Welcome to the weekly Super Hero Comic Book TV Power Rankings! In which every week I discuss and rank the weeks Super Hero TV shows. This means shows like Flash, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Constantine and Gotham. Sorry Walking Dead fans but there are no Super Power elements in your show. Please feel free to comment and yell at me for what I did wrong or how off base I was with my rankings. I’ll see you in the comments
Warning: Here be Spoilers
Viper is Gotham’s first attempt at adding super hero elements to the Bat universe. A new drug is making the rounds where it’s giving the users super strength, however it kills them only hours later. Overall this was an improvement over the dismal last episode. Plots move forward and take us into some interesting and not so obvious territory.
For all of Gotham’s failings it is doing one thing fairly well. It’s making Gotham into a nutty place well before Batman ever showed up to Gotham. One of the great debates of comic books is the question of whether the presence of Batman hurts or helps Gotham. I mean would the Joker really be terrorizing the streets if Batman ever existed? Would half his rogue gallery? The show makes the argument that aside from a high crime rate, the denizens of Gotham were pretty much always crazy. The commissioner is a walking piece of garbage who seems baffled whenever crime occurs. Maroni is actually pretty sadistic and clearly unhinged and is only going to get worse.
The problem though, and it’s a pretty big one, is that the show has yet t be able to walk that line of crazy between scary and comedy. In an episode where we have David Zayas portraying a legitimately scary mobster. We have an old man bending his walker in half after he did a hit of Viper. We have the main villain screaming about how he can go wherever he wants after drugging himself and then comically jumps off of a building to his death. Gotham doesn’t seem to know if it want’s to cater to the Nolan fans, the Animated series fans or the Adam West fans. What some would call variety, I’d call a lack of consistency.
Young Bruce Wayne wasn’t nearly as bad as he has been lately and that’s all due to the fact that his character now has something to do in the show. He’s showing potential to his legacy as he does some detective work fining out what dirty business Wayne Enterprises is into. We also see more of the ‘secret weapon’ that is Fish Mooney’s Liza, I’m not a fan of this character but I also love super awkward scenes where mob bosses feed pigeons in the middle of the day. So I’m torn.
Thumbs up overall.
Arrow, this week feels like it’s spinning its wheels. The main plot is that Oliver wants Thea to come back home and she doesn’t want to. Also Diggle has to go with him because there is a rogue ARGUS agent in Corto Maltese. Honestly the plot feels so phoned in that I can’t be bothered to remember the guy’s name or what he was trying to do. The only thing you need to know is that it implies that Amanda Waller is not to be trusted… So yeah, I think we got that message. The interesting part here is that Thea Queen is being trained by her real father Malcolm who doesn’t want her to leave but then decides to anyway. The whole episode feels rather unimportant. The plot needed Thea to come back to Star city and they did about as little as they could to make that happen in the confines of the show.
Laurel wants to fight crime because of the RAGE inside of her. Oliver refuses to train her because he doesn’t want her to get killed so she decides to go to the gym and get trained by Ted Grant the best boxer in the DC Universe. In the comics Ted Grant is the hero Wildcat. So I’m not sure how far they are going to with it or if it’s just an easter egg.
Ray Palmer, historically a hero is starting to show that he may not be all he seems to be. Whether or not this ends up being a red herring or not is the only interesting part of the show so far. Also no Flashbacks?
A real throwaway.
Agents of SHIELD
A Hen in the Wolfhouse
A direct continuation of last episode, Raina, the woman in the flower dress needs to do everything she can to obtain the Obelisk, an item of immense power probably alien in nature.
The episode revolves mostly around Simmons and her undercover work in Hydra and much like Arrow the plot needs her back with the gang and the show kind of rushes through things to make it happen.Honestly in Agents this comes across a bit better as opposed to Arrow because we have been with the character and this scenario before.
There are other interesting parts going on as well like Skye’s father who until just now I realized was Kyle MacLachlan AKA “Damn Good Cup of Coffee’ Agent Dale Cooper. His character is still a bit of a mystery as we don’t know entirely what is going on with him and whether or not he has powers or if he is just plain old crazy. He seems to be the chaos to Daniel Whitehall’s order in terms of evil bad guys.
Coulson talks about more alien writing but until we start getting somewhere, it’s losing my interest and fast.
The best part is the introduction to Bobbie Morse AKA Mockingbird as she plays the double agent that helps Simmons escape the Hydra facility alive. Adrianne Palicki looks every bit as intimidating as expected and it’s easy to see why she got the Wonder Woman role in the ill fated TV show. The fact that she historically hooks up with Hawkeye is interesting as she also plays Lance Hunter’s ex wife in the show.
Good solid episode that moves the plot along and continues to be entertaining.
Things you can’t outrun
The Cornball nature of the Flash continues, with Barry having more Danny Tanner moments than an episode of Full House. Barry wonders out loud that he could break his (wrongfully convicted) father out of prison if he so wanted to. Joe, the father figures explains why that would be a terrible idea and Barry eventually agrees. Some pretty high stakes huh? That is one of my worries for a show like the Flash. I get that you want to differentiate yourself from the Arrow universe where everything is dark and dramatic but the Flash is starting to feel like a kiddy show in comparison.
The highlight is the emphasis on Danielle Panabakers character, Caitlyn Snow’s backstory. In previous episodes Caitlyn was a bit cold (hur hur) to pretty much everyone as her fiance Ronnie Raymond died in the explosion that gave Barry his powers. Robbie Amell (actual cousin of Stephen Amell who plays Oliver Queen in Arrow) plays likeable dead husband material pretty well as he heroically gave his life to save millions by redirecting the blast. His death is a reminder of the loss felt by both Caitlyn and Cisco who actually shows a personality past naming the bad guys that The Flash fights.
The baddie of the week is a guy named Kyle Numbus dubbed The Mist (seriously) and can turn himself into a cloud of poison gas that he uses to kill the people responsible for putting him away in jail. Anthony Carrigan is creepy enough looking to be a bad guy in any show and is OK but overall not that important or impressive. The ongoing theme is that the people with these powers are defeated by Barry the same way. They all get exhausted by using their abilities and Barry punches them in the face when he can. One is fine, twice is worrisome and hopefully this isn’t an ongoing thing. The Mists’ defeat is basically an excuse for STAR labs to create a metahuman prison that will clearly fail at some point in the near future. Barry voice overs some lines about how great it is to be the Flash and the credits roll. Not too great but nothing that bad either. Apparently next week is the Arrow/Flash crossover which should be fun.
Non Est Asylum
The pilot for Constantine is perfectly adequate in almost every way, which is both good and bad. Good because it doesn’t do much that would infuriate any but the most stringent Hellblazer fans. Bad because it doesn’t do anything that makes it stand out from all the other shows out there including it’s superhero contemporaries. Which is pretty impressive considering it is a show about a flippant exorcist that talks to Angels,Demons and all the fun stuff in between.
I’m what you would consider a casual Hellblazer fan. I’ve read the Garth Ennis stuff, some of the Alan Moore stuff but thats about it so while I have the gist of the character and how he should act but other tertiary characters like Chas Chandler or Manny the Angel I have no knowledge of or even if they are characters from the show or the comic. That being said most character’s feel like the belong in Constantine’s world.
The show starts out that John Constantine is in a mental asylum undergoing electroshock therapy to forget something in his past. What we find out maybe two minutes later is that a spell gone wrong had damned a young girl named Astra to Hell along with his own. . So I guess the writers aren’t going for subtle here. Matt Ryan, who portrays John is decent but there are definite moments where he seems like a caricature of how a British person talks. He says things like ‘bollocks’ and ‘luv’ with alarming regularity and it really comes across as silly. John also has a bit of an edge to him when at a point he threatens a friend Richie Simpson portrayed by Lost alumni Jeremy Davis.
Earlier in the year there was news that the powers that be decided to replace the character of Liv Aberdine played by Lucy Griffiths, so with the focus on her character in the pilot seems a little misplaced. Her character seems much more important than she really is in the grand scheme of things but near the end the show seems to tie things up rather neatly and John goes off to stop more demonic activity across the United States.
Like I stated earlier, not terrible but very average in almost every single way.
A surprisingly competent trailer dropped check it out
Current Power Rankings
Agents of Shield (1) Previously (1)
The Flash (2) Previously (2)
Constantine (3) Previously (n/a)
Gotham (4) Previously (4)
Arrow (5) Previously (3)