The WB’s DC based shows have been, as a whole, a delight. Their wholehearted embrace of the source material and ability to deliver it to live action in a fun way has made them must-see-TV for many fans, and has turned many non-fans on to the often quirky charms of the superhero genre.
But any fan of these shows will admit that all four share some significant problems. Perhaps the worst is that in order to extend simple plotlines and provide enough personal drama to fill the network requisite 22 episodes, the writers often have the characters miss the utterly obvious, woefully misinterpret what’s going on, or just make dumbass decisions.
The result is that the characters, who are mostly supposed to be competent (if not hyper-competent) adults, come off looking like emotionally and mentally challenged children.
For a little while, the audience can go along with the supposition that the characters are under unusual stresses and facing new challenges. But by the dozenth time Oliver Queen lies for no reason to someone he should know he can trust, Our Hero looks like the Village Idiot- and that pattern has played out for 7 seasons of TV now.
The creators need to start making better choices about what they’re going to do with 16 hours a year for each of four shows.
To help them along, I was inspired to jot down just a few examples of things I’d rather watch than yet more lingering shots of Iris looking wistfully confused, or a problem Oliver could have solved by simply not letting the bad guy go for Contrivance #22b.
Remember when I said in the first sentence that these shows are delightful? Well hare are more are the kinds of moments that provide a lot of that delight, and they can be dropped into any episode a writer might otherwise consider having Barry lose confidence in his speed.
- Cisco hanging out at the West house, fighting over the remote with Barry while Joe tells them to knock it off from the kitchen where he’s making grandma’s brisket.
- Dig playing with his damn baby.
- Cat bitching into a phone. About pretty much anything.
- Felicity and Cisco’s LAN party! Adorable PJs! Raids! Hacking your opponent’s machine in head-to-head so there’s an awesome game beneath the game going on!
- Pizza night with the Danvers girls hate-watching something trashy.
- Felicity playing minecraft on her bank’o’screens.
- Snart and Barry in a bar, warily trading stories and talking shop because in some weird way they really get each other.
- Ollie working out. If he’s wearing a shirt, you’re wasting our time, but bonus points for leg day. Why have we never seen leg day?
- Wells awkwardly trying to tell Jessie about the birds and the bees a few years too late.
- More White Canary showing silly newbs how to fight. They learn best from the floor, apparently.
- Thea tries to take Nissa out dancing.
- Thea dates another dweeb like the kid from Shannara, and Ollie has to spend five minutes alone in a waiting room with him. Trying to be nice. Trying.
- Rip fumbling to explain the ship’s drive to Stein and Palmer until he admits that they understand it better than he does.
- Montage of the Flash going through Central City, cleaning up street crime and helping out. This consists of scenes of him doing things like taking a gun away from a mugger, tying his shoelaces together, then pushing him over into a pile of trash, or heat-welding a burst water main, or putting a pile of mattresses beneath a kid falling from a tree, all from Barry’s POV: at normal speed with everything else frozen. Then we see time “resume” for each of the events in sequence: the robber falls backwards into trash, looks at his empty hand, and trips getting up while his victim gets away, the geyser from the water main just stops, the kid lands on the mattresses.
- Ollie keeping up his contacts by dropping in to play cards for an evening with some Bratva buddies. That’s all that happens.
- Diggle schooling Ollie on firearms.
- Ollie training Flash in tactics and combat. It becomes apparent that this is, and always has been, a weekly date.
- Speaking of dates, Iris out with some guy who’s not a dashing superhero or anything. Eye-rolling commences.
- Momma Danvers trying to find good Christmas presents for both of her daughters.
- Detective Lance in an AA meeting attempting to actually talk about the shit that’s really bugging him without revealing too much. Much stutters. Wow. Very twitch and tick.
- Ollie shopping at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Feh. He could literally make better gear than this out of twigs.
- More scenes of Barry eating. Food on that show is great- how about him picking up Star Labs’ carry-out order- they think he’s throwing a party for dozens of people. He has to make a couple trips, and tells them he’s just ferrying each bag out to the car.
- Barry’s comlink goes down, and without his cellphone handy he just runs a search grid of the entire city in 30 seconds to find what he was looking for.
- Green Arrow taking out a squad of goons entirely with arrows, shifting from shadow to shadow- no melee at all.
- 5 minutes of watching Heat Wave play with a zippo. He knows ALL the tricks.
- Mr Terrific coming up with ideas- that actor has such great expressions that I bet he could tell a whole story of invention without a word.
- White Canary just topping the shit out of some big bruiser in bed.
- The Atom peacefully exploring the microscopic world with no agenda but a giddy glee.
- Cisco putting together an Arrow cosplay- and going to a con. Nobody think his shit looks very realistic.
- Barry going to a con as Flash and dealing with fans. Filmed at SDCC.
- Barry moving Caitlin’s pen every time she lays it down, so fast she doesn’t notice.
- Merlin practicing coming in and out of shadows. (by Meander061)
- Cisco and Wynn geeking out over something technical (or a naming a villain), while Olsen and Diggle exchange blank looks and Ollie looks exasperated. (by Hawk Harrelson’s TWTW: IT’S OVER 9000!)
- Joe talking to Diggle about the football rivalry between Central City and Star City, then asking Barry if he could consult Gideon for “advice” on the upcoming game. (by Hawk Harrelson’s TWTW: IT’S OVER 9000!)