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Sunday, January 24, 2016

What We Watched: January 18, 2016

Okay so another of my hobbies is watching television shows. I don't do this as often because I really can't stand reality shows and that's all there is now. However, there are a few shows that have snagged my attention and while these weekly posts aren't reviews per say, I thought it might be fun to share my thoughts on each week's episodes.

My tv partner is always Mr. Pud and he ALWAYS has something to say either in a look, gesture or in simply taking some of my snacks for himself.

I hope you'll share with me YOUR thoughts on not just these shows but your own favorites too!

*** Just a warning though. Given that these are not reviews but commentaries on each show, expect SPOILERS.

My thoughts for the week of: January 18, 2016
So here we are, beginning the new year with new shows! I’ve been anticipating the return of Agent Carter and been cautiously curious about DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. So how did the first episodes of these shows fare? Read on to find out!

Show: Agent Carter
Episode Title: The Lady of the Lake &
Cast: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), James D’Arcy (Edwin Jarvis), Chad Michael Murray (Jack Thompson), Enver Gjokaj (Daniel Sousa), Lotte Verbeek (Ana Jarvis), Bridget Regan (Dottie Underwood), Reggie Austin (Jason Wilkes), Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark)
Channel and Time: Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC
Episode Summary: The Lady of the Lake: In 1947 New York, Chief Jack Thompson and Agent Peggy Carter of the SSR apprehend Soviet spy Dottie Underwood. Newly appointed Chief Daniel Sousa of the Los Angeles SSR office meets with Detective Andrew Henry, who has discovered a woman's body in a frozen lake during a heat wave. Sousa, doubting his inexperienced subordinates, asks Thompson for backup—Carter is sent. An autopsy shows that the body glows in the dark, likely caused by Isodyne Energy's particle accelerator. Carter learns from Isodyne scientist Jason Wilkes that the woman was a physicist there who had an affair with Isodyne owner and prospective senator Calvin Chadwick. Underwood is taken into FBI custody, with Thompson's mentor Vernon Masters warning him that the SSR will soon be replaced by a new, peace-time organization. Henry attempts to kill Wilkes, but is killed himself by a police officer; Henry and the officer were hired to cover up the murder by Chadwick and his actress wife Whitney Frost following the former's affair.

A View in the Dark: Chadwick meets with the secretive Council of Nine, who shut down his Zero Matter program due to its seeming lack of results, and want him to focus on his senatorial ambitions. Chadwick informs Frost, who is the true brains behind the program while struggling with her acting due to sexism in Hollywood. Wilkes meets with Carter to help with her investigation, though he is hesitant to turn on Isodyne as it was the only company willing to hire him as a black man. Wilkes explains that Isodyne had attempted to replicate the success of the Manhattan Project and in doing so had discovered Zero Matter. The frozen woman must have come into physical contact with it, though its effects are not limited to that. Carter and Wilkes agree to steal the Zero Matter, and at Isodyne find agents of the Council destroying the program. Wilkes manages to get to the Zero Matter, but is confronted by Frost, who is there to steal it herself. The two are exposed to the Zero Matter in the ensuing scuffle, leaving Wilkes missing and Frost having absorbed Zero Matter

http://agentcarter_ig.instagram.comMy Thoughts: What a thrilling two hour beginning to the little show that could. First off though, I did have to re-watch season one since it has been about a year since season 1 ended and there was a bit to brush up on, the biggest cliffhanger was Dottie Underwood, played beautifully by Bridget Regan. The opening of Lady of the Lake included a throwback to the very first scene of season 1 but this time it was Regan’s Dottie playing homage to Atwell’s Carter. Naturally Dottie is up to no good and it was pretty clear that she’s got a bit of an obsession with Peggy. It could be an interesting conflict if the writers don’t get sidetracked by other sub-plots. I like Dottie, she’s an interesting, unstable villain and I hope she stays around for awhile. I wasn’t too crazy about them shifting focus from Dottie to a whole new conflict when they have no idea who Dottie works for or why.

http://elianacamatti.instagram.comThe Lady of the Lake introduced new roles for old favorites beginning with Jack Thompson heading up the SSR in New York and Daniel Sousa as chief of the L.A. unit. Of course, Peggy has now earned a more respectable position as an agent rather than a glorified secretary. Still, Peggy is still experiencing misogyny among the male agents and Thompson doesn’t see her as an equal. That’s never more obvious than when Peggy arrives in L.A. and Sousa does display a remarkable amount of confidence and faith in her abilities as an agent. Sousa is the total opposite of Thompson. I like the contrast.

http://agntatwell.instagram.comBut what I really wanted to see was MRS. ANA JARVIS! Ana Jarvis didn’t disappoint and like Peggy, I pictured someone a lot like Jarvis but well, with a girdle. But instead she was warm, smart as a whip and incredibly creative. Plus, she wasn’t at all threatened by Peggy’s friendship with Jarvis. Besides, it was clear that she totally owned Jarvis with that kiss. Of course, it was great to see Jarvis back to work for Howard Stark doing ridiculous things like picking up and later trying to wrangle a flamingo that Stark bought for his private menagerie. One of my favorite scenes is when Jarvis is bringing Peggy back to the Stark home and they see the flamingo, Bernard in the front lawn and at Peggy’s confusion, Jarvis replies “I couldn’t maneuver him into his enclosure. He is the devil in pink.”

It’s little scenes like that that make me want to tune in to each episode but more than that, it’s that the show is centered around a truly strong female character who doesn’t use sex to get ahead or to get what she wants. Peggy is an intellectual female who is proud and confident in who she is and her abilities as an agent. She doesn’t sell herself to get anywhere and she works twice as hard as her male co-workers to get the same results and that’s what is so great about her.

The introduction of Jason Wilkes provides an interesting personal conflict for Peggy because while it seems that in the six months Chief Sousa has been in L.A. he’s fallen for a nurse named Violet, who seems to be a nice girl but ya never know, Dottie seemed nice too, it’s clear that Sousa still carries a torch for Agent Carter (Who wouldn’t, she’s awesome.) and now, Wilkes has zeroed in on how unique Peggy is. If Wilkes is indeed still alive after the confrontation with aging actress Whitney Frost and Zero Matter, he could be competition for Peggy Carter’s heart.

I do want to see more of Jarvis and I can’t wait for Dominic Cooper to reprise his role as Howard Stark because when he, James D’Arcy and Hayley Atwell are in the same scene, those end up being my favorites.

Show: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
Episode Title: Pilot, Part 1
Cast: Victor Garber (Professor Martin Stein / Firestorm), Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer/The Atom), Caity Lotz (Sara Lance/White Canary), Arthur Darvill (Rip Hunter), Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory/Heat Wave), Wentworth Miller (Leonard Snart/Captain Cold), Ciara Renee (Kendra Saunders/Chay-Ara/Hawkgirl), Falk Hentschel (Carter Hall/Khufu/Hawkman), Franz Drameh (Jefferson “Jax” Jackson/Firestorm), Casper Crump (Vandal Savage)
Channel and Time: Thursdays at 8/7 c on the CW
http://flashandarrow.instagram.comEpisode Summary: In the year 2166, Vandal Savage has successfully conquered the entire planet. In an effort to save humanity, time-travel Rip Hunter travels back to the year 2016 to organize a group of superheroes and supervillains to team-up and stop Savage: Ray Palmer, Sara Lance, Jefferson Jackson and Dr. Martin Stein, Mick Rory, Leonard Snart, Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders. With everyone assembled, Rip takes the team to 1975 to talk to Professor Boardman, a leading expert on Vandal Savage, to get assistance in locating Savage. While providing information on Vandal, Boardman also reveals that he is the son of Kendra and Carter from one of their past lives. Meanwhile, a time-traveling bounty hunter named Chronos attacks Rip’s ship; the team is able to regroup and escape, but not before Professor Boardman is wounded and dies. The attack forces Rip to reveal that Chronos is after him for stealing the time-machine against the wishes of the Time Council, and that part of his quest is based on revenge for Vandal murdering his wife and child in his time.

My Thoughts: So many superheroes, so little time! Okay so I had to struggle a bit with this first episode because I’m not too familiar with DC heroes and the only knowledge I had of any of them came from the animated series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, of which I was a huge fan of (And that version of Hawkgirl is still my absolute favorite. Maria Canals was a great voice for Shayera). So basically that meant I knew who Vandal Savage and Hawkgirl were and had a vague knowledge of Ray Palmer.

http://flashandarrow.instagram.comThe episode started a bit slow for me but I warmed up to it about 20% of the way in. Aside from Victor Garber (Whom I remember from Alias), Brandon Routh and Wentworth Miller, I wasn’t familiar with any of the cast members which for me is always great because it’s an opportunity for something fresh in my eyes. So, did the first part of the two part pilot episode hook me enough for a return viewing?

Yes. 100% yes.

This first part of the pilot delivered enough action to make it a true superhero series but also brought the emotional aspect with the revelation that the source of information the newly formed team went back in time to the 1970s to find was in fact Kendra and Carter’s son, now an aged professor who was present when they were murdered by Savage in the 1940s (In case you aren’t familiar with the Hawkman/Hawkgirl background, Kendra and Carter are the latest incarnations of Prince Khufu and Priestess Chay’Ara who fell in love in Ancient Egypt only to be murdered by Savage in a jealous rage, then cursed to reincarnate, fall in love and be murdered by Savage over and over again. Tragic ain’t it?).

There’s quite a bit of diversity among the characters AND the high spirited cast. I liked the chemistry between them and I say that if the chemistry is present this early on when their respective characters haven’t even become a team then I can’t wait to see what it will be like once they focus on their common goal. I see plenty of opportunities for humor as well as tension as boundaries are tested and friendships are formed.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow attracts long time fans of the DC comic world but it also has the ability to appeal to non-comic fans and maybe even get them interested in the comics.

The pilot episode sampled the time traveling, dynamics between characters and opened up the possibility for individual character episodes and character growth. Since I’m not wholly familiar with many of the characters, I wouldn’t mind each one getting his or her own episode with some back story and insight into what makes them tick.

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