The Family: The Brotherhood
By Donte M McNeal

Based in Michigan, Donte's Playground is a blog by Donte M McNeal. His posts range from nonsensical ramblings about anime, in-depth reviews of books and television/film, to random spurts of philosophical babble.

What I'm Watching

What I'm Watching

Television shows have either picked back up in earnest or are just premiering, and it has been really good so far this year (and we’re only a couple of months in). I’m a big fan of dramas, and pretty people (hehe), so that means I watch a lot of the shows that The CW offers, including The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and The 100. All of them have been pretty good in their returns. I’ll be going into this assuming you all know about these shows.

Supergirl (Currently In 2nd Season)

The first season of Supergirl was ok, but it definitely could’ve been better. It never felt at home on the station it was on last year, but now that it has moved to the home of CW’s slate of DC shows, it feels like it’s where it belongs. Don’t get me wrong though: the cast performed well in their respective roles in the first season. I can’t praise Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl enough (I mean, she is that character). Still, there’s something about the show being on the CW that just takes these actor’s performances to another level. Melissa continues to bring it, the action has been upped, the special effects look much better, and the decision to do character-focused and emotion-driven plotlines is working for me.

Season two has been a season of new things. A new home for the show, new heroes and new relationships—whether I ship them or not. Superman showed up (something I never thought would happen on the show),

The Girl and Man of Steel

The Girl and Man of Steel

James is moonlighting as Guardian,

James as Guardian

James as Guardian

and Mon-El is becoming a hero in his own right. I never thought I’d buy James as a vigilante, but he’s surprised me as Guardian, and his fight scenes are some of the best the show has to offer. And seeing Winn come into his own as James’s partner as The Man in the Van, has been a treat. Even Mon-El wanting to become a hero is growing on me, despite him doing it only to stay close to Kara (and that scene where he confesses to this is an emotional one indeed!) My only gripe with this emergence of new heroes is Kara’s stance on James/Winn doing their part. Since they don’t have any powers, and could die if they make a mistake (she’s right about this), she feels they should leave the heroics to the super-powered individuals, and I almost agree with her. Almost.

She doesn’t have the right to dictate who is a hero and who isn’t. Just because someone is human or doesn’t have powers doesn’t mean that they can’t be a hero, and James says as much. But no, Supergirl isn’t hearing it, and in one of the more emotional scenes of the season (and show so far), these friends disagree, and possibly part ways because of Kara’s inability to see things James and Winn’s way, even though her boss thinks the two make a good team! Okay, I’m done whining.

The Flash (Currently in 3rd Season)

Ah, The Flash. It’s been one of my favorite CW shows because it refuses to shy away from its comic book roots; it dives head first into the weirdness that comes with being a show that revolves around characters with superpowers, be they good or bad, or something in between. This show has always handled character drama well, and this season has been no different. The beginning of the season saw a mini-adaptation of the best Flash story ever: Flashpoint.

Barry went back in time to save his mother from being killed and lived in that timeline for months. But, that wasn’t the way things were suppsed to go, and when you screw with time, it screws with you just as much. And so, changes to Barry’s life (and memories) are made, and while the DC TV universe doesn’t have access to all the characters in the comics, the shows in the Flarrowverse (Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and now Supergirl) were all affected—though not as drastically as the event in the comics. Still, the changes that occurred made for some changes in relationships that led to hard-hitting drama and character development. The Flash hasn’t disappointed me yet. . . well, apart from that little Zoom fiasco that we don’t talk about.

And Kid Flash is here, and it's awesome!

Arrow (Currently in 5th Season)

I’ll be honest. Arrow wasn’t that great last season. It lagged in a lot of places, but this year is looking up, thanks to more focus on character and less on magic. Arrow is best when it gets back to basics like it has this season . . . well, apart from the crossover with the other DC shows. Anyway, with Arrow focusing more on the team (whose new additions add much needed diversified skill sets),

Wild Dog, Mr. Terrific, Green Arrow, Spartan, Artemis, & Rag-Man

Wild Dog, Mr. Terrific, Green Arrow, Spartan, Artemis, & Rag-Man

and their problems (like the threatening Prometheus)

Prometheus

Prometheus

instead of, oh I don’t know, aliens or mystical forces, I’m able to enjoy the show like I was able to when it first started.

The 100

Okay, The 100 is probably the show I enjoy the most on the CW. It has everything I want in a show: Relatable characters, politics that aren't overbearing, violence, believable romances, and intense drama.

Oh, and pretty people. You know I gotta have my pretty peoples!

All kidding aside, he 100 s a great hour of television. The season premiere is the only episode out so far, but man, was it a crazy one! Clark is in trouble again, Octavia is being a badass again and there’s another impending world-ending threat. I won’t spoil anything, but if you haven’t watched it yet, do yourself a favor, stop reading, and go watch it. Now.

Honorable Mentions (Mostly)

Lucifer

I’m not all caught up on Lucifer because there are so many other shows I’m watching, not to mention anime, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen. The first season was great, and the second is better, which is saying something. I didn’t think I would be able to enjoy it any more than I did last season, but I like being proved wrong, and the 2nd season has done that. Kudos for that.

Shadowhunters

Whenever I see a book-to-anything adaptation, I can’t help but be excited. It gives a book I like, possibly loved (like the Mortal Instruments series this show is based off of), the chance to reach a new audience, and be explored in a whole other medium. However, as we all know, they don’t always turn out well. All we have to do is look at adaptations like The Host, Beautiful Creatures, The Giver or the more recent Divergent films. Shoot, in relation to this show, the film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, flopped in theaters. You can imagine my surprise when I learned they wanted to give the adaptation another go by way of a tv show (a much better choice than a film series in my opinion). I was so excited! Then I watched it.

It wasn’t what I expected, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Now, it wasn’t all bad. The cast they chose had the right look. I mean spot on. Then, they opened their mouths. The acting was so stale. I couldn’t even finish the season it was so wooden. That said, the actors have grown into their characters and from what I’ve seen of the second season, their acting is much better, the leads especially—though, the guy who plays Simon was always pretty good. I was happy to see that they’d grown as actors because I’d wanted the show to succeed. I loved the book series, so of course I wanted the show to do well. I’m glad it’s doing better. I’ve watched every episode this season, and plan to continue to follow it. Besides, how could I not want to keep looking at these people?

It’s a gosh darn smoke show!

 

My Time With The Witcher 3 (so far)

My Time With The Witcher 3 (so far)

Winter 2017 Anime: 1st Impressions

Winter 2017 Anime: 1st Impressions