The Flash: Can Spin offs ever be any good?

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The world of TV is filled with spin off shows: The Originals, Angel, Teen Mom, Maude, The Legend of Korra, NCIS, NCIS:LA, NCIS:New Orleans. . . etc.  OK so NCIS kinda got out of control, but the others show that the love people have for some shows and the desire to see more expands into a whole new series.  Sometimes this is great (Angel) and sometimes you end up with L.L. Cool J. licking his lips while solving crimes and Chris O’Donnell trying to forget that he ever played Robin.

The CW had most recently had the spin off of The Originals which is an even more melodramatic version of The Vampire Diaries so although I had high hopes for The Flash because of what I’d seen on Arrow I was somewhat wary that they might take a more early Smallville teen soap opera-y vibe instead of a balls to the wall all the way superhero series.  I’m happy to say that I feel like they are going with the second option. Barry Allen has a real reason and motivation for being a good guy that is out there helping people.  The actor is cute enough to be a great leading character, but not so good looking that he’s distracting.  We’ve gotten to know him a bit on Arrow so there isn’t a lot of awkward getting to know you crap mixed in the pilot. There is some unrequited romance (plus the promise of the full story of him and Felicity Smoak) and a mystery to be solved in what happened to his mom as well as who Harrison Wells really is.

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I’m not going to pretend that I know everything about The Flash comics so I know there are a ton of Easter Eggs in this episode that I didn’t get, but I do have a few subtle (or not so subtle) things that I appreciate.

  1. They took the time to really tie into Arrow by having him become a reoccurring character months before The Flash so when he tries to decide how to use his abilities it doesn’t feel strange that he would run to Oliver for advice. Crossovers between the shows look like they are going to be awesome.
  2. John Wesley Shipp is playing the dad.  For those 5 people that are unaware JWS played the Flash in a doomed (but good) 90’s series. Think Lois and Clark, but without the viewers (really it was a good show and shouldn’t have been cancelled).
  3. The surrogate dad Det. Joe West is played by Jesse L. Martin who was a cop on Law and Order for years which I feel like adds a level of legitimacy to his role.  Many people will tune in and recognize him as a cop. I know it’s not a big thing, but I like it.
  4. Lastly superhero costumes can be comical.  What someone draws on a cartoon character is often hard to translate into real life (as cosplayers all over the world know). So the firefighter uniform makes sense and the lightening bolt accents although they could be cheesy are played off as an overly excited tech maker’s signature on his device.  Plus it ties into how he got his powers.

I look forward to seeing where this new series is going to take us and unlike the rather slow start that Gotham is having for me  The Flash will be a show that I not only want to watch, it will also be a show I want to watch live (which isn’t something I do much).

What did you think?

Game of Thrones: Two Swords Season 4 Premier

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Finally!  Game of Thrones has returned!  This week I asked a friend of mine from college to help me with the review of the premier. Cathy does science-y stuff at Vanderbilt and is a huge ASoIaF fan and will be adding to my Game of Thrones reviews throughout the season.

My name’s Cathy and I’ve been into sci-fi for a long time, but I will admit, other than Lord of the Rings, I hadn’t read much in the fantasy genre until HBO released Game of Thrones. After seeing the first season, I devoured the books, and like most, am eagerly awaiting The Winds of Winter.

The night started out with me running in place, pointing at the TV, and squealing about Game of Thrones being back. Ok, not really, but I wanted to. Our long wait is finally over!

Season three left us in a state of mourning for the Stark family and their banner men. Arya was heartbreakingly close to being reunited with her family, until the Hound rescued her from being a victim of the Red Wedding along with her mother and brother. The war is seemingly over, Bolton has been named Warden of the North, while his bastard Ramsey has been busy cutting off pieces of Theon Greyjoy. After receiving “Theon Jr.” in the mail, his sister has gathered the Iron Born to stage a rescue attempt. Jon Snow made it back to Castle Black after being shot three times by a betrayed Ygritte, and we were left waiting an entire year to find out if he will survive his injuries. Stannis is moving his army north to help the Night’s Watch defend the wall, while somewhere in a row boat on the sea, Gendry is making his way back to King’s Landing. Speaking of King’s Landing, Jamie (sans right hand) and Brienne have made it back just in time for Joffrey and Margaery to get married.

Oh how the chess board has changed! Bring on Season 4!

I thought the opening of season 4 was the best so far. We are greeted with Twyin Lanister melting down Ice into two new swords; while he throws the wolf casing on the fire and watches it burn. Love. It. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the Lannister’s but that scene helped illustrate just how nefarious Tywin Lannister is. Hey, Arielle here, I just wanted to add that it seems like they were reinforcing how horrible Tywin is at every turn this episode.  He belittles his favorite son, Tyrion has to try to live with a woman that Tywin arranged to have her family brutally murdered, Tyrion also has to deal with The Red Viper (Oberyn Martell) who wants revenge for Tywin’s actions from years previous and while Tyrion is cleaning up his messes Tywin still treats him with contempt. This is all topped off with the images of Ice being melted down.  Ice which should have been returned to the Starks no matter what.  Mormont got his family blade back after his son was banished, Ned took The Sword of the Morning’s sword back to his family after killing him during his “rescue” of Lyanna.  It’s super shady that Tywin not only kept the sword but melted it down into something else.

While we’re on the subject of Tywin, I thought the scene between Tywin and Tyrion was brilliantly acted, and very foretelling. In a move that should win Tywin a “World’s Greatest Dad” goblet, Tywin tells his son that he wanted to drown him in the river after he was born, but because Tyrion carried the Lannister name, he didn’t do it. Wow. How much more abuse is Tyrion going to take? His role in saving King’s Landing during the Battle of the Blackwater was accredited to his coward brat nephew, whose brave contribution to the battle was to basically pee his pants and hide. He’s been verbally abused by his family his entire life, blamed for the death of his mother, forced to marry someone he didn’t want to, etc.  Is the time coming when Tyrion shows his family just what he’s capable of? We shall see.

As far as his two siblings this episode; Jamie gets a new hand, Cersi gets drunk. There was an interesting exchange between Cersi and her Maester. She thanks him for the medicine he’s given her, and is very tight lipped when Jamie asks her about it. Hmmmm…Could this have something to do with her scheme to not marry Loras?

This episode introduces us to two new characters, Prince Oberyn Martell and his paramour Ellaria Sand. They have travelled to King’s Landing under the pretense of attending Joffery’s wedding, however we quickly learn that Oberyn houses a deep hatred for the Lannisters. He’s there to enact revenge for the death of his beloved sister Elia and her children at the hands of the Mountain and on the orders of Tywin Lannister. Something tells me that any ole Lannister isn’t going to do for Oberyn. He’s harbored his hatred for a very long time; he’s going to want to hit someone that’s going to hurt the Lannister’s deeply. Which Lion(s) he goes after will be exciting to see.

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My new favorite team is the Hound and Arya. I feel like they need their own comic book. The two of them roaming the land, fighting crime, and just being awesome badasses. Who didn’t laugh last night when the Hound stabbed that guy in the balls?  You know you’d read it.  Seriously though, we’re starting to  see Arya grow into the person she’s going to become. She hardened by the tragedies she’s experienced, she’s wiser, and she’s seeking revenge towards the people who have hurt her family and friends. We see her regain Needle from Polliver, stare him down, and very calmly repeat his own words back to him before she stabs him in the throat. She has one name crossed off her prayer list. Who will be next? OK here I am again– I just want to add that just as I am disturbed when Joffery kills for fun I was somewhat put off by the glee with which Arya killed.  That little smile on her face was disturbing, but I also found myself cheering her on for being able to defend herself and help The Hound kill people that obviously needed killing.  I wonder how I will feel about seeing (as opposed to reading about) her journey to come.

Lastly, I want to address a small moment that I think will have a bigger impact down the line. Dontos giving Sansa the necklace. The only other time we’ve met Dontos was in the second season when he showed up drunk to a duel, sentenced to death by Joffery  only to be saved by Sansa. He’s stripped of his knighthood and made a court fool. Why bring back a character that we’ve forgotten about? Why make a big deal of him giving Sansa his mother’s necklace? We’re going to see more of him, he’s going to be important. I’m assuming the necklace is replacing the silver jeweled hairnet that she received from him in the books.- A

 

The last thing I (Arielle) will add to this discussion is that it was interesting to see Jon Snow start to take charge of The Wall and see Maester Aemon listen to him.  Which of course one Targaryen would listen to another–amirite?! 🙂

Until next week friends!

~C~

Episode Boob Count: 2 pairs

Major character death count: 0