Fall TV is Fantastical
By Brandon Fern, Samantha Healy and Michael LaPorte
Live Wire Staff Writers
Fall television went over to the dark side with the introduction of several fantasy-based series featuring superheroes, young and old, and the immortal. Here are a look at three of the falls most popular series.
Another superhero franchise has made its way to the small screen. No it’s not Superman (he had Smallville), it’s the fastest man alive: The Flash.
Following the success of the CW’s “Arrow” (the superhero drama about the Green Arrow), the network decided to make another superhero show based in the same universe as Arrow.
The Flash stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen aka the Flash. He is hit by a bolt of lightning and doused in lab chemicals during a thunderstorm created by a malfunctioning particle accelerator test, giving Barry his powers. But the story also created metahumans, people who were caught up in the accelerator’s storm who also received superpowers.
After awakening from a nine-month-long coma, Barry is met by Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), the designer of the particle accelerator, who tells Barry what occurred and wants to “help” him. Aided by Wells, his assistants, and Detective Joe West – Barry’s surrogate father, played by Jesse L. Martin – Barry sets out to help others, find and stop the metahumans before they harm others, and find out what really killed his mother when he was a child.
Compared to its sister show, Arrow, The Flash is not that dark. It has its moments of seriousness, and adult moments (murder not coitus), but the show has a very light hearted tone to it. You are more likely to sit down with your kids and watch this than you are Arrow or Gotham.
The show is an origin for the Flash, showing how someone woke up one day, and could move at supersonic speeds, and how he needed to use that ability to help others, so you have the hero, bumbling about, trying to figure out everything. For example, at one point during the show, Barry starts to faint because his abilities mean he needs heavier diet. The show also features iconic Flash villains like Weather Wizard, Multiplex, and Gorilla Grood. The show has its tie ins with Arrow as well, with Barry making an appearance on the show, the Green Arrow, making an appearance in the Flash pilot, and a crossover episode that aired on Dec. 2.
Overall, I’d say the show is very good, and shows a lot of potential.
What would you do if you could live forever? Who would you see? Where would you live or travel?
In this show on ABC on Tuesdays at 10 p.m., a man named Dr. Henry Morgan has a special gift or, as he calls it, a curse. Morgan was a doctor on a slave ship in the 19thth century and was shot and killed. Since then, he comes back to life and in every episode he dies again. He never ages and is always 42.
Morgan investigates death as the top medical examiner for the New York City Medical Examiner’s office.
He tries to solve murders and while doing so recalls things from his past that may help solve the current crimes.
Morgan is really close to lead NYPD detective Jo Martinez. She doesn’t know his secret, she just thinks he is a little strange and has amazing detective skills. But there is one person who knows his secret, his son Abe. Abe was rescued from a concentration camp during World War II and adopted by Henry and his wife. Abe owns an antique shop in downtown Manhattan and, since he ages normally, he is older than his father. One key thing to know about the premise though, is that there is another man who has this gift of immortality and knows that Morgan does as well. This man’s identity hasn’t been revealed yet.
Forever is a fantasy suspense thriller that leaves you on the edge of your seat guessing who this other guy might be. I have really enjoyed this show, which began in September 2014. It has received mixed reviews and has not yet been renewed. But full episodes can be seen on ABC.go.com.
There have been plenty of comic adaptations on TV (Smallville, Arrow, The Flash, etc.) but few attempt to forge a new path into the comic book unknown.
Fox’s new show Gotham premiered on Sept. 22, and has attempted to explain what happened to Bruce Wayne and the city of Gotham in the years between his parents’ death and his emergence as Batman. The show has significantly surpassed expectations since its premier.
Gotham focuses on storied police commissioner James Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie, who at this time is a rookie detective in the Gotham City Police Department. Gordon is morally straight and dedicated to being a good cop, while others in his department are corrupt. Gordon’s partner, Detective Harvey Bullock, played by Donal Logue, is a seemingly dirty cop who takes advantage of Gotham’s crime networks to solve cases to the extent that Capt. Sarah Essen, played by Zabryna Guevara, their commanding officer, wants them to.
The show opens up with a young woman named Selina Kyle, a young Catwoman, played by Camren Bicondova, jumping across roofs and into a market in downtown. She pickpockets one person and steals a half gallon of milk for a stray cat she takes care of in an alley. As the cat laps up the milk, we are introduced to a little Bruce Wayne, a fine David Mazouz, and his parents, Thomas and Martha. Suddenly a masked robber steals their cash and jewelry at gunpoint, then shoots both of Bruce’s parents and leaves the young boy alive.
From here the show delves into the unknown as Gordon and Bullock attempt to solve the murder, introducing us to many well- known comic book characters before they have gained their infamy.
The show’s suspense and action is incredible as they introduce more and more of the other Batman characters that DC Comics fans already know about. The evolution of the characters into what they will become is one of the best parts of the show. For example, Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) starts off as a lowly white-collar thug, who hates his nickname, Penguin, and has even killed people for calling him that. He is known to be merciless and having a ton of potential for success in the crime world, but that potential is being filled as the show moves forward. He has not become a major kingpin in the city yet, but he is quickly rising through the criminal ranks and is on his way to being the next puppet-master of Gotham.
Gordon also undergoes a metamorphosis from being the idealist rookie, filled with energy and raring to get started, to being much more timid and closed off as the show continues. He starts to come home later than usual, his girlfriend, Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), begins to lose her trust in him, and his morality is even questioned by his Bullock. Gordon will continue to grow as a character, and while his story may not be as much fun to watch as that of Cobblepot, his character is still incredibly intriguing to watch.
Lots of people like the show. Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website, has labeled the show as “certified fresh.” It scored more than 90 percent in positive reviews and received an average score of 7.3 out of 10. Metacritic has given Gotham an average review score of 71 percent, based on 34 reviews, and IMDB gave it a score of 8.2 out of 10, based on 24,664 votes.
The show plays out like a movie, with a lot of action, beautiful videography, and great acting. The actors fit into their roles very well, although the choice of Jada Pinkett Smith for Fish Mooney is still an interesting one that continues to resonate in my mind. Mazouz does an excellent job playing the young Bruce Wayne, and while he may not be Batman yet, he is still just as relevant to the story as James Gordon.