Preview: The Flash 1×1 (The CW)

The Flash review

In the US: Tuesdays, 8pm ET, The CW. Starts October 7

Superheroes are all the rage at the cinema right now. In the comics book world, DC and Marvel predominate, but for many years, DC was the only real name at the movies, with Batman and Superman movies galore. However, Marvel has now not only caught up, it’s setting the pace and showing how comics should be adapted. So while DC has gone dark, gritty and important in the past decade, an attitude that the Lego Movie mercilessly mocked…

…Marvel has gone for relatively light, fun movies, such as Iron Man, Thor and the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. DC’s movies have also been self-contained, while Marvel has had its superbeings unite in The Avengers and guest in each other’s movies and TV shows with aplomb.

But DC is picking up the pace, both at the movies and on TV. The forthcoming Batman v Superman is going to feature not only the eponymous two heroes, it’s also got Wonder Woman, Cyborg and various other members of the Justice League lined up to appear, with more movies together and individually lined up if these are a success. And on the small screen, it has the continuing adventures of Green Arrow in Arrow and Batman prequel Gotham lined up for the autumn/fall.

But it’s still all a bit dark and gritty, isn’t it? However, DC appears to be well aware of its gloomy reputation so it’s giving us something a bit lighter and a bit more fun. And since The CW did so well with first Smallville (the Guinness World Record holder ‘longest consecutive running sci-fi TV show’) and then Arrow and believes that superheroes are the best way to attract male viewers who might have been scared off by all that Gossip Girl and The Carrie Diaries, it seems appropriate for it to be the launchpad for this new show based on one of DC’s (literally) lightest characters: The Flash, a character who ends up being able move even faster than Superman, following a laboratory accident.

Indeed, for the past season of Arrow, The CW has been slowly introducing The Flash and his helper monkeys to viewers, inserting him (and them) pre-powers into various episodes, originally intending to turn one episode into a backdoor pilot. It backed off from that idea and instead decided to give him a launch episode all of his own.

And not only is it very good, in some ways better even than Arrow’s first episode, it’s really just what DC is looking for – fun, light and full of crossovers from other superheroes. Just don’t be too surprised if it all seems very familiar and a bit… light.

But first, here’s a dark and gritty (hugely spoilering) trailer – it seems some habits die hard.

Continue reading “Preview: The Flash 1×1 (The CW)”

News: ABC, NBC, USA and The CW’s cancellations, renewals and pick-ups, Damian Lewis is Henry VIII + more

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Internet TV


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New UK TV show casting

  • Damian Lewis to play Henry VIII, Mark Rylance to play Thomas Cromwell + other casting in BBC’s Wolf Hall adaptation
  • Selina Borji, Simon Fisher-Becker and Aron Julius join BBC4’s Puppy Love


  • ABC renews: Agents of SHIELD, Resurrection, The Goldbergs, Once Upon A Time, Castle, Revenge, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, The Middle and Modern Family
  • The CW renews: The 100, Hart of Dixie and Beauty and the Beast
  • cancels The Carrie Diaries, The Tomorrow People and Star-Crossed
  • Wednesday ratings

New US TV shows

  • ABC green lights: series of Agent Carter, How To Get Away With Murder, American Crime, The Whispers, Forever, Blackish, Galavant, Manhattan Love Story and Selfie
  • NBC green lights: series of The Mysteries of Laura, Constantine
  • …and A to Z
  • The CW green lights: series of iZombie, The Flash, Jane The Virgin and The Messengers
  • USA green lights: series of Stanistan
  • …developing: Colony, Boom, Brand, The Farm, Control, Mr Robot, Difficult People, Moguls, Royal, Love the One You’re With and Majordomo

New US TV show casting

  • Patrick Fabian, Rhea Seehorn and Michael Mando join AMC’s Better Call Saul
TV reviews

Mini-review: Bad Teacher 1×1 (CBS)

Bad Teacher

In the US: Thursdays, 9.30/8.30c, CBS

You may remember the movie Bad Teacher. Or you may not. It starred Cameron Diaz as an incompetent, lazy teacher who is forced to return to the job she quit so she can save up enough money for a boob job, so she can marry someone rich. It had some funny moments, most of them involving Justin Timberlake or Diaz being as politically incorrect, foul-mouthed and generally bad a teacher as possible – before her inevitable moral readjustment by the end.

Ring any bells? Probably. It was neither the best nor the worst comedy movie ever made but it was reasonably adequate.

But given the kinds of things that did make it funny, why did CBS think that adapting it for network TV was ever going to work? The quick and simple answer is women. More and more women have started watching CBS, particularly its sitcoms, so CBS thought it could consolidate this by producing sitcoms especially for the ladies. It gave us Mom for the Fall and given the paucity of female-centred properties to adapt, now we have Bad Teacher, starring mostly people you’ve never heard of in the main roles, quite famous people in the supporting parts.

Largely, the TV show is the same as the movie, except Diaz’s replacement, Ari Graynor, is already getting divorced. Having hired the same lawyer as her husband, she’s broke so decides to become a teacher at her old high school so that she can meet single, rich dads and marry one of them. There’s no rich Justin Timberlake teacher for her to pursue so far, but we do have Ryan Hansen replacing Jason Segel as Graynor’s former High School one-night-stand, current gym teacher and potential future boyfriend.

In the supporting cast, though, not only we do have Sara Gilbert from Roseanne as the nerdy teacher pal Graynor hangs around with, we also have Sex and the City‘s Kristin Davis as the goody two-shoes rival played by Lucy Punch in the original and David Alan Grier (In Loving Color) as the principal.

Being CBS, of course, the series is a whole lot tamer than the movie, with Gaynor largely just being shallow in her efforts to get a husband, rather than being truly mercenary. Indeed, by the end, we already had signs of her moral improvement, as she protects her best friend’s daughter and nerdy pals from the school’s mean girls. Indeed, there is a dreadful sucking vacuum where all the funny lines used to be, since CBS hasn’t deemed it important to replace them with anything – just the mere fact she’s a bad, manipulative – and sexy – teacher should be enough to have us rolling in the aisles, apparently.

Unfortunately, as a result, Bad Teacher is a painful viewing experience, filled with ham acting, almost no funny lines or situations, and the trademark CBS comedy misanthropy. It was almost impossible to make it to the end of the utterly predictable first episode and while there were perhaps one or two moments where it looked like it wasn’t a complete waste of time or intended to make all women look irredeemably bad in as many different ways as possible, those were so rare, they might as well have been made from unicorn’s tears.

Here’s a trailer, just in case you want to check it out. You’ll note that at one point, another of CBS’s trademarks – anti-Asian racism – has been carefully edited out. See if you can spot where.