DC Recap Summer Session, Week 1

14 Jun

Welcome to the DC Recap Summer Session, where we’ll recap some classic and current comic book TV shows that have fallen between the cracks in this site’s regular Recap Round-Up. For this inaugural run, let’s focus on several noteworthy shows: the classic 1975 Wonder Woman, the short-lived Constantine, and the all-new (and just recently announced to be short lived) Swamp Thing! So let’s start things off right, shall we?

“Pilot”

It’s 1942, World War II, and American pilot Steve Trevor is shot down stopping a Nazi bomber from attacking the U.S., and he ends up on a mysterious island full of women. While being nursed back to health on Paradise Island, it’s decided to send a representative to take Steve back to the world, and by force of will, that representative is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. So Diana takes Steve home to recover, and discovers the world outside Paradise Island is quite a strange place. While waiting for Steve to be back to full health, she takes on a little side gig performing for crowds (one’s where she deflects bullets with her bracelets, which I would think is a lot more dangerous than you would allow a crowd to watch).

Of course, this is all a elaborate Nazi ruse to distract Diana, and get info from Steve, as they plan another bombing attack on the U.S. naval yards. But, our baddies severely underestimate Diana and all their plans get foiled rather spectacularly. Diana stays in our world for now, but keeps herself close to Steve by pretending to be his new secretary. Good thing, because Steve is pretty much useless. I mean he can’t even tell his new secretary is Wonder Woman!

What’s worse for her: getting beaten by Wonder Woman or getting beaten while ruining her best workplace clothes?

–So I’m watching this in HD, and as you can expect for a show 40 odd years old, some of the effects don’t hold up. Basically anything involving the sky or an invisible plane.

–Really good guest star cast for this one, like Kenneth Mars and Henry Gibson as the Nazi bad guys, Red Buttons as the theatrical agent/Nazi spy, and Cloris Leachman as Diana’s mom, Hippoltya.

–The cops really love paperwork, don’t they?

–“I may be older than I look.” I mean, this is something to discuss if we ever recap the remaining seasons of the show.

–“Women are the wave of the future, and sisterhood is stronger than anything!”

“Non Est Asylum”

We meet dark magician John Constantine hanging out in an insane asylum to get away from it all (“all” being the forces of evil and everything), when an encounter there spurs him out of his funk to go on a mission to save someone. That someone is Liv, the daughter of one of his old traveling buddies in dealing with the supernatural, who is able to sense the paranormal like a metal detector. But a demon is trying to kill her, so it’s up to John to protect and show her (and us) what’s going on in his world of angels and demons. This requires the help of a few buddies of his, such as his helper Chas and some mystery angel named Manny, who warns that demons are starting to leak into our world at an alarming rate.

Constantine and crew manage to capture the demon and banish it back to Hell, and Liv takes off to try to live a normal life again. But Liv leaves after revealing where other demons are now appearing across the country, and it’s quite a many places. So it’s up to Constantine to go and get these demons off of Earth, and maybe uncover why they are coming. Also, someone is sketching a LOT of Constantine portraits, at a rather obsessive level.

“FLAME ON!”

–Well, its obvious based on the last few minutes of this first episode that Liv was meant to be a longer fixture on this show but got written out fast and scenes filmed afterword explaining why she left when it went to series. Not a bad decision, but its handled as well as can be expected.

–Jeremy Davies is no stranger to DC TV, playing an evil doctor in the recent Elseworlds crossover on the CW.

–The Dr. Fate helmet. That’s got some explaining there.

–We get reference to Astra, the young girl who got left in Hell for the first time here. That’s an arc that has gone into Constantine’s adventures on Legends of Tomorrow to an interesting place.

–“If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.”

–“It says ‘master’, does it? I should really change that to ‘petty dabbler’.”

“Pilot”

So something really creepy is going on in the bayou town of Marais, Louisiana, and it’s not just the swamp that seems to be alive. An unknown contagion has been discovered, and a doctor from the CDC, Abby Arcane, has been sent there to investigate. Marais is where she grew up, but it’s not a completely warm homecoming, as she left there under the cloud of a nasty tragedy she had a connection to. During her investigation, she encounters a disgraced scientist, Alec Holland, and they both discover the virus is plantlike in nature, but grows at a super accelerated rate unseen before. And it’s alive.

To find a cure for the contagion, Abby and Alec travel into the swamps to discover what we learn at the start of this, being the swamp is alive and not afraid to defend itself. They learn someone has been experimenting on the swamp itself with some kind of accelerant substance, and Alec goes off to recover the devices being used for this bizarre experiment. Unfortunately, he gets shot by an unknown assailant, and the swamp takes him under. Abby arrives too late to save or find Alec, but finds a giant plant man emerging from the scene. Do I have to tell you who our swamp guy probably is at this point?

Swamp PARTY THANG is in the house!!!!

–What a difference a week makes: as I was writing up my thoughts to this first episode, news came across the wire that the show was cancelled! Whether because of creative differences, state related tax rebate mess-ups (it’s not because of quality, that’s for sure), or whatever, they’ll still be releasing the remaining episodes, and I’ll be here covering them. It’s a shame, really.

–This show certainly isn’t lacking in the gruesome body horror department, giving us a swamp impaling before the main credits start, and that corpse that sprouts back to life in the morgue.

–So we know Abby was somehow connected to the death of the Sunderlands’ daughter. It’s clear Maria is not quite over that in that very emotional exchange with Abby, but I wonder how Avery thinks about her return to town.

–Alec Holland doesn’t believe in glasses, just drink straight from the bottle.

–“You’re the President of the Columbo fan club?”

–“Does it include bourbon?” “Actually, yeah.”

NEXT TIME: Wonder Woman must clear Steve of being accused of spying for the Nazis, Constantine meets a new partner in demon fighting, and we finally get to meet Swamp Thing!

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