Instead, because its a Tuesday and its fun as hell to discuss, let's talk about The Flash.
|this is not the actual Flash, btw|
There are a large number of reasons I tune in every week to see the Scarlet Speedster, and I don't think I talk about it enough, but Grant Gustin is actually really pretty great as Barry Allen. The guy has taken a character that comic nerds always insisted was "boring" (a diagnosis I never fully understood), and found the kind of guy it would take to be The Flash. I know, it's crazy to think that a level-headed person with a sense of responsibility would put on tights as readily as the now omni-present anti-hero, but Gustin and a crack writing team have managed to make Barry a buyable, believable character in the middle of a very, very strange world.
And, speaking of strange...
We get another Gorilla Grodd episode! We've seen King Shark! We've had multiple universes! We have Kendra Saunders!
At the end of the day, The Flash is just a fun show to watch. Yeah, there's melodrama and personal growth and all that. It's a family drama. But it's also a family drama with a guy in a red suit who crackles with lightning, runs real fast and fights guys with names like "Weather Wizard". So, you know, I appreciate the moments of emotion and whatever - that's the glue that keeps the show held together, and performed by a really pretty terrific cast,
Speaking of, the cast is pretty young, overall. Actor Jesse L. Martin plays Detective Joe West, who raised Barry. He doesn't always get the best bits to do on the show (and if he's still on by Season 5, I'll be a bit surprised), but he does provide a grounded, sensible presence to the cast and you get the feeling he's helping these younger actors raise their game. They're all better now than they were when the show started, and it's often in the scenes with Joe that any or all of them have their best bits.
After the multi-year crawl to disappointment that was Smallville, I've certainly enjoyed not just the "and the kitchen sink" approach of the show, but the fact that it all feels like progress. Things move forward from episode to episode. The overall arcs of the two seasons don't feel like soapy fake-forward-momentum. The show-runners are actually trying to tell large, ongoing stories that won't disappoint. And, given the many sleight-of-hand tricks TV shows have tried the past decade, this viewer appreciates a little planning and plotting.
And now, SPOILERS...
Man, how cool was it to see Gorilla City? As excited as I was last year when Grodd appeared on the program, and I was deeply pleased when he came back, I was thinking during this week's episode that I was maybe a bit disappointed they couldn't find a way to have a Gorilla City on the show - what with Grodd tied into Flash's dark matter origin. From small times, I've been a fan of Gorilla City as an idea. Probably how I jumped on Planet of the Apes as a kid.
I don't remember Gorilla City from the cartoons, but I did have a record where Batman headed to Gorilla City.* I thought, as a kid, that was just the craziest thing to ever possibly happen to Batman.
So, yeah! Gorilla City! On a TV show! And shown without snark or anyone giggling.
That's been what's been so fun, really, is that they aren't necessarily re-imagining the DCU, just adapting it. No one stands around in disbelief making fun of the events on screen, it's just happening. Smallville doomed itself with the "no flights, no tights" ideal after four seasons and the insistence on watering down each and every concept they were handed. It's something Richard Donner understood when he made Superman: The Movie, but Richard Lester couldn't ever quite accept when he took the helm for Superman II. It's why Batman has run the range from the serials of the 40's to the Adam West camp of the 60's to The Dark Knight. You have to believe in the premise and you have to deal with it for what it is, of you're making something mediocre right out of the gate.
We can probably debate whether the super serious tone of the Dark Knight films is maybe pushing the notion a bit too far, to clench the jaw and insist "we are really super serious about this Batman idea", because it was never going to allow for some of Batman's wackier villains. But, whatever.
Anyway, the show is hitting pretty well. Yeah, the cast feels a bit too large and Iris hasn't been given a damn thing to do this season, not even an unnecessary storyline, and that needs correcting. But, in general, the delight with which the creators are taking on the material has me cheering on a routine basis.