Monday, July 28, 2014

The Fall of the Geek by Jason Frazier

It’s the age of the geek, baby. 

That’s a line I loved to hear from a now cancelled show called Leverage. That line stuck in my head as I was approaching how I wanted to handle this article about upcoming TV shows that are based on comics. In case you haven’t noticed, the comics are not just on the big screen anymore. There are four new comic based shows coming out to join the two that are returning. Two of the shows are the second time these franchises have been a TV show. Two of the shows have had big screen versions already. Another one is adding to a juggernaut of a universe that could keep growing on the big and small screen with each passing year. Four of the five networks have new comic book shows coming out.

Return Date: Wednesday October 8th @ 8 PM

Arrow is coming back for its third season. This show follows the adventures of Oliver Queen (AKA Green Arrow, AKA Arrow) as he tries to protect his city. The great thing about this show is how it not only handles the current time but also the flashbacks. Flashbacks? Yes - we get to see the time Oliver spent on the island - no not the same island from LOST - and learned all the skills he is using to help protect his city. You see Oliver has not always been the “hero” type. He is not like Batman, who at a young age was devastated by the loss of his parents. Oliver lived the life that we see in tabloids today of the young & rich. 

From Season One this show has been hitting all the right spots. It has brought the action in multiple times throughout the season and in almost every episode. Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver Queen, is fantastic. From day one you could see what he was going to bring to this show. The first press he did for the show was at the gym where he learned all of the skills for the stunts he was going to be doing. You saw him doing parkour. He did this thing called the Salmon Ladder, which is this crazy version of a chin up or at least that is the best way to describe it.

Not only has Amell been great from the beginning, but the story lines and production has been excellent. I have got to admit that, along with Stephen Amell, I’m confused why they were not nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Miniseries or Movie in 2014. It’s a shame they are not nominated because the stuff they do in this show is amazing. They have not been scared of bringing in comic book characters and villains.
Here is a list of some of the characters that have appeared on the show:
  • Deathstroke AKA Slade Wilson
  • Merlyn
  • Black Canary
  • Sebastian Blood
  • Deadshot
  • Amanda Waller
  • Huntress AKA Helena Bertinelli
  • Dr. Ivo
  • China White
  • Count Vertigo AKA The Count
  • Firefly
  • Bronze Tiger

They have even more great casting coming this season with Brandon Routh joining as Ray Palmer AKA The Atom. See, Ray Palmer is taking over Queen Industries after it was lost last season because of Slade Wilson wanting revenge on Oliver. Speaking of Slade and Oliver; best cat and mouse game ever. 

Also joining the cast this season is Devon Aoki as Katana, Karl Yune as Oliver’s Hong Kong handler/Katana’s husband Maseo Yamashiro, and Peter Stormare as Count Vertigo. Wait. What?!?! Count Vertigo you say? That’s right. The first one was killed. Kind of a victim of his own circumstance it turns out. 

Returning this season as a regular is the one and only John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn. Merlyn is back after a little hiatus from Season 2. Since we found out that Thea Queen, Oliver’s sister, is the daughter of Merlyn and has sided with him in Season 2, there is no telling what is going to happen. For those not in the know Merlyn can pretty much kick Arrow’s butt. He was trained by The League of Assassins, the group headed by Ra’s al Ghul. 

Arrow is a must watch. Season 1 is on Netflix. GO WATCH NOW!!! After you finish reading this, that is.

Premieres: Tuesday October 7th @ 8 PM

Now, I mentioned at the beginning of this article that two shows had TV versions before. This is the first one. The original series came out with one season from 1990-1991. It starred John Wesley Ship, AKA Dawson’s Dad. I loved that version even though it was very 80’s/90’s. 

Flash is a “Spin-of” from Arrow. Barry Allen was introduced in the mid-Season 2 Arrow episodes The Scientist and Three Ghosts. Barry Allen is played by Grant Gustin, who is until this time best known for GLEE and 90210. For those not in the know Barry Allen is a police scientist that is in a lab one night when lightning strikes some chemicals. These lightning enriched chemicals cover him. Once he is healed from the accident he discovers he has amazing speed. This looks to be a very promising show from the trailer that has aired. The production team behind it is the same one behind Arrow. 

Like Arrow they are not afraid to bring in characters from the comics. Three of the main characters in the show are Eddie Thawne (Professor Zoom or Reverse-Flash), Caitlin Snow (Killer Frost), and Cisco Ramon (Vibe). The first two are possible Flash villains and Cisco Ramon could be another superhero if they choose to turn him into Vibe. Recently announced was also the addition of Robbie Amell, Stephen Amell’s cousin, as Ronnie Raymond AKA Firestorm. Also, the original Flash, John Wesley Ship is going to be in the show. He will play Henry Allen, Barry’s dad. I don’t know for how many episodes, but at least he is in the pilot.

Premiers: Friday October 24th @ 10 PM

So earlier I mentioned that two of the upcoming comic book shows were movies before they came to the small screen. Well this is one of them. The movie stared Keanu Reeves as John Constantine. The movie was not that great in many aspects and did not follow the source material as closely as it should have. I would love to tell you more that was wrong with it but I watched the movie when it came out in 2005 and have not watched it since. 

The TV show is said to follow John Constantine, played by Matt Ryan (not the Falcons QB), as he struggles with his past sins and tries to protect humanity from a gathering supernatural threat. It sounds almost like Supernatural, but Constantine also happens to be a dark magician. The TV show is said to follow the comics closer than the movie did, but I’m a little worried. I say that because the executive producers have decided to change the creative direction after the pilot was shot. Liv Aberdine, played by Lucy Griffiths, was supposed to be a regular character, but this is no longer the case. The producers for whatever reason decided to change the creative direction and had to re-shoot some of the pilot to explain why she was not going to follow Constantine on his adventures. It could be a good thing, but I’m going to wait and see. 

I am somewhat relieved that David S. Goyer is one of the Executive Producers. Goyer has had a part in the story in the last three Batman movies, Man of Steel, and the upcoming Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice. So knowing this has given me hope that this is a show that can live up to the comic.

Premiers: Monday September 22nd @ 8 PM

So this is the last TV show that actually has somewhat existed as a TV show before and as movies. I say somewhat because they all involved the same world. That would be the world of Batman. Batman ran from 1966-1968. Next were the first four movies that started in 1989, staring Michael Keaton, with the last one in 1997, staring George Clooney. Christopher Nolan rebooted the franchise with Batman Begins in 2005. This showed us the beginnings of Batman and a then Detective Gordon. This Trilogy ran until 2012’s Dark Knight Rises.

The new show Gotham takes place before all of the previous versions. It starts with a young Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie of Southland and The O.C., coming home from the army and becoming a police detective. That’s right this series will concentrate more on Detective Gordon than Batman. Is Batman going to be in it? Yes and no. A young, recently orphaned Bruce Wayne will be in the show. In fact the first case we see Gordon on is the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. This will force Gordon to form a friendship with Bruce.

Not only do we see the young Bruce Wayne, but also young Ivy Pepper (Poison Ivy) and Selina Kyle (Catwoman). Other future villains to so far make appearances will be Edward Nygma (AKA E. Nygma AKA The Riddler) and Oswald Cobblepot (AKA The Penguin). 

The big baddie in the show will probably be Fish Mooney played by the wonderful Jada Pinkett Smith. Although Pinkett Smith has never played a “bad guy” before I have faith she can easily do this after seeing her in the Matrix Trilogy and Set It Off. 

Now the person I’m really happy about in the casting is Donal Logue as Detective Harvey Bullock. In the comics Bullock has switched from being a corrupt cop that was trying to hamper Police Chief Gordon to one that helped Gordon. In Gotham he plays a mentor to the young Detective Gordon. I think the casting for this role is perfect. Donal Logue is one of the most underused actors out there. The guy is very talented. He has done comedy, drama, action, you name it he has done it. I’m predicting right now that Bullock will be a break out character in the show that all will love.

Return Date: Tuesday September 23rd @ 9 PM

So this was Marvel’s entrance into live action TV land last year after they started to dominate the box office. Many people were worried because this was a show that was based in a universe that has mostly concentrated on the superheroes, but it was not going to have any superheroes. The show had a great beginning in the ratings, but reviews for it were not all that positive at first. Than last Spring Captain America: Winter Soldier came out and this show became what it was going to become all along. Many people gave up watching the show because they did not see it as that great. Well to them I say…YOU FOOLS!!!!! 

Marvel knew all along what they were going to do here. They had to hold back because they knew what was going to happen in Winter Soldier and how it was going to affect the universe. While we are still seeing Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe they are working on Phase 4. What happens in the movies is going to affect what happens in the TV shows. 

To be a successful TV show you have to have a great base or foundation to build on. This is what the first season of S.H.I.E.L.D. was. It gave us back Agent Phil Coulson, played by the great Clark Gregg, who in The Avengers movie was Whedoned. It also introduced us to a variety of new characters that worked at S.H.I.E.L.D. It gave us Melinda May (Former bad ass that was stuck in a cubicle), Grant Ward (Loner S.H.I.E.L.D. agent), Skye (Computer Hacker/Possible super power being), Leo Fitz (High Tech Weapons Genius), and Jemma Simmons (Life sciences specialist).
It was a somewhat slow building to the final acts, but it needed to be. If what they had plan went off in the beginning of the season than it would have ruined Winter Soldier. 

They did give us some great clues into what to expect though. When the first person they helped - Mike Peterson played by J. August Richards - loses his leg you see him get a robotic one and on the leg is the word ‘Deathlok’. We found out how Coulson was still alive. We saw a team that fell apart after being betrayed by one of their own only to rise up and do what needed to be done. 

The show also had some great guest stars. Cobie Smulders is reprising her role of Maria Hill. Samuel Jackson is reprising Nick Fury. Adrian Pasdar guest starred as Colonel Glenn Talbot. Bill Paxton played the great John Garrett. Macimiliano Hernandez reprising his role of Agent Sitwell from the Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant and Winter Soldier. Jaimie Alexander reprised her role of Lady Sif from the Thor movies.

Premiers: No Date yet, but should air in the same time slot as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. between the last episode of 2014 and the first episode of 2015. Limited to only 13 episodes.

Agent Carter is back. Who is Agent Carter you ask? She is Captain America’s love interest from the first Captain America Movie. She also happens to be a bad ass woman that could keep her own with any man or men in the 1940’s. If you have not yet, go watch the Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter. Although I guess it’s not really a One-Shot now that the series is coming out. 

Hayley Atwell is reprising her role of Peggy Carter. Hopefully joining her is Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan, and Derek Luke as Gabe Jones. 

Supposedly from what has been released this story will play a part and connect with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Carter is one of the founders of S.H.I.E.L.D. along with Howard Stark. Also, if you have followed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. you know that one of the newer characters Antoine Triplett is the grandson of Gabe Jones. This could be good.

Trying to figure out which of the new shows coming out I’m most excited to watch was hard. Each show has great potential. The one I’m most excited to see is one linked to the returning show I’m cannot wait for. I've got to give The Flash the most wanted new show I cannot wait to see. I have to admit I even loved the original series that was in the 90’s. Even if it was a very, very, very 90’s show. With the potential that Flash and Arrow have for crossing over, they have already announced that the 9th episodes of each will crossover, and the fun at expanding that universe… Man I’m just excited. See I even took my own advice while writing this article and went to Netflix and watched Arrow Season 1. Man that was a great first season. All of the hidden clues and references to what was going to happen in the second season and possibly the third season.  Can October get here already!!!

1 comment:

  1. trust me, you will be sooooooo glad they got rid of "Liv" from Constantine....her acting in the pilot was wretched! Zed will be much better, and truer to the books.