The Red Shamrock: Grading This Season’s CW Superhero Offerings And Week Eight Picks
Time to embrace your inner geek again this week with The Red Shamrock
After boring you the last couple of weeks with the in’s and out’s of sports wagering and posting my third consecutive win streak (the record is inching to .500), it’s time to kick back to my super nerdy side and do what I do best. Grade the CW’s plethora of DC Comics superhero shows. How can a 40-year old man grade shows targeting the 18-35 year old demographic you ask? I can do this rather easily, as I wrote something about this very subject a few years ago. No, seriously we are doing this (and I’ll throw in the picks at the end).
Yeah, he went there
So if you are a comic book geek, specifically a DC Comics comic book geek, then you know the CW has a lockdown of presenting four different shows based on DC properties each week. We won’t be looking at the Marvel network or streaming shows (while I enjoy them, I’m not obsessed with them as much as the CW’s offering). Out of the four shows, only two are based on “main event” characters: Arrow and Flash. Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl (in my humble opinion) are secondary characters, with Legends of Tomorrow hosting quite a few popular “B” team characters.
As we look inside the Red Shamrock’s home, we are not shocked by the lack of women in this photo
So, without further ado and only a couple of episodes in, let’s grade the shows (you most definitely need to be a fan of these shows to follow along).
We are about to light this column up to full nerd zone
Supergirl, Monday’s at 8PM EST
Pros: No longer on CBS as CBS is the network your grandparents and fans of 1980’s action television show reboots are shown (yes, I’m talking about MacGyver). They also completely shelved the Jimmy Olsen/Kara romance (which was the best display of non-chemistry by actors since Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte). They also finally introduced Superman on the show (after getting Warner Bros. to finally allow it) and have moved away from the Supergirl is so emotional each week crutch they seemed to lean on a lot in the first season as the action and plots have focused more on the threats to National City.
Cons: Jeremy Jordan’s Winn Schott is still around (and is also the son of Toyman, a Superman villain). He’s an uber geek who has moved from the media empire of CatCo to the DEO to basically be a D-level Felicity. No real need to have him on the show any more as the DEO is presumably full of equally leveled geniuses that can do the exact same thing. Mehcad Brooks’ Jimmy Olsen desperately needs to pick a lane to stay in as well. This season, he will be running CatCo with the departure (limited to guest appearances of Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant) but according to the Interweb, will become the hero Guardian as well. Jimmy Olsen is supposed to be the friend in peril, not a superhero and definitely not an undercover CIA agent (that’s right Zack Snyder!)
Jimmy Olsen is not a CIA agent nor superhero
Grade so far: B -. The slow emotional plots have been replaced with action and reactive plot points, which makes for a quicker paced show. There is still some growth needed in expanding on the Martian Manhunter (which I think we will see next week), but the show has adjusted nicely from its change of networks.
The Flash, Tuesday’s at 8PM EST
Pros: This is the third season of easily the best offering of the four shows. Fans of the Flash have geeked out big time with the adaption of the Flashpoint story arc for this season and it’s nice to see that the consequences of Barry altering the timeline are still rippling throughout the entire DC television universe and will be this year’s huge crossover event. The development of the Barry/Iris relationship (finally) has put a nice new spin on the show as well, while exploring the development of new speedster Jessie Quick (and potentially Wally West) makes for a nice plot thread as well. Of keen interest to me is the development of Danielle Panabaker’s Caitlin Snow who as a potential result of Barry’s Flashpoint, is now displaying the powers of Killer Frost.
At least give us a cool Harrison “Harry” Wells replacement
Cons: Yet another Harrison Wells (Earth-19)? Tom Cavanagh has been fantastic in his two different portrayals (first as the best villain on television in a very long time and then as a flawed father trying to do the right thing in season two), but we can’t have Earth-2 Harry around anymore? And his best replacement is a Dude Where’s My Car Harry? Additionally, Tom Felton has been underwhelming in his role as Julian Albert, but the season is early, so they have time to get the creative juices flowing.
The 13-year old Red Shamrock is still stoked that Dawson’s dad AKA original TV Flash is still on the show
Grade so far: B+. Still a long way to go in the season, so the writers still have plenty of twists and turns to throw our way. Grant Gustin remains the key to driving the show, as he is fantastic at the emotional performance of Barry Allen but it has been nice to see a bit of the social life and mentor sides of Barry emerge.
If you have stuck around this far, thank you so much
Arrow, Wednesday’s at 8PM EST
Pros: The show that kicked off the rebirth of the DC Television Universe, but has kind of suffered over its last two seasons from the forced Felicity/Oliver romance. Season five is off to a fresh start however, even if I still can’t get over them killing Laurel Lance last season. The introduction of a fresh team of recruits to assist Oliver Queen on his fight against crime in Star City has given the show a new sense of direction, while the Prometheus tease is a welcome changed form the supernatural villains that have been plaguing the city for the last two year.
Cons: Felicity is still on this show and the writers still feel the need to Aaron Sorkin her dialogue at us each week and emotionally drive us insane with some moral speech to boot. Worse yet, Echo Kellum’s Mister Terrific is basically a male clone of Felicity. Let’s pick one here Arrow writers. Additionally, Tobias Church has basically had his balls chopped by Prometheus, so is he just here to be a villain defeated in the mid-season finale?
Grade so far: B+. The new blood has freshened things up and Oliver trying to balance life as the mayor and a hero while rebuilding the relationship with Quentin is easily the best plot of the season for me in addition to Dolph Lundgren appearing in this season’s flashbacks.
Legends of Tomorrow, Thursday’s at 8PM EST
Pros: Talk about a show that had way too much going on. Thankfully the horrible depiction of Hawkgirl and Hawkman has been written out at the end of season one. The Justice Society of America crossover in the second episode was easily the highlight of all four shows this season. The addition of Matt Letscher’s Reverse Flash should bring a better villain to take on than last year’s weak portrayal of Vandal Savage.
Cons: The disappearance of Rip Hunter (who will return) and the introduction of annoying Citizen Steel leave me scratching my head on this one. Plus, I’d love to see more of the Atom’s world on this show, not just Ironman light. Let’s tone down Victor Garber’s Professor Stein as well and a little bit more focus on the Darhk/Reverse Flash planning to help expand the limited plot revealed so far.
Grade so far: C+. Too many characters on this ensemble show leads to some getting lost in the shuffle. It may be time to shave a couple of more regulars from the main cast if things don’t pick up, but I think the current dynamic with the absence of Rip Hunter will make people appreciate that character more.
Special appearance from a Marvel character to let you know our writer is giving you his picks
Early in the season, all four shows are firing at about 80%, so there is plenty of time for them to ramp up before this season’s big Invasion crossover event (I believe episode nine for all four shows). Time for a condensed version of the picks this week; home teams in caps and picks are with the spread.
Last week: 10-5
Season record: 49-52-6 (.486)
Pat Himes aka The Red Shamrock is a huge fan of sports, movies, poker, and fake sports betting. He is also cohost of The 80/20 Movie Show podcast with Gary Smith, which you can listen to for guy humor, movie reviews, and additional fake sports betting picks at www.fatherhoodrules.com. You can interact with Pat on Chaostrophic by hitting him up on the comments section with him on the threads under his handle, Dalux247.