Oliver Queen Chronicles

Air Date: January 11, 2007

Rating: 1/10

Shows the origins of Oliver Queen in the Smallville universe. This micro-series was originally only available for Sprint phone users, but soon after could be viewed by all on CWs website.

Okay, I’m much less split than I was with the Kara Chronicles, but I’ll still do the good stuff first. The music was very good, so good it didn’t really belong in something this schlocky. I assume it was done by Mark Snow of X-Files fame and also does the music for Smallville, but it’s hard to say because there weren’t any credits and this doesn’t even have an IMDb page, probably because no one wanted their name on it…

Pretty much everything else was bad. The animation was so poor it looks like it was made in the early 90s as a test run for something else. The animation is so bad I didn’t even want to look at it. I don’t know if it’s just in the uncanny valley but really I think it’s just so poorly done that the people look like some kind of aliens pretending to be humans but are in their human suits wrong so none of their limbs or faces move in a way their supposed to. Also, the voice acting was so subpar I’m not sure if any of these people were professional actors.

SCORING:

+0: A very unenjoyable experience, I’m not sure even people who like to watch bad movies would like this, even if it’s less than half an hour in total

+1: I liked the music which was too good for something like this

Kara and the Chronicles of Krypton

Air Date: September 9, 2008

Rating: 7/10

This is a review of all 6 mini-episodes, which you can watch them all on YouTube. Though this is suggested to watch before starting Smallville you might want to wait for Kara to actually enter the show first (not sure when this happens, I’m still in season 1…).

The origins of Supergirl for her role in Smallville. This shows what happened in the days preceding the destruction of Krypton and shows Kara that her father is not the man she thought he was.

I’m feeling split on this so let’s talk about all the good things first. Sound quality and voice acting are both really good, though Kara herself had a few clunky lines, but overall an enjoyable experience hearing actors breath life into these small roles. I especially liked the voice of Kara’s father as he seemed to know how to make this the best character in the show, even if he, SPOILERS, turns out to be evil.

Okay, what’s not so great about this incredibly short series is the animation and the story. The animation is just really dated, but it feels even more dated than the Air Date says it is. If this were done in 2001 and everything looks like it was drawn and animated in Flash, like Homestar Runner was if anyone remembers that internet program. But because of the limits of the animation, there is almost no action at all. Everything is essentially told through dialogue of two or more people talking in different rooms in the literal House of El. And because of this, the story is quite lacking, not that anyone was asking for yet another telling of Krypton’s demise, so really this is a story that doesn’t go anywhere, doesn’t tell anyone anything knew, also SPOILERS Kara loses her memory at the end so any big reveals she doesn’t even get to remember. So nothing in this show even has an effect on the characters from the other shows.

Just watching this made me think of much better animated internet shows in Arrowverse, like Vixen. I guess the idea of something like that, a super short internet series, was maybe too knew to put enough faith into something like this to really give it the budget it deserved.

SCORING:

+7: Actually, not too bad considering the execs obviously didn’t spend a lot of money on it

+1: The sound quality is really good, almost made me think I was watching something with a bigger budget

+1: really good voice acting overall

-1: The story is very lacking and leaves a lot to be desired

-1: The animation is subpar and dated, even for its time

Smallville s1e3: Hothead

Air Date: October 30, 2001

Rating: 5/10

The football coach is caught giving answer keys to his players so they can pass tests and continue winning at football. He also seems able to start fires. When Clark joins the team, he learns just how far the coach is willing to go for his players.

I think I should get this out of the way, there are questions I have that annoy me about this episode that I really hope are answered in later episodes. For one, does Clark not know what kryptonite is? I mean, it’s affected him once before and now he seems surprised when it does the same thing again. Also, why is kryptonite everywhere? Why is it giving random people superpowers? I’m a fan of the comics and I’m pretty sure all the things as they showed it here are wrong. I get this is an alternate universe so not everything works the same, but it’s weird to me when they take things clearly shown how they work canonically and just throwing that out the window and decide that something like kryptonite is a fictional device and therefore they can do whatever they want with it. Kryptonite is just a space rock that also happens to be the only thing (not really) that Superman is weak against. If you’ll notice, it’s mixing the words “Krypton” (the name of Superman’s home planet) and “meteorite,” indicating that it’s merely leftover parts of Clark’s planet. Though it is drawn as if it glows green, which always made me think it was at least slightly radioactive, but despite what the Marvel comics want us to believe, radioactivity doesn’t give you superpowers. I would have liked some kind of explanation, and maybe there was one but it was so minor I just forgot, but it feels like something just added out of convenience instead of giving real supervillains an origin story they can just keep phoning it in with monsters-of-the-week like they have been.

Oh well, at least Lex Luthor is around, even if he’s not doing much in this episode.

Sorry, I actually did enjoy most of this episode, even if it was fraught with cliches. Clark wants to join the football team but his father won’t let him, but he does anyway. Same with Lex fighting with his dad on how to run his company. Though these are stereotypical moments of any dramatic show since the history of television began, they do it uniquely enough here that I didn’t really think about how cliche it all was until I started this review.

However, the thing that ruined it for me was the last ten minutes of the episode. I felt the defeat of the fire guy was basically a Deus Ex Machina and the coach doesn’t really deserve what happened to him even if he went evil, he was still a helpful and influential member of his community. And during the denouement, I was mostly just bored and waiting for it to be over. These are not good qualities for any episode of any show.

SCORING:

+7: I still enjoyed it despite all it’s flaws

-1: That’s not how kryptonite works…

-1: the last ten minutes is kind of tough to get through

Harley Quinn s2e5: Batman’s Back Man

Air Date: May 1, 2020

Rating: 10/10

In an episode without Harley or any of her team, Bruce Wayne wakes up from his coma and is still recovering. He wants to help save Gotham City anyway but learns he’s going to need the help of Lucius Fox to help him get back in the city. But is he really ready?

A very good outing that was very entertaining. It also had a lot of action, something I felt was absent from the last couple of episodes. I especially like seeing more of Batgirl, and I like that she gets an origin story in a series where everything else has been treated as if it were already established. Even Harley’s story starts right in the middle of it, even if it’s right before she reinvents herself. I also felt the humor is back to it’s over the top ways but I guess we’ll see if this keeps up.

I also liked the framing device of a couple of nerdy stoners complaining about Harley Quinn in real life. It was original and very funny, not that I’m hoping for them to use this ever again. I guess only if it’s funny.

SCORING:

+10: I like that this is a show that can do something without any of the principal characters and it can still be just as entertaining

Harley Quinn s2e4: Thawing Hearts

Air Date: April 24, 2020

Rating: 9/10

After gaining a way into Mr. Freeze’s section of the city, Harley is immediately captured by Freeze and held captive with the rest of her crew. Meanwhile, Ivy and Kite Man try to find a wedding venew.

I thought Mr. Freeze was amazing and they captured his essence while also making him just as much their own character fit for this show as everyone else has been. I hope that he can come back for later episodes at some point, even if that doesn’t make any sense at all. I was just very impressed by Alfred Molina’s performance in this role.

I was less impressed with the side story here, though it does tie in well at the end of the episode. But the middle of it with Kite Man stressing out about not getting the location he wants for their wedding just feels like it drags on for a very, very long time, even in a half-hour episode.

SCORING:

+9: Still a great episode but is lacking in a point or two

-1: Side plot has a few funny moments but not enough to make up for how much time it steals from a much more interesting main plotline

+1: I do appreciate when the side plot comes together with the main plot, otherwise it feels kinda pointless

Harley Quinn s2e3: Trapped

Air Date: April 17, 2020

Rating: 10/10

In order to get to Mr. Freeze, Harley needs to go face-to-face with Dr. Trap in order to steal Firefly’s flamethrower. But, when traps seems too hard, Harley recruits the best thief in the city: Catwoman. Meanwhile, Riddler escapes into the mall and Dr. Psycho and the rest of Harley’s team is desperate to find him.

I really like seeing how things are coming along with Gotham City after everything’s been destroyed but things seemed to have returned to a certain sense of normalcy. Or at least as normal as things had been with Harley’s influence on the world around her.

I especially like how things are turning in the mall now that Riddler is their “captive.” And I think Jim Rash is doing such a good job playing him that I kind of want him to join Harley’s crew in a full time capacity. I doubt it will happen, as he says in this episode, he’s an A-lister, everyone else is just small time.

SCORING:

+10: Another knock out episode in this great series

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s1e19: The Only Light in the Darkness

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Only Light In The Darkness” – With their world turned upside down, Coulson races to save the life of his one true love as the mystery of “The Cellist,” which began in Marvel’s The Avengers, is finally revealed on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., TUESDAY, APRIL 22 (8:00-9:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Justin Lubin) CLARK GREGG

Rating:

Ward is back with Coulson and his team, but none of them know who he really is and they’re too distracted hunting a superhuman psychopath recently released from the Fridge. Also, Agent Koenig begins an intensive interrogation on the entire team with the most advanced lie detector in the world.

This was enjoyable, but not without its faults. For one thing, they set-up and talk about the villain in this one so much I felt that I forgot that he was in the last episode or something. Part of me wonders if what they were trying to do was set him up like Jaws and not show the full shark in the opening credits, but no one seems too fearful of him and, outside of a few moments of explaining his motives, this seemed unnecessary.

Also, is everyone trying to hook up with everyone all of a sudden? I’ve mentioned before how little I care about the relationships of these people. It just doesn’t seem like something that should be a driving force in a show like this. Especially now when everything seems at stake. I guess Ward and Skye seem slightly more interesting since we know Ward is evil.

Overall, this feels very one-shot, both with the villain and how it seems to want to focus on anything but the main plotline of the show. Also, tracking down villains at this point seems more than a little out of place considering they should all be laying low. I get the “he’s too dangerous to be let loose” but it’s not like all the Avengers are in hiding at this point.

There are some moments I like though. I enjoy the horror tropes they use near the end. I also like how Coulson seems to be a man on the edge now, which is appropriate considering everything he’s believed in seems to be shattering. I also like Patton Oswalt as an Agent of Shield, he does a really good job in this minor role.

SCORING:

+6: takes a bit to find a point but becomes a pretty enjoyable episode

-1: the story is encased around an oddly placed one-shot

-1: too much forced relationship stuff

+1: Ward is a lot more interesting to me overall now that we all know he’s evil

+1: Patton Oswald does such a good job it’s too bad he doesn’t have his own spin off series somehow

+1: Horror tropes seem to make superhero stories better. Maybe that’s just me…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s1e18: Providence

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Providence” – With Colonel Glenn Talbot now on their trail, Coulson and his team seek refuge in the last place anyone would look, where they begin to uncover S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most dangerous secrets — secrets that could destroy them all, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, APRIL 15 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Justin Lubin) CLARK GREGG, PATTON OSWALT

Air Date: April 15, 2014

Rating: 10/10

As Shield crumbles, Coulson and his team struggle to find any hope in the aftermath of Hyrda’s infiltration of Shield. Meanwhile, Ward is a double agent working for the Clairvoyant and he’s coming to get something Hydra needs that only Skye can provide them.

It’s gotten very intense as no one is trustworthy anymore, not even to the audience. It’s difficult to assume anyone is who they say they are. I’m fairly certain Coulson is on the level but I’m half suspecting he’s actually a cyborg programmed to think they’re Coulson, or something similar, at this point. Anyway, I’m totally hooked on this show and these characters. Let’s just see if they can keep my full attention in this way for the rest of the season.

Sorry I always feel I have much less to say when there’s nothing wrong with the episode….Hmmm, I guess I’ll try compliments, people like those right? Anyway, I very much like Bill Paxton as the villain, he’s definitely bringing his A-game to the role and makes him very fun to watch. I especially liked the “I had to, it was just such a good line…” moment as it’s minor things like these that really elevates him from “just another villain.” Oh, and though I’m a tad disappointed there’s no Samuel L. Jackson to be Nick Fury, I’m sated by Patton Oswald making an extended cameo as one of the last people in Shield that anyone can trust…unless he’s just another Agent of Hyrda. Who knows anymore!?

SCORING:

+10: This show just keeps getting better as Hydra destroys more and more of Shield. Is it weird that I find watching other people’s lives falling apart really enjoyable to watch?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s1e17: Turn, Turn, Turn

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Turn, Turn, Turn” – Coulson and his team find themselves without anyone they can trust, only to discover that they are trapped with a traitor in their midst, on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” TUESDAY, APRIL 8 (8:00-9:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) IAIN DE CAESTECKER, CHLOE BENNET

Air Date: April 8, 2014

Rating: 10/10

After the events of the last episode, along with the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Shield is compromised and it’s impossible to know who anyone can trust. The real Clairvoyant is revealed and it turns out some members on Coulson’s team might not be on the same side.

The climax of this episode is so out of left field I honestly didn’t suspect it at all. Something tells me this was all planned this way too and now I want to rewatch those early episodes I thought were terrible. Any good twist does this I think, it allows you to rewatch the same thing again in a completely new light. And this shows me that what I thought this show was at the outset was completely wrong. So, that’s neat!

SCORING:

+10: This was a great episode, ’nuff said

My List: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Rating: 10+/10

Captain America is being hunted by a legendary assassin, who might be someone from his past. Meanwhile, he and Black Widow uncover a plot from a different old enemy who may have corrupted all of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This is the movie when the MCU started to come back from a slight slump. Though I’d argue now that Iron Man 3 is a good movie, at the time I really didn’t like it and Thor: The Dark World just cast a shadow on the MCU and it seemed that Marvel sequels were just as bad as most Disney animated sequels. Just quick cash grabs with terrible writing and not worth the film it’s printed on. Well, most Disney animated sequels are straight to DVD so there is no film, but still.

But then this movie came out, turned Captain America into everyone’s favorite superhero until Groot arrived in Guardians of the Galaxy. And it’s still a great movie. It’s got a good pace, great writing, acting, directing, the whole shabang. Also, some of the best action in any Marvel movie up to this point, possibly even better than in the Avengers. It’s still a superhero movie, of course, but this is the movie that every superhero movie should essentially strive to be.

SCORING:

10+: didn’t think I’d give a perfect score to a Marvel movie, well, here we are.