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: 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: ARROW – SEASON 6

Arrow_season_5_poster_-_His_fight,_His_city,_His_legacy

Main Cast

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

Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

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

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

REVIEW: THE FLASH – SEASON 4

 

The_Flash_season_4_poster_-_Let_the_Mind_Games_Begin

Starring

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

Grant Gustin in The Flash (2014)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

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

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

 

REVIEW: ARROWVERSE: INVASION!

 

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Starring

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

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

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

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

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

REVIEW: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – SEASON 2

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Starring

Victor Garber (Alias)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Franz Drameh (See)
Matt Letscher (Her)
Maisie Richardson-Sellers (The Originals)
Amy Louise Pemberton (The Laundromat)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Dominic Purcell (Prison Break)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Neal McDonough (Van Helsing)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
John Rubinstein (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Matthew MacCaull (Tomorrowland)
Sarah Grey (Power Rangers)
Rebecca Roberts (Pompeii)
Patrick J. Adams (Suits)
Mei Melançon (Pathology)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Emily Tennant (Mr. Young)
Lance Henriksen (Aliens)
Graeme McComb (Bates Motel)
Johnathon Schaech (Prom Night)
Christina Brucato (The Intern)
Jeff Fahey (The Lawnmower Man)
David Ramsey (Dexter)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Melissa Benoist (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Lucia Walters (The 100)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
Noel Johansen (Somewhere Between)
Elyse Levesque (The Originals)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Katie Cassidy (Gossip Girl)

Brandon Routh in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was a solid addition to The CW’s superhero lineup in its first season. Sure , the show had problems, but the ensemble approach and time travel elements definitely set it apart from the likes of The Flash and Arrow. But in hindsight, Season 1 seems like a test-run for the show Legends would become in its second season. This year, the show trimmed most of what didn’t work and replaced it with elements that did. As a result, Legends became not just the best superhero series on The CW, but quite possibly on any network.Kwesi Ameyaw, Matthew MacCaull, Dan Payne, Patrick J. Adams, Sarah Grey, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)A lot of what didn’t work about Season 1 can be pinned squarely on the shoulders of Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) and his millennia-long feud with Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée) and Hawkman (Falk Hentschel). But with Savage being decisively killed off and the Hawks shuffled off the main stage in the Season 1 finale, the show was free to move forward in the Season 2 premiere, “Out of Time.” And move forward it did.
Surprisingly, “Out of Time” didn’t pick up directly from Season 1’s cliffhanger and the introduction of Rex Tyler (Patrick J. Adams). Instead, the season opened with a weird but engaging detour that saw newcomer Nate Heywood (Nick Zano) turn to Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) for help in tracking down the time-displaced Legends. That served as a great introduction for Nate and a fun way of reconnecting with the old gang one by one. Nate almost immediately settled in as a valuable new addition to the team dynamic, what with his brotherly bond with Atom (Brandon Routh) and his seemingly doomed romance with Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers).Vixen proved to be another strong addition to the mix. Richardson-Sellers faced a bit of an uphill battle early on considering that Arrow had already introduced a different version of the character in live-action. But the writers worked in this “recasting” in a clever way, and it wasn’t long before Amaya emerged as a character very distinct from her granddaughter in terms of personality and motivations.
Victor Garber, Dominic Purcell, Brandon Routh, Nick Zano, Caity Lotz, Franz Drameh, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)The Hawks weren’t the only characters to be pruned from the cast for Season 2. Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) was also gone, though he served as much use in death as he did in life when it came to advancing Heat Wave’s (Dominic Purcell) character arc. Rory’s struggle to accept the Legends as his new family was easily one of the most compelling storylines of this season, and that arc became all the more crucial in the final few episodes.Johnathon Schaech and Caity Lotz in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) also played a drastically different role this season. He more or less sat out the first half of the season, with his whereabouts (or whenabouts) a mystery and his absence forcing White Canary (Caity Lotz) to step up as team captain. That was another inspired change, one that built on several years’ of growth Sara has experienced on both this show and Arrow. And even when Rip did resurface in the latter half of the season, his role constantly shifted and defied expectations. He was an antagonist to the team this year as often as he was an ally.
David Ramsey, Brandon Routh, Nick Zano, Stephen Amell, Melissa Benoist, Franz Drameh, Grant Gustin, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)If any character didn’t quite receive the attention they deserved this year, it was Jax (Franz Drameh). While his partner Professor Stein (Victor Garber) dealt with some rather drastic time aberration problems, Jax never really seemed to have a overarching struggle this season. That’s something the writers might want to focus on in Season 3. The conflict in Season 1 was propelled mainly by Rip’s efforts to stop Vandal Savage and prevent the deaths of his family. Season 2 took a little while to develop its own clear mission statement. The first couple episodes offered a fun crossover with the WWII-era Justice Society, but after that the show lost some momentum while the writers worked to establish the true conflict. That spawned a couple of relatively weaker episodes like “Shogun,” where it seemed like the team was doing little more than ticking off boxes on their historical guidebooks. “Outlaw Country” was another relative disappointment, as it didn’t quite justify the decision to send the team back to the Wild West and reunite with Jonah Hex (Johnathon Schaech).John Barrowman in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)However, the show was off to the races again once the Legion of Doom was introduced and the Spear of Destiny emerged as the major catalyst for Season 2. MacGuffin or not, the Spear was a compelling plot device, and one that reminded viewers once again that the Arrow-verse writers are willing to dig very deep when it comes to taking advantage of the rich tapestry that is the DC Universe. By the time the show reached the midseason finale point with “The Chicago Way” it built up a newfound momentum that carried it right along to the finish.Matt Letscher in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)The Legion themselves also provided the show with the compelling, enjoyable villain it lacked in Season 1. Sure, you could argue that the show played it safe by drawing on a handful of popular villains from The Flash and Arrow rather than introducing a new threat. But half the fun of serialized superhero universes is watching heroes and villains alike grow and evolve. Legends’ take on the Legion built directly on the idea that all of these villains had failed on their own, and all sought the Spear of Destiny as a means of rewriting their own histories. Plus, it was just plain fun to watch Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher), Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) interact. You can’t throw three hotheaded, self-interested villains into one room and not expect tempers to flare and betrayal to flow like wine. Letscher was particularly engaging all season long, doing a lot to stand out in a role that had previously been dominated by Tom Cavanagh. Thawne worked as a villain because his goals were so simple and understandable. Thawne’s role and the surprise return of another villain built very cleverly on the foundation laid in The Flash’s first two seasons.There was ample drama to go around over the course of these 17 episodes, whether that involved Rip’s shifting motivations, Amaya confronting her inevitable destiny or Rory trying to find his purpose in a world without Snart. The final few episodes capitalized on that drama well, tying up a number of loose ends and further establishing the Legends as a close-knit but very dysfunctional family.Brandon Routh, Elyse Levesque, Nick Zano, Caity Lotz, Franz Drameh, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers in Legends of Tomorrow (2016)At the same time, the show developed a very terrific sense of humor this year, and that was probably its strongest asset. Legends became the much-needed antidote to the DC Extended Universe, a place where color doesn’t exist and no one seems to remember how to crack a smile. And with Arrow and The Flash both moving in darker directions this year, Legends was frequently a welcome and much-needed source of levity each week. You can point to any number of standout moments where Legends allowed its writers and actors to revel in being silly. There was the hilarious and unexpected musical number in “Moonshot.” There was the fact that the team found themselves trapped in a garbage compactor with a young George Lucas. There was Ray using Tyrannosaur urine as a means of creating a barrier around his prehistoric fort. Week after week, the cast and crew embraced the goofy side of the DCU and crafted a show that was as much about the thrill of adventure as it was costumed character drama and plot twists.

REVIEW: ARROW – SEASON 5

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Main Cast

Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: OOTS)
David Ramsey (Blue Bloods)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Echo Kellum (Girlfriend’s Day)
Josh Segarra (Trainwreck)
Paul Blackthorne (The InBetween)

Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas 2006)
Alexander Calvert (Supernatural)
Rick Gonzalez (Reaper)
Chad L. Coleman (The Orville)
Tyler Ritter (Merry Happy Whatever)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)
David Nykl (Stargate Atlantis)
Emy Aneke (Izombie)
Aaron Pearl (Bates Motel)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: TNG)
Joe Dinicol (Diary of The Dead)
Madison McLaughlin (Chicago PD)
Garry Chalk (Beast Wars)
Carly Pope (Popular)
Cody Runnels (WWE)
Michael Rowe (Tomorrowland)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Wil Traval (Jessica Jones)
Dolph Lundgren (Aquaman)
Christopher Rosamond (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
John Barrowman (Torchwood)
Neal McDonough (Van Helsing)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Susanna Thompson (Cold Case)
Caity Lotz (The Machine)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Melissa Benoist (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Jamey Sheridan (Homeland)
Erica Luttrell (Westworld)
Amy Louise Pemberton (Suspense)
Garwin Sanford (Stargate SG.1)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Juliana Harkavy (Last Shift)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
Steve Bacic (Smallville)
Kacey Rohl (Hannibal)
Patrick Sabongui (POwer Rangers)
Olivia Cheng (Warrior)
Samaire Armstrong (Stay Alive)
Laara Sadiq (2012)
Kelly Hu (X-Men 2)
Amy Gumenick (Supernatural)
Adrian Holmes (V-Wars)
Rutina Wesley (Hannibal)
Venus Terzo (Beats Wars)
Eliza Faria (Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2)
Jack Moore (Republic of Sarah)
Byron Mann (Dark Angel)
Manu Bennett (Spartacus)
Katrina Law (Apparition)
Nick E. Tarabay (Pacific Rim: Uprising)
Anna Hopkins (The Expanse)

Michael Dorn in Arrow (2012)More than any other Arrowverse series, Arrow had a lot to prove when it returned in fall 2016. The series had fallen quite a bit from its peak in the Deathstroke-dominated Season 2. Following the thoroughly disappointing Season 4 finale, Arrow was at its lowest point ever. It wasn’t clear at that point whether the show would continue beyond Season 5. Moreover, it wasn’t clear whether the show should continue. But thanks to a change in approach, a terrific new villain and a generally more consistent level of execution, Season 5 wound up redeeming a troubled series and recapturing the appeal of those first two years.Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)Arrow had fallen pretty far down the metahuman rabbit hole in Season 4, what with the focus on supernatural villain Damien Darhk and all the magical tomfoolery that resulted. Even ignoring the various interviews leading up to Season 5’s debut, the premiere made it plainly obvious that showrunners Marc Guggenheim and Wendy Mericle were eager to take a “back to basics” approach this year. The series didn’t necessarily ignore the more colorful side of the Arrowverse this year, but it did downplay those elements in favor of a darker, more grounded take on Oliver Queen’s (Stephen Amell) ongoing crusade. The early episodes were very much about Ollie getting back to his roots and shooting arrows into the criminal scum of Star City.Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)Initially, there was a worry that the series might be playing things too conservatively, recycling old conflicts and well-worn tropes rather than actually pushing Team Arrow forward in meaningful ways. A lot of that worry was personified in new villain Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman), a would-be criminal kingpin cut from the exact same cloth as Vinnie Jones’ Danny Brickwell. As enjoyable as Coleman’s performance was, those similarities were impossible to ignore. Nor did it help that the season introduced another dark-clad archer villain in the form of Prometheus (voiced by Michael Dorn). With little real connection to the Prometheus of the comics, this villain initially came across as a poor man’s Malcolm Merlyn.
Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)The other major focus early in the season involved expanding Team Arrow into a true, ensemble fighting force. Alongside returning allies like Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Diggle (David Ramsey) and Curtis (Echo Kellum), the team ranks swelled with the addition of up-and-coming vigilantes Wild Dog (Rick Gonzalez), Artemis (Madison McLaughlin) and Ragman (Joe Dinicol). Ollie also assembled a secondary Team Arrow for his new day job of Star City’s mayor, with Thea (Willa Holland) becoming his chief of staff and Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) his deputy mayor and new District Attorney Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) joining the fold. Coupled with a new love interest for Ollie in the form of intrepid reporter Susan Williams (Carly Pope), and the new season was never short on character drama.Joe Dinicol, Rick Gonzalez, David Ramsey, Stephen Amell, Madison McLaughlin, and Echo Kellum in Arrow (2012)Looking back, the biggest flaw with Season 5 is that it tried to juggle more characters and conflicts than was really feasible. The second episode of the season, “The Recruits,” exemplified that problem more than any other. That episode focused mainly on Ollie and Felicity’s efforts to build the ranks of the new Team Arrow in Diggle’s absence. And even though each new member showed promise, there was a strong sense that these new characters were falling over each other competing for limited screen time. The show struck a better balance after that point, but it never felt like there was enough room to do each supporting character justice. Artemis felt especially under-served. The writers never devoted much energy to fleshing out her background or motivations beyond what was already established in her initial Season 4 appearance. That didn’t change even after a major Artemis-related twist midway through the season. Susan suffered a similar fate, as she never really developed into a compelling love interest and was treated as little more than a damsel in distress.Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)Ragman fared somewhat better. It was nice having at least one metahuman member of Team Arrow just to maintain that bridge to the larger Arrowverse. And the quiet, contemplative Rory made for a welcome counterpoint to testosterone-fueled characters like Ollie and Rene. But Rory was unceremoniously written out of the picture, for no apparent reason other than the fact that he gave Team Arrow too much of an advantage in their war with Prometheus. Between that and the late introduction of new Black Canary Dinah Drake (Juliana Harkavy), it was clear the writers were still fine-tuning and experimenting with the ensemble cast well into the season. But those problems aside, the show tended to make pretty good use of its supporting cast this year. The unlikely friendship between Quentin and Rene helped both characters immensely and allowed Quentin to do something other than wallow in grief-induced alcoholism for a change. Curtis underwent a memorable transformation this year, finally claiming the “Mister Terrific” name and learning firsthand the terrible toll the costumed vigilante game can take on one’s personal life. Even Felicity fared well, with the writers wisely downplaying the Olicity romance and focusing more on her induction into the sinister hacking group Helix.Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)But even with the growing supporting cast, this season really was all about the Green Arrow/Prometheus rivalry. Prometheus not proved himself to be more than a mere Dark Archer redux, he developed into the series’ best villain since Deathstroke. That was due both to the actor’s strong performance and the very personal nature of his feud with Oliver Queen. Prometheus wound up being a breath of fresh air for the series. His plan didn’t involve holding Star City hostage, but merely putting Ollie through a complex, painstakingly designed gauntlet of psychological torture. The midseason finale, “What We Leave Behind,” did a great job of establishing the threat posed by Prometheus and setting the stage for everything to come. There were still a few lackluster episodes that followed, including the pseudo-bottle episode “Underneath” and “The Sin-Eater,” an episode predicated on the questionable idea of grouping together several of the series’ more forgettable villains. But for the most part, Prometheus’ revenge plot gave the series a momentum that carried it forward.
Michael Dorn, Stephen Amell, and Josh Segarra in Arrow (2012)The personal nature of that conflict tended to bring out the best in Amell’s acting, as well. The increasing darkness wasn’t merely superficial. Ollie was put through hell this year as Prometheus tested him both physically and psychologically. Amell rose to the challenge with a series of raw, emotionally charged performances that really highlighted his characters inner torment. In many ways, Season 5 as a showcase for how far the show has come in the last five years, and that goes for Amell’s acting as much as anything else.Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)The Green Arrow/Prometheus rivalry also allowed the writers to explore the use of violence on the show and address Ollie’s often nebulous stance on killing. As the season opened, Ollie had once again become a dark vigilante not averse to killing his opponents should the need arise. Prometheus forced Ollie to confront his actions, both past and present, and question whether he had actually done any real, lasting good for his city after five years. Nor did the show have any easy answers to provide. The moral wasn’t “Killing is bad,” but merely that actions have far-reaching, unintended consequences. Even going into Season 6, it’s not clear what Ollie’s stance on lethal force is or how his final showdown with Prometheus will influence his actions in the future.Stephen Amell in Arrow (2012)Season 5 marked the final go-round in terms of Ollie’s five-year flashback odyssey. The flashbacks had pretty well worn out their welcome in Season 3 and 4, often doing little more than filling space and drawing pointless parallels between past and present. The Season 5 flashbacks weren’t immune to these problems, but they were a significant improvement. It helps that the flashbacks were used to fill in a key hole in the Arrow tapestry, fleshing out the shared history between Ollie and Russian gangster Anatoly Knyazev (David Nykl). The flashbacks added much needed context to that relationship while also banking on the viewer’s knowledge that the two characters are doomed to have a falling-out later in life. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Ivan Drago himself, Dolph Lundgren, was cast as the main villain for the Russian storyline. In a season full of strong action sequences, Ollie’s brutal clashes with Konstantin Kovar ranked among the best.
Stephen Amell and Josh Segarra in Arrow (2012)Again, the flashbacks still dragged from time to time, especially in the final couple months of the season when the Russian conflict was all but resolved. But in addition to fleshing out the Ollie/Anatoly relationship, this running subplot helped enhance the season’s larger focus on lethal force and the struggle that men like Ollie face to keep their souls once they position themselves as judge, jury and (sometimes) executioner. The flashbacks showcased Ollie at his darkest – a man who now possesses all the skills needed to become a great warrior but still in search of a symbol to shape his crusade.Stephen Amell and Josh Segarra in Arrow (2012)All of this culminated wonderfully in the season finale, as the series literally and metaphorically came full circle and Guggenheim and Mericle rolled out a who’s who lineup of heroes and villains. Compared to the Season 3 and 4 finales, both of which only managed to make their respective seasons seem worse in hindsight, “Lian Yu” gave Season 5 the punctuation mark it needed. It proved to be not just the best episode of Season 5, but of the series as a whole. Considering where the show was at the beginning of the season, that’s quite an impressive accomplishment.