With the current seasons of the CW’s DC Comics based television shows already underway in the States, this week saw the return of Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow to UK screens. Presented here is a quick look at the season premiere of each series…
Season 2 Premiere: “The Adventures of Supergirl”
Starring: Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, David Harewood, Calista Flockhart, Jeremy Jordan, Tyler Hoechlin
Episode Directed by: Glen Winter / Written by: Andrew Kreisberg & Jessica Queller
With the future of the series secured by the transition from CBS to the CW, Supergirl makes an assured return with some small changes (including a new base of operations for the DEO) and one ‘Super’ addition (more on that in a moment). It’s more or less business as usual with Melissa Benoist the ever likeable lead in an episode that’s fun and action packed (aided by some impressive visual effects) with plenty of fan pleasing references to comic book mythology. There’s still an element of emotional angst (mainly via Kara and James Olsen’s friendship/relationship dilemma) that’ll irk some viewers, but will certainly appeal to the young adult demographic.
Of course, it’s the introduction of Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent/Superman that’s been most anticipated and proves to be the biggest highlight. Much like the series itself it’s an optimistic and nostalgic take on the character that melds Hoechlin’s enjoyable performance with dashes of Christopher Reeve – with a plethora of callbacks to Richard Donner’s Superman throughout to hammer home that point. It’s great that the producers have finally been allowed to fully include the Man of Steel, thus addressing the awkward elephant in the room that plagued last season and the solid chemistry between Benoist and Hoechlin makes their scenes together all the more pleasing, whether in their Kryptonian guises or not. Hopefully there’ll be plenty more opportunities for Hoechlin to return throughout the series.
Season 3 Premiere: “Flashpoint”
Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Jesse L. Martin, Keiynan Lonsdale
Episode directed by: Jesse Warn / Written by: Andrew Kreisberg & Brooke Roberts
Inspired by the comic book storyline of the same name, “Flashpoint” opens with Barry living a happy, Flash-less life after the darkness and turmoil he experienced in season 2…achieved by him travelling back in time to prevent his mother’s murder at the hands of the Reverse-Flash.
Time travel and alternate timelines is not something new to The Flash but in this one the super heroics are left to ‘Kid’ Flash Wally West (allowing Keiynan Lonsdale to step-up) whilst Barry treasures his new life in a world where both his parents are alive. Grant Gustin gets to play the brighter and breezier version of his character here and the new timeline also gives us some welcome twists on other main characters – most notably Cisco as an egotistical billionaire and Joe West a washed-up shadow of the heroic Detective and father figure we’re familiar with.
Matt Letscher makes a creepy reprisal as the Reverse-Flash but unfortunately the central villain in “Flashpoint” is another, rather generic and uninspired riff on the ‘evil speedster’ in the form of ‘The Rival’ (Todd Lasance) who at least serves a purpose in bringing Barry back into action and facilitating a team up with Wally’s Flash. What’s sorely missing is the excellent Tom Cavanaugh and seen as he’s been rightfully bumped up to series regular it’ll be interesting to see what’s in store for one of the shows’ greatest assets.
Events taking a dramatic turn, we learn – not unpredictably – that meddling with the timeline has consequences and with Barry’s memories of his previous reality gradually dissipating, this sets the stage for things to come. Despite this all being done before in The Flash there’s plenty of potential in loosely adapting the Flashpoint storyline and doing so could provide some nifty tweaks to keep the series fresh and enjoyable.
Season 5 Premiere: “Legacy”
Starring: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Emily Bett Rickards, Echo Kellum, Paul Blackthorne
Episode directed by: James Bamford / Written by: Marc Guggenheim & Wendy Mericle
After focusing on metahuman antics and dark mysticism last season, with Damien Darhk defeated and Oliver in place as Mayor of Star City Arrow steps back towards the hardened vigilantism of its earlier days. Those meta aspects broadened the overall scope of the CW’s DC universe but Arrow is arguably its better self when dealing with bone crunching and corruption and there’s plenty of that in this season premiere.
Stephen Amell slips confidently back into the role of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow and although his mission as the Emerald Archer has reverted to more brutal times, the death of Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and the disbanding of Team Arrow leaves a large shadow and the way “Legacy” addresses this is laudable, via moral debates between Oliver, Thea, Felicity and a grieving Quentin Lance, redeemed by Oliver’s intentions to use official powers to root out police corruption and assemble a special anti-crime unit.
After a number of guest appearances last season, it’s good to see Echo Kellum become part of the regular cast, although it remains to be seen whether the interplay between Felicity and Curtis will be as fun as it was last year or just become plain annoying.
The martial arts action is as slick and exciting as ever (but paling in comparison to the visceral thrills offered by Marvel’s Daredevil) and “Legacy” features some crazy sequences, one of which involves Oliver dangling from a fleeing helicopter. We’re left with the emerging threat of another Dark Archer-esque villain who will hopefully turn out to be more compelling than The Rival over in The Flash and stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Ra’s Al Ghul and Damien Darhk.
Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow air in the UK Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (respectively) on Sky 1. US viewers can catch them on the CW.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow returns to UK screens on Thursday 3rd November, Sky 1.
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With added ‘Supergirl’, the CW’s DC shows return to UK TV screens…