DC Comics Live-Action TV Master Post

For some time now I have been watching and reviewing various DC Comics-based live-action television series from a number of different sources. Although a few series, including notable ones, pre-date what eventually became known as the Arrowverse, the CW’s DC shows really started this trend of high-quality television shows based on DC Comics.

There are three broad categories of DC Comics shows: The Arrowverse, DC Universe, and Other. Also, some shows that would be considered other, such as Constantine have been retroactively folded into the Arrowverse. And Crisis on Infinite Earths actually implied that many earlier classic DC shows, such as the Adam West and Burt Ward Batman series (aka “Batman ’66”) take place in the same multiverse but on different Earths. So DC is big, it’s complicated and there’s a lot. And while I don’t profess to have seen every single DC show out there, although I have seen many. So this post hopes to clear up some of the confusion and provide links to my previous reviews in one big post.

The Arrowverse

Starting on the CW network in 2012 with Arrow, the Arrowverse has grown to include seven ongoing series and counting. and although Arrow itself ended in 2020, the universe spun off from it continues to grow and grow. A Superman series starring Clark and Lois and their children is now planned for 2021, and Arrow itself hinted in the final two episodes of Season 8 for a possible Green Lantern or Green Lantern Corps series and a possible Birds of Prey. And, Spoiler Alert, Crisis on Infinite Earths laid the ground work for a possible Justice League series. So the Arrowverse is not ending, despite it’s flagship ending after eight seasons.

Arrow

Based on Green Arrow, but modernized, Arrow follows millionaire Oliver Queen who returns to his home, Starling (later Star) City after being presumed dead for five years. The series saw several other DC characters both heroes and villains making appearances as regulars, semi-regulars, or in one-off and two-off appearances. The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow spun off directly from Arrow.

Read my Review of Arrow Season 1
Read my Review of Arrow Season 2
Read my Review of Arrow Season 3
Read my Review of Arrow Season 4
Read my Review of Arrow Season 5
Read my Review of Arrow Season 6
Read my Review of Arrow Season 7
Read my Review of Arrow Season 8

The Flash

Spun off directly from Arrow, The Flash features CSI Barry Allen who becomes a speedster after being hit by lightning during the Particle Accelerator accident in Central City. Barry uses his newfound ability for super speed to fight crime, stop evil metahumans, and help good metahumans. He works with his friends and teammates at Star Labs and continues to work at the Central City PD as a CSI. Like Arrow, The Flash brings in a number of DC Characters both as regulars and as usually one-off villains of the week.

Read my Review of The Flash Season 1
Read my Review of The Flash Season 2
Read my Review of The Flash Season 3
Read my Review of The Flash Season 4
Read my Review of The Flash Season 5
Read my Review of The Flash Season 6

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (aka “Legends of Tomorrow” or simply “Legends”)

Also spun off directly from Arrow and The Flash in a two-part back-door pilot, Legends is an original series, bringing together a number of characters that had previously appeared on either The Flash or Arrow as well as new characters from DC Comics. Not only is Legends a team show, but the cast routinely rotates as new characters are added and older ones leave. The cast is different for each season. The general premise of Legends of Tomorrow is that a group of “B-list” and “screw-ups” who time travel for a purpose that, in general, changes each season. Their ship is the Waverider and it’s integrated AI is Gideon.

Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 1
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 2
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 3
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 5

Supergirl

The first season of Supergirl actually aired on CBS not The CW but it had one of the same producers (Greg Berlanti) as the previous CW Arrowverse series, and even it’s first season had crossover episodes with The Flash. Since the second season, Supergirl has been on the CW. Supergirl is Kara Zor-El, cousin of Superman (Kal-el, aka Clark Kent). When Krypton was about to be destroyed Kara’s parents but her in a pod (a small spaceship) to go to Earth to watch over baby Kal-el. But Kara’s pod was “knocked off course” (and stuck in the Phantom Zone) for a while before finally being freed. When Kara finally landed on Earth, Clark was all grown-up and unable to care for a teenaged girl. He arranged for Kara to be raised by the Danvers family. And even though Jeremiah Danvers disappeared and was presumed dead for years, Kara found herself being raised by the foster family of the Danvers including mother, Eliza, and sister, Alex. We join Kara in Central City, a young adult, and intern at Catco Worldwide Media, whereas her sister Alex works for the DEO. As with other Arrowverse series, a number of DC characters are introduced in Supergirl, including Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz) who becomes a regular.

Read my Review of Supergirl Season 1
Read my Review of Supergirl Season 2
Read my Review of Supergirl Season 3
Read my Review of Supergirl Season 4
Read my Review of Supergirl Season 5

Black Lightning

Initially thought by many to be “separate” from the Arrowverse despite airing on the CW, the producers did say it was in the same general universe. With Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) appearing in Crisis on Infinite Earths the show is now officially part of the Arrowverse. Black Lightning was stated to take place on a different Earth. It’s not clear if Freeland has been re-located to Earth Prime like National City or if it is on one of the Earths that were spared like the DC Universe shows. Once upon a time, Jefferson Pierce was Black Lightning, an African-American superhero in the city of Freeland. But when he was injured too often, his wife divorced him, and he found himself raising two young daughters – Jefferson figuratively hung up his cape. Several years later, Jefferson again becomes Black Lighting. Over the course of two seasons, it becomes clear his daughters also have superpowers, with the older daughter, Anissa becoming Thunder and the younger daughter, Jennifer, slowly coming to terms with having powers. Black Lightning Season 3 aired in 2019-2020.

Read my Review of Black Lightning Season 1
Read my Review of Black Lightning Season 2

Batwoman

Batwoman is Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne’s cousin. She is a lesbian who is out and proud, but being outed at West Point torpedoed her dream of a military career. She returns to Gotham City, where Bruce has been missing for three years. Although initially hesitant like many superheroes on the CW, Kate becomes Batwoman and faces off against a season-long villain. Batwoman definitely takes place in the same universe as Arrow, Legends, The Flash, and Supergirl as Kate/Batwoman (Ruby Rose) has appeared in the Elseworlds and Crisis on Infinite Earths crossovers. The initial storyline is based on the graphic novel, Elegy by Greg Rucka. Unfortunately, due to the Pandemic Season 1 wasn’t completed. Ruby Rose, the lead actor, has left the series. The title role of Batwoman has been re-cast. It isn’t known yet if the new actress will play Kate and they will ignore the fact that it’s someone new or if she will be playing a new character. However, Season 2 will run on the CW in 2021.

Read my Review of Batwoman Season 1

DC Universe

Stargirl

Stargirl was originally transmitted on DC Comics streaming service, DC Universe, but also aired the same time (well, the day after) on the CW. The series is a transitional one, belonging to both DC Universe and the CW. In Crisis on Infinite Earths, Stargirl, Doom Patrol, Titans, and Swamp Thing were all shown to take place on their own individual Earths.

Stargirl follows Courtney, a teenaged girl in a blended family who has recently moved to Blue Valley Nebraska from California. Courtney discovers the Cosmic Staff which belonged to the deceased Justice Society of America hero, Starman. Courtney’s step-father was Starman’s sidekick, Stripey. Courtney and her friends from high school, over the course of the first season, become members of a junior JSA and face-off against the Injustice Society.

Read my Review of Stargirl Season 1

Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol is one of the strangest and most surreal television shows I’ve ever watched. It’s not your average television show. The series also addresses psychological health conditions in a fairly direct manner. The team all have serious issues that go beyond their special abilities. In many ways, the only way to truly understand this team show is to watch it. Doom Patrol was transmitted on DC Comics streaming service, DC Universe. Future seasons will air on HBO Max.

Read my Review of Doom Patrol Season 1

Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing originally was transmitted on DC Comics streaming service, DC Universe. In the Summer/Fall of 2020 it was rerun on the CW network. The character of Swamp Thing started in Vertigo Comics, DC’s original “mature readers” imprint before being brought into the DC Universe proper. Dr. Abby Arcane is an infectious disease specialist for the CDC who is sent to the small town of Marais in Louisiana to investigate a new, dangerous, and possibly deadly disease they call the “green flu”. Abby meets Dr. Alec Holland, a discredited botanist, who is studying the local swamp for a businessman named Avery Sunderland. Holland needs to rebuild his reputation. But Avery sends his goon squad after Holland, causing him to fall into the swamp and become the half-Alec, half-walking, talking, living plant and Guardian of the Green. Swamp Thing is a horror series, but it’s also a Beauty and the Beast tale and in many ways, a mystery series – as everyone in Marais is hiding dark secrets, including Abby. Unfortunately, the series was canceled early in its first season. However, it gained fan and critical acclaim on DC Universe and it is doing well on the CW. With many scripted series on hiatus due to Corvid19, there is always a possibility that the CW or HBO Max will bring the show back.

Read my Review of Swamp Thing The Complete Series

Titans

Titans was transmitted on DC Comics streaming service, DC Universe. Future seasons will be on HBO Max. Titans is a more grown-up, darker, and grittier version of the Teen Titans animated series. In DC Comics both titles Teen Titans and Titans have been used for this team (as well as New Teen Titans). Led by Dick Greyson who eventually claims the superhero name of Nightwing, Titans also features Raven, Beast Boy, Jason Todd’s Robin, and Starfire. However, especially in the first season, this series is about building a team and the characters becoming the characters we know they will eventually be – which is why when we first see Dick, he’s a police officer, and when we meet Raven – she’s a runaway. I also felt like the two seasons actually felt like one long season. Titans is definitely worth watching but it does require some patience – don’t expect a team that’s worked together for years from episode one, but they are getting there.

Read my Review of Titans Season 1
Read my Review of Titans Season 2

Other

Batman (aka “Batman 1966”)

Batman starting Adam West and Burt Ward was the extremely popular 1960s series shot in Technicolor with two half-hour episodes (the first ending on a cliffhanger) forming each story. The show is bright and colorful, has a somewhat campy style but not quite as much as one might think. It’s also a very formula-driven show. Still, it’s a classic. 

Read my Review of Batman (1966) Season 1

Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey is loosely based on the various DC Comics comic book series about an all-female superhero team headed by Barbara Gordon. This series is set in New Gotham and features Barbara Gordon (Oracle), Helena Kyle (Huntress), and Black Canary’s teenaged daughter, Dinah, who is starting to develop her own powers. This series follows Dinah learning about her powers, Helena learning to control her metahuman abilities, and Oracle not only running the Birds of Prey. Oracle is a computer expert, hacker, and tactical expert, but she is an awesome fighter herself. Unfortunately, the series only lasted one season.

Read my Review of Birds of Prey the Complete Series

Constantine

The character of John Constantine comes from Vertigo Comics where he was first introduced in Swamp Thing. He was popular enough to be imported into regular mainstream DC Comics in various series (Constantine, Hellblazer, John Constantine Hellblazer, as a lead character in Justice League Dark, etc.). And although Constantine the series was originally on NBC for one short season, the CW brought the actor (Mark Ryan) and character back, first in a guest role in Arrow, then in a featured guest (semi-regular) role on Legends of Tomorrow, and finally as a regular on Legends. So, this is a character who is so popular he keeps coming back. John Constantine is a magician, spellcaster, exorcist, magic-user, and con man. He also tends to be very unlucky – magic always has a price and for John that often means losing the people he cares about, thus his rather gruff manner. The original Constantine series establishes who Constantine is, what he does, and explores his world. But it ends much too early.

Read my Review of Constantine the Complete Series

The Flash (1990)

This series aired on CBS and was the first attempt to build a show around the character of The Flash as a weekly television series that I know of and despite a good cast, the series watched now, definitely has its flaws. However, the lead actor, John Wesley Shipp, has been a regular on the modern The Flash series on the CW, playing that Barry Allen’s father, Henry Allen (an admirable character) as well as characters from various other Earths. Also, the Flash of “Earth-90” was an important character in Crisis on Infinite Earths, so in a way, this version of The Flash has been folded into the Arrowverse retroactively. On its own, though, this series is about the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, a police scientist who gains his super-speed in a lab accident and from a lightning strike. The first half of the series has Barry catching regular criminals and the second half introduces more supervillain type characters.

Read my Review of The Flash (1990) The Complete Series

Gotham

How did Bruce Wayne become Batman? Gotham attempts to answer that question, introducing Bruce as a young boy who has just lost his parents to a violent crime and is now being raised by Alfred Pennyworth. But the series quickly becomes about some of the most famous villains in the Batman canon and how they came to be who they are. And it’s the story of a time and a place, the story of a city – the city of Gotham. Gotham is stylishly directed – the show looks gorgeous and weaves together the old and the modern seamlessly (everything tends to look very historical – yet the characters carry cell phones). Gotham is also very much set in a different universe, with no connections to the Arrowverse or anything other than the next series on my list, Pennyworth.

Read my Review of Gotham Season 1
Read my Review of Gotham Season 2
Read my Review of Gotham Season 3
Read my Review of Gotham Season 4
Read my Review of Gotham Season 5

Pennyworth

Pennyworth is the story of Alfred before he was Alfred. That is, this is a young Alfred Pennyworth, just out of the army and the SAS. The series was created, produced, and largely written by Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon who developed Gotham and I consider Pennyworth to be a prequel to Gotham. It’s set in an alternate universe (World War II appears to be ongoing, even though it’s also the 1960s, we assume). Pennyworth is at times dark and violent, but I absolutely loved it, as I had really liked Gotham. Alfred Pennyworth is trying to make a name for himself, wants to start his own security business, ends-up working for Martha Kane (not yet married to Thomas), and meets Thomas Wayne though he doesn’t get along with Thomas at first. Alfred also seems to fall into situations that cause him to have to do the opposite of what he says he wants to do. That is, for a man who keeps saying he wants nothing more to do with violence and that he doesn’t want to work for spies or special operatives – he ends up doing precisely that. The show was brilliant.

Read my Review of Pennyworth Season 1

Lois and Clark

“Superman as a romantic comedy? Yeah, let’s do that,” is pretty much how this show seemed to come about. But it’s also incredibly fun, with a light romantic touch combined with SF plots that show a great amount of originality and fun. Lois and Clark is light, fun, enjoyable, funny, and full of high adventure. Even when they try to be serious, this show just has that feel-good, everything will work out feeling of a good romantic film.

Read my Review of Lois and Clark Season 1
Read my Review of Lois and Clark Season 2
Read my Review of Lois and Clark Season 3
Read my Review of Lois and Clark Season 4

Wonder Woman

It’s hard to remember just how important this series was. At the time it was made, there were no other female superheroes on television or in the movies. And there were few other superhero shows at all. The Wonder Woman series, starring Lynda Carter, taught a generation of women they could be heroes too – and that being a hero didn’t mean you couldn’t be kind. Diana is strong, principled, and more than anything, she is kind. And even though it looks a bit dated now, and the stories are largely stand-alone, it’s still something to see.

Read my Review of Wonder Woman Season 1
Read my Review of Wonder Woman Season 2
Read my Review of Wonder Woman Season 3

And that’s everything up to this point for live-action DC Shows. I’m waiting for the DVD/Blu-Ray releases of Black Lightning Season 3, Doom Patrol Season 2 and Pennyworth Season 2. The Arrowverse shows will not air until 2021. Titans is apparently just starting to film again and moves to HBO Max.

Cast of black Lightning on Blue Background

Black Lightning Season 2 Review

  • Series Title: Black Lightning
  • Season: Season 2
  • Episodes: 16
  • Discs: 3 (DVD)
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, Christine Adams, James Remar, Damon Gupton
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

This review contains spoilers for Season 2 of Black Lightning.

Season 2 picks up where Season 1 of Black Lightning left off, with the death of Proctor and the exposure of Green Light as a Rogue Operation. Lynn gets a job working with the “pod kids”, some of whom have been in stasis since the original vaccine experiment from the 1980s and others who are recent kids exposed to Green Light. Agent Odell of the ASA is now in charge of the pods. Meanwhile, Jefferson loses his job as principal of Garfield High and returns to teaching. Inspector Henderson has figured out Jefferson is Black Lightning and Anissa is Thunder.

Lynn and Odell do not see eye to eye about the pod kids. Whereas Lynn is concerned about the children’s’ well-being and wants to care for them, Odell views them as weapons and tools. He even seems to believe the US is in a “meta-human arms race” with Markovia. However, even though Lynn and Odell do not agree, Odell cannot exclude Lynn entirely because he needs her expertise. However, he does force her to work with Dr. Jace another expert in Meta-humans who is also completely ruthless and uncaring.

Jennifer learns to come to terms with her powers throughout the season. She starts not wanting her powers and wanting nothing to do with being different. But when Anissa blurts out that she is Thunder and their father is Black Lightning at first Jennifer is hurt – she even runs away with her boyfriend. But eventually, Jennifer learns to accept herself and her powers. She even gets a suit by the end of the season. Jennifer’s boyfriend, Khalil returns and continues to text Jennifer and drop by to see her. At first, Jennifer pushes him away, but after finding out about Jefferson and Anissa – she and Khalil run away. Tobias Whale had pushed Khalil to kill the preacher, Rev. Holt because he was standing in the way of one of Whale’s business deals. But Khalil can’t kill an unarmed holy man. He warns Holt, who t first takes it as a threat. But Khalil, to his credit, explains that Whale wants Holt dead – not him, so he better leave. Because Khalil refused to execute the hit – Whale puts a price on his head. Khalil and Jennifer go on the run. Whale sends another assassin after them, named Cutter. Jennifer is forced to reveal her powers to Khalil which brings them closer together. Eventually, the two realize they can’t run forever – and they return to the Pierce household. Jefferson and Lynn convince Khalil to turn himself in and Inspector Henderson arranges for witness protection. Unfortunately, Cutter stops the caravan, kills everyone, and takes Khalil to Tobias Whale. Whale rips out Khalil’s artificial spine. A few episodes later Khalil dies.

Tobias Whale is back, and has a brief relationship with Cutter, his assassin – though, by the end of the season, he kicks her out. He also takes on a young hacker to get into Proctor’s briefcase. The hacker breaks the briefcase’s firewalls and eventually gets into the real information on the briefcase – four criminal metahumans, the Masters of Disaster, are stored in pods and hidden under Rev. Holt’s Free Clinic. The Hacker finds the location and then Tobias Whale breaks in and takes them. He also hires Dr. Jace, who by this point has gotten thrown off of Odell’s team. Jace helps Whale get the Masters of Disaster out of the pods. Whale, Jace, and Cutter also organize a raid on the ASA’s holding facility and steal as many of the pod kids as they can. When the Hacker is at the end of his usefulness – Whale has Cutter kill him.

Anissa also develops a secondary vigilante/hero persona, Blackbird, who steals from area drug dealers and other criminals and gives the money to Rev. Holt at the church for good causes such as fending off bids to buy the Free Clinic. Anissa also returns to her girlfriend, Grace, who suddenly disappears. Anissa spends the rest of the season looking for Grace. Unknown to her, Grace is some sort of metahuman, but we don’t know the exact details of her powers.

By the end of the season, Jefferson has torpedoed the opportunity to get his principal job back. Lynn has finally walked out of her job working with Odell since there are no kids left. Tobias is as powerful as ever. Jennifer is accepting her powers. And Anissa is balancing two superhero personas and her personal life (she’s still a med student too).

Read my Review of Black Lightning Season 1.

The Flash Season 6 Review

  • Series: The Flash
  • Season: 6
  • Episodes: 19 (Plus Crisis on Infinite Earths 5-episode disc)
  • Discs: 4 (Plus Crisis)
  • Cast: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Hartley Sawyer, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Efrat Dor
  • Network: CW (Warner Brothers Productions)
  • DVD Format: Color, Widescreen

This review contains spoilers for Season 6 of The Flash.

Season 6 of The Flash can be broken into three distinct parts. In the first eight episodes, Barry is dealing with the Monitor having told him The Flash must die in Crisis. He tells Iris, then his team, names Cisco as the new team leader, and tries to deal with his fate. There is also a creepy new villain, Bloodwork, from the Rebirth comic books of The Flash. Dr. Ramsey Rosso is an old friend of Caitlin’s who recently lost his mother to a rare form of cancer, a cancer he is now suffering from. He becomes obsessed with curing the disease, but uses dark matter to obtain a “cure”. His cure doesn’t actually work, it just turns people into zombies. The Bloodwork storyline was somewhat gross in the comics, and it the television series I didn’t care for it either, but fortunately, Team Flash catch Ramsey by episode 8 and turn him over to A.R.G.U.S.

Then there’s Crisis on Infinite Earths to be reviewed in full later. Crisis is big, it’s excellent, and it’s amazing just how much the CW was able to do – from the characters involved, to the cameos, to the world-shaking storyline, it’s wonderful. And the Blu-Ray edition of The Flash Season 6 includes all 5 episodes of Crisis on Infinite Earths on a single disc.

After Crisis, there’s one episode on the fallout from Crisis, then before long a new threat and season-long villain is introduced. Also, Ralph Dibny is on the case of his life – looking for the missing Sue Dearbon (in the comics, she’s his wife). Iris, publisher of the Central City Citizen online newspaper starts investigating Black Hole, a secret organization involved in illegal activities such as murder for hire and blackmail, but before she can get very far – she’s dragged into the Mirror Universe dimension and replaced with a duplicate. Her duplicate is working for Eva McCulloch, who’s been trapped in the Mirrorverse since the particle accelerator explosion six years ago. Eva controls the duplicate Iris and is using her to drain Barry’s speed. We later find out she has two other duplicates under her control, and the originals are captives somewhere in the Mirrorverse. It takes most of the season before Barry realizes that his wife is missing – and when he does it’s very sudden.

Unfortunately, due to the Global Pandemic of Corvid19 The Flash, like all the other CW shows, had to shut down the set. The last three episodes of the season were not filmed. I checked online and they are being moved to Season 7. CW has also announced they are moving the Fall 2020 premieres to January of 2021 at the earliest. What’s particularly difficult about Season 6 of The Flash is it ends with a “To Be Continued” title card. And Eva has managed to free herself from the Mirrorverse. Iris and Kamilla are still trapped. We’ve discovered who the third duplicate is, and Iris is trying to find him in the Mirrorverse. Iris is also suffering from something in the Mirrorverse that gives her severe headaches and blurry/doubled vision. Eva told her the Mirrorverse causes Cognitive Dissonance – but like we can trust her, right? Meanwhile, after her escape, Eva killed her husband, Joseph Carver, the head of Black Hole, resumed her position as CEO of McCulloch Technologies, and framed Sue Dearbon for the murder. Eva is ruthless, and she does some bad things (murder and framing someone, taking Iris, Kamilla, and the third person captive) but she’s a lot more understandable than most superhero show villains. After all, her husband imprisoned her, alone, in another universe. He never even tried to get her out or asked for help. Plus he’s running a criminal organization from inside his corporation, kidnapping metas and training them to be assassins, and running a murder-for-hire scheme. Not to mention the blackmail (including Sue’s parents). He’s not a good guy, and while murder was a bit of an extreme punishment, he kind of deserved it. I cheered when Eva finally got rid of him. But Barry and company need to get Iris and Kamilla (and the third person) out of the Mirrorverse. I also liked having two different villains and a three-part season. I liked that a lot. The season-long villains don’t always work in The Flash and two completely different stories, plus Crisis on Infinite Earths was a better structure.

Read my Review of The Flash Season 1
Read my Review of The Flash Season 2
Read my Review of The Flash Season 3
Read my Review of The Flash Season 4
Read my Review of The Flash Season 5

Arrow Season 2 Review

  • Series: Arrow
  • Season: 2
  • Episodes: 23
  • Discs: 5
  • Cast: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Caity Lotz, David Ramsey, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Colton Haynes, Paul Blackthorne, David Nykl
  • Network:  CW (Warner Brothers Productions)
  • DVD Format: Color, Widescreen

This review includes Spoilers for Season 2 of Arrow.

“I have come home with only one goal … to save my city. But to do so I can’t be the killer I once was. To honor my friend’s memory, I must be someone else. I must be something else.” – Oliver Queen, the Arrow

Deeply affected by Tommy Merlyn’s death at the end of Season 1, Oliver leaves Starling City and returns to Lian Yu to think things through. Felicity and John Diggle fly a small plane to pick him up and convince him to return to Starling City. Once back in his home city, Oliver vows he will not kill to obtain his goal of saving his city.

In Starling City, a new female, blond woman in black leather and a mask is helping women by attacking would-be muggers and rapists. She’s friends with Roy’s friend, Sin (Cindy) a street kid. Oliver wonders about this new vigilante, and initially wants to stop her. That changes when he finds out she is actually Sara Lance, whom it was thought also died when the Gambit went down. Sara works with Oliver off and on throughout Season 2 (she will eventually spin off into her own series, Legends of Tomorrow).

The flashbacks in Season 2 follow Oliver’s experiences on the Island, taking place immediately after the flashbacks in Season 1. Oliver is taken prisoner by Professor Ivo on the freighter, Amazo, and Sara appears to be working with Ivo. Ivo is also keeping a motley crew of prisoners from multiple countries, people who have been shipwrecked and “rescued” by Ivo. Ivo is searching for the Mirakuru a World War II Era Japanese miracle drug that’s meant to turn men into super soldiers. Sara and Ollie become allies. One of the prisoners on the ship is Anatoly Knyazev.

Back in Starling City, Moira Queen is on trial for the murder of 503 people in the Glades – the total number of people killed by The Undertaking’s earthquake machine. With Malcolm Merlyn presumed dead, the new DA and the city want someone to blame and Moira is chosen, despite her eleventh-hour press conference to warn people. Moira eventually tells her lawyer she will take a plea deal to avoid court because she is afraid of what family secrets will come out. At this point, the audience doesn’t know her Big Secret – but having seen Season 2 and all of Arrow before during this re-watch it’s obvious: Moira doesn’t want anyone, especially Thea, to know that she had an affair with Malcolm Merlyn years ago and Thea is actually his daughter, not Robert’s. This secret and who knows about it and how they react when they find out becomes a major theme of Season 2. And this actually helps the season tremendously and keeps things interesting because it creates family drama and it creates an emotional stake for Oliver. Thea, especially, has trouble accepting her mother’s secrets, lies, and faults. Moira, however, is acquitted on all charges during her trial.

Sebastian Blood, supposedly an orphan who grew up on the city streets before eventually becoming an alderman from the Glades is publically running for mayor. Privately, he is “Brother Blood” – and wears a skull mask and leads a group of men who terrorize and harass the city. Brother Blood works as a bad guy at first, but it is obvious someone is pulling his strings. Blood also just really wants to be mayor and to re-make Starling City in his image to help the people. And, like last year’s Undertaking, and this year’s ultimate villain, Blood is willing to use extreme measures to get what he wants. At times Blood seems to be someone who will simply let the Ends Justify the Means because he really does want to just help the city. At other times, he’s just as much of a villain as any major bad guy on Arrow. So Sebastian is complicated, right to the end of the season, which also makes Season 2 very enjoyable and interesting to watch.

The main villain of Season 2 is Deathstroke, Slade Wilson. By using both flashbacks to the Island and Ivo’s boat, and the story in modern-day Starling City, we see Slade Wilson’s entire journey – from jaded Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer, sent to Lian Yu to extract Yae Fei, to Mirakuru-enhanced super-assassin and supervillain. In a sense, it is Oliver and Sara who create Slade, by injecting him with Mirakuru to save his life. However, when Ivo challenges Oliver to choose who lives and who dies – Sara or Shado, and Oliver risks his own life to save Sara, Slade blames Oliver for Shado’s death. He also seems to be obsessed/in love with her (he says) despite never showing any interest in her before.

On the Island and Ivo’s boat, there is a lot of running around looking for the Mirakuru and then a lot of “who has it” and “who wants it”. Most of the Mirakuru is destroyed by the end of the season’s flashbacks, but since Slade was injected with it, he carries a sample with him. Ivo also developed a “cure” for the Mirakuru that counteracts the negative effects (hallucinations, paranoia, etc.), which is something Oliver spends some time towards the end of the season looking for in the flashbacks. Once the Mirakuru shows up in modern-day Starling City, it’s something Oliver and his associates are constantly looking for, especially after Roy is captured and injected with the Mirakuru serum.

Besides bringing in Sara Lance as the Canary, and explaining where she’s been for five years (working for the League of Assassins who trained her). Season 2 also brings in Barry Allen, a forensic scientist from Central City, who comes to Starling City after a strange robbery at Queen Consolidated. Barry and Felicity hit it off. Throughout the season news reports mention the Particle Accelerator that Dr. Harrison Wells, has built in Central City and that some people oppose out of fear. By the end of the episode, “The Scientist”, we see Barry being hit by lightning in his lab during the Particle Accelerator explosion. Throughout the season, we hear references to Barry being in a coma, as well as Felicity visiting a few times. Caitlyn Snow and Cisco Ramon also visit Felicity and Oliver to help with the production of the Marikuru cure. However, Barry does not wake-up from his coma yet.

Thea runs Verdant, formerly Oliver’s club, and she begins dating Roy Harper (the rough kid from The Glades who stole her purse). Nothing is mentioned of her own run-in with the law last year. At first, Thea is angry and hurt by her mother’s involvement in the Undertaking, but she eventually comes around and forgives her mother. Thea is also close to Oliver. But when Oliver finds out that Malcolm Merlyn is Thea’s father, he gets so angry at Moira that he cuts ties with her. He doesn’t tell Thea what he found out, thinking it would destroy her. This is a big mistake on Oliver’s part.

After her acquittal – Moira is approached by city businessmen, who convince her to run for mayor. The situation is difficult, and it leads to Thea being kidnapped. The kidnapper tells her the truth about Malcolm being her father – which causes Thea to be very angry at Oliver and Moira for lying to her. Moira seriously considers dropping out of the mayoral race but during a rally that she was going to use to make a concession speech, she gets caught up in the moment and decides to continue to run. It’s a fatal mistake. Deathstroke kidnaps Oliver, Thea, and Moira, and forces Oliver to choose between his sister and his mother. Moira sacrifices herself to save her children. Thea decides to leave Starling City. Oliver encourages her to go.

A woman named Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau) launches a hostile takeover of Queen Consolidated at the beginning of the season. With Walter Steele’s help, Oliver counters her bid, and Isabel and Oliver become uneasy partners. Oliver, however, doesn’t really have time to run his company, what with being the Arrow, and all his issues with his friends and family. Isabel thinks he should spend all his time at Queen Consolidated anyway. At the very end of the season, she is revealed to be working with Slade Wilson to get revenge on the Queen family because she was one of Robert Queen’s flings. She claims that Robert was going to leave his wife and family and marry her. She further claims that they were in the airport when he received a call from Moira that Thea was hurt – so he left. Isabel says she can’t understand it because she knew that Robert knew that Thea was Malcolm’s not his. When Slade creates his Marikuru army, Isabel also becomes a Marikuru soldier.

Slade succeeds in creating his Marikuru army, and proceeds to randomly attack the people of Starling City – he also hits major targets, killing the police commissioner, the DA, and several police officers. When Blood is appalled at the destruction in Starling City, and pulls his support from Slade, helping Oliver instead, including giving him the cure worked up by STAR Labs, Slade has Sebastion Blood killed. However, Oliver, Officer (formerly detective) Quentin Lance, Sara “Canary” Lance, Laurel Lance, John Diggle, and Felicity Smoak work together – and they succeed in bringing down Slade Wilson and capturing – not killing him. They also use the Marikuru crew to stop Slade’s army of soldiers without killing him.

I really liked Season 2 of Arrow. I think it may be my favorite season. Oliver’s determination to avoid killing people whenever possible is a good thing – and something he completely forgets later on. But I also like this season because of the new characters that are brought in. Sara Lance returns, now played by Caity Lotz, and she’s wonderful – and she and Oliver have real chemistry. Also, bringing in Sara means there are several meaningful plots with her family – including Laurel, Quentin, and her mother, Dinah (played by Alex Kingston). We also meet Nyssa al Ghul, Sara’s one-time lover who got her into the League of Assassins, something Sara is trying to leave. Oliver’s family in Season 2 is also an interesting plot complication. Thea is much more put together than the party girl she was in the previous season. Her boyfriend, Roy, and his friend Sin (whom I always liked) are important players in the season. Roy will continue to be part of Arrow throughout the 8-year run, though often as an off and on role. Sin, unfortunately, disappears. Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) shows-up a couple of times, basically trying to assert his “rights” as Thea’s father. Later on, he will bring her to Nanda Parbat to train her. We also meet Amanda Waller this season, and see more than just a cameo of Lyla Micheals, whom we find out is John’s ex-wife. John and Lyla renew their relationship and in one of the last episodes of the season, we find out Lyla is pregnant. (And actually, it’s Amanda who announces it with the line, “And that boy your carrying, or is it a girl, or did you want it to be a surprise?”) We also see one of the very first hints that Oliver really does love Felicity. Deathstroke is also a great villain, in part, because Oliver was on the Island with him for two years. And we see him both before he’s injected with the Marikuru and after. And hint – don’t inject an unstable spy with something that will make him even more unstable – just don’t. I also loved Oliver’s commitment to not killing and that he stuck with it even at the end of the season, finding a non-lethal way to take down the Marikuru soldiers and Deathstroke.

I highly, highly recommend Arrow Season 2. It really is my favorite. Though it is worth it to watch all of Arrow and the entire Arrowverse.

Read my Review of Arrow Season 1
Read my Review of Arrow Season 3
Read my Review of Arrow Season 4
Read my Review of Arrow Season 5
Read my Review of Arrow Season 6
Read my Review of Arrow Season 7
Read my Review of Arrow Season 8

Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Review

  • Series Title: Legends of Tomorrow
  • Season: Season 3
  • Episodes: 18
  • Discs: 4
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh, Arthur Darvill, Franz Drameh, Victor Garber, Maise Richardson-Sellers, Dominic Purcell, Nick Zano, Tala Ashe, Neal McDonough, Matt Ryan, Wentworth Miller, John Noble
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

This review will contain spoilers for Season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow.

Season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow picks up where Season 2 left off, with the Legends discovering they “broke time”. However, no sooner do they realize this than the team runs in to Rip Hunter. Hunter explains he’s spent the last five years building the Time Bureau specifically to deal with anachronisms caused by breaks to Time. The Legends borrow the Waverider again and set off to fix Time and remove the anachronisms.

The early episodes of Legends for Season 3 are pretty self-contained and stand-alone until “Crisis on Earth X” the massive four-show crossover event. After the crossover, the episodes flow into each other, but there is still a tendency for the stories to be somewhat self-contained, more so than other CW DC series.

Besides fixing anachronisms – and managing to make things worse, as usual for the Legends, they also learn that by breaking Time there is a danger that a demon by the name of Mallus will be released from its prison. The only way to stop Mallus is by gathering the six stones of the Zambesi tribe. Much of the season has the Legends accidentally or intentionally gathering the stones, which represent: Spirit, Death, Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. Amalya has the Spirit totem, though at one point in the season it is stolen from her and the Legends have to get it back. In the third episode of the season, the Legend crew travels to a dystopian 2042 where Zari joins the crew. She possesses the Air Totem. Kuasa is a woman who possesses the Water Totem and is working with Damien Darhk. At first, Darhk seems to be up to his old tricks – causing anachronisms to help break the prison holding Mallus because he can. But when Mallus possesses his daughter, Nora, Darhk comes to realize that if the demon is released his daughter will die and he will lose her forever. The redemption of Damien Darhk is a fascinating story, especially considering he was the main villain for a year on Arrow and part of a threesome of villains on last year’s season of Legends of Tomorrow. Neal McDonough is brilliant in the part of Damien Darhk though so it is great to see him finally redeemed.

Season 3 brings in John Constantine played perfectly by Matt Ryan. Constantine is an accomplished magic user, though he also tends to have bad luck. Still, with a Time Demon as the “big bad” of the season, it makes perfect sense for Constantine to make an appearance. Constantine explains that the six stones can be used to defeat the demon, but he warns Sara about using the death totem herself. Sara ignores this advice, not because she’s stubborn, but she’s essentially fooled into using the Totem and then trapped. However, she manages to master it eventually, enough to use it against the demon when the time comes.

The Totems and Mallus are also tied in with Amalya’s history, including the destruction of her village, and the future history of her Totem (her village must be destroyed for the Totem to find its way to her granddaughter, Mari, who becomes the Detroit superheroine, Vixen.) Amalya, Nate, and the Legends, including Rip Hunter, despite their best efforts end-up breaking time in Zambesi, and Rip sacrifices himself so the Waverider can escape.

Sara takes the Waverider to Salvation in the Old West. The Legends meet up with Jonah Hex, but the town which is supposed to be a time travel blind spot – isn’t. Julius Ceasar and his Roman Legion, Leif Erickson’s sister and an attack phalanx of Vikings, and Blackbeard and his pirates, and of course – Mallus attack the town. But Amalya has figured out why simply attacking Mallus with the Totems didn’t work. The Totems must be used together. “Oh, like Voltron,” remarks Nate. The first attempt fails but in the second attempt the six Totem Bearers call forth beams of pure light which form a construct of good. Yes, these different colored beams of light that represent the elemental forces of the Totems do bring to mind Voltron – and the “being of pure good”? It’s Beebo! Beebo is a talking, fuzzy toy that a younger Martin Stein had bought for his daughter’s Hannukah present before he was accidentally sent through time to Vinland – the Viking colony in North America. The anachronism has the Vikings conquering North America instead of returning to Greenland, and worshiping the talking Beebo toy instead of becoming Christians. Anyway, the Beebo construct created by the Legends is a giant size version of Beebo – and it does manage to defeat Mallus and even kills the demon.

Legends of Tomorrow is a fun show. Whereas the other CW DC shows have gotten darker over the years (but are still good), Legends remains light. The show is also focused on character. This season Martin Stein dies during “Crisis on Earth X”, and Jax loses his firestorm powers and leaves the crew. Rip Hunter sacrifices himself to simply give the Legends time to escape – though I’m hoping he will return, or that Arthur Darvill will play another character on the series (Booster Gold, anyone? I’d love to see that.) The finale of Season 3 is wild: pirates, Roman soldiers, and Vikings attacking a Wild West town. Ava, the director of the Time Bureau, also introduces characters from the future – descendants of our characters or characters from episodes of this season (such as Helen of Troy, whom Zari drops on Themyscira rather than returning her to the Trojan War). But it’s the Voltron-style Beebo that just makes that final episode hilarious and perfect. I am still really enjoying this show and I highly recommend it.

Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 1
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 2
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 5

UPDATE: I recently purchased and re-watched Season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow, and I really enjoyed it. The Blu-Ray version is three Blu-Ray discs and includes the entire “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover, with the special “Crisis on Earth-X” titles.

Supergirl Season 3 Review

  • Series Title: Supergirl
  • Season: Season 3
  • Episodes: 23
  • Discs: 5
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Melissa Benoist, Katie McGrath, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, Jeremy Jordan, Chris Wood, David Harewood, Odette Annable, Carl Lumbly
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

This review contains spoilers for the third season of Supergirl.

The third season of Supergirl is focused on family, including the families the characters have built for themselves. Cat Grant is now gone (she’s the press secretary to the president, played by Linda Carter). Lena and Kara are friends, and when conservative jerk Morgan Edge threatens to purchase Catco in a hostile takeover to stop them from publishing the truth, Lena steps in and buys Catco instead. Lena initially tries to be hands-on with running Catco, but James Olsen the managing editor and Lena’s boyfriend convinces her to step back a bit. Edge at one point tries to get back at Lena by accusing her of poisoning the children of National City with lead. Supergirl proves that the children are sick because of chemicals in the city’s swimming pools – chemicals produced by Morgan’s company. There are mutual accusations of attempted murder as well, but Lena isn’t guilty and it’s implied neither is Morgan.

J’onn J’onzz receives a message from M’Gann to come to Mars. He goes with Supergirl and they find a White Martian resistance who has discovered J’onn’s father being held, prisoner. They release him and J’onn brings M’yrnn J’onzz back to Earth. M’yrnn initially stays at the DEO, and then in J’onn’s apartment. However, sadly, M’yrnn is suffering from a Martian form of Alzheimer’s Disease. There are a lot of ups and downs in J’onn and his father’s relationship. In the end, J’onn accepts his father is dying and prepares for “The Reach” a Martian mental passage where all of M’yrnn’s memories and experiences will be passed to his son.

Alex and Maggie Sawyer prepare for their wedding. Alex even finds Maggie’s family who abandoned her when they learned she was a lesbian. Maggie’s reunion with her father seems to go OK, but in the end, he rejects her again. Alex comes to realize that she really wants to be a mom, whereas Maggie doesn’t want children. The two reach an impasse and break up – and Maggie is never seen again. Alex is understandably hurt by this throughout the rest of the season. In the last few episodes of the season, she’s starting to research adopting a child.

Morgan Edge orders an attack at the unveiling of National City’s waterfront Supergirl statue and a young mother, who had bumped into Alex earlier, uses incredible strength to move a fallen metal pipe from her daughter. Alex, Lena, and eventually Kara become friends with Samantha and her daughter, Ruby. Sam works with Lena at L-Corp and is promoted to Chief Financial Officer after Lena buys Catco and steps back from the day to day running of L-Corp. Some weird things happen to Sam and Ruby. Slowly through the season, it becomes obvious that Sam’s blackouts and losses of time are related to the appearance of a new supervillain, Reign – the Kryptonian Worldkiller. Sam/Reign is an oddly sympathetic villain. Sam has no idea what her other half is doing. Sam’s a struggling single mother, trying to balance a demanding new job with raising her 12-year-old daughter. Sam and Ruby have a good relationship, but Ruby is a bit put out that her Mom doesn’t spend as much time with her as she used to. And Sam doesn’t know she is Reign – a supervillain capable of beating Supergirl badly and putting her in a coma.

I had a couple issues with the episode where Reign beats up Supergirl and puts her in a coma. First, I’m a little tired of the pattern – new villain beats up Supergirl, but by the end of the season, Supergirl will defeat the villain. Second, since Kara is in an honest-to-goodness coma and severely injured, Alex should have contacted Clark (Superman). Clark is her cousin, he has a right to know she’s been so seriously hurt. Alex also should have contacted Eliza, she also has a right to know what happened.

Kara is in a funk during the first half of the season because she had to send Mon-El away. Mon-El comes back from the future with a spaceship and his team-mates in the Legion of Superheroes, Brainiac 5 and his wife, Imra. Mon-El’s ship went through a wormhole and he had lived for seven years in the future. The Legion was sent back in time with multiple missions, some of which Mon-El doesn’t know about.

Once Mon-El, Brainiac 5, and Imra arrive, Supergirl and her team are able to learn more about Reign and the two other Worldkillers: Purity and Pestilence. The Legion really wants to destroy Pestilence because in their time she evolves into a being called Blight which is responsible for the destruction of whole planets and everything on them: people, animals, and plants. Lena also, as a friend of Sam’s, wants to help. Lena realizes that Sam is Reign, but that she has no knowledge of her other half. Lena even explains that Reign is over-writing Sam’s DNA, a process that if it continues will cause Sam to be Reign all the time, eventually killing her own personality. (We see this process happen quickly with Pestilence.) Lina keeps Sam in a secret lab at L-Corp and at first tries to figure out what is wrong with her and later tries to fix it. Lena also arranges for protective custody for Ruby while her mother is sick.

Despite Lena’s best efforts – she doesn’t tell Kara, Alex, or Supergirl what she is doing. When the DEO tracks Reign and finds out that Lena’s been trying to stop her – Supergirl especially is very upset, though Alex is also angry. Lena is invited to continue working at the DEO and Reign escapes. There is now considerable tension between Supergirl and Lena – though Lena is still friends with Kara. Yes, this seems to be setting up future conflict.

The story with Reign gets more and more complicated. At one point, Sam is locked in a dream state of a dark, dead valley on Krypton. Kara recognizes this valley. Reign decides to kill Ruby to assure her success – but a threat to her daughter is the one thing Sam can’t handle and it makes her own internal struggle stronger. Kara and company think they have killed Pestilence and Purity at one point, but the audience sees their spirits being absorbed by Reign. Lena realizes they need a special element to stop Reign, but there is no more of it on Earth. Supergirl and Mon-El travel to an “asteroid” to get some but it turns out to be Argo City. Kara meets her mother (now played by a different actress). After an argument with the council, Kara succeeds in getting some of this element. The DEO uses it to “defeat” Reign and Kara and Mon-El return to Argo City so Kara can spend time with her mother. However, Serena, a council member turns out to be the leader of a cult of three Kryptonian witches. They steal Mon-El’s ship and head to Earth to raise the Worldkillers and terraform Earth into New Krypton.

It takes all of the DEOs resources, including help from Lena, Alura (Kara’s mother), Mon-El, Brainiac 5, the other Legionnaires, M’yrnn, and everyone else including Sam to stop Reign. They succeed, but M’yrnn gives his life. Sam lives and is reunited with Ruby.

After Reign’s final defeat and M’yrnn’s death – J’onn decides he needs to spend more time around normal human beings and not stay cooped up at the DEO – he promotes Alex to be the director of the DEO. Alex, who was wondering how’d she balance her active and dangerous agent lifestyle with adopting a child is happy to take a more desk-bound position. Lena expresses friendship with Kara but anger at Supergirl for betraying her and not trusting her. Mon-El has to return to the future – and takes Winn with him, though it looks like Brainiac 5 will remain behind at the DEO.

Season 3 of Supergirl was a bit dark, but the show is still very good. I liked the female friendships in this season, though the end of season rivalry between Lena and Supergirl was a bit annoying (I hope they do not become enemies next season). Recommended.

Read my Review of Supergirl Season 1
Read my Review of Supergirl Season 2
Read my Review of Supergirl Season 4
Read my Review of Supergirl Season 5

The Flash Season 4 Review

  • Series: The Flash
  • Season: 4
  • Episodes: 23
  • Discs: 5
  • Cast: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Hartley Sawyer
  • Network:  CW (Warner Brothers Productions)
  • DVD Format: Color, Widescreen

Season 4 of The Flash opens with Barry having been trapped in the Speed Force for six months with Iris in charge of the new “Team Kid Flash”. But when Wally is challenged by a Samari who demands to see the Flash, Cisco quickly works out a way to get Barry out of the Speed Force without blowing up the city. However, he appears in Keystone not Central City and when he returns… a wave of dark matter hits a city bus full of people, creating new metahumans.

Wally leaves to find himself, and Barry returns to Iris, being the Flash, and working with Cisco (Vibe) and Caitlin (Killer Frost). At the beginning of the season, they are dealing with a sudden increase in new metahumans, who like always can be criminals, or heroes, or something in between. But before long, Barry realizes there is a new villain at work – someone who isn’t a Speedster. The Thinker is a Chessmaster – someone who plans everything and has been plotting events for three years. The Thinker gained powers during the particle accelerator accident but also was “cursed’ with an advanced and deadly form of ALS. Yet, as we discover – his planning predates the particle accelerator accident as does his sociopathic nature and utter hatred of humanity.

Clifford Devoe was a history professor at Oxford when he met and married a scientist Marlize, and the two relocated to Central City to take tenured positions. However, Devoe was angered by his students paying more attention to their phones that him and his lectures. He also insulted Marlize and her work when they met – and revealed his negative view of humanity. As the season progresses, Marlize changes from being completely complacent and even an aide to her husband’s work, to a manipulative and cold woman, to a victim – as she realizes her husband’s plans would hurt her too, and he doesn’t care. By the end of the season, it’s clear that Marlize is key to taking down The Thinker.

Wally leaves after Barry returns. Cecile discovers she’s pregnant and tells Joe West about this. She also gains temporary telepathic abilities during her pregnancy. One of the bus metas is Ralph Dibny, a private investigator who lost his position with the CCPD after Barry as a new CSI accused him of evidence tampering. After a certain amount of questioning from Barry and doubt from Ralph, he joins Team Flash as the Elongated Man – and adds a considerable amount of lightness to the team. Ralph is one of those characters who acts tough and even self-centered, but he has a good heart and cares considerably about stopping the bad guy. I liked Ralph and I hope he’s still on the show next season.

Many of the other bus metahumans are good people who have no idea what to do with their new abilities. Unfortunately, The Thinker’s plan includes killing each of the new metas in turn and absorbing their powers, as well as using their bodies. This leads Marlize to realize her husband isn’t a good person, though it takes her a while – and her discovery that he’s drugging her and manipulating her mind and memory before she starts to realize anything.

This set includes part 3 of the “Crisis on Earth X” crossover – which was pretty good but it’s without context since parts 1 and 4 are missing (they are on the Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow DVD sets presumably, which won’t be available until later in September). The first episode after the crossover has a “Did I miss something?” feel to it. And apparently, Iris and Barry are now married, finally. As I said in my review of Arrow Season 6, I really wish that Warner Brothers and the CW would do what the BBC does with the Doctor Who Christmas specials and put them out on DVD/Blu-ray immediately after the entire special airs. I would pay for a disc that includes the entire special – and still buy the season sets with that episode included in context on each series’ season set. It would be nice to have a movie version of the crossover special.

Despite all their setbacks, in the end, Team Flash, including Cecile, work together with secret weapon, Marlize, and defeat The Thinker, reversing his diabolical plan, as expected. However, this was a good season. Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, one of DC’s lesser-known heroes, provides a sense of humor and fun – and also someone for Barry to train as a new hero. The Thinker isn’t a speedster, which was a different approach to a season-long villain, though I must admit I liked the “new meta of the week” episodes almost better than the ones focusing on figuring out what the Thinker’s plans were and how to stop him. The Thinker is a chessmaster, a planner, someone who can easily pull Barry’s strings. He’s also a diabolical psychopath – something held in reserve until his evil plan is finally revealed. Parts of this worked, whereas other parts really seemed like our characters being dumb for plot purposes (especially when Barry is set-up, accused of murder, found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison in the same cell as his father had occupied).

Overall, I enjoyed the season and I’m looking forward to watching Season 5.

Read my Review of The Flash Season 1
Read my Review of The Flash Season 2
Read my Review of The Flash Season 3
Read my Review of The Flash Season 5
Read my Review of The Flash Season 6

Black Lightning Season 1 Review

  • Series Title: Black Lightning
  • Season: Season 1
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 2 (Blu-Ray)
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, Christine Adams, James Remar, Damon Gupton
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Black Lightning is the latest superhero television show on the CW based on DC Comics. Jefferson Pierce is a high school principal and the divorced father of two daughters, one in med school and the other in high school. He’s divorced, but he and his ex-wife have a friendly relationship. And once upon a time, Jefferson was the superhero known as Black Lightning. But he’s retired from all that – he thinks.

Modern Freeland, the Pierce family’s home city, is experiencing a resurgence of gang violence, and trouble with drugs, especially a new extremely addictive drug called Green Light. Jefferson Pierce is torn between doing something about it by returning to the superhero life, and doing what his ex-wife wants: helping mold young African American students to be successful by being a high school principal. But when one of his daughters goes to a dance club owned by the 100 gang and gets held at gunpoint, released, harassed at school, and then kidnapped, Jefferson can no longer stand idly by.  He gets his suit out of mothballs, and with some help from his friend, Peter Gambi, he hits the streets to rescue his daughter.

Once Jennifer is freed, Jefferson thinks he can hang up the suit again, but at a rally at his school, a woman challenges him, stating that her daughter is still being held by the 100. The woman, LaWanda, goes to the hotel where her daughter is being held and forced to be a prostitute and she takes pictures of johns, and the other illegal activity at the hotel. Jefferson talks to his friend in the police department, Inspector Henderson, but he says he can’t do anything. When LaWanda is murdered by LaLa, a gang member and former student of Jeff’s – he gets back in the suit.

Gradually, Jefferson realizes he has to become Black Lightning because his city needs him. When I was watching this show week to week last year, it almost became annoying every time Jeff expressed doubts about being a superhero. The show is called, Black Lightning, obviously it’s going to have a Black Lightning in it. But later developments in the series and Jeff’s daughters made the show interesting to watch anyway.

Jeff’s older daughter, Anissa, is a med student, a teacher in the health studies program at Jeff’s school, and a social activist. When she starts to develop special powers, she immediately practices them and sets out to help others. She doesn’t tell her father – and he finds out in the worst way possible. (It’s a scene I found even harder to watch and more reprehensible second time around, Black Lightning beats up his own daughter when she’s in her improvised costume.)

Jeff’s younger daughter also develops powers, but she wants nothing to do with it. Jennifer wants a normal life, not to be a superhero. Jennifer also gets really, really upset when Anissa tells her she’s Thunder and their father is Black Lightning. This family drama is the heart of the show. I found Anissa’s journey to becoming Thunder more interesting than Jeff’s obvious decision to return to being Black Lightning. And Jennifer’s utter disdain for her powers, until the very end of the season, was a very different take on the subject. I liked it a lot.

Meanwhile, the city of Freeland is experiencing rampant gang violence, multiple deadly shootings, LaWanda is killed, LaLa is killed, and Jennifer’s boyfriend is shot in the back and loses the ability to walk. For Khalil its a tragic end to his track and field career. The opening episodes of the season are depressing. But as Black Lightning gets out there, especially with Thunder, they also discover there’s more going on than gang violence.

Freeland was the center of an experiment, with the people being given a “vaccine” that should have made them “passive” (yeah, I immediately thought of Pax in the Firefly movie Serenity). Instead, many people, especially children, died. Other kids became metahumans and gained powers. Gambi was part of the ASA (secret gov’t agency) cleaner crew spotting metahumans and helping to capture them. When Gambi realized the drug was killing kids, he quit. The drug, Green Light is the same drug 2.0, and it’s also turning kids into metas.

Tobias Whale is the “businessman” in control of the 100. He also killed Jefferson’s father when Jeff was a boy – a crime Jeff witnessed. Jeff’s father was a reporter who discovered the vaccine given to children in Freeland was tainted and causing deaths. His story was spiked (not run by his editor). Jeff’s father also exposed corruption surrounding Whale. Much of the early half of the season has Jeff somewhat obsessed with finding Tobias Whale, whom he thinks has returned to town (he’s right). Whale is an albino, huge, and extremely racist, cruel, and uncouth.

Whale’s paid partner is the female assassin Syonide. She reminds me of Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, with her clothes, her hair, and her attitude.

Martin Proctor is Peter Gambi’s old boss from the ASA. He’s out to kill Black Lightning and keep the Freeland experiment going – even though it’s now an illegal, rogue operation. He’s racist, bigoted, and not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. The introduction of Proctor makes Whale seem like small potatoes, though in the end, only one of the two survives to return next season.

Black Lightning is an interesting show to watch because almost the entire cast is African American, and it really gives you a view into a different world. In the pilot, we see Jeff being pulled over by two white cops, in the rain, forced out of his car, roughed up, and presented to a mute woman who is then asked, “Is this the guy who robbed your store?” Remember, Jefferson Pierce is a respected high school principal. Jeff continuously reminds his daughters and the students at their school they must control their anger. Another community leader, a local preacher, leads a protest march after LaWanda’s death and is shot – though we’re told later that he recovered. Jeff’s friend on the force, Henderson, is a good police officer, but with so much corruption and institutional racism in his department he’s barely holding on and is limited in the help he can bring.

Black Lightning is highly recommended and will return to the CW this Fall (2018).

The Flash Season 3 Review

  • Series: The Flash
  • Season: 3
  • Episodes: 23
  • Discs: 6
  • Cast: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Keiynan Lonsdale, Tom Felton
  • Network: CW (Warner Brothers Productions)
  • DVD Format: Color, Widescreen

The third season of The Flash begins with Flashpoint, after his father is killed, Barry Allen travels back in time and saves his mother. He has three wonderful months with both his parents being alive, but eventually, things don’t go so well, and Barry decides he’s made a mistake, so he has to reverse it. He releases the Reverse Flash whom he’s kept hostage and allows the death of his mother to happen. But when he returns to the new present things are different. Iris isn’t talking to her father, Joe. Cisco is extremely angry at Barry and grieving. Caitlin, unknown to the others at first, is developing cold powers and fears becoming Killer Frost. And at the Central City Police Department, Barry is now working under a new head of the CSI department, Julian Albert, a man that doesn’t like or get along with him.

At first, Barry is at a loss. But within an episode or two, Barry gets the team back together, and although things are not perfect, they are at least working together. It takes Cisco a little longer to come around (he lost his brother, Dante, as a result of Flashpoint), but he works with Team Flash anyway. Flashpoint has another effect – new metas are appearing in Central City, and the police forensic department is finding husks that are somehow linked to these new metas and a villain called “Alchemy”. Barry suddenly realizes that the new metas had existed in Flashpoint.

There’s more investigation, and it becomes apparent that Julian is Alchemy but he’s merely a harbinger and servant to Savitar – the God of Speed. Julian had become obsessed with an artifact known as The Philosopher’s Stone, but when he found it on a dig in India, his entire archaeological team died, and unknown to Julian, he became Alchemy. Julian is brought in to Team Flash and the fight against Savitar. Meanwhile, Caitlin’s cold powers become more obvious. At first, she takes a pair of meta-power damping bracelets to suppress her powers. Later, Cisco makes her a necklace. Wally also becomes Kid Flash – as he was in Flashpoint.

But once the Alchemy plot is resolved, and the fallout from Flashpoint largely settled, the main focus of the season becomes clear: Savitar. In an attempt to destroy The Philosopher’s Stone, Barry is thrust into the future and he sees Savitar murder Iris. Saving Iris becomes the focus of the rest of the season. Team Flash tries to change the future, by changing the other headlines Barry saw on a TV news broadcast when he traveled to the future. There are villains of the week to defeat, but the majority of the plot is devoted to preventing Iris’s death and figuring out who or what Savitar is and how to stop him. Barry even travels to the future again, and discovers just how messed-up everyone is without Iris – and how broken, he, Barry, is. By the end of the season, it becomes clear who Savitar is: he’s a time remnant of Barry Allen – and essentially a time paradox.

The last two episodes of the season play like one big 2-hour finale, even though there is no “to be continued” title card at the penultimate episode. In the second-to-last episode, we see the events from a few months before – and Savitar kills Iris despite Team Flash finding a physicist, Tracy Brand to build a speed cannon to defeat him. But, it turns out to not be Iris but rather HR Wells, using a projector to hide his appearance and take Iris’s place. Tracy, who was starting to fall in love with HR was devastated. But now that Iris is alive, it changes things – and essentially Team Flash is waiting for the Time Paradox to catch up and for Savitar to disappear from reality. Savitar tries to save himself at the last minute – but Barry shows him mercy and even invites this other scarred Barry on to Team Flash.

This doesn’t go well, and Savitar kidnaps Cisco. But Cisco gets through to “Killer” Frost. At first, it looks like Caitlin will still choose Savitar, but in the end, she doesn’t. Julian develops a cure for her, but she also chooses to return it to him, deciding to keep her frosty personality, but maybe without the “Killer” part. Barry has a final fight with Savitar, defeats him, turns away, and is nearly killed – until Iris saves Barry by killing Future Evil (Savitar) Barry.

You’d think all would be well, but as Barry and Iris start to discuss wedding plans – a speed force storm erupts and threatens the entire city. Barry voluntarily goes into the Speed Force to fill the prison that Savitar left empty.

Season 3 of The Flash had its ups and downs. Although having Yet Another Evil Speedster seems like a bad idea – I had less of a problem with that than the main plot point being the threat to Iris’s life. The majority of the season seems to rest on the idea that no matter what Team Flash does – they can’t change things enough to save Iris – and the future is fixed. But, we know, Iris is a main character – and she’s not likely to really “die”. Throughout the history of DC Comics – Iris West is Barry Allen’s wife, not his girlfriend – and whether she is “Iris Allen” or “Iris West-Allen” she is his wife. So, despite this “big threat” that she will die – it’s an empty one, we know that she won’t. It is possible to make something interesting to see how she will survive, and HR’s sacrifice to save her is actually a surprise – but that she survives isn’t really a surprise.

That Savitar turns out to be Barry almost doesn’t work – it explains how Savitar knows everything Team Flash will do – he simply remembers what happened. But it’s actually “Killer” Frost who gives the game away – when she says everything Barry will say, as he says it, she’s actually giving Barry a big hint as to who Savitar is. Plus the Savitar-is-Barry plot actually mirrors the Wells/Thawne/Reverse Flash plot from season 1 – but this time in a sense we see the time travel paradox from Barry’s point-of-view, and Savitar is Barry as Reverse Flash, which in some ways works but in a lot of ways does not fit Barry’s character. Barry, despite his dark past, is one of the happiest characters in DC Comics. And, although it makes sense that in a fit of despair, after the loss of his father, he would go back in time and create Flashpoint, it doesn’t follow that he would then become Savitar, especially as Savitar originally exists in the Flashpoint Universe – which is the one where Barry’s parents are both alive and Barry doesn’t have super speed.

However, despite that, and Season 3 of The Flash being darker than previous seasons, I still enjoyed it. Watching the development of Iris and Barry’s relationship is joyful. Wally West, especially once he becomes Kid Flash is awesome. I like Julian and HR as members of Team Flash. Caitlin’s story was well told – and I liked, a lot, that she was given agency throughout her story. She was able to choose if she’d be “Killer” Frost (though it’s Julian who causes the manifestation of her powers), and, more importantly, it’s Caitlin who decides not to take the experimental “cure” to remove her powers. It would have been so easy for someone to simply shoot the cure into her – but The Flash didn’t go that route. I also really liked Tracy Brand as a character, and I hope we see more of her in Season 4, but I doubt we will.

Read my Review of The Flash Season 1
Read my Review of The Flash Season 2
Read my Review of The Flash Season 4
Read my Review of The Flash Season 5
Read my Review of The Flash Season 6

The Flash Season 2 Finale Review

The season finale of The Flash ended in a shock in that Barry Allen, as we know him, no longer exists. Follow. Our Barry went into the Future then returned to slightly before he left. It was our Barry who ran in the opposite direction, stopping the magnetic ring of doom that would destroy the multi-verse, thus it was our Barry who was disintegrated in the Speed Force.

The Barry who destroyed Zoom and also ditched Iris was the second Barry, a copy, “created” by our Barry returning to the past before he left. It was this second Barry who traveled back to the Past to save Nora, Barry’s mother.  Second Barry rescued Young Barry and his father, as well as killing Reverse Flash outright and saving Nora.

But when Second Barry did that – you’ll notice that First Season Barry, who was watching disappeared. That is because First Season Barry – the one we’ve followed through two seasons of The Flash – no longer exists. As Zoom predicted Second Barry has now destroyed himself twice, as well as Zoom and Reverse Flash. This Second Barry is the only Speedster left, assuming he also didn’t wipe himself out of existence in a paradox.

Think about it – with Second Barry destroying Reverse Flash and saving Nora, that means young Barry was raised by Nora and Henry Allen. Nora never died. Henry was never accused of and found guilty of her murder. Young Barry was never sent to live with Joe West. Young Barry may have never even met Iris West, much less fallen in love with her. And, to make things worse – Young Barry would have never been driven to become a police officer – or with Joe West’s influence to not be a cop – to become a forensic analyst, a CSI. That Young Barry probably went to college, given his parents, but who knows what he studied – or if he even returned to Central City after college. There’s no reason to assume he’d become a CSI anyway. And he never became The Flash.

But it’s worse than that – because without Barry, What would have happened. Thrawn mentions Dr. Wells Particle Accelerator happening “15 years” later and he needs for it to happen earlier. Thrawn also rigged the explosion that created both the MetaHumans and The Flash. Did this never happen? Did it happen differently? Second Barry may have created Earth 2 where Barry has no powers, Caitlin and Cisco are “evil” – Killer Frost and Reverb, specifically, as well as giving rise to Zoom in the first place.

Also, don’t forget – in the finale of Season 1, Barry goes back in time to save his mother and stop Reverse Flash. Yet, in the house – he’s warned off, by himself. In Season 1, Barry heads the warning of, well, himself, and Nora dies.  Now, we have an alternate timeline, and a second Barry goes back in time, saves Nora, and Barry (our Barry) disappears.  What is going on?

I’ve seen the animated Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, which I’ve also reviewed, but I haven’t read the 6-book Flashpoint (and World of Flashpoint) series from DC Comics. However, with DC’s new Rebirth maxi-series picking up from Flashpoint, and the fairly consistent dropping of Flashpoint hints and references in CW’s The Flash, one thing’s for sure, next season is going to be very interesting.