The Adventures of Alex & Maggie and Their Flighty Sidekick Supergirl

Supergirl!

“Hey, everybody, come look! Alex and Maggie did a cute thing again! Awwww, I love their show!”

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife and I thought so highly of that new CBS series Supergirl that we met four of its stars at two different events last year — Mehcad Brooks and Peter Facinelli at Metropolis’ Superman Celebration; and before that, Chyler Leigh and the Melissa Benoist at Chicago’s C2E2. Fun folks from a fun show.

At launch, Supergirl was a bright, optimistic series about one of the most frequently mishandled members of the Superman family, of which Anne has been a lifelong fan. As an adult she’s been to the Superman Celebration five times with me; as a girl she read all the Superman-related books she could find at our local library and watched Superman: The Movie on videodisc so many times that she memorized it. Literally. All of it. Could recite the entire movie line-for-line from beginning to end. She never could say the same for Supergirl’s movie, which was…well, I haven’t watched it in thirty years, so I can’t fairly say how it ranks compared to Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, but it’s down there. She hasn’t kept up with any of DC Comics’ other TV shows since Smallville, but she was intrigued at the idea and generally happy with season one. Same went for me, despite the intermittent bits of cheesiness I was fine with shrugged off.

Then the series moved to The CW.

(Housekeeping note up front: this entry dives into developments from the March 6th episode. Consider this your courtesy spoiler warning.)

Continue reading

Top 10 Changes When “Supergirl” Moves to The CW

Supergirl!

One of our souvenirs from C2E2 last March. Follow the link for our even better Supergirl photo!

My wife and I were pleased to learn this evening one of our favorite shows now on the air, DC’s Supergirl, has been renewed for season 2 after a few rounds of negotiated compromises. Up front we’ve been told the show will be relocating from Los Angeles to Vancouver for cheaper filming, if they can find a few square feet not in use by the 300 other shows and movies already shooting there. Biggest change of all (for now): Supergirl will be moving from CBS to The CW, which is bad news for fans in numerous cities without their own CW affiliate. Here’s hoping your internet access is higher-quality than your local broadcasting industry is.

What else does this mean for the show? What other corners will be cut? What wrongheaded executive demands will ruin everything and turn us all against it? I shudder to contemplate what the future holds for our beloved stars and the only CBS show I’ve followed within the last four years.

Right this way for the countdown!

MCC 2014 Pilot Binge #6: “Madam Secretary”

Madam Secretary!

Longtime MCC readers should know, putting it inadequately, that politics are not my thing. Tea Leoni is okay by me, but I knew ahead of time her new CBS political drama Madam Secretary might have a hard time holding my attention. I tried it nonetheless as part of the MCC 2014 Pilot Binge Project and found a fair number of upsides. For one, I enjoyed seeing the always-contrarian Zelkjo Ivanek rebound from the cancellation of NBC’s Revolution. Also: Keith Carradine is the President of the United States of America. It’s the sentence America wants and needs.

Continue reading

Ranking the Six “Sherlock” Episodes While Waiting to Judge “Elementary”

Sherlock, ElementaryMy wife and I were quite pleased to catch up with our peers recently by viewing all six episodes of the BBC’s fascinating Sherlock. Before diving in, I expected I’d at least enjoy some engaging moments from Martin Freeman, one of my favorite components of the original UK version of The Office, among other productions. Once our viewing began, I was struck more deeply by Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as a truly intelligent character with a broken social compass. More succinctly put: he’s smarter than everyone around him and doesn’t care who that bothers. I’ve known more than a few Internet users with that same attitude, many of them mistaken in their position. I can see why the show would attract such a sizable Stateside fan base.

We owe sincere appreciation to the creators — Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, and some ancient writer named Doyle — for an intricate, adrenalized concoction of tension, intrigue, and emotional gamesmanship. I’d also like to thank the crowds of fans who recommended this to us. At the moment, I would rank the six episodes produced so far as follows, with spoilers ahead.

1. “The Great Game” (s. 1, ep. 3) — A bored Sherlock finds his spirits, and later his blood pressure, raised when a mad bomber taunts him with a series of life-or-death puzzles to solve, with victims as the prizes. Our Hero finally meets an opponent to equal or even rival his talents, and finally demonstrates that he actually has moral boundaries in comparison. Humor succumbs to terror as the challenges proceed relentlessly, concluding with a revelation that had me kicking myself for not guessing it sooner. (Mental note: when reading or watching a work about Holmes, any character named “Jim” needs to be heavily scrutinized. How could I not even have thought about it?)

2. “The Reichenbach Fall” (s. 2, ep. 3) — Moriarty drives Holmes and friends to the brink of insanity with the greatest game of all, one that destroys reputation, relationships, and lives with equal aplomb. The hyperintellectual brinksmanship was truly a wonder to behold. At times it was extraordinarily tough to disbelieve the lies. The main reason it has to settle for runner-up is because the last thirty seconds of the episode were no surprise. I already knew the show would be returning for season three. Granted, I have very little idea how Sherlock actually pulled off this astounding stunt (other than a nascent theory involving Molly), but we know that, somehow, someway, he did pull it off. When I’m supposed to be surprised and I’m not, I deduct points.

3. “A Study in Pink” (s. 1, ep. 1) — Where it all began, laying out the premise, putting all the pieces in starting positions, and setting the bar ridiculously high with an initial, disturbing stumper of a mystery. Tonally distinct, visually inventive, detail-oriented, funny, and enthralling.

4. “A Scandal in Belgravia” (s. 2, ep. 1) — For once, not only does Sherlock have to discern what the clues mean, he has to discern what the clues are. The Woman is such a formidable, superior Catwoman to Sherlock’s momentarily awkward Batman that I was a little disappointed that the solution to the locked MacGuffin phone depended on her being deep-down lovestruck. Otherwise, all performances were in top form, though Irene Adler’s risqué nature pushed the content boundaries a bit more than we’d expected.

5. “The Blind Banker” (s. 1, ep. 2) — Sherlock versus the Asian underworld, with a little help from British subculture and a little interference from Watson’s wish for a personal life. This would’ve been a very good episode of any other TV show, but the impersonal villain and the cutesy dating scenes felt inessential in the context of this series.

6. “The Hounds of Baskerville” (s. 2, ep. 2) — I would still call it good TV to an extent, particularly the scene in which an incensed Sherlock shows off to prove he’s still in control of his faculties, but it was the most predictable episode to date. Once you eliminate any possible supernatural causes on general Holmes-lit principle, the only remaining explanations possible for the demon dog are (1) the vulpine roomie from Being Human is a liar or a madman; (2) genetic tampering; or (3) hallucination. The excessively misty government property narrowed the possibilities for me fairly early into the episode. (If I was meant to think, “Oh, that’s just England for you!” it didn’t work.) The whodunit aspect also tipped its hand too early if you’ve seen too many mystery shows, which have taught us that the guest star who’s dying to be most helpful to Our Hero is almost always the guilty party. Sure enough, my wife and I had him pegged after his “chance” interruption of Watson’s drink-chat with the therapist. Alas, even the smartest kids in class are bound to trip from time to time.

The Internet says that Season 3 isn’t scheduled to begin production till January 2013, which means we have at least a year before my wife and I will be able to watch episodes as they air. Until then…well, we do have an option to keep us occupied. CBS’ new counter-interpretation of the Holmes milieu, Elementary, will premiere this Thursday evening, September 27th. Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu are the prettier, Americanized versions of the detective duo who’ll be plying their trade in New York City and presumably encountering their own special Moriarty in the months ahead, though the early publicity info has a dearth of other Doyle staples such as Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson.

A schedule conflict will prevent me from watching the premiere as it airs, but I’d like to see it for myself at some point — partly because watching new things is a fun source of writing prompts for me, but mostly because I’d like to judge it firsthand rather than dismissing it outright. I’m willing to grant the benefit of the doubt, though I take slight issue with apologists who defend it on the grounds that plenty of actors have performed their own interpretations of Hamlet and other famous characters without being beholden to other versions. Though this is true to an extent, you rarely have two versions of Hamlet being staged in the same city at the same time. Usually a bit more space is left between them so they can stand or fall on their own merits, rather than competing against one another for the same audience. Also, if Elementary turns out to be nothing more than CSI: English Accent, I’m definitely done with it.

CBS’ “Elementary” to Introduce Sherlock Holmes of Earth-2, Possibly Precipitate “Sherlock War” Crossover

Despite the objections of BBC fans, this fall CBS plans to air their own Sherlock Holmes series, Elementary. Starring Jonny Lee Miller as Our Hero and Lucy Liu as mandatory progressive Dr. Watson, the show promises some or all of the following:

The last time I watched a detective show with a British counterpart, whose American version was antsy and not entirely stable, it was Robert Pastorelli in Cracker. Other than introducing the world to young Josh Hartnett’s unkempt hair, it didn’t go over well. I’m curious enough that I might tune in for the pilot. I’m a fan of unlikely heroes with too much nervous energy to spare, but I hope the rest of the cast is given more to do than simply standing around slack-jawed and watching him do all the overacting.

Shocking confession time: despite recommendations from many smart people, I have yet to watch a single episode of the BBC’s renowned Sherlock. My wife and I keep forgetting we have BBC America, and I keep forgetting that season 1 is on DVD. The only excerpt I’ve watched in full is this one:

Frankly, I’m sold. I wish I could say I’m making an Amazon one-click purchase right now, but I have a vacation in two months that needs funded first, and my pre-existing backlog of unwatched DVDs weighs upon me with some shame. Maybe I can rank it at the top of my Christmas list.

%d bloggers like this: