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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Some Thoughts About the Most Recent Season of The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow

Having had a few weeks to digest the finales of Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, I wanted to take a bit to reflect on each show, how it went, and where I hope it goes next.

Arrow

When the season started, I was super excited because it started off with a bang.  After a disappointing season 3 and R'as Al Ghul, I was really excited to see Damien Dahrk and Arrow revitalize itself.  And at the beginning, the show did a great job.  Neal McDonough was obviously having a wonderful time playing a psychopath and he brought such joy to the role.  And Stephen was playing Oliver as much more relaxed than he had been in the past.  Even the crossover seemed to be less jarring than the ones from last year when it came to the different tones of the shows.

Where the show seemed to fall short this year can really be summed up in one word: Olicity.  Don't get me wrong, I love the two of them as a couple and was really happy when they got together.  However, I was very annoyed about the direction the show took Felicity after Oliver found out about his son.  The writers created a storyline to cause drama for the sake of drama rather than letting drama flow naturally from a storyline.  The result was that Felicity came out looking like an unlikeable shrew.  I've gone on about this at length, so I don't feel the need to rehash old territory.

The other problem is that there really was no personal connection between Oliver and Dahrk.  In season 1 you had Malcolm and in season 2 there was Deathstroke, both of whom had deep personal connections to Oliver.  R'as had the potential to be an awesome villain, but he was seriously miscast and just flat out boring.  Dahrk was a good threat to the city in general, but his plan seemed underwhelming and somehow lacked the urgency that was present int he first two seasons.  Also, the show seemed to run out of gas at the end.

What the show needs is a villain who can create the sense of personal malice toward Oliver that was present in the first two seasons.  Also, the flashbacks need to become more relevant to the overall story.  In the first couple of seasons, I found that they were deeply tied to his personal journey, but in seasons 3 and 4, the flashbacks were more detached and more focused on the overall story, which was less personal and less engaging.  Basically, the show needs to refocus on Oliver and his journey, because that is what made the first two seasons so awesome.

The Flash

The Flash had the opposite problem that Arrow had.  The season started off very poorly, mainly because it seemed that a lot of the first part of the season was spent setting up Legends of Tomorrow.  Once Legends started, the show got infinitely better.  While the whole storyline with Jay Garrick being Zoom could have been a complete retread of last season's Wells being Thawne, it felt really fresh because Zoom was much more of a menace than Thawne was.  The show also did a good job of introducing new characters in a way that kept them involved in the story.

And the show seriously ramped up the action by the end of the season, especially in the last couple of minutes when Barry ran back in time to save his mom, something he refused to do last year.  What I really loved about that is that is gives the show a chance to redo portions of the first season from a different perspective.  Will Barry and Iris still be such a major part of each other's lives if Barry isn't living with the West's?  Will Barry be the Flash or will that completely change because of what he's done?  There are so many unanswered questions, and I am really excited to see where they go.

My hope for the show is that they extend the time travel storyline until the 4 show crossover in November or December.  I am just wondering who is going to be the villain of the season is going to be.  Honestly, there's not a whole lot for me to say about this show.  It has been doing a good job so far, so I just hope the writers keep going in the same direction.

Legends of Tomorrow

This show had a very uneven first season.  Some episodes were awesome and some stunk to high heaven.  Most were pretty good, but nothing to write home about.  I am definitely annoyed that they got rid of Snart, because he was consistently one of the best characters on the show.  My annoyance is tempered by the fact that he will be available on any of the shows in the Berlanti-verse, so that is good.  I am also glad that the show got rid of Kendra, who was a very weak character.  She was never really developed, so having her go away is a good thing.

The show was consistently good in the latter part of the season when the show revealed the Time Lords to be the true villains of the season.  That was a fun and unexpected twist which really helped the show.  What they need to do int he second season is focus on making Rip Hunter into a good character (he was also one of my least favorite parts of the first season), while making sure to keep the remaining members of the team up to the good standards they have set so far.  This show also needs a good, compelling villain who has a personal connection to the group, which will really help keep the story really good.

Supergirl was just good overall and it is switching networks, so I will hold off on it until I see how the CW handles the show in the fall.

As for the crossover, I am really excited about how it will go and how it will be handled.  This has the potential to be totally awesome.  What has me worried is that they may make the crossover overly byzantine which will make it not that good.

Until the fall!