Television Review : CWs THE FLASH

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Two episodes in and I like but don’t love CW’s THE FLASH. The casting of the lead actor, CW going for a 20 something Kid-Flash like Flash, does not initially endear.

It reminds too much of DAWSON’S CREEK meets ‘insert-superhero-title-here’. That said, actor Grant Gustin does have some range, and I can see him growing into the role. Particularly the dynamic between Gustin as the young Barry Allen and Jesse L. Foster as Detective Joe West, his Foster Dad, is particularly good.

However that inventive relationship is married to one that doesn’t feel inventive at all, the relationship between Candice Patton as Iris West and her triangle between Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne. I am not a fan of there being a distinct lack of representation on Film or Television of male characters of color getting the girl. It’s a bit tired all these shows with Black actresses tossing themselves at White actors.

It would be different if these shows were offset by an equal number of shows and movies with actors of color getting the girl. Unfortunately there isn’t. It’s a telling and glaring discrepancy. In the absence of that parity, all this sameness of storytelling feels more like a programming/propaganda than storytelling. It seems more like Black Faces and White Messages.

It’s the reason shows like MARY JANE and ARROW (the only real standout CW show) work for me. They embrace a needed and neglected dynamic, of romance and sex being a purview of more than the White Male.


CW’s FLASH, if it was not engulfed by a sea of movies and tv shows selling the same dynamic to the same impressionable audience, would be easier show to enjoy on its own merits. However it’s only two episodes in and I’m hopeful the show grows beyond its sophomore ticks, to be something the equal of its sibling show… ARROW.

UNCOLLECTED CLASSICS : DAREDEVIL 126 AND 127! Favorite Comic Books!

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UNCOLLECTED CLASSICS : DAREDEVIL 126 AND 127! Favorite Comic Books!

With Netflix and Marvel Studios currently hard at work on a live-action Daredevil TV series, I thought the time was right to highlight some of my favorite Daredevil comics.

This installment is on DAREDEVIL 126 and 127, from 1975, sporting great Gil Kane covers, and a fun Marv Wolfman story with Bob Brown/Klaus Janson, it is one of my favorite Daredevil two-parters. While written for a 1975 audience of kids, it still holds up and builds to a surprisingly poignant ending.

RATING THE EPISODES : KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER Best and Worst Episodes

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Netflix On-Demand Classic TV: KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER Best and Worst Episodes

THE SENTRY episode of KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER, the last episode of the short lived series and some would argue the worst, is actually a tense, atmospheric, well paced episode. What sinks it is the laughable ‘monster’ creation.

The director does what he can to underplay the ludicrousness of the ‘monster’, showing it as little as possible. I don’t think anyone would argue the monster creation was anything other than a pathetic disappointment even by 1970s standards, that someone should have been fired for.

It is so bad it makes the bargain basement cardboard creatures of early Doctor Who look almost good. Star Darren McGavin rightly pulled the plug on this series when he saw the quality not just dipping, but plummeting.

All that said, despite the poor monster design, this particular episode still works, and is quite engaging and fast paced. As opposed to the oft praised VAMPIRE episode, which I find to be plodding. A solid GOOD, and one that using CGI to draw in a better monster could only help. Grade: C.

THE SPANISH MOSS MURDERS- This is Kolchak at his best, as this episodes mixes the cutting edge dream experimentation studies of the day, with supernatural monster lore, to create a bigfoot sized dream assassin. Quite enjoyable and fast paced. Grade: B/B+.

THE KNIGHTLY MURDERS – the opening to this one does not fill me with confidence. An out of focus suit of armor dispensing out of focus death. But with the appearance of John Dehner as an erudite and forlorn and quixotic Captain, the stock on this episode begins to rise. Add the great Hans Conried as the curator and it becomes just a fun, enjoyable, well-written episode. Really enjoyable. B/B+.

HORROR IN THE HEIGHTS – A very imaginative and smart episode. Add the murder of Jewish elderly, rats, swastikas, Hindu spirits, death that comes like a friend, and the myth of the end of the world, and you have a particularly compelling and enjoyable episode. Of all the monsters that Kolchak has faced this one may be the most insidious. B+.

VAMPIRE – Just a plodding, overrated episode. The only thing this episode has going for it is the very ending, with the audacious, and possibly inappropriate visuals of a cross burning and staking as the solution to Kolchak’s problem.

In fact watching this series all together there is a lot of questionable but reoccurring Nazi and Klan imagery throughout (swastikas in CHOPPED, HORROR IN THE HEIGHTS and burning crosses in VAMPIRE). Grade: D-.

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CHOPPED – An incredibly fake looking headless horseman helms this poor man’s version of THE WILD ONE. Like VAMPIRE this is a plodding, boring episode. Another embarrassment of a monster design. Grade: D.

You can view the episodes for yourself courtesy of ON-DEMAND or buy the DVD at a savings here:
Kolchak – The Night Stalker DVD

The DVD is worth owning just to have the episodes HORROR IN THE HEIGHTS and THE SPANISH MOSS MURDERS always at your fingertips.

Come back for more RATING THE EPISODES!

Currently Watching : A&E ROKU Channel – SELL THIS HOUSE EXTREME

SELL THIS HOUSE EXTREME
Los Angeles, CA Season 9 Episode 2
Courtesy of the A&E Roku channel!

https://www.rokuchannels.tv/aetv/

A good show, particularly for those with an eye toward home improvement, or prepping their home for sale.

Music Group of the Day : SONS OF SERENDIP

Caught this band on tv, here’s hoping they get picked up for a record deal as I like the music they produce, and would like to get some CDs.

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From their website:

“The Sons of Serendip is a musical group of four friends, who through a series of serendipitous events, came together in graduate school at Boston University. Micah Christian, a teacher from Randolph, MA, is the lead vocalist of the group; Cordaro Rodriguez, an attorney from Charlotte, NC, is the pianist and guitarist; Kendall Ramseur, a performer, cello instructor and grocery clerk from Charlotte, NC, is the cellist and vocalist; and Mason Morton, who is a teacher from Atlanta, GA, is the harpist for the quartet. They have each been playing their instruments since childhood, but recently, they came together to begin what they hope will be a long beautiful journey of creating music that touches people’s hearts. On America’s Got Talent, they hope that their music will resonate deeply with listeners and that, in some way, it will make their lives a little better – even if just for a moment.

All images copyright Shef Reynolds. All rights reserved. “

See more on their website here!

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT Quarterfinals

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT Quarterfinals – Yes I can’t believe I was watching this as well.

The thing is, the heart of the show is a throwback to talent and variety shows that have been a staple of television for decades. And some of the people who perform are talented.

What I find infuriating is the judges, particularly Howie Mandel who is such a massive kiss-ass and every other word out of his mouth is America, as if he is the personal spokesman for America.

What annoys me about the show is the conceit that win or lose the show is in any way the opinion of America. When win or lose the choice is the judges, and the mob, people who either have an invested interest in who wins (friends or family) or people with nothing better to do than call in. Either way the choices are the suspect sampling of a small and suspect call-in base. Hardly America.

The contortionist was good, the 12 year old singer, and the aerial animator were the only three, in this writer’s opinion, deserving of going on. Grade: Mediocre.

Best and Worst Police Procedural’s on Amazon Prime! Under Construction

THE SHIELD- Shawn Ryan’s THE SHIELD is a show glorifying a racist bunch of dirty cops, and the un-redeeming stereotypes they beat on. It’s a dire, depressing, largely detestable show, that is not dissimilar to a slog through the sewers.

I watched a couple episodes in season #1 and then an episode in season #7, and there is absolutely no growth in the show, what a waste. Three episodes more than enough of this show. A classic example of Black faces, White messages. It’s a modern day minstrel show.

How it made it seven seasons, says something about the acceptance of great doses of bigotry. Not my thing. Pass on this and see either HOMICIDE or NYPD BLUE Season 1 instead.

NYPD BLUE- I’ve never been a fan of police procedurals, but the first season of NYPD BLUE was something else, a game changer in terms of dramatic intensity for television, and a clinic in style and the acting prowess of David Caruso. He was effectively the show. Which left later seasons… uninteresting. Get season 1, forget the rest.

JUSTIFIED- I found this modern cowboy drama incredibly uninteresting in the first season with largely unlikeable characters. Pass on this and see LONGMIRE or DEADWOOD instead.

LIFE- Both seasons are fantastic. Transcends a simple police procedural, by its protagonists quirky pursuit of Zen and Justice.

COPPER- Police work late 19th century style. Not really interested.

LUTHER- First few episodes are magnificent, though it loses its way toward the end, but still season 1 is a recommended view. Season 2 however is utter garbage.

HOMICIDE- Clearly the best police procedural ever, and largely because it is not about the procedure. A rich, ethnically strong cast of powerhouse actors, especially Andre Braugher in a star making performance, creates that rarest of television shows… a smart one. Highest recommendation.