Tag Archives: Arrow

Monday Madness: Favorite Christmas Episode

It’s hard to believe Christmas will be here in about a week! One of my favorite parts of the season are the awesome holiday episodes shows put out, and now it’s your turn to vote for your favorites! I purposely saved this poll for right before Christmas so I could add in some of 2012’s holiday episodes.

Fans have used Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, forums, Reddit, Pinterest, blogs, and chatboxes to get the word out about past polls. Our toolbar at the bottom of the page has lots of quick links to help you share this post, or you can mouse over the image above!

I know I’m missing some of your favorite Christmas episodes, so feel free to nominate more episodes on our Facebook page, tweeting me at @waterfallbooks, or by leaving a comment below. Please include both the show and episode name, and yes, you can nominate this year’s holiday episodes! (Be sure to stick with live-action, scripted shows, though it’s fine if just this one episode has some animation, like with a certain Community episode.) Please only nominate Christmas episodes that are part of a regular show, not one-off specials like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or movie-related specials like “Shrek the Halls.”

Without further ado, vote for up to fifteen of the episodes below! Poll will close Sunday night, December 23rd, giving you one week to spread the word!

What's your favorite Christmas episode? (Choose up to 15!)

  • Leverage - The Ho Ho Ho Job (56%, 154 Votes)
  • Supernatural - A Very Supernatural Christmas (28%, 76 Votes)
  • Doctor Who - The Christmas Invasion (16%, 43 Votes)
  • Doctor Who - Voyage of the Damned (13%, 35 Votes)
  • Doctor Who - A Christmas Carol (13%, 35 Votes)
  • Doctor Who - The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe (12%, 34 Votes)
  • The Big Bang Theory - The Bath Gift Item Hypothesis (11%, 31 Votes)
  • Psych - Gus's Dad May Have Killed an Old Guy (9%, 26 Votes)
  • Bones - The Man in the Fallout Shelter (9%, 24 Votes)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Amends (9%, 24 Votes)
  • How I Met Your Mother - How Lily Stole Christmas (8%, 23 Votes)
  • The Big Bang Theory - The Santa Simulation (8%, 22 Votes)
  • Castle - Secret Santa (8%, 21 Votes)
  • NCIS - Faith (7%, 20 Votes)
  • NCIS - Newborn King (7%, 19 Votes)
  • Bones - The Santa in the Slush (7%, 19 Votes)
  • Friends - The One With the Holiday Armadillo (7%, 18 Votes)
  • NCIS - Silent Night (6%, 17 Votes)
  • Psych - Christmas Joy (6%, 17 Votes)
  • How I Met Your Mother - Symphony of Illumination (6%, 16 Votes)
  • The Vampire Diaries - O Come, All Ye Faithful (5%, 15 Votes)
  • Community - Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas (5%, 14 Votes)
  • New Girl - Santa (5%, 14 Votes)
  • Psych - The Polarizing Express (5%, 14 Votes)
  • Community - Regional Holiday Music (5%, 13 Votes)
  • Community - Comparative Religion (5%, 13 Votes)
  • Eureka - O Little Town (4%, 12 Votes)
  • Warehouse 13 - Secret Santa (4%, 12 Votes)
  • Eureka - Do You See What I See (4%, 12 Votes)
  • Warehouse 13 - The Greatest Gift (4%, 12 Votes)
  • Arrow - Year's End (4%, 11 Votes)
  • Chuck - Chuck vs Santa Claus (4%, 11 Votes)
  • Veronica Mars - An Echolls Family Christmas (4%, 10 Votes)
  • House - It's a Wonderful Lie (4%, 10 Votes)
  • The OC - The Best Chrismukkah Ever (3%, 9 Votes)
  • Glee - A Very Glee Christmas (3%, 9 Votes)
  • The X-Files - How the Ghosts Stole Christmas (3%, 8 Votes)
  • M*A*S*H - Death Takes a Holiday (3%, 8 Votes)
  • The West Wing - In Excelsis Deo (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Seinfeld - Festivus (2%, 5 Votes)
  • The Office - Dwight Christmas (2%, 5 Votes)
  • The Office - A Benihana Christmas (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Go On - The World Ain't Over 'Til It's Over (1%, 4 Votes)
  • The Office - Christmas Wishes (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Monk - Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa (1%, 4 Votes)
  • The Mindy Project - Josh and Mindy's Christmas Party (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Suburgatory - Krampus (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Smallville - Lexmas (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Monk - Mr. Monk and the Miracle (1%, 3 Votes)
  • The Neighbors - Merry Crap-mas (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Guys With Kids - Christmas (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 276

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Best TV Show Flashbacks Poll

Which TV show has the best flashbacks? That’s the question you get to answer in this week’s poll! Flashbacks add depth to current storylines and allow us to understand characters’ motivations, and range from heartrending to hilarious.

You can nominate shows missing from the poll below, but be sure the show has a significant amount of flashbacks to be included. The show should have a minimum of two episodes with a large portion of the episode as flashback, preferably more, and they should have some impact on the story/characters (a brief explanation would be appreciated!).  I’ve added some flashback explanations to a few of the shows in the poll, but they are to jog your memory, not represent every flashback in the show. (One more note – I’ve put Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as one option since their flashbacks revolve around the same characters for the most part.)

Fans have used Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, forums, Reddit, Pinterest, blogs, and chatboxes to get the word out about past polls. Our toolbar at the bottom of the page has lots of quick links to help you share this post, or you can mouse over the image above!

Our next poll will be favorite Christmas episodes! Feel free to nominate episodes on our Facebook page, tweeting me at @waterfallbooks, or by leaving a comment below. Please include both the show and episode name, and yes, you can nominate this year’s holiday episodes!

Without further ado, choose up to ten of the shows below, but be sure to vote based on how awesome the flashbacks are! Poll will close Friday night, December 15th, giving you about a week and a half to spread the word!

Which TV show has the best flashbacks? (Choose up to 10!)

  • Once Upon a Time (Fairy Tale Land) (29%, 121 Votes)
  • Leverage (recreated past stories) (25%, 105 Votes)
  • How I Met Your Mother (Robin Sparkles, hippie Barney, college Ted, Marshall, and Lily) (24%, 102 Votes)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel (pasts of Darla, Angel, Drusilla, and Spike) (22%, 91 Votes)
  • Supernatural (19%, 78 Votes)
  • The Vampire Diaries (pasts of Damon, Stefan, Katherine, and Klaus) (17%, 71 Votes)
  • Psych (17%, 70 Votes)
  • Lost (13%, 53 Votes)
  • Friends (11%, 48 Votes)
  • Arrow (scenes on the island) (10%, 43 Votes)
  • Person of Interest (10%, 42 Votes)
  • NCIS (Gibbs' and Tony's pasts) (9%, 39 Votes)
  • White Collar (8%, 32 Votes)
  • Criminal Minds (6%, 27 Votes)
  • True Blood (5%, 22 Votes)
  • Pushing Daisies (5%, 20 Votes)
  • Nikita (3%, 14 Votes)
  • Highlander (3%, 13 Votes)
  • Being Human (BBC) (3%, 11 Votes)
  • Revolution (2%, 9 Votes)
  • Being Human (Syfy) (2%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 421

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Update – here are some pics I’ve edited to promote the poll! Now you have additional images you can pin on Pinterest, or you can share them on Tumblr, Facebook, and more! I’m working on getting more for the other shows, but you can help out by creating your own!

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Arrow – Muse of Fire

After a week without Arrow, it was great having the show back, though the previews and sneak peaks and rumors did build “Muse of Fire” up a little too much in my mind. I loved the episode, though, and it included some great reveals and character moments, as well as awesome fighting scenes. Plus this week, apart from the intro, there were no flashbacks to the island (if memory serves me right, this is the first episode without them).

Spoilers ahead!

That omission gave the episode extra time to introduce a new character and love interest for Arrow. The Huntress was announced early this fall, and finding out her backstory (mob boss’s daughter trying to take down the organization) nullified any surprise reveals. I did like that she was the one informing on her dad to the FBI, not her fiance, who the dad had killed for the crime – at least she tried to take down her dad through proper channels before resorting to being a vigilante.

Her current methods leave something to be desired, especially since her aim isn’t that great. Shooting a guy in broad daylight and almost killing Oliver’s mom? Not good. I’m surprised Oliver seemed to forget all about that once he realized the shooter was Helena (I wonder how long it will take before I don’t think of H.G. Wells from Warehouse 13 every time I hear her name?), but I can see how he’d want someone to be himself with. Yeah, he has Diggle, but most of the time Dig disapproves of every move Oliver makes (I keep wanting to call him “Judge-y,” like Damon does Bonnie in The Vampire Diaries). Helena seems to lead too far in the other direction, but maybe she’ll wake Oliver up to his own moral values – if she doesn’t pull him down along with her.

I really enjoyed Tommy’s story this episode. Arriving at the same time as the pizza guy was great. I also liked him telling Oliver about going on a date with Laurel (and thankfully they didn’t do that cliche both-couples-end-up-at-same-restaurant thing) and Oliver’s response: “If you hurt her, I will snap your neck.” Pause. “Just kidding.” And Tommy saying he wished he could start over again with Laurel was sweet. I like the two of them together. I’m guessing Oliver and Laurel will eventually end up together, but I imagine that’s many seasons down the road.

And then there was the big reveal of the episode: John Barrowman’s mysteriously evil guy is none other than – Tommy’s father! I did not see that coming, though I did recognize his voice before he took his fencing mask off. No wonder he had no qualms about coming right into the Queen house and letting Thea see him – their families have been friends for decades. Now I can only hope that the senior Merlyn is enough of a bad guy to be the comic book villain, while Tommy can be more of a redeemable character.

Thea is still being a very uneven character. I loved her telling Oliver about his lunch plans and him teasing her for being like their mother. But her anger at him for leaving Moira after the shooting to chase down the shooter felt forced. Yeah, it’s not what Thea would have done, but she should have understood her brother’s need to catch the person who did it. It did lead to a nice mother-daughter talk, and Thea apologized to Oliver later. I just wish Thea would settle on a role toward Oliver, staunch supporter or disappointed sister. Maybe the writers are figuring that the drugs and alcohol have given her violent mood swings?

This episode also showed Moira in a better light – more soft and vulnerable. Mr. Merlyn coming into her room like that when she was hurt was creepy. I’m so glad Walter’s back, though. And does that mean we’ll see more Felicity? I hope so.

We did get one unexpected visit from a reoccurring character this week – China White! Sounds like a war is brewing between the mob and the Triads. And Laurel’s dad visited Oliver to begrudgingly warn him about Helena – though if I were him, I’d still be a little suspicious about Oliver being at the same place where Arrow fought not much later. I felt bad for the restaurant owners – they seemed like a sweet couple – and I was glad both Arrow and the Huntress showed up to defend them (though of course, they got a little too preoccupied with fighting each other instead).

And Tahmoh Penikett was on this episode! Though he really needs to find a gig where he isn’t the villain, getting killed off within an episode or two. He was awesome as Paul Ballard on Dollhouse.

Oh, and bonus points? This episode exactly matched the 18-49 ratings from the premiere! I love that the viewership for this show is so solid – hopefully it will be around for many seasons!

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Favorite TV Couples Ultimate Showdown

Back when we did our favorite TV couples polls (with realistic and speculative divisions) last spring, I promised that in the fall, we’d have the winners from those polls face each other in an ultimate showdown. Friends, that time is now. The top 20 couples in each of the two polls have joined together with 10 newbie wild card competitors to determine which couples are truly TV’s top 10!

Since this poll will take place over Thanksgiving (for us Americans), I’ll keep the poll open through the end of the month, giving you a full 15 days to get the word out for your favorite couples. You can vote for up to 10 couples, but choose carefully, as you only get to vote once! (Oh, and be sure to enter our Friends giveaway!)

Unlike most of our polls, you can’t nominate other couples, since this is based on the results of two previous polls. Even for our ten wild card additions, I only choose couples that did not appear in the previous polls. Some were overlooked, some are newer shows or newer couples, but I chose 5 from speculative shows and 5 from shows without speculative elements: Brad and Jane from Happy Endings, Nick and Jess from New Girl, Auggie and Annie from Covert Affairs, Troy and Britta from Community, Daniel and Kate from Perception, Oliver and Laurel from Arrow, John and Rachel from Alphas, Fargo and Holly from Eureka, Nathan and Audrey from Haven, and Adama and Roslin from Battlestar Galactica.

Fans have used Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, forums, Reddit, Pinterest, blogs, and chatboxes to get the word out about past polls. Our toolbar at the bottom of the page has lots of quick links to help you share this post, or you can mouse over the image above!

Without further ado, choose your favorite 10 out of the 50 couples below! Poll will close Friday night, November 30th.

Which is your favorite TV couple? (Choose up to 10!)

  • Castle and Beckett (Castle) (29%, 1,283 Votes)
  • Tony and Ziva (NCIS) (26%, 1,160 Votes)
  • Elena and Damon (The Vampire Diaries) (15%, 680 Votes)
  • Derek and Meredith (Grey's Anatomy) (14%, 621 Votes)
  • Arthur and Gwen (Merlin) (13%, 555 Votes)
  • Scully and Mulder (The X-Files) (12%, 517 Votes)
  • Booth and Brennan (Bones) (11%, 474 Votes)
  • The Doctor and Rose (Doctor Who) (10%, 462 Votes)
  • McGee and Abby (NCIS) (10%, 461 Votes)
  • Barney and Robin (How I Met Your Mother) (9%, 398 Votes)
  • Chandler and Monica (Friends) (9%, 389 Votes)
  • Kensi and Deeks (NCIS: Los Angeles) (9%, 387 Votes)
  • Luke and Lorelai (Gilmore Girls) (7%, 330 Votes)
  • Rachel and Ross (Friends) (7%, 311 Votes)
  • Charming and Snow (Once Upon a Time) (7%, 304 Votes)
  • Marshall and Lily (How I Met Your Mother) (6%, 276 Votes)
  • Hodgins and Angela (Bones) (6%, 273 Votes)
  • Buffy and Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) (6%, 265 Votes)
  • Nick and Jess (New Girl) (6%, 262 Votes)
  • Leonard and Penny (The Big Bang Theory) (6%, 244 Votes)
  • Peter and Olivia (Fringe) (5%, 240 Votes)
  • Chuck and Sarah (Chuck) (5%, 238 Votes)
  • Wash and Zoe (Firefly) (5%, 232 Votes)
  • Peter and Elizabeth (White Collar) (5%, 231 Votes)
  • Mal and Inara (Firefly) (5%, 227 Votes)
  • Leo and Piper (Charmed) (5%, 223 Votes)
  • Rumpelstiltskin and Belle (Once Upon a Time) (5%, 217 Votes)
  • Auggie and Annie (Covert Affairs) (5%, 206 Votes)
  • Sheldon and Amy (The Big Bang Theory) (4%, 192 Votes)
  • Buffy and Angel (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) (4%, 188 Votes)
  • Shawn and Juliet (Psych) (4%, 175 Votes)
  • Emma and Graham (Once Upon a Time) (4%, 170 Votes)
  • Michael and Fiona (Burn Notice) (4%, 169 Votes)
  • Adama and Roslin (Battlestar Galactica) (4%, 166 Votes)
  • Eric and Sookie (True Blood) (4%, 166 Votes)
  • Eric and Nell (NCIS: Los Angeles) (4%, 164 Votes)
  • Elena and Stefan (The Vampire Diaries) (4%, 163 Votes)
  • Simon and Kaylee (Firefly) (3%, 144 Votes)
  • Cole and Phoebe (Charmed) (3%, 138 Votes)
  • Willow and Oz (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) (3%, 114 Votes)
  • John and Mary (Supernatural) (2%, 104 Votes)
  • Ned and Chuck (Pushing Daisies) (2%, 97 Votes)
  • Nathan and Audrey (Haven) (2%, 89 Votes)
  • Oliver and Laurel (Arrow) (2%, 85 Votes)
  • Ellie and Awesome (Chuck) (2%, 74 Votes)
  • Troy and Britta (Community) (1%, 53 Votes)
  • Brad and Jane (Happy Endings) (1%, 43 Votes)
  • Daniel and Kate (Perception) (1%, 27 Votes)
  • Fargo and Holly (Eureka) (1%, 26 Votes)
  • John and Rachel (Alphas) (0%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,413

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Arrow – Legacies

Maybe it was just the fact that the video kept stuttering as I tried to watch this episode, but “Legacies” didn’t pull me into the world of Arrow as easily as the other episodes did.

Our time on the island was pretty limited this week, and almost all of it was a hallucination/dream Oliver had of his father while trapped in the cave. I wish we could have seen more of Mr. Queen before the shipwreck, to see the father/son connection that is driving Oliver so strongly to fulfill his father’s dying wish. The one real thing we got from the flashback was Oliver figuring out that the blank book wasn’t really blank.

This week, it was Diggle who picked the bad guys to take down – the bank-robbing Royal Flush Gang, who just shot a cop during their latest heist. Oliver was a bit reluctant to deveate from his father’s list, but once he found out (with Felicity’s help – I can’t wait until she becomes a full-fledged member of Oliver’s inner circle) that his father’s decision to close a plant caused the family of four to turn to crime, he was determined to make things right. I recognized the father/leader (Currie Graham) from his guest appearances on NCIS: Los Angeles, Grimm, and Castle, but the hotheaded son (Kyle Schmid) was even more familiar, having played Henry on the North American Being Human; he also stars in Copper.

I enjoyed the steps that Oliver took to reconnect with his mother, even though they were a bit cliche – always being pulled away at the worst time, and rich folks slumming it at a burger joint. I did love Oliver and Thea’s reaction to the visit of the “perfect kid” from their growing up years – and it was cool to see Alphas’ Warren Christie again.

We finally got to see more Tommy in this episode, and two things were tackled head-on: he’s going to do his best to be worthy of Laurel, and Thea has a huge crush on him, while he only views her as a kid sister. Though I really like Tommy and Thea together, I can’t help feeling she needs someone a bit more steady to help tame her wild ways, like Diggle. I do love how all of the characters seem to come to Thea for relationship advice.

In all, I’m enjoying how the show is settling in, and I look forward to Oliver’s progression from vigilante to hero.

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Arrow – Damaged

After several insane episodes and a crazy cliffhanger on the last one, I knew Arrow would have to slow down the pace at some point, and this episode was it. But it still was filled with many awesome character moments, even if the coolest action scenes took place 5 years ago on the island.

Spoilers below!

And the island is where this episode started, even though I was dying to find out what would happen after Oliver’s arrest last episode. Oliver steps away for one minute from his island mentor (to retrieve his first poorly-shot arrow – cool that we got to see that) and is captured. He’s questioned by an officer and answers honestly, until the man pulls out a photo of his mentor in military dress and asks if Oliver’s seen him and where he is. Oliver lies (badly), and keeps up the charade of not knowing the guy, even when Deathstroke shows up and starts torturing him. I’m not sure how long it’s been since the shipwreck (Oliver’s hair still looks mostly the same, so I’m guessing only a few weeks), but that’s an amazing amount of loyalty to show for a guy who shot an arrow through your chest. The mentor comes in and rescues Oliver (with a cool fight with Deathstroke) just as the bad guys decide he probably doesn’t know anything and can be killed. The archer is suitably impressed by Oliver not ratting him out, and says there’s more to Oliver than he thought.

The flashbacks neatly parallel Oliver’s present-day arrest and interrogation. He claims he just saw the bag and took it, and that Quentin just has a personal vendetta against him. He asks his mother to request Laurel as his lawyer. Laurel at first refuses, but shows up at his arraignment and gets him out on bail, with a tracking anklet.

Diggle is freaking out (in his calm way) about the arrest, but Oliver tells him he knew about the security camera and was planning to get arrested. The timing of Arrow’s appearance with his return would eventually lead people to figure out who he was, so better to remove himself as a suspect now. To clear his name, he has a plan – let Dig dress up as Arrow and stop an arms dealer while Oliver hosts a “prison party” with plenty of witnesses. It was so fun watching Dig explore all of the cool gadgets in Oliver’s lair!

Oliver and Laurel meet with Quentin and the prosecutor, who offers an insanity plea deal based on Oliver being on the island for so long. Oliver refuses, saying he wants to take a polygraph and convince Quentin of his innocence. The polygraph scene was one of my favorites in the episode, especially since we got to see Laurel’s reaction to Oliver’s answers. Oliver tells Quentin he’s not the vigilante and lies about a few other things surrounding that, but is able to act like he’s telling the truth. Quentin then confronts him with discrepancy between his scars and being alone on the island, and Oliver confesses that he wasn’t alone, but he didn’t want to talk about it, because the people there tortured him. When Quentin asks if he’s killed anyone, Oliver says yes – “Your daughter, Sarah, because I invited her onto my boat.”

Before the party, Thea questions Oliver about the arrowhead he brought back for her, thinking that indicates he’s really the vigilante. Oliver assures her he isn’t, and lies and says he got the arrowhead at an airport gift shop. Meanwhile, their mom and stepdad are dealing with their own issues. Moira assures unnamed-dude-played-by-John-Barrowman (I’ve finally gotten to a few of his episodes on Doctor Who, so I can now see why people are excited that he’s on the show! Also, if they’re going to all this trouble to hide his name, I’m guessing he’ll end up being a significant character from the comics?) that Oliver has been falsely accused. Walter has his head of security move the damaged boat to a different warehouse, but the man turns up dead.

Laurel shows up at the party to apologize for her father. I’ve only been able to pick up a little about the Black Canary from people talking about the comics, but there appears to be two references in this scene. One, she mentions annoying fishnets in one of her Halloween costumes, which are part of the Black Canary’s traditional attire. Two, she talks about how after Sarah died, she and her father retreated to the law while her mother didn’t. In the comics, her mom is the original Black Canary – could this be a hint that the show plans to include that?

Those who were complaining about the chemistry between Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy in the pilot should really watch this scene and the one a little later on. I’m so glad to be right that it would get better (since I’d seen the spark they shared during interviews)! The mix of anger, feigned indifference, attraction, friendship, and sadness Laurel is supposed to feel at any given moment toward Oliver must be a struggle to get right.

Laurel admits, in all her mourning for Sarah, she didn’t think about what Oliver went through on the island. She asks to see his scars and they kiss for a few moments before she bolts out of the room. Diggle calls to report scaring off the bad guys, and Oliver is interrupted by a man, dressed as staff for the party, knocking on his door. He opens it and the man tries to shoot him. They fight, and in the middle Quentin comes in and shoots the guy.

Walter confronts Moira with knowledge of the ship and seems to think she’s behind the head of security’s death. We don’t see the end of their conversation. It’s not clear whether it was interrupted by news of the attack on Oliver, but in a later scene, Walter informs Moira that he’s leaving on an extended business trip to Australia.

Quentin explains that the fight knocked Oliver’s anklet loose, which is why he came up to check on him. Also, he says several witnesses spotted Arrow in another part of town, so he removes the anklet completely and says they’ll be dropping the charges. He doesn’t know who Oliver’s attacker was, but Moira insists that it’s Quentin’s fault for arresting Oliver publicly and putting a target on his back for everyone angry with the vigilante. Oliver thanks Quentin for saving his life.

Moira goes to John Barrowman, and it’s pretty clear he’s calling the shots (so I might have been wrong about Moira being coldblooded – perhaps she found out about the sabotaged boat after the fact? I couldn’t find an exact quote of the earlier conversation). He was the one who killed the head of security and tried to have Oliver killed. Moira tells him she’s been a “good soldier” (is he blackmailing her to keep the same arrangement he had with her late husband?), but, “if any member of my family so much as gets a paper cut, I will burn your entire world to ashes.”

Laurel comes to Oliver with the final polygraph results. There’s a slight waver on the question about whether he’d ever been at the prison (where he rescued Laurel), and she wonders if he remembered their field trip there as teens, or if he’s able to lie well enough to beat a polygraph. Oliver tells her he doesn’t want people to view him as damaged, but he doesn’t sleep, he barely eats, and he can hardly sign his own name – how could he wield a bow and arrow? She tells him that they’re still obviously attracted to each other, but they can never be together. (Cue seasons-long will they/won’t they drama.)

Dig is upset that Oliver’s lying to everyone so easily, and wonders if he really thought through this aspect of his mission – deceiving every one he cares about. Oliver assures him that he thinks about it every day – and heads to take out the arms dealer, who didn’t heed Diggle’s warning. But I’m guessing both Laurel and Thea still aren’t fully convinced that Oliver isn’t Arrow. It’s going to be a lot harder for him to tell anyone else now – it’s one thing to have a secret identity, it’s another to outright deny accusations and purposely mislead, and those who find out will have to get over feeling somewhat betrayed first.

As I said, this was a great episode, even if it lacked jaw-dropping moments like the previous ones had. I’m sad to see Walter go (for a bit at least) – I liked his character more than I expected. I missed Felicity in this episode, and we’ve seen far too little of Tommy lately.

What are your thoughts on the episode?

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Arrow – An Innocent Man

Wow. With this week’s episode, I was shocked once again by how fast things are progressing on Arrow. I love that the writers are letting this show’s characters be intelligent, and are using that to drive the plot. A procedural drama this is not.

Spoilers below!

I’ll admit that a few moments of this episode made me wince. The opening had both an extended intro and previously on section that felt way too long (though that is a good way for anyone who hadn’t seen the first three episodes to get caught up – I just hope they don’t feel the need to do that every episode). A few too-grandiose statements are made by both Oliver and Laurel that don’t fit the scenes or the characters. Laurel seems to buy Arrow as a good guy way too fast (and then change her mind just as suddenly).

During the scene where Arrow drops off the info about the supervisor lying, and Laurel is making another cringe-worthy statement, I checked to see how much time I had left – and realized the episode was only halfway through. And therein lies this show’s brilliance. They were making me think the whole point of the episode was to get Laurel to appreciate Arrow, when that was only the setup for the real meat of the episode – how killing changes you, and changes others’ perception of you.

I loved that Laurel got some scenes with Oliver-as-Arrow in “An Innocent Man.” I was ready for her to recognize him at any moment, though I knew it wasn’t likely for another character to find out who he was so soon after the reveal to Diggle. Even so, when her eyes widened in shock after stopping him from killing the man who had attacked her, I thought for sure she realized it was Oliver. Instead, she’d only seen the coldness in his eyes, ruining whatever good opinion of him she’d previously had.

The main plot of this episode was a little tenuous, but took some cool turns. Oliver seemed to believe Peter Declan’s innocence a little too quickly. Not every person working for a corporation with an evil CEO who dies under suspicious circumstances was killed by order of the evil CEO (no matter how often it happens on TV shows). But with the time crunch, maybe Oliver just went with his gut.

I truly thought the judge would stay the execution after the new evidence showed up, but perhaps it was too peripheral, or the evil CEO bribed the judge. Staging a prison riot was an interesting way of getting rid an annoying lawyer. A guard uniform and a ski mask were almost laughable with the bow and arrows, but at least Oliver didn’t have to keep turning his head to keep Laurel from seeing his face.

In addition to the main plot of saving Peter’s life (and later Laurel’s too), there were tons of other things going on in this episode. Thea was actually likable after being such a brat last episode (seems switch back and forth in every episode with her). I love her directness with her brother, the fact that he took her advice, and her glee over him actually smiling. Plus, her saying, “I got mad relationship skills, bro” was just about perfect. She’s shaping up to be this show’s Claudia (Warehouse 13).

Mama Queen is still being evil, meeting with one of her cohorts, who is played by John Barrowman (I haven’t seen Torchwood, but fans seemed pretty excited about this, so I figured I’d mention it!). He’s figured out that Arrow is taking down everyone on the list. Meanwhile, Walter is suspicious of missing millions in an account and Moira’s explanation for it, so he asks Felicity to look into it (she hilariously believes she’s getting fired) and that leads him to a warehouse hiding the destroyed yacht.

Diggle reacts to Oliver’s reveal of himself as Arrow by attacking the man who just saved his life. Oliver tries to explain what he’s doing, but Dig calls him a criminal and a murderer (and in the next scene, Laurel yells at him too. Not Oliver’s best day). He resigns as Oliver’s bodyguard, but Oliver shows up at his sister-in-law’s restaurant to share a few more details: the list his father gave him, the fact that his father shot himself to keep Oliver alive, and that he just took out his brother’s murderer. (Bonus: the replacement bodyguard is humorously inept.) Dig decides to join Oliver on his mission, but not as a sidekick, more of a moral compass and support (perhaps the Tuck to Ollie’s Robin Hood?).

Quentin Lance didn’t get many scenes in this episode, but they’re doozies. He gives Laurel some details about the case, and when one of those details is used by Arrow for the first attempt at delaying the execution, he confronts Laurel about helping a criminal. After Laurel gets out of the prison, she shares with her dad the lack of remorse she saw in Arrow’s eyes, and how it confirmed what her dad had been trying to tell her: the hooded vigilante isn’t a do-gooder, but a stone cold killer. Oliver’s face as he heard the conversation from a nearby roof almost made me cry.

Laurel mentions the new getup Arrow was sporting, and that gives Quentin an idea. He combs through the footage of last episode’s shooting, looking not just for Arrow, but anything out of the ordinary – and spots Oliver Queen running up stairs and grabbing stuff out of a trash can. Just as Dig joins Oliver’s cause, the police arrive and arrest the castaway on suspicion of being Arrow.

That ending completely blew me away. I have no idea how Oliver’s going to get out of this mess, but it’s brilliant that the show plans to deal with Oliver and Arrow showing up at the same time right away. It lets the police seem smart, but Oliver gets to show that he’s even smarter. Plus the previews for next week look amazing!

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Arrow – Lone Gunmen

I’ll admit, I braced myself a bit for this episode. Arrow couldn’t keep being this awesome three weeks a row, right? Wrong. This episode was just as good as the first two, and maybe even a little better. One distinctive way the show is improving: the voiceover didn’t annoy me. Not once.

Spoilers below!

In addition to our villain of the week, Deadshot, we get a new reoccurring character, Felicity Smoak (pictured above), played by Emily Bett Rickards. She’s an IT whiz whom IMDb says will be in at least 4 more episodes this year. Smart, funny, and a compulsive babbler? I approve.

Deadshot is a methodical sniper who poisons his bullets and tattoos the names of his victims onto his body. We get a glimpse of the name “Andrew Diggle” on his body and find out later in the episode that Dig’s brother is dead. Doubt that’s a coincidence. Also, that makes him less likely to be a one-episode villain, so did Oliver’s arrow actually kill him? We saw it go through his monocle-like scope, but could that have slowed the arrow down enough so it only would destroy his eye, not kill him?

Okay, Thea spilling the beans about Tommy and Laurel to get back at Oliver was not cool. And she didn’t even apologize later (was she so wasted she didn’t remember?)! And right after that sucker punch, Oliver comes across the club owner (who hates him) and gets actually punched. I love that Tommy stood up to the bouncers in defense of Oliver even though he knew he didn’t stand a chance. And Laurel coming to their rescue with her “self-defense class” moves (yeah, right) was priceless. I also liked how she knew Oliver well enough to figure out he already knew about her and Tommy. Much as I like Oliver and Laurel together, in this episode I preferred the Laurel/Tommy pairing.

We get some more island flashbacks in this episode, where the hooded man who shot Oliver cares for him and insists he only shot him to save him. Oliver isn’t buying that, of course, and runs when he gets the opportunity, only to be caught in a trap. The hooded man cuts him down, and later we see heavily-armed men checking out the trap. So far, aside from Oliver’s rescue off the island, the flashback clips seem to be relatively chronological – I’m wondering if that will continue.

I think Oliver’s idea to build a club over his lair is the perfect cover – but he’d better make it really hard to get into the basement. Because anyone who sees blueprints for the building is going to know there is a basement down there. I also loved that Quentin Lance actually took Arrow’s advice about Deadshot’s planned attack. Yes, it made sense that other auction bidders would be targeted, but hopefully it’s a step in the right direction toward a begrudging partnership between the detective and the vigilante.

And wow, the ending! Dig runs after Oliver (after seeing his mom and little sister to safety as requested), only to get hit by a stray bullet as the archer and hit man fight. Arrow takes him back to his lair to get the herbs that he’d already used as an antidote when he’d been the one struck by a poisoned bullet early in the episode. When Diggle wakes up, Oliver is standing there in full Arrow gear, sans hood. He greets his bodyguard with a simple, “Hey,” and the episode ends.

While it’s surprising that Oliver revealed his vigilante alter-ego so early in the show, I think it’s more of a testament to Dig’s skills and keen eye. Oliver wasn’t going to be able to keep his secret for much longer with how well Dig did his job. So rather than make Dig seem unintelligent, the writers have set things up for him to be a valuable ally.

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Renew/Cancel News: Arrow Gets Full Season, More Episodes for New Girl and Raising Hope, More Scripts for Beauty and Emily Owens, Baldwin Gets a Pilot

Lots of TV news today! After airing only two episodes, Arrow has been picked up for a full season (additional “back nine” episodes ordered). Fellow CW newbies Beauty and the Beast and Emily Owens, MD have been given three additional script orders.

Fox has given two additional episode orders to both New Girl and Raising Hope, bringing their totals to 24. This could be a likely indication that Ben and Kate, which has a shortened full season order of 19 episodes, could be replaced by fellow sibling comedy The Goodwin Games at midseason (probably late winter or spring).

In cable news, Homeland has been renewed for a third season, and BBC America’s Copper has been picked up for season two. Titus Welliver has dropped out of the TNT pilot The Last Ship, and Adam Baldwin (Chuck, Firefly) has been tapped to replace him. Baldwin will play second-in-command to Eric Dane (Grey’s Anatomy). The Last Ship features the crew of a naval destroyer after most of the earth’s population has been destroyed by a global catastrophe.

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Fall TV Verdicts – 2012

Just about all of broadcast TV’s new fall shows have aired at least two episodes now, so I think it’s time for a look at which ones soared, which ones got off to a rough start, and which ones nosedived. I’m dividing this list up into several groups so you can get an idea of what my preferences and interest levels were going in.

Shows I Haven’t Seen and Never Plan To:

Out of the 20 new shows that have debuted so far, the list of those I haven’t seen is pretty small: 7. I hate country music, so Nashville was out. The rest (Made In Jersey, The Mob Doctor, Partners, Emily Owens MD, Chicago Fire, and Vegas) I wasn’t interested in for one reason or another. One is already canceled, two more aren’t far behind, and none of the seven shows has been a breakout hit. I feel pretty happy with my choice not to watch them, and expect maybe 1-2 to reach a second season (not holding my breath, though).

Shows I Never Planned to Watch but Did See the Pilot:

For two shows, I checked out the pilots knowing I’d never commit to watching the show. It was easy to tell from the previews that 666 Park Avenue wasn’t my type of show, but I had a chance to watch the pilot early as a TV blogger, so I tried it out. It seemed well done, but I didn’t enjoy it. The New Normal I watched out of a morbid curiosity to see how awful it would be, and aside from one or two heartfelt moments, it was utterly terrible. I didn’t laugh once.

Comedies I Thought Would Be Awful but Didn’t Mind:

Another show I got a chance to watch early was The Neighbors, which wasn’t as terrible as the previews made it out to be. I’ve seen the first two episodes, and might watch more if I’m caught up on most of my other shows and in the mood for a comedy. Guys With Kids I didn’t intend to see, by my siblings said it was pretty good, so I watched a few episodes. Both shows are more family-oriented comedies, which usually bore me, and I don’t really laugh during them, but I like having extra comedy shows to watch on dreary days.

Comedies I Like but Wouldn’t Cry Over Their Cancellation:

Every new comedy not in the above lists fits in this section. Many of them are great, but I haven’t gotten attached to any comedies so far this season. That’s probably a good thing, as Animal Practice has already been canceled. Go On is probably the best of the lot, and I expect it will return for a second season, but The Mindy Project (my pilot review here) and Ben and Kate (pilot review here) are far from out of danger despite their full-season orders. These shows are heartwarming and humorous, but they’re not laugh out loud funny. Plus, none of the characters grip me in that “I would hate to see them go” way. It could come with time, and I’ll keep watching these shows until they get terrible or get canceled.

Dramas That Didn’t Wow Me In Their First Two Episodes:

Revolution was hyped to be awesome, Beauty and the Beast was critiqued to be terrible. I was disappointed by Revolution’s pilot, but enough was done right that I gave the show another episode. When Miles was still the only character I enjoyed watching, and the rest of the show failed to interest me, I decided to stop watching. It’s too bad, because from the premise it seemed like exactly the type of show I would enjoy.

I just watched the second episode of Beauty and the Beast, and really noticed the terrible, terrible dialogue people were complaining about in the pilot (my review of it here). I so want to love this show, but the writers are making it very hard. I’m still not sure if I’ll watch a third episode. I want it to pull a Vampire Diaries and start getting really good after a few episodes, but I don’t know if there is enough backstory for the mythology of the show to grow. Also, in the second episode, several procedural issues bugged me (Don’t uniforms clear buildings? Are detectives allowed to be present during the autopsy of someone they killed?), and Cat had a sister appear out of nowhere. The first episode got good ratings for the CW, but the second quickly dropped, so it might not get time to improve. Might be better to replace it with the midseason Cult, to bring over Matt Davis (Alaric) fans from The Vampire Diaries. (I know I had no plans to watch the show, but after marathoning through The Vampire Diaries, Matt Davis has become one of my favorite actors, so I definitely plan to give Cult a few episodes to impress me.)

As I was writing this, I kept thinking, I wonder what Revolution and Beauty and the Beast would have been like with Joss Whedon in charge? Can’t wait for S.H.I.E.L.D.!

Dramas I Love:

The three drama shows I was most looking forward to turned out to be the ones I loved most this season. My favorite pilot episode, Last Resort (my review here), hasn’t quite lived up to its potential in subsequent episodes, but it still keeps me glued to the screen almost every minute. Its low ratings don’t signal much hope for renewal, but ABC shows regularly do poorly in that timeslot. ABC did order 2 more scripts for the show, so it’s unlikely to get pulled from the schedule immediately (I was starting to worry about that), but that may be just to give the show some sort of resolution. All the same, I’ve tried to temper my attachment to the show and just enjoy it while it lasts.

Elementary (my review of the pilot here) has been just as awesome as I hoped. I’ve been completely won over to the idea of a female Watson, and it’s been nice watching their friendship slowly grow over the past few episodes. Both annoy each other like crazy, yet their respect and admiration for each other is beginning to build. The cases seem to have an extra twist compared to most crime drama shows, which fits well with the need to bring in a consultant. I’m really sorry for the people who have a hard time understanding Jonny Lee Miller’s brisk British accent, but I feel the speed helps convey Sherlock’s fast mental process. Oh, and the opening credits are amazing:

Last but not least, Arrow has been amazing so far. While the pilot (my review here) had a good deal of the plot revealed in preview clips and therefore wasn’t quite as engaging, the second episode (my review here) had everything I was looking for: great action sequences, insightful character moments, and hints at series-long mythology-building. The second episode got the exact same excellent rating as the first (double that of typical CW “steady performers”), so I’m looking forward to this show being around for a while.

Conclusion:

Three great dramas. Three good comedies. That’s my haul from broadcast TV’s new fall shows, and I managed to find a show I liked on every single network. I think 3, maybe 4, will stick around for a second season.

Which new shows will you keep watching?

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Arrow – Honor Thy Father

Okay, this is the Arrow I’ve been waiting for! This second episode was awesome, and I enjoyed it even more than the pilot (which had gotten spoiled a bit, but still). Cool action scenes, great character moments, nonstop tension, and season-building intrigue!

Spoilers below!

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Arrow – Pilot

This isn’t going to be a full review – just some initial impressions and comments on one of the most anticipated premieres of the fall season – Arrow!

For starters, if the numbers hold, this is going to be the CW’s most watched airing of any show, on any night, in nearly three years, best rated telecast of any CW show in 2 years, and most watched premiere since The Vampire Diaries in 2009. It even gave Supernatural a ratings boost for its second episode (ratings tend to go down after a series/season premiere, with Arrow as a lead-in, Supernatural actually went up two tenths!). Update: the numbers did hold – 1.3 18-49 rating, 4.14 million viewers.

My expectations were high for this show. I enjoyed the pilot, but I wasn’t blown away. It’s partly because so much of the plot had been revealed in promos and sneak peeks. I’d seen most of the kidnapping scene (though I thought it was pretty neat that they’d hidden the fact that his friend Tommy, played by Colin Donnell, had been taken with him), and heard rumors about who was behind it. Similarly, Oliver Queen’s skills as Arrow and the plan to take down a corrupt businessman had been fully revealed by previews for the show.

I wasn’t expecting Tommy to be dating Oliver’s ex-girlfriend, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) – but I felt like I should have seen that coming. I wasn’t expecting Oliver’s father to sacrifice himself for his son in such a violent way. I wasn’t expecting Tommy to figure out things so quickly.

I liked the dynamic between Oliver and his new “bodyguard,” John Diggle (David Ramsey). One of my favorite scenes of the pilot was Oliver jumping out of the moving car and Dig being flummoxed at where he went. Oliver’s sister Thea (Willa Holland) being into drugs seemed a little cliché, but I think the show can do interesting things with it, especially with Oliver having to keep up his playboy persona – he can’t set a good example for little sis even though he wants to. I wish Quentin Lance (Laurel’s father and a police detective) got a little more screen time – Paul Blackthorne seems to fit the role very well.

In some comments on other sites, I’ve read some complaints that there isn’t much chemistry between Oliver and Laurel, but after seeing joint interviews with Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy, I think that will be quickly remedied in future episodes.

Out of the drama pilots I’ve seen this fall, I rank Arrow third – not quite as good as Elementary, but far better than Revolution.

Did you watch Arrow? What do you think of it?

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New Fall 2012 Shows – Which Pilots Do You Plan to Watch?

(Uber-cool photo above from TheInsider.com)

Thanks to sneak peaks and early releases, the fall broadcast TV season is well underway, even if most shows don’t premiere until next week (or later). Into the bunch are thrown 21 new scripted shows – which of these do you intend to check out?

Please vote in the poll for all the shows for which you plan to see (or have already seen) the pilot episode. Then leave a comment and let me know which shows you’re most excited about!

Which broadcast show pilots do you plan to watch (or have already seen)?

View Results

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IMDb: Fall TV: Top Ten New Shows – a list by IMDb-Editors

IMDb presents a list of their picks for the top ten new shows – and I agree with just about the entire thing! Each show has a photo and a brief description, followed by thoughts from the site’s editors. I enjoy that they push past all of the hype and nitpicking to give an honest look at how well the pilot episodes work and where they see shows going from there, both good and bad.

#1 Last Resort

My favorite of the pilots I’ve seen so far (admittedly mostly comedy). Great suspense, great characters, awesome possibilities for future stories. I just hope it’s not handicapped by a competitive time slot. Full pilot review here.

#2 Arrow

Dark Knight, archery division. While I haven’t seen the pilot yet, IMDb puts Stephen Amell’s acting somewhere between Tom Welling’s Superman and Christian Bale’s Batman, which is good enough for me! An awesome superhero show for the fall is needed after enjoying superhero movies and Alphas all summer.

#3 The Mindy Project

This was a “see if the pilot’s any good” show for me, but since episode one had an unexpected quirky rom-com charm, I plan to stick around for several more episodes. Pairing this with New Girl is brilliant. Here’s my review of the first episode.

#4 Nashville

One of the few shows I disagree with on this list, mostly since I hate country music and don’t usually like shows that run solely on relational drama (give me murders, spies, bombs, crimes, aliens, cool powers, and other worlds for my drama fix). But if it’s your cup of tea, enjoy away!

#5 Elementary

The third in my trifecta of most-anticipated new dramas this fall (for the others, see #1 and 2 above). I have a feeling the pilot will be a bit spoiled by the promos, so I’m more looking forward to the second episode. And since Sherlock is already reimagining the traditional Holmes stories, I’m glad this show will focus on new stories. Update: my review of the pilot is here.

#6 Ben and Kate

A heartwarming little gem that I look forward to seeing more of. See my full review of the pilot here.

#7 Hunted

I don’t follow many cable shows unless they air on USA, Syfy, or TNT, so I had no idea this cool-looking spy drama from Cinemax even existed. If the pilot shows up online I may have to try it out.

#8 Go On

The pilot was great, the second episode a little less so, but I’m definitely giving this show a few more episodes to find its stride. I think the main thing is that the characters don’t feel like family yet, but that usually requires several episodes for most shows. I just hope the writers will be able to find the right balance between humor and pathos as most of the characters deal with pretty significant losses.

#9 Vegas

One of the other exceptions I’d take off this list – not that it isn’t well made, it’s just not a show I care to watch. I don’t watch many historical shows, unless they’re set in a time and place I love (looking at my list of tags, that’s pretty much medieval England, but there are others). Las Vegas doesn’t interest me at all. Neither does the 60s. I don’t really care about the conflict between a sheriff and a mob boss, and the main cast doesn’t feature any actors of whom I’m a huge fan. So even though I have no other broadcast shows to watch at 10pm on Tuesdays, I won’t be watching (at least this sounds better than Unforgettable, though).

#10 Revolution

This, along with Beauty and the Beast, was in my second tier of new dramas to try out, so my anticipation level wasn’t as high, but I was still hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t. While the pilot had some great moments, very little about it pushes me to watch the next episode. Since it conflicts with Castle, I’ll probably save it to watch online, but I have a feeling this is one of those shows that’ll get put off until I’m so far behind I stop watching. I do plan to watch at least the second episode, to see if it gets better.

For pics, plot descriptions, and IMDb editors’ thoughts on these 10 shows, visit the link below.

IMDb: Fall TV: Top Ten New Shows – a list by IMDb-Editors.

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Arrow Casts Jessica De Gouw as Huntress in Season 1 – TVLine

My experience with comic books is pretty limited (I usually read ones based on TV shows and web series, not the other way around), so I have little knowledge of the Huntress’ role in the Green Arrow comics. It is kind of nice not to have to compare movies and TV shows to their respective comic canons, though.

I’m also not familiar with Australia actress Jessica De Gouw, but her role as the daughter of crime boss trying to destroy her father’s empire sounds interesting.

Arrow Casts Jessica De Gouw as Huntress in Season 1 – TVLine.

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