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Entries in Superhero (3)

Wednesday
Apr202016

The Flash Versus Zoom: Barry's Selfish Decision 

The Flash is one of my favorite shows on TV. I almost always enjoy it. I like the characters and I like the writing. Which is why I was so frustrated by some of the decisions made in the episode that came out today. (Season 2, Episode 18 "Versus Zoom"). But before I can get there I want to point out what I like about the what the show did and warn everyone that there will be spoilers.

 

First, I really like that Barry isn't willing to just let Zoom go because he's on another world. The willingness to risk himself to protect other people is what makes him a hero and not just a vigilante. It's that attitude that makes the character and the show special and when it gives up on that for the sake of story convenience it becomes a far bigger problem than it otherwise would be.

 

Beyond that I like most of the character moments in the show. Barry continuing to grow in his connections with the people on the show and the idea that he makes the people around him better is important. Whether it is Wells, Cisco, the Wests or even Zoom I believe that is what makes him a good character and they showed that.

 

And then they threw all of that away and had him make a decision that was selfish to the point of being borderline evil. They went out of their way in this episode to make it clear that Barry knew that Zoom was a serial killer and that he was willing to cross dimensions in order to stop him from tormenting his entire world. And then he decided that he was willing to save Zoom's life and make him much stronger so that he can hurt far more people in order to protect one person simply because he knows him.

 

I know that the impression you're supposed to have is that Barry is sacrificing something in order to protect Wally. The problem is that it just don't work. Zoom is a murderer who is going to keep murdering people. Barry is a hero that is supposed to save people, but instead he made the selfish decision to let who knows how many people die in order to save one person because he knows that person. That's the type of decision I'd expect Dr. Freeze to make. One that is borderline understandable but also clearly wrong. It would be like crashing a plane into a mountain with hundreds of people in it because someone had a gun to your mother's head. It's duress but it's still killing people.

 

Now of course it is unlikely that any of this is going to really happen because Barry has to get his speed back in order for the show to continue. It's also possible that the characters on the show know something that I don't. In the case of the later in which they gave zoom the power because of some deeper plan then I take this back. But if he simply gets his speed back without it being part of any bigger plan then he just got lucky and getting lucky doesn't mean it wasn't an extremely selfish decision.

 

I'm not the type of person who turns on a show because it makes a bad decision and the truth is I think this is basically just an excuse to take away the flashes powers so he has to use other skills to stop Zoom. But in many ways that makes it worse. This isn't a logical character decision, it's lazy writing. You could have got to the same place without having to make Barry look bad or you could have made it clear that it was a selfish decision. But instead the show wants us to buy into the idea that this was an unselfish and brave idea and it just wasn't.  

Friday
Sep252015

Heroes Reborn: Episode 1

I was as big a fan of heroes as anyone. I didn’t give up in the second or third season and I would have kept watching if it had kept going then. But when I heard it was coming back, while excited, I was a bit unsure. Some of the biggest draws of the best parts of heroes were unlikely to be returning at all and the show had always had some problems. But having watched the webisodes and now the first episode(s) it seems like they recognized some of the problems in the show and addressed them.
The webisodes bridge the gap between the time that Heroes went off the air and now. Clair Bennett has revealed to the world that the Evos(or evolved) exist and many others came forward telling of their powers as well. This had the predictable results. People were scared, but the show doesn’t just assume that people are awful. It presents a real explanation of the fear in the  form of a terrorist attack by Evos
And that’s where the series basically starts. Due to the attack the mutant registration act has been passed and the Evos are being discriminated against. What is worse for them they are being hunted by Chuck and his partner who are intent on killing them. There are also some bigger things hinted at in the first episodes but beyond the Evos being needed for something we don’t get much information on it.
I really enjoyed the first episodes. They did a fairly good job of mixing real life and superpowers which was also one of the draws of Heroes. They also did a far better job of giving the main characters abilities that don’t immediatly break the show. So far as I could tell there was no one able to stop time, gather everyone else’s abilities, become immortal, or the other absurdly powerful things that certain characters in earlier seasons did. This is important because as the show went on that was one of its major problems. It’s hard to keep a show grounded while you have people who can do almost anything. Instead it largely focuses on the best character in any season of heroes Noah Bennett who has no abilities but is more capable than almost anyone. 
That isn’t to say that the powers in the show aren’t impressive or useful. We see a number of cool abilities. The two that are best explored are teleportation and the ability to enter a massively multi-player online game. There are also others that will likely show up more and be explained better in the future. But so far as I can see they all have limit and won’t solve every problem. All of the new characters also seemed well thought out and interesting which is important because that was one of the major problems before. 
I won’t say I’m hooked on Heroes Reborn, or even completely convinced that it will be good. But if it can continue to take what was good from Heroes and leave behind some of the weaknesses, and weave in a few more of the old characters just for fun, then I think it has the potential to do what’s written on the tin and help heroes to be reborn.

I was as big a fan of heroes as anyone. I didn’t give up in the second or third season and I would have kept watching if it had kept going then. But when I heard it was coming back, while excited, I was a bit unsure. Some of the biggest draws of the best parts of heroes were unlikely to be returning at all and the show had always had some problems. But having watched the webisodes and now the first episode(s) it seems like they recognized some of the problems in the show and addressed them.
The webisodes bridge the gap between the time that Heroes went off the air and now. Clair Bennett has revealed to the world that the Evos(or evolved) exist and many others came forward telling of their powers as well. This had the predictable results. People were scared, but the show doesn’t just assume that people are awful. It presents a real explanation of the fear in the  form of a terrorist attack by Evos
And that’s where the series basically starts. Due to the attack the mutant registration act has been passed and the Evos are being discriminated against. What is worse for them they are being hunted by Chuck and his partner who are intent on killing them. There are also some bigger things hinted at in the first episodes but beyond the Evos being needed for something we don’t get much information on it.
I really enjoyed the first episodes. They did a fairly good job of mixing real life and superpowers which was also one of the draws of Heroes. They also did a far better job of giving the main characters abilities that don’t immediatly break the show. So far as I could tell there was no one able to stop time, gather everyone else’s abilities, become immortal, or the other absurdly powerful things that certain characters in earlier seasons did. This is important because as the show went on that was one of its major problems. It’s hard to keep a show grounded while you have people who can do almost anything. Instead it largely focuses on the best character in any season of heroes Noah Bennett who has no abilities but is more capable than almost anyone. 
That isn’t to say that the powers in the show aren’t impressive or useful. We see a number of cool abilities. The two that are best explored are teleportation and the ability to enter a massively multi-player online game. There are also others that will likely show up more and be explained better in the future. But so far as I can see they all have limit and won’t solve every problem. All of the new characters also seemed well thought out and interesting which is important because that was one of the major problems before. 

That isn't to say that there are no problems. A couple of the characters need serious development and I felt like the Katana Girl not only had nothing to do with the rest of the episode but was generally just not all that interesting and some of the characters felt a bit too much like comic relief. But these are minor problems that can easily be fixed in future episodes. 


I won’t say I’m hooked on Heroes Reborn, or even completely convinced that it will be good. But if it can continue to take what was good from Heroes and leave behind some of the weaknesses, and weave in a few more of the old characters just for fun, then I think it has the potential to do what’s written on the tin and help heroes to be reborn.

Saturday
May232015

Leaked Supergirl Pilot Review

I had a nice surprise today. I was looking at some websites and saw that the Supergirl pilot had been leaked online. I don’t normally watch things that I’m not supposed to but it’s six months until the show is out and so I decided to watch it. After all the point of a pilot is to convince people to watch their show and I wasn’t convinced yet. The real pleasant surprise though was the show itself. It’s not perfect by any means, but it was a lot of fun and I absolutely plan to watch more episodes when it does come on on television.

 

I’ll start with a couple of the minor problems I had with the show. The first was the obvious avoidance of saying the name Superman. Superman clearly exists in this world as Supergirl is his cousin and they don’t hide that. But they won’t say superman. Perhaps D.C. isn’t letting them, but whatever the point it’s distracting because they use ever term they can to talk about him but Superman.

 

The other problem is that they hammer the female superhero button a bit hard. I’m very happy to see that someone is doing a female superhero on TV but they really aren’t breaking ground. There have been plenty of superheros shows on TV that have female leads including several Joss Whedon shows, Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman and plenty of cartoons. But it wasn’t that the pointed it out more than once that made me uncomfortable it was the moments that would probably have been more appropriate in a romantic comedy. Because while it is important to show the personal life of a person in a Superhero show, and often this is a bit underused I don’t need to see her picking out clothes though to be fair the parallelism to the later scene where she picked out a superhero costume helped a bit. My basic point is that I don't think you need to make a show a romantic comedy to get women to watch.

 

Beyond those nitpicks though I was incredibly impressed by the show. Most important was that the main character actually felt like Supergirl. This may seem like a low bar, but D.C. has had some problems with the characterization of characters with super in the name over the last few years. For example in the TV show the Supergirl costume is bright red and blue not dark and it looked great.

 

 

All the actors were good. There is some room for improvement as this is a pilot but everyone felt comfortable in their parts and like they had a reason to be part of the show. Even if the villain which is often the weakest part of pilots (since they have a lot less time to explore them than in later episodes) felt fine. He was fairly basic, but they made him reasonably threatening and connected to a bigger threat which is all you hope for.

 

This is a strong show and one that has a lot of possibilities. And perhaps it says it best in the beginning when it say that you know Superman’s story, but you probably don’t know Supergirl’s and that leaves a lot of room for stories that use Superman’s world without the immediate recognition of the plot from one of the previous TV series about Superman.