REVIEW: ATTACK THE BLOCK

CAST

Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who)
John Boyega (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Alex Esmail (Strippers vs Werewolves)
Franz Drameh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Simon Howard (Green Street 3)
Luke Treadaway (Dogging: A Love Story)
Nick Frost (The World’s End)
Maggie McCarthy (Leap Year)
Danielle Vitalis (Honeytrap)

Franz Drameh, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, John Boyega, Simon Howard, and Sammy Williams in Attack the Block (2011)Walking home on Bonfire Night, Samantha Adams (Jodie Whittaker), a 25-year-old trainee nurse, is mugged by a small gang of teenage hoodlums: Pest (Alex Esmail); Dennis (Franz Drameh); Jerome (Leeon Jones); Biggz (Simon Howard); and leader Moses (John Boyega). The attack is interrupted when a meteorite falls from the sky into a nearby car, giving Samantha the chance to escape. As Moses searches the wreck of the car for valuables, his face is scratched by a pale, hairless, eyeless dog-sized creature; the object which fell from the sky was its cocoon. The creature runs away, but the gang chase and kill it. Hoping to gain fame and fortune, they take the corpse to their acquaintance, cannabis dealer Ron (Nick Frost), to get advice on what to do. He lives at the top of their tower block, Wyndham Tower.Franz Drameh in Attack the Block (2011)Moses asks Ron and his boss, Hi-Hatz (Jumayn Hunter), to keep the creature in their fortified “weed room” while he decides how to proceed. More objects fall from the sky. Eager to fight the creatures, the gang arm themselves and go to the nearest crash site. However, they find these aliens are much larger, with spiky fur which is so black it reflects no light, huge claws and rows of glowing fangs. The aliens kill their dog too. Fleeing the aliens, the gang are intercepted by two policemen and Moses is arrested, identified as the mugger by Samantha. The aliens, following Moses, maul the unarmed officers to death and attack their van, leaving Samantha and Moses trapped inside. Dennis reaches the vehicle and drives the police van away, only to crash into a surprised Hi-Hatz’s car. Samantha runs away while the rest of Moses’s gang catch up and confront Hi-Hatz and his henchman.Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, and John Boyega in Attack the Block (2011)Enraged by the damage to his car, Hi-Hatz threatens them with a gun, refusing to believe their story of aliens, until his henchman is attacked by one, allowing the gang to escape. The gang try to flee to Wyndham Tower but are again followed and attacked en route by the aliens, where Biggz is forced to hide in a recycling bin and Pest is severely bitten in the leg. They find that Samantha lives in their building, force their way into her flat, and persuade her to treat Pest’s leg. An alien bursts in and Moses kills it with a samurai sword through the head. Understanding that the group was not lying about the creatures being extraterrestrial, Samantha reasons that it is safer to stay with the gang than on her own and joins them. The gang moves upstairs to the flat owned by Tia (Danielle Vitalis), Dimples (Paige Meade), Dionna (Gina Antwi), and Gloria (Natasha Jonas), believing that their security gate will keep them safe. The aliens instead attack from outside, climbing up the side of the tower block and smashing through the windows, one of whom decapitates Dennis.Jodie Whittaker, Franz Drameh, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, and John Boyega in Attack the Block (2011)After Samantha saves Moses’ life from one of the aliens, the girls believe them to be the focus of the creatures and kick them out of the flat. In the hall, the gang are attacked by Hi-Hatz and more henchmen. The gang escapes while an alien chases Hi-Hatz and a couple of henchmen into a lift. Hi-Hatz kills the alien, although his henchmen are killed, and continues his search for Moses. Making their way upstairs to Ron’s weed room, the gang runs into more aliens, but using fireworks as a distraction, they manage to get through. Jerome, however, becomes disoriented in the smoke and is killed by an alien. Entering Ron’s flat they find that Hi-Hatz is already there and has been waiting for them. Hi-Hatz prepares to shoot Moses but hordes of aliens smash through the window and kill him. Now joined by Brewis (Luke Treadaway), one of Ron’s customers, Moses, Pest and Samantha retreat into the weed room, while Ron hides in the flat.Luke Treadaway, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, and John Boyega in Attack the Block (2011)Biggz, still trapped in the bin by a lurking alien, is saved by two unruly children, Probs (Sammy Williams) and Mayhem (Michael Ajao), using a water-gun filled with petrol and a flame to torch the creature from a safe distance. In the weed room, Brewis notices a luminescent stain on Moses’ jacket under the ultraviolet light. As a zoology student, Brewis theorises that the aliens are like spores, drifting through space on solar winds until they chance on a suitable planet. After landing in an area with enough food, the female lets off a strong pheromone which will attract the male creatures to it so that they can mate and propagate their species in their new world. Brewis suggests that the smaller, hairless alien which Moses killed in the beginning was such a female, and it had left a mating scent on Moses that the larger male aliens have been tracking throughout the evening. The gang form a plan for Samantha, who has not been stained with the pheromone, to go to Moses’s flat and turn on the gas oven.Franz Drameh, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones, John Boyega, and Simon Howard in Attack the Block (2011)Moses forces Pest to return the ring they stole from her, feeling guilty for having mugged her. Samantha successfully avoids the aliens, turns on the gas, and leaves the block. Moses, with the dead female alien strapped to his back, rushes out of the weed room and into his flat, while the males converge on the scent and chase Moses through the block. Inside his flat he throws the female into the kitchen and the males follow. Using fireworks, Moses ignites the gas-filled room and leaps out of the window. The explosion engulfs the flat and the aliens, but Moses survives, clinging to a Union Jack hanging from the side of the building. In the aftermath, Moses, Pest, Brewis, and Ron are arrested and held responsible for the deaths around the block, including the two officers who had earlier arrested Moses. Samantha, however, comes to their defence. In the back of the police van, Moses and Pest hear the residents of the block cheering for Moses.Attack The Block  is just exactly what it looks like. A low-budget, cleverly-written alien attack movie set in the inner-city, deprived area of South London. The lead characters are products of that environment. Marginalised teenagers who have somehow become convinced that education has nothing to offer and that the only way out of their situation is low-level crime and, very likely, an early death. They’re not heroes. They’re not redeemed by the events of the film. You can not like them, and it’s doesn’t make any difference. But they are characters you recognise … raw and authentic. Don’t take it so seriously. It’s  not a searing social document. It’s not a hard-hitting indictment of our times. It’s just a bloody great sci-fi action movie.

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: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – SEASON 3

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Starring

Victor Garber (Alias)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Franz Drameh (See)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals)
Amy Louise Pemberton (The Laundromat)
Tala Ashe (American Odyssey)
Keiynan Lonsdale (Love, Simon)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)

Victor Garber, Dominic Purcell, Brandon Routh, Nick Zano, Caity Lotz, and Franz Drameh in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Christina Brucato (The Intern)
Jes Macallan (Mistresses)
Adam Tsekhman (You’re The Worst)
Simon Merrells (Spartacus)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Billy Zane (Titanic)
Johnathon Schaech (8MM 2)
Tracy Ifeachor (Treadstone)
Courtney Ford (Supernatural)
Echo Kellum (Rick and Morty)
Neal McDonough (Van Helsing)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Bar Paly (Pain & Gain)
Evan Jones (Titans)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Rick Gonzalez (Coach Carter)
Juliana Harkavy (Last Shift)
Melissa Benoist (Whiplash)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Isabella Hofmann (Burlesque)
Susanna Thompson (Cold Case)
Katia Winter (Sleepy Hollow)
Emily Tennant (Motive)
Thor Knai (The Outpost)
Graeme McComb (UnReal)
Matt Ryan (Layer Cake)
Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who)
Jonathan Cake (Chuck)
Adrian Hough (The Fog)
Eric Breker (Jingle All The Way 2)
Luke Bilyk (Lost Girl)
Violett Beane (God Friended me)
Matthew MacCaull (Tomorrowland)

Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Legends of Tomorrow was the best part of the Arrowverse during its second season, and that didn’t necessarily change in Season 3.  The show continued to deliver its unique blend of zany humor and larger-than-life superhero antics. But the fact that it stayed on top this year also goes to show how troubled the Arrowverse as a whole has been lately. Season 3 had plenty of high points, but it also struggled to build an overarching narrative to rival that of Season 2.

Dominic Purcell in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)It was a season that showed us the best and worst of the series. Historically, Legends has never had the best track record when it comes to crafting villains as dynamic and compelling as its cast of heroes. The whole Vandal Savage/Hawkman/Hawkgirl mythology was the clear weak spot in Season 1. And while the Legion of Doom made for fun villains in Season 2, there the series was really just building on foundations laid by Arrow and The Flash. Season 3 tended to struggle in that department as well. I’ll give the writers credit for creating a wholly original villain in the form of Mallus (voiced by John Noble) rather than adapting a preexisting DC character.Brandon Routh and Jack Fisher in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)But that blank slate seemed to work against the character from the start. Mallus remained a vague, shadowy presence for the majority of the season. And when he finally did appear in the flesh late in the game, he came across as little more than a generic CGI demon. Nothing about Mallus’ personality or motivations left much of an impression. Heck, Noble stood out far more during the lone scene in “Guest Starring John Noble” where he played himself than he ever did as Mallus. Nor did the running storyline involving the hunt for the six totems of Zambesi make for the most compelling narrative throughline. The totems came across as simple MacGuffins designed to move the plot along.Neal McDonough, Courtney Ford, and Caity Lotz in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Fortunately, this season did find greater success with its supporting cast of villains. It often felt like the writers weren’t entirely willing to abandon the Legion of Doom premise, with the result being that Mallus assembled his own team of familiar Arrowverse antagonists. Gorilla Grodd was never used to his full potential (understandably, given the heavy special effects cost involved), but the trio of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), his daughter Nora (Courtney Ford) and Kuasa (Tracey Ifeachor) made for a winning team. All three of these characters had extended arcs that focused a great deal on redemption, which helped to prevent this new group from playing like a mere rehash of the Legion. Damien in particular proved his continued worth as an Arrowverse antagonist, with many episodes banking on McDonough’s magnetic performance and the character’s gradual shift from gleeful sadist to desperate father.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)If Season 3 was hit or miss with its villains, it had a much stronger track record with its heroes. The series has really honed that group dynamic by now. And while some characters proved more integral to the series than others this year (Sara’s ongoing struggle with her leadership role, Nate and Amaya’s doomed romance) none of the main characters felt like they were given short shrift in Season 3. For example, while Ray (Brandon Routh) wasn’t generally one of the more critical players this year, he really shone in the delightful E.T.-inspired “Phone Home.” The same goes for Mick (Dominic Purcell), who underwent a subtle yet crucial evolution after being confronted with Earth-X’s Leo Snart (Wentworth Miller).Neal McDonough in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)It was especially nice to see the writers devote so much time to paving the way for Victor Garber’s exit. Professor Stein was given the heroic sendoff he deserved, and one that carried a huge amount of emotional weight. In fact, the midseason finale, which dealt as much with the fallout of Stein’s death as it did a trip back to Viking times, may well be the best episode of Legends to date.Matt Ryan and Caity Lotz in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Thankfully, the series was diligent about adding new faces to the cast to make up for other departures. Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally West immediately made himself a comfortable home on the series, proving again just how poorly that character had been used on The Flash. Matt Ryan’s John Constantine made for a welcome recurring presence on the show, basically giving viewers a test run before Ryan becomes a series regular in Season 4. The show struggled a bit more when it came to Zari Tomaz (Tala Ashe). Ashe’s relatively low energy performance as the sardonic Zari made it hard for her to blend well with the rest of the cast, and it wasn’t until late in the season that Zari really seemed to find her place.Brandon Routh, Nick Zano, Caity Lotz, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)The most successful new addition, however, proved to be Ava Sharpe (Jes Macallan). Initially a stern foil to the Legends, Ava developed new layers over the course of the season and formed an engaging bond with Sara (Caity Lotz). I do wish the writers hadn’t waited so long to introduce Ava’s back-story as an unwitting clone from the future. That whole subplot felt a little tacked on, given how little room there was to actually explore its ramifications, but ideally we’ll be seeing plenty more of Ava in Season 4.Jonathan Cake, Dominic Purcell, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)In general, Season 3 succeeded in spite of its underwhelming main conflict. The strongest episodes – “Phone Home,” “Beebo the God of War, “Return of the Mack,” – were those that either downplayed the Mallus storyline or managed to balance it out with a healthy dose of goofiness. Legends’ sense of humor has always been its greatest asset. That remained very much true in Season 3. The writers frequently pushed the series into some pretty strange and wonderful places this year, but never did the humor and silliness get in the way of the character drama. Legends strikes a balance between light and dark that the rest of the Arrowverse too often struggles to find.

REVIEW: SUPERGIRL – SEASON 3

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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)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries)
David Harewood (Homeland)

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)

Recurring/ Notable Guest Cast

Calista Flockhart (The Last Shot)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Floriana Lima (The Punisher)
Emma Tremblay (The Giver)
David St. Louis (The Secret Path)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls)
Yael Grobglas (Reign)
Andrea Brooks (When Calls The Heart)
Helen Slater (City Slickers)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Chad Lowe (Young Justice)
Anjali Jay (Power Rangers)
Sofia Vassilieva (Black Lightning)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Khaira Ledeyo (Beauty and The Beast)
Emy Aneke (Izombie)
Izabela Vidovic (Veronica Mars)
Amy Jackson (Theri)
Betty Buckley (Split)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Tom Cavanagh (Yogi Bear)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Dominic Purcell (Blade: Trinity)
Franz Drameh (See)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Keiynan Lonsdale (Love, Simon)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle0
Danielle Nicolet (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Christina Brucato (The Intern)
William Katt (Carrie)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of SteeL)
Briana Venskus (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jesse Rath (The Howling Reborn)
Brit Morgan (Friend Request)
Krys Marshall (For All Mankind)
Sarah Douglas (Superman II)
Brenda Strong (Starship Troopers)
Laurie Metcalf (THe Big Bang Theory)
Brooke Smith (The Silence of Lambs)
Angela Zhou (Hell of Wheels)
Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me)
Nesta Cooper (See)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Carrie Anne Fleming (Izombie)
Esmé Bianco (Game of Thrones)
Michael Reilly Burke (Mars Attacks)

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)With The Maid of Might’s third season we find ourselves given a very different Supergirl as Season Three opens. Following last year’s heartstring-tearing romance with Mon-El, we find a Kara who is now all business. Kara Danvers is on the backburner, as Kara Zor-El fully throws herself into the superhero game. But as ever, new threats, new questions, and new revelations await just around the corner for the Girl of Steel.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)First and foremost, let’s just put it out there: Supergirl is an utter joy to watch. In terms of bringing a comic book character to life, this CW series is a fantastic example of how to do that so well. Never afraid to be fun, loud, and imaginative, Supergirl manages to be pure spectacle whilst similarly retaining a true sense of heart. And there’s certainly plentiful heartfelt beats in this third year. While Kara herself is questioning her place in the world, newcomer Samantha (Odette Annable) soon finds herself undergoing her own personal struggle as the nefarious Worldkiller known as Reign begins to cause all kinds of chaos and carnage in National City. As Samantha becomes BFFs with Kara, Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), and Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), she has to rely on her new pals to help her with her ever-expanding problems. But it’s not merely Kara and Samantha who are on their own personal journeys here, for Supergirl again does what Supergirl has done so well previously: it makes each and every one of its core cast feel like a major deal, a real person with their own purpose in the show and not just simply there to fill the narrative or to let the show’s titular heroine take all of the spotlight.Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin in Supergirl (2015)As ever, Melissa Benoist is absolutely note perfect as both Kara Danvers and Kara Zor-El, proving to be vulnerable yet strong, human yet otherworldly, naive yet wise. With familiar faces and newbies all excelling in their respective roles, Benoist’s charming, multi-layered performance is just the tip of the iceberg, with Supergirl proving to again reward both newcomers to the character and those who are more well-versed in Super-lore. And that’s so often one of Supergirl’s greatest traits, that it feels so all-encompassing, be it in the array of different characters on display or in its approach to its audience.Supergirl (2015)After a slightly rocky start at CBS for its debut year, Supergirl has gone from strength to strength, and Season Three is the most intriguing, engaging, and spectacular season of the series to date. In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that this most recent season is right up there as one of the best seasons offered up by the Arrowverse, period.

 

REVIEW: ARROW – SEASON 6

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Main Cast

Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: OOTS)
David Ramsey (Blue Bloods)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Echo Kellum (Girlfriend’s Day)
Rick Gonzalez (Reaper)
Juliana Harkavy (Last Shift)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas 2006)
Paul Blackthorne (The InBetween)

Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Manu Bennett (Spartacus)
Anna Hopkins (The Expanse)
Kathleen Gati (THe House Bunny)
Adrian Holmes (V-Wars)
Jack Moore (Republic of Sarah)
Kacey Rohl (Hannibal)
David Nykl (Stargate Atlantis)
Venus Terzo (Beast Wars)
Sydelle Noel (GLOW)
Chastity Dotson (Veronica Mars)
Michael Emerson (Lost)
Kris Holden-Ried (Vikings)
Johann Urb (Resident Evil: Retribution)
Laara Sadiq (2012)
Celina Jade (The Man with The Iron Fists)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Kirk Acevedo (War For The POTA)
Liam Hall (The Fault Line)
Pej Vahdat (Bones)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Tom Cavanagh (Yogi Bear)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Dominic Purcell (A Fighting Man)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Franz Drameh (See)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Colin Donnell (Chicago MED)
Melissa Benoist (Whiplash)
Tom Amandes (Everwood)
Enid-Raye Adams (Good Boys)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Eliza Faria (American Conjuring)
Tina Huang (Drive)
Colton Haynes (Rough Night)
Kyra Zagorsky (Helix)
Josh Segarra (Trainwreck)
Wil Traval (Jessica Jones)
Catherien Dent (Terminator:TSCC)
Katrina Law (Spartacus)
Charlotte Ross (Drive Angry)

David Ramsey and Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)It’s not always easy being a fan of Arrow, as the show’s sixth season frequently proved. The show was at its most uneven and frustrating this year. For a while it seemed as though Season 6 was doomed to go down in history as the show’s worst to date. And while it did finally turn things around in the last couple months, it may have been too little, too late for many viewers.Juliana Harkavy in Arrow (2012)The show’s sudden drop in quality is all the more surprising given the strong foundation Season 5 had put in place. Season 5 ended with the series best episode yet, wrapping up the conflict between Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) and leaving viewers with a cliffhanger wherein the fate of nearly every member of Team Arrow was in doubt. That’s how you end a season. The Season 6 premiere, “Fallout,” is not how you begin one. That episode squandered most of the potential from “Lian Yu.” Rather than delivering a dramatic overhaul of the status quo and showcasing a Team Arrow left reeling from Chase’s final attack, it showed that annoyingly little had changed in Star City during those missing three months. The impact of that attack was minimal, with almost zero casualties and a handful of easily reversible changes to the norm.
Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)The only truly compelling addition to the formula to arise in the premiere involved the increased focus on Oliver’s son William (Jack Moore), now mourning the loss of his mother and living with a father he barely knows. The resulting family drama often resulted in some of the strongest material in the first half of Season 6, with William both lashing out against and needing his father and Ollie struggling to figure out how to care for a boy whose existence he only discovered a couple years ago. That played into one of the larger themes of the season – Ollie’s struggle to figure out how to balance his job as mayor, his crusade as the Green Arrow and his responsibilities as a parent. That dovetailed with Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) own struggles as she found herself being drawn deeper into the lives of both Queen men.Katie Cassidy in Arrow (2012)As a backbone for the season, that’s not bad. The problem is more the scattershot approach the writers took to crafting the story. It worked well early on as Ollie contemplated giving up his hood and focusing on being a better mayor and father. After five years of getting nowhere in his mission, that seemed to represent a positive step forward for the character. But it wasn’t long before that approach took a backseat to more traditional vigilante adventures. Only in the final third of the season did Ollie’s need to achieve balance in his life become paramount again.Manu Bennett in Arrow (2012)Season 6’s biggest problem, it quickly became clear, was one of focus. The series never seemed entirely sure of what direction to head or how to juggle the various members of Team Arrow. Each character had their respective struggles, whether it was Diggle (David Ramsey) dealing with the lingering fallout of Lian Yu, Curtis (Echo Kellum) becoming a small business owner or Rene (Rick Gonzalez) dealing with yet more problems surrounding custody of his daughter. Yet rarely did these subplots leave a particularly strong impression. Too often, the series begged the question of whether these supporting characters were truly necessary any longer.
Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)Two long-running story threads proved especially disappointing this season. The first involved the dynamic between Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) and Vigilante (Johann Urb). The latter’s identity was finally revealed early in Season 6, though the answer to that long-running mystery proved thoroughly unsatisfying. Nor did the ensuing drama between the two characters redeem Vigilante as a character. Instead, he felt like just one more unnecessary addition to an overcrowded cast. The other involved the relationship between Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) and the Earth-2 version of Laurel (Katie Cassidy). After so many years of seeing Quentin grapple with the death of one daughter or the other, more Lance family drama is not what the series needed. It didn’t help that Laurel’s redemption arc proved so repetitive. You can only see a character make apparent progress, only to pivot and back-stab everyone around her, so many times before the formula gets old.Rick Gonzalez, Stephen Amell, Juliana Harkavy, and Echo Kellum in Arrow (2012)Perhaps nothing weighed down the season more than its uninspired choice of main villain, hacker extraordinaire Cayden James (Michael Emerson). Emerson is a talented actor, but he frequently felt wasted in the role. James proved to be a bland, redundant villain whose motivations failed to set him apart from the crowd. Even at the series lowest points in Seasons 3 and 4, villains like Ra’s al Ghul and Damien Darhk elevated their respective conflicts. James merely dragged the series further down. It’s telling that the most enjoyable episodes in the first half of the season were generally those which took a break from the overarching Cayden James thread. For example, the series took a welcome two-part detour as Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett) resurfaced and Ollie joined him on a very personal mission overseas. Bennett’s return late in Season 5 was a reminder of how much he brought to the series back in the early years, and those two episodes made great use of the ever-changing relationship between Ollie and Slade. The “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover also proved entertaining, with Team Arrow joining forces with their superhero comrades against some pesky, wedding-ruining Nazis.David Ramsey and Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)The good news is that Season 6 did eventually find its footing, even if that didn’t happen until the final two months. March brought about a major status quo upheaval, one that finally began addressing the season’s problems in terms of poor pacing, lack of focus and underwhelming villain. Why that upheaval couldn’t have come sooner ) is a question worth asking, but better late than never, right?Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)The season’s saving grace came with the sudden death of Cayden James and the elevation of formerly minor villain Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) to the season’s primary antagonist. Diaz proved to be everything James wasn’t – a compelling villain whose motivations and actions set him apart from the shows previous big baddies. He cared little for the sort of theatrics preferred by Deathstroke or Damien Darhk. His goal was money and control, not making a grand statement or destroying the city. Acevedo’s performance helped further elevate the character, with various episodes highlighting Diaz’s dark past and the inferiority complex that fuels his present actions.Stephen Amell and Jack Moore in Arrow (2012)Diaz’s rise to power coincided with a breaking point in Team Arrow’s tenuous dynamic. After suffering through a destructive civil war and seeing his political career crumble, Ollie finally decided to abandon everything but the mission. That shift in gears helped the series find the focus it had been struggling to achieve for months. It suggested that maybe the best thing Arrow can do is to abandon the ensemble format and become centered around Oliver Queen once again. On the other hand, the season managed to maintain that sense of focus even as Team Arrow grudgingly reformed and built a united front against Diaz.Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)It seems the problem is less the amount of characters than how the writers choose to balance them.Season 6 wasn’t entirely without problems in those final two months. “Docket No. 11-19-41-73” in particular proved a disappointing chapter with the melodramatic way it handled Ollie’s murder trial. The way the season ended, with Ollie winding up in prison anyway, makes that whole episode seem even more pointless in hindsight. But ultimately, Season 6 finished strong enough to restore much of the good will that had been lost early on. The feud between Diaz and Team Arrow ended on a satisfying note, while at the same time leaving plenty of room to grow in Season 7. And Ollie’s new status quo as an incarcerated felon promises a huge change in the fall. The only question is whether Season 7, with its new showrunner behind the scenes, can do a better job of utilizing the potential given to it.Stephen Amell and Jack Moore in Arrow (2012)Arrow’s sixth season may not qualify as the show’s worst, but only because it improved a great deal in its final two months. Prior to that, the season squandered most of the potential afforded by Season 5, failing to balance its many characters and languishing under a disappointingly bland villain. It’s good that the show eventually regained its footing, but there’s no reason things should have gone so far off the rails in the first place.

REVIEW: THE FLASH – SEASON 4

 

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Starring

Grant Gustin (Glee)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Keiynan Lonsdale (The Turning)
Neil Sandilands (The 100)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)

Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kim Engelbrecht (Dominion)
Danielle Nicolet (Central Intelligence)
Britne Oldford (God Friended Me)
Jessica Camacho (Watchmen: The Series)
Dominic Burgess (The Good Place)
Richard Brooks (The Crow: City of Angels)
Sugar Lyn Beard (Sausage Party)
Violett Beane (God Friended Me)
Chelsea Kurtz (Scandal)
Hartley Sawyer (The Young and The Restless)
Vito D’Ambrosio (Bones)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
John Wesley Shipp (Dawson’s Creek)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Franz Drameh (See)
Paul Blackthorne (The InBetween)
Jeremy Jordan (The Last Five Years)
Juliana Harkavy (Last Shift)
Melissa Benoist (Whiplash)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Russell Tovey (Being Human)
Max Adler (Into The Dark)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Kendrick Sampson (Relationship Status)
Mark Valley (Human Target)
Corinne Bohrer (Tellers)
Devon Graye (13 Sins)
Bill Goldberg (Santa’s Slay)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (Cam)
Derek Mears (Swamp Thing)
Kendall Cross (Another Life)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Leonardo Nam (Westworld)
Bethany Brown (The 100)
Kevin Smith (Clerks)
Jason Mewes (Mallrats)
Arturo Del Puerto (For All Mankind)
Katie Cassidy (Taken)
Ryan Alexander McDonald (Izombie)
Mark Sweatman (Uncut)
David Ramsey (Dexter)

Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)For the last three years, “The Flash” has proven itself to be one of the very best  superhero shows on television. With its incredible mix of compelling characters, intricate storytelling, and tense thrills, it has continued to deliver a wonderful blend of drama, comedy, action, and even a little romance. Heading into season four, the show has shown no signs of slowing down, and coming off of a particularly excellent season, expectations remain quite high. Now, at last, it’s time to see if “The Flash” continues its “streak” of greatness, or if the show has at last run its course.Neil Sandilands in The Flash (2014)At the end of season three, Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) found himself with no other choice but to go into the speed force itself to save Central City. This left the rest of Team Flash, including Iris (Candice Patton), Cisco (Carlos Valdes), and Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale), to pick up the slack in regards to fighting crime in the city. However, they find that not only do they miss Barry, but that their team just isn’t the same without him, which eventually leads Cisco to devise a way to free him from the speed force.Grant Gustin and Hartley Sawyer in The Flash (2014)Their happiness at being reunited is short-lived however, as they quickly discover that the rift they opened to free Barry also unleashed a massive amount of dark matter that changed a dozen civilians into meta-humans with extraordinary powers. Meanwhile, a new brilliant foe by the name of Clifford DeVoe, aka “The Thinker” (Neil Sandilands) has emerged with a mysterious plan that involves collecting the powers of these recently-created meta-humans. It’s up to Team Flash (including new team member Ralph Dibney/”The Elongated Man” (Hartley Sawyer)) to discover how all of it is connected, and what DeVoe’s ultimate goal is before he can carry it out, all while trying to protect the people of Central City from the continuous onslaught of criminals.One of the most impressive things about “The Flash,” aside from everything mentioned so far, has been the remarkable ability of the writing staff to fill its lengthy 23-episode season. In an age where TV shows are moving away from the older model of having epic-sized seasons of 20+ episodes and moving towards more streamlined lengths of about 10-13 episodes, it’s quite something to see a show continue to utilize so many AND be able to actually fill it with quality material. Sure, some episodes aren’t an actual part of the season’s main arc, but even when they don’t further the main plot, the writers usually still manage to deliver consistently fun and exciting episodes.Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)It’s rather satisfying to say that season four is no exception. Once again, we have a compelling storyline that sees the entire city put in danger, forcing our group of heroes to use every means at their disposal to take down “The Thinker.” That actually brings us right to the main reason this season stands out as being particularly special: for once, the villain is not an evil speedster, but rather a man with an insanely-advanced intellect. In the first three seasons, we saw our heroes go up again The Reverse Flash, Zoom, and Savitar, but now, in a refreshing change of pace, we have a villain who uses sheer brainpower (and eventually several neat powers) to challenge Flash and co., literally forcing them to have to try and out-think their foe.Kim Engelbrecht and Neil Sandilands in The Flash (2014)In the same vein, the showrunners have also made the wise decision to get rid of certain characters that hadn’t been working particularly well. Most notably, Wally West leaves early on, and actually joins the Legends on “Legends of Tomorrow.” His character never really found a satisfying place on “The Flash,” so it made perfect sense to put him with other b-characters on one of the weaker superhero shows on the network. He still pops in every now and again for important events, but for the most part, he’s been removed. It’s also worth noting that this season doesn’t feature an appearance from the silliest villain in the show’s repertoire, Gorilla Grodd. Perhaps after the misguided arc in the previous season, they’ve finally learned that the character was just a bad idea.Grant Gustin and Violett Beane in The Flash (2014)As far as complaints about this latest season, I suppose the somewhat simple ending was a little bit of a drawback. After all of the buildup, it seemed a little too easy to get to the end result, but still, it worked well enough for the show’s purposes. That being said, it hardly seems worth mentioning with everything that went so well this season. Once again, we had 23 episodes that flew by at top speed, delivering everything that fans have come to expect from this fast-paced and remarkably entertaining show. As usual, we’re left with another cliffhanger that shows that yet another wild season will probably be in store for Team Flash. What kind of villain will we get this time? Another speedster? Another brainiac of sorts? Or will it be something entirely new and surprising? Just like everyone else, I can’t wait to find out.

 

REVIEW: ARROWVERSE: INVASION!

 

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Starring

Grant Gustin (Glee)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Keiynan Lonsdale (The Turning)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)
Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: OOTS)
David Ramsey (Blue Bloods)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Echo Kellum (Girlfriend’s Day)
Paul Blackthorne (The InBetween)
Victor Garber (Alias)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Franz Drameh (See)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals)
Amy Louise Pemberton (The Laundromat)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)

Dominic Purcell, David Ramsey, Brandon Routh, Willa Holland, Caity Lotz, Melissa Benoist, and Franz Drameh in The Flash (2014)
Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Christina Brucato (Th Intern)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Jerry Wasserman (Paradox)
Lucia Walters (Stargate: Atlantis)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
Neal McDonough (Van Helsing)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas 2006)
Susanna Thompson (Cold Case)
Rick Gonzalez (Reaper)
Joe Dinicol (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Jamey Sheridan (Homeland)
Erica Luttrell (Westworld)

Barry Allen investigates a meteor crash outside Central City which is a spaceship from which aliens emerge. Lyla Michaels tells the team that the Dominators had landed during the 1950s, but mysteriously departed. Barry assembles the original members of Team Arrow, Thea Queen, the Legends, and Kara Danvers, Supergirl of Earth-38. The team begins training at a S.T.A.R. Labs facility, sparring with Supergirl to prepare for the aliens. Kara struggles to earn Oliver Queen’s trust. Cisco Ramon finds and reveals a message Barry’s future self sent to Rip Hunter, which exposes Barry’s manipulation of the timeline and its effect on other team members. As a result, only Oliver, Kara, Felicity Smoak, Martin Stein, Jefferson “Jax” Jackson, and Caitlin Snow still trust Barry.David Ramsey, Brandon Routh, Nick Zano, Stephen Amell, Melissa Benoist, Franz Drameh, Grant Gustin, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)After the Dominators abduct the President of the United States, the team goes to rescue him; however, Barry remains behind since most of them distrust him with Oliver staying behind in support of Barry. Kara leads the group, but the Dominators kill the President and activate a mind control device to take over the group. The controlled heroes return and attack S.T.A.R. Labs, where Barry and Oliver confront them. While Oliver holds them off, Barry lures Kara to the device and manipulates her into destroying it, freeing everyone from the Dominators’ control. When the team regroups, Ray Palmer tells Barry that everyone forgives and trusts him. Sara Lance, Ray, John Diggle, Thea, and Oliver are then abducted by the Dominators.Nick Zano, Melissa Benoist, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)They are held in pods on a Dominators’ ship, each one unconscious except for a shared hallucination of simulated reality. In the hallucination, Oliver is living at Queen Manor, having never gotten on the Queen’s Gambit, and is about to be married to Laurel Lance. His parents are alive, and Diggle is operating as the vigilante the Hood, instead of Oliver. The captives begin seeing flashes of their real lives, and realize what the Dominators have done to them. Their escape attempt is blocked by personifications of their enemies: Malcolm Merlyn, Deathstroke and two of his Mirakuru soldiers (who killed Ray’s fiancée Anna Loring), and Damien Darhk and two of his H.I.V.E. soldiers. The adversaries are defeated, and the five awaken in the Dominators’ ship and escape in a shuttle. Felicity, Curtis Holt, and Cisco try to hack into the Dominators’ mainframe. Aided by Barry and Kara, they recover a device to locate the captives, who are rescued by Nate Heywood in the time ship, Waverider. Aboard the Waverider, Ray deduces that the Dominators were gathering information about metahumans, using the hallucination as a distraction, to help them build a special “weapon”. Meanwhile, the Dominator mothership heads towards Earth.Victor Garber and Melissa Benoist in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Nate says that the first Dominator invasion occurred in 1951 in Redmond, Oregon. He goes there with fellow Legends Mick Rory and Amaya Jiwe and Felicity and Cisco to kidnap a Dominator for information. Although they are successful, the three Legends and their alien captive are taken prisoner by N.S.A. agents. The Legends learn from the Dominator that the aliens have arrived to assess humanity’s threat, now that metahumans have appeared and formed the Justice Society of America. Felicity and Cisco rescue the Legends, and also set the Dominator free, carelessly altering history. In 2016 Central City, the team learns that the Dominators know about Barry’s manipulation of the timeline, deem him a threat, and are demanding his surrender in exchange for peace.Dominic Purcell, David Ramsey, Brandon Routh, Nick Zano, Stephen Amell, Caity Lotz, Melissa Benoist, Carlos Valdes, Emily Bett Rickards, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)After the Legends return, the team discovers that the Dominators’ weapon is a bomb that will kill all metahumans on Earth, with millions of collateral human casualties. The teams dissuade Barry from surrendering, and he and Cisco reconcile. The team manage to destroy the bomb and force the Dominators to retreat with a pain-inflicting nano-weapon. As the heroes celebrate their victory, Oliver offers Kara his friendship; Cisco gives her a device which will enable her to interdimensional travel and communicate between Earth-1 and Earth-38. Martin persuades Jax not to tell the others that his daughter Lily’s existence is the result of a temporal paradox he inadvertently caused when the Legends were in 1987.

Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Melissa Benoist, and Grant Gustin in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)The first major Arrowverse crossover brings together all 4 shows in one epic stpryline. It’s so nice to Supergirl implemented into arrowverse properly, the crossover really showcases her as a character and a show and gives her the ability to crossover more often as and when the universe needs to her to be. This crossover is a must see for all Arrowverse fans.