The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Last week

tv The FlashDoctor Who started the season slow. The Muppets is a disaster Gotham is disappointing.

Thank God for the Flash.

I can not say this enough. Thank God for the Flash or I might be done with TV again. Seriously, it’s the only show that makes me feel even remotely the way Doctor Who does; glued to the TV in wonder.

This season opener was shockingly strong. What’s amazing is that they came in so strong despite basically everything on the show having changed. Characters gone, roles changed, new jobs, new threats. That the show has held up so well, not only held up, but indeed managed to thrive is remarkable.

We were left on a bit of a cliffhanger last year and the premier took a risky approach, resolving it bit by bit using flashbacks spread over the first half hour of the episode. It shouldn’t have worked as well as it did but it kept me engrossed the entire time. We get set up very well for this season with Jay Garrek showing up in the final minuets (this is in the commercials, so I don’t consider it a spoiler) as wel as FINALLY seeing that circle behind the lightning bolt  go from red to white! My single biggest complaint on that costume and it’s gone!izombie

Seriously, considering my resistance to this show, I can’t believe it’s become one of my favorites. But it has a perfect balance of superheroics, humor, and drama. Indeed I wish the DC cinematic universe would pay more attention to it.

iZombie returned last night as well, not quite as great as the Flash, but you know what, it’s maintained it’s quality. It’s just as good this year as it was last year, and I’ve got no complaints.

I kind of dropped off the series last year after the Flash ended it’s season. It wasn’t intentional, I just forget to sit down to watch TV sometimes. Flash is a super strong lead in for iZombie and I think i kind of need it to keep up. I’m still going to have to go back and catch up, because I’ve obviously missed some major plot points, but still I didn’t feel too lost. There’s a very episodic feel to the show and you can almost ignore the story arcs here if you need to. I’m glad it’s back and look forward to watching it again this season.

Tuesday nights seems kind of crowed actually. It’s the night for the Muppets as well. Of course there’s just muppetsone little problem there, the Muppets still hasn’t really gotten better. It’s just to dark and cynical for me. This  episode revolves around Fozzie writing a bad script for the show. Kermit moans about how terrible it is and misleads him about it. The setup is actually very muppets, but the mean-spiritedness is not. The Kermit I know would have arrived at the conclusion to help Fozzie with his script far earlier, or would have just put it in the show anyhow because he’s a good guy. Kermit is love. But not so much on this show.

For the last three episodes, I’ve actually found the “B” storylines far more interesting and funny. This one has two of them. The first is Miss Piggy trying to get back at Christina Applegate for showing an embarrassing video of her on her show. And we’re back to mean-spirited. Piggy’s egotistical and kind of selfish, but her rage is usually expressed in a karate chop, I don’t know. Something just feels off here. The Gonzo storyline with him computer dating using a profile picture of Liam Hemsworth is much funnier. In fact the bits with Gonzo, Rizzo and Pepe have been the most consistently funny things in the show.

Overall it’s not working for me. It’s kind of like the Star Trek reboot. It’s not bad, it’s fun sometimes evern, but gothamit’s lost whatever made these characters special. It’s lost it’s soul. I more than half expect this show to get cancelled early. Mid-season at best.

I’ve said it already. Gotham this season is disappointing. It’s stayed firmly over the top, with out new Joker character firmly in the forefront. Here’s the problem:

Last year it felt like a cop drama set in the edges of the Batman universe. This year it feels like a Batman show, but without the Batman. You see where I’m going here? The more we focus on Jerome and Bruce, the more we really kind of miss Batman and the Joker. I didn’t miss them last year because it wasn’t about them. This year however, the series feels compelled to remind us “It’s a Batman show!”. Yeah. Okay. But there’s no Batman. There’s not going to BE any Batman. Not for a while anyhow – five, six years at least. And more importantly, that’s not what I signed on for. I signed on for a cop show, a crime show, I signed on for Law and Order : Gotham. And I doubted you. I thought “There’s no possible way they can maintain this for a full season…” and you proved me wrong!

But that was last year. This year, it’s a diffrent show, and I’m not really sure I like it as much. Jerome….it’s a half measure. It’s a network exec saying “We can’t have Batman without the Joker!” and they’re right. You can’t have Batman without the Joker. But the thing is….you don’t have Batman either. And all you do is remind us that you don’t have Batman and you don’t exactly have the Joker….this direction seems ill convinced.

doctor_who_series_9_poster_by_jasetheavenger-d8i3dtqIt’s not just the Joker focus, it’s the reduced focus on the Penguin – who was arguable the break-out character of last year. People LOVED Robin Lord Taylor, and it was a popularity that grew organically (As opposed to the very forced feel I get with Jerome). And seeing Nygma descend into madness… it’s no fun. I’d argue it’s not even accurate. The thing about the Riddler is that he’s super-smart, not that he’s a madman.

I guess it all comes back to my original thesis. This year, Gotham is just…disappointing.

I mentioned earlier that Doctor Who was starting slow. I stand by that staement. There were some stand out moments in the first story, but by the time we got to the back half of that two parter it had gotten awfully talky and convoluted. There’s a good idea in there, but it seems like they were more in love with discussing the idea than actually telling some kind of story.

This week’s ghost story was an improvement, but it still felt extremely average – not the sort of riveting, can’t-take-my eyes-off-the-screen storytelling I’m a bit more used to. Still, the thing about Doctor Who is, even when it’s average, it’s still so much better than most of the other things on TV. I like Capauldi and I REALLY prefer him in that hoodie. Good thing TheWalkingDeadPostertoo, it seems like he wears that far more than that white button down shirt.

More Doctor Who coming up on Saturday (Can you believe we’re already at the FOURTH episode this season? We’re a quarter of the way through!) and Walking Dead returns Sunday night. See you all there.

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