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Saturday, 22 October 2016

What We're Watching 22/10/16

What We're Watching

Another Saturday, another What We're Watching. I did almost watch Yuri! On Ice this week, but that'll probably have to wait until next week.

Bungou Stray Dogs S2.

We had two episodes this week (courtesy of the show's timeslot being changed from Wednesdays to Fridays), taking us to the end of the Osamu Dazai in the Dark Era arc. It ended in predictably tragic fashion, but with what is probably the best episode of Bungou Stray Dogs so far.

That leaves us with eight or nine episodes to cover the Guild arc, and it wouldn't surprise me if that arc ends up either very heavily condensed, or sprawling out into another series. Either way, I do think that the four episodes spent on this arc were worth it: It gave us possibly the most interesting storyline of the series so far, after all.

I did like Oda. I'm pretty sad that he's dead. But I also think we all knew that was how this story was going to end, so there's that.

All Out!

I figured I'd give this one a try. Sports anime aren't really my thing, but it and Yuri!!!(!!!!) On Ice have been getting a lot of buzz lately, so I thought I'd take a look.

It took about ten minutes for me to decide that there was absolutely no way I was even getting through an entire episode, let alone an entire series. There's something oddly nineties-ish about the animation, but more than that, it's just boring. 

In the first ten minutes, basically the only thing that happened was a prolonged joke about one character being tall but gentle, and another character being short but violent, and honestly, that joke was old when Fullmetal Alchemist started fifteen years ago, and it hasn't become any fresher since.

I skipped forward a little, and it seems to just be more of the same -- height jokes and occasionally people whispering about rugby.

Kamen Rider Ex-Aid.

I have no idea whether I'm enjoying Ex-Aid or not.

In fairness, I may have a better idea of my thoughts on it if I had actually watched any of it subbed, but as it is, I've only watched raws, which means I'm missing out on a metric ton of nuance and such -- although I kind of doubt there's all that much nuance to pick up on. 

As it is, it's entertaining? I think? I definitely don't hate watching it, but neither am I on tenterhooks waiting to see what'll happen. The themes (medicine and video games) don't seem to mesh well at all, and that bothers me a little.

Once Upon A Time.

I'm not -- actually entirely sure why I'm still watching Once Upon A Time. I think it's just because, as with Supernatural, I feel like I have to, so that I can then review it. In fairness, though, Once Upon A Time is at least slightly entertaining, which puts it head and shoulders above Supernatural.

(Please be cancelled soon, Supernatural. Please release me from this living hell.)

This series, which focuses on the return of the Evil Queen (in split-off from Regina as a separate entity form) and on Emma coming to terms with her destiny being to die at the hands of a great enemy like all Saviours before her, seems like it should be the show's final series -- but I've thought that before, and yet this show has still not ended.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Scream: The TV Series Halloween Special

Scream: The TV Series
Halloween Special.

(Contains heavy spoilers.)

In truth, I had completely forgotten that Scream was meant to have a Halloween Special. It is, however, interesting to look at how the series handles a smaller, more self-contained story: Much of its writing, and its development as a serial over time, has been about stretching a self-contained story to fill a series of television, while also leaving things open for future series, after all. Can the writers, having already stretched out a subject matter intended for short form fiction, compress their series conceit back down into a short form?

Set eight months after the end of the second series, the one-hour-twenty-minute special sees Emma, Noah, Audrey, Brooke, and Stavo spend their Halloween at Shallow Grove Island (trip courtesy of Noah and Stavo's book editor, Jeremy, because now those two are apparently a bestselling author duo), home to a century-old murder case in which a young girl killed her family and a local landowner before committing suicide. As people on the island start dying and Emma is taunted by a new killer who combines elements of the Brandon James murders with elements of Shallow Grove's own Anna Hobbs murders, they take shelter in the old mansion where Hobbs committed her last murder, now owned by Alex, the descendant of her last victim.

His murderer name is 'the Suspense.'

First off, it's kind of jarring just how quickly we're meant to accept the changes to the characters' lives, and I feel like there's an entire series missing here. The special starts on Kieran being sentenced, but wouldn't it have been much more interesting to see the characters have to go through Kieran's trial, to cope with being called as witnesses, and to see how a cunning attorney might try to clear Kieran of charges -- all the while dealing with another murderer in town? It would have changed the format of the show, sure, but I've said before that this is a show that needs to reinvent itself if it's going to survive.

Instead, we start off with Kieran being sentenced and then immediately murdered, and then pick up with the rest of the kids, who are now considering university applications and/or are bestselling authors and/or are moving to New York. It's a lot of changes, and we're never really given time to get used to any of those changes, because we're immediately thrown into another murder plot -- and not, in all truth, a particularly compelling one.

Which leads me onto the question I asked at the start of the review.

So, the answer to 'how do the writers cope with compressing their basic series conceit down into a form roughly equivalent to its source material' is 'not terribly well.' A lot of this is down to needing to keep their core cast alive for the six episode third series airing in 2017: Instead of any of the main characters actually ever truly being in danger, we instead have a small parade of new characters introduced, most of whom eventually die in gruesome circumstances.

I was about to make a hair gel in prison joke and then I realised he'd just left his trial.
The one place a convict might wear hair gel.

Sometimes this becomes a little bit silly: Two of the victims appear for all of about two minutes before they're violently murdered, and after the first three bodies drop it becomes very apparent that this special is only going to kill off new characters -- thus leaving only the question of 'will Audrey's cute new girlfriend Gina die' as the only thread of suspense in the plot.

(Gina does not, in fact, die, and that's nice because honestly, we've had so many fictional LGBT women dying this year. So, so many.)

There's also basically no suspense around who the killer is: It's obvious from very early on in the story that it's Alex, the mansion's owner and Emma's new love interest. Quite apart from the fact that he's written identically to Kieran, he's also one of only two new characters who doesn't swiftly get killed off, and the only one of the new characters to neither die nor come under suspicion for murder, despite having no alibis for any of them.

By the time he starts evilly pouring wine and menacingly talking about strawberries, it's already blisteringly clear that he's the killer -- and the story still has thirty-five minutes left in it.

Everyone is very upset.

It's clear also that this will all never be brought up again. By the end of the episode, everyone has moved on with their lives, with Emma applying for pre-med (oh, sure, go and study a course that involves a lot of blood and dead people, that seems wise) at Lakewood University (oh, sure, stay in the murder town where murderers keep appearing); Noah getting over his survivor's guilt; and Brooke and Stavo electing to move to New York together, which I suppose means they'll be absent for the third series.

That third series is scheduled for an undisclosed date in 2017, and will apparently be six episodes -- the shortest series yet, by quite a long shot, which might be a hint that it'll be the last one.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV

Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV.

A few weeks ago, we watched the other Final Fantasy XV anime offering, the Kingsglaive film -- a considerably more high-effort project than this one for a few reasons, and one that clearly had a lot more passion put into it. Like as not, while Kingsglaive felt like a genuine part of the franchise, Brotherhood is very obviously a marketing pitch. That doesn't necessarily mean it's bad, though.

A series of five ten minute episodes, Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV follows, through flashbacks, three defining moments in Noctis' relationships with his retainers, Prompto, Gladiolus, and Ignis, while also telling the story of his re-encounter with Marilith, the daemon who gravely injured him in his youth. 

In the first episode, Noctis and his retainers deal with a band of imperial soldiers and encounter Marilith once more; in the second episode, a flashback tells the story of Prompto's attempts to lose weight; while the third episode tells the story of Noctis' encounter with Gladio's sister; and the fourth episode tells the story of a falling out between Noctis and Ignis. The final episode concludes the story began in the first episode, as Noctis faces Marilith with a view to defeating her, and has flashbacks to his first encounter with her.

Okay, we'll start with the technical rundown, which is pretty important when discussing a Square-Enix production, since they prize themselves on beauty (arguably placing it before anything else). A-1 Pictures is the studio animating this, which is always a little bit of a cause for concern, since A-1 Pictures productions tend to be low effort with very little thought put into them, and superficially pretty without having much of a mind towards things like shot composition, cinematography, and so on, so forth.

Noctis and one of his many disposable weapons.

Well, they're -- slightly better here? Slightly. I'd still say this falls squarely into the 'superficially pretty but without a lot of thought put into it' category, but you can tell that A-1 Pictures has put a little bit more effort than they usually do into giving it interesting shot composition, and into making the animation colourful and engaging to look at. It's not brilliant, but it stands somewhat above A-1 Pictures' usual fare, at the very least.

The music is all lovely, but then, I'm ninety-nine percent sure it all comes from the game (as opposed to Kingsglaive, which had its own soundtrack with a few game songs dropped in here and there). There's nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but it does mean that nobody's winning any points for effort.

The voice-acting is fine, and about at the level that you'd expect a cast of relatively veteran voice actors to be. There's not much else that's really worth saying about it: It's good. Definitely functional.

Gladio, put on a shirt, you're making Noctis look out of shape.

As far as the episodes themselves go, they're not, in all honesty, that interesting. They're short character development moments, but since we don't know any of these characters, and don't have a good grasp on their characters beyond the archetypes they embody, it completely lacks any impact. Why do I care if Prompto was overweight and spent years getting his svelte figure? Why do I care if Ignis is trying to recreate a dessert Noctis tried in his youth? Why does any of this mean anything to me, when I don't know and aren't attached to these characters?

The series kind of starts off on the assumption that the audience will already be invested in these characters, but how can we be when we've only seen them in demos and trailers? So it ultimately all falls flat, and it doesn't help that the stories themselves aren't all that interesting. For the most part, they are devoid of conflict, absent of anything that would hook an audience, with only the last two episodes really having anything resembling any kind of conflict-driven plot.

D'aww, Prompto.

It's a shame, somewhat, because the result is something that has the seeds of something good, and isn't exactly terrible to watch, but just comes off as the bland oatmeal of anime -- not offensively bad, but just unremarkable.

Apparently, however, it's gotten a positive reaction in terms of views, which is potentially a positive sign for the future, as between it and Kingsglaive we may well see Square-Enix trying their hand at anime a little more in the future. I feel like that potentially could be a sector they're a little more comfortable in than video games, so honestly, I don't see much of a downside to that.

As it is, Final Fantasy XV is still due to come out this December, and trailers and demos make it look like a pretty good game, and if you're dying for a fix in the meantime, Final Fantasy XIV is still going strong and is due to have an expansion pack pretty soon. We also have Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, a HD remaster of one of the franchise's most interesting games, coming out pretty soon as well, so there's a lot to look forward to.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Flash S3E3: Magenta.

The Flash
Series 3, Episode 3

It's odd, given how enthusiastically I have praised Tom Cavanagh's performance on The Flash in the past -- and, in point of fact, literally yesterday -- I actually wasn't all that excited to see him back in this week's episode. In fact, just in general, I've not been all that hyped for this episode. Perhaps that's because, traditionally, the third episode of ealch Flash series tends to be one of the weaker ones: The first series gave us the episode about the poisonous gas man, which was fine but not exactly memorable; while the second series gave us 'Family of Rogues,' an episode which basically existed purely to hype up Legends of Tomorrow.

Generally speaking, there is a good reason for this: The first two episodes of each series tend to be quite exposition and plot heavy and are often capped off with a significant plot twist at the end, while the fourth episode of each series tends to press some crossover elements and thus ends up being a little inaccessible for new viewers. The third episode, then, usually acts as a breather, vaguely continuing the plot arc of each show but being, overall, fairly plot-light and fluffy.

In this week's episode, Wells and Jesse arrive on Earth-1, seeking to test Jesse for the Speed Force, as she has exhibited super speed following her and Wally's encounter with the second dark matter explosion. As Wells attempts to convince Jesse not to become a superhero, the team goes up against a metahuman with a split personality and the power of telekinesis, who calls herself Magenta, and is seemingly another victim of Doctor Alchemy. Meanwhile, Barry and Iris' relationship gets off to a slow start, and Barry and Julian's working partnership becomes more and more strained.

Wally is so pretty.

We'll touch briefly on Cavanagh's acting in this episode, because it's actually kind of bizarre. Cavanagh is, by trade, a comedic actor, and he's best known for his roles on shows like Love Monkey, Scrubs, and Eli Stone, all of which fall very squarely into being sitcom-ish comedy dramas -- but his roles on The Flash have generally not been comedic at all, in fact they've generally been the most serious and straight-faced roles in the show, with Thawne being characterised by a combination of soft-spoken geniality and quiet, understated menace, and Wells being characterised by being gruff, tormented, and enigmatic.

In this episode, he is playing comedy, at least in the first half of the episode. He's playing comedy very adeptly, as you would expect from an actor with a fairly long comedic background, and it is utterly at odds both with the tone of his characters in the previous two series, and, actually, the tone of the show itself, since the style of humour Cavanagh has experience in is a lot more pronounced and dramatic than the style of humour the rest of the show uses. He's as charismatic as ever, but every scene he's in in that first half fits uncomfortably against the rest of the show.

Moving on from that, this is a pretty fun episode, if not exactly one I think anybody will be remembering. A few subplots get dropped: Julian recklessly endangering an entire police station is never brought up again after it happens, even though it really should have earned him a pretty stern reprimand. Similarly, Wells' distaste for Barry changing the timeline is noted, but never really goes anywhere. 

Wells and Jesse.

(Speaking of Julian, my gut says that he can't be Doctor Alchemy because it would be too obvious, which in all likelihood means that he is definitely Doctor Alchemy -- I thought Wells Mk. 1 actually being Thawne was too obvious, and that happened, and I thought Jay being Zoom was too obvious, and that happened. So, there you go. That's that mystery solved courtesy of my gut instinct always being wrong with this show.)

The other big subplot is Wally trying to awaken his speed, with the heavy implication being that just like other people who were metahumans during Flashpoint, he somewhat remembers having powers. Again, that plot doesn't really lead anywhere, but unlike the other dropped plots, it's pretty clearly just set-up for a future run-in with Doctor Alchemy.

Caitlin, in a really nicely lit shot.

The main plot of this episode, meanwhile, is -- there? It's nice to see a metahuman dealt with by being talked down, and I respect that they managed to make that a scene with a fair amount of dramatic tension, since that's not always easy to do. Other than that, it pans out in a fairly usual way, with all the plot beats you'd expect from a metahuman-of-the-week plotline. If it seems like I'm kind of skimming over the main plot, it's because there isn't really a whole lot to say about it. It was enjoyable, certainly, but as I said before, I don't think anybody's going to particular remember it.

Next episode looks to have Cavanagh and Beane appearing again as Wells and Jesse, although I doubt they'll be staying in the show long. Much like Tyler Hoechlin's appearance on Supergirl, they seem to be recurring characters appearing for a few episodes and then leaving again, and I have a sneaking suspicion that next week we'll also see a recurring cast member show up on Arrow, only to then leave the week after.

Apart from that, we've got the Mirror Master, one of the Flash's most well-known enemies showing up. That should be interesting to see, at least.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Supergirl S2E2: The Last Children of Krypton.

Series 2, Episode 2
The Last Children of Krypton.

In the back of my head, somewhere, there's an editorial brewing about how comic book adaptations for television have changed over the years. Because it almost beggars belief that in such a short span of time, we could get from 'no tights, no flight' Smallville, an adaptation that did its best to distance itself from the comics it was adapting at every opportunity, to shows like Supergirl and The Flash, which eagerly embrace their comic book routes and do their best to hew fairly closely to the spirit of the comics.

It also serves as a pretty harsh rebuke to the people who claim that all comic book adaptations should be straight, unaltered, panel-to-screen adaptations of comic book storylines, and anything else is unfaithful -- because every panel-to-screen adaptation we've had in the past has been awful, and just hasn't worked, but then you have these two series, which forge new storylines for themselves while feeling fundamentally and essentially like comics storylines.

But that's a post for another time. This week, I continue to be excited about Tyler Hoechlin's Superman, and nervous about the changing state of affairs for this series, as this episode pushes a few more stark changes.

Clark and Hank, getting their argument rudely interrupted.

In this week's episode, Cadmus releases Corbin, now a kryptonite-powered cyborg called Metallo, onto the streets. As tensions between Clark and J'onn rise, Clark tells Kara he'll be returning to Metropolis, prompting Kara to consider whether she should go with him. Meanwhile, Kara meets her new boss, who refuses to acknowledge that she's been hired as a reporter, and learns that Cat will be taking a leave of absence. Things get worse when Cadmus releases a statement announcing their intention to destroy Supergirl and Superman, and create a second Metallo, sending him to terrorise Metropolis. 

One nice thing about this episode was that it acknowledged each character's flawed behaviour in a pretty honest and up-front way, with characters talking about how Clark effectively abandoned Kara by giving her the Danvers family, Winn calling Alex out on her 'you should be grateful and never leave me' antics, and Alex calling Kara out on being kind of flighty (heh) and changeable.

Change is actually the main theme of this episode, with Clark and Cat both leaving (although not permanently -- Tyler Hoechlin and Calista Flockhart are both still recurring cast members), Jimmy getting a promotion, and Kara taking a new job in a new office. 

Out of all of those, the change I'm most worried about is Cat leaving -- Flockhart and Cat are kind of this show's equivalent of The Flash's Cavanaugh and Wells, an actor and character who kind of made the show what it is and who capture the audience's attention every time they're in a scene. It's difficult to imagine Supergirl without Cat in it, and only time will tell if her sort-of-replacement (in that he seems to be taking the mentor role), grumpy news editor Snapper Carr, will be up to the task of filling her shoes.

And here's Kara and Alex watching said argument.

The change is a necessary one, however, partly due to the reduced budget -- Flockhart was by far the highest paid actor on the show, and the highest paid actor on any of DC's television shows, in fact -- and partly because production had moved from the relatively more expensive Los Angeles to the relatively cheaper Vancouver, where Arrow and The Flash are both also filmed, and Flockhart preferred to take on projects that were a bit closer to her home.

The episode's plot is a pretty solid one, seeing Kara and Clark come under attack from Metallo, while Cadmus announces their intention to repel the 'invaders' and prove humanity's worth. It was a less warm and affectionate episode than last time, instead more often focusing on the trials Kara and Clark were facing, and on Clark's enmity towards J'onn for having kryptonite. The storyline even has some impressively vicious scenes in it, like one of the Metallos attacking a park full of civilians, and a couple of pretty up close and personal beatdowns of Clark.

Byeee Cat.

The Metallos aren't that compelling as villains, so much as they are just obstacles and punchy-shooty-people, but they don't need to be, because the real villain of this episode is the scientist who created them, who maintains a constant presence in this episode and gets a chance to give Alex her own villain monologue. As an antagonist, I really like her, and there is a certain sinister element to her that was lacking from Astra and Non. Brenda Strong puts in an excellent performance which, for some reason, reminds me of Amanda Tapping.

Anyway, this is a fun, well put together episode, and while I'm kind of sad that Clark's going so soon (although it was pretty obvious he wasn't sticking around for long), and a little concerned that Cat is leaving, I'm interested to see where the series goes -- especially as Mon-El has apparently now woken up, so we'll get to see what's going on with him. That, at least, should be pretty interesting to watch.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2E3

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Series 2, Episode 3
Battle Before Dawn.

It has come to my attention that there are some people who -- disagree that Hash is the best character on this show, and who see him as a whiny upstart who doesn't understand what he's asking for. To those people, I say that that's perfectly all right. It's not necessary to always agree with me. Some people have to be wrong so that my being right can shine that much brighter.


In this week's episode, Tekkadan and McGillis' Gjallarhorn fleet, under the command of Ishidou, engage the Dawn Horizon Corps in battle. When Dawn Horizon initiates a daring gambit to outnumber Tekkadan and Gjallarhorn, however, they are thrown into a pitched battle they couldn't expect -- one which is only further complicated when Gjallarhorn's Arianrhod fleet, under Iok's command, arrives at the battle. Meanwhile, Rustall and the masked man hear of Tekkadan's involvement in McGillis' plans.

Most of this episode is taken up by the battle, and to be perfectly honest, I found said battle really difficult to follow. It's very fast-paced, frenetic, and dramatic, and usually I'd be praising those features, except it was so fast-paced that I struggled to figure out what was going on at any given time. It was pretty easy to get Dawn Horizon's Garm Rodis, Gjallarhorn's Graze's, and Tekkadan's Shiden's mixed up when they were all quickly whizzing by (not even getting started on how there was also the Barbatos Lupus, the Gusion Rebake Full City, and later the Hugo, and two custom suits I don't even know the name of), and the confusion was only magnified when the Arianrhod fleet arrived, adding a bunch of different coloured Grazes to the mix. There's also at least four major ships and a handful of less major ones.

Norba's so pretty.

There's also a lot of named characters at play. There's Mika, obviously, Akihiro, Orga, Eugene, and Norba, and I'll grant that those are ones you'd basically expect to find in an Iron-Blooded Orphans battle. But there's also Ride, Dante, Lafter, Azee (I think), Ishidou, Sandoval, and later Julietta. That's eleven or twelve characters to keep track of, which just adds an extra layer of bewilderment to an already bewildering battle.

It was, however, pretty nice to see some tricks from the first series turn up again. Eugene controlling multiple ships with the Alaya-Vijnana System was a nice callback (although it is clearly bad for his health and he needs to stop doing it), as was using the Big Pink Sensor-Blocking Cloud. It was also pretty nice to see them actually refueling and repairing the mobile suits mid-battle and doing other logistical stuff.

It was also pretty fun to see some use of tactics before the battle started, with Tekkadan and Gjallarhorn plotting to pick the ships off one by one, and Sandoval and the Dawn Horizon Corps tricking them by towing nine ships behind the first one, meaning they'd have no Ahab wave to detect. I'm always a sucker for clever strategies in fiction, and Iron-Blooded Orphans is pretty good for delivering on them.

Barbatos is also so pretty.

The battle scene is beautifully animated, has some great music to go along with it, and even manages to throw in a few emotional moments, like when we get a brief shot of someone crying as Mika kills them. As ever, Iron-Blooded Orphans is pretty keen on hammering in the inherent inhumanity of war, and the injustice and barbarism of child soldiers. From a technical standpoint, it's a really well-done episode, and it would be a great example of how to make up an episode predominantly from a single battle if it wasn't so confusing.

We also got a very brief scene of the masked man, and got to hear his voice, making it pretty clear that he's Gaelio. From the looks of it, he has a new Gundam (the Vidar, I think?) and I'm guessing he survived via a combination of cybernetics and Alaya-Vijnana surgery. We're probably going to get a dramatic reveal moment where we get to see his horribly scarred, maskless face.

Lookin' good, Gali-Gali.

Regrettably, this episode was kind of short on some of the more interesting characters. We basically didn't see McGillis at all, or anyone from the Earth Branch, or Kudelia. Hash shows up in a single scene for about two seconds, working on the Barbatos Lupus' repair and commenting that Mika hardly used any fuel.

It looks like the battle will continue in the next episode, with Julietta taking the field in her super-special Graze, Iok showing up in his Reginlaze, and Sandoval showing off his Hugo. It should be pretty fun, and with the battle probably ending up squarely focusing on Mika, Akihiro, and Norba vs Julietta, Iok, and Sandoval. Possibly with Lafter and Ishidou involved somewhere, who knows. Either way, it should be interesting, especially as it will be functionally a three-way battle.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

What We're Watching 15/10/16

What We're Watching

We did one of these last week, but since this is a pretty busy season as far as television goes, we might make this a weekly thing for the next few months, letting me put up some quick thoughts on a small handful of shows every week.

In that spirit, let's crack on with our picks for this week, which are overwhelmingly comic book adaptations.

Luke Cage.

I haven't watched nearly as much of Luke Cage as I wanted to by now, although I'll probably go and try to watch a few episodes once I'm done writing this.

So far, though, I'm really liking it. It's got interesting characters (I wasn't that keen on Luke during his appearances in Jessica Jones, but he really shines here, and I'm looking forward to seeing him in The Defenders); some excellent cinematography; often pretty inspired dialogue writing; and a plot that follows the same formula as Daredevil and Jessica Jones, in that it's essentially a gritty-ish crime drama with a light dusting of superpowers.

It also has one of the key problems of both those shows, which is that during its night-time scenes -- thankfully few and far between -- I can't see a thing.

Legends of Tomorrow S2.

Legends of Tomorrow has started again, and boy, am I glad that I'm not doing that as an ongoing this year, because my entire first episode review would just be me rambling about how that's not how time travel works or should work in any form of fiction ever.

If the trailers are anything to go by, Vixen will be joining the team, which I'm rather looking forward to. It also seems like Eobard Thawne and Damian Darhk are our villains for this series, which is an interesting turn -- taking two series villains from Arrow and The Flash -- but not necessarily one that I hate.

Oh, and the Justice Society of America has shown up. I don't much care for them, so I'm hoping they leave quickly and without any fuss.

Supergirl S2.

Supergirl has just started its second series, complete with a move to the CW, meaning that the CW now has DC shows airing four days a week. Just one more and you'll have every weekday, guys! I believe in you!

Anyway, the series is off to a pretty great start, with Cadmus set to be the main villains, and Clark Kent and Lena Luthor both having been introduced as recurring characters (and played by Tyler Hoechlin and Katie McGrath respectively, both of whom I really like). Mon-El also shows up briefly, and will presumably take a slightly bigger role later in the series.

The first episode was probably the highlight of my week as far as television goes, so I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

Supernatural S12.

There's been a pretty significant kerfuffle in fandom lately, as Misha Collins has been victim of some pretty horrific at times comments regarding, of all possible things, him choosing to spell Castiel's dimunitive as 'Cass' (as it's spelled in the script) rather than 'Cas' (as fans like to spell it).

As for the first episode of the new series: Good news! It's even worse than you could possibly reasonably expect. It's boring, the dialogue is tired, the main actors look increasingly like they'd rather be anywhere else.

The big conflict, at least for the first part of the series, seems to be the British Men of Letters, in what is the most thinly veiled analogy for gun control ever, as 'Lady Antonia Bevell' (played by Australian actor Elizabeth Blackmore doing a terrible English accent) monologues on how there hasn't been a single monster-related death for years.

Apart from that, the big draw is probably the addition of Mary Winchester to the cast. Given Supernatural's track record, she'll be dead by episode five.