Details: This is a review of episodes nineteen through twenty-nine of season five. Episode twenty-nine was the season finale. More information can be found at https://www.cartoonnetwork.com/video/steven-universe/index.html and https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3061046/
Back in May 2018, Steven Universe went on hiatus. Then it came back with a few episodes in July. Then it went on hiatus. Then finally came back again at the end of the year and finished the season in January 2019. Were all the delays worth it? Hell yes. Steven Universe is one of the most unique shows I have ever seen because it seeks to convey themes related to identity and acceptance from a nontraditional, yet universal perspective. It then takes these themes and wraps it in a science fiction story that makes it digestible to viewers who may be intolerant, prejudiced, old and young. The incorporation of music and loads of character development (my favorite aspect of a good story) is also welcome.
Details: Airs on the CW.
The Flash is an interesting show in how it contrasts with the other comic book shows that are airing. We currently live in the age of superheroes; mainstream media is filled with superhero movies and TV shows based on comic books. Some have less to do with superheroes (iZombie), the rest are absolutely about superheroes (Gotham, Arrow, Agents of Shield). The Flash is unique in that it has some level of recognition (prior two season TV show a decade ago), but is not as dark or gritty as other shows. Further, a large part of the Flash’s character and canon not only deals with fighting super powered villains, it also deals with high science fiction, such as parallel universes and time travel. The Flash then has the potential to be Batman, Superman, Quantum Leap and Back to the Future all rolled into one show.
It’s an interesting prospect and a lot of fun to watch it play out through this first season of the show. The writers clearly have some grasp of the attractive portions of the character’s canon. It’s an avoidance of a mistake that has plagued the Fantastic Four movie franchise. Filmmakers/show runners always ignore the high science fiction of the Fantastic Four; the wonky, mind-bendy, existential stuff that science fiction nerds love to pontificate on. I understand the sentiment since creating a show with all these science-y ideas almost always sucks the life out of a show’s budget. It also creates plot problems when writers ignore, forget, or outright discard certain science fiction rules they’ve previously established in this world and, as a result, create a show with conflicting plot points that damage the believability of the narrative.
Here, that does not seem to be a problem. While the first season spent much of the time setting up Flash’s rogues gallery, the season finale delves straight into what makes this character great and distinct from other shows: the science fiction. Eobard Thawne’s existence reminds us that, despite the inclusion of super villains, this show has always been a time travel story from the very first episode. Flash’s greatest conflict isn’t the villains, the primary of which (Captain Cold) he shares a secret agreement where Captain Cold will not stop committing crimes but will not reveals the Flash’s identity and the Flash will stop him completely as long as no one gets killed. It’s a game of sorts. The real conflict in the Flash’s life is dealing the power to go anywhere in time and space as well as fighting anything that may emerge from that great beyond. Kind of like Doctor Who. My hope is that, like in the comic, the Flash will also explore alternate timelines or dimensions, and meet alternate versions of himself as well as of other villains and maybe even other superheroes (I’m looking at you Supergirl on CBS). It’s a lot to think about.
In any case, the first season does what a first season/first act is meant to do: it introduced us to the setting, the characters, and the protagonist’s great conflict/problem. I only hope that the writers continue building on what was established here and super speed themselves straight off the deep end into the science fiction/superhero craziness.
Score: 7.8/10 Can’t wait to see what happens next.