Saturday, May 31, 2014

Flash Fact: These trailers are awesome!

Unless you don't have TV or any social media accounts, it was probably pretty hard to escape the deluge of people talking about the trailers for The Flash over the last couple weeks. The first one debuted during the Arrow season finale, was a great little teaser, titled with the hashtag #DontBlink. Haven't seen it yet? Here!

In just a minute, that trailer managed to get people excited enough for The Flash, as well as the interactions between the title characters in that and Arrow. And if that wasn't enough, the next day, we got a full teaser trailer. No minute-long nonsense this time -- this one is over five minutes long, featuring plenty of footage that looks like it'll all be in the series pilot!

This show looks like it will be everything I'm hoping for, and then some. There's a glimpse of Reverse-Flash (for those who aren't familiar with comics, and don't know what speedster would wear a yellow suit), it looks like Weather Wizard will be the primary villain in the pilot, and this trailer sets up a reason for super powers to exist in the same world as the mostly-grounded Arrow series.

Make sure to check out these trailers, and The Flash series when it debuts on Tuesdays this fall!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Arrow 2.23 "Unthinkable" Review

"The cure works, and Oliver and his team must escape their hideout when Slade's men arrive. Back at Verdant, Sara arrives with Nyssa and the League of Assassins to provide backup to take out Slade's men. Equipped with the cure, the team confront Slade and Isabel at Queen Consolidated. In flashbacks, Anatoli fires a torpedo into the Amazo, causing it to sink. During the destruction, Oliver presumably kills Slade, and Sara disappears overboard."

If I had to describe the Arrow finale in one word... I couldn't. It'd be two words, and they would be "holy shit". It took me a few times rewatching it to be able to look at it objectively, but at a bare minimum, I would say it was completely satisfying.

This finale saw an army of Mirakuru-enhanced soldiers, Roy taking up the gear to be Red Arrow (or maybe Arsenal), the LEAGUE OF ASSASSINS being all badass, and even Laurel got to be awesome in this episode. For the most part, death was avoided on Oliver's orders, but there were a lot of potentially-lethal scenes with Mirakuru cure-filled injection arrows.

Arrow has continued to be a realistic take on costumed vigilantes, with Oliver's speech at the end pointing out on an almost meta level that the slow approach has been the reason for the show's success. In his speech to an imprisoned and depowered Slade, Oliver talks about how Slade helped him become a killer when he needed to be one. Now, through his attempts to destroy Starling City, Slade has helped him become the thing that Starling really needs: a hero.

Despite fan speculation to the contrary, Sara survived the episode. Considering that writers heavily implied early on that Laurel would eventually become Black Canary, everyone was assuming she would die. Instead, she sailed off with Nyssa to a semi-happy assassin-y life while the true casualty of the episode dropped to the ground on the docks; Detective Quentin Lance's survival through next season doesn't look any better than Isabel Rochev's -- and her neck was snapped by Nyssa.

I wouldn't be surprised to see season three opening with (or a few weeks after) Detective Lance's funeral, and that is what provokes Laurel to start training with Oliver and Roy, taking the steps to become Black Canary at some point during the season. Katie Cassidy proved in Supernatural that she could be a badass as the original demon Ruby, and I am looking forward to seeing her journey from here on out. If it does come at the cost of her dad, I'll be disappointed since the actor has grown on me, but I can definitely see how it would spin out from there.

The real standout for me in this episode was the fight between Oliver and Slade, although "fights" might be more accurate. Throughout the episode, tension builds in both the present day and flashbacks, erupting in the fights between Oliver and Slade. As it goes on, they cut back and forth between the two fights, and... wow. I was so into it that it took until the second rewatch for me to actually think objectively about the editing on the fight.

How did you feel about the Arrow finale? Love it with me!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Arrow intro part 2 - The Story So Far

Oliver Queen spent five years on a hellish island after his father's boat, The Queen's Gambit, was destroyed. Being on that island changed him, and when he returned to Starling City, he became a vigilante using the skills he'd learned in his time away.

His original focus was to save his city, using the notebook his father gave him to punish those who had put it on the road to ruin. In time, and with additions to him team, his focus grew to protecting the city from any threat that he became aware of. The contact killer Deadshot, a sadistic serial killer called the Dollmaker, and many more who were trying to cause harm to the city and the people in it.

The Arrow wasn't always successful, though. Despite his best efforts, and getting so close to succeeding, Oliver failed to stop the Dark Archer -- family friend Malcolm Merlyn -- from using an earthquake device to destroy a huge chunk of the city. The subsequent earthquake killed hundreds, including Oliver's lifelong friend, Tommy Merlyn.

After the earthquake, Oliver left for a while. Eventually, he was tracked down by Diggle and Felicity, and persuaded to return to Starling City again. His family's company was in danger, the city was in danger, and copycats were calling themselves The Hood Gang, dressing like him and attacking the rich people on the city, stealing from them with no provocation.

When he returned, someone else came in to his life as well: Slade Wilson, someone that Oliver had thought dead after their last encounter on the island of Lian Yu. Wilson has a serious grudge with Oliver and is working to take away everyone and everything that Oliver loves, before killing him. Among other things, Slade has told Laurel about Oliver's secret, told his sister Thea about Malcolm being her biological father, caused the Queen family to lose their company and their fortune, set an army of men with the same enhanced physiology to destroy Startling City, and killed Oliver's mother in front of both him and Thea.

Tonight's episode promises to be quite the finale, with many storylines coming to a close. It should be really interesting to see if it can live up to its potential, and I'm really looking forward to the first commercial for the new Flash TV series! Buckle up, because tonight could be a hell of a ride!

An Intro to Arrow - Pt. 1

in Starling City

Hello, and welcome to Beyond Fandom's "Who's Who in Starling City", the best intro to Arrow you'll get before tonight's season finale! If you've never watched it, Arrow is a show about the comic book character Green Arrow, and it airs on The CW network -- yeah, I know, I rolled my eyes too. And then I watched it, and it's been love ever since.

To get you started, let's go for the title character, The Arrow himself, Oliver Queen!

Oliver, or "Ollie" to his friends and family, is played by Stephen Amell -- who is really playing three characters in each episode. When the show begins, Ollie has just been rescued from an island after being stranded there and presumed dead for five years. The show highlights Amell in three separate ways: Amell as "past Oliver" in flashbacks to the island, as "present Oliver" showing his life as the series progresses, and as "The Arrow".

John Diggle is originally hired by Moira Queen to be Oliver's bodyguard, and is quickly brought in to his vigilante efforts. He's played by David Ramsey, and is a fan favorite among most of the Arrow community that I've encountered. Diggle is a former military man, and half of the "bringing the audience in to it" aspect.

Felicity Smoak, played by Emily Bett Rickards, is the other half of that aspect. Initially she was an IT employee at Queen Consolidated, and later joined "Team Arrow", as the people over at /r/arrow/ call the group. She's smart, attractive, and has recently taken a badass turn, semi-torturing someone and calling herself the "bitch with wi-fi".

Slade Wilson was once a friend to Oliver, back on the island. After being injected with a serum that greatly enhanced his physical limits, and the death of the woman he loved, Slade turned against Oliver. Now, he runs around in a costume of his own, seeking to destroy everything Oliver has and loves. Played by Manu Bennett, Wilson is known to some as "Deathstroke".

Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) and Sara Lance (Caity Loitz) are sisters who have both loved Oliver. Now Laurel has become an attorney, and works in the District Attorney's office after a bout with substance abuse, and Sara survived the same island as Ollie and trained with the League of Assassins to be known now as The Canary.

Those are some of the important players in the world of Arrow, although there are so many characters that will feature in tonight's finale that I could easily double the length of this post. Instead, I'll put up a "The Story So Far..." post later, for part two!

See you then!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Originals 1.22 "From a Cradle to a Grave" Season Finale Review

After recovering from a strong case of the “feels”, I am ready to talk about the season finale of The Originals.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Save Grant Ward: The Bucky Barnes of 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Throughout pop culture there is hardly a worse type of criminal to deal with than a traitor. People who eschew loyalty are often hung from the highest tree either literally or purely metaphorically and usually that’s an acceptable course of action. If episode twenty one of ‘Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’ proved one thing it’s that Grant Ward is a victim in need of deprogramming not decommissioning.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

'The Originals' 1.21 "The Battle of New Orleans" Review

Tonight on The Originals, we’re reminded of the importance of answering your phone when a friend calls.