THIS MONTH — Supergirl gets a much-needed boost from its best villain yet, while Arrow shoots a slew of twists at us! Doom Patrol gets weirder, Gotham continues to pull out all the stops & The Punisher takes its final bow.
SPOILERS AHEAD for all episodes of Arrow, Black Lightning, Doom Patrol, Flash, Gotham & Supergirl up to 3/31/19, as well as for episodes 1–13 of The Punisher, episodes 7–13 of Future Man & episodes 1–5 of The Umbrella Academy.
The number in parentheses is the change in rating from last month. New seasons of shows do not have this number.
Episodes Reviewed: 14–17
RENEWAL STATUS: Renewed for Final 10-Episode Season (8).
THE GOOD: (1) HOLY MOLEY! #14 WAS THE EPISODE OF THE SEASON! Director Bell is a traitor! Diggle is fired! Emiko is working with Dante! And someone killed Diaz! That’s the Arrow I know and love! (2) Another good Arrow twist (although a retcon) that Emiko was indirectly responsible for the explosion of the Queen’s Gambit & that Dante works for her now. (3) I’m glad they’re giving Laurel-2 a difficult time as she tries to redeem herself. Cassidy plays Black Siren convincingly — theres no way youd mistake her for the Laurel of Earth-1.
THE BAD: (1) However, the long-awaited 2040 episode was a bit of a let-down. A truncated exposition-heavy origin story for Blackstar, simple dialogue (“what time do the bombs go off and how do we stop them?”) and Roy Harper continues to be truly useless. The fight sequences continue to impress though! (2) The fact that Emiko’s drone didn’t kill anyone was a little disappointing (from a narrative standpoint). Wouldn’t it highlight her “evil”-ness if she were also a killer? But perhaps this is a road to her inevitable redemption. (3) Never really cared for the Alena/Kojo Sledgehammer character so was disappointed that she was a surprise return and not someone else.
How to Make It Better: With only 14 episodes left in the series, it’s time to start making some final trips down memory lane and wrapping up some loose storylines. Tell us the fates of Rag Man, Thea, Slade, etc.
Stray Observation: Thats cool that Felicity has an AI that announces whos at your door. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE TECH THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO WALK AGAIN?
Bold Prediction: We see present-day Roy before the end of the Season.
Score: 8/10 (+3 for Episode 14, -2 for Episode 15)
BLACK LIGHTNING (CW)
Episodes Reviewed: 14–16 [season finale]
RENEWAL STATUS: Renewed for Season 3.
THE GOOD: (1) After a 13-episode gap, Lala is back, breathing a bit of new life into the show! Nice twist with the Lala-Tobias encounter. (2) I’m glad Jennifer-becomes-Lightning arc is just about done. Hopefully we get to see her in action next season. And I’m digging the new costume. (3) Some pretty good cliffhangers — Tobias locked up (almost certainly planning his escape), a suddenly-good-guy Odell warning of the Markovian threat and the reveal of who’s inside the third pod. (Does no one die on this show?)
THE BAD: (1) How low is this show’s budget? The “huge riot” in the season finale is illustrated by a reporter on TV telling us there’s a huge riot. (2) Cutter is incredibly dull. And bad at her job! (3) I don’t know if I have any interest in continuing this show, as essentially nothing game-changing has happened in this show. Look at the Season 1 finales of Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. Heck, more happens in a single episode of Doom Patrol than in an entire season of Black Lightning.
Stray Observations: They left the dead pod kid in his pod??? Is no one going to take him out?
How to Make It Better: This show needs to start taking risks.
Bold Prediction: Season 3 is the last season.
Score: 3/10 (-1 for another disappointing finale)
DOOM PATROL (DC UNIVERSE)
Episodes Reviewed: 4–7
RENEWAL STATUS: TBD
THE GOOD: (1) I am amazed at how well this show manages to balance good character development with wacky plots. Even when they’re fighting giant eyeballs, our heroes are all trying to overcome their pasts and accept themselves for who they are. This show doesn’t even need villains to make things interesting. (2) While the average viewer is not a Doom Patrol comics aficionado, it is worth mentioning the show’s admirable honoring of the source material. From Mento to Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, many of the characters and their stories are pulled from the Doom Patrol comics, with only minor modifications and updates. Some, like Mother Archon, Admiral Whiskers and Ezekiel the Cockroach, are welcome new additions. (3) The effects in this show are very well-done and very fun. The sea of puzzle pieces, for example, was a visual feat.
THE BAD: (1) I do wish there was a bigger sense of urgency to find the Chief. Instead our “heroes” laze around and mope. (2) In the comics, Larry’s “Negative Man” needs to return to his body in 60 seconds or else he dies. It’s a fun little tidbit that I think would make his journey more interesting in the show. (3) Not a big deal considering this is such a weird show, but the rat CGI left something to be desired.
Stray Observation: Really liking what they’re doing with Cyborg.
How to Make It Better: When will Rita finally use her powers?
Bold Prediction: It’s hard to see where any of this is going, but I could see them killing off the Chief!
Score: 9/10 (+1 for taking risks!)
Episodes Reviewed: 15–17
RENEWAL STATUS: Renewed for Season 6!
THE GOOD: (1) King Shark vs. Grodd was actually pretty good. The less Grodd talks the better. It was a good redemption story for King Shark too. (2) While not one of the more exciting episodes, “Time Bomb” felt like a really cohesive episode about honesty in relationships, as illustrated by Cisco, Nora and Vickie Bolan, who all are keeping important secrets from their loved ones. (3) Cicada I is killed by Cicada II! An interesting development — not exactly logical — but interesting regardless. Finally we’re moving forward.
THE BAD: (1) The storyline where Joe helps Iris confront her fear of Cicada by taking her to the gym was not one of this show’s better ideas. (2) Of late, Ralph has been used as the goofball of the group, replacing the role held by the late HR Wells and formerly by Cisco. I wish they’d make more use of his police and detective skills (not to mention superpowers), but with Sherloque’s brains and Nora taking over as the Flash’s protege, there’s little time for exploring his character. Again, there are too many cooks in Star Labs.
Some Stray Observations:
*What a great, ridiculous gag for Sherloque to be randomly holding a broom.
*Idea for another Arrowverse montage: security guards slacking off right before being attacked.
*Central City’s kiddie soccer team is the Lightning Strikers.
*I’d love to be on Team Flash’s group chat.
How to Make It Better: Less about the personal lives of Cisco and Sherloque and more about The Flash fighting supervillains!!! There have been precious few new baddies this year.
Bold Prediction: This is the last season for Joe and Cecile. Joe retires and they decide to move to another city. Barry has started to become less of a mentee and more of a mentor.
FUTURE MAN (HULU)
Episodes Reviewed: 7–13 [season finale]
RENEWAL STATUS: TBD
THE GOOD: (1) So…maybe they did know what they were doing! The real Torque returns in a really cool episode where our heroes try to infiltrate Stu’s system. (2) This show takes its time travel rules and paradoxes seriously. The writers have really thought out the logic behind it all — even if it doesn’t really make sense, they sell it really well. (3) Seth Rogen!!!!
THE BAD: (1) Ty-Anne was using a fake voice this whole time? Eh, that’s a stretch — even for this show. (2) This season took a long time to get good — 7 episodes to be exact. (3) The reveal that Tiger is a Biotic was a HUGE twist…but ultimately had zero impact on the show.
How to Make It Better: This season suffered because it split up our heroes. They are at their best when they’re interacting with each other. Luckily, it looks like they’re back together.
Score: 6/10 (+1 for smart time travel logic)
Episodes Reviewed: 9–10
RENEWAL STATUS: Cancelled.
THE GOOD: (1) Gotham’s still got some tricks up its sleeve. While the birth of baby Gordon was always an assumption, there were still some surprises. There’s the reveal of Walker’s true identity — Nyssa al Ghul. (I had wrongly assumed Sofia Falcone had something to do with it.) And most notably, in a twist on the comics, Bane seemingly breaks Alfred’s back, perhaps causing our badass butler to retire from fighting (and take up a cane?) (2) There’s also the episode where Gordon comes closer to death than he had in a long time. Maybe that inspires him to finally get out of the field.
THE BAD: (1) Get married in the precinct? The one that gets shot up by bad guys on a weekly basis? Sure. We have the set, might as well use it some more. (2) The submarine has always felt like a silly idea to me. We know they’re not going to succeed — they will stay in Gotham forever. So why are we following them? Have they run out of things to do? Giving up on Gotham seems out of character, especially for Penguin. (3) Only 2 episodes left :(
Stray Observation: The image that was released of Future Jeremiah is horrifying.
How to Make It Better: Wrap it up in a nice little bow — give us the ending we deserve, Gotham!
Bold Prediction: I still think it’s the end of the road for Barbara Kean and Harvey Bullock.
Episodes Reviewed: 8–13 [series finale]
RENEWAL STATUS: Cancelled.
THE GOOD: (1) Amy finally proves her usefulness, easily fooling hospital staff and security. I hate to admit it, but she’s grown on me. This season has really been a coming-of-age experience for her. (2) Nice to see Karen Page back for an episode, as she’s a big part of Frank’s story and it only makes sense that she’d hear of his arrest and want to help. (3) The Punisher does its villains really well. Billy Russo and John Pilgrim and even the Schultzes all believe that what they do is noble — that they’re protecting their loved ones.
THE BAD: (1) Dr.Dumont was the low point of this season. From her window-backstory (would she really live upstairs?), to her demise (can a psychiatrist hold their own against a trained federal agent? Apparently.) I suppose she does serve her purpose as Billy’s motive. (2) What about his girlfriend from episode 1?? I was sure they’d bring her back at the end…(3) Anyone else find the final fight between Pilgrim and Punisher frustrating? Once Pilgrim admitted his kids were held hostage, that would have been the logical point to say, “okay, let’s work together.”
Stray Observations: Can you think of a TV character who gets beat up more over the course of 13 episodes than Frank Castle? I can’t. Also every character in this show is going to have nightmares forever.
Episodes Reviewed: 14–18
RENEWAL STATUS: Renewed for Season 5!
THE GOOD: (1) John Cryer’s Lex Luthor injects some much-needed life into the show, as he pulls an impressive long con on Lena. In a single episode, Lex already has become the best villain of the entire series. His surprise secret agent — who’s been around since Season 2 — was also a shocker, although I can’t imagine that was planned by the writers from the start. (2) Finally, Supergirl takes advantage of the “hero can’t be in two places at once” problem that Kara and so many other heroes face. It’s such a good source of conflict, I’m surprised they don’t use it more. Now that Alex doesn’t know Kara is Supergirl, our hero is having trouble explaining her absences. (3) Red Daughter posing as Supergirl and attacking the White House while the real Supergirl suffers from Kryptonite poisoning. Now that’s how you do it!(4)
THE BAD: (1) Why would James be taking photos at the rally fight instead of saving people??? (2) I felt like it was out of character for Alex to be a proponent of using the serum on James. It’s a pretty radical decision for the most level-headed character on the show. (3) I’m all for Manchester vs. Manhunter but it seems that Mr.Black is going really out of his way just to bully our favorite martian.
*Characters on Supergirl and The Flash are each developing formulas — one that gives you superpowers and one that takes them away.
*No one has frozen breath in the Fortress of Solitude.
*Manchester blew a hole in a dam and Kara replied “damn it.”
How to Make It Better: Nia has become Dreamer way too fast. There’s so much going on now that there’s been little time to focus on that.
Bold Prediction: Something bad is going to happen to George Lockwood, causing Ben to have a change of heart.
Score: 9/10 (+3 for AT LONG LAST, LEX LUTHOR)
UMBRELLA ACADEMY (NETFLIX)
Episodes Reviewed: 1–5
RENEWAL STATUS: Renewed for Season 2!
THE GOOD: (1) I like the setup of the show, and find everyone’s different and complicated opinions toward their father very interesting. Each faces their own demons. And the way mysteries are slowly unraveled is well-done. (2) Number 5 — an old man in a kid’s body — is always fun to watch, as is tortured addict Klaus, a perfectly-cast Robert Sheehan. (3) My favorite characters are Grace (Mom) and Pogo, who have little backstory but offer some semblance of parentage to the tortured young characters.
THE BAD: (1) I find Vanya’s storyline incredibly dull, although perhaps it’s meant to illustrate how unhappy she is with her life. (2) Hazel and Cha-Cha are fairly boring villains. (3) For a show with 5 super-powered characters , we’ve seen precious little action.
How to Make It Better: There’s a lot of talk about the end of the world, but no one really seems to be doing anything about it.
FINAL RANKINGS — MARCH 2019:
1. DOOM PATROL = 9/10
2. GOTHAM = 9/10
3. SUPERGIRL = 9/10
4. PUNISHER = 8/10
5. ARROW = 8/10
6. THE FLASH = 7/10
7. UMBRELLA ACADEMY = 6/10
8. FUTURE MAN = 6/10
9. BLACK LIGHTNING = 3/10
On next month’s Superhero TV Show Power Rankings…
The second half of The Umbrella Academy, Season 2 of The Tick, the return of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and the end of Gotham!
What do you think? Comment with your rankings!