Happy New Year!!!
So what do we do now? How about a look at the start dates for our favorite TV shows? Many are already in progress, like Almost Human, Arrow, Dracula, Grimm, Major Crimes, The Michael J. Fox Show, New Girl, and Sleepy Hollow. Some don’t have new season premiere dates yet, like Bates Motel, Continuum, Doctor Who, Heroes of Cosplay, Mr. Selfridge, and Warehouse 13.
The most anticipated series is very likely the three-episode third season of Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, finally coming back to PBS this month.
The biggest question is whether Haven will get renewed for a fifth season on Syfy. The end of Season 4 was really getting better and Syfy just can’t leave us with that cliffhanger finale.
Update yours DVRs! Here’s what we’re going to be watching in 2014 at borg.com:
Almost Human - Season 1 continues January 6 on Fox
Arrow – Season 2 continues January 15 on CW
Bates Motel – Season 2 begins in March to A&E
Well it’s been one long year, with plenty to do and see, plenty of good and not-so-good to read and watch, and we’re certain we read more and reviewed more content this year than ever before. And that in no less way was true for TV watching. At the same time we waded through all that Hollywood had to offer and honed in on the genre films we thought were worth examining. We went back and looked at it all and pulled together our 25 picks for our annual Best of the Best list. Today we reveal the best content focusing on the moving image, and tomorrow we’ll run through our picks for the best in print and other media. We hope you agree with many of these great creations of the entertainment industries, and wish everyone a great 2014!
Year’s Best Fantasy Fix – The Wizard of Oz in Theaters. It’s a film that has been viewed on TV so many times you might take it for granted. It’s historically been on many movie reviewers’ Top 20 movies of all time. But when you watch The Wizard of Oz on the big screen in the middle of a year of modern blockbusters you realize how it can stand up against anything Hollywood has to offer today, even after 70 years. Remastering the print for a new generation to see it in theaters was a highlight for movie watchers this year.
Year’s Best Sci-Fi Fix — Almost Human, Fox. Like Continuum last year, the new series Almost Human created a future world that is believable and full of extraordinary technologies based in today’s science and touching on social issues of any day. And even putting aside its buddy cop and police procedural brilliance, every episode plunged us into future police grappling with incredible technologies–DNA bombs criminals use to contaminate a crime scene, identity masking technology to avoid facial recognition video monitors–it was the best dose of sci-fi in 2013.
Best TV Series — Orphan Black, BBC America. What rose above everything on TV or film this year was BBC America’s new series, the almost indescribable Orphan Black. From its initial trailers that piqued our interest, to the surprise series consisting of one actress playing multiple roles that dazzled from out of nowhere, magical special effects, and a unique story of clones and X-Files-inspired intrigue propelled Orphan Black to be our clear winner for Best TV Series of 2013.
This week Stephen Amell, star of CW’s Arrow, again expressed his interest in being part of the movie version of the DC Universe, and that he could stand up against Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and fans would be good with it. We agree, and in fact, we think Season Two has so far exceeded our expectations, and Amell’s performance as Oliver Queen far surpassed what Cavill did with Superman this summer in Man of Steel, that the producers would be wise to consider including Green Arrow in the Batman vs. Superman movie. Much of Amell’s success in his role comes from his visible belief in his character, his physical skill and acting ability, all which comes through on the small screen. The rest of the series’ success is the good writing, and fans of the TV series who can’t get enough each Wednesday have had another option this year via a weekly comic book digital tie-in series that was reprinted in twelve monthly issues.
Consisting of 37 chapters that read like short stories, Arrow the comic book was created by writers from the TV series including Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg as well as guest writers, and drawn by classic Green Arrow artist Mike Grell and a host of other DC Comics artists including Sergio Sandoval and Eric Nguyen, and photo covers and new art covers by Mike Grell, Phil Hester, and others. The book expanded the series by giving fans insight into each week’s TV episode. One week you could find backstory on Helena Bertinelli, the next a flashback of John Diggle’s experience as a soldier, and some weeks featured Oliver’s encounters back on the island. With so many opportunities to touch on Oliver Queen and the series supporting characters, the title turned into an anthology series with plenty of potential.
“I’m guessing you don’t know how hard it is to break someone’s neck.”
Grant Gustin joins the CW Network’s Arrow team this Wednesday as Barry Allen–the classic DC Comics scientist who becomes the Flash. A new preview just released gives viewers our first glimpse at Allen’s first encounter with Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen. Gustin is slated to use Arrow as a springboard onto his own spinoff series featuring the Flash next year.
It’s not the first time the Flash had his own series. Many fans of classic TV consider the 1990-1991 TV series starring John Wesley Shipp to be not only the definitive superhero series, but one of the all-time best costumed hero portrayals, with an incredible costume for the speedy hero.
The obvious first reaction is how young Gustin appears. His Barry Allen looks like Andrew Garfield’s gawky youth in The Amazing Spider-man. Shipp was 35 when he played Allen. Gustin is 23.
Check out this first look at Gustin as Barry Allen in this scene from Arrow:
If you haven’t watched last night’s second season premiere episode of CW’s Arrow, “City of Heroes,” then come back after you’ve seen it…
…and once you’re back… WOW! What a season opener! We couldn’t ask for more action and drama. CW really delivered one of the best season two starts in recent memory.
At first… confusion! John Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) in an old plane flying over the island where Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was marooned for five years? Parachuting to the island and revealing Oliver had used the island as a retreat from the turmoil he left back in Starling City was a great place to begin. We don’t want Felicity and Oliver as love interests, but we can’t get enough of them working together, and from this episode it looks like she is a full partner in Oliver’s Starling clean-up business. And she even had a new compound bow custom made for him.
By Art Schmidt
I was having lunch with a friend the other day and we were talking about comic book movies and the slow transition of the formulas for the ones which have succeeded to television format. My friend was grumbling about the lack of costumed heroes on popular shows such as Arrow or the new Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I have to admit, I hadn’t really noticed the lack of costumes in those shows, loving the first season of Arrow despite very few folks with traditional comic book costumes, and enjoying the first couple of episodes of A.O.S. (can you acronym an acronym?).
But the more I thought about it, the more puzzled I was. Why weren’t there more costumes in Arrow? Certainly Deathstroke’s mask was a pivotal prop in the series, and the Dark Archer had a cool getup, but they weren’t costumes so much as work attire fitting the villain’s nature. And of course A.O.S. is a show about normal people, super spies and highly-skilled to be sure, but not superheroes. And certainly without costumes outside of May’s black leather suit, akin to Fury’s normal wardrobe and the attire seen by many personnel aboard the Heli-carrier in The Avengers.
Speaking of which, The Avengers is a perfect case in point. The evolution of the superhero sans costume. I’ll get back to that in a minute.
At last we get to see a few moments of Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins facing off against the dragon named Smaug (that’s pronounced “smOWg” not “smog,” per Bilbo) in the full-length trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, part two of the three-part epic movies series that began last winter with the brilliant The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Even better, we get to hear Benedict Cumberbatch’s chilling, dragon-toothed lines as he seeks out Bilbo in his lair.
Surprisingly, we see a lot of Orlando Bloom’s Legolas opposite newcomer Lost’s Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel in this trailer–likely indicating the elves will play a large role in Peter Jackson’s expanded vision of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel. Another newcomer, Luke Evans, who plays Laketown human Bard the Bowman, also looks to be a key character.
Richard Armitage is back as dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield, along with Ian McKellen as Gandalf. Wonderfalls’ Lee Pace returns as Elvenking Thranduil and Ken Stott as elder dwarf Balin. The nasty Orc Azog is back, too, played again by Manu Bennett, who we met as Slade Wilson in CW’s Arrow TV series this year.
Check out this great trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:
Review by C.J. Bunce
When Arrow’s pilot was previewed at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2012 we had our first indication that the series would be a big hit. The pilot remains one of the best first episodes for any TV series, and on its new Blu-ray release viewers get to see what an incredible looking show this really is. This Tuesday, September 17, 2013, Arrow will be released on both DVD and in an awesome Blu-ray combo pack that you won’t want to miss, and today’s your last day to pick it up at its discounted pre-order price. Thanks to Warner Bros. borg.com got an advance preview of the Blu-ray combo pack, and if you missed any of the 23 episodes aired this year, or you haven’t seen the series at all, now is the time to catch the best live action DC Comics effort since 1990′s The Flash. Check out the “Arrow” tag to the lower right of the borg.com home page for past coverage of our favorite new hit.
Optimum Quality. The nine-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes two complete sets of the episodes and features: the DVD on five discs and the Blu-ray on four discs. (One to keep and one to loan to friends?) It also includes a code for Ultraviolet viewing access. The picture and sound quality are perfect, and watching the episodes straight through you realize the series was designed in a very seamless way compared with so many shows that have repeated scenes at every commercial break. Not so here. The navigation menus are the best we’ve seen so far–easy to navigate–and they include a full menu for all the discs on each disc so if you have the wrong disc inserted you’ll always know which one you want.
All 23 Brilliant Episodes. The series started off with a complex pilot, and that was a movie-quality effort to begin with. Subsequent episodes never seemed to let up. Our favorite was the three episode arc featuring Helena Bertinelli’s Huntress, played by Jessica De Gouw, one of the top character retellings in this new Green Arrow universe. We were surprised how much we didn’t mind Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Marc Guggenheim taking liberties with the 70-year history of the Green Arrow canon. The set includes great episodes featuring characters unexplored before, including the very modern and realistic tech guru Felicity Smoak, played perfectly by Emily Bett Rickards, and the entirely new character, Oliver’s confidant John Diggle, played by David Ramsey.
Summer Glau, star of Firefly and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and guest actress on Alphas, Chuck, The Cape, Dollhouse, The Big Bang Theory, The 4400 and Angel, adds another genre TV series to her already extensive catalog of roles. Glau will be portraying Arrow antagonist Isabel Rochev in a recurring role on the second season of the CW’s Arrow opposite Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen.
Green Arrow readers will recognize Rochev from the 2010 Green Arrow #1 (Volume 4), created by J.T. Krul and Diogenes Neves. Rochev, who the CW revealed will be the Vice President of Acquisitions for Stellmoor International, a company looking to take over Queen Consolidated, was a minor but interesting character from the recent past in the Green Arrow universe. In the comic book series, Rochev worked in the diamond mines of Siberia in her youth. When she met Oliver Queen’s father Robert visiting her village, he inspired her on to bigger and better things. Eventually she came to take over Queen Industries. She saw herself as Robert’s true love and had a goal of eliminating Oliver. She managed to get her hands on Moira Queen’s wedding ring, and wore it along with a strange mask.