Wednesday, October 19, 2016

ARROW: "A Matter of Trust" -- A Missed Opportunity and the Olicity Moments this Season Needs

Don't be fooled by my title -- I absolutely loved the latest installment of ARROW, just like I adored the first two episodes. 

The action, especially the slow-mo moments are absolutely spectacular. We're getting great little dollops of drama in between as past relationships are sussed out and Oliver (Stephen Amell) learns to train and work with a new crew. And I'm loving that our latest villain, Tobias Church (Chad L. Coleman) is -- so far -- just your average crime boss looking to run Starling's criminal enterprises rather than a super-villain determined to destroy the city like in season 1. And 2, 3 and 4. 

Sure we've got another Big Bad lurking in the shadows, the mysterious Prometheus, but the show is taking its time revealing that figure's nefarious plans so we're not dealing with another whole season of Oliver getting beat each week until his expected rally in the season finale.

And in my opinion that's exactly what the show needs right now, a string of formidable (but beatable) villains-of-the-week to build back up the Green Arrow's bad-ass rep that's justifiably been shaken over the last four seasons after getting bested time and again by the likes of Malcolm, Ra's Al Ghul, Slade/Deathstroke and Damien Darhke.

So, all in all, Season 5 is looking like it'll be the best one yet. (Although to be honest, I've enjoyed all the seasons and have never been on the "seasons 1 and 2 were he best" bandwagon -- I've thoroughly enjoyed them all). 

The only notes that I'm missing so far this season are the Olicity ones, and I can't wait to see where the show takes this forever couple. And whether you're a shipper or not, Olicity has become the grand romance of this show. And it's a ship that this show definitely needs.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

ARROW: "The Calm" and After You Get What You Want... You Don't Want It

Sometimes dreams do come true. And sometimes, maybe they shouldn't. 

On the season 3 premiere of ARROW, the dream that became a reality could've turned into a nightmare. But thankfully the episode "woke up" before that dream reached it's "happily ever after" moment.

Of course I'm talking about the unexpected (but longed for) Felicity/Oliver romance. I say unexpected, not because it came out of left field, or didn't feel right. It just seemed a little rushed.

And even though the Felicity/Oliver romance is something I'd wished for, it left me feeling like this:

Not that I'm completely against the idea of a Felicity/Oliver romance now that it's happened. I've said before that Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) is the only woman for Oliver (Stephen Amell) -- given the baggage that comes with the Lance ladies. 

And I still fully believe that.

And I even believe that it's perfect timing in season 3 to start exploring the possibilities between them. 

I'm also on board with Oliver's preempting of their relationship and Felicity's reaction.

However, I do think this episode missed a few subtle beats in the unfolding that could potentially derail the season if they're not handled right in the future.

Let's look at where this premiere was on target, and the few moments where it missed the mark...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

SCORPION: "Pilot" and Stopping the Ticking Clock...

I went into the SCORPION pilot with trepidation, given that what little I'd read about the upcoming series was negative with biases against the concept, the performance of Katharine McPhee, etc. 

Not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this pilot appeared to be hitting all the right marks as it began. 

The character introductions were well-done -- not too fast, not completely trite.

The episode plot was fresh enough and structured well -- although it wasn't completely believable. 

And the conclusion was open-ended enough to allow for all sorts of story possibilities -- a refreshing change, given all the murder-solving drama series currently on the air.

Unfortunately, the episode revealed two major, interrelated storytelling issues that (if not corrected in future episodes) will destroy this fledgling series.

And both of these issues are directly related to the stopping of the ticking clock that should be driving the drama.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

LEGENDS: "Pilot" -- Story vs. Character

There's a reason my personal tagline as a writer is: "Write Time. Write Place. Write Story." These days many of the TV and filmmakers in Hollywood become so lost making sure their scenes are action-packed that they neglect to tell a story worth watching.

With the new Sean Bean starrer, LEGENDS, I've spotted a new problem -- one in which story takes precedence over all... including character development. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

WALKING DEAD: "The Grove" So Close... Yet Far

Peaceful, well-stocked and secluded. The remote farmhouse in the woods discovered by Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), Carol (Melissa McBride), Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino), Mika (Kyla Kenedy) and baby Judith in season 4 episode 14, "The Grove," should've been a safe and welcome respite from the relentless, struggle-plagued journey to find safety.

Unfortunately, their safe haven was quickly destroyed, but not by walkers or villainous humans this time. This time security was destroyed by the truth.

But before delving in to the depths of the episode, I think it important to pay homage to the stellar storytelling that's gone on in these last episodes.

Not only have the plots arced well, the episodes have arced in theme, character development and timeline layering.

That plume of black, then white smoke served as tonight's timeline link between episodes, as we can assume it came from the cabin fire set by Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Beth (Emily Kinney) in episode 12, "Still."

Present in every episode since the prison's demise, that small symbol of how close the survivors are to one another makes the isolation each small faction feels all the more poignant. 

We watchers know how close they are to finding each other, and hopefully another home, but the characters remain lost in the dark, with their hope for a reunion dwindling like a smothered flame.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

WALKING DEAD: "Alone" -- Coupling Up

It's impressive how the show gave such importance to intimacy, given that this episode of The Walking Dead is entitled, "Alone."

As a matter of fact, it's downright mind-blowing the care they put into structuring the intricate levels of this show, interlacing clues throughout each episode, many of which only become significant several shows down the road. 

I mean, given all the grotesque zombies and unexpected scares, the series could've simply relied on the tropes of the genre and made a standard horror show. 

Thankfully, those involved in making the show appear devoted to reaching far beyond the expected to make important statements about the human condition... all while embracing their zombie/horror genre.

I suppose that's why The Walking Dead appeals to so many, including me. (I am far from a devotee of the zombie/horror genre, although I once had a friend who taught me to appreciate vintage Italian horror...but that's another story.)

In "Alone," the series continued building on this season's subtle theme of "living, not just surviving."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

ARROW: "The Promise" and the Destruction of Becoming a Better Man

It's a thing of beauty when a story manages to be both infinitely clear and intriguingly mysterious at the same time.

Arrow's season 2 episode 15, "The Promise," accomplished just that.

As promised (wordplay intended), this episode served to be a definite game-changer. 

Finally, we see Oliver (Stephen Amell) transform into a full-fledged hero for the first time on the island(kinks and all). Plus, there's a new twist in his journey, in that his presence in the city he returned to save has now attracted an enemy poised to destroy it.

That twist comes with a whole host of unexpected layers that suggest the rest of this season will be spectacular.

And perhaps the most intriguing outcome of all is that we now know why Oliver is so internally conflicted...

It's because the qualities he's learned on the island that have made him a better man are primed to lead to his ultimate destruction.

And just how might that be, you ask?