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I recently had the chance to check out the Warner Bros. produced comic book pilots coming in 2014, here are my thoughts: 

Gotham 

Gotham  (Fox)

 

This pilot takes a step back in the realism we saw in the Nolan trilogy and acts more like tie-in to Burton’s original 1989 film.  A few too many of the existing characters are shoehorned into the story, and some of the villains come across as a little cliché, but there’s a potential for a decent crime drama here.

 

Donal Logue plays a fantastic Bullock and steals the show, even if his dialogue is a hokey at times.  The rest of the cast tend to play it safe by playing caricatures of what they think comic characters should be like, with the exception of Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot.  This has potential to be really good, but remembering that Fox isn’t as forgiving as The CW, it’ll have to step up its game quickly if it wants to stay on the air.

 

constantine

Constantine (NBC)

 

Having only seen the Keanu Reeves film, I was genuinely curious to learn more about this character.  After watching this,  I realized it’s going to take me a long time find those details out.

 

Long story short – Constantine is a former preacher damned to hell who will go around fighting evil in an (possibly worthless) attempt to get his soul back.  Short story long – he’s going to have to do a lot of demon-killing stuff to get there.

 

This show feels as it’s trying to match the slow, monochromatic tone of NBC’s other big franchise hit,  Hannibal. While that definitely promises substance below the surface, I worry that  TV audiences won’t care enough in the beginning to justify this staying on the air.

 

izombieBlack

iZombie (CW)

 

Having never read the comics, I was thrilled when I found this was done by Rob Thomas, the creator of Veronica Mars.   And what I got was more or less Veronica Mars II: The Zombie Years.

 

The premise – a young attractive girl gets scratched, not bitten, during a small Zombie outbreak, and ends up this sort of hybrid Zombie-human.  She gives up her medical career to work as county coroner, conveniently supplying her with the brainfood she’ll need from time to time.  Those brains come with consequences – the memories of the victims who end up there.  This, however, helps our main character assist a rookie detective in solving his cases.

 

Everything from the voiceovers, the plot pacing, the supporting cast, and the last-minute plot twists all felt so Veronica Mars-like that I found it tough not to see past all of that.  It’s definitely inferior to Veronica Mars at this point, but not by that much, which means it’s really, really good.    This is honestly a guilty-pleasure show I hope to watch for years.

 

The-Flash-Title-Card

The Flash (CW)

 

Do you remember how you felt the first time you saw Sam Rami’s first Spider-Man movie?  If not, just watch this pilot.  This show nails everything with when it comes to character development, plot development, and casting.  Everything just seems to fall in line so perfectly as a superhero story all while throwing it throws a TON of fanboy shout-outs (including 1990’s Flash star John Wesley Shipp playing the new Flash’s father).

 

The show feels epic on a number of levels.  Maybe not so epic on the budget, (it’s still a TV show, remember), but rather on the personal scale of someone learning what it is to become a hero .  The plot suffers from a few clichés, most notably when random city pedestrians suddenly find themselves in random dangerous situations soon after the hero gets his powers, but none of those clichés are too distracting.

 

If you missed Barry Allen’s appearance on Arrow last season, you won’t be missing out on a whole lot here, but it will be icing on the cake for those who have.  Mr. Arrow himself does have a cameo here which feels a little forced, but it won’t detract from either franchise in the long run.

 

Simply put, this is the best live-action DC adaptation I have ever seen.  You won’t believe it’s only been 45 minutes from the beginning to the end because you’ll be so enthralled with what’s going on.  They even throw in a Marvel-esque ending which only the hardcore fans will be able to explain to their friends.   CW’s always showed its support for this type of show, and I’m not worried about this showing going away anytime fast.*

 

*see what I did there?