Ghost Rider & Gotham Get TV Revved Up

As threatened last installment, let’s kick off the 2016 Fall TV season with spoilery reviews of Agents of SHIELD & Gotham nobody demanded!

Agents of SHIELD’s fourth season opened much stronger than the last, in no small part due to the absence of Ward & Lincoln. Nothing in its content so far indicates that it was necessary to move an hour later, as parts of last season were grislier & more risque. Not that it needs to be edgier, so long as it doesn’t backslide into season one’s syndicated 90’s vibe.

As it turns out, ABC was right that Ghost Rider was the only selling point this season needed. The Ghost Rider transformation effect was amazing! Where have they been hiding this CGI? It was The F-Lash worthy! SHIELD’s effects generally look embarrassing in comparison to its cinematic siblings’, so this was a very welcome surprise. Featuring Marvel characters that don’t have movies lined up is exactly what this show needs to do more often! He’s already a better vigilante than the Punisher as he has a nifty jacket & his menacing key-spinning is on point. He doesn’t preclude Danny “best Ghost Rider” Ketch from being in the MCU either!

Will Ghost Driver Rider drag race Lola? I’m guessing not, as flying cars have been seriously underused in the MCU despite being a prominent part of SHIELD lore. They only gave us  three very brief & cheesey scenes of Lola being flown in season one. I’m still mad that Nick Fury didn’t get to fly his unchic SUV in The Winter Soldier. If you won’t do anything cool with flying cars, maybe you shouldn’t have entrenched them in movie canon, Marvel?

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I’m overdue on saying Chloe Bennet as Quake is the most improved cast member. She’s come a long way from being the insufferably perfect hacker snowflake a whole spy squad instantly accepted back in season one. She & the writers make it seem like her going rogue is genuine character development instead of an obvious delaying tactic for getting the band back together. I dig Quake’s raccoon eyes, but her hair is still too long.

From the background intel released, I wager SHIELD’s new status quo will vex me, but I’ll hold most of my complaints until the show reveals it to me itself. SHIELD’s new WIMP & SADIST acronyms were cute. It’s groanworthy that Simmons had to explain basic interdepartmental spycraft to veteran May though.

I’m glad Mallory Jansen of Galavant got a new job as Aida the Life Model Decoy, though I’m not sure if she counts as an LMD if it’s not a decoy for a preexisting individual. (Of course if they make an LMD  of Grant Ward just to manufacture tension instead of someone who wasn’t a sociopathic ratbag traitor, I will flip all their tables.) Jocasta would be a better name even if she’s sadly not as shiny as the real deal. Now please don’t make her Ultron 2.0 or seduce Fitz.

Speaking of canon characters, is it too much to hope that hallucination gas lady is Vapor of the U-Foes? Remember back in “Repairs” when it seemed the U-Foes’ Vector was in it yet it turned out to be the made-up Tobias Ghost-Wrench? Or when an Asgardian weapon didn’t fall into the Wrecking Crew’s hands? Bad times.

Every shot of Black Panther’s costume in Iron Man v. Captain America Dawn of Vengeance was CGI enhanced to make it look like it was Vibranium. That seems unnecessary (unlike the unfairly maligned Green Lantern uniforms, which are supposed to look like ring-generated energy constructs). There are metallic fabric & metallic paints, so why not use those more cost effective options?

Following in The Tick’s footsteps, Jennifer Walters to star in Hulk comic that removes all the fun from She-Hulk. Just kidding! Actually Bendis’s protracted & dumb Civil War II is to blame, just as he screwed over the X-Men books with House of M.

Gotham has returned for a third season, although it doesn’t seem quite so batty. Throwing in the Court of the Owl & Inhumans Fort Rozz escapees Hugo Strange’s Monster Men this early is unorthodox, but the story beats have lined up with what I’d expect from a jaunt into this side of crazy town. If it wants to uphold its reputation, it needs to escalate exponentially to new flavors of lunacy like Zur-En-Arrh & the Rainbow Creature!  Or this:

Despite his apparent epiphany at the end of last season, Jim Gordon is as infuriating as ever. Gordon, why did you think punching Doomsday in a trench coat was going to go well?  His plan to use Hugo Strange’s assistant as bait for Fish Mooney goes even worse. This is one of the many reasons why Lee is better off without his arrogant dumb ass. (Please don’t take him back one the replacement boyfriend fizzles out.) Mooney’s mutie crew also contains a budget Man-Bat. If that was meant to be the real deal, Dr. Kirk Langstrom’s live action debut was a dud. Is the Ten-Eyed Man with her as well? He deserves to be here.

Master Bruce learned all the wrong lessons from Gordon by calling out the Court of Owls. Is Gordon ever going to be a good role model on this show?

Penguin & Riddler are so adorable together. I also enjoy Babs & Tabby together, even if their scenes seem irrelevant to the key arcs thus far. I’ll gladly up my dosage of them if it means less screentime for Gordon.

Next week on Gotham: Penguin becomes an X-Men villain! No, not one of the good ones like Deathbird or Black Tom. More like one of the interchangeable anti-mutant bigots, albeit better dressed. All those spoilery think pieces about the cringeworthy direction they’re taking Poison Ivy in will bear fruit too.

Bonus DC movie news: Brooke Hollday Ence revealed that she & fellow Crossfitter Angharad James will be in the Wonder Woman & Justice League movies. Neither has much acting credentials, so they’ll probably just be background Amazons to make Gal Gadot look even less intimidating. Unless they turn out to be members of Darkseid’s Female Furies. Is Wonder Woman going lasso to whip with Lashina too metal for the silver screen? Where is the Change.org petition for that when you need it?

Tatiana Maslany  finally got an Emmy for playing eleven different characters on Orphan Black! Clone Club Huzzah!

Supergirl’s stunt double Jessie Graff had the best red carpet photos. She took gold for back handsprings! Look how pretty her dress flowing behind her is before the bonus skip!

I preferred Designated Survivor when it starred Mary McDonnell & Cylons.

Lionsgate is making a movie called Robin Hood: Origins. Doesn’t every Robin Hood movie throw in an origin story?

Jill Pantozzi wrote a great piece on the sorry state of affairs for web writers. You should listen to her because she’s more successful than me. Her Patreon video is awesome too.

I wrote roughly six pages of my difficult second novel in three hours. Then I gave myself a mental high five!  I presume that rate is moderately better than current  George R.R. Martin yet nowhere as good as 80’s Steven King on cocaine. So that’s why I don’t blog about my writing that much.

Extra special congratulations to my sister, Kathryn Catania, & Brian Woodburn getting married!!!

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