Quick Thoughts: DC TV Season Premieres

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…

 Supergirl

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.

 The Flash

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.

Arrow

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.

What did you think of the season premieres of Supergirl, The Flash and Arrow?

Share your thoughts below!

With added 'Supergirl', the CW's DC shows return to UK TV screens...

With added ‘Supergirl’, the CW’s DC shows return to UK TV screens…

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6 thoughts on “Quick Thoughts: DC TV Season Premieres

  1. Nice write up of the DC shows. Arrow has shown some improvement over the past couple of seasons and the Rival in the Flash is not an inspiring villain (really, another evil speedster?). Legends of Tomorrow is corny and fun, but one has to wonder if half the casts was cut for budgetary reasons, since the new character has no presence at all.

    • Thanks very much, I’m looking forward to the UK premiere of Legends next week. I must admit I actually enjoyed Supergirl the most, mainly down to the excitement of having Superman appear.

      The Rival was pretty dull, I’m just hoping the new dark archer in Arrow doesn’t prove the same.

  2. Great thoughts! I honestly find every single one of the DC TV shows to be a major improvement from their previous season. I think my least favourite premiere was The Flash. That villain was absolutely lame and, you’re right, very uninspiring (I think we’re all over-saturated by speedster villains by now). The Flash also disappointed me because of their very mellow and SHORT take of The Flashpoint. Although they clearly couldn’t reproduce the original story (which hopefully the DCEU cinematic movies will do one day? 😀 ), but what they offered was rather… dull.
    Supergirl was fantastic (it’s probably the only show where every episode gets better since season 1, even if it’s only a slight improvement). The addition of Superman was scary, but I do think that the actor did fine and could easily have more episodes in the future to show his awesomeness. Although, my problem with Superman is the fact that his presence sort of diminishes his “ranking” among superheroes. It’s something I had a problem with, with The Flash too. Both Flash and Superman are like Gods to me and seeing them around a “lower tier” set of heroes feels wrong. Then again, I’m still able to enjoy the shows though!
    As for Arrow, I’m really glad of the changes that were made and the more “grounded” story-telling. Last couple seasons were catastrophic for me. Especially all the romance that was going on. I’m glad it’s not so much a “Felicity and her problems” show anymore. And, indeed, compared to what Netflix’s Marvel TV show is able to deliver (whether it’s in terms of actions or storytelling), DC TV shows have a long way to go. Although, we can say that they both have different vibes (family-friendly vs. darker and character-oriented story-telling).

    – Lashaan

    • Thanks mate, pretty much agree with everything you say. Call me cold hearted but I never really was a fan of “Olicity” so glad they’ve moved on from that. The one Arrow character that’s really grown over the seasons is Thea, she’s come quite far from the bratty teen in season 1. Interesting thoughts on Superman, I hadn’t thought about it in that way. I definitely want to see more of him in Supergirl but I still prefer the current movie version of the character played by Henry Cavill.

      • Thea sure was a pain in the arse… I’m glad she grew into a different character, but there’s still this nagging feeling that she gives whenever she’s in a scene. Not a huge fan of hers. I also thought that Black Canary would come back from beyond so that the “real” relationship might come back to life, but it doesn’t seem like The Flashpoint event was going to do something on that. And man, when it comes down to the level of strength and the “physique”, the difference between Tv show Superman and Movie Superman is insane! That had me skeptical about the new Supz, but I gues toning it down a little made him “fit in” more to the DC TV universe too. XD

        – Lashaan

      • Yeah I was wondering about Black Canary too, I definitely think a film version of Flashpoint would be awesome, as would the Throne of Atlantis storyline for a future big screen Aquaman/Justice League.

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