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mygif

Hey, it’s my turn to disagree with MGK.

Arrow is actually pretty good. It’s lightyears ahead of Smallville which, okay, that’s the quintessential example of damning with faint praise but I’ll go out on a limb and say that Arrow isn’t just good for a CW superhero drama show but it’s actually a pretty good show period. Not great, not so stupendous that it’ll be the high-water mark for superhero television for generations to come, but I sat down and watched through the first season of Arrow and y’know, it was actually kind of fun.

It had, and has, its less stellar moments. Their version of Huntress is so terrible that I’m glad she hadn’t been in more than a few episodes over the course of two seasons. The character of Dinah Lance has spent way longer than anyone else floundering for a purpose other than “emotionally distraught female” or occasionally “convenient source of exposition.” And if you’re completely and utterly allergic to CW-brand drama then yeah, you’ll probably find the first half of the first season hard to power through because there’s a lot of that.

That said, I think it beats the pants off of Agents of SHIELD which I hear has finally managed to find itself in the last four episodes of the season I stopped watching halfway through, so good for them I suppose, but I genuinely and unironically endorse Arrow as a decent (not great, but good) show. Also Manu Bennett is a fucking awesome Deathstroke no matter how you look at it.

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Ian Austin said on May 13th, 2014 at 3:02 am

If you read it, MGK admits he doesn’t even watch the show anymore. So his views are a mix of ‘what he did watch and didn’t enjoy/things he’s heard since that he dislikes because of reasons.’ Which is fine, but if you like the show (as I do) you don’t have to get defensive; it’s not personal.

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mygif

Two posts with me in the comments section ripping on nerd culture and peoples’ various shitty behaviors in no uncertain terms, and me disagreeing with MGK about the degree to which Arrow is watchable TV is what gets me called out as taking things personally.

Like, I can totally see how someone would watch the first half of season one and be like “yep, that’s a CW show all right” and decide to give it a miss. It’s not stellar by any means and man does that Huntress arc suuuuuck. But I also think there’s a surprisingly not-terrible show that sort of coalesces after that point and for something that’s being made on like a fraction of SHIELD’s budget it’s kind of impressive. I don’t set my calendar by it or anything, lately that’s been Person of Interest and Brooklyn 99 when its season was still airing.

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mygif

I’d be all set to argue with MGK over placing Goon above Slapshot but then I think of the final fight between Sean William Scott and Liv Schieber and I have to concede. Though Miracle beats the pants off both as a movie actually about hockey…

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mygif

Speaking of origin stories, MGK, any thoughts on Nazareth, the Jesus Smallville show Fox is developing?

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mygif

Yeah, I was a little surprised by the Arrow dissing, because it’s actually good at what it sets out to do (be a melodramatic hero show with some decent action). I mean, I’m not thrilled with their Amanda Waller and Lord knows how they’re going to have Laurel make the transition to Black Canary. But Stephen Amell has been getting consistently better, and I’m happy to see Paul Blackthorne getting work post-Dresden Files.

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mygif

Late to the party, but at least that lets me know there would be someone at my back when we rumble about Arrow. That show is dumb, but dumb in the best possible way. No other show would cast John Barrowman as a supervillain with a straight face and then GET AWAY WITH IT.

Perhaps it’s also that I was a Marvel kid growing up and therefore have very little invested in the DC universe, so don’t notice/am nonplussed by any liberties they take.

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mygif

Can’t agree with “Goon” being better than “Slap Shot,” but it’s still a solid flick with tons of heart. Just watched both this past weekend!

Hell, “Slap Shot” gets the edge if for no other reason than Paul Newman’s leather suit (http://uncouthreflections.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/screen-shot-2013-01-06-at-1-41-27-pm.png).

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mygif

“Perhaps it’s also that I was a Marvel kid growing up and therefore have very little invested in the DC universe, so don’t notice/am nonplussed by any liberties they take.”

One of the notable differences between Arrow and Agents of SHIELD has been that Marvel has apparently been incredibly, staggeringly reluctant to let SHIELD play with the Marvel toybox, making them scrape by with only the occasional reference and minor character here and there, while DC either (depending on how charitable you are) is much more generous or doesn’t give a shit, so they actually get to play with a lot of stuff from the comics, tweaking and changing them to suit the show’s needs, without what you gather is an incredibly restrictive list of things that have been earmarked for potential blockbuster feature films down the line.

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mygif

“One of the notable differences between Arrow and Agents of SHIELD has been that Marvel has apparently been incredibly, staggeringly reluctant to let SHIELD play with the Marvel toybox, making them scrape by with only the occasional reference and minor character here and there”

I think that Marvel just doesn’t want to blow their proverbial load and give away something that they could get someone (through Netflix or box office) to otherwise pay for.

“Arrow,” from what I’ve heard, is just a flat-out party. I’d like to think that the creators just said “Hey, let’s be honest, if you haven’t used these characters in live action for the past two decades, are you really gonna start now? Can we use them?”

Still need to give AoS another shot. The pervasive Whedonness of the first four or so episodes kind of killed it for me.

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Cookie McCool said on May 13th, 2014 at 11:17 am

Damn it, my token Tourrette syndrome gets ALL the dates. I guess I’ll have to get me a token dwarf friend in order to make me feel better about myself. Thanks for the tip, Canadian TV!

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mygif

Yeah, as mentioned, Arrow is actually pretty good. It has its weak spots (Waller, Laurel, Huntress.) But the rest of the cast is quite strong. It isn’t afraid to move the plot forward, it has some very solid character development, and… yeah, it does the ‘Batman’ motif better than most. The main heroes we’ve seen are heroes because they have been through some pretty traumatic experiences, and been somewhat broken by it. That’s a strength of the show, not a weakness.

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William Kendall said on May 13th, 2014 at 11:44 am

I was curious about Gotham for next season, admittedly… until I found out that the main character would be played by a refugee from The OC.

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mygif

“I was curious about Gotham for next season, admittedly… until I found out that the main character would be played by a refugee from The OC.”

Eh, Heath Ledger was a refugee from “A Knight’s Tale” and “10 Things I Hate About You.” He could make it work.

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Cookie McCool said on May 13th, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Gotham can’t be bad, it’s going to have Donal Logue.

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Morgan Johnson said on May 13th, 2014 at 2:09 pm

I think Arrow is honestly really great. If you can name a better live-action superhero tv series (that isn’t Batman from 50 years ago) I’d love to hear it.

One of the primary strengths is the approach to plotting. Unlike many other shows that tend to move the plot only during season openers and closers and sweeps week, Arrow is constantly driving forward.

I literally skipped fifteen episodes of Supernatural this season and missed nothing plot-wise other than Dean getting a dagger designed by a fourteen-year-old metalhead.

Arrow isn’t like that.

I get bailing early on in season one. It didn’t find its footing for awhile–like most shows, honestly. But to dismiss it as a bad Batman ripoff is unfair.

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mygif

“I think Arrow is honestly really great. If you can name a better live-action superhero tv series (that isn’t Batman from 50 years ago) I’d love to hear it.”

Greatest American Hero FTW! 😀

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mygif

I see no need to couch it in uncertain “actually not all that bad” terms – Arrow is flat out awesome. I say this as someone who got maybe 4 episodes into Agents of SHIELD. And I say THAT as someone who picks Marvel over DC 9 times out of 10.

Was the first season a little weak early on? Sure. But at this point it’s firing on all cylinders.

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mygif

“I say this as someone who got maybe 4 episodes into Agents of SHIELD. And I say THAT as someone who picks Marvel over DC 9 times out of 10.”

Now I REALLY must check Arrow out, as I’m in the same boat.

I heard AoS got better, but in an era of too much shit to watch, I didn’t have the time or patience to wait for it to hit its stride.

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Walter Kovacs said on May 13th, 2014 at 3:31 pm

I really enjoy Arrow, especially with the second season focusing on Deathstroke and Ollie trying to be a hero that doesn’t kill, etc. I do enjoy that they sort of have a late season Smallville approach of just throwing open the doors and bringing in stuff like ARGUS, the League of Assassins, the Suicide Squad, etc.

As for Agents of Shield. I’d suggest catching a few early episodes just to get to know the characters and jumping to the post Captain America 2 episodes, because that is where it took a sharp uptick in quality.

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DistantFred said on May 13th, 2014 at 7:01 pm

It’s never unfair to dismiss anything Green Arrow as being a bad Batman ripoff. Green Arrow’s been a Batman ripoff dressed as Robin Hood since 1941, outside of maybe that chunk of the 90s where Connor Hawke was Green Arrow.

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mygif

“It’s never unfair to dismiss anything Green Arrow as being a bad Batman ripoff. Green Arrow’s been a Batman ripoff dressed as Robin Hood since 1941, outside of maybe that chunk of the 90s where Connor Hawke was Green Arrow.”

Well, aside from the “uber liberalism/forceful fascism” dichotomy.

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mygif

“I think that Marvel just doesn’t want to blow their proverbial load and give away something that they could get someone (through Netflix or box office) to otherwise pay for.”

Well yeah, that’s obviously the reason why, because Marvel’s movies are a license to print money these days and they don’t want to blow a potential nine-figure box office winner on a television show. But whatever the reason it doesn’t help SHIELD rise above feeling like something shoved into the corner of the wild and wooly Marvel universe and left to dick around on the sidelines while all the actual cool stuff gets the cinematic treatment.

Meanwhile Arrow’s just like “fuck it, League of Assassins, Suicide Squad…hey, let’s have Ollie fight Solomon Grundy and then we’ll have Deathstroke be the season two mastermind behind Brother Blood, and we’ll backdoor a Flash pilot in there too, why not.”

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mygif

“But whatever the reason it doesn’t help SHIELD rise above feeling like something shoved into the corner of the wild and wooly Marvel universe and left to dick around on the sidelines while all the actual cool stuff gets the cinematic treatment.”

I just wanted to see less quippy bullshit and more high-concept spy stuff.

I know we can’t have Dr. Doom show up, but why not have a Latverian invasion?

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mygif

I’m just curious if this was just Chris being very, very wrong or just trolling. He even got a comment on his Torontist column, which is a bit of a coup.

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mygif

MGK’s allowed not to like stuff, I think that’s in the constitution of Canada somewhere. Also I’ve seen some of the comments his Torontoist articles get on occasion, it’s not always that much of a coup.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on May 14th, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Did anyone here watch the SHIELD finale?

Of those people, did anybody notice the copy of “Dominion” (yes, the Donald X Vaccarino deck-building game) tucked away in the storage room at the SHIELD secret base?

SHIELD AGENTS PLAY DOMINION DAMN STRAIGHT THEY DO

Seriously though, I wonder who the Dominion fan is on set? Hmmmmmm.

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mygif

“Arrow is actually pretty good. It has its weak spots (Waller, Laurel, Huntress.)”

So basically, Arrow is good at everything except female characters?

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Ian Austin said on May 16th, 2014 at 2:30 am

Ducky – yeah, way to read into what he read.

Felicity, Thea, Moira, Sarah are all rock-solid female characters. Waller is fine (people complain because she’s not fat, which is really weird), Laurel is maligned because they’re going a slow-path with her and people want NOW NOW NOW. And Huntress is in maybe two episodes a year.

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mygif

“Waller is fine (people complain because she’s not fat, which is really weird)”

Eh, I don’t think it’s weird, exactly, just a preference.

I felt the same way when I saw Wonder Woman’s casting. I wanted an AMAZON, not an emaciated-looking supermodel.

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Ian Austin said on May 16th, 2014 at 3:02 pm

{I felt the same way when I saw Wonder Woman’s casting. I wanted an AMAZON, not an emaciated-looking supermodel.}

And we wonder why women feel self-conscious…

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mygif

“And we wonder why women feel self-conscious…”

Tell that to the plus-sized women who are generally passed over for such roles.

Seriously, tell me how many roles…say…Gwendoline Christie will get when GoT wraps up? And what sorts of roles do you think they’ll be? If she isn’t typecast as the “WHOA! You’re MAN-SIZED” woman in action flicks after that, I’ll be stunned.

The traditionally attractive, underweight female archetype has been pretty well-worn at this point. I wanted the second coming of “Red Sonja”-era Brigitte Nielsen in the role, as if to say “Yes, Wonder Woman can be more physically imposing than Batman. She’s a warrior, it’s okay.”

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mygif

I should also note that today’s “plus sized” is what most folks would call normal friggin’ weight, but that’s a discussion for another time.

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mygif

“Waller is fine (people complain because she’s not fat, which is really weird)”

Hey I know the answer to this one. One of Amanda Waller’s notable characteristics was that she was a woman who didn’t conform to the Standard Superhero Comic Book Female Body Template and was a strong character who got stuff done and didn’t even take shit from Batman. Then DC and made her look like a generic supermodel in order to make her resemble her movie counterpart, which is because of course Hollywood would look at a character who doesn’t fall into traditionally defined categories of attractiveness and go “nah this’ll never sell.”

It’s the same reason people got pissed when DC rebooted Barbara Gordon and went “oh actually she isn’t in a wheelchair anymore, totally fine now, hey check out the adventures of Batgirl, sorry Cassandra who?” It’s not that people have some widespread secret wheelchair fetish (okay some of them probably do, people being people), it’s that DC clumsily and hamfistedly took a character that was all about how being in a wheelchair didn’t mean you couldn’t be a badass crime fighter in a world of superheroes…and did this in a non-patronizing fashion…and then basically threw all of that out for vague “demographics” reasons. That was literally their justification, that they wanted a Batgirl that people would easily identify, despite the fact that Barbara had spent more time as Oracle than as Batgirl by that point.

Now this doesn’t have any bearing on the actress playing Waller’s own personal qualities which she brings to the role which are independent of her appearance. Her being heavier wouldn’t affect her performance, which is largely average, the most it would do is make her look like the old character a bit more so whatever. Still, it’s not all that weird to think that people might be unhappy that DC comics (and Hollywood) are okay with casually erasing character traits like that in a medium where, say, being overweight usually means a character is a gross, evil, moral degenerate instead of a strong, take-no-shit character with a will of iron.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on May 22nd, 2014 at 8:40 am

Are David Goyer’s latest horrible comments regarding Hulk boning She-Hulk (HIS COUSIN FFS), non-Martian Manhunter, etc etc, worth their own post?

I’d love to see MGK or John tear him a new one. PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE

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mygif

“Are David Goyer’s latest horrible comments regarding Hulk boning She-Hulk (HIS COUSIN FFS), non-Martian Manhunter, etc etc, worth their own post?”

As a staunch Hulk fan, I’d welcome it.

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