Before we begin; our pals at Warner Bros. have politely asked that I include the following message: “Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD [and Blu-rays] I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own [or in this case Shane’s].” Moving on…
Welcome back creeps! I’m pleased as putrid punch to have my ol’ pal Shane from The Cathode Ray Mission here in the Crypt o’ XIII to give us his thoughts on a couple of new releases featuring characters from the good ol’ DC Comics Universe! Take it away Shane!
LUCIFER – SEASON ONE
- RELEASE DATE: Available August 23rd on DVD (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
- WRITTEN BY: Various
- DIRECTED BY: Various
- STARRING: Tom Ellis, Lauren German, D.B. Woodside
Before we begin this review, I feel it necessary to state that I’ve never read the Vertigo comic LUCIFER (the character in-turn first appeared in the pages of Neil Gaiman’s seminal series SANDMAN) is based on, so I went in cold. I’m only judging the show on its own merits, and not how it compares to the comic.
The series follows Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), who grows bored of being the Lord of Hell, so he abandons the underworld for the glitz of Los Angeles, where he runs Lux, a swanky nightclub. He’s aided by Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), his sexy demon bodyguard and bartender. Conveniently ol’ Big L He can compel people to expose their hidden desires.
When a female celebrity Lucifer is fond of is gunned down outside Lux, he teams up with a female detective, Chloe Decker (Lauren German) to find and punish her killers. Lucifer develops a taste for police work leading him to become a civilian consultant for the LAPD; much to the annoyance of Chloe’s ex-husband and fellow homicide detective, Dan Espinoza (Kevin Alejandro) who despises him (a situation exacerbated by Chloe’s maybe/sorta having an influence Lucifer).
All of this has the adverse effect of making Lucifer more “human.” To deal with this development Lucifer starts seeing and sleeping with a therapist, Dr. Linda Martin (Rachael Harris). Chloe is dealing with some issues herself like balancing work with caring for her young daughter Beatrice (Scarlett Estevez). Speaking of Chloe’s job; she’s ostracized by her fellow cops due to her suspecting a critically injured officer was as dirty as a used diaper. Things get even more complicated later in the season when Malcolm recovers from his coma under suspicious circumstances with an agenda of his own. Hell; if you think all of that isn’t enough, Amenadiel (D. B. Woodside) an angel and Lucifer’s brother to boot, arrives in L.A. encouraging Lucifer to return to Hell, since his abandoning of Hell has upset the balance of things (well there’s also the fact that Amenadiel has been tasked with guarding the Gates of Hell in his brother’s absence; a job he despises). Layers and layers folks.
Most of the first season deals with Lucifer helping Chloe on homicide cases, which are mostly standard police procedural types. The story arc of the season takes a little time to develop; so the first few episodes after the pilot are mostly about the case of the week.
But the storyline isn’t what makes this show as entertaining as it is; it’s the characters. Lucifer is a decedent wise ass; continuously upset over his place in Hell and his “father’s” banishment of him. This gives things an element of freewill vs. predetermination to his character as Lucifer is rebelling against what he sees as the role his “father” has chosen for him; and that makes the character shine (along with his contradictory love of his new Earthbound life). When the show focuses on Lucifer and the consequences of his actions the show is great… but when it focuses on the crime of the week, it loses some of its “punch”. In the next season I’d love to see them get away from the police cases all together.
Also working for the series is its visual style; all bright and flashy just like its main character, as well as the top-notch soundtrack (bonus points for the use of Bowie songs… who the comic version of Lucifer resembled, so I’m sure there’s no coincidence there).
As for bonus material; the three disk DVD comes with a whole bunch of extras including: character profiles, a Comic-Con panel, features on Lucifer and Chloe and their relationship, a gag reel, and deleted scenes.
If you’re a fan of “not so run of the mill” cop shows, and/or off-kilter buddy concepts (mixed with a healthy dose of metaphysical goings-on) I recommend LUCIFER for a soul searing good time!
DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – SEASON ONE
- RELEASE DATE: Available August 23rd on Blu-ray (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
- WRITTEN BY: Various
- DIRECTED BY: Various
- STARRING: Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Arthur Darvill
Growing up I loved comic books and my favorite were the team books; Justice League, Batman and The Outsiders, Suicide Squad, Teen Titans. As you can tell from some of the titles listed above; my favorite sorts of team books were the ones where secondary characters from other books come together to form a team. Seeing them team up and how they play off each other was irresistible fun. Back then I could have never imagined there would be so much comic book action going down on the big and small screens; much less team ups of heroes and villains. So are the LEGENDS OF TOMORROW a Legion of Super-Heroes or are they more a Legion of Substitute Heroes?
In the year 2166, the immortal Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) has subjected the Earth to his rule. Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) a Time Master (a group from the future dedicated to protect and maintain the timeline) gathers together a group of heroes and villains from 2016 to confront Savage. The team consists of: The two halves of the hero Firestorm; Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber), Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), the shrinking super-hero cum scientist Ray Palmer the Atom (Brandon Routh), Sara Lance the White Canary (Caity Lotz), a vigilante and former assassin, Kendra Saunders a.k.a. Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée), a young woman who’s only recently learned that she’s a reincarnation of a winged warrior from Ancient Egypt as is her lover, Carter Hall the Hawkman (Falk Hentschel). Rounding out the team are Leonard Snart or Captain Cold as he’s more commonly known (Wentworth Miller) and his partner Mick Rory a.k.a Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell); career criminals and enemies of The Flash.
There’s not much mystery to the Big Bad, Vandal Savage; we meet him first thing, all the cards are laid on the table, and we’re off. Savage is the perfect villain for a show involving time traveling heroes; which is good since he’s the focus of the season long arc. But as great as a foil he may be; he’s also the show’s main problem. When he’s not around and the team isn’t dealing with how to stop him it feels like the series is just treading water. Another issue is; is he can’t die except for one specific way, so, when he faces off with our team, you know he’s not going down yet.
What keeps the show going, makes it interesting, is watching the team play off each other. Like any good group of superheroes they don’t always play well together, not surprising given their divergent nature (and even allegiances). It’s fun seeing the dynamics of the group at work, and the character banter and interplay is fun as is seeing them adapt to the various time periods (which are presented with period accurate props and music; with the ‘50’s and ‘70’s based stories as real series stand-outs).
Also in the plus corner; for a weekly show the effects look top notch. They never come across as SyFy channel chintzy. Another thing I really enjoy on the show is the various DC references: Chronos, Jonah Hex, Per Degaton, The League of Assassins; It’s just pure comic book goodness and great fan service.
While the series is fun enough; the set also includes a time-ship full of extras; a feature on Rip’s ship, the Waverider, a feature on the making of the show, a featurette on Jonah Hex, a gag reel, and the series’ Comic-Con panel.
It can be a bit slow when it goes off task, but if you’re a fan of ARROW, THE FLASH, and SUPERGIRL (or the DCU in general) or fun time travel yarns; then this is a must!