Super-hero TV So Far: 2014 Edition

On the off-chance you’re interested in my opinion of this year in Super-Hero TV, I figured I would blog about it a little bit.

I have only minimal interest in Green Arrow as a character, so I don’t watch Arrow. If you’re looking for an opinion on that show, sorry.

Constantine and Flash have yet to debut, but I watched the season opener for Agents of SHIELD and the series premiere of Gotham and here’s what I thought:

Agents of SHIELD: The award for “Most Improved” goes to Marvel and the show that, last year, I pretty much hate-watched for most of the season. Once Captain America: The Winter Soldier hit theaters and the HYDRA reveal was out of the bag, the first season picked up considerably, but I thought it was too little, too late. But holy crap! The season opener this year was great. Whereas last season, each episode felt stretched and hollow, this year’s premiere was jam-packed with action, excellent character beats, and a very nice twist I should have seen coming…but didn’t. I don’t want to pre-judge the whole season based on one episode, so I’ll just say this: If the show runners can keep delivering like this, Season One will be forgiven. (It is blazingly obvious that the first season should have debuted in January as a mid-season replacement, providing for a tighter string of episodes leading into The Winter Soldier. Stretching it out to a full season was a bad move.)

Last season, Agents of SHIELD was trying too hard. This season — based, admittedly, on a single episode — is effortless.

Gotham: The Batman show without Batman gets the award for “Most Likely to Return from the Dead.” Since the abysmal Green Lantern movie, there haven’t been more than five or ten minutes of consecutive film footage set in the DC Universe that I’ve enjoyed. I didn’t have much hope for Gotham for a number of reasons, among them: Its position in the darkest, deepest trenches of what is already a too-dark filmic universe, as well as my general burn-out on all things Batman. So it was a nice surprise that Gotham, while treading perhaps a tad too much on the dark side, was interesting, well-done, and fun. I do wish DC/WB would realize that Frank Miller’s Year One was almost thirty years ago and start thinking of new ways to stage the death of the Waynes, but that’s a minor quibble. David Mazouz, the kid playing Bruce Wayne, was much more intense than I’d expected, and Ben McKenzie is very believable as the guy who will someday run the GCPD as Commissioner Gordon. Conflating Barbara Keane and Kate Kane seems like a move fraught with the potential for disaster, but we’ll see. It’s also a nicely diverse cast, with two white dudes as the leads, sure, but prominent backups in Montoya and Allen, as well as gangster Fish Mooney (played with subtlety and restraint by Jada Pinkett-Smith). All in all, it could have been much, much worse, especially given DC’s track record of late. I’m in.

Flash races toward us on October 7, with Constantine lighting up on October 24. I’ll let you know what I think of them, too.