Ugh, we made it. Finally. We recap the finale. It was fine. It was boring. It’s the end.
It’s been a long season, but we made it. Finally. Well, sorta. We’re not going to know who wins until next week, but that doesn’t stop us from speculating this time around. Also, meet us (and some Challenge people) in Yorkville, IL next month.
We finally get all the challengers eliminated down to the final 6. Does #TeamHunny have a representative in the final? Also we switch locations, an injury could take a finalist out of the race, and we place some sticks and stones. Mainly just stones.
We know. We missed last week, making this not all that weekly of a round-up. You can thank illness of the face for that. But we’re back this week! So let’s break this one down before another week slips by us. Worst to First, let’s do it! (A bit spoilery, but not too bad)
Bless her little Kryptonian heart, she’s trying. She really is. But what do you do with an all-powerful, god-like character? A question that’s plagued the Superfamily since forever. At first, the showrunners decided to borrow some of the best of the MAN of Steel’s history the first season, then had him actually show up in National City for what was arguably the best episode of season 2. Well, the answer this year seems to be ignore the question, because other characters not named in the title have a lot going on, and we’ll get to Kara. Promise.
This season has a lot happening to be sure. There’s Alex and Maggie’s wedding that is CLEARLY doomed to not happen as hinted at these first three episodes, Nathan Petrelli is doing his best at megolomaniacal industrialist (until his isn’t? Maybe next week?), Lena Luthor bought Catco because…um…reasons, and Odette Annable will at some point be “making it Reign”. (That’s her quote, not our quote. It’s punny as hell, but admittedly better than what we would have come up with.) Oh, and that one girl is sad about her boyfriend being maybe dead. What’s her na–OH! Kara! Right!
To be FAIR, Kara did some stuff this week. J’onn did most of it assisting M’gann and the white martian resistance though, but Supergirl helped. It was a decent bit of business with J’onn reuniting with his father he previously thought deceased.
A darker, distracted Supergirl was kind of fun. Not Snyder dark, but Kara with a chip on her shoulder that first episode would have made for an interesting sub-plot this season as she works through the idea that even with all the power in the world, she can’t save everyone she loves. It’s a good third season plot that could flesh out Kara and grow her as character. Because if she’s the role model for a generation of young girls, they need to see that even our heroes struggle and we all need to find it in ourselves to overcome.
…No? You’d rather wrap that up half-assedly after 2 eps? Alright, how about a wedding shower then? Yeah to hell with it.
…What are we going to do with this show? The time slot change is bad enough as it makes it a lot more difficult to get these reviews done in a timely manner–on top of all the other reasons– but the writers insist on recycling the same storylines the way Flash recycled Ollie’s apartment in last week’s episode. Yeah, we noticed. All of us noticed.
Anyway, Oliver is again this season spending more time as the mayor than as the Green Arrow like last year. Because when we go to watch superhero dramas, it’s important to us that we spend at least 10 minutes an episode worrying about new legislation.
This week, Diggle takes over as Green Arrow as Oliver is under the watchful eye of FBI Agent Mrs. Plot Device, and wants to be a better father to William “Exasperated Sigh” Clayton. Digs got the shakes though as is having confidence issues thanks to his last season visit to Lian Yu. I don’t speak any languages beyond this sort of English and “I am a pineapple” in French, but I have to assume Lian Yu is Mandarin for “No Real Stakes Island”. We’ll come back to that.
From there, the never-ending, white hot poker in the eye that will not be named came on screen. I was suddenly overwhelmed by my own form of Diggle Shakes and slapped the video halfway across the room. I came to outside, standing over a burn barrel holding a box of matches as my tablet sat on top of the pile, reeking of gasoline. The tablet’s fine, but I can’t finish a review for you, because I’m on a kind of expensive laptop and I don’t want to risk another blackout.
Even with the imminent destruction of my tablet, Arrow still ranks ahead of Supergirl this week. This show is still trying to find it’s way back, and we feel like it still can, but it needs to bring back the high stakes that the first two seasons had. Yeah, they killed Laurel, and for this, we will never forgive them, but this show has lost it’s nerve. If you’re going to have every character on an island, and you’re going to explode that island, then have every character survive, you’ve wasted a perfectly good island explosion. They had the chance to course correct, (same as with Flashpoint) and they didn’t take it. They keep letting all the plucky sidekicks survive. They have so many, they could Game of Thrones the hell out of the show once every two weeks, and by season end, there’s still six characters left. My math’s off, but you get the idea. Trim the fat. You have two quirky scientists. Axe one of them. You have 2 gun-toting hard asses. Axe one. You have 2 Canaries. Break one’s neck after you’ve injected bleach into her veins and set her on fire, then reform Laurel, you canon-destroying-on-a-whim, Felicity-fellating jackasses.
I’m feeling woozy..let’s move on.
The Flash, what do you say about it? It’s a consistently good show. This week and last week were no exceptions. The writer’s have loosened up on the overly dramatic reins for the time being and everyone is having fun. We didn’t get to cover this, so we’ll touch on it here, last week’s episode made it enjoyable to watch Barry and Iris together for the first time in a while. She wasn’t constantly harping on him all episode and he didn’t spend the tenth week in a row explaining how he’ll never let anything bad happen to her. For the first time in a while, there was natural chemistry between them, and it was good to see.
As far as the fun goes, they introduced Hazard this week; a girl with the worst luck in the world, until she’s introduced to dark matter, thanks to Barry’s return from the Speed Force. She’s a petite blonde that’s funny and fun to watch. In the end, she’s monster of the week, so they wrap her story quick, but she’s got a bigger part to play in Junior Brainiac’s no good, very bad scheme.
This week also saw the return of Tom Cavanaugh (It’s about time you got here! Welcome home!) and Earth 2 Harry Wells. Always good to have him back so Cisco has someone to properly bicker with. The problem there is Harry seems a bit too…not scatterbrained, but less full of himself than when he was around previously and that felt like it lost something. Still good to have him back.
Oh, and poor Wally. This town’s not big enough for two speedsters apparently. Tough Luck, Bro.
Also, I spent the episode deciding that Cecil needs to back the hell up a step. But, that’s obviously not going to happen. Nice cut to black on that one.
Legends of Tomorrow
Understand that before we get too far into this that we know. We do. We know and we understand any trepidation you might be feeling with this being the second Round-Up in a row that Legends came out as top dog. If the illness hadn’t struck last week, Legends would have been number one then too. WE KNOW! It doesn’t make sense! After the first two seasons, we get all of it.
Listen up, though: Legends is the current champion of the CW’s Arrowverse. If you aren’t watching, you’re missing out. Allow us to explain.
Is it a perfect show? No. Some of the worst extra acting around. Sometimes the mains’ acting isn’t all that great either. But what is it about Legends that we find so damn convincing? We said it last time: They’ve found their voice. The writers and showrunners know what they are, and they’re making it work. Not everyone wants the light-hearted approach that Marvel takes with it’s properties muddling in with the super serious world of DC, but this is exactly what the show needs to be.
The Legends aren’t a stoic band of heroes that save the space time continuum while attempting to bone each other in the meanwhile. They’re an imperfect group of screw-ups and also-rans that are doing the best they can with what they’ve got. The showrunners finally cracked that code and allowed themselves and their characters to be fun.
The introduction of the Time Bureau, run by previous captain Rip Hunter, is the perfect adversary for the Legends as they skip through time striving to put right what once went wrong (thanks to their incompetence).
Thats not to say that there aren’t moments of them potentially falling back into old habits, but we’re still cautiously optimistic. The reintroduction of Amaya to the Waverider is a slippery slope. We’re waiting for the moment when they fall back into the well-trodden drama of a relationship between her and Nate, but so far they’ve avoided it. We can only hope that they continue to steer around it so as to not get bogged down with the heavy-handedness of their relationship.
It probably feels unnatural to you, but unless you’re staunchly opposed to humor in your Arrowverse, this is the show to watch. It’s been consistently entertaining for these first three weeks, and with Matt Ryan’s Constantine slated to come aboard, hopefully it can only get better.
The big twist is finally revealed. We see a Redemption Challenge which is supposed to be the last, but c’mon, you can’t fool us. We get to see our first couple finalists, and we fall out of love with one of our favorite challengers while falling in love with some of the rookies.
It’s crybaby episode part two, but things are heating up and people are quickly heading to the Redemption House. The Challenge may have been lackluster, but the elimination was intense and crazy. We’re winding down this season and are excited to see how these alliances have shaken up.
I started the first season last week, got four episodes in and got busy with other stuff but I finally finished the series thanks to the Target Exclusive Blu-Ray DVD combo pack.
By now everyone has seen the mock-up VHS case that holds all four disc. You also get a poster of the Demogorgon with Stranger Things written in the center. Now let’s talk extras… There isn’t any. Pretty much every Netflix home video release are bare bones. One reason I haven’t picked up Daredevil. But this Stranger Things VHS made up for the lack of extras for me, sure interviews with the Duffer brothers would’ve been nice. No extras aside, it’s still worth a buy.
Well, Berlanti’s Arrowverse is back for another season of humor, heart, and spectacle. Here’s the (Spoiler Free) Breakdown of how the first week went from worst to first.
I believe it was Huey Lewis, of the Marin County Lewis’s that first said that the power of love is curious thing. For example, it can make one man weep, another man sing. No better evidence is there of the power of love and it’s curious (read super ass convenient) capabilities than the Season 4 opener of The Flash. It is here where love times love divided by love will conquer all.
As you may recall, at the end of Season 3, Barry decides that he will become the Speed Force’s captive, leaving Team Flash to fend for themselves. Jumping to present day, Iris (You’ll remember her as the one whose foretold death wasted half of every episode last season) is running point for Team Kid Flash, made up of Wally, Cisco/Vibe and Joe in a police issued SUV. They’re on the job, chasing down and capturing Metas, all the while having fun as they go. But it’s bittersweet, as everyone misses Barry. This is about as far as we can go without specifically ruining anything. Oh and Caitlin isn’t evil anymore. Yeah. Like that.
The Flash, while having been one of the best shows the last couple years while Arrow dipped into whatever the hell it dipped into, has a bad habit of high stakes cliffhangers with very underwhelming pay offs. Remember Flashpoint? The jaw-dropping season 2 ender that had all of our minds racing? What was going to happen?! A ripple in the fabric of time and space so big that it could help undo all of Arrow’s missteps! It could be the catalyst for a full season of plotlines and story arcs about Barry’s selfish mistake and–oh it’s done? With very little real consequence? Except for you, Diggle of course. RIP Baby Sarah.
This opener was lazy. It was lazy, uninspired, and underwhelming. I’m talking Moffatt Doctor Who levels of lazy. Eric Bischoff’s Monday Nitro levels of underwhelming. My inability to come up with a third example’s level of uninspired. The writers once again couldn’t paint themselves out of the giant corner they were stuck in so they HAHA SCIENCE!!’d and YAY FOR LOVE!!’d themselves an answer. This is getting to be a nasty habit, and it needs to change fast before the average viewer catches on. Guys, get it together. You’re better than this.
The Girl of Steel is back and broody as hell. That’s what happens when the alien love of your life gets lead poisoining and is sent off planet. Typical.
Well, Kara’s in a bad mood and in an attempt to cope has thrown herself into her work as Supergirl. National City is grateful for the drop in crime, but her friends and family are worried about her.
Meanwhile, Nathan Petrelli…no…Glenn Talbot…no…Morgan Edge…no…Nathan Petrelli is in National City to fill the male megalomaniacal CEO void left by Peter Facinelli’s Max Lord after the network switch.
Supergirl is a steadily consistent show, if not a little on the bland side. She serves as a strong role model for young and not as young girls alike, which is always a good thing. Season 1 and 2 benefitted from using the plots of some of Superman’s better stories, but that can also hinder it in the long run. We like the show, but it feels like it’s still finding it’s voice. It bounces back and forth between light-hearted and overly serious. There’s a medium there, and if they keep working at it, they’ll find it. (Hint: It’s more to the light-hearted side). It could really benefit from somehow finding itself on the same universal plane as the rest of the Arrowverse. A little crossover action, if even a simple cameo, never hurts. The first crossover with Flash in season one is one of the best episodes to date.
At the end of last season, there were a lot of promises made. More accurately, vows. Even more accurately, ONE vow: Arrow had until the crossover to sort itself out or I was done forever. What was once my favorite hour of the Arrowverse managed to adorably trip over itself like an at first likeable but long term annoying as hell nerdy girl sidekick turned non-canonical love interest, much like the other real-world super powers predecessor, Heroes. The difference being that Heroes went bad almost immediately, while Arrow got through 2 seasons before it started to turn.
If you remember, we left our heroes on the banks of Lian Yu, where Adrian blew up all the sidekicks with an extraordinary amount of C-4 for a DA to procur. Well, we find out early on that they all survived. Well, almost all of them, you find out, as the show’s decided not to ditch the flashbacks as previously hoped, but flashback to the story of how they survived.
Meanwhile, in the present, Ollie has his hands full with fighting off a new group of terrorists led by Black Canary, while also raising his son Conn…sorry, William…who is having problems trusting his dual identitied father, if you can imagine such a thing. Also, Felicity isn’t as annoying thus far, but they made two separate hints that her and Oliver have “the talk” coming just over the horizon…there was a whole island of C-4! She couldn’t just have caught even one…never mind.
I give this show grief because I love it, and only want the best for it. And I’m not alone, thankfully, as my voice will continue to go unheard. Stephen Amell’s voice, however, that has a little more sway, and he’s made his point.
In a recent interview, while discussing a conversation that he had with Arrowverse creator Greg Berlanti, Stephen Amell said this about the show back in Season 5:
“You know, I think that there’s a lot of things that we do well,” and Greg goes, “I would agree,” and I go, “Can we do those things?”
I have to be honest, we’re only one episode in, but it feels like they really are trying to do them. Arrow was the second place winner this week. They genuinely seem to want to get back to where we all know Arrow can be, but there’s a lot of work left to do. I can’t figure that the introduction of Michael Emerson (Lost, Person of Interest) as a big bad is anything but a further step in the right direction. So I’m staying true to Arrow, but so help me if the wedding storyline comes back on the table, I will burn that bridge once and for all.
But please don’t, guys. Seriously. What am I going to watch instead? S.H.I.E.L.D.? Come on.
LEGENDS OF TOMORROW
There is a clear winner this week, and that winner is Legends.
This is the third season for this show, and if this opener is any indication, they’ve found their tone. The Legends work as a goofy band of screw-ups that really do want to do right, but can’t get out of their own way. The episode where they have to save George Lucas from becoming an insurance agent is one of the strongest of the series thus far.
In this episode, their former captain, Rip Hunter has left them on their own, and formed the Time Bureau: a group of suits that go around fixing anachronisms in the space-time continuum, a lot of which are the doing of the Legends themselves. Not to be outdone, and as a way of proving their worth, the Legends defy the Time Bureau and try to fix the mistakes themselves.
This one has finally found the humor. They aren’t all trying to look tougher by brooding or sex each other, at least not so far, they’re trying to prove to everyone that they really are the good guys, even if they get it wrong sometimes. Their new motto is “Sometimes we screw things up for the better”. They aren’t quite as zany and quippy as the Guardians of the Galaxy, (and hopefully they never will be), but they have that flare to them.
I enjoyed Legends most of all, and I hope they stick with this new “we do what we want” attitude as it will strengthen the core and bring this show up in the ranks as a contender instead of what it’s been so far, an also-ran. It certainly did this week.
It’s a crybaby episode! A burn vote turns out to change the game forever. The dumb Redemption House is still in play, so once again no one was sent home. Despite these issues, this is maybe still one of the best episodes we’ve seen so far.
I guess we’re #teamHunny now. Veronica earns her stripes this episode, as if she hasn’t done enough in the last 20 seasons of the show. CT finally loses a Challenge, and unfortunately it’s one of the highest stake Challenges yet. Tony and Hunter start an unlikely alliance of the lone wolf and the low man on the totem pole. God speed, fellas. Another cliffhanger. Who is going to the Redemption House? Who is going straight into the Presidio? Find out next week.
Another live episode. I hope we’re working out the bugs. Hunter is a crybaby who starts fights and gets dumped. I mean, seriously, is there a worse person than Hunter? Well, maybe Nelson who also starts fights. Another XXX episode that is high on drama and insanity, low on eliminations. Is the Redemption House still in play? I guess we’ll find out next week.
The highlight for me for Daredevil Season 2 was the new vision of The Punisher. We had up till then 3 big screen versions of the deranged vigilante but none seemed to really connect with audiences. Many claimed they had softened up the character too much to reach a broad audience. For me when I heard him utter “You hit them they get back up. I hit them and they stay down.” I knew they had found the right tone for the character. It was no surprise Frank Castle would end up with his own Netflix series. We’ve seen a few teaser trailers but today the full length trailer hit the internet. It’s exactly what I wanted from a Punisher show. The Metallica music gets the tone perfect. What do you think?
Is Camila a racist? Uh…. yeah. Of course she is. But Leroy is a saint. It’s a special episode of Challenged this week as half the podcast is on vacation. Some technical difficulties this time around but hopefully they’re not too distracting. Oh, also, there was an elimination and Hunter sucks at things.
Tony and Camila are both dogs. We get the much-loved trivia challenge, but it falls flat with a lot of filler and answers with no questions. The crew prepares to meet some Challengers. Follow us on social media stuff. We’re not to proud to beg. Wanna see us cover 90’s House? Let us know.
While hurricane Harvey was making rounds all over Texas I got a chance to watch CheckPoint (2017) on Netflix. Might I say it’s action packed with an all star cast like Bill Goldberg, Kane Hodder, Tyler Mane, and some gal named Krista Grotte. Yea, don’t know her either.
The movie starts off with an awesome fight scene between Roy (Kenny Johnson) and Brick (John Lewis) but come to find out that scene takes place towards the end of the movie! Talk about a cold open. Gotta keep those movie goers entertained.
The plot to this movie isn’t so believable, in a small town in Port City, North Carolina a group of former military men and women get together to take over a small town and eventually the world. But all that falls apart when Roy, a homeless veteran finds out about some of the local higher up taking control of Port City. But no one believes him! Not even his own brother TJ who is played by former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Bill Goldberg. He also drives a motorcycle by night and by day he’s a UPS/FedEx driver, and a dad… Plus he likes to hit on his daughter’s teachers. But that’s not even the cool part, just when you think Goldberg is gonna spear a guy, said guy gets shot. At least give me a jackhammer finish.
Kane Hodder is in this movie too as a hit man it’s a small role but he gets the job done until he gets done in, yea plot twist. This would make a good drinking movie. Take a drink when the camera is out of focus or when a serious moment is playing out and the camera starts getting all shaky. Get yourself steadicam.
Other than having former WCW United States Champion Bill Goldberg in this movie, the soundtrack is fantastic! If you like Lynyrd Skynyrd you will love this movie. Because Simple Man doesn’t play less than three times throughout this movie. Dollars to donuts the budget to CheckPoint went to getting the rights to Simple Man.
A few high points from CheckPoint is seeing Roy get shot by a bazooka and still alive and in one piece. Another bad guy shoots down a flagpole with the US flag hanging from it, flagpole just falls over, but Goldberg and his lady teacher friend who is also military with an awesome shaved head on one side picks up the flagpole and puts it back in said hole so the flag can you know do flag stuff.
Overall I give CheckPoint one star because it has Goldberg in it and it’s a cheesy action movie. Thanks to The Massive One’s good friend Rafael for turning me on to this modern day classic.
Aneesa and Veronica hook up… or do they? Injuries are sustained, or maybe faked. We get 1/2 and elimination up front, and another 1/2 at the end. So that kinda counts as a full elimination, right?
We almost get the perfect episode with a challenge, drama and elimination. An unfortunate event cuts the elimination short, but hey, there’s always next week. We push the boundaries of politically correct speech this week.
We continue Romero month by taking a look at a couple of non Romero movies that would never have been made if not for his influence. First, the Dawn of the Dead remake followed by The Return of the Living Dead. Keeping with the remake discussion, we review I Spit on Your Grave, I Spit on Your Grave 2, The Dark Tower, Riverdale, and Penny Dreadful. Be sure to stick around until the end of the episode for some important show updates.
Tim and Hill are back, and so is everyone else from the Redemption House. The gang battle it out over water. Who will be redeemed? It’s a short episode since all we’re discussing today is the Challengenation.
For every one of my generation, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that we all grew up, in one way or another with the legendary after school cartoon line up of The Disney Afternoon, and though Gummy Bears came before it, Ducktales is what brought us racing home to turn on the tube.
The show became a legend and launched a new age of television animation that focused on quality and fun and NOT cost effectiveness and toy lines. Disney upped its game big time and followed up Ducktales with shows like Goof Troop, Tailspin, Gargoyles and my own personal favorite, Darkwing Duck.
Sadly though, like all good things, Ducktales only lasted for 3 seasons and a total of 99 episodes and a feature length theatrical movie (which launched its own animation studio to concentrate on quality direct to video features) before Disney pulled the plug. However those 99 episodes were etched into our souls as some of the brightest spots in our collective childhoods.
Flash forward to 2015, nearly 30 years after the debut of the original and Disney sent the cartoon world for a spin like it hadn’t seen in years by announcing a revival the much beloved Duckberg and its inhabitants that would premiere on DisneyXD. The announcement was met with reserved cheers. What would they be doing? A continuation, a re-imagining? Would it be gritty and realistic or go anime inspired? Who would return, what adventures would they have? Disney remained pretty hush hush about the details for the next year until they had assembled an all-star cast to strut out to the fans.
The biggest get for the show was the casting of Doctor Who’s David Tennant as the beloved Scrooge McDuck. Alan Young, the original iconic voice had died shortly before the announcement, and Tennant, a crowd favorite to begin with would find himself stepping into his second set of big shoes and trying to fill them. Communities Danny Pudi, SNL’s Bobby Moynihan and Beck Bennet would also be stepping into to help round out a cast of veteran vocal performers and comedians.
But enough of the history, how was the premiere? In two words – Nostalgically Glorious! The show is a total reboot, starting with Donald Duck introducing his nephews to Scrooge for the first time and going on their first grand adventure, to discover the Lost Jewel of Atlantis. Along the way we are also introduced to Scrooge’s housekeep Mrs. Beekly and her daughter Webby.
Here is where this new version begins to get things right. The show fixes Webby. In the original, Webby was a shrill, whiney little stereotypical girl who would always get in the way and bother “the boys”. Any time she was on the screen it was like nails on a chalk board. In this new version, she is a devoted fan of Scrooge and his adventurous life and is excited to meet the Nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, but she is no longer the squeaky, helpless character. She can take care of herself and is in every way an equal to the nephews in the story.
Tennant is a joy to listen to as Scrooge. Just as he was as The Doctor, his charm and elegance shines through, but as much as Scrooge tends to be, when it is time to play the grousing old man, Tennant shines still. Yes, you do miss Alan Young in the role, but Tennant plays it with the reverence and skill it deserves. Tennant doesn’t make you forget about Young, but he does make you remember the past, but enjoy the present.
Ducktales 2017’s first episode entitled appropriately “Woo-oo” is a good, nostalgic time that will warm your heart and make you remember why Disney was king of the Afternoon for so long.
Oh, and they HAVE confirmed that Darkwing Duck will be showing up in the future which for ME personally is reason enough to stick with the show!