Comic Critic: A super year for TV


photo by Creative Commons

Many heroes of the Arrowverse face off against their latest foe during last year’s crossover event. Top (Left to right): Firestorm (Franz Drameh), Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), and The Atom (Brandon Routh) Bottom (Left to right): Citizen Steel (Nick Zano), Spartan (David Ramsey), The Flash (Grant Gustin), The Green Arrow (Stephen Amell), Vixen (Maise Richardson-Sellers), and Heatwave (Dominic Purcell).

While superheroes have experienced a renaissance in the cinemas, they have experienced one in television as well. Shows on The CW, ABC, FOX, and FX have also drawn praise for their superhero programming. So, in celebration of all these series (and because its awards show season), this is the awards column. Think of it as like The Emmys, but for network television superhero shows.

Best Special Effects
Winner: “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
While the show was not heavy on special effects at first, relying on action shots and its spy show premise, the introduction of Inhumans, and later Ghost Rider, soon forced the special effects crew to up their game, and they delivered. Ghost Rider in particular, who is depicted with a skull surrounded by flames for a head and a weaponized chain, is remarkable, especially on a television budget. The transformation of Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) from regular human to a demon with a skeleton head surrounded by fire could fit in a Marvel film, and really shines in a TV series. The CGI landscape shots are also pleasant to look at, from far off shots of the Triskellion or a simple Quinjet.
Other nominees: “The Flash”, “Legends of Tomorrow” and “The Gifted”

Best LOL Moments
Winner: “Legends of Tomorrow”
All of the Arrowverse shows have comedy sewn into their identity, but when several heroes from The Flash and Arrow are thrown together on a time machine to stop immortal Egyptian priests or a trio of villains from their parent shows, it’s taken to the “n”th degree. Most of Legends of Tomorrow’s comedy comes from the family dynamic the cast has with each other. There are also cleverly interwoven reference jokes, deadpan humor and well-placed sarcasm. No matter what kind of joke, each manages to elicit a chuckle at least. Who better to win this award than DC’s goofiest, most bizarre, yet hilarious, show ever made?
Other nominees: “The Flash”, “Arrow”, “Supergirl” and “Agents of S.H.E.L.D.”

No Powers, No Problem
Winner: Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) (“The Flash”)
What separates West from the rest of the nominees is his ability to adapt and react to any situation the writers put him in. He’s not only a sympathetic father to Barry and Iris, but also a serious police officer that protects his city from meta-humans that have him outgunned. This leads to some of the best reactions out of anyone in the show, which is also partially due to Jessie L. Martin’s excellent comic timing. Martin’s masterful acting prowess only adds to the depth of this character. Joe West is more than just a Dad, or a Police Officer, or a Normal Person reacting to people with powers.
Other nominees: Harry Wells (“The Flash”), Felicity Smoak (“Arrow”), Phil Coulson (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Melinda May (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”)
(Note: While he doesn’t have any super powers, Oliver Queen is not eligible for this category, as he still is a superhero.)

Best Season
Winner: “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Season 4)
It was a close call between this and “Arrow”: Season 5, but in the end, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”’s fourth season won out due to its fresh format of storytelling and the magnificent way it tied together. This season of the MCU-based series differed from the previous three in that it was divided into three “pods” of seven or eight episodes each. Each pod’s storyline was distinct from the other two, but they all connected cohesively and managed to avoid filler. Additionally, this was the first season of the series to air at ABC’s 10 p.m. timeslot, which allowed it to venture into more mature topics that provided the backdrop for compelling plotlines, including the sentience of artificial intelligence and totalitarian government. This new format managed to not only provide more stories for audiences to chew on, but allowed the show to produce some its best episodes in its history.
Other nominees: “The Flash” (Season 3), “Legends of Tomorrow” (Season 2), “Arrow” (Season 5), “Supergirl” (Season 2)

Most Vexing Villain
Winner: Prometheus (Arrow: Season 5)
Prometheus isn’t the first evil archer to take on Team Arrow, but he is their most formidable one, both on a physical and psychological level. The reason he wins is because he managed to break Oliver until he nearly quit being the Green Arrow for good, an accomplishment no villain in any superhero series has done yet. His motivations, and their ties to Oliver, are understandable and perfectly embody the season-long conflicts revolving around the vigilante’s past. He is also one of the most cunning villains to ever appear on a superhero series. After two straight ho-hum villains, “Arrow” finally got it right in a big way with Prometheus.
Other nominees: Savitar (“The Flash”: Season 3), AIDA (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”: Season 4), Legion of Doom (“Legends of Tomorrow”: Season 2)

Superior Superhero
Winner: Oliver Queen AKA The Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) (“Arrow”)
No hero is perfect, and any show that wants to portray superheroes as realistically as possible must recognize this. Oliver Queen is the most flawed hero out of superhero on TV right now. Over the course of five years, Oliver is faced with numerous trials, from crime lords to supervillains from his own past, to even his lust for killing. He is easily the most human out of his fellow heroes, as he deals with problems that are more possible than those on other Arrowverse shows. Every time he is faced with an issue, he is committed to solving it, whether it is alone or with his team. His dedication to his city and those he cares about are unparalleled, and the only things that shine through more than that are his leadership abilities. Even among other heroes who fight far more powerful threats, The Green Arrow is still reigns supreme as the superior superhero.
Other nominees: Barry Allen AKA The Flash (Grant Gustin) (“The Flash”), Kara Danvers AKA Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) (“Supergirl”), Sara Lance AKA White Canary (Caity Lotz) (“Legends of Tomororw”)