Ranking the Arrowverse #11

ranking arrowverse arrow season 3

11. Arrow: Season 3

Full spoilers for the whole of this season

Coming off the back of its incredible second season, I had extremely high hopes for the third run. Finally bringing in Ra’s Al Ghul after so much teasing of him was exciting, as was seeing how Team Arrow could try and take him on. Things started off relatively well too. Sara’s death was a shock, Thea’s transformation was fun to see and it looked like whilst not being quite as great as what came before, this could still be an entertaining run. But as soon as Oliver met the grizzly end of Ra’s blade and was sent tumbling off of a mountain, the season lost steam and ended on a note that was frankly horrible.

arrow stabbed cliff

To say that season 3 is a mess would be putting it kindly, but let’s look at the positives first. Matt Nable was a great Ra’s, not the kind of Ra’s you may have expected admittedly but I enjoyed his performance. The ‘who killed Sara’ mystery was nicely done and I enjoyed the ramifications of Thea being unwittingly responsible. Malcom Merlyn was a ton of fun too, as ever he was unpredictable and he’s a joy to watch. Stand out of the cast for me though is Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer. He’s just so damn likeable throughout. A constant breath of fresh air whilst everything around him gets misery dumped on them.

Palmer is a great way to lead into what doesn’t work about the season. He is well and truly shafted by the time year three drew to a close. The audience is supposed to be rooting for Oliver and Felicity to get together, but when they do it’s right in Ray’s face without either of them giving the remotest of shits about him. The two characters became so self absorbed that when they literally rode off into the sunset, I couldn’t help but be angry because neither of them deserved that temporary happy ending. Especially Oliver. What a complete and utter tool this guy is here. He’s transformation into the next Ra’s is just one massive cheat, the bigger problem though is that he does so much terrible stuff that he may as well have joined the league anyway.

arrow season 3 diggle

I do not buy for one second that Oliver couldn’t and wouldn’t bring a single person in on his plan, especially Diggle. There was nothing to stop him from giving Dig the heads up and having him play along. Instead, Oliver puts the mans child as risk and carries on like a total twat to everyone around him. How he was forgiven is beyond me, this season almost lost me all the love I had for that character due to the terrible writing that he was forced to play out. Imagine if Oliver truly had changed sides? Wouldn’t that have been a much more interesting story to tell? Apparently not. Then there was Laurel and her awfully unconvincing and far too easy turn into the new Black Canary. Then there was Quentin suddenly hating vigilantes again because of plot reasons. Then there were pointless characters like Wild Dog and a horrible exit for the always interesting Roy. Honestly I could go on and on about what didn’t work here.

vinnie jones arrow

There was some fun to be had in the season. Vinnie Jones was surprisingly entertaining as Brick and those episodes where Oliver was missing allowed other members of the cast to step up. Then there was Oliver’s battle with Ra’s (the first one, definitely not the second). Seeing Oliver impaled and hurled off the cliff remains one of the Arrowverses stand out moments. It’s just a shame that the resolution to how he survived it was so laughably glossed over. I guess they just thought we would be happy he survived?

I haven’t mentioned the flashbacks here because honestly there isn’t a lot to say. With the exception of one episode that showed Oliver home way before he should, everything else was bland and forgettable.

Hey, on a separate non Arrow note. Forces is officially up for pre-order here. It’s only £1.99 in the UK (other regions vary) but wherever you buy it, it’s cheap! July 31st is the day it will come out and be delivered straight to your kindle, and if you don’t have a kindle there’s an app you can get your phone. Because there’s an app for almost anything. It would be awesome if you could check it out, the second instalment is well on the way too.

 

Ranking the Arrowverse #12

ranking arrowverse arrow season 4

I have a book and a play to be writing. So what have I decided to instead? Rank the Arrowverse. When I used to run a website, one of my favourite things to do was ranking things. I never really knew why I enjoyed it so much and it’s one of the few things I’ve missed, other than the freebies I used to get, ah how I miss the freebies. With all of the CW DC shows now on a break until October, now seems like the perfect time to give this a go. I’ll add a season per post for the next 12 blog posts. This is from worst to best by the way.

Before I do, quick update on The Jump. I entered it into a short story competition but one of the rules is that it can’t be published anywhere until it closes, even on this blog. Always the pessimist, I don’t expect it to do very well, so when I’m allowed I’ll get it out there straight away.

SPOILERS ahead for Arrow seasons 1-4

12. Arrow Season 4

arrow season 4 crossover

It’ll be lighter they said. Oliver Queen will be more fun they said. They lied. Arrow season 3 is hardly a stellar season of television, but season 4? Man. Thankfully this is the only season in the whole Arrowverse that I actually hate, the only one to do so much wrong that there is barely any redeeming qualities to it. The first episode actually seemed to deliver on the promises that we were given, it was a fun episode and set Damien Darhk up as an extremely intriguing villain. But everything went downhill far too quickly from there. The first half of the season suffered due to being bogged down with setting up Legends of Tomorrow, much like The Flash season 2, only this one didn’t have a compelling enough story to make that forgivable. Sara’s resurrection was fine, Constantine was a welcome addition, but very little here had an impact on the show itself. The Darhk threat quickly became tedious, building up to a ridiculously overblown plan that stretched credibility to breaking point, even for a verse that has time travelling superheroes. Arrow has for the most part been the more grounded of the shows and it’s clear from this season it needs to stay that way.

Then there were all the character problems. Diggle arguably had the best here, his plight with brother was great to watch and gave him something to do that wasn’t just reacting to other characters actions. Although, his suit and helmet were hilariously bad. Quentin too at least got some development, his questionable actions here added new depths to his character even they left him largely redundant in the following season. The rest though? Not good. Oliver continued his terrible decision making from the previous season, keeping a secret from Felicity for literally no good reason and thus ending the relationship that had become far too integral to the show. Thea was underused, Laurel existed to be the catalyst behind Sara’s return and then was sacrificed for a cheap death that was irritatingly teased all season long.

arrow season 4 felicity
How great is it that there is finally a disabled character in the Arrowverse. Oh, wait….

Then there was Felicity. I like Felicity, I don’t hate her like some fans do but man did they test that this season. She ended things with Oliver over a secret that he kept regarding his son (poor move from Oliver but a relationship ending secret it was not). Then she became paralysed, only to stick the middle finger up at disabled people everywhere by quickly regaining the use of her legs thanks to some stupid tech that newcomer Curtis made. But that’s nothing when you remember that she nuked and killed thousands of people.  No, it wasn’t her fault, her actions made sense but there was so little fallout from it (excuse the pun) that it became laughable. This should have broken her, this should have seen her wind up in therapy, unable to even carry on for a time after doing such a thing. What did we get? Next to nothing. It was brought up again early in season 5 but the impression I get is that Felicity doesn’t really give a crap. It’s as close to character destroying as you can get.

taiana arrow
The flashbacks were so forgettable I had to google this characters name.

And then there were the flashbacks. They were dull in season 3 but at least they seemed like they had a point there. I can barely remember anything that happened with them this year because the writers gave the impression they were being shoehorned in for the sake of it. There was some guff about magic that tied into Damien Darhk which gave it a tenuous link but these were so forgettable, so half arsed that I got distracted by other things when they were on screen.

By the time the season grew to a close and the team scattered, I was past caring about them. So much so that I struggled to invest in season 5 which was infinitely better. I was so sure they would screw up the following season that I didn’t allow myself to enjoy it as much as I should have done. That’s how bad this season was.

Best Episode: Green Arrow

Worst Episode: Schism 

Mondays…

Monday’s are a day when I just know that I won’t get any writing done, no this blog doesn’t count. The Monday blues are indeed a thing and I’m sure I suffer with it more than most, so much so that from about 5pm on a Sunday, all I’m doing is dreading the fact that in the morning I’m going to have to go to work. Yes, this means I’m in a job I don’t enjoy, and no I’m not staying. Now today is over, there’s only 9 more Monday’s left at this current job before I venture out into the unknown. As for what that brings, well hopefully it will mean I can have a real crack at this whole writing thing, with a novel already completed (and a second on the way) and a short story already finished, I’ve made a head start, now I need to really knuckle down with it.

hate-mondays

Forces update! The editor has nearly finished, which means I should be able to get it out there sooner than the late August date I had in mind. Considering I had changed my plans to release the first and second books fairly close together, this means I need to really get cracking on the second. 22,000 words down, at least another 60,000 to go. Must. Focus.

As well as that, several people have now read The Jump, the short story I’ve just finished. All positive responses, which is awesome. The plan for that one is still to put it online for free, maybe even on here.

On a separate note. How useless are Amazon logistics? I joked on Twitter that if I say it’s them who are delivering it, I can assume it won’t be here on time, but really that isn’t a joke, it’s true. It’s a good job that being a prime member has other benefits, because next day delivery isn’t something they can guarantee when they use such a unreliable company to deliver.

Thoughts on the Supernatural Finale

supernatural

Heads up, if you’ve found your way here and you haven’t yet watched the finale for season 12 of Supernatural, you may want to stop reading. If you have, do continue!

I love Supernatural, have done since its second season. But, it’s a show that I find hard to really invest in, because despite the stakes usually being pretty high, the deaths on the show have never really been handled overly well. Obviously with a show in this genre, you expect a death or two to be taken back, or you expect to see someone occasionally after their character has been offed, to say this show has overdone that would be an understatement. In recent years, the only two that I can think of that haven’t returned in some form after dying are Rufus and Charlie. Sure, he showed up in a flashback last year but that’s fine, and a much better way of bringing someone people love back into play for an episode. As for Charlie, as sad as her death was, it didn’t really have any impact on me, I felt sure it would be cheated somehow, or she would be back as a quirky ghost to help the Winchesters out. That hasn’t actually happened yet but the point is, deaths on this show have lost the sense of finality that they need to really make me feel for what I’m seeing on screen

supernatural

So, when this latest episode aired and killed off the long time characters of Castiel and Crowley, I was shocked certainly, but I wasn’t upset about it. There’s nothing to convince me that either one will be a sticking point by the time season 13 comes round, not least because it would be a really tiny panel at comic con this year. Furthering my doubts that these deaths will stick is the fact that there have been no interviews (that I have seen) by anyone in the show about it. Castiel and Crowley have been a huge part of this show for years now, I don’t believe for one second that they would be killed off without a word from anyone about it after it aired.

Which likely means that both characters will be back in some form when the show comes back. For me though, I don’t want them to be. I adore both characters, but it really feels like this is a great time to move forward, bring in one or two new regulars, or even just go back to this being a show about Sam and Dean. If the show really is going to end with an abbreviated 14th season, it would be a good time to go back to basics a bit. Plus, as much as I love him, and Mischa Collins, it really does feel like the character of Castiel has run his course. There’s been so many variations of the character over the years, so many tired excuses to get him away from the brothers and off on his own, I’d miss him if he was gone but I am leaning towards it being for the best. I’m a bit torn on Crowley, out of the two it’s definitely him that still has the most to offer, but sacrificing himself to kill Lucifer? That’s as perfect a way to write him out as there even can be.

castiel crowley supernatural

But as I say, I have no doubt that they will both be back next season, and Supernatural will continue its trend of not making a death mean anything. I hope I’m wrong, I hope the show shows that it has the balls to follow through on something like this. It would certainly cause me to become a little more invested in it again.

Short Stories

agents shield

When I first started writing, I was never keen on the idea of attempting a short story. I didn’t think it was enough time to develop a character and produce something that a reader could invest in. I was wrong. Although, I did see a short story contest with a maximum word count of 850 words, that I personally don’t feel is nearly enough.

I’ve just finished a second draft on my on one, just under 4000 words and I’m surprised how much I was able to get in there. I didn’t go through with a few ideas that I was hoping to include but honestly, I think it may be for the best. I have an idea of how to adapt the story into another medium anyway, they can be used then. The whole process is actually more rewarding than finishing a whole normal length novel for me, admittedly though that may be because it’s a heck of a lot easier to read back over. I’ve gone from not being interested in short stories, to wanting to write a ton more of them, slightly worrying considering I have 4 and a half more Forces novels to write.

agents shield
That guy at the front, he has a shotgun axe. Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.

On a separate note, Agents of SHIELD! The finale for it’s latest run just aired and wow, I instantly want to rewatch the whole thing. Chances are you don’t watch this show, it’s hard to find people that stuck with it through its (admittedly mediocre) first run of episodes. My advice? Try again. The show was held back creatively thanks to a pesky superhero called Captain America. They were restricted heavily with what they were allowed to do until the midway point of its first season, as soon as Winter Soldier came out, they went for it. Each season has been better than the last and its latest fourth run (it’s coming back for a fifth) was truly special. Incredible storytelling, incredible writing, truly one of the best seasons of a show this 2016/17 season. Do yourself a favour, catch up in time for the next run, likely starting In January, and watch the best show you’re not watching.

Is There Too Much TV Now?

agents shield season 5

Today I finished the first draft of a short story I’m writing. I have to say, that feeling I get when I finish a first draft is great, it’s just a shame that it’s followed up with a feeling of dread that comes with read through’s and rewrites. Still, it’s only 4000 words, so shouldn’t take too long, then it’s straight back to Forces 2, or whatever side project jumps into my head next. This one is called ‘The Jump’ by the way, the plan is to release it for free online.

So it’s upfronts week! Which means we get to find out what shows will be starting/coming back/not coming back next season. Yes, it’s a nervy time but this year I only lost one show I watched due to cancellation, Scream Queens, and to be fair, that was never exactly likely to return.

agents shield season 5
The renewal I’m happiest about

What I did realise though, was that there is just way too much TV to watch nowadays. Below is a list of every show that I want to watch that will be airing in the next 12 months, or that I haven’t finished watching yet. This list doesn’t include any shows that have finished airing that I still haven’t completed yet, and there’s a few of them. It’s getting to the stage where it’s no surprise that new shows fail, there’s just far too much competition.

Orville
Ghosted
Arrow
Flash
Supergirl
Legends of Tomorrow
Supernatural
Agents of Shield
iZombie
The 100
Blindspot
Leathal Weapon
Timeless
Better Call Saul
Walking Dead
Talking Dead
13 Reasons Why
Luke Cage
Iron Fist
The Defenders
Game of Thrones
Fear the Walking Dead
Twin Peaks
This is Us
The X-Files
Inhumans
The Gifted
Marvel’s Runaways
Black Lightning
Orange Is The New Black
Legion
Preacher
Outcast
American Horror Story
A.P Bio
Ash vs Evil Dead
Dark Matter
Killjoys
The Expanse
Colony
Feud
The Good Place
The Handmaids Tale
American Gods
Humans
The Last Ship
The OA
Stranger Things
Outlander
Alex, Inc
The Path
Peaky Blinders
Doctor Who
Victoria
Red Dwarf
The Gospel of Kevin
The Mayor
Splitting up Together
Seal Team
Me myself and I
Valor
911
Rise
Reverie

And I’m sure there must be one or two I’m forgetting. It may be the TV golden age right now, but it’s definitely becoming nigh on impossible to stay caught up.

While The Cat’s Away….

The mouse will watch Titanic.

Gone are the days where the girlfriend being away equalled a night out with the lads. Now I’m in thirty-three, and I don’t drink, the best I can do is a takeaway and a movie with the volume turned up. This is excitement in your thirties, well my thirties at least. Oh, I can’t even have a takeaway, due to my need to at least lose a bit of weight, mixed with my ability to eat a lot of food. Awesome.

I probably should address Titanic. It seems to be the in thing to do now, slating that movie, as if it’s somehow “cool” not to like it. The funny thing is, when it came out, I barely found anyone that disliked it. For me, it’s easily my second favourite movie of all time (something truly special has to come along to beat Con Air) and I’ll never understand the dislike for it. I can see it’s flaws, it does have some, but as a whole it’s such a beautifully shot, scored, acted and directed movie that I have no shame in loving it.

Rounding out my top 5 by the way are Donnie Darko, Whiplash and Armageddon. For me, all I really want from a movie is to enjoy myself, regardless of how many issues the film has. Armageddon is a great example of that. It makes little sense, it’s got some awful dialogue, but I don’t give a shit, every time I watch it, I have a great time. I’ll take something like that over things like The Artist or La La Land any day.

And to those who say Titanic is a rubbish film, but bang on about how great La La Land was, how many awards did Titanic win? A bucket load.

Just to add to this a little, I didn’t hate La La Land, I was just very bored throughout it. It’s very much like films such as Birdman and The Artist, apparently universally loved, yet I couldn’t see the appeal. I don’t think any less of people that do enjoy them though, the beauty of movies is that they appeal to different people for different reasons. Not everyone has to like the same thing, something internet comment sections seem to regularly forget.

Unless you like things like Epic Movie and Meet The Spartans, then you quite clearly are a dick.

Football, Lemony Snicket and Eurovision.

crystal palace

Being a football fan (or soccer fan to those of you who decided to change the name) can be a tough, heartbreaking ride. Especially if you are not a fan of a club who has seen their success ride alongside financial investment.
A lot of my friends are Arsenal fans, all season long, all I’ve seen is moaning, despite this club being a contender for so many years now. To Arsenal fans I say this, try supporting someone like Crystal Palace, then you’ll have something to moan about.

crystal palace

We seem to be a team that enjoy self destructing. This season alone, despite battling relegation, we have beaten so many top tier teams. We won 2-1 against Liverpool, how did we celebrate that? By losing the next three matches and conceding 8 goals in the process. It’s like the players enjoy leaving things to the last minute when it comes to guaranteed survival. We always do this. We gain momentum, then we instantly lose it and tumble down the table. Still at least we’re safe for another year, hopefully we can spend some money over the summer and actually get consistent good results next season. I just hope that the players and our manager Sam Allardyce aren’t forgetting that this match against Hull didn’t need to be vital, we should have been safe weeks ago.

Now that the football is out the way, the rest of the day will be writing whilst catching up on TV. Finally finished Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events.’ Good for the most part, but largely repetitive to the point of annoyance. Unlike most shows on Netflix, this is one that I actually thinks benefits from not being binge watched. I haven’t read the books it’s based on, but it seems the repeated stories are a side effect from staying faithful to them, at least from what I’ve seen discussed online. If you’re a fan of the books, I’d love to know if they’re the same.

Next up, ‘Bloodline‘. I loved the first season but for some reason never started season 2. With the final run about to be released, it seems like a good time.

Oh and an update on yesterday. Yes, I did have to watch Eurovision, no I didn’t enjoy it. Although saying that, the yodel song was definitely an experience I’m glad I witnessed.

As was this genius from Croatia.

And our contestant was actually good!

Those three things were literally the only things I didn’t hate. Oh and Ireland, what the hell?

Lazy Saturday

big lebowski short blu

So, Mel was laid up all last week with what seemed like mild flu. I did the dutiful boyfriend thing, looked after her, searched everywhere for the only lemsip she’ll drink (apple and cinnamon) and provided legitimate care and sympathy. My reward? I have what I think is about to develop into mild flu. Awesome. That does mean a lazy Saturday is in order though! The plan for the day is movies, followed by Britain’s Got Talent (yeah, I like that show) and then maybe another movie. Unless I’m forced to watch The Eurovision Song Contest, in which case, shit.

blu ray collection
It’s grown more since this was taken

For those who don’t know, I have quite the Blu-Ray obsession. I’ve soared past the point though where watching them all is a quick thing, there’s so many here I haven’t got around to watching yet. So we’re doing an A-Z, watching them over time until we’ve seen them all, without skipping any that we haven’t both seen. Today we’re a few titles into the B’s, which has meant that on today’s agenda is The Big Lebowski and The Big Short.

big lebowski short blu

The Big Lewbowski I thought I’d seen, years ago, but watching it now makes me think otherwise. I’m actually a little disappointed with past Joe for never doing so. It’s rare to come across a film that feels so unique, that feels so much like it’s own thing, it’s refreshing. Brilliant performances too throughout. It’s the best I’ve seen John Goodman, which considering how incredible he was in 10 Cloverfield Lane is saying something, and of all the performances I’ve seen of Jeff Bridges, it’s this that seems like the role he was put on the planet to play.

As for The Big Short, this was one that I had seen before and I didn’t really like it all that much. I’ve heard so many good things about it since that I’m starting to think I either wasn’t in the right mindset when I watched it, or I didn’t pay enough attention. It was worth another watch. And it turns out, I enjoyed it a lot more the second time around. I still don’t think it’s an exceptional movie, but then I find quite often that he movies that get nominated for all the awards are the ones I don’t really care for, I’m looking at you La La Land.

After these, we skip through Black Hawk Down (Brilliant), Black Mass (Average) and Black Sheep (Good) and then we get to the Blade Trilogy. These I have seen but Mel hasn’t, we’ll watch the first and then it’s up to her whether we watch the sequels. If she doesn’t want to I may watch them on my own, I’m curious as to whether Trinity really is as awful as I remember. After that, Blade Runner. My excitement levels at watching that again are set to high.

I’m also debating doing one of those YouTube video’s where I go through the collection. If enough people ask, I’ll get around to it. May involve setting an entire day aside though.

Oh and on a Forces note, book 2 is currently up to the 18000 word mark. This will mean little to almost everyone as the first still isn’t out yet, but at least there’s progress.

Happy weekend to everyone, I hope you all evade the flu bug!

Forces Update

I’ve had several people asking when Forces is going to be released, which is lovely, though frustrating as I had aimed to have released it by April. So, why the delay?

Well first up is the editing process. I have an editor, but unfortunately he hasn’t been able to get to the book as quickly as we both would have liked. Not his fault, life happens, but it means that I’m now looking at a summer 2017 release. It’s slightly annoying as the book itself was finished back in February, but it is what it is. Can’t be helped. By the way if you want to read the first four chapters, unedited, so no need to point out typo’s, click here!

I’m also hard at work on the second book, Forces: The Cult of 5 is the working title, I quite like it so it will likely be released as such. It has made me think that maybe it would be better to release the two in a short window, rather than put the first out there before the second is complete. I don’t know, making decisions is normally an arduous process with me.