Helena Heald, shares with us her productive summer watching two great TV shows from her ‘To Watch’ List- The Flash and Sens8


 

My friends did incredible and useful things over the summer; fancy internships, flying to places I had not heard of, etc. My major achievement? Ticking a whole lot off my ‘to watch’ list.

I began with the CW’s The Flash, which the internet had muttered about excitedly for months. I am a big fan of the superhero genre, but not overly-familiar with the DC comics source material, meaning I was not watching the show to pick it apart as an adaptation. This is a show that is pure comic book fun, veering away from the darker direction that DC is taking its movies. Glee’s Grant Gustin plays an endearingly geeky lead speedster, with a supporting cast who develop into their own lovable characters. Adding to the unashamedly fun tone is Flash’s friend Cisco, who makes a point to give each week’s baddie a suitably silly super-villain name. This is not a show for serious critical viewing, but is (naturally) quick-paced, engaging, and dangerously binge-able, while managing to convey a great sense of comic book style action and humour. It also somehow makes a big CGI telepathic gorilla seem scary — quite an achievement. For more heroics, check out The Flash’s sister show, Arrow, which forms the larger cornerstone of the DC television shared universe. Arrow is not as unstoppably fun as The Flash, and does not do urban vigilantism as slickly as Netflix’s Daredevil, but is certainly worth a watch. Bear in mind the first season does feel like a poor attempt at being Batman, but the second and third season become a far more enjoyable team affair, with John Barrowman providing a surprisingly good recurring villain throughout.

15741029456_f48f7cd902_o

On a different note, Netflix’s Sens8 was not a show I had heard much about; only the basic premise of people sharing a hive-mind. Sound strange? It is, and no surprise coming from the Wachowskis, the sibling duo behind The Matrix and the baffling Jupiter Ascending (which I highly recommend for insane fun). From this odd sci-fi concept comes a tense drama, as members of the ‘cluster’ are hunted by a mysterious group who know their secret. Primarily though, it is a show about people, as these characters struggle far more with their personal nightmares. A diverse cast of characters from all over the world explore their varied relationships and backgrounds in a way that gives each character their own strong subplot, but also ties them together. The one weak link in the chain here is British actor and former Doctor Who star Freema Agyeman, whose American accent is incredibly shaky. With the rest being such a strong (if not well-known) cast, it is only a minor issue.  The show utilises its hive-mind concept well in both its slick fight scenes as well as in quieter, emotional moments, often accompanied by a fabulous and moving soundtrack. Like much of Netflix’s original output, Sens8 is a very well put together show that is perfect for a binge. After foolishly watching a couple of episodes a week apart, I was a little hazy on the plot; definitely binge this if you can. A few episodes in and you will not be able to stop yourself.

 

Helena Heald