|Unlike many superhero shows (and movies), Avengers|
|delivers characters whose behavior and arguments|
|arise naturally from their personalities and pasts.|
I love superhero movies! And I qualify as a Buffy/Angel fan although I prefer earlier seasons of both to later seasons. But the only other superhero show I've been able to watch all the way through is Lois & Clark (I'm discounting the superhero qualities of my favorite detectives.)
I enjoyed the first season of Flash very much despite hints of writing problems to come. I gave up on the second season of Flash around disc 4.
The problem is the same problem that dogs many superhero graphic novels (not all): the need to have stuff happen--for characters to do certain things--overwhelms character and plot integrity.
Barry feels guilty about the singularity and agrees with Dr. Wells/Harry Wells that going back in time is a bad idea.
Right up to the episode where he decides that it is absolutely necessary.
Zoom needs to be prevented from causing utter havoc on Earth 1!
Right up to the episode where Barry decides he has to go back and save Earth 2, opening up Earth 1 to Zoom's attacks.
Everyone agrees that Zoom needs to be taken out at all costs, and Barry believes it can be done!
Right up to the episode where Barry gives up his speed to the Zoom to save someone without a single person saying, "You know, Zoom is evil. I think it is okay if we double-cross him--just like it's okay to lie to serial killers when they are trying to kill you."
|Grant Gustin is a respectable actor and Jesse L. Martin is|
|phenomenal--unfortunately, the writers have Gustin do|
|remarkably dumb things as the Flash. Martin as Joe|
|West either has more clout or a better writer.|
In other words, superhero shows often seem to sink into the shaggy dog story pit of "we need to have the character suddenly want to do something that the character has shown no interest in doing before, so that's what will happen."
And it isn't even respectable shaggy dog storyness (see Lois & Clark) since the writers still demand that I take seriously a character who could be just about anybody tomorrow depending on the writers' needs (Lois & Clark simply wants me to have fun).
What makes this all so sad is that it is so easy to fix: if a season is going to include an episode where Barry goes back in time (again), why not have him ponder in an earlier episode, "Hey, I wonder if that really was such a bad idea? Maybe I could control the event better. I could even prevent what happened last time. Sure, Dr. Wells was against it, but he turned out to be evil."
|Cavanaugh as Wells in Season 2 is still fairly awesome--|
|unfortunately, his storyline no longer runs the season.|
Otherwise, Mr. Ends Justify the Means has become little better than the villains he fights. Which is a classic superhero problem except the writers don't want me to believe that the superhero of the week has fallen so far. The writers want to make their cake, eat it, then have it miraculously reform itself.
Interestingly enough, I think one reason Flash, Season 1 is so comparatively good is the use of Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) as the villain. The writers were forced to remain consistent to a character--and actor--whose behavior ran the entire season's arc. They had no choice but to retain character and story-line integrity. Consequently, the season is far superior to much superhero television. It's a pity it couldn't last.
But it does prove a basic truth: classic narrative rules are there for a reason. And holding a writer to those rules is the birth of creativity, not its death.