Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's a great time to be superhero fans, TV junkies

If you’re into comic books, it’s a wonderful time for watching TV.

After all, there are four comics-based shows on the air now — with another on the way. (NBC's "Constantine"premieres at 10 PM EST Oct. 24.)

You can start your week by catching “Gotham” at 8 p.m. EST Mondays on FOX.

“Gotham” (which I reviewed in-depth earlier) stars Ben McKenzie as straight-laced Detective Jim Gordon, who has promised young Bruce Wayne he will track down his parents’ murderer. Gordon faces an uphill battle since most of Gotham City’s leaders and the police department are crooked and Gordon realizes police have arrested the wrong suspect.

His seedy partner is Detective Harvey Bullock (an appropriately cynical and grumpy Donal Logue), who has no qualms with doing the bidding of the sleazy crime-boss, Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith, whose acting is borderline cheesy). McKenzie and Logue bring a nice bit of intensity to their roles and the pair have a prickly, but fun and interesting chemistry.

Wayne Manor butler Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) struggles to raise the newly orphaned Wayne. I hope the writers continue to soften Pennyworth’s rough edges and make him more of the lovable but caring butler with the delightfully wicked sense of humor and sarcasm we know from the comics. Grade: B+

Tuesdays are a big night. “The Flash” airs at 8 p.m. on The CW. The next hour, you can change channels (or your DVR settings) for “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on ABC, now in its second season. (I reviewed the first episode on the former home of Cary's Comics Craze.)

“Agents” sees Phil Coulson as the new director of the agency, which has been forced to go underground and be more creative in the aftermath of this summer’s “Captain America” sequel. I’ve been digging S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new war against the evil Hydra.

The first episode started out with a bang: A killer, World War II cameo of Peggy Carter and the Howlin’ Commandoes from the first “Captain America” movie. Other than that and Agent Fitz’s struggle to regain his mental prowess, “Agents” has struggled to find its mojo — much like the series did for most of last season. Grade: B-

“The Flash” had plenty of geeky Easter eggs in the premiere episode this week and features many well-known faces. Grant Gustin’s instantly likable Barry Allen has partnered with STAR Labs’ Harrison Wells, who created the unstable particle accelerator, which in turn gave Allen, a police forensic scientist, super speed during a lightning storm.

Tom Cavanaugh (“Scrubs,” “Ed,”) surprisingly brings gravitas to the geeky, but largely untrustworthy Wells. You also will recognize Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West, the protective father of Iris, Allen’s lifelong best friend and unrequited love. 

The first episode of “The Flash” contained such fan-goodies as a blink-and-you’lll-miss-it shot of Gorilla Grodd’s destroyed cage at STAR Labs and the bad guy with the God complex who is a mix of lame-oh Flash villains Captain Cold and Weather Wizard.

Fans of “Arrow” (starting its third season at 8 p.m. Wednesday/tonight) already know “The Flash” is set in the same universe. Expect more crossovers. (Last season, we met Allen, who went into a coma after being hit by lightning in his lab, so the “Flash” premiere didn’t have to spend as much time on that. Check back here at CCC for a more in-depth review of the first "Flash" episode.)

The usually grim Arrow/Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) broke out an unusual grin as he saw his good buddy, Allen, speed away from Starling City. In the archer’s words, the eye-catching special effects that show off The Flash living up to being the fastest man alive is nothing short of “cool.” Grade: A

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