In response to an online forum topic a few weeks ago, namely, what TV shows are you currently watching; I dutifully listed the shows that I had been following. Much to my surprise, about 80% of my current TV show viewing was on The CW. Considering its reputation for teen dramas, that seemed surprising. On the other hand, with so many of those teen dramas as either science fiction or superhero genre related, it makes a kind of sense. The CW seems to go by one rule: Hot young people making out. Now; with superpowers.
Valor: A military drama seems an unlikely addition to a schedule of teen superhero soap operas, however the IMDB description puts everything in context. “The boundaries between military discipline and human desire are tested on a U.S. Army base that houses an elite unit of helicopter pilots trained to perform clandestine international and domestic missions.“ Ha! I couldn’t have written that better if I were a CW publicist! So the hot young person making out rule is still applicable, in the unlikely scenario of special operations. Although it’s too early yet to make a definitive ruling on the show, I’ll have to give props to the military technical advisors. As a veteran, it’s sometimes agonizing watching most television shows depicting the military, as they manage to get it wrong on the simplest things; particularly uniform wear and military customs and courtesy. This show does a great job at working on getting that right. Or…at least acknowledging when they are getting it wrong.
Riverdale: This show, returning for its second season, was one of my more surprising picks. My curiosity was initially peaked by the idea of a gang of Saturday morning cartoon characters getting a live action make over. What I didn’t expect was what the CW would actually do with the opportunity. I’m not sure what I expected, but I don’t think it was the Twin Peaks meets Dawson’s Creek that Riverdale turned in to. And they started the show turned up to eleven. One of a set of high school twins is murdered which started off the first season mystery. Frankly, I didn’t care who the murderer was, and by the time I found out in the season finale, it hardly mattered. The re-imagined characters was the thing. Miss Grundy as young music teacher; preying on innocent Archie Andrews? Hilarious! Jughead as the hamburger chomping noir narrator? Inspired! And with the spinoff of Sabrina in the works, I expect less magic teenage hijinks and more grim evil spirits (Goth style not included).
Supergirl: In the realm of the CW superhero shows, they almost always include a heavy brood factor, with the fill-in-the-blank hero on the ledge of some building in the dark of night, brooding about some responsibility that’s his or hers alone. Supergirl has always seemed the least broody of the CW Superheroes, Supergirl being played as an earnest millennial rather than tortured hero-with-a-past. But the returning season premiere has Supergirl, brooding over the guilt that’s hers alone. Welcome to the club Kara Danvers. Whether she continues to try to out brood the other CW Super Friends remains to be seen, but the charm of this show was she often was just as she appeared to be, a mid-20’s go getter, single gal in the big city… who could fly.
The Flash: In the season premiere, Barry Allen returns to Central City from the Speed Force to find himself being out brooded by his girlfriend, Iris West. With the Flash being trapped in the Speed Force for 6 months, Iris picked up the brooding slack and provided the heavy brooding needed by Team Flash. I assume that with the Flash back, he will be back to full brood mode soon.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow continues to be the most off the wall of the CW superhero shows. Their motto seems to be, “no rules.” Even when they obey rules, it’s just barely. A particular moment from last season is classic. When seeking the “Spear of Destiny” the gang is told that it requires the blood of Christ to activate it. So Sara Lance is like, sure, why not? Judea and the Crucifixion, here we come! Rip Hunter freaks out at the idea but it struck me that time travel shows just don’t “go there” in terms of potentially theologically sensitive moments. Legends actually brought that up, which tells you that no moment in history is safe from their meddling. This season, Hunter and the Legends are on opposite sides as they grow bored with their 2017 lives and decide to start time traveling again.
Supernatural, entering its 13th season, amazingly still has more stories to tell. It’s hard to recall the last time a non-animated show went on this many seasons and still had some juice left. Frankly, I thought that after thwarting the Apocalypse in season 4, it would be difficult to top, but in season 11 they managed save the entire universe, meet God, and get God and his sister together in a divine family reunion. After that, dealing with Lucifer’s son and getting their mom back from an alternate universe should be child’s play.
Arrow: Oliver Queen, the King of brooding CW heroes, is back with hopefully fewer flashbacks and more Parkour, this time as a single dad. Juggling fatherhood, being mayor, and being a crime fighting vigilante will fill up a desk calendar. Because of the over the top brooding I almost bailed out of season 6, but the dropping of the flashbacks is a good sign that has made the show more watchable, and with the upcoming crossover, Crisis on Earth-X, I cannot even think of bailing until we get through that. This really hits home for me. As a kid, I read the original Justice League comic which actually introduced “Earth-X,” the world in which the Nazi’s won World War II. I would never have imagined as a kid that there would actually be a series of TV episodes that would actually adapt that very story.
In some ways, the future turned out to be better than I could have ever dreamed.
And none of this even covers the mid-season replacements! More to come on that I suppose…