The Green Hornet s1e1: The Silent Gun

Rating: 10/10

After a man is shot with a silent pistol at a funeral, the Green Hornet is out for his killer. He works on both sides of the law in order to bring down the murderer.

I like that this is a combination of noir and superhero tropes to bring something entirely different from the typical fanfare of other comic book properties. Though I don’t think this was based on a comic book but instead a radio show initially, though comics were born from Green Hornet and Kato’s adventures. I really like how the show presents the Green Hornet as a vigilante who will use blackmail and extortion in order to get what he’s after, making him a lot darker than a traditional superhero and more noir in comparison.

I also especially like the theme song as a more jazzy verision of Flight of the Bumblebee. It’s very catchy.

SCORING:

+10: A very intense opening to a show that completely went under my radar in the past

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Rating: +7/10

Bruce Banner is on the run from the army after a failed experiment turned him into the Incredible Hulk. Meanwhile, a certain soldier is looking to have the exact same Hulk-like augmentations happen to him.

I’ve always been a huge Hulk fan, and when this first came out in theaters I was very excited. I was much less enthused about Iron Man and completely ignored its theatrical run. Had I seen it I might be disappointed this movie did the same thing with the bad guy basically being the evil version of the hero. Other than that, I still really like this movie, but it hasn’t aged as well as one would hope. It’s barely part of the MCU anyway, Hulk is never played by Edward Norton again and most of the stories presented here are just dropped off and forgotten about. The only major connection is a brief cameo by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) at the very end of the film, and that’s kind of a fault of the film as it feels that it would have been a better movie overall had it just been a standalone Hulk flick. Okay, this is really something I can only think 10 years after the fact, but at the time it was pure excitement leaving the theater as I imagined what could be to come for Hulk in the future. Again, at the time, I didn’t really care about Iron Man until after I rented the movie about a year later on VHS.

As a film, it’s fine. My only issue was a great many slow scenes in the first half of the film which felt more or less like padding because it was. But as a part of the MCU, well, I would say this is a very skippable film as it really never gets called back to in any way in future movies in the franchise.

SCORING:

+8: It’s a decent flick, though not necessary if your speeding your way through the MCU to get caught up for whatever the next one is, or something

-1: The first half is incredibly slow and sprinkled with scenes that lack substance

Superman (1941) s1e11: Showdown

Rating: 10/10

A thief dresses up as Superman to give him an advantage when committing crimes and framing the real Superman. But when the real Superman shows up, he may have met his match.

The people making this short took a chance and tried something new that had a bit more plot than a typical outing in this program. I felt it really paid off as well as this was more entertaining than probably any other episode since the initial one. I also liked seeing what I thought might have been Jimmy Olsen, albeit a very effeminate one.

SCORING:

+10: Though the stakes are kind of low in this one, it was a very entertaining episode with a decent plot

Superman (1941) s1e10: The Japoteurs

Rating: 9/10

Japanese spies infiltrate a bomber in order to blow up Metropolis. In the process, Lois Lane is kidnapped, yet again.

This was actually one of the best episodes of this not-really-a-show so far. It’s just kind of dumb that the Japanese are drawn like characterchures of an entire race of people. I mean, this was made during WWII and after the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, Americans felt the Japanese deserved to be made fun of or shown to be evil. I suppose this isn’t as bad as it is in other media at the time, like some of the stuff locked up in the Disney vault. I mean, the Japanese man isn’t cruel, for example, and seems to be quite intelligent and speaks in a normal tone. Not nearly as bad as it could be, that’s for sure, but still an obvious racial stereotype in how he’s drawn.

SCORING:

+10: As the plot and intensity of the episode shows, this one is very good.

-1: My only problem is how the bad guy is drawn, forgivable because of the stylings of the time because of the tragedies of war, but still very noticable.

Smallville s1e1: Pilot

Rating: 6/10

A meteor storm causes great changes in a small town in Kentucky. One of which is transporting a small boy from another planet, who is immediately adopted by Ma and Pa Kent, a 9-year-old Lex Luther loses his hair forever, and a boy tied to a post as a high school prank is rendered comatose but also given superpowers. Fun!

Well, this is a show that I completely ignored for its entire run on television. Why? Two reasons, one, I really didn’t like Superman at the time for reasons that I’m still not entirely sure about. And two, I thought putting Superman in High School was a stupid idea. Of course, I also wasn’t as into reading comics throughout history and if only I’d known that they’d been making “Superboy” at least since the 1950s then…I’d probably still think it was a bad idea. Not to be confused with modern-day Superboy, who’s a completely different person, this was chronicling Superman while he was growing up in Smallville (much like this show is), it also involved Krypto the Superdog a lot if I remember correctly, I guess we’ll see if this Kryptonian Canine makes an appearance on the show.

Pilots are always a bit harder to grade in terms of the rest of the show. Often they are filmed on a limited budget without any idea if they’ll be picked up or not and between the time the pilot is filmed and the rest of the first season is can be years of difference. You never know how things will change between then and now. The biggest difference is usually the cast, some might have gone on to do other projects, others the studio just thinks the person in the role just isn’t right for the part and/or has someone else in mind. Outside of that, the other biggest difference is production quality which can sometimes take quite a jump as everything is being backed by a large studio. Another giant change can be in the storytelling as they realize the audience responds better to different types of plots than others, though this is usually a bigger difference between the first and second seasons than the pilot and the second episode.

But, with all that in mind that this episode, as many pilots are, is quite possibly the worst episode. I don’t know, this is all I’ve seen, this was still fairly entertaining and interesting. There are points I kinda wanted to skip, the dialogue in the graveyard scene between Clark and Lana was somewhat cringeworthy, for example, but it was something I pretty much expected for any show taking place in high school that any boy and girl talking to one another is going to be more awkward than not, but it’s weird when it feels both awkward and fake.

SCORING:

+7.5: Not bad, for a pilot

-1: Awkward dialogue, and some stereotypical high school plotlines which, as long as it keeps up, I just don’t believe really belongs in Superman stories, even if they did do it in the comics first

-0.5: The villain as a side plot was alright but I felt he was defeated too easily when it felt he was going to be set up for the next episode it was just like “okay, now he’s dealt with, never mind”

Supergirl s1e9: Blood Bonds

“Blood Bonds” — With Astra in captivity at the DEO, her husband, Non (Chris Vance), captures Hank, leading to a tense standoff between the two sides. Also, Kara continues to refute Cat\’s allegations that she is Supergirl, on SUPERGIRL, Monday, Jan. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured left to right: Chyler Leigh, Laura Benanti and Melissa Benoist Photo: Darren Michaels/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2015 WBEI. All rights reserved

Rating: 10/10

As Kara does her best to convince Cat Grant that she’s not Supergirl, as Supergirl she has to do what she can to get Hank Henshaw back from Non. Meanwhile, James and Winn try to uncover some dirt on Maxwell Lord, only to be caught in the process.

A great episode with a good mix of drama and action without either dragging the other down. In fact, everything came together really well by the end. This is the type of thing every single episode should do of every series ever, really. If things don’t come together, or at least relate to one another, it feels too disjointed to be an entirely pleasant experience. Take note, everyone working in the television industry, or at least the writers.

I also really liked seeing a less confident Kara as everything seems to be falling apart around her. And at one point, she was so angry I thought for a moment that she was going to turn evil for a bit. This makes me kind of want to see an evil Supergirl, though it’s also a question of who would be able to stop her if she turned?

SCORING:

+10: A really great episode with a lot going on

Arrow s4e15: Taken

Arrow — “Taken” — Image AR415A_0101.jpg — Pictured: Megalyn E.K. as Vixen — Photo: Bettina Strauss/ The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Rating: 10/10

Oliver has a particular set of skills, but when his son gets kidnapped, those skills aren’t enough against a psychopathic wizard like Damien Darhk. So Oliver enlists an old friend, Vixen, to help him get his son back.

I was thinking about what makes this show work, like this episode, and what doesn’t work, as in the last episode. I believe that what’s missing from the previous episode is real cohesion. I mean, this show has a lot of characters, maybe more than any of the other shows. And they should all have a part in each episode, but it doesn’t work when every scene doesn’t fit with the one before it and we need things like in this episode where it all feels like it fits into a bigger picture.

Vixen was a great addition to the show and seeing her in live action made me wish we had gotten more out of the character. I know her grandmother comes back in Legends of Tomorrow eventually, but she’s not quite the same person. Still, great addition to the show. Too bad she can’t join Team Arrow as well…

SCORING:

+10: A great improvement over the last episode

Arrow s4e14: Code of Silence

Arrow — “Code of Silence” — Image AR414A_0012b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as The Arrow, David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan, and Willa Holland as Thea Queen / Speedy — Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Rating: 5/10

As Oliver is running for mayor against Damien Darhk’s wife, Arrow and Darhk’s conflict seems to have escalated into full on war. Especially now that Darhk has set his sights on Oliver’s son.

This episode has some very intense battle sequences, first off. It’s some of the best I’ve seen in the series as all of Team Arrow has to fight against Darhk’s personal army of gun toting minions. Arrow seems to have met his match for once, and things are only getting worse. I would say that the other storyline in Queen’s past is also a very intense on as tensions mount between Oliver and the terrorists who’ve kidnapped him.

But, despite all this awesome action, the show is lacking in every other part. The drama just feels like it’s eating away at time as we get past the “2nd act” of this season. I think it’s also being plagued with the we-need-every-character-to-have-something-to-do disease as a lot of parts, especially the ones with Felicity, her mother, and Quentin. What I really want to see is one of these scenes, which are boring and unnecessary, get interrupted by King Shark or the like busting through a wall or something instead of having to go through the exact same motions of this over-dramatic, unnecessary filler.

SCORING:

+5: The half of this episode that’s good is really good, but the other half? Not so much

Legends of Tomorrow s1e6: Star City 2046

DC\’s Legends of Tomorrow — “Star City 2046” — Image LGN106b_0248b.jpg — Pictured: Steven Amell as Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow — Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Rating: 5.5/10

After Gideon was damaged while they were escaping the 80s, the Legends crash land in Star City in a future where it seems gangs have taken over the streets. Unfortunately, their stuck until the Waverider is repaired, and it seems some of the Legends like this future better than their present.

You know, a lot of what can be said about Vandal Savage can also be said about Rip Hunter in this first season. They’re both very one-note. Savage in his neverending mission to kill/marry Hawkgirl and Hunter because all he’s really trying to do seems to be save his family and damn everyone else. It’s just weird to me that Rip won’t go out of his way to help anyone else, especially since the people he’s recruited to his team are the last people you’d want if you’re trying really hard to not mess up the timeline. It’s just like, why not, really? Now they should all go to 1942 Germany and do their best to not kill Hitler (if the Legends went there, they’d probably just kill him accidentally anyway…). My point is that Rip isn’t the best leader and he thinks he can get by with just dealing out orders without having to get involved with either who he’s helping or his fellow team members. Anyone on the team right now would be a better leader, except probably Mick.

They kind of shoehorn a love triangle right in there, but in a way that’s kind of funny in that Stein tries to get rid of Jefferson, his Firestorm cohabitant, tries to get rid of the competition and inadvertently pushes him together with the girl. Kind of hilarious, but it’s still yet another love triangle.

Oliver Queen showing up as an old man is pretty cool too, but his part isn’t huge unfortunately (probably because Stephen Amell was busy filming his own show).

SCORING:

+7: Still a fairly entertaining episode, despite some flaws

+0.5: An old Green Arrow cameo is tight

-1: Rip being a bad leader is totally fine, sometimes characters just don’t know how to lead people. But him being such a one-note character who seems completely resistant to changing. I know this is really a problem for the whole first season (at least) but this is the first time I’ve noticed it, probably because Rip has a much bigger part in this episode than he usually gets, so this negative on this episode is deserved

-1: The love triangle is somewhat funny but it’s still an unnecessary love triangle

Legends of Tomorrow s1e5: Fail-Safe

Rating: 10/10

With Stein kidnapped by Russians and Mick, Cold, and Atom are stuck in the Gulag, so it’s up to what’s left of the rest of the team to try to stop a mad scientist from harnessing Professor Stein’s power before the Russian’s win the Cold War.

Wentworth Miller is an amazing actor and is awesome as Captain Cold. He has a way of being both a team player yet only being out for himself (and his partner Mick) simultaneously. He’s playing all sides of the team yet also somehow holding them all together. He’s a criminal with a heart of gold and more honor for a thief than you’d expect. What a great character!… Is all I’m really trying to say.

This was a very well-paced episode with a good story and well-written drama. I know I was longing for the comedy in later seasons in the last review but this one was surprisingly devoid of it and still worked out for the betterment of the show.

+10: I think I also like jailbreak movies a lot too, so that probably helps