It was the year of the superhero; and a good year at that. The CW are pulling out all the stops to make their DC Television Universe a success. And that success has been well earned. But I doubt anyone saw my #5 coming.
I KNOW RIGHT!? Well despite being canceled before it could finish a full season, Selfie was actually one of 2014’s biggest surprises in my opinion. It definitely had it’s faults, including an underselling pilot, a terrible title, an occasional dip in the quality of the writing, and a premise that didn’t seem like it would be capable of running through an entire season let alone a series. But with a colorful cast of characters, a well developed natural chemistry between both Gillan and Cho, and finally Gillan’s ability to switch from goofy to dramatic almost flawlessly proved that, though the premise of the show seemed to be beneath the talent behind it, it was still one of the only television comedies that we could actually call truly modern. Plus it’s incredibly rare to find something that my girlfriend and I can both 100% agree on to watch; and the fact that we both enjoyed it as much as the other did is a big deal to me. It’s a good couple show with a zany personality and charm that’s difficult to resist. Everyone does a great job of playing characters of varying levels of kookiness, and John Cho’s Henry works wonders as the ideal opposite to Eliza, but it’s Karen Gillan who absolutely steals the show as a very surprisingly dynamic character. (seriously, watch her rendition of Sia’s Chandelier in the show, it’s haunting, personal, and absolutely heartbreaking.)
This is probably an unpopular choice around the water cooler, and for some of these guys who have been reading comics for twenty or thirty years there is some validity to their arguments against the show. A lot of people were upset that despite having almost fifty years of comic history to pull from, the series is using almost entirely original characters, many of who are incredibly polarized in their depiction. But here’s the truth from a guy who’s a little bit more green when it comes to the panels. Due to the newly minted spy vs spy structure of the show, a better focus on plotlines over easter eggs, and an emphasis on each character’s individual progression, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has seen more upward growth in just two seasons than pretty much any other show currently on tv. It still has a long way to go, but if the mid-season finale is any indication, the show is capable of pulling out some amazing story arcs that could be potentially enriching to the MCU. Only time will tell, regardless this is one that I’ve been happy to tune in to in 2014 (especially season 2).
Peter Capaldi’s casting was met with a mixed reception as many fans saw it as a missed opportunity to cast the first non-male or non-white actor in the role of The Doctor (You know…kind of like the President). Instead Capaldi brought a certain chaos to the role, dispensed with the sexual and romantic tension between the character of The Doctor and the Companion, and leveraged an aspect of the Doctor that hasn’t been seen much in that he is actually very alien in both his mannerisms and attitude. This is the first Doctor, in my opinion, to come off as being very unempathetic to the human condition. Capaldi’s Doctor is nothing if not complicated and extremely unlikable. Make no mistake, he’s still the Doctor, but without having the same level of tenderness as his past incarnations, he’s much harder to figure out as a character as his actions never seem to be inherently good in either intention or execution. It’ll be harder to call it a show that kid’s can watch too, after this latest series, but nonetheless the new Doctor Who seems to be incredibly dedicated to the more serious and dark tone of the show, and Capaldi’s version of the Doctor is the perfect fit for this new direction.
While season one did a good job of setting up the framework for the series, it was season two that really raised the bar by introducing more characters from the comics, laying the groundwork for big plot twists that will come in to play later on in the series, sharp writing and suspenseful direction, great cast chemistry, and best of all it launched a whole new arm for the Arrow universe, creating even more opportunities for different characters and stories in my number one series of 2014. Oh and the midseason finale was one of the absolute best episodes of any tv show I have ever seen. I’m seriously not joking. I walked away with my jaw still on the floor.
There is something so undeniably charming about the CW’s new take on the Scarlet Speedster. It goes beyond the use of the comic characters, the inclusion of incredible superpowers, or even the potential intrigue rife in the relationships with all of the cast members of Arrow. What makes the Flash so special is how much fun it has in telling it’s story. Since it’s lighter and more positive than Arrow, it’s that much easier for a younger audience to enjoy it. So what makes The Flash so good, is that not only is it a theme-faithful, entertaining, and light-hearted approach to a classic hero; it’s chocked full of reasons to get it’s viewers to start reading comics, and that’s an agenda I can get behind. The Flash proves that not only can superhero stories be exciting and engaging while still being vibrant and fun, but they can also be inspiring and moral. The Flash is good in both content and context, and it doesn’t over complicate the theme of good for the sake of goodness, and in this day and age that’s become increasingly rare. It’s the most positive superhero show on television, and the only one that seems to remember what being a superhero is supposed to be about. The Flash is the perfect example of the fun and simplicity of the superhero stories of yesteryear, and what they should be striving to be again.