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What DC Comics Is and Isn’t Doing Right With Their Films

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For the past decade, Marvel has dominated the superhero film franchise. Since the premiere of Iron Man, the famous comic book company has made millions at the box office. Superheroes like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and countless others have been the top heroes to watch in theaters. Let’s not forget that Marvel’s rival, DC Comics, have also created some of the most iconic heroes and villains. There’s the invincible caped Kryptonian, Superman, and the dark and brooding Batman. Despite having some of the comic industries most renowned character, DC hasn’t been as lucky in the film portrayal of these characters.

The cinematic portrayal of Batman have been around since the 90s. In 1989 and 1992, Michael Keaton played the famous character and introduced villains like The Penguin and Cat Woman. In 1995, Val Kilmer was passed the baton and took on The Riddler and Two-Face. Out of nowhere in 1997, we get the dreamy George Clooney as the millionaire masked hero. These films never made much headway into becoming a series franchise. Instead they became cult classics. The problem was that DC couldn’t find an actor who would stay dedicated to the role, much less find a way to develop the character efficiently for the box office. Later from 2005 to 2012, we get our hopes up believing we finally found the ideal actor to play Batman. Christian Bale gave us a rich and intense portrayal of the character that fans honestly enjoyed and found fitting for the DC look. The same can be said of the 2006 Superman film. Sadly, it was short lived and the franchise died out.

With Marvel making franchise gold with creating films that not only introduced comic book characters, but films that also lead into bigger plot lines that brought together interwoven storylines, DC started to realize that maybe it was time to do the same. It started with Zack Snyder’s 2013 film Man of Steel. DC hit the jackpot in finding the right actor who not only physically represented the famous hero, but would also stick around for the long run. Henry Cavill became the chiseled and blue eyed hero of our dreams. Despite the film having some bad reviews for it being a bit too dark in lighting, it was the start of something.

From here it seems as if DC was trying to do that. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gave fans what they craved, but they still had some reservations. No one expected Ben Affleck to play Batman and were a bit skeptical if he could hack it out. The film gave fans a glimpse into what DC could do, but it ultimately flopped. A huge issue is the sequence of cinematography. The film felt choppy in its deliverance of scenes. Adding to that, there were a lot of small details in the story that made no sense to the common fan. How did Superman miss the wheelchair bomb? Or Batman’s dreams. The characters themselves weren’t well executed. Superman seemed like a depressed hero whose constantly fighting the angel and demon on his shoulders. Batman was made to look like a millionaire with toys instead of a caped crusader. Lex Luthor was too much of a giggling weirdo instead of a mastermind. They were too brutal and dark and there was no attempt to make a deeper connection to the audience.

This past year we got the awaited coming together of heroes, Justice League. The problem became that we were introduced to major comic book characters all at once, with little room for character development. We get the speedster The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray FIsher). This left open the introduction for solo installments to come after. The actors seem to fit the bill pretty well. Of Course not everything is perfect and the film had some bad moments and details that didn’t work. *Cough* Henry Cavill’s moustache. The main issues were that the film again was too discombobulated in its scenes. For example, Batman popping out of nowhere hunting in Gotham. There was no smooth transition from one plot point to another. Don’t get me started on the opening Superman scene. Watching the film, you get this feeling that the storyline was not developed to its full potential. It was a bing, bang boom plot. Visually, the film had its good moments like the fight scene of heros against Superman.

Then, we were introduced to the solo film of the Amazonian, Wonder Woman. The film was a box office hit and started a more foreseeable light at the end of the tunnel. Gal Gadot became the ideal woman to portray the strong female role and the film proved to be an improvement for DC. The film had a much more vibrant image and less brooding. DC did a good job at constructing Wonder Woman’s history in a way that was chronological, but also in a way that didn’t leave you bored. The character portrayal was more realistic and natural. The film also had what others lacked, emotion. You become more emotionally attached to the frailty of Diana’s team members and her first love. Diana becomes someone you can relate to instead of just a hero. She also stays true to her values of human worth. It’s an uplifting heroism.

DC’s main issue is trying to find the right formula to make their films work cohesively together and finding actors who can make the characters come to life.

We got the anticipated trailer for the film Aquaman. Jason Momoa seems like a good physical fit for the role. But, all you see is Jason Momoa, not Aquaman. You characterize him more by name than the role. Although, Momoa gives a certain risky and fun personality to the hero. The trailer showed of a much more colorful and entertaining film than the others. There are more witty jokes and we are exploring unknown territory. The city of Atlantis. It seems as DC is doing better at stand alone films than the banning together of heroes.

The biggest excitement is coming from the first time portrayal of Shazam. Finally! We get a film desperately contrasting to what we’ve seen. It more whimsical with Shazam having a boyish attitude. The film seems to be a good mix of laughter, heart and the possible threat of evil. There is also a different tone to the film. It’s not as dramatic and heavy on punchlines and has room for some quirky comebacks.

DC still has some kinks to work out when it comes to their films, but we’ll be seeing a lot more of the beloved comic book characters coming to life.  

 

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What DC Comics Is and Isn’t Doing Right: Feature Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Flash: Season 3, Episode 1 Recap

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In the season 3 premiere of The Flash, Barry lives in the alternate timeline and deals with the effects of that. Wally is The Flash (or “Kid Flash” as the others like reminding him). Henry and Nora are alive, and “stupidly in love.” But Joe is a drunk, who’s constantly in danger of losing his job, and who Iris (and possibly Wally) isn’t speaking to. Cisco is the richest man in America, and Caitlin is a pediatric eye doctor. Barry finally asks Iris out on a date, but when he starts losing his memories, he decides that it’s time to help Wally defeat The Rival, and return to his own timeline.

 
The most important part of this episode was Iris. From helping Wally to getting them in touch with Cisco to helping Barry defeat The Rival. After being told about Barry creating a different timeline, even though the others don’t believe him, Iris does. From the moment they met, Iris knew that Barry was someone important to her. When she confronts him about it, Barry says that what they are to each other “escapes definition,” but Iris knows that it’s love. (“Because this is what love feels like.”) When Barry is doubting his ability to defeat The Rival, Iris says that, while she isn’t “his Iris” and she doesn’t know exactly what to say, she believes in him. She says exactly what he needs to hear. (“Be The Flash, Barry. Because that’s who you are. You’re The Flash.”) Proving again that without Iris, there would be no flash.
With Iris’s words in his ears and her presence besides him, he undoes stopping the Reverse Flash from killing his mother, and returns to his own timeline. Only it’s not exactly his timeline. We’ll need to watch the rest of the season to see exactly how.
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The Flash: Season 3, Episode 1 Recap: Featured image courtesy of The CW

Violett Beane Talks Her Role as Jesse Quick in ‘The Flash’

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Violett Beane is a star on the rise, a name you may not know, but you will. As Taylor in The Leftovers or Bethany in Flay, Beane lights up every screen she is on. At just 20 years old, she has worked alongside some of the best actors and actresses in the business. Now, she stars in The CW’s The Flash as Jesse Quick, the daughter of Harrison Wells, and we can’t wait to see what superpowers are in store for her.

Cliché: What was the first role you auditioned for and what did it teach you?
Violett Beane: My first theatre audition was for High School Musical when I was in middle school. I wanted to be Gabriella, of course, but I ended up getting the role of Martha Cox. At first, I was bummed, but it actually put a lot of things in perspective for me and I learned to go into situations clear of expectations. I ended up having a lot of fun!
Who inspires you?
In this business, the heart and soul of actors such as Brie Larson, Tatiana Maslany, and Mark Ruffalo have always stood out to me. I love that they work extremely hard and all believe in something. It’s really easy to forget yourself and forget that you’ve become a role model whether you wanted to or not. Not to mention they all have taken on amazingly tough roles and done them such justice.
And in life, my mom is definitely an inspiration to me. She has worked hard raising my brother and I alone and she has never let it break her. She also lives life the way she wants to, which I have mad respect for. She travels whenever she wants and tries to find the most in whatever she’s doing.
Why do you love acting?
I love acting because it allows me such a beautiful, creative outlet. I love bringing myself to a role while also discovering things about myself through those roles. There’s no denying that the industry can be tough at times. I can’t tell you how many scenes I’ve seen of myself where I knew I had done a better take, or one that showed the character more, and it wasn’t chosen. Instead of getting caught up in those instances, I just find other outlets where I can express creativity. Sometimes I make videos with friends or cook/bake!
You play the daughter of Harrison Wells and soon to be Jesse Quick. What do you love most about your character and why?
I really love that Jesse is a just a real girl! She’s strong and funny and extremely smart, just like all the girls I know! I love that I’m able to play someone who is actually a real depiction of a girl, not just some cookie-cutter version of what the world expects her to be. I think The Flash and The CW in general do a really good job of creating those real characters.
Who are you favorite superheroes? Which superheroes would you jump at the chance to play?
I didn’t really grow up reading comics… I did read all of the Captain Underpants books though, and I thought they were hilarious. More recently I got very into the Avatar: The Last Airbender series, and it would be pretty cool to play Katara, or Aang for that matter! I know they made a real life version, but they should REMAKE IT! And I would be happy to help them out.
What was it like for you coming onto an already successful series? Were you nervous? Were you a fan of the show previously?
I had seen a couple episodes of the show before my audition and really liked it. I’ve never been more nervous than I was the first day on set for The Flash. It was the biggest thing I had done so far and I was in a different country, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, doing a scene with Tom Cavanagh, who’s amazing! It was all a lot to handle, but Tom was really sweet and helped so much. I think he could tell I was nervous—must’ve been pretty obvious since I couldn’t remember a single line—and I think he sort of pretended to forget his lines, too… I’ll never forget that!
What do you love most about the DC universe?
I like that the DC universe has so many smart female characters. I feel like they’re ahead of their time in that way. Whether it’s Caitlin Snow, Lois Lane, or Felicity Smoak! They’ve all got so much to offer and aren’t just there to look pretty.
What is your dream role?
That is a hard question… I have a few parts I would love to play! Although it’s too late for me now, I would love to play Lolita from the Vladimir Nabokov novel. I feel like I had a lot in common with her at a younger age and it would help me to understand myself if I could fully understand her. Another project that would be extremely cool to be a part of is the TV version of the Gone series, written by Michael Grant. It’s about a town where in one moment all of the citizens over 15 years old vanish and many of the kids left behind begin to develop powers. I’ve always been a fan of dystopian novels and read those in high school. It’d be awesome to be a part of it!
If you weren’t an actress, what would you be doing and why?
I would like to think I’d work at a cute bakery somewhere. I’m really into baking; there’s something soothing about it. I’d still like to open up a bakery at some point in my life. Something delicious with healthier, allergy-friendly options!
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Violett Beane Talks Her Role as Jesse Quick in ‘The Flash: Photographed by Ryan West

The Flash Season 2 Finale

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Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) has gone through too much drama this season. If  you are unfamiliar with the hit TV show, The Flash, then here’s a brief introduction: Barry Allen, a forensic scientist by day and superhero by night, acquired his speed power after a particle accelerator explosion.  Barry knows that his powers are a huge responsibility, and must train to adjust to the superhero life.
During season one, Barry trained and used his power to keep everyone in Central City safe while finding the person who killed his mother so that his wrongly convicted father would be freed from prison. Season two, found him dealing with the repercussions of his actions in a big way.  This season, he was eager to get stronger to defeat Zoom, a villain from Earth-2.  Also, Flash had to close all of the portals to Earth-2 and rescue the daughter of Earth-2 Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh).  Later, we learned that Zoom had taken her captive in order to force Wells to steal Barry’s speed.  Once Zoom becomes stronger, Barry and Cisco/Vibe (Carlos Valdes) head out to rescue Jesse (Violett Beane), Wells’s daughter. After rescuing her, they return to their earth and Zoom sends meta-humans (super-powered humans) from his earth to kill Barry, but to no avail. Fast forward to last week’s episode, where Zoom crashes Barry’s celebration to kidnap his father.
The finale that aired on May 24th, 2016 was jam packed with action. The episode began with Barry screaming as he watches his father die at the hands of Zoom, leading to a high-speed chase and fight between the two adversaries. Barry discovers that there is another time warp and another Zoom during that fight, the second Zoom rushes in to kill the first Zoom time remnant before running off again. In the next scene, Barry is at the gravesite of his father struggling to say a few words of goodbye. Later that night, as Barry speaks to Iris (Candice Patton), Zoom returns to tell Barry that in order to keep the rest of his loved ones safe Barry must race Zoom to determine who is fastest on both worlds.
Barry’s friends decide that he is too angry to race Zoom and when they can’t get him to listen to reason, Harrison Wells of Earth-2 shoots him with a tranquilizer.  They make Barry wait out his anger in one of the cells they use to imprison criminal meta-humans, and then set out to defeat Zoom.  First they use Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), whom Zoom is in love with, as a distraction so that Wells can destroy the Magnatar (a weapon powered by speed), which would push Zoom back through an Earth-2 breech.  As to be expected, their plan didn’t go off without a hitch. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) was taken through the breech too, pulled in by Zoom himself. Meanwhile, Cisco keeps vibing different versions of an Earth-2 disaster.
Barry gets out of his cell with the help of Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale), and convinces the gang to help him tell Zoom he is ready to race. They head to the venue and race, loop after loop, powering up the Magnatar until Barry creates a time remnant of his own who stops Zoom’s plan, but dies in the process. Barry, faced with the decision to kill Zoom himself, stops in the nick of time and lets the Time Wraiths from the breeches do it for him. When they arrive back at Star Labs they remove the helmet of the other Zoom captor, who turns out to be Barry’s dad’s doppelgänger. Harrison Wells and his daughter return to Earth-2 after saying their goodbyes and drop the doppelgänger off at Earth-3 on the way. Afterwards, Iris and Barry sit on the steps and Iris promises to wait until Barry is ready to be together.  When she leaves, Barry travels back in time to the night his mother is murdered, and kills Eobard Thawne aka Reverse-Flash before he gets the chance, effectively changing the timeline forever. We can’t wait until next season to see what’s next!
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The Flash Season 2 Finale: photo courtesy of the CW

DC’s ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Premiere Recap and Review

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If you watch Arrow or The Flash, most of the characters from DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will look familiar to you. Most recently, some of them were introduced in crossover episodes. I suppose that’s necessary when you have a team of eight people. And the formation of this eclectic group is how the season premiere of Legends begins. So here is the recap and review of the premiere.
Legends-of-Tomorrow-trailer
We’re first introduced to Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), a Time Lord Master trying to convince the Time Masters Council that he needs a team to help him stop Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). Savage was introduced in the crossover episodes as the big bad that was sort of defeated, but apparently not so much. Hunter’s drive is the fact that by 2166, the immortal Savage has managed to take over the world to devastating results. He kills a mother and child right away for goodness sake!
Hunter heads off to collect this team by zapping them with some light? The team he wants to assemble consists of this hodgepodge of misfits:

  • Ray Palmer, a.k.a. The Atom (Brandon Routh) — Thought dead in Arrow, Ray is very much alive. He’s completing a mission for Oliver Queen when Hunter shows up.
  • Sara Lance, a.k.a. White Canary (Caity Lotz) — Another “dead” person from Arrow, Sara is brought back from the dead thanks to the Lazarus Pit. She’s in a bar fight with some man in Tibet when she’s zapped.
  • Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), a.k.a. Firestorm — This duo, first introduced in The Flash, has gone through a few changes. Jax is new to this life, so Stein and Jax are trying to get a handle on each other’s personalities and skills when Hunter shows up.
  • Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renee) and Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel), a.k.a. Hawkgirl and Hawkman​ — They are the ones tied to Savage in that he has been after them for thousands of years. They are immortal by dying and resurrecting in different bodies every time. They were first introduced in The Flash. Kendra is still getting used to her powers and doesn’t remember her past lives yet.
  • Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) and Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell), a.k.a. Captain Cold and Heat Wave — These criminals were terrorizing the Flash with their dangerous weapons. But they aren’t all bad, even though Hunter catches them when they are committing a crime. Eh.

After Hunter gathers them all together, he explains that he needs their help to stop an immortal mad man from taking over the world. He says that their destiny makes them “legends” in the future, no matter what they think now. Hawkgirl and Hawkman are obviously confused because they thought Savage was dead, but no matter. Hunter gives them 36 hours to decide.
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Ray turns to Oliver (Stephen Amell) to discuss his options. He decides to go and make his life worth something, because after he was presumed dead, he didn’t feel like he left an impact. Sara talks with her sister Laurel, Arrow’s Black Canary (Katie Cassidy), about the choice. Laurel convinces her to do it and gives her the name White Canary (outfit included!). Hawkgirl and Hawkman decide to fight it out because Hawkgirl doesn’t really want to risk her life on a past she’s trying to figure out still. Guess who wins the fight? Heat Wave follows Captain Cold, so when Cold decides that they could commit crimes in the past, they’re both in. And last but not least, Stein and Jax can’t agree, so Doctor Stein does something seemingly out of character: he DRUGS Jax and basically kidnaps him.
Everyone shows up, and Hunter then shows them his time ship, the Waverider, and Gideon, the artificial intelligence that controls the ship and is Hunter’s right hand. If you watch The Flash, you already know her.
Hunter breaks down the main mission: Savage is nowhere to be found, so they have to travel to an expert in the subject, a man named Aldus Boardman, who has been studying Savage for years. The only thing is they have to travel to St. Roch, New Orleans, October 1975 where Boardman is alive and teaching.
The team is warned about some of the time travel side effects and the ship takes off, but not before two innocent bystanders spot it. Unfortunately for them, a robot soldier thing from the future zaps them to death for not being “integral to the timeline.” Looks like he works for the time masters, so why is he shooting at Hunter’s ship?
After landing, Hunter tells the group that they must split up. He doesn’t quite need the violent ones of the group (Sara, Cold, and Heat Wave), so he wants them to stay behind. As for Jax, he volunteers to stay back because he’s furious at Stein for drugging and kidnapping him. Understandably so.
The rest of the group follows Hunter to find Boardman. Apparently he is supposed to die the next day anyway.
The trio of Heat, Cold, and Sara leave Jax on the ship to go drink in the 1970s. But obviously this couldn’t just be a calm event; a bar fight breaks out after Sara goes after a sexist man.
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After meeting with Boardman some new facts are discovered, and he reiterates the past story shared on The Flash about how Hawkgirl and Hawkman are connected to Savage. But the biggest shock? Boardman is the son of a previous incarnation of Hawkgirl and Hawkman. They were killed when he was 10. He shares the information about where Savage is located, but as they prepare to leave, Stein senses that something is wrong back at the ship (thanks to his connection with Jax).
The soldier thing is named “Chronos,” and he has found them. He’s shooting at the ship and disabling their camouflage.
The group rushes back, along with Boardman, because his mom doesn’t want to leave him behind. Mother’s instincts. The trio that was out drinking returns in time to see the fighting happen (Cold makes a funny Boba Fett comment), and they all barely make it back inside because all of the weapons and suits are basically in the ship. Boardman is shot in the process.  
The ship needs repairs and Boardman is taken to the infirmary. Hunter puts them in “time limbo” so he can fix things, but the team, like me, wants to know why they were being shot at. Kendra and Sara punch him to make him tell the truth, and it turns out he lied to them.
The council didn’t want him to go back and change time, so he ventured out on his own to get this team together. He picked them because they weren’t “legends,” in fact, they pretty much left no impact on the world/timeline. Talk about a depressing realization. But Hunter so desperately wanted to change the time because remember that mother and son killed at the beginning? Yeah, that was his family, a family he wasn’t even supposed to have because the Time Masters don’t encourage it.  
This means the team members have a decision to make: to stay or not to stay?
Kendra goes to talk to her son, and he dies from his wounds after giving her an old ring that used to be hers. (Hunter explains that time has a way of getting what it wants. Since he was destined to die, he did, just in a different way.)
Jax agrees to stay with Stein after Stein apologizes, because he sees the team as something that can do good now, if they work together.
Ray is struggling to decide, because he joined to become a legend. Thanks to Sara, he manages to put his bruised ego aside for a moment and decide to try and save the world and change his fate.
The criminals of Heat Wave and Captain Cold just really don’t care. They can be bad anywhere and anytime, so they’re still in. Looks like the team isn’t going anywhere.
So now that the team is still together and the ship is fixed, Hunter charts the course for their next location, Norway, 1975. Scene flashes to Savage and we see him there. To be continued.
I see this show heading in the right direction, but with such a large cast, they are going to have to find a way to make everyone useful, but also not always use them all together. I think they need to develop these characters individually, which is hard when you focus on all of them all of the time. I’m intrigued.
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DC’s ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Premiere Recap and Review: Photographs courtesy of the CW

Four TV Shows I’m Sticking With

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I have a long list of shows I want to watch and a shorter list of shows I have time to watch. With shows ending for good (I’ll miss you, Parks & Recreation) and shows returning with newer seasons (I love you, Game of Thrones), I have to budget my time when it comes to starting something new. With that said, here are four shows I can’t wait to catch when they return for a second season!
Empire
Though there were only 12 episodes in its first season, Lee Daniels’ Empire has been a wild ride from the beginning. The show continued to grow in viewers each week, and it’s no surprise, what with its familial drama, numerous guest stars—including Jennifer Hudson and Patti LaBelle—its addictive tunes, and its witty one-liners.
The Flash
Another superhero show I’m a fan of is The CW’s The Flash. As a fan of Arrow, when the Flash spinoff was announced, I was looking forward to seeing what would take place in Central City. It quickly introduced the Reverse Flash and time travel, so I can’t even imagine what types of adventures Barry Allen will be heading out on next.
Gotham
Skimming the surface of Batman’s origin story, Gotham follows a young James Gordon before he became commissioner. As viewers learn more about Gordon, the origins of a number of Batman’s villains are also revealed. There are some fascinating backgrounds for these characters, and it’s interesting to look at a young Bruce Wayne.
How To Get Away With Murder
Rounding out ABC’s #TGIT campaign was How to Get Away With Murder. Can’t say I was expecting multiple murders of some prominent characters in just 15 short episodes. Each episode took theories I had in mind and tore them apart. I can’t even begin to imagine the twists that will take place next season.
HONORABLE MENTIONS
And I have a special shoutout to Agent Carter. Peggy Carter is one of the most brilliant characters ever written, and I’d like her to come back. Another special shoutout goes to Fresh Off the Boat. ABC’s comedy is smart, honest, and never fails to make me laugh.
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Four TV Shows I’m Sticking With: Photograph courtesy of Fox

Top 5 TV Shows

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The world of television is quickly changing and with good reason. The days of complacency are long gone as we finally begin to see the realistic world reflected on our television screens. The following top 5 TV shows are game-changers. Not only are these shows helping a variety of people push past the stereotypes that they have learned, they are also allowing people of color to view themselves as they truly are on the screen. The fact that these shows are fantastically dramatic is a huge plus. Drama is what makes the best television series — don’t you agree?

  1.      How To Get Away With Murder 

courtesy of abc

Courtesy of ABC


Once again, ABC has hit the nail on the head with its decision to green light a show backed by Shonda Rhimes. After having such groundbreaking success with Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal, it isn’t a surprise that Peter Nowalk’s newest hit, How To Get Away With Murder — which she is the executive producer of — is a hit. How To Get Away With Murder is chock-full of exciting moments that are equally frustrating and wonderfully performed.
This is one of those television shows that will make you laugh, cry and shout in in aggravation. Viola Davis is most definitely the  perfect choice for the role of Annalise Keating. Keating is a law professor and totally in control in her professional life, while being a perfectly imperfect woman in her personal life.
She navigates cases with her impassioned “Keating 5,” a group of five students who won their positions as members of Keating’s law firm when they were all instrumental in helping her win an important case. While Davis has been a staple in our hearts for her multitude of television and film roles, this is arguably her biggest and most engaging role to date.
When she won her SAG award for her groundbreaking role, she took the moment to highlight the lack of diversity in Hollywood and said: “Thank you Shonda Rhimes, [producer] Betsy Beers and [creator] Peter Nowalk for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old dark skin African-American woman who looks like me.”
Within only the first season, we’ve seen her completely take off all of her makeup and her wig before bed. This is certainly the first time we’ve seen a black woman remove her makeup entirely on primetime. The scene was Davis’ idea. She told the Wall Street Journal that after she pitched the idea Peter Nowalk was on board. Annalise is passionate, strong, and vulnerable all at once, and we love her for it. Davis may be the first, but she certainly isn’t the last Shondaland resident to make our list.
How To Get Away With Murder airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Kelly Frye Interview

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IMG_1076donesmallWith a business degree from Loyola Marymount University, Kelly Frye made the decision to try her hand at acting professionally, something she said she always had an interest in thanks to her love for storytelling. With support from friends and family, Frye made the leap, and since starting, she has made appearances in shows such as Rake and The Mentalist, and she participated in a staged reading at the 2014 Sloan Film Summit in November. She also recently joined the DC world as Plastique on episode five of The CW’s The Flash, which premiered October 7.

When she’s not auditioning, working, or spending time with family, she’s trying to visit as many places around the world as she can. But don’t make her try to pick a favorite place; she loves many countries for multiple reasons.

Frye chatted with Cliché about ultimately deciding to act professionally, joining the DC world, what shows she’s obsessed with, her love of new cultures—she spoke Spanish before English and studied French and Japanese in college—and her passion for traveling.

Cliché: How’d you go from business to acting?
Kelly Frye: I come from a family filled with storytellers. My mom is one of the best, and my oldest brother is actually a playwright, theater director, and founder of the Catastrophic Theatre in Houston. But, I’ve always performed. I was a figure skater, too. In the back of my mind, I had always wanted to do this. The sensible part of my brain thought I needed to be a lawyer, so I went to school for business. Then I had a conversation with myself and my family and asked them what they thought. They agreed with me and told me that I only have one life, so I might as well try it. Thankfully, it’s worked out, and I knew if it didn’t, I could go back and still be fine. I love it, though. It’s really fun to inhabit another person.

IMG_0827donesmallHow was it coming into the comic universe?
It was amazing! The people involved are so fantastic and wonderful. Everyone—the actors, producers, creators—is amazing. And when I learned more about Plastique, I just fell in love with her. She is such a badass.

Before the role in The Flash, were you a fan of the DC universe?
My oldest brother is a DC fan. When he was younger, he thought he was Batman, which is hilarious, but because of it, I was around comic books. I wasn’t reading comic books though. I have learned that there are a number of strong, female characters, which I am all about in terms of both watching them and playing them. After I got the role, I got a tour of DC Comics and got to learn so much about this world. I am being exposed to these women that have been around for decades, and I’m so excited.

Aside from the tour, did you do any research on your own?
Yes. When I was going in for the role, I called my oldest brother, and he gave me a brief history. He remembered riding his bike and picking up the issue when she first appeared in Firestorm in 1982. It was neat hearing his take. I also did research online, but it is a little more different in the show than in the comics, so I stuck to the pages they gave me. What is cool about her in the show is that she has a military background. Brooke, one of the writers, had a military background, and she was in Vancouver with me. It was amazing having her there, because it was like I had this encyclopedia sitting with me. I could go and ask her questions about the military jargon and such. I wanted to make sure I was doing that world and the comic book world justice.

IMG_0707donesmallDo you have a favorite superhero?
Oh my gosh. Well, of course I love Plastique, but when I was going through DC Comics and looking at everything, I saw Batwoman on somebody’s desk, and I thought if I was going to dress up as someone, I would be her. She has this great red hair and red boots and a red insignia and looks awesome. But she’s also so strong.  She’s [the figurine] now sitting on my desk, and she is my inspiration for the day.

What do you love to do for fun when you’re not working?
I love my family, and they are mostly in Houston, so I like to visit them. I also have  one brother in Washington, DC. I like to travel a lot. If I have time off, and I’m not busy with work or auditions, that’s what I’m doing.

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Kelly Frye Interview: Photographer: Quavondo, Makeup: Lysette Castellanos, Hair: Gui Seloperdido, Styling: Alexus Shefts

What to Watch During the Winter Hiatus

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As we approach the holiday season, it’s now time for the yearly TV hiatus that takes place through the winter months. Our favorite shows won’t be back until January (some, in February!) And though this is an unfortunate time, it does mean that we have a little more time to catch up on what work or school keeps us from. There are a number of shows that I have become addicted to over the past few weeks that I will sorely miss, there are shows I cannot wait to return, and there are some shows that I want to start watching. I’ve come up with eight of the ones I’ve been sucked into, but there are so many I wish I could include. Though we may mourn for the shows we sorely miss, take advantage of this time! Here is what to watch during the winter hiatus:
Gotham; returns Jan. 5
With only 10 episodes to it’s first season, Gotham has covered quite a bit of ground in exploring Jim Gordon’s introduction to the Gotham police force, while also introducing some of Gotham’s most vile villains before they become the popular characters known today. With the case of the Wayne murder hanging over Gordon’s head, the corruption and violence in Gotham gives Gordon a reason to fight. It’ll be interesting to see who is introduced in January.
American Horror Story; returns Jan. 7
Since the Murder House miniseries premiered in 2011, the American Horror Story series has been praised since then. Each miniseries has different characters and a new story, but features many of the same actors. Now, I have never seen any of the American Horror Story series. The reason I’ve avoided it is because I know I can’t watch them by myself or I’d probably have a nightmare. My sister and I have decided to watch them over winter break, so I’ll be right there with you if you decide to start now as well.
Parks and Recreation; returns Jan. 13
This beloved comedy is returning for its seventh and final season on Jan. 13. Unfortunately, the season will only have 13 episodes. As much as I am saddened by this show ending, I can’t wait to see where the characters end up. You have plenty of time to watch the last six seasons and come to love these characters as much as I do.
The Flash; returns Jan. 20
A spin-off of Arrow, The Flash has 10 episodes to its first season, so it’ll be fairly simple to catch up. The season starts with an introduction to how Barry Allen got his powers and follows him as he learns how to control them. Towards the end of the season, there is a Flash/Arrow crossover, which is why I highly recommend catching up on Arrow.
Arrow; returns Jan. 21
Arrow is currently in its third season, so if you haven’t caught up yet, Netflix has the first two seasons. I can’t speak much to the newest season, because I got a late start and am only on season two, but what I have seen so far has been tremendous. The show flashes between the experiences Oliver Queen had to become the Arrow and what he is using his abilities for.
How to Get Away With Murder; returns Jan. 29
Well, this show has had quite the first season. From showing a murder through flashbacks and through the eyes of various characters to focusing on a larger case throughout the series to working on smaller cases, there was always something happening on the show. There are only nine episodes to watch from now until January, so you have no excuse to fall behind.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; returns March 3
I love the Marvel franchise, but I’ll admit that I wasn’t really impressed with season one, but this show returned with an incredible story for season two and has been on an upwards trajectory. The mid-season finale introduces a new Marvel character to the universe, who will be familiar to fans of the comics. Though there is a long break before its return, Marvel’s Agent Carter will be premiering on Jan. 6 and will air during the break.
Game of Thrones; returns Spring 2015
So I’m including this show on the list even though it has been off the air since June and won’t return for its fifth season until the spring, because if you haven’t started watching this show, you really need to. Game of Thrones is phenomenally put together and the storylines will drag you in. Also, you should probably read the books too if you don’t mind some spoilers, because they are amazing.

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Photo: IGN.com

Fall TV Standouts

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Fall premiere season is underway, old favorites are back (Scandal!), and new shows are trying to make their mark. Every fall, some of these new shows fail and disappear; others leave an impression and become the new favorites. Some shows have already premiered and have proven themselves, and just as always, there are some that probably aren’t going to make it through the next few months. Here are three fall TV standouts you might want to check out:

Gotham, FOX
You don’t have to be a die-hard Batman fan to think Gotham is a pretty great show; although, if you are a comic fan, a lot of clues about future characters are dropped quite frequently. The prequel show focuses on Gotham villains before they became the iconic characters we know and Jim Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) before he was commissioner. The show features Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, a relentless mobstress created for show; Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot, the penguin; and Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle, catwoman. Gotham premiered Sept. 22.
How to Get Away With Murder, ABC
It’s no surprise that this Shonda Rhimes-produced show has proven that it is here to stay within the first two episodes. Viola Davis stars as a defense attorney and law professor who gets entangled in a murder plot, along with some of her students that she’s chosen to assist in her law office. The show jumps between cases and classroom and mystery to keep you riveted throughout the entire episode. How to Get Away with Murder also features Alfred Enoch, Matt McGorry, and Liza Weil. The show premiered Sept. 25.
The Flash, CW
The Flash premiered on Oct. 7, and I am excited to see this superhero come to life. Grant Gustin stars as Barry Allen, the investigator-turned-superhero. The co-creators of Arrow (which also airs on the CW) have set the bar for television portrayals of superheroes, and they also developed The Flash, so here’s to hoping they take this one and live up to the hype.
Photo: Jessica Miglio/FOX