Time flies when you’re having fun. Seems like yesterday we were up all night on the street in San Diego waiting to see the world premiere of the pilot for CW’s Arrow. It’s hard to believe Season 4 begins tonight. Arrow has done something pretty amazing–taking a 70-year-old character and upending his backstory and surrounding characters in a way that stays true to the spirit of the original. This season the story of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is getting even closer to his roots.
Tonight Oliver’s sister, Thea (Willa Holland), will take over the Speedy mantle, donning the above slick new supersuit. Some credit is due to my pal and fellow Iowa boy Phil Hester and Kevin Smith, co-creators as writer and artist, respectively of Mia Dearden, the first woman Speedy in the pages of DC Comics’ second long-running Green Arrow monthly. This new look borrows much from their original. It’s not the first time CW’s Arrow has dipped back into the archives to bring out good ideas from the past, and that is what helps make the series so well-received by fans of the superhero genre.
What can we expect from Season 4?
For one, Starling City will be renamed Star City, one of the comic book homes of Oliver Queen throughout the years.
John Barrowman will return but now as the new Ra’s Al Ghul. The power will undoubtedly go to his head, but how far, and will he take Thea down into the darkness with him?
To quote Major Lilywhite: “Zombies? C’mon.”
Spoiler alert: iZombie is a big contender for multiple top honors at this year’s borg.com Best of the Year awards. Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas did the unthinkable this year by putting together a big hit for Warner Bros. on par with both his own tale of a butt-kicking young woman but also the ultimate series of the genre, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The writing, the characters, and the actors make for a surprising hit show. The other unthinkable bit? After much kicking and screaming, Thomas finally sucked us into the zombie genre and even The Walking Dead was unable to do that.
Happily audiences and the CW agreed with us and quickly renewed iZombie for Season 2. It’s “in the can” and ready to air next month.
Where we last left Rose McIver’s medical-resident-turned-morgue-dwelling zombie-police aide Liv Moore, Liv had made her life into a complete mess in classic TV cliffhanger style. What’s to become of boyfriend Major (Robert Buckley) now that he knows she’s a zombie? It’s not really the end for fan-favorite evil zombie Blaine (David Anders), right? What about the fate of Liv’s poor brother, and will her roommate ever talk to her again after she witnessed Liv in full-on zombie mode? Will Liv finally get a taste for brains and throw out the hot sauce?
We can hardly wait to find out. Meanwhile, check out this preview of the premier episode of iZombie Season Two, followed by a San Diego Comic-Con panel from this summer, and if you’ve missed Season One, a great 3-minute catch-up reel:
CW’s The Flash TV series is what superhero shows should all strive to be. Mainly, it’s about fun, with a young actor (Grant Gustin) playing a fresh version of a classic character trying to get his footing with his strange, new powers. Like the original 1980s version of the series, this series is about Barry Allen working with a small group of friends to do good in his smaller world of Central City. Unlike the edgier, groundbreaking Arrow TV series, The Flash doesn’t take itself too seriously.
As with Arrow, DC Comics and the CW partnered, as it should, to bridge the TV series with the comic books that the series was derived from. It’s here, in the print and digital pages of The Flash: Season Zero, available this week in a trade edition, that we are introduced to one of the most vibrant and fun versions of The Flash to be published by DC Comics in years. Again, not taking the stories and characters too seriously, the writers of the TV series have written the further adventures of Barry Allen that both amplify the humor and camaraderie found in the TV show, but this incarnation also informs the TV superhero–filling in gaps that don’t make it to the TV scripts.
In the pages of The Flash: Season Zero we see what would be more difficult to translate to the moving image, like King Shark, that villainous land shark. This is done beautifully and in his unique superhero world style by artist Phil Hester, who returns to the realm he illustrated for several years in the pages of Green Arrow (and even returns to his roots by including a cameo of Oliver Queen in one story). Hester’s pencils and Eric Gapstur’s inks along with some great color work by Kelsey and Nick Filardi provide a visually interesting read for audiences of all ages.
Who would have thought Supernatural could make it this far? Maybe its 2.5 million viewers. The adventures of Kansas “boys” Sam and Dean Winchester and their black 1967 Chevy Impala, 327, 4-barrel, V-8 engine, automatic, 4-door hardtop remains compelling after all these years. The Vancouver, BC-based production can only really be compared to The X-Files, also full of watchable single, monster-of-the-week, episodes (that you can just pop in to watch even if you’re not watching every episode of the series) as well as ongoing story arcs. But The X-Files only made it nine seasons–so far.
Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles begin their next journey in only a few weeks. And fan favorite Mark Sheppard, who has been on some 50 episodes as Crowley, is back as well. And you can always bet on some good guest stars to show up each season.
Check out the Winchester brothers and Crowley in this preview for Season 11’s premier episode, “The Darkness”–
If you can’t fit your characters into continuity, why not figure out another way to give fans what they want?
That’s what the CW did with a new promo for the final episodes of the season for Arrow and The Flash. The trinity of DC Comics’ A-list aside, what does the rest of the Justice League do to blow off steam? They practice their skills in their own secret athletic club–the “Superhero Fight Club.” There’s just one rule: There are no rules for the Superhero Fight Club.
So from Team Arrow, check out Arrow, Black Canary, Arsenal/Red Arrow, The Dark Archer, Ra’s Al Ghul, and The Atom, and from Team Flash, The Flash, Firestorm, Reverse Flash, Captain Cold, and Heat Wave:
Review by C.J. Bunce
Raise your hand if you wish you could watch more adventures of Buffy Summers, Veronica Mars, Claire Bennet, or Tru Davies. Fortunately you can get your fix here and there–you can find Buffy in comic books in Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10, Veronica continues in a series of novels by Rob Thomas, Heroes is coming back to NBC, and, well, it doesn’t look like we’ll ever see Tru again. But thanks to Veronica Mars’ creators Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero, a new strong woman-led series might make you think they are all back.
iZombie premiered Tuesday night adding another winner to the pantheon of solid hit shows the CW Network has been churning out of late, alongside Arrow, The Flash, Reign, Supernatural, and the Vampire Diaries. iZombie follows Olivia “Liv” Moore, a cardiac medical student resident who ends up at a party on a boat where all the guests break out into an infection and become zombies. Liv thinks fast and jumps off the boat, but not fast enough. She’s scratched and dies, only to return as the undead. Her so-called life crumbles from there and she ends up working for the medical examiner’s office where she can get easy access to unwanted brains, which she needs to eat to avoid getting mean and stupid.
And the execution of that off-the-wall premise is simply brilliant. There’s no hiding the fact that the voice of Rob Thomas’s Veronica Mars is echoed in Liv–many scenes aren’t just banter between characters, but chock full of Liv’s inner-thought narration. It was that storytelling device that was a big part of what made Veronica so accessible and endearing. And it even works for a zombie.
It began as a successful comic book series by Masks writer Chris Roberson and artist Michael Allred for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint about a gravedigger zombie gal who eats brains to survive. This week Allred’s own adaptation of his iZombie world comes to television on the CW Network, but with some changes, like swapping Eugene, Oregon for Seattle, Washington.
Rose McIver plays Olivia “Liv” Moore (“live more”– get it?), a medical student turned zombie who gets a job at the coroner’s office in order to gain access to the brains she must eat so that she can maintain her humanity. And there will be plenty of brain eating going on in the series. But each brain she eats brings with it the final memories of the dead, so she shares her visions to solve their deaths with help from the medical examiner and a police detective. If they can grab some of the spark of Tru Calling, another show about a young woman who gets visions that allow her to solve crimes in a morgue, there could be an interesting series coming our way. That is, if you’re not yet tired of zombies.
But this series has the one thing that should get you to at least give it a try. It’s produced by Rob Thomas, the creator of Veronica Mars, who has proven he knows how to make great stories. Check out several previews for the series, after the break.
McIver has been on plenty of TV series, including appearances on both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess in the 1990s. Also starring will be Heroes’ Adam Monroe, David Anders (also Arrow’s Cyrus Vanch), a good performer who is always a scene stealer.
In light of actor John Wesley Shipp taking on the role of Barry Allen’s dad in CW’s The Flash reboot series, we figured the show’s writers couldn’t avoid doing what we all want to see anyway. And that would be? Revealing that the new series isn’t really a reboot, but a sequel–that Shipp, who originally played Barry Allen, is somehow the same Barry Allen, and Grant Gustin is either his son or some part of him, some kind of Kid Flash.
This idea was bolstered when the 1990s The Flash series co-star Amanda Pays returned as Dr. Tina McGee for the December 9, 2015 episode, “The Man in the Yellow Suit.” They didn’t even hide her as some different character. For those of us who still view the 1990s The Flash series as the best superhero TV series ever, we couldn’t ask for more. Well we could, and that would include Mark Hamill returning as The Trickster. For years fans of Hamill wondered what he was up to, and then he surprised us by showing up out of nowhere as a villain on TV.
Ask and ye shall receive.
The CW Network has released a new preview for its next three episodes, airing Tuesday nights March 17, March 24, and March 31. And it looks like Mark Hamill is back 25 years later in a story that flows from his original story line.
Check out the preview, after the break:
Much like was done for the successful Supernatural TV series from the CW Network (like the book we reviewed previously here at borg.com), Titan Books has released a new full-color photographic archive book for fans of the Arrow TV series. Arrow: Heroes and Villains is the first of three books coming our way this year featuring Oliver Queen and his cohorts.
More like a fan magazine or souvenir book in trade paperback form, with photos of the actors and details about their characters, Arrow: Heroes and Villains is the kind of book I would have been after for my favorite shows as a kid. Most of the photos are marketing shots for the characters, but it also includes snapshots from the series. Enough text is provided to get anyone who missed the first two seasons of the series caught up with each character and the major storylines up to the beginning of season three. It’s mainly an in-world book about the world of Oliver Queen, but also has interviews with show creators, and offers a behind the scenes look at the character development of key roles.
Grab a copy and get it signed by series star Stephen Amell next Sunday at Planet Comicon in Kansas City.
Split into two parts, plus a look at the Suicide Squad, Arrow: Heroes and Villains provides an essay on each of Oliver Queen, his parents, Thea, Walter Steele, Laurel and Sara Lance and their parents, John and Carly Diggle, Felicity Smoak, Tommy Merlyn, Roy Harper, Barry Allen, Frank Pike, and McKenna Hall.
The CW Network revealed Brandon Routh’s latest supersuit–for his role as The Atom, Ray Palmer’s alter ego from the DC Universe playing out this month Wednesday nights on Arrow. Unlike the classic Captain America-esque suit, this live-action version has more in common with the classic Marvel Ant-Man garb. It’s a cool outfit and seems to fit his role on the show, much different than anything else seen in the series so far. We’re sure Routh, awesome as Superman and everything else he tries, will make it work.
Check it out:
Look for Routh in the supersuit for the first time on the February 25, 2015, episode of Arrow. He’ll then be in a team-up with Grant Gustin’s running man on a future episode of The Flash with the most comic book title yet: “All-Star Team-Up.”
Netflix has also released the first full trailer for its new series, Daredevil. So far it looks like it could be as good as Ben Affleck’s movie version (good or bad, depending on whether you liked that effort or not). Check it out for yourself, after the break: