Fall TV’s superhero lineup packs a punch

-James Osborne, News Editor

This fall TV season there are plenty of choices for the lovers of comic book and sci-fi stories. The CW’s “Arrow” has returned for a third season; ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of Shield” continues the story of the Marvel cinematic universe in its second season; the 12th Doctor makes his debut on this season of the BBC’s “Doctor Who,” and some new shows have premiered like “The Flash” on the CW and “Gotham” on Fox. All of these shows have had about five episodes so far this season which is enough time for fans to take it in and choose their favorites.

“Arrow” is the TV version of the Robin Hood inspired comic book character Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow and played by actor Stephen Amell. This show copies the dark tones of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy. The show’s main character is very dark and brooding, which is a stark contrast to the comic character who is mostly light hearted and full of one-liners. The third season storyline has had a slow start after the strong second season, which lead up to an epic showdown against the villain Deathstroke, but now the excitement is slowly building up to a showdown with the villain Ras Al Ghul this season. The action and choreography continue to be one of the best seen on TV today, and the show is known for its cliff hangers every episode leaving the audience wanting more.

The “Arrow” spin off show this season is “The Flash,” and it has a much lighter tone and more humor than “Arrow.” The last time there was a Flash TV show was on the lesser known series in 1991 on CBS when Warner Bros. hoped to cash in on the success of the Tim Burton Batman movie, but it did not last after the first season due to competing in the same time slot as a new show called “The Simpsons.” The pilot episode of the 1991 Flash is still a personal favorite of the super hero movies I’ve seen, and it had well developed and layered characters, a good story, awesome costumes, a great musical score, and creative special effects, which were great for its time. Compared to this, the new show has big shoes to fill, and newer is not always better. The pilot of the new Flash was only one hour, and the story seemed very rushed without a good introduction to the characters and their purpose for what they do. The main character, played by Grant Gustin, is a skinny kid who sounds like he finished puberty last week. In the first few episodes, the character is very unsure of himself and not very heroic at all. However, the fifth episode seems to have made up for that. With some poor acting and stories that are not well developed, this show might not last long apart from the special effects and it jumping on the super hero bandwagon. The fun part is seeing this show dive head first into the comic lore, and it’s already using many of the supervillains from the Flash comics and hinting at many more to come.

Marvel’s “Agents of Shield” lost many curious viewers after a slow first season, but after drawing from the ongoing story in the Marvel cinematic universe storyline following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the fall of SHIELD, the storylines are much better and contain more action. This season, Coulson is the director of what remains of SHIELD, and his team of spies and agents work to find and capture HYDRA while evading the government. This show is unique in its ties to the ongoing Marvel movies and has a perfect balance of humor, action, and suspense.

The new season of “Doctor Who” stars Peter Capaldi as the 12th regeneration of the last Time Lord of Galifrey who travels time and space in his TARDIS. Capaldi is known to be a long time fan of the classic “Doctor Who” series and once president of the “Doctor Who” fan club. Capaldi’s Doctor is much more distant and cold than the recent versions of the Doctor, and the stories have been far less interesting and suspenseful than the seasons with Matt Smith as the 11th doctor. The most interesting character is the Doctor’s companion, Clara, played by Jeena Coleman, who is the real star of the show.

Fox debuted its Batman prequel show “Gotham,” which focuses on Detective Jim Gordan as the only good cop left in Gotham and the only one who cares about solving the mystery of who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents. Gotham is a dark cop drama instead of a superhero series. The show seems to be painting the scene for why a city like Gotham would need a character like Batman. This is the most violent and dark iterations of any live action Batman show or movie. Gordon is brilliantly acted by Benjamin Mckenzie, and Donal Logue plays his corrupt partner Harvey Bullock. The twist on the characters and the development is fun to see, but the problem with prequel shows like this is making the characters interesting and relevant before they one day become some of Batman’s greatest enemies or villains.

All of these shows are good, but my top picks for super hero or sci-fi TV shows this season is “Arrow” because of the action and suspense, and “Agents of Shield” because of its great mix of humor, action, mystery, and drama.


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