By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
It's time to simplify my television superheroes
Stephen Amell as Green Arrow/Oliver Queen in CW's "Arrow." - photo by Jim Bennett
Henry David Thoreau, author and philosopher, once offered this sage advice: Simplify, simplify. Many have pondered this profound message and tried to determine the best way to apply it to their daily lives. For my part, Im going to honor Thoreaus words by cutting down on the number of superhero TV shows I watch next season.

As a self-respecting member of the geek community, I feel a responsibility to watch every filmed comic book adaptation that Hollywood can churn out. But there are just too many of them out there these days, and television demands way too much time. I cant keep up with the full complement of 24 episodes every year for every caped crusader that comes down the pike, especially where the lead character cant even be bothered to don the cape and cowl in the first place.

Im speaking, of course, of Gotham, which is the first of the superhero shows thats on my personal chopping block. It seemed like an interesting idea at the time a police procedural in Batmans city before there was a Batman. Except its not really a police procedural; its a full-on Batman show, only without Batman. Bruce Wayne is still barely a teenager, so youve got to wait three more years before the kid can get a license to drive the Batmobile. The tone of the show is unrelentingly bleak, and even the good guys arent very good. I stopped watching after future commissioner Jim Gordon decided to execute a bad guy and then cover it up. I wont be tuning in again when the third season rolls around unless they decide to skip a few years and pick up the narrative after Bruce Waynes 21st birthday.

And while its true that Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. never promised any capes, it doesnt have much else to offer, either. It, too, looked like a good idea initially, but when Joss Whedon punted after the first episode, its been little more than a thing where everyone talks about all the superheroes who never show up. I lost interest after the first few episodes, but I rejoined the story in progress after the second Captain America movie, when S.H.I.E.L.D collapsed and became a renegade operation. Suddenly, the series felt like it had somewhere to go, so I started paying attention again. In retrospect, that was a mistake. This show means well, but its sort of a gormless afterthought in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Its stars have taken to complaining that nobody in the movie division pays any attention to whats happening on TV. Heck, if the Marvel movie bigwigs can live without this one, then so can I.

Im still debating whether to give up on Arrow. It was note-perfect for its first two seasons, but the show seems to have capsized after that because these last two seasons have been unrelentingly awful. As I watched this years finale, in which Oliver Queen stands on top of a car and gives everyone a pep talk while a nuclear missile is about to destroy the city, I had to hold my eyes with my hands to restrain them from rolling too far into the back of my head. Im hoping they can tone down the stupid for season five, but Im bailing out if they cant turn the boat back over in the first episode.

That leaves me with The Flash, Supergirl, DCs Legends of Tomorrow and anything Marvel puts on Netflix. Im not sure Thoreau would approve, but we simplify where we can.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters