DC on TV

It’s pretty much indisputable that Marvel owns the movie theaters and has owned them since Spider-Man and Iron Man and The Avengers effectively erased the embarrassments of the past (I’m looking at you Fantastic Four and also at you Fantastic Four, and you’re not out of the woods, either, Fantastic Four). But they have stumbled (in my opinion) on the small screen.

I don’t think anyone was more excited about the Agents of Shield than I was and yet I could barely make it through the first season and bailed out half way through the second. Agent Carter was interesting but little more than an anomaly that could best be summed up as Mad Men meets The Avengers.

Gotham is another thing entirely. As a matter of fact, it may be its own prototype, the thing that creates a new genre. Before I sing its praises, I have to admit that I bailed on this show four episodes into its first season. I got what they were up to but it just didn’t hook me. It wasn’t until the umpteenth friend implored me to give it a second chance that I sat down this last weekend and binged it. Now I’m hooked.

I’ve been hooked on The Flash since the beginning but mostly because I like a show that doesn’t pretend it’s not what it really is. The Flash is a silly comic book and this is a silly show based on a silly super hero.

Now, having said that, put down your slings and arrows because I’m about to backtrack as fast as my feet will carry me. Not about The Flash being a silly superhero. I mean, c’mon, he’s the Aquaman of the land. Also, the Hollywood physics are extremely strong in this one. I won’t even start on the kinetic effect of a bony little fist traveling at Mach II coming into contact with a human jaw…

But, I’ve wandered off the path again. This show’s characters and tragic story arc are expertly written and the actors are all working at the top of their game. I have quibbles (the actor who plays his imprisoned dad sure shuffled off to Buffalo in a hurry after his son sacrificed everything to get him out of prison, but I figure the actor had an offer from another series) but overall this has turned into an enjoyable show featuring characters with whom I’ve been able to make that all important emotional connection that’s missing with Marvel’s TV offerings.

With the exception of Jarvis on Agent Carter. The actor and the character, both gems, were just not enough to save an otherwise two dimensional show.

I was a strictly Marvel comics kid (with the exception of Batman the TV Series when I was excusably young) so I don’t know much about the world of Gotham or The Flash but that’s fine as long as I’m willing to invest the time to learn. Both of these shows make that an enjoyable prospect.

The 1970s and 80s were filled with enough awful superhero TV shows (The Flash, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, etc.) that I swore off them forever. It wasn’t until I sat down and binged the first five seasons of Smallville (long after it had gone off the air) that I began to have hope.

Now, the key to Smallville was that they started off with the idea that he would never don the suit and would never leave the ground, at least not without an airplane. This forced them to focus more on character development and relationships than superhero antics. It was a good show that marred its legacy by running at least five seasons too long. I dropped off after the five and left perfectly satisfied.

But again, that’s another example of a DC property that translated perfectly well to the small screen but not to the big one. How many times are they going to try to reboot Superman The Movie?

And just to head off static about the DC show I haven’t talked about: I get the giggles when I see anyone with a bow and arrow. Whether it’s Green Arrow, Hawkeye or even Jennifer Lawrence, I just can’t get serious about it.

As a matter of fact, the last time I saw a movie with a bow and arrow in it that I thought was cool was The Professionals.

 

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