Superhero Series Roundup: Spring 2016!

Hey NerdFunnelers! Here is a rapid fire season wrap up and finale critique of some of 2015-2016’s most interesting superhero TV shows!

The Flash Season 2

I...I think I've got this
I…I think I’ve got this

Synopsis – The Flash faces off against the machinations and meta-human army of his alternate dimension Earth 2 Rival, Zoom, for control over the world and the Speed Force, deals with his feelings for Iris West, the reluctant and abrasive help of Earth 2 Harrison Wells, the damaged Caitlin Snow, his best friend Cisco and his developing “vibing” powers, the temporary loss of his own powers, and the involvement of his biological father and his adoptive father Joe West’s newly discovered biological son, Wally West in his life.

Up-Funnels – This season, everyone’s acting was quite strong, and many plot threads were well woven together. Highlights include Flash’s struggle to find himself during the surrender of his powers to Zoom in order to save Cisco, Zoom’s developing plot and motivations, Harrison Wells’ awesome character, acting and struggle for his daughter, and Joe’s effort to be closer to his son. Super-Special effects and Flash’s battles against meta-humans and Zoom were also particularly strong  and fun to watch!

Down-Funnels – The Barry/Iris drama continues to drag on, feel drawn out and weak, and slow down the show. Barry’s stakes in saving everyone as a family seem more salient and important than the stake in an unrequited love interest. Wally West’s character and acting are the weakest in the show and the least exciting. The personification of the Speed-Force as a way for Flash to come to terms with his Mom’s death felt a bit forced and weird and did not make sense in the context of show as a whole. Anything involving King Shark. Even on a show that does a good job involving the fantastic, a crazy walking Shark man was a stretch.

Finale – The season finale was excellent, a worthy culmination of all the threads of the season, with a visually stunning and emotionally satisfying climactic battle. The fallout should be interesting and the stinger set-up for season three is as shocking as the Flash’s lighting itself!

Overall Rank : A

 

Legends of Tomorrow Season 1

We are...legends?
We are…legends?

Synopsis – Ex- Time Master Rip Hunter recruits a motley crew of B-list heroes and villains with conflicting personalities and motivations from 2016 to help him save the future of Earth (and as we are reminded, ad nauseum, his family from the evil and immortal Vandal Savage) as they travel through time to unravel his schemes and find out the truth behind his motivations and the true reality of what is at stake for each member of the team and for the world as a whole.

Up-Funnels – The show got off to a rocky start, but ended up doing a great job of owning the cheesiness of its characters and its premise. The plot also grew tremendously, starting from a simple “stop the evil genius” thing and layering deeper, more complex twists involving the Time Masters and the heroes themselves, through excellent characterizations and pairings of the team. Highlights include the tense buddy/loyalty relation ship of Captain Cold and Heat Wave (though Cold’s return for next season is put in jeopardy as he makes a great sacrifice, and Wentworth Miller is getting picked up for Prison Break again, so he may be too busy for playing the role), the development of the Atom’s personality into something less lawful good and more complex and his relationship with Hawkgirl, and the dynamic growth of Firestorm the pair. The show also did a great job of dealing with racism and sexuality as shown by Jefferson’s African-American heritage and White Canary’s homosexual proclivities in the 1950’s era, and the special effects of battle and time travel were top notch!

Down-Funnels – Rip Hunter is melodramatic and I found his arc and character to be one dimensional and boring at times. He was not surprising and functioned more of a plot advancing device and balance beam for the team, though Arthur Davill did his best and acted well, the role was just written that way. Hawkgirl’s acting was the weakest and I found her storyline and arc to be the weakest. Her decision making was terrible and weakened the team as a whole. As mentioned before, the first few episodes were very expository, but eventually the season got its footing.

Finale – Decent finale that serviced most of the character’s arcs adequately. It was visually stunning, though it seemed to leave all the heroes in an unsure position. They seemed resolved to continue righting the timeline, though all their motivations are left a little bit in question. There may be some team member changes next season, which should be interesting

Overall Rank : A –

Marvel Agents of Shield Season 3

SHHH! Its a secret!
SHHH! Its a secret!

Synopsis – Coulson takes on new secret mission to use Skye and the team  to protect the world from the first Inhuman, Hive which, took over Ward on the alien planet after Coulson killed him in Season 2. A new government branch, the ETCU, which is nested with Hydra agents, battles with Coulson’s team for jurisdiction and control over the operation to manage the Inhuman threat, which parallels many of the political, moral and ethical issues drawn out in Captain America Civil War. Skye is taken over by Hive and is used against Shield in an effort to destroy them and the ETCU, Shield and Hive all undo Hydra’s infrastructure. Fitz and Simmons relationship intensifies and we are introduced to several new Inhuman allies and villains.

Up Funnels – This season is highly complex and draws out alot of double crossings and mixed emotions in characters’ development. Highlights include Daisy’s corruption by Hive, Coulson’s struggle against his desire for revenge of the death of Rosalind, Mack’s struggle to keep team united, the introduction of Yoyo and her reticence to be monitored, Lincoln’s sacrifice, head of Hydra Gideon Malick’s gradual destruction, and Ward’s cold transformation into Hive. (Seriously, his acting is chilling).  Lash’s return and function at the end of the season is great, and the special effects never disappoint. Lots of twists and turns!

Down Funnels – Lincoln can be really whiny at times and his acting is weak, though his character makes up for it in the end. Agent May, as strong as ever, seems less dimensional and more functionary this season, like she was put on the back burner. I would have liked to have seen more from her. The lovey-dovey relationship between Fitz and Simmons seems obvious and trite, and slows down the show, though the actors do a fine enough job with the portrayal.

Finale – It was a long build up to the season finale and I feel like it was over-hyped and though Lincoln’s sacrifice was great at the end, we were teased with a death from so far in the beginning of the season that,  even though we were kept guessing at it to the end, the fact we knew that it was going to be one of the team that died for so long this season lessened its impact. The plot resolved well, however and the team is newly strengthened after their battle and united by its loss, but too many of the characters seem complacent.

Overall Rank: B+

Supergirl Season 1

Super and thankfully renewed for season 2
Super and thankfully renewed for season 2

Synopsis – Supergirl Kara Zor-El crash lands on Earth later than her cousin, Superman, grows up with her adopted sister who works with Hank Henshaw, AKA the Martian Manhunter at a government agency monitoring aliens, and gets a job as a personal assistant for news and media mogul Cat Grant along side photog Jimmy Olson and her tech buddy Winn, as they form a team to protect National City (basically L.A.) from natural disasters, escaped Phantom Zone super being prisoners, Tech mogul Max Lord’s (basically her Lex Luthor) desire to expose her, and an enclave of Kryptonian extremists who want to use Indigo (basically her Brainiac) to rule the world. Lots girlpower fun and thematic issues involving empowerment, fear of the unknown and the alien, and doing right by family vs. doing right by friends and who to trust with secrets

Up Funnels – Great acting and tone. Not a heavy downer series, but captures the Supergirl vibrancy and hope ethos that makes the character work in the comics, staying relevant and on message while staying light. Texts from Superman but not showing him ever in the show face on was a great move. Even better was having Martian Manhunter as a regular. It’s about time he got some love, and he is played and developed expertly. Flockhart and Benoist are top notch in their roles and I’m glad that even though CBS dropped the show, CW picked it up and it will continue. Special effects are super to say the least. Great filming for flights and fights. Good rogues gallery too, both shown and hinted at. Hank Henshaw’s plight and arc this season are powerful and heartbreaking and almost more interesting than Kara’s. Jimmy’s arc in balancing his love interests and positions between strong females is awesome. Winn is an adorable dork. Plus Kryptonite swords are badass and Max Lord is an jerk in the best way and his relationship with Cat is awesome. Cat Grant is amazingly played, and Dean Cain as Kara’s dad was a genius move. Lois and Clark forever! Own that cheesiness! Oh and the crossover episode with Flash was nothing short of magical.

Down Funnels – Kara’s sister is a bit too matter-of-fact and bland and I feel she doesn’t hold against Benoist’s acting. It took the show about a month to get the chemistry right. The Kryptonians as villains seem weak and the show is most interesting when the characters have to fight their own shortcomings, not the Kryptonians. Any scenes with the military are predictable and kind of a slog. The villains plot seemed kind bland as well, and it got lost in a lot of the episodic threats that occurred over the season.

Finale – Mid range. Competently wrapped everything up, but was a bit too rushed and cookie cutter. It seemed like most everything was known to be resolved before the actual last episode, which made a it a bit anticlimactic. The stinger is interesting, as Kara finds a Kryptonian pod at the end with a mysterious visitor inside who remains unknown. That was the most exciting part and now that characterizations are established, I have better hopes for next season.

Overall Rank: B+

 

I’d say overall a super TV season for superheroes! Can’t wait for next season! Let us know your thoughts on the shows in the comments or on our social media pages!