Howdy ladies and gents, now as promised a little while ago in Upcoming Stuff For This Blog, I’m finally getting around to talking about those comic book TV shows. This is the first of a few blog posts on this subject matter (if I can write them up soon enough). So as it says in the title of this blog post I’m basically going to look at the comic book TV shows that started September last year up until May this year. I’m annoyed its taken me almost 2 months to get around to doing this post but I finally have some free time. And just to clarify before I begin even though The Walking Dead and iZombie are comic book shows, they won’t be counted unfortunately. Minor spoilers to follow…
Arrow was a show I was reluctant to watch at first because of the hype behind it and the whole dark and gritty approach aesthetic, but I really ended up liking seasons 1 and 2, and so I was super hyped to see what would go down in season 3. So imagine my surprise to find out what a disappointment last season was overall. Now don’t get me wrong, there was a lot to enjoy. I liked the earlier half of the season with the introduction of characters like Ra’s al Ghul and Ray Palmer, and then there’s some of the progression of the characters from season 2 as well which was interesting. The action was still super slick, nicely shot and well-choreographed, and the crossover material with The Flash was cool. But my problem with Arrow‘s third season is that it loses its focus, it felt like the focus was less on Oliver and more on everyone else, also the stories in this season just weren’t as engaging as they were before, there was also some annoying love stories taking place and the flashbacks which were once an interesting look back into Oliver’s life, just became tedious and far-fetched. Plus there were just some bad decisions made with some of the characters and stories that made this season more of a chore to watch more so than anything else.
As for how it compares to the other shows it is hard to say. While it’s clearly not in the same league as The Flash and Daredevil, you can say that it was better than Constantine and argue it was better than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, but I honestly had more fun with those shows than Arrow but that’s just me.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a show that most people had given up on by the time season 2 started and it only had its loyal fan base to keep the viewership alive. Luckily season 2 corrected a lot of the problems with the first season by moving at a quicker pace, having further development of the established characters, having more action sequences and hand-to-hand fights and utilizing the comics better. The people behind the show did well to use characters and stories from first season and bring them back here, but in addition to that they were able to introduce more new characters and make them fit into the overall dynamic of the show while also changing up the basic formula. There was more drama for Coulson, we got answers for why Skye was so special, we finally found out about Melinda May’s past and got to see more of evil Ward. But the biggest reveal of this season was the introduction of the Inhumans which changed the structure of the show a lot and added the super-powered aspect to the show which it really needed. With all that being said season 2 still had problems with creating engaging stories for people who weren’t familiar with the show, some of the new characters were wasted and because of the swift pace some stories felt rushed.
When it comes to comparison, AoS was better this season, better than Constantine and in my mind more fun to watch than Arrow. And I liked it a little more than Agent Carter too. But it was nowhere near as good as Daredevil or The Flash.
Ah The Flash, the show that a lot of people are claiming to be the best comic TV show ever, and for good reason because it’s pretty awesome. I feel like this has been the most consistent, fresh and fun first season of any comic book TV show I’ve seen in these modern times of comic book adaptations. While I’m not too familiar with the Flash source material, that did not stop me from engaging with the show’s characters and stories. What’s so great about this first season is that it is not another dark, gritty and realistic superhero affair like arrow or the Chris Nolan Batman films, it is light-hearted and comedic, it also embraces its super-powered side, is also self-aware, has plenty of fan service for fans and still finds time to be dramatic and emotional when the time comes. Even though this season is an origin story for Barry Allen, there’s a lot of groundwork being made for his friends and enemies, and storylines that will come to pass in season 2. I think my only issues with the show was that the first few episodes were a little slow and had that annoying CW habit of inserting popular music in episodes when it clearly wasn’t needed.
As for how this show compares to the rest would argue that it is the best as it had such a nice balance of action, drama and humour. Daredevil comes in at a close second because of its style, genre and action but lacks the consistency and fun factor that this show has.
Constantine is another one of those shows that most consider a failure, I mean look at all the problems it faced:
- It was on NBC
- It had a bad time slot
- It was barely marketed so no one really knew about it
- The show made a lot of sacrifices with the source material which turned a lot of fans off
The show was fighting an uphill battle and add on top of the facts above that it was less adult than the comics, had so-so reviews and very little viewership. It is no wonder that the show got cancelled considering all of those factors. That being said, I thought the show was pretty good and I know that there were a good few people on the internet that were fans of this show too. I think what made this show good was two key factors: 1) It was the only superhero TV show that had a heavy focus on the supernatural/horror side of comic books and 2) It had a great central performance from Matt Ryan, while the rest of the cast were good, but it was Ryan’s performance that made the show worth watching. While it did start out a little slow, I reckon it was around episode 4/5 when things started to get interesting, eventually in the final stretch of episodes things started to get pretty dark, dramatic, suspenseful and pretty creepy.
When you compare Constantine to its other DC counterparts it just did have the same kind of engaging stories, style and heavy focus on action that Arrow and The Flash had. You could argue that it was the weakest of the bunch in this list of shows, that’s not to say that it was terrible, but in my opinion the other shows were a little more show of themselves and had a lot more charisma.
Now let’s talk about Agent Carter‘s first season. This show is very different from the other mainly due to its length, 8 episodes is a pretty short time span, that being said it allowed this show to tell a concise, interesting and action-packed story. Getting to see more of Peggy Carter’s adventures after Captain America: The First Avenger and seeing what kind of challenges she faces, not only around the workplace, but also emotionally and physically when she was kicking ass. This show did a great job of showing off both Peggy’s vulnerability but also her badassery, and pairing her up with Edwin Jarvis was great as they made for an unlikely but hilarious pair. I liked the ties to the comics and other MCU films, the use of new villains and interesting action they were able to pull off considering the 1940’s setting. I will say that as much as I liked the show, I would have liked more spy-oriented material, some more likeable main characters and a swifter pace for some of the story elements in the first half of the season.
As for how it compares to the other shows, Agent Carter was good and some fans said it was better than Agents of S.H.I.L.E.D. and while this show was a little more consistent, I think it didn’t have as fun characters or as interesting fight scenes. I will say it was better than Constantine and I liked it possibly more than Arrow‘s last season. Still doesn’t have anything on The Flash or Daredevil though.
Daredevil is the only one of these shows I’ve had the chance to see twice, and had I been blogging about the show after my first viewing I would have probably been singing its praises and would have said that it was the best show. However my love for the show has taken a knock since watching it the second time round. That is not to say that show’s bad now, far from it. Daredevil is still one of the most intriguing, different and violent shows I’ve seen in the comic genre and it’s brilliant. What you have to appreciate about this show is the crime drama setting, the great cast of characters, choreography of the action sequences and darker tone within the MCU. The main performances from Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio are great (especially with D’Onofrio who has humanised one of the best Marvel villains and given him a new interpretation with this show). The show isn’t perfect though, it does waste some of its good characters, and some of the stories leading up to the finale aren’t as impressive as what’s come before which does affect the quality of the show which before episode 10 in my opinion is near perfection.
As for how it comes compares to the other shows on this list I would say it’s just behind The Flash as the best of the bunch. The show makes a few missteps and has some inconsistencies that just make it a little less great than it should be.
So that’s my thoughts, thanks for reading. Be sure to comment below and let me know if you think my opinions are correct or not, and if you have your own opinions about the shows above, write them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post. Laters! :D