CineNation
Published in

CineNation

Superhero TV Show Power Rankings — JAN 2019

THIS MONTH — Future Man and the Punisher return to fight familiar faces in unfamiliar places, the mystery Arrow is revealed (I was totally fooled by the male stand-in they used), and deaths galore on the final season of Gotham!

SPOILERS AHEAD for all episodes of Arrow, Black Lightning, Flash, Gotham & Supergirl up to 1/31, as well as for episodes 1–4 of The Punisher and 1–5 of Future Man.

The number in parentheses is the change in rating from last month. New seasons of shows do not have this number.

Sea Shimooka as Emiko Queen

ARROW (CW)
Season: 7
Episodes Reviewed: 10–11
RENEWAL STATUS: Renewed for Season 8!
THE GOOD:
(1) Fun, quirky Felicity is back! This is a huge change from her character in the first 8 episodes, but it’s nice to see her return to peak form. And Curtis too! Is everyone happy now? (2) The ARGUS / Ghost Initiative is actually pretty interesting. For one, it gives Diggle and Curtis something to do. It also is a chance to revisit some classic villains — China White, Cupid & Joe Wilson. Hope they continue on this path. (3) Really enjoyed the introduction of Sam Hackett, son of the bodyguard killed in episode 101. It allowed Oliver to take a step back and realize that he can’t go on telling half-truths, while also giving long-time fans a nice easter egg.
THE BAD: (1)
The idea of Emiko Queen is excellent and a big part of the comics, but so far, her introduction has been extremely predictable and her character has been one-dimensional. (2) I hate that Rene’s justification for being a superhero plus father is that his daughter is “all for it.” It seems like she should at least express some concerns, especially since she has no other parental figure. (3) Once Curtis was killed suddenly, I knew it was a simulation. Maybe I’ve been watching this show too long…
How to Make It Better:
Where’s the big bad?
Stray Observation:
That old age makeup — yikes!
Bold Prediction:
The writers are preparing Emiko to take over for Oliver Queen.
Score: 7/10 (+1 for nostalgia)

So long, Khalil.

BLACK LIGHTNING (CW)
Season: 2
Episodes Reviewed: 10–11
RENEWAL STATUS: Renewed for Season 3.
THE GOOD:
(1) Finally, an end to the Pointless Escape That Went Nowhere. Khalil & Jen finally come home, allowing us to get back to the main story. Which is…I’m not sure? Episode 10 ends with Tobias saying “Now it all begins.” I hope so. I’ve been waiting for a while. (2) Ugh…Tobias ripping out Khalil’s backbone is possibly the most brutal thing I’ve ever seen on the CW. This goes in the good column (pun intended) because at least something significant happened. (3) Enjoying the new “Felicity” on Tobias’s quickly-growing team.
THE BAD: (1) Cutter can defeat an entire armed SWAT team by herself, but can’t handle Jen & Khalil? Yeah right. (2) This season has been focusing on everyone BUT Black Lightning…(3) It’s been too long since Gambi’s done anything cool, let alone useful.
Stray Observation: Jen’s farewell to Khalil is very similar to Matt Parkman’s farewell to Daphne on Heroes!
How to Make It Better:
WHERE IS LALA?
Bold Prediction:
Hmm…The POD kids get recruited by Tobias?
Score: 4/10 (+1 for being brave enough to kill a big character)

Evil Costume!

FLASH (CW)
Season: 5
Episodes Reviewed: 10–11
RENEWAL STATUS: Renewed for Season 6!
THE GOOD:
(1) I really enjoyed the little origin story they gave to one of my (previously) least-favorite characters, Norvock. (2) Nice little moment where Cisco doesn’t realize that Ralph is bringing him to singles night to help Cisco. In fact, it’s never really explicitly said, which I think was great — let the audience put that one together themselves. (3) Despite his awful name, the Sherloque character is growing on me, as he gains closer to exposing Nora’s secrets to her family. He’s a ticking time bomb, something the other shows don’t have.
THE BAD:
(1) Ugh, are we going to have to go through the “X-Men: The Last Stand” cure-or-no-cure plot again? (2) He’s powerful, sure, but Cicada is the first big bad on this show who isn’t really that scary. And that’s a problem. (3) Why is Nora keeping super secret audio files in an easily-accessible Gideon?
Stray Observation: It’s nice that they always explain a missing character’s absence (“Oh, Cisco had that thing, remember?”). It’s okay. The Flash will always have a too-many-cooks problem until it starts killing off/writing out some of its beloved cast. Not everyone in my office comes in every day — I can understand that some people are busy. (CW’s Riverdale has the opposite problem — the students seem to have too much time on their hands…)
How to Make It Better:
Unlike some shows on here, this show always seems to know exactly where it’s going.
Bold Prediction:
The person who’s going to lose their power…is Vibe.
Score: 8(+1 for knowing where it’s going)

FUTURE MAN (HULU)
Season: 2
Episodes Reviewed: 1–6
RENEWAL STATUS: TBD
THE GOOD:
(1) The wackiness continues! A nice break from routine to spend the first three episodes on the three protagonists. (2) The writing on this show is excellent. A lot of subtle (and not-so-subtle) humor. (3) Josh Hutcherson is such a good sport. In the first six episodes he’s had to be dunked in a bathtub of milky liquid, roll down a sand dune, and have a full-frontal nudity scene with a fake penis. He also has to portray a pile of dead bodies, wear prosthetics for his severe nut allergy & drink disgusting-looking beverages.
THE BAD: (1) Despite those pros, it’s taking a while to get to the Big Problem and what they need to do to solve it. There’s no sense of urgency. (2) It should be simple for the time trio to warp out of there. And yet, halfway through the season, they’re still wandering around, clueless. (3) I miss the supporting cast — Josh’s parents, gamer friends and co-workers. The new supporting characters are not as fun or exciting (except for Stu).
Stray Observation: Wolf adapts to his situations WAY too easily.
How to Make It Better: Let’s get out of this time period!
Bold Prediction:
We’re gonna stay in this time period all season long.
Score: 5/10

Shane West joins the cast

GOTHAM (FOX)
Season: 5
Episodes Reviewed: 1–5
RENEWAL STATUS: Final Season
THE GOOD:
(1) The high mortality rate! The deaths of Tabitha, Mr.Penn and the entirety of “Haven” in the first 4 episodes are signs that anything can happen this season and no one is safe! (2) The tables have turned on Riddler! We are now rooting for Riddler to find out what Ed’s been up to. (3) The rare moment between Bruce and Harvey felt really genuine. They don’t usually interact with each other, but it was nice to see Harvey impart some wisdom on young Bruce. Perhaps this was their last conversation? (See Bold Prediction).
THE BAD: (1) Penguin’s shifting alliances have never been floppier. One moment he’s offering a bounty on Jim’s head, the next, they’re best buds. Let’s follow at least some line of reason, k? (2) Jeremiah’s death by stabbing was faked?? Come on. This show requires an extraordinary amount of suspension of disbelief, but we’re going to need a better explanation here. (3) Is Bruce going to spend this whole season whining about Selina? Let’s see him kick some butt!
Stray Observation: Where’s Lee?
How to Make It Better: GIVE ME MAN-BAT & VENTRILOQUIST!
Bold Prediction:
Harvey Bullock is a dead man walking. His death pushes Gordon to become Commissioner. It writes itself!
Score: 8/10

Ben Barnes returns as Billy Russo

PUNISHER (NETFLIX)
Season: 2
Episodes Reviewed: 1–4
RENEWAL STATUS: TBD. Unlikely.
THE GOOD:
(1) I know guns is his “thing” but Frank’s hand-to-hand combat is excellently choreographed. (2) Ben Barnes — WOW. He has an extremely difficult role — playing a good-guy-turned-bad-with-a-brain-injury. There are times where you wish he was dead, others when you feel sorry for him, and still others where you’re rooting for him! (3) It took until episode 4, but I’m finally on board with this Amy character.
THE BAD: (1) Shouldn’t Frank at least try to check on his bartender friend? (2) Pilgrim has been fairly bland so far. Let’s see what happens. (3) I really don’t get the Jigsaw mask. I know he’s supposed to have drawn it himself, but it looks cheap.
Stray Observation: Floriana Lima left Supergirl for this?
How to Make It Better: I’m not convinced Madani needs to be involved in this season.
Bold Prediction:
Billy will redeem himself by taking a bullet for someone!
Score: 8/10

Nicole Maines as Nia Nal

SUPERGIRL (CW)
Season: 4
Episodes Reviewed: 10–11
RENEWAL STATUS: Renewed for Season 5!
THE GOOD:
(1) Supergirl somehow pulled off the biggest Arrowverse twist (okay, maybe second-biggest) of the year in the course a single episode: due to an interrogation alien that can force people to tell the truth, Supergirl’s identity must be wiped from all DEO members — including Kara’s closest friend and biggest confidant, Alex. Chyler Leigh once again proves that she is the best actor on this show and perfectly portrays her sudden feeling of emptiness. (2) I like the focus on the Nia Nal character in episode 11. Nice to see another origin story on this show, especially one that ties in so nicely with her struggle to gain acceptance as a transgender woman. (3) Do you miss any of the big bads from earlier seasons? Neither do I!
THE BAD: (1) Even if your boss is as nice as Kara, NO WAY you take her home to visit your family. (2) Why does Brainy get to remember who Kara is? (3) Nia’s mom just had a superhero costume just in her closet?
How to Make It Better: Let’s have a JAILBREAK!
Bold Prediction:
Alex finds out Kara is Supergirl and then gets mad at her. Is that bold? Probably not for this show.
Score: 7/10 (+1 for the big twist)

OMITTED FROM REVIEWS:

The Gifted, Season 2 (FOX) & Marvel’s Runaways, Season 2 (HULU). I cannot sit through these shows anymore. I do not recommend them.

FINAL RANKINGS — JANUARY 2019:

1. PUNISHER = 8/10

2. THE FLASH = 8/10

3. GOTHAM = 8/10

4. ARROW = 7/10

5. SUPERGIRL = 7/10

6. FUTURE MAN = 5/10

7. BLACK LIGHTNING = 4/10

On next month’s Superhero TV Show Power Rankings…

The Doom Patrol and The Umbrella Academy make their debuts, while Arrow hits episode 150!

What do you think? Comment with your rankings!

For previous articles see NOV ’17, DEC ’17, JAN ’18, FEB/MAR ’18, APR ’18, MAY/JUN ’18, JUL/AUG ’18, SEPT/OCT ’18, NOV ’18, DEC ‘18

Want more from CineNation?

Subscribe, Like, and Follow us on iTunes, Spotify, Facebook, and Twitter.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store