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: 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: 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: 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.