Flashpoint – Is there more to be revealed on the CW DC Shows?

I have now caught-up on the current seasons of all four DC CW shows. And I’ve noticed something. The Flash mentioned Flashpoint at the opening of the season, and Barry attempted to reverse Flashpoint. But his attempt failed. The Flash is now in an alternate reality – Cisco, as Vibe, is much more powerful than he was last year when he was first discovering his powers. In some ways it’s like that character has skipped ahead in time. And that’s not all – somehow, as a result of Barry messing with time – Cisco’s brother Dante is dead, killed by a drunk driver. Meanwhile, Caitlin is exhibiting cold powers – and she fears she is turning in to Killer Frost. And at the Central City Police Department a new guy is in charge of forensics and he’s a total, well, you know, to Barry. By the mid-season finale, we know a lot more about this guy who’s suddenly appeared from nowhere.

But it isn’t just The Flash that’s in a new reality. Arrow is also subtly changed. One thing I’ve noticed – last year on Legends of Tomorrow they visited future Star City – where they met future Green Arrow Connor Hawk (aka John Diggle Jr) and there was a skyscraper called Smoak Technologies. Due to Flashpoint, Diggle now has a son – John Jr, not a daughter, Sara. Felicity has also lost Palmer Tech – and in last night’s episode, Curtis mentioned he and Felicity were working on a start-up company (he mentions this as a cover for his Mr. Terrific duties to his husband) which Felicity seems to know nothing about. But easily, that could be the spark of an idea for her – especially if she pulls back from Team Arrow for other plot reasons. Flashpoint seems to be bringing the Arrow universe closer to the disaster we saw in last season’s Legends of Tomorrow. And let’s not forget – this season’s bad guys on Legends are the Triumvirate of Evil: Reverse Flash (from Season 1 of The Flash); Damien Darhk (from Season 4 of Arrow); and Malcolm Merlyn (aka “The Magician” in the comics, but he’s been hanging around Arrow since the beginning). I don’t think this is a coincidence. I think it’s all related to Flashpoint (which was a world-ending event in the comics and the animated movie).

I suspect since we also saw Damien Darhk in the Legends of Tomorrow last season; and he’s clearly working with the Reverse Flash this season, and later with Malcolm Merlyn. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I think something is going on. I suspect time travel is most definitely involved. And I think the disappearance of Rip Hunter is also involved. I would love to see Rip return, maybe with his father, Booster Gold. I think the time paradoxes are only getting started and they will get more and more complex.  The four shows, but especially The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, will have a bang-up complexly-related “super-crossover” feel by the end of this season. Maybe they will even change the “Supergirl is it’s own universe with no other Heroes” left over from last year when Supergirl was on CBS. Have I mentioned how that never made sense?

But I have to say, I love, just love, how all the DC shows are inter-related, just the way the comics are. Yes, you could just watch one or two of the shows – and you wouldn’t be lost. But when you watch all four, everything is connected. Also, just as is traditional for DC – all the Heroes know each other: they know each other’s real names; they know each others allies, friends and family; they know each other’s superpowers; and they work together when needed to overcome major threats (as in this year’s 4-part crossover event). That’s something that’s always been important in the DC Comics Universe. The heroes cooperate with each other. They don’t see each other as threats or rivals. When I first read Justice League International (later Justice League America / Justice League Europe) in the late 1980s and early 1990s – every hero, from the most powerful like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, to the ones who really had no powers at all, like Blue Beetle and Booster Gold were members of the Justice League. In between the two extremes were a lot of single power individuals such as Fire, Ice, Black Canary, Vixen – all of whom were female. There were many minorities in the League as well, including John Stewart – the Green Lantern at the time and an African American. And there were the magic users: Zatanna, Dr. Fate, etc. There was something for everyone, and a well-balanced League. Young Justice, the animated series, although it had a modern aesthetic and look, also reflected the width and breadth of the Justice League with many female and minority characters or both (Rocket and Bumblebee are both African American young women). The CW Shows have women and minorities on every show. And the women are not simply there as set dressing or to be rescued by the “male hero” – they are smart, educated, career-oriented women (reporter, scientist, computer expert), minorities have viable roles (engineer, army veteran), and Legends of Tomorrow has a balanced team of women and men with minorities on the team. Plus, you have to love a team of self-styled “screw-ups” who manage to be heroes, um, excuse me, Legends, anyway. The CW Network is doing a better job at this point of doing live action DC stories that Warner Brothers is doing with the films – though Suicide Squad was fun (though Arrow did a suicide squad storyline in it’s first or second season) and I have high hopes for Wonder Woman.

Supergirl Season 1 Review

  • Series Title:  Supergirl
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 20
  • Discs: 5
  • Network: CBS
  • Cast: Melissa Benoist, Chyler Leigh, Mehcad Brooks, Jeremy Jordan, David Harewood, Calista Flockhart

Do see my Supergirl Pilot Review for my initial impressions of this series. However, it got better – much better. Although the early episodes seemed very much to be “Supergirl verses monster/villain of the week”, the season developed and once it moved into a continued storyline it improved immensely. The entire cast did a good job – after the pilot, Supergirl, her sister, Alex, and Hank from the DEO all improved, and from the very beginning I liked Winn and James Olsen. Although the structure of the show is similar to the other DC shows (on the CW), especially The FlashSupergirl did find it’s footing rather quickly in it’s first season.

Cat Grant, played beautifully by Calista Flockhart, was the most inconsistently-written character on the show. Some of the series’ writers seemed to believe a powerful woman must be a complete bitch and not in a good way (“The Devil wears Prada” stereotype). Yet, Cat could also be very strong, remarkably sensible, and the arc of her relationship with Kara shows her to be a mentor and a tough teacher. The last scene between the two of them in the season was a complete surprise. It should have been predictable and it wasn’t – making that arc work. We also see the reasons for some of Cat’s actions – and even her inconsistency. And meeting her mother really explains a lot about Cat (in short not only does her mother have Cat’s occasional meanness – but she’s snobbish and pushy as well).

The remaining characters surrounding Supergirl/Kara have their ups and downs as well – and the season has that rollercoaster feel we know so well from the CW shows. But Supergirl has it’s own tone as well. The tone of the show is hope, and unity, and strength that comes from working together rather in constant competition. Cat holds up Supergirl as a symbol of hope to National City. Kara explains to Winn that the S on her chest isn’t an S – it’s the crest of the House of El, whose motto is “Stronger Together”. The finale of the series rests on hope to defeat Myriad and the Kryptonian criminals from Ft. Rozz – the Kryptonian prison that landed on Earth. The series sees positivity as important, and human, and a real American value. It therefore stands against snark, meanness, rudeness, and especially racism and hatred of the other. From a senator’s anti-alien rallies and anti-Supergirl rhetoric to an army general’s statement that James Olsen “isn’t good enough for his daughter” – this series subtly but consistently fights against racism, hatred, and the darkness. In these times that is a strong and brave message – especially in a series that is aimed at pre-teen and teen-aged girls. That isn’t to say that adults can’t enjoy the show – it’s very much all-ages, but at least the first half of the season seemed very much to pitching itself towards that demographic audience.

As a quick glance through my blog will show, I’m a long-time DC fan, so I also appreciated the references and characters that were brought into the first season of Supergirl. Red Tornado and his creator, Dr. T.O. Morrow, were perfect. And I really enjoyed seeing Martian Manhunter – one of my favorite lesser-known characters as a regular. Maxwell Lord is also a regular – and is correctly portrayed as a very gray character. Grant Gustin’s the Flash also makes an appearance in an excellent episode called, “World’s Finest”. I hope the second season brings in more DC characters.

Season 2 of Supergirl will air on the CW, which is where this show should have been from the beginning. Overall, I recommend this show. And if you have a pre-teen or teenaged daughter, or niece or friend’s daughter – by all means introduce them to the show.

Supergirl Pilot Review

Oh Supergirl, what happened? I’m really hoping the show improves because Monday night was such a disappointment. Now, I know it was just a pilot – and sometimes a bad pilot results in a good show. And it wasn’t “bad” just not as good as I had hoped. And pilots do have a difficult job – you have to introduce everyone and the situation, and the world and it’s rules (especially for fantasy) but both Gotham and The Flash (and even Arrow) had better opening episodes than Supergirl.

First, Supergirl seemed incredibly derivative. Kara Danvers seemed way too much like Felicity from Arrow. I’d noticed this in the on-line trailers I’d seen but I hoped it would work to the show’s favor. Kara should be a strong character, an inspiration to young girls, both in her “real” life and as a superhero. One reason I really love Felicity is she’s a normal person – and she uses her own talents – rather than trying to be whom others tell her to be. Kara seems to constantly strive to “fit in” as she says, to do what everyone else tells her to do, to let others, especially male characters defend her, and to not stand up for what she believes. This isn’t a “feminist” hero.

The rest of the cast is derivative too. Oh, look, Kara has her own “Jimmy Olsen” type – Winn. And the “real” Jimmy, now using the more adult name, James, has just started working at Cat Grant’s Worldwide Media. But, of course, the one character from Superman we might expect to see, the Big Blue Boy Scout himself – Superman, isn’t in the pilot. If others were going to make Kara to accept her identity anyway – why not have Superman show up and actually talk to his cousin? A serious discussion between the two might have made Kara’s flip-flops on becoming Supergirl a lot easier to take.

Then there’s Cat Grant. Cat’s a minor DC character, usually a reporter, whom I’ve seen in a number of DC shows, including Young Justice and Batman: The Animated Series. She’s their generic “girl reporter”. So, they bring her in as the head of a multi-media empire – great, and then go all Devil-wears-Prada when writing her. Pleeeeeeeeaaaaase! Why, why, oh why, does a powerful woman have to be a bitch (and not in the good sense)? Why does a powerful woman have to abuse her “underlings” even worse than a male boss? Why couldn’t Cat be shown as an intelligent, inclusive person who values the input of her fellow employees? And Cat’s retrofit explanation for “Supergirl”, rather than Kara’s suggestion of “Superwoman” made me squirm. Cat’s a “girl”? No, she’s a powerful woman. Not to mention Kara gets belittled again when she’s not even allowed to choose her own name. (Yes, as a long-time DC fan, I know that the “Superwoman” name is, actually, already being used – and for an alternate universe “evil” Superman/Wonder Woman hybrid character.) I also realise the show has to be Supergirl – but at least it should have been Kara taking on that name. Actually the scene would have played better in reverse – Cat suggesting “SuperWoman” and Kara suggesting “Supergirl”.

Moving on to the episode itself. The rescuing the plane scene was very cool – but totally spoiled by the on-line trailers. And I’m not a big fan of spoilers, so I didn’t even look for every trailer – but that was in the main one. Alex, Kara’s adoptive sister changed sides more times than a tennis ball in a championship match, so when she finally decided that she was loyal to Kara and that Kara should be Supergirl – it almost came off as artificial. And Alex’s boss is an evil twit, but, yet again, he’s a somewhat standard and derivative character (for both Marvel and DC actually).

One of the best moments in the entire episode was actually Kara getting the hologram from her mother. I hope (but I don’t expect) that the series deals with Kara remembering her former life on Krypton. After all, if she left home at 13 she’d remember something (unlike Clark Kent / Superman who, since he left Krypton as a baby would remember nothing of his previous life or planet.)

I also like that both James Olsen and Kara’s friend, Winn, know who she is (as well as, obviously, her sister, Alex). It might be interesting to bring Cat into that circle.

I do plan to continue to tune in. It’s a shame Supergirl and Gotham are on at the same time. But I really hope for some improvement.