra (Nip/Tuck)
Robert Baker (The Originals)
Tiya Sircar (The Good Place)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Alison Araya (Riverdale)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
Andrea Brooks (When Calls The Heart)
Anthony Konechny (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Kirby Morrow (NInja Turtles: The Next Mutation)
Xander Berkeley (Kick-Ass)
Sarah Smyth (50/50)
Graham Verchere (Summer of 84)
David Ajala (Fast & Furious 6)
Justice Leak (Powers)
Chris Violette (Power Rangers SPD)
Helen Slater (City Slickers)
Steve Byers (Immortals)
Michael Johnston (Teen Wolf)
LaMonica Garrett (The Last Ship)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash 90s)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Ruby Rose (The Meg)
Cassandra Jean Amell (Roswell, New Mexico)
Adam Tsekhman (Legends of Tomorrow)
Elizabeth Tulloch (Ther Artist)
Russell Wong (Romeo Must Die)
Kate Burton (The Ice Storm)
Hannah James (Mercy Street)
Brennan Mejia (Power Rangers Dino Charge)
Garwin Sanford (Staragte Atlantis)
Jessica Meraz (Bounty Hunter)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)
Louis Ozawa Changchien (Kidding)
Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Azie Tesfai (Superstore)
William MacDonald (Riverdale)
Willie Garson (White Collar)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Izabela Vidovic (Veronica Mars)
Olivia Nikkanen (The Society)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Patti Allan (The Killing)

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)You have to admire the chutzpah of Supergirl’s writers and their choice to name the Season 4 finale in honor of what is widely regarded as the worst Superman movie of all time: “The Quest for Peace.” But it’s not so crazy when you consider how much Superman IV and Supergirl: Season 4 have in common. Both are steeped in political allegory about tensions between East and West. Both feature Lex Luthor trying to destroy one Kryptonian hero by harnessing their evil doppelgänger. Both are concerned with the need to achieve peace in our time. It’s just that Supergirl is much better about actually realizing those lofty ambitions.Sam Witwer in Supergirl (2015)Without burying the lead, Season 4 is easily Supergirl’s strongest to date; that much has actually been obvious for quite a while. While this season made some improvements to the supporting cast and other areas, it succeeded by turning what has historically been the show’s most glaring weakness into its greatest strength.David Harewood in Supergirl (2015)Prior to this season, Supergirl has never had a villain worthy of rivaling Kara Danvers. Not Maxwell Lord. Not Lillian Luthor. Not the Daxamites. Nobody. But Season 4 flipped the script by giving fans an embarrassment of riches. The season opened with the introduction of Agent Liberty/Ben Lockwood (Sam Witwer), a character who probably could have shouldered the burden all on his own. It helps that the show wasted so little time before delving into Lockwood’s tragic past and showing how even decent men can be transformed into hate-mongering bigots if pushed far enough.
Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)But Lockwood was just the start of Season 4’s salvo. Even as the series worked to establish a new mission and purpose for ex-DEO head J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood), it also gave him a new antagonist in Manchester Black (David Ajala). That wrinkle is one of the more memorable twists to the source material in Season 4. In the comics, Manchester is a Superman villain, one hellbent on proving that the Man of Steel is an outdated, useless relic. While Supergirl never captured the full impact of the critically adored Action Comics #775 (which inspired the episode “Whatever Happened to Truth, Justice and the American Way?”), transforming Manchester into a Martian Manhunter villain generally worked well. The worst that can be said is that Manchester sort of dropped out of the running very abruptly in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)But Season 4 saved its biggest guns for last. The series finally paid off on Season 3’s cliffhanger, introducing Kara’s twisted doppelgänger Red Daughter and revealing she, Agent Liberty and Eve Teschmacher (Andrea Brooks) to be pawns of none other than Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer). After alluding to Superman’s greatest nemesis for years, the series not only brought Lex into the fold but molded him into the first truly great, season-ending villain the series has had. Cryer’s casting turned a lot of heads initially, but it didn’t take him long to make this iconic character his own and establish himself as the most forceful presence in the show’s ensemble cast.Chyler Leigh and Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)Before getting into how the finale tied all of this together, I do want to mention the actual heroes of the series a bit. Melissa Benoist continues to be a crucial part of the series. Her warmth and inherent likability make her an ideal Supergirl, even as this season also allowed her to flex some darker muscles as Red Daughter. Lena (Katie McGrath) also fared well throughout the season, especially as her brother’s surprise return made her life a living nightmare.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)And as sad as it was to see Jeremy Jordan’s Winn written out of the picture at the end of Season 3, there’s no doubt that the series is better off for having Brainiac-5 (Jesse Rath) as the DEO’s new resident tech genius. Winn seemingly had nowhere left to go as a character, whereas Brainy brings his own brand of humor and his own foibles to the table. Not to mention his charming romance with another worthy new addition, Nia Nal (Nicole Maines). And beyond her relationship with Brainy, Nia proved to be just the sort of wide-eyed, uplifting character the series needed to balance out its growing sense of darkness.David Harewood, Jesse Rath, Melissa Benoist, and Nicole Maines in Supergirl (2015)All of these many threads paid off in the finale as Lex finally carried out his grand plan and manipulated his way right into the White House. With a secret villain pulling the strings of world governments, exploiting deep-seated fears and racial tensions and using a massive disinformation campaign to gaslight ordinary people, it’s not difficult to see how the series has been drawing from real-world events this year. The show has never been very subtle in that regard, and even less so this season.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)Not that the lack of allegorical subtlety harms the finale much. Capes and tights stories aren’t good for much if they aren’t about something bigger. If Supergirl struggled in the villain department prior to this season, at least the show has made a regular habit of dipping into the X-Men’s well and preaching tolerance and empathy in the face of a rising tide of fear and hatred. The finale hit home as well as any other episode this season, particularly near the end when it became clear that George Lockwood (Graham Verchere) escaped the cycle of hatred that so utterly consumed his father.David Harewood and Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)It was also fitting that the season-long conflict boiled down not so much in metahuman fisticuffs – and honestly, what little action there was in this episode wasn’t terribly memorable or well-staged – but truth and knowledge. With Supergirl powerless to stop Lex’s rise to power, it fell on Kara Danvers to put pen to paper and expose Luthor for the con artist he is. The idea that one well-sourced article could immediately topple a corrupt government and make the general public come to their senses is… pretty naive in light of current events. But once again, you have to respect the show’s optimism and faith that good always triumphs in the end.Jon Cryer and Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)What really sealed the deal in this episode, beyond Kara and friends’ hard-won victory, was that final confrontation between Lena and Lex. That was such a great moment between these two estranged siblings. It was disappointing that Lex gleefully killed Red Daughter seemingly without remorse. It would have been nice to see a more human side of the character as he eliminated a woman he essentially raised himself. But we did get that with Lex’s death scene, as he finally, begrudgingly but definitively accepted Lena as someone worthy of being called his sister.Best of all, this scene fueled what is easily the most compelling new plot thread heading into Season 5. Lena finally knows the truth about Kara, and it’s already eating away at her. It was fascinating seeing Lex treat that reveal as one last bit of revenge against his sister before the end. I especially enjoyed that extra layer of irony, with Lex taunting Lena for not seeing the truth right in front of her face, even as he himself has always been too blind to see the obvious truth about Superman and Clark Kent. Lex is going to be difficult to top going forward, but Lena has the potential to outdo even her brother if she makes that final plunge into darkness.With that welcome wrinkle to the status quo, I almost wish this episode didn’t devote so much time to laying seeds for Season 5. That seemed an unnecessary move in light of the Lena/Kara twist. Still, there’s clearly a lot to look forward to come October. J’onn has a new foe who hits very close to home. Leviathan is teased as the next great threat (a twist which must set a new speed record for a comic book storyline being adapted into live-action). And the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) is busy preparing for the Crisis to come. All the pieces are in place for another terrific season, so long as the series can maintain the momentum it’s built up over the last several months.

 

REVIEW: ARROW – SEASON 7

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Main Cast

Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: OOTS)
David Ramsey (Blue Bloods)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Echo Kellum (Girlfriend’s Day)
Rick Gonzalez (Reaper)
Juliana Harkavy (Last Shift)
Colton Haynes (Rough Night)
Kirk Acevedo (War For The POTA)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas 2006)
Sea Shimooka (Pink Skies Ahead)

Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Michael Jai White (Spawn)
Vinnie Jones (The Cape)
Cody Runnels (WWE)
Ben Lewis (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Brendan Fletcher (Smallville)
Eliza Faria (American Conjuring)
John DeSantis (Thirteen Ghosts)
Jack Moore (Republic of Sarah)
Holly Elissa (Hellcats)
Sydelle Noel (GLOW)
Michael Jonsson (The 13th Warrior)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Andrea Sixtos (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Laara Sadiq (2012)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
David Nykl (Staragte Atlantis)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Katherine McNamara (Shadowhunters)
LaMonica Garrett (The Last Ship)
John Wesley Shipp (Dawson’s Creek)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf)
Melissa Benoist (Whiplash)
Jeremy Davies (Lost)
Ruby Rose (The Meg)
Cassandra Jean Amell (One Tree Hill)
Liam Hall (Lucifer)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
Tom Cavanagh (Yogi Bear)
Kelly Hu (The Scorpion King)
Amy Gumenick (Supernatural)
Paul Blackthorne (The Inbetween)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Bex Taylor-Klaus (13 Reasons Why)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Joe Dinicol (Diary of The Dead)
Joseph David-Jones (Allegiant)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Adrian Paul (Highlander: The Series)
Christopher Gerard (Funhouse)
Danny Wattley (Stargate SG.1)
Andrew Kavadas (The 13th Warrior)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Katrina Law (Spartacus)
Jamey Sheridan (Homeland)
Kacey Rohl (Hannibal)
Carmel Amit (Ghost Wars)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)

Lexa Doig and Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)There was plenty of uncertainty surrounding Arrow coming into the show’s seventh season. Season 6 was only narrowly saved from becoming the show’s worst thanks to a strong final stretch of episodes. With the series changing showrunners and introducing easily the most radical status quo upheaval yet, there was little telling where Season 7 might fall or whether the show could make good on its newfound potential. And while Season 7 met with more than a few bumps in the road, these changes helped reinvigorate a series that had seemed on its last legs not so long ago.Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)Season 6 ended on a major bummer for Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and his team. Not only did they fail to bring Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) to justice, but Ollie was forced to trade his freedom so that his family and friends could walk free. Season 7 opened by finally bringing life to that unused Super Max movie pitch. The former Green Arrow became Inmate 4587 – a disgraced hero locked behind bars with many of the same criminals he helped put away. And life was hardly safer on the outside, as Diaz and the Longbow Hunters targeted Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and the rest of Team Arrow.Sea Shimooka in Arrow (2012)That wasn’t the only big twist introduced in the Season 7 premiere. The series also kicked off a new recurring storyline set several decades into the future. Here, an older William Clayton (Ben Lewis) recruited an exiled Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) and other new heroes to help save a dystopian, battle-ravaged version of Star City. After devoting five seasons to exploring Ollie’s origin story in painstaking detail (and then taking a skip year), Arrow was finally ready to try something new.Kirk Acevedo and Liam Hall in Arrow (2012)These big changes served to re-energize the series quite a bit early on. The prison storyline especially helped to push the series in a very different, very engrossing direction. Ollie’s story became fueled by an immediate need to survive in one of the most dangerous places on the planet. And fortunately, unlike Barry Allen’s brief prison stint in The Flash Season 4, this was a development that was given plenty of room to breathe and play out organically. Having classic Arrow villains like Ben Turner (Michael Jai White), Derek Sampson (Cody Rhodes) and Danny Brickwell (Vinnie Jones) show up only made this storyline all the more enjoyable. Turner’s redemptive character arc turned out to be one of Season 7’s more satisfying elements.Colton Haynes and Juliana Harkavy in Arrow (2012)This isn’t to say Arrow was problem-free during this extended status quo. The series still struggled to find its footing outside of Ollie’s prison ordeal. While Team Arrow’s renewed war against Diaz proved enjoyable enough, especially with the added spice created by new villains like The Silencer (Miranda Edwards), it quickly became clear that Arrow was still suffering from the same problem that’s plagued the series for several years. There are too many characters. With so much time being taken up by the prison conflict and the flash-forwards, there was never enough room to juggle subplots like Felicity’s Diaz-induced PTSD and paranoia, Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy-Rodgers) tenure as DA, Dinah’s (Juliana Harkavy) conflicted loyalties and everything else involving the Team Arrow regulars. The series really has needed to trim its main cast for a while. And to be fair, Arrow did begin making some necessary changes on that front, but much later than it needed.Ben Lewis and Katherine McNamara in Arrow (2012)As for the flash-forwards, what initially seemed like a promising shake-up in the season premiere quickly lost its novelty factor in subsequent episodes. Here again, the series was juggling too many characters and struggling to give them the attention they deserved. Nor did the “Future Team Arrow vs. Totalitarian Corporation” storyline carry much weight. When the flash-forwards did succeed, it was usually because the events of the future managed to reflect back on the present in small, foreboding ways. Seeing an Ollie-less Team Arrow in disarray decades down the road did at least add to the general sense of unease surrounding the series, particularly later on in the wake of the “Elseworlds” crossover and the news that Season 8 will be the show’s last.
Rick Gonzalez, Stephen Amell, and Sea Shimooka in Arrow (2012)The latter half of Season 7 wound up hitting many of the same notes as the former. The writers cooked up an interesting new angle by exploring whether it’s possible for Team Arrow to coexist with the SCPD and whether Oliver Queen can be a hero who exists entirely out in the open. Yet the show didn’t always take advantage of this new status quo. More often than not, the end result played like a return to the show’s Season 5 era – more an excuse to go back to the way things were than actually seek lasting change. Once again, Arrow tried to juggle too many moving parts while also doing justice to new villains like the suave, deadly Dante (Adrian Paul). And through it all, the flash-forwards proved more distracting than truly beneficial.Katie Cassidy, Caity Lotz, Juliana Harkavy, and Emily Bett Rickards in Arrow (2012)Still, there was enough that worked during this period that the good outweighed the bad. Amell had many standout moments as he grappled with the discovery of even more dirty laundry in his family’s past. That was especially true in the final two episodes of the season, where Amell performed a great deal of the emotional heavy lifting. Diggle (David Ramsey) was central to the very enjoyable “Spartan,” which shed light on his own family background and teased that a persistent fan theory may finally come to fruition. And though the show never used him to his fullest potential, Paul’s Dante was a fun addition to the Team Arrow rogues gallery.David Ramsey and Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)It’s probably fitting that Season 7 culminated on such a mixed note. “You Have Saved This City” wrapped up the Ninth Circle storyline (for now) without much excitement. However, the finale was far more interested in exploring the legacy of the Green Arrow and giving several key characters the closure they needed. That episode could easily have served as a proper series finale. It’s hard to know how to feel about the prospect of a truncated eighth season in light of that fact, but hopefully this shorter format will wind up being exactly what Arrow needs to become its best self.

 

REVIEW: THE FLASH – SEASON 5

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Starring

Grant Gustin (Glee)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Hartley Sawyer (The Young and The Restless)
Danielle Nicolet (Central Intelligence)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (Cam)
Chris Klein (American Pie)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)

Jessica Parker Kennedy in The Flash (2014)

Recurring / NOtable Guest Cast

Keiynan Lonsdale (Love, Simon)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Daniel Cudmore (Twilight: New Moon)
Erin Cummings (Bitch Slap)
Susan Walters (The Vampire Diaries)
Kiana Madeira (Trinkets)
Kyle Secor (Veronica Mars)
Troy James (Hellboy)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Carlo Marks (Smallville)
Liam McIntyre (Spartacus)
Lossen Chambers (Unspeakable)
LaMonica Garrett (The Last Ship)
Michelle Harrison (Tru Calling)
John Wesley Shipp (Dawson’s Creek)
Teddy Sears (Chicago Fire)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Chad Rook (War For The POTA)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Tyler Hoechilin (Teen Wolf)
Melissa Benoist (Whiplash)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Elizabeth Tulloch (The Artist)
Ruby Rose (The Meg)
Reina Hardesty (StartUp)
Gabrielle Walsh (East Los High)
Charlene Amoia (How I Met Your Mother)
Britne Oldford (American Horror Story)
Victoria Park (Plus One)
Kimberly Williams-Paisley (The Christmas Chronicles)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Zibby Allen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Catherine Lough Haggquist (Godzilla)
Kathryn Gallagher (You)
BD Wong (Gotham)
Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead)

Hartley Sawyer and Carlos Valdes in The Flash (2014)Odd as it may sound, The Flash may very well now be the flagship show in the Arrowverse. When you think about it, the series’ ascension to that spot makes sense, especially when you factor in how it’s consistently The CW’s top rated show. Plus, it often charts new course for the DC TV landscape as a whole, which I’ll discuss in just a bit.In the meantime, though, I’m going to shower the next leg in the Scarlet Speedster’s journey with much praise after being left jaded by what I thought was a parabolic fourth season. Those familiar with this site may remember how I didn’t exactly care for how our most recent trips to Central City became downright farcical at times, whereas the premiere I’ve just had the honor of screening found the proper balance achieved in earlier seasons.Grant Gustin and Candice Patton in The Flash (2014)Maybe it’s just me, but Nora West-Allen AKA XS, played by the adorable Jessica Parker Kennedy, gave this show the shot in the arm that it needed. After being left stranded in the present, Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris’ (Candice Patton) daughter from the future manages to strengthen the family aspect that’s been a solid cornerstone since day one, while also taking the action scenes to the next level. Being someone who digs legacy heroes, I was delighted to hear Nora begin season 5 with narration similar to that of Barry’s, thereby letting us know that she’s a chip off the old block and, yes, she’s the fastest woman alive in her native time period.Chris Klein in The Flash (2014)In very short order, I became convinced that Nora is quite possibly the role Kennedy was born to play, and is quickly becoming my favorite thing about the show. Believe me, it won’t take long for you to warm up to the father-daughter dynamic shared between her and Barry. It’s a tad awkward as one would expect at first, sure, but the two bond before long.Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)Seeing as how this is a comic book-based series, their first instance of Take Your Child To Work Day comes in the form of a run-in with Gridlock (Daniel Cudmore), our first freak of the week for the fall. In truth, it’s probably best that we get someone of lesser power to start off things before organically building up to the new big bad, Cicada (Chris Klein). Make no mistake, the Flash himself isn’t forgotten in the premiere, as this is still very much his headlining gig. What’s more is that longtime viewers will be rewarded as he runs the costuming gamut by donning the suits he wore in seasons 1 and 2, before settling on his new threads.Chris Klein and Danielle Panabaker in The Flash (2014)Continuing on that note, the comic aficionados among you should geek out upon seeing said duds emerging from a ring, an element from the source material that’s finally been utilized by the producers. As for getting it back inside, well, that sounds like a job for Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and his magnificent mind. Rest assured that a piece of jewelry isn’t the only thing brought back from the future because – get this – Nora gives quite the nod to Batman Beyond by using “schway” in a sentence on multiple occasions. Not only that, but the DC Easter eggs don’t stop there – her name-drops may be laying the groundwork for the next five years of Arrowverse programming, so be sure to pay close attention.Danielle Panabaker and Jessica Parker Kennedy in The Flash (2014)Now, I’m not going to get into major spoilers, but I will say that stuff established all the way back in the pilot episode is revisited and factors into what’s to come. The sharper guys and gals reading this may have a few good guesses after learning that, so just keep on formulating your own theories until it’s showtime. At this point, I imagine lovers of Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) are wondering what’s going on with her character and the unfolding mystery involving her past. Though her alter ego of Killer Frost has yet to resurface, some sizable breadcrumbs are provided, each of which will definitely factor heavily into future episodes. Bank on it.The Flash (2014)In the eyes of this critic, showrunner Todd Helbing and company have rediscovered what’s quintessentially The Flash. Hand to Zod, the creative minds behind the series look to be returning it to the glory days of seasons 1 and 2 – and that’s no joke. These folks have put together one of the strongest premieres this show has ever produced, and it’s guaranteed to leave people talking. Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s next because, you know, it’s not like I can run so fast that I can time travel or anything.

REVIEW: BLACK LIGHTNING – SEASON 1

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Starring

Cress Williams (The Death of superman)
China Anne McClain (Descendants 2 & 3)
Nafessa Williams (Black and Blue)
Christine Adams (Batman Begins)
Marvin Jones III (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
Damon Gupton (Bates Motel)
James Remar (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Cress Williams in Black Lightning (2018)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Dabier (Reawakened)
Skye P. Marshall (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
William Catlett (First)
Charlbi Dean Kriek (Blood In The Water)
Kyanna Simone Simpson (Chambers)
Jordan Calloway (Riverdale)
Tracey Bonner (Den of Thieves)
Clifton Powell (Saints and Sinners)
Shein Mompremier (Swiped)
Jill Scott (The First Wives Club)
Eric Mendenhall (Lawless)
Chantal Thuy (Battle for Skyark)
Edwina Findley Dickerson (Get Hard)
Antonio Fargas (Foxy Brown)
Terrence Carson (Last Call)
Al-Jaleel Knox (Venom)
Gregg Henry (Slither)
Jason Louder (Prodigal)

Cress Williams in Black Lightning (2018)Black Lightning Season 1 ratings were good enough by CW standards, if not superb, to justify a second season, holding steady at around 1.5 million viewers after a fourth episode drop-off from the first three. But consider this: it’s based on a much less well-known superhero than the likes of Green Arrow and the Flash, and comments made by the showrunners suggesting that it wasn’t going to be connected to the other CW superhero shows may have put off some of the faithful.It’s true that Black Lightning exists in a world that so far takes and leaves what it wants from the real world and the fictional: it’s set in a fictional city called Freeland (the comics’ “Suicide Slum” was likely too on-the-nose), and Supergirl is referred to as if she exists, but the characters read DC Comics (then again, it could be a case like the X-Men comics in Logan), and Barack Obama was definitely president. Short answer: they can connect it to the “Berlanti-verse” at any time if they really want to.Still, it makes more sense to keep it as separate, storywise, as possible, and here’s why: Black Lightning is specifically based on the African-American experience, and having, say, blonde Caucasian Supergirl swoop in to help save the day would be contrary to the show’s theme of empowerment versus responsibility.Cress Williams in Black Lightning (2018)Like Luke Cage, the Black Lightning comics were born of the blaxploitation era; unlike season 1 of Luke Cage, the show never forgets that it is a superhero show, and people want to see superhero-ing every episode. With 13 episodes that all tell one larger story, it’s akin to the Netflix shows, but as it’s designed to be week-to-week rather than binged, there can’t be any weeks that risk being boring by going on a different tangent or spend all their time in flashback. The ’70s Incredible Hulk TV show established a formula wherein the Hulk was guaranteed to show up twice per episode; the best superhero shows stick to some version of that. And Black Lightning is surely among the best.One of many refreshing aspects to Black Lightning is that it doesn’t begin any way you might expect.There is no origin story until late in the first season, and most of the details are left offscreen; we begin with a world where Black Lightning has been retired for eight years. Given that specific timeframe, we can assume that perhaps he expected a black president would make his deeds unnecessary, because yes, Obama exists in this show, and Black Lightning even wears a Barack mask at one point when it’s unsafe to don his regular duds. The hero’s alter-ego, high-school principal Jefferson Pierce (heroically muscular Cress Williams), is a man we first meet getting unjustifiably pulled over and harassed by police, becoming silently enraged to the point of electrifying his eyes and blowing out the bulbs on the cop car. Pierce, it is made clear very quickly, is as upstanding a citizen as you could expect, teaching the value of hard work and sacrifice, and standing up to bullies in his own community, even (and especially) when they turn out to be his former students.Nafessa Williams in Black Lightning (2018)He’s the ideal African-American man that media personalities always say they want, yet he is still treated as second-class by law enforcement and, at times, school authorities.Well, maybe he’s not perfect–he is divorced, but it’s a typical wife-blaming storyline where she couldn’t bear to be with a great superhero who risks his life nightly. Christine Adams does a wonderful job humanizing Lynn, his ex, up to and including a perfect American accent when the actress is actually English, but there’s something mildly regressive in the fact that she’s mostly there to realize how wrong she was to leave him for being a hero and role model, and ultimately fall in love all over again for the exact reasons she supposedly left him.Cress Williams and Marvin 'Krondon' Jones III in Black Lightning (2018)Even then, though, it’s not that simple: they have two daughters, and the fact that the parents can come together for the sake of the kids, no matter how hard it is for them personally, is laudable. In addition to deciding whether or not to come back as a superhero (OBVIOUS SPOILER: he does), Jefferson’s dilemma is how to raise his girls, especially when they begin manifesting powers too. How do you balance telling them to stand up and be strong in a world where institutional racism may smack them down with lethal force for doing so? They have a little inside help thanks to tech-genius pal Gambi (an excellently cast James Remar), who’s part Alfred Pennyworth and part-Kingsman, but ever-so-slightly corrupt and compromised as well.James Remar, Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, and Nafessa Williams in Black Lightning (2018)In true blaxploitation fashion, there is both a community villain (BL’s traditional arch-enemy Tobias Whale, played by rapper Krondon) and The Man, represented here by Gregg Henry’s Martin Proctor, a racist white government type with bad orange hair, a plan to steal and imprison children, and a penchant for saying “Make America Great Again!”Also ripped from the headlines here is a version of the Charlottesville Tiki torch march. Naturally, the villains sow the seeds of their own doom: in a plot that combines the Tuskegee experiments with the CIA-crack cocaine connection, the government bad guys are testing drugs on the black community with the help of local gangsters. Sometimes the drugs make people psychotic; other times, they create someone like Black Lightning.Nafessa Williams in Black Lightning (2018)Whale as a character was always a tad problematic: as an evil albino man, he’s both a negative stereotype of people with albinism and an overt metaphor for black men “acting white” as an ultimate sin. Krondon humanizes him as much as possible, and in the casting removes the additional fat-shaming aspect to the character as conceived.Christine Adams and Cress Williams in Black Lightning (2018)He’s a sadistic jerk, but one you love to hate; a guy who can fight, but is even better at running and hiding like a cowardly heel. And while he constantly spits out the word “Negro” like an epithet so you know what he actually wants to say but can’t on network TV, his looks are never made an issue. It’s as good an update as you can probably do while still keeping him recognizably Whale, and the first season is more his origin story than Black Lightning’s; he only finally slips into the role of arch-nemesis by the end, and as he’s the best villain on the show, you’ll be glad he does.Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III in Black Lightning (2018)As for the hero himself, he smartly ditches the Afro-wig that was integral to the comics’ disguise, and the disco-era chest-baring is gone, replaced by electrical symbols that merely suggest it. You wonder at first how someone with as perfectly groomed and sculpted a beard as Jefferson Pierce has could possibly not be identified, but the show explains this away quickly with a throwaway: an electric field around his face makes it painful to look at him while in hero mode.When his eldest daughter (Nafessa Williams) becomes Thunder–the first live-action black lesbian superhero I can recall–she changes her hair to a Lara Croft-ish ponytail in addition to her eye-mask, which seems sufficient, though in reality doing those braids might take unfeasibly long. (Let’s just say she has super-hairdressing speed too.)Cress Williams and Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III in Black Lightning (2018)This season tells a complete story in itself; one you may well find yourself wanting to relive. And like Black Panther, it’s got something for you whether this stems from your reality and you can relate, or you’re just tired of the same old and want to see comic-book stories come from a new place.

REVIEW: ARROWVERSE – CRISIS ON EARTH-X

 

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Starring

Melissa Benoist (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jeremy Jordan (The Last Five Years)
Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries)
David Harewood (Homeland)
Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: OOTS)
Victor Garber (Alias)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Franz Drameh (See)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Echo Kellum (Girlfriend’s Day)
Rick Gonzalez (Reaper)
Juliana Harkavy (Last Shift)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals)
Amy Louise Pemberton (The Laundromat)
Tala Ashe (American Odyssey)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)
David Ramsey (Blue Bloods)
Paul Blackthorne (The InBetween)
Keiynan Lonsdale (Love, Simon)

Chyler Leigh, Wentworth Miller, Stephen Amell, and Caity Lotz in The Flash (2014)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Christina Brucato (The Intern)
Isabella Hofmann (Burlesque)
Wentworth Miller (underworld)
Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle)
William Katt (Carrie)
Colin Donnell Chicago Med)
Susanna Thompson (Cold Case)

Melissa Benoist in The Flash (2014)A Nazi regime rules the parallel world of Earth-X, where an archer known as Dark Arrow is the Führer. He seizes a temporal gateway from the Freedom Fighters, which enables travelling to other universes. On Earth-1, Barry Allen and Iris West’s friends, including Kara Danvers and Alex Danvers from Earth-38, come to Central City for Barry and Iris’s wedding. Harry Wells, Cisco Ramon, and Caitlin Snow develop a serum to separate the Firestorm matrix from Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson. However, Jefferson is reluctant to give up being Firestorm. Oliver Queen re-proposes to Felicity Smoak, but she is hesitant about marrying him. The wedding ceremony is interrupted by invaders from Earth-X led by Dark Arrow, his Kryptonian wife Overgirl, and Prometheus. After Kara injures Overgirl, and Alex and Sara Lance capture Prometheus, the Nazis retreat. Dark Arrow and Overgirl, who are Oliver and Kara’s doppelgängers respectively, discuss their next step with Eobard Thawne, Barry’s speedster nemesis who was previously presumed dead.Stephen Amell in The Flash (2014)In S.T.A.R. Labs, Prometheus reveals himself as Tommy Merlyn’s Earth-X doppelgänger, then takes a suicide pill out of loyalty to the Führer after taunting Oliver. Harry reveals that through his exploration of the multiverse, he discovered that Earth-X is a dystopian world where World War II was not won by the Allied Forces. Dark Arrow, Overgirl, and Thawne steal an experimental sub-light generator, the Prism, from a research company. Oliver’s team, along with Harry, Caitlin, Cisco, and Mick Rory, are in captivity at S.T.A.R. Labs after the Nazi forces occupy it. Oliver, Barry, Sara, Martin, Jefferson, and Alex are taken to a concentration camp on Earth-X, while Kara is moved to S.T.A.R. Labs. Overgirl is dying from disproportionate solar irradiance in her heart and Dark Arrow plans to use the Prism, powered by S.T.A.R. Labs’ particle accelerator, to create artificial red sunlight that can weaken both Karas’ invulnerability, allowing Thawne to conduct a heart transplant from Kara to Overgirl.Rick Gonzalez, Chyler Leigh, Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, David Ramsey, Brandon Routh, Nick Zano, Stephen Amell, Caity Lotz, Grant Gustin, Tala Ashe, Juliana Harkavy, Echo Kellum, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)In the concentration camp, the heroes are rescued from execution at the hands of SS-Sturmbannführer Quentin Lance by Ray Terrill and Leo Snart. Thawne prepares to operate on both Overgirl and Kara, and Iris and Felicity work to rescue their friends at S.T.A.R. Labs. General Winn Schott, the commander of the Freedom Fighters, is determined to strand Dark Arrow and Overgirl on Earth-1 by destroying their temporal gateway. While posing as Dark Arrow, Oliver discovers the Nazis’ doomsday device, a timeship called Wellenreiter, a militarized equivalent of the Legends’ Waverider. Oliver allows the timeship to enter Earth-1 to avoid jeopardizing his cover, but he is ultimately exposed when he refuses to kill Felicity’s Earth-X doppelgänger, a concentration camp prisoner. The heroes struggle against both the Freedom Fighters’ Red Tornado, deployed by Schott as a failsafe, and the Nazi forces, and the gateway is opened at the cost of Martin being mortally wounded.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)The heroes return to Earth-1, and Iris, Felicity, Kara, and the others are rescued by the returned heroes and the Waverider crew. Jefferson is also affected by Martin’s injury, so Martin uses the serum to separate the Firestorm matrix and dies from his wounds. Jefferson tells Martin’s family of his fate; they, along with the Legends and Barry’s team are devastated by Martin’s death. His death spurs the heroes to declare war on Earth-X’s Nazi forces. When the Nazis attack Central City, the heroes counter their assault. Harry, who pilots the Waverider, destroys the Wellenreiter after the heroes disable its shield. Barry spares Thawne, who vows to return. During the fight with Kara, Overgirl’s solar radiation goes nuclear and Kara carries her into space, where Overgirl explodes. Oliver kills Dark Arrow soon after. After Martin’s funeral, Kara and Alex return to Earth-38, Ray returns to Earth-X, and Leo decides to remain with the Legends. John Diggle, an ordained minister, officiates Barry and Oliver’s weddings with Iris and Felicity, respectively.Nick Zano, Stephen Amell, Caity Lotz, and Grant Gustin in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)After Invasion, the arrowverse decided go bigger with the next crossover event this time it is a true four part crossover spanning all the shows. Seeing main stars play evil version of themselves is such a guilty pleasure. This is such an amazing crossover and a must see for all fans of the shows and comic book fans.

REVIEW: FREEDOM FIGHTERS: THE RAY

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Starring

Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Jason Mitchell (The Chi)
Melissa Benoist (Supergirl)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Scott Whyte (Missing Link)
Matthew Mercer (Critical Role)
Dilshad Vadsaria (30 Minutes or Less)
Bruce Thomas (Army of Darkness)
Sunil Malhotra (Fair Game)
Iddo Goldberg (Salem)
Colleen O’Shaughnessey (Avengers: EMH)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (That 70s Show)
Echo Kellum (Girlfriend’s Day)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)

Russell Tovey in Freedom Fighters: The Ray (2017)The CW released the f Freedom Fighters: The Ray onto their streaming site, CW Seed. Marc Guggenheim has admitted that the animated series was done prior to Crisis on Earth-X, where the character of The Ray was introduced, and that has created some continuity issues between the animated and live-action universes. He is thinking of doing a comic to clean up those issues, but that’s still in the thought stage.Melissa Benoist in Freedom Fighters: The Ray (2017)On to the story. It starts on Earth-X with The Ray, Black Condor, Phantom Lady, Dollman, and Red Tornado trying to help a group of refugees get away from the Reichmen. In the battle, the Red Tornado is severely damaged and he gives the Ray his cortex/brain to destroy so the information won’t fall into the Reichmen’s hands. They continue to fight against Overgirl, Black Arrow, and Blitzkrieg. This is the first continuity issue in that Overgirl is voiced by Melissa Benoist, while Black Arrow is Matthew Mercer and Blitzkrieg is Scott Whyte. In Crisis on Earth-X, it’s Dark Arrow and Reverse-Flash. Plus, Overgirl is in charge, while in the crossover, Dark Arrow was the boss.The tide of the fight turns — Dollman is killed and The Ray is wounded.Iddo Goldberg, Russell Tovey, Dilshad Vadsaria, Matthew Mercer, and Jason Mitchell in Freedom Fighters: The Ray (2017)Vibe (Carlos Valdes) arrives in time to open a portal to send the Ray through to safety with the cortex. We switch to Earth-1, where we meet Raymond Terrill, a 22-year-old who works to help people fight discrimination (until his department is shut down by a politician named Donald) and is trying to find the best way to tell his parents he’s gay. His co-workers are the Earth-1 counterparts for Phantom Lady and Black Condor, with the latter being his best friend John Trujillo (Jason Mitchell). Ray almost tells his parents over meatloaf, but bails and goes to his backyard to talk to John when the Earth-X Ray pops through the portal. He gives Raymond the cortex, his helmet vanishes to reveal that he’s also Raymond Terrill, and then he dies transferring his power to the Earth-1 Raymond.1249798-0-q80Raymond shows John his powers, and the cortex tells him about Earth-X and how they must destroy the cortex. Raymond starts playing with his powers and uses them to stop a mugging and then a bank robbery. Meanwhile, over at STAR Labs, this Earth’s Cisco and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) become aware of The Ray because of the radiation he’s using. And on Earth-X, the Reighmen track down Vibe and figure out that the cortex is on Earth-1. Back with Raymond, he’s standing outside and setting up his date when he is hit by a tranquilizer dart and knocked out. MV5BYjQ4MjExZDYtYWYzZS00MzVkLWFlNjYtNGNhMWUzZGM4MDI1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXRoaXJkLXBhcnR5LXZpZGVvLXVwZGF0ZXI@._V1_CR0,45,480,270_AL_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_Both Vixen (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and Mr. Terrific (Echo Kellum) are slated to be in the series and have yet to appear. Plus, he hasn’t gotten back to Earth-X or anything. But I haven’t seen an announcement of when we’ll see the next part. It’s a good start, and they’re trying to tackle some important issues while telling an interesting story. But we’ve just gotten started. I like that they brought back Iddo Goldberg to voice Red Tornado and I like the casting of Dilshad Vadasaria as Phantom Lady and Jason Mitchell as Black Condor. For those who liked seeing Citizen Cold (Wentworth Miller) and General Schott (Jeremy Jordan), you will be disappointed — those were casting ideas that came up for the crossover when the animated series was already done.legends-of-tomorrow-season-3-1027894Maybe more continuity issues to deal with in the comics.freedom-fighters-the-ray-credit-cw-seed. I enjoyed watching the six episodes and hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the rest.