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: CONSTANTINE (2014)

Matt Ryan in Constantine (2014)

Starring

Matt Ryan (Justice League Dark)
Lucy Griffiths (Robin Hood)
Angélica Celaya (Danger One)
Charles Halford (Reprisal)
Harold Perrineau (Lost)

Charles Halford, Matt Ryan, and Angélica Celaya in Constantine (2014)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Lisa Darr (Popular)
Joelle Carter (Home Before Dark)
Michael James Shaw (Limitless)
Sean Whalen (Superstore)
Jonjo O’Neill (The Fall)
Charles Parnell (The Last Ship)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Ranch)
Emmett J Scanlan (Krypton)
Niall Matter (Eureka)
Laura Regan (Mad Men)
Amy Parrish (One Tree HIll)
Max Charles (The Neighbours)
Juliana Harkavy (Arrow)
Megan West ((This is Us)
Claire van der Boom (The Square)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (Crank)
Paloma Guzmán (The Deuce)
Roger Floyd (Graceland)
Amanda Clayton (John Carter)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Jeremy Davies (Lost)
William Mapother (Another Earth)
Skyler Day (Raven’s Home)
Robert Pralgo (The Vampire DIaries)
Annalise Basso (Ouija 2)
J.D. Evermore (Cloak & Dagger)

Angélica Celaya in Constantine (2014)DC/Vertigo’s John Constantine leapt from the sordid, scary pages of his Hellblazer comics thanks to EPs David Goyer (The Dark Knight, Man of Steel) and Daniel Cerone (Dexter, Charmed). Matt Ryan, as the titular hero, was really effective in bringing Constantine to life on screen. Flippant when called for. Vulnerable when need be. All the while – whether casting out a demon from some poor body or battling one within himself – creating a very commanding, likable presence on screen. John Constantine was a the sort of hero you had to get right immediately and Ryan excelled.Matt Ryan in Constantine (2014)John’s back up proved reliable from a charismatic standpoint. Chas and Zed were great characters and as the serious progressed we got to see their back story’s and what made them the way they are.I really liked that Newcastle was used as the show’s jumping off point, and that throughout the season John would have to atone in various ways with scattered members of that ill-fated team, but his own team often suffered. Even though we’re only talking about 13 episodes here, the show still made good use of a seasonal arc format. Even using the “Rising Darkness” to both inform and be the cause of a procedural “case of the week” structure .Matt Ryan in Constantine (2014)The “Scry Map” gave John demons and ghosts to chase, all under the umbrella that hell was slowly encroaching upon the world of the living. And while not every “case of the week” landed, a couple of stories ripped from the comics came alive in (remixed) cool ways (“A Feast of Friends,” “The Saint of Last Resorts: Part 1” and “Waiting for the Man”). Along with some DC notables like Felix Faust, Eclipso’s Black Diamond, and Jim Corrigan.I liked that Manny turned out to be the villain right at the end of the finale. Mostly because the “Rising Darkness” needed a face. The Brujeria were mentioned quite a bit, but never shown.Matt Ryan in Constantine (2014)Was the twist worth sitting through a handful of episodes where I wondered why Manny was even there at all? Maybe, maybe not. But the show needed a “big bad,” and whether or not Manny turns out to be Satan himself or just an evil angel, he still fits the bill nicely.Constantine had a cool look, an awesome lead, and a confidence that you don’t see in most fledgling series. As the series went on it became an intriguing show with many dimensions that would of been worth exploring in later seasons, this is a show that was cancelled too soon and now with a unresolved cliffhanger we may never know where it will lead. On the plus side Matt Ryan’s Constantine is coming too Arrow, so we at least get to see him at least one more time.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: LOST – THE CONSTANT

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MAIN CAST

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man)
Naveen Andrews (Planet Terror)
Jorge Garcia (Alcatraz)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Henry Ian Cusick (24)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Anthony Azizi (Eagle Eye)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins)
Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror)
Fisher Stevens (HAckers)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)

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Desmond, Sayid and Lapidus experience turbulence while flying the 130 kilometers (about 80 miles) distance from the island where they were stranded to Lapidus’ team’s freighter, the Kahana. Desmond’s consciousness travels back eight years to 1996, when he is serving with the British Army’s Royal Scots Regiment. Moments later, when his consciousness returns to the present day, he neither knows where he is nor recognizes his companions, and has no memory of his life since 1996. After the helicopter lands, Desmond continues to jump between 1996 and 2004. He is taken to the sick bay, where a man named Minkowski is strapped to a bed because he is experiencing similar problems. Minkowski explains that someone sabotaged the radio room two days earlier and that Desmond’s ex-girlfriend Penny Widmore (Sonya Walger) has been trying to contact the freighter. Sayid uses the satellite phone to contact Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) on the island and explains that Desmond appears to have amnesia. Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies), a physicist from the freighter, asks Jack whether Desmond has recently been exposed to a high level of radiation or electromagnetism. Jack is unsure, and so Daniel speaks to Desmond and asks him about his situation. Desmond responds that he believes that he is in 1996 and is serving with the Royal Scots. Faraday understands and tells Desmond that when he returns to 1996, he needs to go to the physics department of The Queen’s College, Oxford University in England to meet with Daniel’s past self, and gives Desmond some mechanical settings to relay, along with an extra phrase that Daniel assures him will convince Daniel’s past self that the story is legitimate.lost-constantDesmond’s flashbacks become more frequent and longer. In 1996, Desmond tracks down a younger Faraday at Oxford, who takes Desmond into his laboratory where he is experimenting with a time machine. Setting his electromagnetic device with the settings that Desmond has given him, Daniel places his laboratory rat, Eloise, in a maze and exposes her to electromagnetic energy. The rat appears to become comatose, then awakens and runs the maze. Daniel becomes excited because he had just built the maze and had not yet taught Eloise how to run it. Desmond realizes that, like the rat, he is caught in a time warp that is moving his consciousness between two different bodies at two different points in time and space. Eloise dies of a suspected brain aneurysm brought on by the exposure to the time lapse. Desmond becomes worried that he will die like Eloise, and Daniel instructs him to find something or someone—a constant—who is present in both times and can serve as an anchor for Desmond’s mental stability. Desmond decides that Penny can be the constant; however, he must make contact with her in 2004. To find out where she lives, Desmond gets her address from her father Charles (Alan Dale), who is at an auction buying a journal owned by Tovard Hanso written by a crew member of the 19th century ship called the Black Rock. hqdefaultIn 1996, Desmond finds Penny, who is still distraught over their break-up and is not willing to see him. However, he gets her telephone number and tells her not to change it because he will call her on Christmas Eve 2004. In 2004, Sayid, Desmond, and Minkowski escape the sick bay and begin to repair the broken communications equipment. Meanwhile, Minkowski enters into another flashback, and dies. Showing signs of suffering the same fate as Minkowski, Desmond telephones Penny, who tells Desmond that she has been searching for him for the past three years and they reconcile before the power is cut off. Having made contact with his “constant”, Desmond stops alternating between 1996 and 2004. Back on the island, Daniel flips through his journal and discovers a note that he had written, “If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant.”676

No other episode since the beginning has touched on this many of the themes of Lost. Rather than the showing the present with the flash-forward/backward tying in symbolically, which is the shows usual template, this episode ties the present to the flash in a very real and deadly way, also revealing a big, nay, gigantic clue as to the island’s origins. Or at least lets us in on a part of the big secret.

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REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 6

Starring

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
Ken Leung (Inhumans)
Emilie de Ravin (Roswell)
Jeff Fahey (Texas Rising)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Zuleikha Robinson (Homeland)

Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sam Anderson (Angel)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Brad William Henke (Bright)
Kimberly Joseph (Hercules: TLJ)
Fredric Lehne (Amityville 4)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Mark Pellegrino (13 Reasons Why)
Daniel Roebuck (Final Destination)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heores)
Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld)
William Mapother (Anotehr Earth)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Katey Sagal (Futurama)
Veronica Hamel (Cannonball)
Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Anthony Azizi (Eagle Eye)
William Atherton (Ghostbusters)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Jon Gries(Taken)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Neil Hopkins (The Net 2.0)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Titus Welliver (The Town)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Chad Donella (Smallville)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Cynthia Watros (Titus)
François Chau (The Tick)
Kevin Tighe (My Bloody Valentine)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Maggie Grace (The Fog)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)

Nestor Carbonell and Terry O'Quinn in Lost (2004)Season 6 of Lost is quite possibly the most scrutinized season of television in history. With both longtime fans of the series and curious outsiders wondering if this season would deliver both on answers and a satisfying conclusion, series show runners DamonLindelof and Carlton Cuse had an incredible task on their hands. With an edge-of-your-seat conclusion to Season 5, the small band of survivors we’ve grown to love set out on their final journey against a villainous shape shifter on an island of mystery.

In Season 4, “The Constant” established Lost as a science fiction series when it introduced time travel into the equation. From that point forward, until the conclusion of Season 5, the series maintained and expanded on that concept by sending the survivors hurtling through time until they eventually landed in 1974 (or 1977, for those on Ajira 316). Season 6 drops the time travel story completely and introduces a different sci-fi concept: alternate realities. It appears that the detonation of Jughead in “The Incident” created a parallel universe in which events played out slightly different and Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed.Much like flash-backs and flash-forwards, we experience this parallel universe through a series of “centric” flash-sideways featuring the lives of these characters as if the crash had never happened. This gives Lindelof and Cuse a unique opportunity to reexamine the lives of these characters from a completely different perspective.Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)The flash-sideways giving us incredibly important character moments and an intriguing new story that’s both surprising and engaging. With each “centric” flash-sideways story, parallels are drawn to the character’s plight while they are on the island. This relationship between timelines establishes a key connection between both storylines that give the flash-sideways an importance outside of simply being a different perspective on how things could have ultimately played out.Jeff Fahey, Michael Emerson, Yunjin Kim, and Zuleikha Robinson in Lost (2004)Connections between the two universes are explored more thoroughly as the series progresses and we do ultimately get a resolution to the flash-sideways storyline. How satisfying that resolution is will ultimately be based on a number of factors that stem from your own expectations. In other words, it’s a polarizing conclusion to a very unique story and you’re probably either going to love it or hate it. I loved the way the flash-sideways story ended because it satisfied the need for closure.Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost (2004)“Happily Ever After” stands out as the episode that had the most impact on both universes. Living, breathing Desmond David Hume (Henry Ian Cusick) has his consciousness transported into what we now know to be the afterlife and acts as the genesis for everything that happens in the “flash-sideways” realm after his departure. Desmond is also the catalyst for most events that occur leading up to and including the finale.Matthew Fox and Jorge Garcia in Lost (2004)He’s seen as nothing more than a tool by those around him; a means to an end. However, Desmond is infused with his own sense of purpose. With the events he experienced in the other universe infecting his mind, Desmond sets out to free those remaining on the island from their pain and suffering and take them to a better place. It’s funny how both Desmonds are essentially driven by the same goal, with only one succeeding. But Desmond’s error on the island gives Jack and Kate (Evangeline Lilly) the window they need to stop the Man in Black.untitledTerry O’Quinn, who spent most of the past five seasons playing John Locke, slips into his new role as the embodiment of dark temptation with ease. We actually saw him as the Man in Black last season, but even O’Quinn didn’t realize that he was technically playing a different character until close to the finale.Terry O'Quinn in Lost (2004)Here he’s allowed to truly enjoy portraying a villain and it’s obvious he’s having a hell of a lot of fun in the role.Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)The Man in Black tests the survivors like never before. Offering them freedom, survival and even answers to some of the island’s more pressing mysteries. The way that the survivors respond to this temptation ultimately defines who they truly are, even if it takes them some time to make the right decision. Again, just like the flash-sideways, this gives us yet another fascinating new perspective on these characters. We see them at both their weakest and their strongest this season. )Season 6 does a good job of explaining some mysteries while others are left up to the viewer to dissect for years to come. Lost: Season 6 is a strong conclusion to what has been an extraordinary series.Naveen Andrews and Hiroyuki Sanada in Lost (2004)All the elements that made the past five seasons so great are here, with the added bonus of this being the final season and the stakes being raised for all the characters. Whether or not the answers provided are satisfying or cover enough ground will vary drastically for different viewers, but ultimately, Lost: Season 6 delivers closure on a story that has captivated us for so long.