christinesrant, DC comics, Entertainment, Fantasy, Genre, Legends of Tomorrow, Marvel, Review, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Superhero, Television, Time travel, TV, TV-series, USA

Legends of Tomorrow. Heroes of TV today.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is what you get when superheroes has gone prime time.

It is the new original story (for TV) on CW about a gang of superheroes and villains teaming up together to fight a common enemy. And the bunch has a better fit than The Avengers.

There is a Legends of Tomorrow comic but it supposedly has nothing to do with the TV show.

legendsCW is no virgin when it comes to superheroes, as both the gritty drama Arrow and the more light-hearted and sometimes insane and silly The Flash has both run successfully for a couple a years. And let us not forget about Smallville (2001-2011). We are talking about 10 seasons of Superman here. A real blast from the past.

I am a superhero fan. I have seen all of the recent superhero movies. Some I did not like very much (read what I think about The Avengers: Age of Ultron) and some, like Ant-man I really enjoyed.

I am also not a newbie when it comes to superhero TV. Arrow, The Flash, Smallville, Supergirl (CBS), Agent Carter (ABC), Agents of Shield (ABC), Jessica Jones (Netflix), Daredevil (Netflix), Gotham (FOX), I am not missing anything.

So what about Legends of Tomorrow?

The superhero genre usually means human melodrama mixed with super talent(s), i.e. cool special effects. And I prefer more of the latter. But there needs to be a story there. Arrow almost lost me when the drama got too much air time (read why here) but The Flash got me back.

LoT takes some of the most colorful characters from Arrow and The Flash and give them an insane scifi playground; a couple of bad guys, some flying lovers, two geniuses, a black guy and Rory from Doctor Who.

Superheroes and time travel.

People, what’s not to love?!

The creators and writers are having fun making this shit up!
I am talking Doctor Who and Star Wars spoofs aplenty.

Laserguns, time masters, Cronos the Bounty Hunter, spaceship AI.

But best of all, you know you have the ultimate super villain when you meet the 4000 year old Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). You just know what to expect with a name like that. And it delievers.

It is genuinly funny, fast paste with special effects and explosions out your ass. And when the team goes to Norway in 1975, I am sold.

Firestorm (the excellent Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein and Franz Drameh), the Atom (Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer (he actually played Superman in the really shitty Superman Returns movie from 2006), White Canary (Caity Lotz as Sara Lance), Hawkgirl (Ciara Reneè) and Hawkman (Falk Hentschel), Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) and Captain Cold (Wenthworth Miller) have all appeared on one or both Arrow and The Flash. Now with team captain Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), they are ready for new adventures.

So am I.

Christine

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, The New Golden Era Formula, TV-series

The New Golden Era Formula. (Or, How to Watch the Same Shit. Repeatedly.)

People speak of the New Golden Era for TV.

Well, it has a backside.

You do not need to watch many TV shows before that numbing feeling that you have seen this before comes creeping along.

I have two problems with TV mystery/sci fi dramas today:
A) The Formula itself.
B) The character driven story.

A) The Golden Formula is basic = 1) Solve one (story) plot per episode. 2) Solve one arc plot per season. Usually 22 episodes.

Only 3-4 episodes connects directly to the arc plot, so a season contains mostly of one-offs. Usually, there is at least 2×2 episodes that follows the ‘to be continued’ rule, either around mid-season and/or season finale.

B) It is completed with character driven plot (character hooks) instead of story hooks. It is no longer the story that keeps us coming back for more. It is the characters.

You can’t have one without the other, you say?
Start making good story hooks then!

Every episode begins with up to 5 minutes of character development, a tiny bit of information gathered through lines or actions.

It then continues to easily solving the story. Which is the same one, only changing the backdrop, character name and the actors that play them. In some cases, not even that.

In the last minutes of each episode, we are again treated to some tiny bit of character info, only enough to keep us hanging on (hook), tuning into the next episode.

Rinse.
Repeat.

I have touched the subject earlier, as in my rant on Arrow and in the plea about Intruders.

This New Golden Era Formula has become more obvious with the current binge-watching epidemic. You can actually time the scenes and hooks in every episode!

Advertisements must take some of the blame. A show needs hooks before going to break, usually 2-3 times during a 40-45 minute episode, but ads cannot take the blame for character driven plots.

I clearly see who is at fault.

It is J. J. Abrams.

Alias  (2001-2006) is the show that stands out to me as the one first perfecting this formula.

It is a rollercoaster of hooks and plot twists heavily character driven. Sidney solves the same case every episode, the only change is with which wig. It is her relationships, her friends, her parents and employers, all summed up as ever-changing allies and enemies that moves the story forward. One minute at a time.

In 2004, Lost added flashbacks to the mix. A narrative device I now only think of as the Mother of all Evil.

The only way to escape boredom is if you find the characters interesting, lovable or not. If sucked in, you are trapped in a maze of hope.

Will they fall in love? Will he ever trust again? What happened to make him so cold-hearted? Which is all questions about the character.

Person of Interest (2011-) comes highly recommended by fans but it follows the Formula to the point of it being ridiculous. Sorry folks, Reese and Finch are just not that interesting for me to get an addiction. #StillNotAFan

However, in the shadows of the Formulistic Maze there is hope lurking.

Shows like The Lottery  and The Strain, had they only been better!

I firmly believe that the successes (critical acclaim) of shows like Fargo, The Leftovers, True Detective and (not surprisingly) Intruders, partly is because they dare to break free of the Formula.

Christine

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Adaptation, christinesrant, Entertainment, Television, TV-series

Arrow. Deviating from the Path.

Springtime means busy days for a TV addict like me.

These days several series and shows are rounded off. Some just for the summer and some for forever.

On this occasion, I have written a letter (SMS or PM for you younger kidz) to one of my darlings.

Dear Arrow

I am so sorry.
It has been a nice ride but I am no longer interested in you. It is just too much drama.

It is not me. It is all on you.

I cannot take any more of the Island, Laurel’s sniveling, Thea’s petulance, Roy’s sulking, not to forget all of Moira’s choices.

And what is wrong with Caity’s chin anyway?

I got tired of flashbacks mid-season 2 of Lost. It is almost 10 years of overuse and abuse of a very effective narrative device.

Oliver, Diggle and Felicity are what makes this a difficult decision. I like them, even love them and I really want to see what happens to them next.

However, I cannot longer stand the relentless nagging.

I am breaking up with you.

Christine

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