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It was nice to hear that all of the DCTV shows on the CW Network had been renewed. It was a little concerning to hear that they were developing brand new ones. These shows are so busy that I worry about them stretching the over-arching creative teams too far.
However, at the end of last season, Legends had impressed me with a deeper story, better villains, and less cheesy dialogue. I still wasn't convinced with Supergirl, but it was definitely improving. Arrow, in my opinion, had recovered from it's two-season slump, and The Flash was just The Flash. Wasn't any better, wasn't any worse. Overall, the CW impressed me.
And yes, I've given up on Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter. What's that? Agent Carter's been cancelled? Ah well, I'll live. So yes, this will be a very DC-Centric review. But you've got to admit, they are killing it in the TV game.
So just for clarity's sake, in this review I will be covering the first episodes in the new seasons of: Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, The Gifted, and Marvel's: The Inhumans.
Supergirl: Season 3
Honestly, this was a terrible opener for Kara's character.
So Supergirl ended on a pretty down-beat note last season, seeing Kara make the ultimate sacrifice and sending pretty-boy Mon-El off to save the Earth. And it seems, in the time between seasons, she spent most of her break moping, then saving the world, then going back to moping.
Kara spends so much time in this episode with a glum expression on her face that it honestly made me hate her character arc. She only starts to smile towards the end of the episode and, at this point, I hardly cared. She had all her friends around her, and wouldn't talk to any of them. That's not giving her character, that's just the writers wanting to keep her in the same place for a large portion of the episode.
The villains were weak as well. A big-city business man hiring someone to destroy a statue by launching torpedoes at the city's sub-structure is just ridiculous, and he feels like a big thing moving forward into at least the mid-season. Whilst I appreciate them trying to give someone a more Lex Luthor-y edge without being a member of the Luthor clan, and out-smarting Kara rather than using sheer brawn, he needs some major work moving forward so that I can at least remember his name.
Overall, a disappointing start to a show that should be finding its stride by now.
The Flash: Season 4
The episode for Flash was actually a good setup for the rest of the season, however there were a few too many conveniences in the story for my liking.
Flash suffers from a ridiculous case of completely rewriting any consequences that could've been set up from their series finale. Trapping Barry Allen in the speed force at the end of last season—despite happening totally out of the blue with no set up—promised an interesting shift in dynamic moving into the fourth season.
The episode starts with this dynamic. Wally and Cisco are the heroes of Central City, and Iris is in charge, with Caitlin being temporarily out of the picture. It would've been interesting to see this for at least a couple of episodes, with a subplot being used to bring Barry out of the speed force. Or, better yet, spend some time in the speed force with Barry, to get some clues as to where his strange scribblings come from.
Yes, strange scribblings. Like Agents of SHIELD before it, The Flash has crowbarred in a season-long arc involving Barry writing some strange symbols on the walls, with apparently no indication of knowing who any of the major characters are. Whilst intriguing, I wish we had more idea of what they were, because right now I have no care for them.
The ending is the most ridiculous moment in the episode however. To avoid spoilers, I will just say that it completely reverses all the intrigue the show has been building up, and kills the pace flat to reset everything to how it always is.
I love The Flash, which is why I'm so critical of it, but it needs to work on its central mystery if it wants to get better.
Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3
Will Rip Hunter actually ever catch a break? Will Rory get to properly experience Aruba? These are all questions in the ridiculous but entertaining premiere episode of Legends. And, actually, I feel like ridiculous and entertaining sums up what I want from this show.
Surprisingly, Legends has the strongest opener, working as its own condensed story whilst promising some exciting things for the show moving forward.
Starting with Legends disbanded was a clever move, and giving them an external force to not fight but disagree with in the time agency is an interesting shift in dynamic, especially placing Rip Hunter on that side.
Speaking of which, what is this show doing with Rip? First he's good, then he's bad, then he's good, and now he's separate from the team. It seems like they're not too sure what they want to do with him.
So Legends is just a ton of fun in this episode. Quippy one-liners, historical cameos from Julius Caesar, and a much more relaxed approach to setting up the series benefits this opener greatly.
Arrow: Season 6
I'm very annoyed at Arrow for the simple fact that this show has no balls.
The finale of Season 5 was one of the most spectacular things any of these shows have ever done, and it turns out that basically nobody died from blowing up an ENTIRE ISLAND. Out of the eight or nine that were on the island when the trigger was pulled, ONE died. One. And she wasn't even a remotely major player. Arrow had the chance to show its colours and shuffle the roster around. But instead pretty much everyone who matters survives. It's the biggest bait-and-switch disappointment of recent memory.
However, the episode on its own is a pretty solid story. We get to see some tussles between two canaries which is always interesting to see how it's handled. (Mostly hand-to-hand, forgetting that they can both scream pretty loudly), and as always, the choreography is pretty good.
However, the twist in the story wouldn't have been a twist if, surprise, surprise, someone hadn't lied. These characters, in five seasons, have been beaten over the head with the idea that lying is bad. It's a pretty clear moral. And yet, still, they insist on lying to each other. It's a miracle that 90% of the team hasn't quit.
So, I was entertained, but the story lacks substance, and relies on a twist that just isn't earned or justified.
The Arrowverse is always 50/50 on quality for me. They ride a line of cheese that sometimes is great and fun, and other times just goes completely overboard and pulls me out completely.
These openers suffered greatly from completely reversing the consequences from their previous seasons, and the majority of the time, just bad writing.
Again, I love these shows, which is why I'm so critical of them. I'm still excited to see where they go, and I will continue to watch them. I'm just a little disappointed in the openings this time around.