Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sparkling Limoncello Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel Is A Winner From Bath And Body Works!


The Good: Wonderful scent, Seems to work, Easy to apply
The Bad: Comparatively expensive.
The Basics: Bath & Body Works Sparkling Limoncello Anti-bacterial Hand Gel is delightful and fun to use!


Bath & Body works was a pioneer in the anti-bacterial hand gel market and they deserve a lot of credit for capitalizing on the market early and saturating it. At this point, all that truly separates the various anti-bacterial hand gels on the market is price (it has become a very competitive market) and scent. The effectiveness of anti-bacterial hand gels is very hard to prove without an environment filled with bacteria and a comprehensive understanding of one's immune system. The Sparkling Limoncello Hand Gel is a wonderful scent for an anti-bacterial hand gel, appears to work, and is only truly brought down by the expense of the hand gel as Bath & Body Works is more expensive than the non-brand name gels on the market. That said, the Sparkling Limoncello Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel is one of the best in Bath & Body Works's line!

For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, Anti-Bacterial Hand Gels are like liquid hand soap. You drop a few drops of a gel onto your hands, then rub your hands together and the gel evaporates, killing bacteria on your hands. Also, it has the tendency to clean off mild amounts of dirt. It's a convenient way to clean your hands and keep them sterile while on the run or around a lot of sick people. Or when you're not around water, like when out shopping, or when you're trying to interact with people you don't want to get sick; there are a ton of times one might want to use these!

Honestly, anti-bacterial hand gels are amazing. The more I learn about the current trend in the spread of communicable diseases, and the ridiculous anti-vaccing movement, the more I want to use them pretty much constantly. I could come up with literally a thousand places and times I've used anti-bacterial hand gels. Anti-bacterial hand gels are essentially biological weapons against bacteria that are convenient, easy to use and an essential hygiene tool in America today.

Sparkling Limoncello scented anti-bacterial hand gel from Bath & Body Works features a scent that is fruity and delightful. The citrus scent is a decent mix of lemon and lime and it is not at all alcohol-scented. This 1 oz. PocketBac plastic bottle holds a fluid that is pretty much unique to the Bath & Body Works line. It is the ideal of the lemon and lime scent blend and it is delightful.

Sparkling Limoncello anti-bacterial hand gel comes in a pocketbac bottle for $1.75, $.99 on sale. The fluid is translucent bright yellow with tiny dark blue flecks in it. The globs don’t seem to do anything, including not offering friction needed to agitate dirt off the hands.

The bottle is an oval shape that fits in the hand rather easily. The flip-top lid makes it easy to open and close the bottle with one hand. This is especially convenient because if you believe you need to sterilize your hands, odds are you will not want to touch many things until you've done. The ability to manipulate the bottle with one hand while getting the product out is a good selling point.

The bottle recommends a dime-sized drop to sterilize one's hands. That seemed to work for me and when applying this gel.

Sparkling Limoncello anti-bacterial hand gel does not dry out the skin and it leaves the hands smelling delightfully citrusy for about ten minutes after using it. The Bath & Body Works Sparkling Limoncello Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel is one of the best of the line and worth stocking up on; it is enough to cheer one up during dreary winter days with its light, fruity, summery aroma!

For other Bath & Body Works anti-bacterial hand gels, please visit my reviews of:
Fresh Balsam Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel
Pumpkin Cupcake Anti-bacterial Gel
Stress Relief Eucalyptus Spearmint Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel

8/10

For other health and beauty reviews, please check out my Health And Beauty Product Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Essential Enemies, One Key Conflict Make "The Legion Of Doom" Pretty Impressive!


The Good: Some good performances, Moments of character, Special effects
The Bad: Incredibly basic plot
The Basics: The Legends Of Tomorrow confront "The Legion Of Doom" and the result is that the show manages to bring back the menace of the villains and the creativity and intellect of the heroes.


When it comes to time travel adventures and works based upon comic book source material, there is a balance to be found between fun and compelling. Legends Of Tomorrow has frequently been fun, especially with references to temporal misadventures and some of the flirtatious sidebars that get thrown in as a result. But Legends Of Tomorrow is now about a team that is self-tasked with stopping temporal manipulation that results in time aberrations and they are confronting one of the most compelling a-list villains in the form of Eobard Thawne's improbable temporal remnant (it is not yet clear how that is working!). As "The Legion Of Doom" begins, Legends Of Tomorrow is put in a position where "fun" is becoming less interesting than an exploration of the true menace the Reverse-Flash represents. "The Legion Of Doom" is put in a place where it must buck the momentum of the season and restore the true menace and villainy of Eobard Thawne and his associates.

And it succeeds on that front.

"The Legion Of Doom" continues the jokes begun in "Raiders Of The Lost Art" (reviewed here!) where Eobard Thawne's new assembly of villains was nicknamed by Dr. Heywood. Despite the origins of that nickname being referenced explicitly and opening up an unfortunate conceptual can of worms within the Berlanti-based DC Comics Television Universe, "The Legion Of Doom" is fairly good at exploring the villains of the second season of Legends Of Tomorrow.

Eight months ago, Damien Darhk was killed by the Green Arrow and Malcolm Merlyn watched footage of it on television - right before Darhk and Thawne appear to offer Merlyn a chance to join their enterprise. The trio comes together to hunt for the Spear Of Destiny, but in the present, they find that Rip Hunter is not apparently in possession of the knowledge they need in order to find the rest of the Spear fragments. Aboard the Waverider, the team tries to figure out what the amulet actually is and they start a scientific explanation of the artifact. As Rip is tortured by the villains, Damien discovers that Rip has a tooth with a map to a safe deposit box.

Dr. Stein turns to his daughter for help with discovering the nature of the artifact, while Merlyn and Darhk begin to turn on one another. The pair takes Rip to 2025 Zurich to access the safe deposit box, where they run into complications when Rip does not know the password he needs to access the vault. In the temporal zone, Lily and Dr. Palmer attempt to access the artifact. In the process, Lily learns her nature. At their lair, Darhk and Merlyn fight it out, while Hunter tries to save his own life. With the Waverider crew finally figuring out who the Speedster is, Thawne has to strike a new deal with Darhk and Merlyn when they make a power move against him.

"The Legion Of Doom" is a proper exploration of the triumvirate of villains for Legends Of Tomorrow. Opening with the recruiting of Malcolm Merlyn, those who are not fans of Arrow get the primer on the adversaries from Arrow who have now carried over into Legends Of Tomorrow. Those who are looking for a much broader Legion Of Doom are likely to be a little disappointed by "The Legion Of Doom." Thawne runs off at one moment for assistance and viewers might hope he is returning with Grodd in order to read Rip's thoughts, but that is not the case. Instead, "The Legion Of Doom" is limited to the three villains already established.

While Legends Of Tomorrow has generally done a good job of establishing and using villains, "The Legion Of Doom" falls into the exceptionally familiar pattern of not allowing villains to actually work effectively with one another. Thawne begins to speed off at regular intervals, hinting that Thawne is being hunted by the Time Wraiths from The Flash and he needs to avoid them. Legends Of Tomorrow continues to show a lack of creativity among the heroes in "The Legion Of Doom;" the villains struggle to understand Thawne's motivations, but none of the Legends seem to think to ask Barry Allen about the identity of the future Speedster.

"The Legion Of Doom" has a lot in it to flesh out Darhk and Merlyn for those who are not fans of Arrow. Essential details like Merlyn missing a hand and Darhk not having any specific knowledge of his relationship with Merlyn are played out well in "The Legion Of Doom." On the main character front, Mick Rory is wonderfully fleshed out in his brief scenes as he stupidly let slips that Lily is a temporal aberration. That leads to one of the few essential character scenes for the heroes of Legends Of Tomorrow and Victor Garber and Christina Brucato truly blow that scene out of the water!

Arthur Darvill continues to dominate his return to Legends Of Tomorrow with a pretty impressive American accent. Director Eric Laneuville opts for a surprisingly PG interpretation of torture when Rip Hunter has a tooth extracted, but no blood left on his mouth or clothes. Darvill still manage to dominate his scenes and his return to Legends Of Tomorrow continues to be welcome.

Matt Letscher does a decent job of getting through all of the exposition needed to explain exactly what Eobard Thawne is running from. In the process, a new villain is introduced and it is pretty cool that it comes into play in Legends Of Tomorrow and not The Flash.

Ultimately, "The Legion Of Doom" is a good episode for finally galvanizing the villains for the second season of Legends Of Tomorrow and the process makes for a solid episode. There are a few funny lines and the tension between the adversaries is somewhat bland, but for the most part, "The Legion Of Doom" manages to cleverly tie the disparate villains together while giving Dr. Stein a chance to explore the nature of his abrupt family. That makes for a solid episode of the show that brings the seriousness back to the time travel adventure well.

For other works with Dominic Purcell, please visit my reviews of:
Legends Of Tomorrow - Season 1
"Rogue Time" - The Flash
"Revenge Of The Rogues" - The Flash
"Going Rogue" - The Flash
Prison Break - Season 1
Blade: Trinity
Equilibrium
Mission: Impossible II

7/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Ben Affleck Should Be Proud: The 2016 Batman Ornament Is Cool!


The Good: Good facial sculpt, Decent coloring accents, Good balance, Cool base
The Bad: Light on coloring detail
The Basics: A surprisingly decent Batman ornament, the 2016 Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman ornament is pretty cool, if not perfect.


Hallmark bet big in 2016 on Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice (reviewed here!), which was unsurprising considering that the other big DC Cinematic Universe film in 2016, Suicide Squad, was a bit more of a risk on most fronts (though it would have been hard for the company to go wrong with a limited edition Harley Quinn ornament!). So, Hallmark pretty reasonably released three Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice character ornaments in 2016, plus one vehicle and a convention exclusive character ornament. The release of the 2016 Batman Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice ornament was timed to play off the anticipated popularity of the DVD/Blu-Ray release of the film and it seems to have been the most popular of the triumvirate, despite the Wonder Woman ornament being more original.

The 2016 Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice is a decent sculpt and works well with the two accompanying Hallmark ornaments . . . even if there are already a ton of Batman ornaments on the market.

Basics

The Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Superman ornament faithfully presents Batman in his fairly traditional black and gray film costume. This is Batman in his smooth gray and black suit, with a solid black cape flowing up and to the left of the character (when he is facing the viewer). The ornament, released in 2016, is good for an ornament based upon the costume used in Zack Snyder’s Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice film. With such a decent three-dimensional model, Hallmark was able to create an ornament that features a decent facial sculpt, good muscling for the character and surface details for things like the gloves and belt. Measuring four and a half inches tall and wide and two inches deep, the Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman ornament is one of six DC super hero-based ornaments released by Hallmark in stores in 2016 and it was intended to be paired with the Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Superman ornament and accented with the Wonder Woman ornament sculpted from the same source material. The Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman ornament came with an original retail price of $15.95 and there were surprisingly few left over at the end of the season.

The Hallmark Batman ornament is made of durable plastic. Batman’s costume is colored in very muted gray and black, with fairly monotonal coloring for most of the costume. This version of Bruce Wayne is incredibly ripped with well-defined arm and thigh muscles visible underneath his smooth costume. The Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman ornament has the traditional Batman symbol on his chest and it is painted on in just the right spot with no distortion. The facial sculpt for the Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman looks just like Ben Affleck . . . as much as it can. This version of Batman has Affleck's strong jawline, but lacks the coloring detail for the stubble Bruce Wayne had through most of the film while in his Batman costume.

The very basic coloring of the Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman ornament is accented by cool gold paint bits on the gloves and boots, which is very cool. The skin tones are monotonal as opposed to having rich coloring, which undermines the realism some, especially in the lack of stubble on the face. Fortunately, most of the character's skin is obscured by the cowl, negating this issue.

Features

As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the 2016 Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman ornament could have a sound chip or a light-up function. He has neither, but honestly it would have been a hard sell to make a gimmick for this ornament.

The Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman ornament does include a stand, which is a typical for most ornaments. The stand is a 3" wide, 2" deep, 1/4" tall silver-gray stand that is designed to appear like the Superman/Batman symbol . . . save that it is only half of the symbol. The ornament includes a little stand that plugs into the back of Batman's foot and from there, the Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman ornament stands perfectly stable. The thing is, the stand looks fairly ridiculous without its other half and if it is even a little warped, it throws off the balance for both the Superman and Batman ornaments. After exploring seven pairs of these ornaments, I found all but one were thick enough to have no issues with warping (some earlier Marvel ornaments had thinner bases, which did warp!).

Balance

As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake 2016 Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. For those creating the ultimate superhero Christmas Tree, this Batman ornament is not a bad choice. The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top, back of Batman's cowl. From there, the ornament looks well-balanced and hangs nicely level.

Collectibility

Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all major franchises like DC comics, The Wizard Of Oz and Harry Potter. The Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Batman ornament was slightly overproduced, but sold out at most places before the end of the season. As a result, the Batman ornament from the triumvirate seems to have held its value (which cannot be said of the other two in the collection). Given how many Batman Hallmark ornaments are available, though, it is hard to imagine that this one would appreciate any time soon on the secondary market.

Overview

Fans of Batman, Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman, Ben Affleck, and DC comics characters are likely to find the newest Batman ornament to be worth picking up, though time will tell if Affleck's version of the character is truly essential.

For other Batman-themed Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2016 Batmobile Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice ornament
2016 Catwoman Batman television series (Limited Edition)
2015 The Joker Batman television series (Limited Edition)
2014 Bane The Dark Knight Rises (Limited Edition)
2014 1989 Batmobile
2013 The Joker The Dark Knight Rises
2013 Descending Upon Gotham City Batman ornament
2012 The Bat The Dark Knight Rises Limited Edition Ornament
2012 Catwoman ornament
2012 The Dark Knight Rises
2011 Batman Takes Flight
2010 Limited Edition Harley Quinn

6/10

For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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A Fairly Reasonable Metahuman Enters The Fray For "Dead Or Alive!"


The Good: Candice Patton's performance, Gypsy is pretty cool, Special effects
The Bad: Incredibly basic plot, No huge performance moments, Lack of creativity from the primary characters
The Basics: "Dead Or Alive" puts Cisco and Iris in the driver seat of The Flash . . . with mediocre results.


The third season of The Flash has entered inherently problematic territory for maintaining a long-running arc. The show has essentially added a prophecy to the mix; The Flash has witnessed the death of Iris months in the future and now the essential focus of the narrative is whether or not the future he witnessed can be changed. As "Dead Or Alive" begins, Team Flash has achieved one victory in changing the future - by having Wally West (Kid Flash) apprehend a villain The Flash was credited for - and missed a critical opportunity . . . in letting the S.T.A.R. Labs Museum open at all (it can't close in the future if it was never opened!).

"Dead Or Alive" follows on the last moments of "Borrowing Problems From The Future" (reviewed here!) where the bounty hunter Gypsy appeared rather abruptly at the end of the narrative. Kid Flash also began the process of exhibiting a pretty common hubris/pride arc as Wally West started showing a lot of ego after taking down the bad guys.

H.R. is narrating his own version of how The Flash is taking down the Electric Gang when Kid Flash joins the attempt to thwart the gunrunners. During the post-game analysis, Julian uses basic math to illustrate that The Flash's rate of speed growth is not fast enough for him to save Iris in May. While Team Flash investigates both the gun runners and trying to defeat the future, Gypsy blinks around Central City, looking for clues to where H.R. Wells is. Gypsy soon appears at S.T.A.R. Labs to collect H.R. and she shoots the writer. After Cisco hits on Gypsy, the new metahuman incapacitates both Cisco and Kid Flash.

Gypsy demands H.R. return to Earth-19, but the S.T.A.R. Labs team is unnerved when they learn H.R. faces a death sentence for his interdimensional travel. H.R. is willing to return home, but in the process, he mentions a trial by combat, which leads Cisco to step up to fight Gypsy to the death. At the same time, Iris becomes determined to follow the story of the Electric Gang, which gives her the chance to team up with Wally much the way they worked together during the Flashpoint tangent. After Barry and H.R. attempt to stop Gypsy, Gypsy takes H.R. as collateral until Cisco can fight her!

In addition to dealing with the new metahuman and fighting the future, Kid Flash is given a decent amount of airtime. At this point, The Flash is feeling a little character-packed and spending so much of the episode debating keeping H.R. around and alive is strange. Once again, Team Flash seems remarkably stupid. Julian suggests that letting Gypsy take H.R. might be a way to help change the future Barry saw, but this is a particularly witless attempt to avoid the future given that Wells is the only character on the show with multiple doppelgangers already in play. Just because someone looks like H.R. does not mean that he cannot be a different version of Harrison Wells, so trying to change that aspect of the future Barry saw seems strange.

"Dead Or Alive" allows Cisco to step up to be a hero, but the solution of "more training in a single day" is another unimaginative solution. If Barry wants to give Cisco the time to truly develop his powers, the tactical course that makes the most sense would be for Barry to run Cisco into a point in the future to train, then return Cisco to the present so he would overwhelm Gypsy and be a fair match for her. Cramming for a battle - just like for a test - is pretty ridiculous and sadly uncreative.

The Iris plotline in "Dead Or Alive" is momentarily fun, but it essentially makes Joe into a chump. Joe has been a solid and cool character for years and in the current incarnation of The Flash has not quite found the way to use him. As Iris plays one of the meanest distractions on Joe possible, Joe is merely frazzled. The viewer spends the rest of "Dead Or Alive" waiting for Joe to confront Iris and Wally and point out that he recognizes all of the side effects of a speedster zipping in and out of an area he is in. Iris does her best to be a strong, independent investigative reporter in "Dead Or Alive" and Candice Patton has the gravitas to pull off the two truly intense scenes she is given to play.

The performances in "Dead Or Alive" are good, though Tom Felton remains trapped in playing a pretty generic snob villain that he often gets cast as. He is fine and everyone else is good, but "Dead Or Alive" is given far too many soap operatic moments of melodrama as opposed to the truly compelling or clever that allows the performers to stretch their acting muscles.

The simple nature of "Dead Or Alive" makes for a pretty average episode of The Flash; the episode might not have all of the great continuity moments or clever aspects one hopes for, but it is a pretty solid episode from the third season.

For other works with awesome bounty hunters, please check out my reviews of:
Legends Of Tomorrow - Season 1
"Bounty" - Star Trek: Enterprise
"Soul Hunter" - Babylon 5

5/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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January 2017 End Of The Month Report!

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January got off 2017 off to an amazing start! While there were a couple of legacy reviews that continued to get new readers, the big winner of the month was Netflix's adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events, though near the end of the month the television reviews truly took over the blog! In fact, the reason this is being posted early today is that tonight, we have a loaded night of television reviews (which come after a Blogspot time changeover . . . internal nonsense!). The CW is, apparently, trying to kill reviewers like my by moving Legends Of Tomorrow to Tuesday, which makes for a pretty full Tuesday night of reviewing for genre fans like me!

We have been continuing to adapt our prior reviews so they have functional links and our new reviews are being released with good new links, so products being reviewed generally have the right products associated with them. We appreciate our readers sticking with us through Amazon reconfiguring, which is likely to be ongoing for a while longer!

This month, we picked up three new followers on Twitter and a new subscriber! We are always trying to get people to become regular readers and subscribe, so if you enjoy what you're reading, please subscribe by clicking on the right side of the blog to get updates with each posting. As well, if you read a review that really affects you, be sure to "share" it! PLEASE share a link to the blog, not the content of the article; this keeps people coming to the site and, hopefully, liking what they find once they are here! We're slowly growing our readership, so sharing and subscribing to the blog is an important way you can help! If you’re subscribing, please tell your friends about the blog!

In January, we updated the index pages every few days, keeping them quite useful to our readers. The primary Index Page, is usually updated daily and lets you know what the featured review is and has an up-to-the-day tally of how many reviews have been reviewed in each category! Check it out and feel free to use that as it is a much more useful and organized index to the reviews I've written!

If you enjoy the reviews, please consider clicking on the links in the reviews (at least the ones that render properly!) and purchasing items. We really appreciate all the purchases made through the blog as that keeps us going. As tax returns start coming in next month, if you're going shopping online, please come through the blog to to it. Thank you so much!

At the end of January 2017, I have reviewed the following:
577 - Book Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Fiction
Star Trek Books
Nonfiction
Graphic Novels
Magazines
951 - Music (Album and Singles) Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Music Reviews By Rating (Best To Worst)
Music Reviews In Alphabetical Order
3139 - Movie and Television Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Movies By Rating (Best Movie to Worst)
Movies In Alphabetical Order
Best Picture Oscar Winner Film Reviews
Television Reviews
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews In Order)!
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews In Order)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
233 - Trading and Gaming Card Reviews
Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Trek Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Wars Gaming Cards Reviews
The Lord Of The Rings Trading Card Game Reviews
Other Gaming Cards Reviews
Trading Cards Reviews
898 - Toy and Christmas Ornament Reviews
with specialized pages for:
Ornament Reviews
Star Trek Toys
Star Wars Toys
Lord Of The Rings Toys
Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel Toys
Comic Book, Movie, Television Toys
Plush and Other Toys
978 - Food, Drink, And Restaurant Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Drinks
Candy
Cereal
Cheese and Meats
Ice Cream
Other Food
261 - Pet Product Reviews
Cat Product Reviews
Dog Product Reviews
Rabbit Product Reviews
114 - Travel Reviews
Destinations Reviews
Hotels Reviews
203 - Health And Beauty Product Reviews
206 - Home, Garden, Appliance and Tool Reviews
107 - Electronics, Computers, Computer Games and Software Reviews
60 - Other Product Reviews

The Featured Review For The Month of January is my review of: Marvel Vibranium trading cards!
Check it out!


The month of January was packed with new, highly-read reviews and it is no surprise that almost all of the biggest reviews were new movies and television reviews, with the number one review of the month almost getting into our Top Ten of all time! For January, the Top Ten Reviews of the month were:
10. Better Made Cheese Waffles
9. War On Everyone
8. Take The 10
7. "Broken Promises" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
6. One Day At A Time - Season 1
5. Clinical
4. Daredevil: Back In Black Volume 1 - Chinatown/Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life (TIE!)
3. The OA - Season 1
2. Travelers - Season 1
1. A Series Of Unfortunate Events - Season 1

I pride myself on being an exceptionally fair reviewer, but one who is very discriminating. I believe that most reviewers are far too biased toward both what is current and toward unduly praising things. I tend to believe most things actually are average and they ought to follows something around a Bell Curve. Mine is a little lopsided, but not as lopsided as most reviewers I know (who would probably have peak numbers between ten and seven)!

For my reviews, the current count is:
10s - 325 reviews
9s - 504 reviews
8s - 970 reviews
7s - 1081 reviews
6s - 1008 reviews
5s - 1279 reviews
4s - 953 reviews
3s - 746 reviews
2s - 361 reviews
1s - 240 reviews
0s - 116 reviews
No rating - 129 articles/postings

There was a decent amount of movement this month, including a new addition to the all time Top Ten Reviews! At the end of January 2017, the most popular reviews/articles are:
10. Safe Haven
9. Oz The Great And Powerful
8. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bone
7. Warm Bodies
6. Iron Man 3
5. Now You See Me
4. Tyler Perry's Temptation
3. The Burden Of Being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
1. Man Of Steel

Thank you again, so much, for reading! Please share links to the blog with friends and spread the word!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Monday, January 30, 2017

Victims And The Weaknesses Of Villainy Make "We Can Be Heroes" Great Television!


The Good: Acting, Character arcs, Morals, Special effects, Plot pacing
The Bad: Special effects budget guts the realism of a key moment!
The Basics: "We Can Be Heroes" is the best episode Supergirl has done so far and it carries a timeless message of tolerance and forgiveness.


When it comes to television these days, despite how much I review, the way I know what genre shows are actually good is entirely in the anticipation. Supergirl is one of only two shows I find myself looking forward to on a weekly basis, which is quite a surprise even to me! I was not initially grabbed by Supergirl and it is not a show that I have any real attachment to based upon the source material or its relationship with Superman comics. Despite that, on its own, Supergirl has managed to become a show Iook forward to, which I realized as I sat down to "We Can Be Heroes."

"We Can Be Heroes" follows on "Supergirl Lives" (reviewed here!) and the effects of that episode resonate into the new episode. After all, "Supergirl Lives" found Mon-El learning a Very Important Lesson after he and Kara heroically led a rescue effort on a distant moon, where they saved a number of human slaves. At the same time, Alex's relationship with Maggie got stronger and Winn Schott suddenly became active in the field, despite getting punched in the face multiple times. "We Can Be Heroes" picks up the momentum of the various plotlines. In addition to dealing with everything that was already on the narrative plate for Supergirl, "We Can Be Heroes" marks the return of the first season villain Live Wire.

Mon-El begins his training in earnest with Kara, where he learns that he is still not careful or trained enough to truly protect everyone who might need it. On the streets of National City, Guardian gets wounded taking out thugs and both he and Winn start to suffer from the effects of working long nights. In her DEO jail cell, M'gann M'orzz begins to suffer nightmares and flashbacks about the white martians before she inadvertently breaks out of the cell. Elsewhere, Livewire is being counseled by Dr. Hampton, where she shows no remorse for her past crimes and she is broken out by a guard and an inmate. Kara arrives, frazzled, while Alex reveals to J'onn that M'gann is in a coma and dying . . . and only J'onn can save her.

When Livewire inevitably attacks, Supergirl and Mon-El step up to save police officers that she has cornered. In stopping her and her zombie thug, Guardian is wounded and his identity is finally revealed to Kara. When Kara confronts James Olsen, Olsen stands up for himself and warns Kara against relying upon Mon-El. But Livewire's escape is soon revealed to be something else and Kara is compelled to find her to rescue her, while J'onn steps up to try to save M'gann.

J'onn J'onzz's arc in "We Can Be Heroes" is a compelling one. J'onzz is faced with his worst enemy in the form of a white martian and Supergirl is a smart enough show to a level of rhetorical intelligence to satisfy viewers. The white martians are analogous to Nazis and the character of M'gann M'orzz on Supergirl is the character who essentially makes the argument that not all Germans in the 1930s and 40s were Nazis; that the place and time - even species - of one's birth does not determine their philosophy. M'orzz was a sympathizer to the green martians and deplored the genocidal tendencies of the white martian regime. J'onzz's arc in "We Can Be Heroes" has him slowly realizing that not all white martians are bad and that hatred is not enough of a motivation to keep going on.

"We Can Be Heroes" illustrates the effects of truly great acting in the story as two (mostly) supporting characters are given a somewhat bland exposition scenes and David Harewood and Sharon Leal pull off the critical scene amazingly well. The episode also illustrates how television special effects are truly limited. "We Can Be Heroes" has a key scene between two martians and in an ideal world where the project had a real and significant budget, the make-up and CG effects would be invested in to make the two martians look and feel entirely real. Instead, we get two human actors playing martians looking like humans and it actually does take something out of the scene.

Winn Schott opens his portion of "We Can Be Heroes" in a delightfully realistic way. Schott has no super powers and neither does James Olsen, so of course they would begin to feel real fatigue working as much as they do. Schott is frazzled and obsesses on having to make Mon-El a costume and his manic outburst at the DEO afterward is well-executed. Jeremy Jordan might be given a wide array of emotions to play in "We Can Be Heroes" that are somewhat erratic and occasionally annoying to watch, but he plays Winn's range very well! Winn's arc is flawed and very human, which is refreshing to see in an occasionally fantastic series like Supergirl.

Brit Morgan is surprisingly good as Livewire in "We Can Be Heroes." Morgan has great physical performances in "We Can Be Heroes;" there is a moment when she lolls her head and sticks out her tongue while talking that masterfully aids in the characterization of Livewire. Her unsettling performance is contrasted nicely by Sharon Leal and Melissa Benoist's more subtle and reserved acting.

"We Can Be Heroes" misses a minor opportunity for expanding the Earth of Supergirl into the full Berlantiverse by introducing Dr. Hampton; the role of a scientist interrogating Livewire could have been performed by Amanda Waller and made for a real geek out moment. Fortunately, Supergirl does not miss out on the opportunity to develop Kara and Mon-El. Kara is smart enough to recognize that Mon-El has some romantic notions toward her and the episode does not drag out that idea, but it manages to confront it in a very mature way (soundtrack in the scene notwithstanding).

The minutiae in "We Can Be Heroes" is not enough to rob it of a very strong recommendation. "We Can Be Heroes" is the high-water mark to date for Supergirl; the episode is smart, funny, mature, well-directed, amazingly well-performed and tells a good story in a compelling way. It is hard to ask more from network television . . . or television at all!

For other Supergirl works, please visit my reviews of:
2016 Supergirl Hallmark ornament
Supergirl, Volume 1: Last Daughter Of Krypton
Superman/Batman: Supergirl By Jeph Loeb

9.5/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Living Up On Flavor, If Not Form: Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie Chocolate Squares!


The Good: Good flavor, Good aroma, Decent quantity, Good ingredients
The Bad: Brownie flavor is more of a texture than an actual flavor
The Basics: Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares are flavorful for those who love mint chocolate, but those looking for a flavorful chocolate-covered brownie are likely to be somewhat underwhelmed.


When it comes to Ghirardelli chocolate squares, there is an interesting balance between flavor and gimmickry. Ghirardelli has made so many great flavors that as they try now to push the envelope, sometimes the results are more successful conceptually than in execution. Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares are one such innovation. The milk chocolate and peppermint in the Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares are well-executed, but the "brownie" is barely present and is executed more as a texture - crispy - as opposed to an actual flavor.

Basics

Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares are one and a half inch squares of chocolate that are about three-eighths inches thick. Each of the squares comes individually wrapped in a metallic red wrapper with white and red stripes. It is worth noting that while I usually rail against the environmental impact of such things, it is hard to imagine Ghirardelli chocolate squares not wrapped. This keeps each one clean, unmelted and intact.

Each chocolate square is a seamless square that is essentially a chocolate envelope sealing in a thin crunchy brownie center. In this form, the 5.1 oz. bag, the individually-wrapped chocolate squares are packaged together in a thick foil paper bag. This size has ten squares and the thick foil paper bag does little to protect the squares. The bag is not resealable, though this matters very little considering that the chocolate squares do not go bad as they are individually wrapped.

One of these bags tends to run in the $5.00 range, which is a little more expensive than most mass-produced candies, but less expensive than many premium chocolates.

Ease Of Preparation

These are candy, so preparing them is as simple as opening the bag and then opening one of the foil wrappers around the actual chocolate square one wishes to eat. There is no great secret to eating Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares. I have, for example, garnished ice cream with these squares from time to time. The mint chocolate flavor is powerful against more bland flavors, like vanilla ice cream, which is nice.

Taste

The Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie squares smell lightly minty. There is nothing distinctly chocolatey in the aroma of these chocolate squares, but the milk chocolate seems to mute the strength of the peppermint aroma.

On the flavor front, the Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares are minty, sweet and creamy. The milk chocolate flavor is infused pretty delightfully with mint. The peppermint comes out in every bite; the milk chocolate itself is not distinctive enough to hold its own. Instead, the milk chocolate is much more like mint chocolate. On the other half of it, though, the brownie in the Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares manifests more as a slightly crispy texture as opposed to a rich chocolate brownie flavor. The result is that the Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie are more like mint chocolate than anything truly more complicated or interesting.

The Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares leave a sweet and minty flavor in one's mouth once they are consumed, but not strong aftertaste.

Nutrition

These are candy, so they are not expected to be overly nutritious. The Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares are not nearly as bad as they could be. The primary ingredients are sugar, unsweetened chocolate and cocoa butter. There is nothing pronounable in these candies and only one recognizable preservative at the very bottom of the ingredient list.

A serving of the Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares is considered one square. From a single square, one takes in 80 calories, including 5 grams of fat. There are 5 mg of cholesterol, 15 mg sodium, and 1 gram protein. The Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie have very minimal vitamins or minerals, only 2% RDA of Iron and Calcium. There are 8 grams of carbohydrates in each Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate square.

These are not Vegan-compliant, nor are they recommended for anyone with a nut allergy as they are produced on the same equipment that peanuts pass over and may contain tree nuts. The Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie were partially produced with genetic engineering. These chocolate squares are kosher.

Storage/Clean-up

The bags of these Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares have a surprisingly short shelf life. The bag my wife bought right before Christmas (2016) had an August 11, 2017 expiration date. One assumes that if they are kept in a cool, dry environment they should not melt or go bad. Given that they are individually wrapped in a very sealed package, it is hard to imagine just what it would take for these to go bad outside melting and refreezing.

As for cleanup, I applaud those who actually throw the wrappers away in socially appropriate places, as opposed to litter. Outside that, there is no real cleanup needed, unless one is eating them in a hot environment. In that case, it is likely one would need to wash their hands. If these chocolate squares melt into most fabrics, they will stain. Getting them to melt is surprisingly easy.

Overall

Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares are flavorful, but fail to execute their second promised flavor in a satisfying way. Squeezing the brownie down into the chocolate square size seems to have minimized its effective flavor and accurate texture. The Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownie chocolate squares are only disappointing if one knows what they are supposed to be by their name; they taste wonderful for those who were not promised something richly chocolatey like a brownie!

For other Ghirardelli chocolate squares reviews, please check out:
Dark Chocolate Bourbon Caramel
Cinnamon Crunch
Dark Chocolate & Strawberry

5.5/10

For other food and drink reviews, please visit my Food & Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Utterly Generic Trade-Off, "The Edge Of Mystery" Disappoints.


The Good: James D'Arcy's performance
The Bad: Utterly bland plot, No significant character development, Forced character movements
The Basics: "The Edge Of Mystery" belabors moving Agent Carter forward on all fronts in an albeit generic way.


Agent Carter was a television series whose cancellation was utterly unsurprising for me. In fact, the series has been so oppressively dull, that it took a lot for me to go back and finish reviewing it. Indeed, by the time I got to "The Edge Of Mystery," watching and reviewing Agent Carter was more of a chore than anything even remotely enjoyable. "The Edge Of Mystery" is disappointing on its own merits, though, unencumbered by any potential prejudice I had going into it.

Picking up where “Monsters” (reviewed here!) left off, "The Edge Of Mystery" is impossible to discuss without some references as to where the prior episode ended. After all, with Carter's attempt to rescue Dottie from Whitney Frost leaving Zero Matter expert Jason Wilkes in Frost's possession, "The Edge Of Mystery" begins with the protagonists suffering from some serious setbacks. Add to that that Ana Jarvis is on death's door, "The Edge Of Mystery" is very much dependent upon the prior episodes.

Opening with a flashback to New York City, a year prior, where Ana Jarvis overhears Edwin Jarvis advising Agent Carter on how to diffuse a bomb. In the present, Ana Jarvis lays near death with Edwin being entirely distraught by her condition. Wilkes awakens, handcuffed to a pipe, to an interrogation from Frost. Frost wants to compare notes with Wilkes and has made a number of observations about the relationship between herself and Jason while he was unconscious. Carter returns home to find Sousa investigating the grounds. Sousa reveals that Vernon Masters is after uranium rods for Whitney Frost before the pair head to mobster Joseph Manfredi's restaurant to interrogate him.

In London, Thompson tries to dig up dirt on Peggy Carter. In Frost's custody, Wilkes begins to get freaked out by the fact that Frost hears a voice from the Zero Matter. While Frost and Sousa prepare to go on their mission with fake uranium to make the trade, Howard Stark's teletype goes off. Dr. Samberly realizes that Stark has sent him plans to make a machine that can neutralize Zero Matter and he sets to building it. When Thompson confronts Carter with evidence she committed war crimes, Carter rejects his premise and goes ahead with the mission to save Wilkes.

"The Edge Of Mystery" is a lackluster hunt story. Peggy Carter and Daniel Sousa are on a fairly mundane search for Whitney Frost. The SSR agents want to make a trade, or lure Frost into believing they are willing to make the trade and Frost is playing the same game from the opposite side. The Thompson subplot in "The Edge Of Mystery" is both forced and the perfect example of "simple problem, simple solution." It undermines Thompson's character that he does not realize how he is being manipulated when Carter takes about half a second to conclude that.

While the fairly generic spy drama continues, Jarvis sits holding his wife's hand as she lays near death. There are any number of dramas that could pull off the Jarvis subplot well, but Agent Carter is not one of them. Jarvis is not a well-developed enough character for viewers to truly care about and his love of Ana is a comparatively new phenomenon in the Agent Carter storyline. Add to that, "The Edge Of Mystery" very quickly brings Ana Jarvis back from the brink of death and it adds a new sense of conflict to the Jarvis's relationship that lacks resonance based on not knowing enough about their relationship before the episode began. Indeed, lacking flashbacks that show that Edwin and Ana actually were invested in having children before Ana was shot, the loss of that ability seems like a generic conflict as opposed to something that is actually character-based.

"The Edge Of Mystery" continues the trend of presenting spies who are unfortunate idiots working for an obviously corrupt version of S.H.I.E.L.D. (pre-S.H.I.E.L.D.) and the only redeeming aspect of the episode is James D'Arcy's portrayal of Edwin Jarvis. Jarvis might not be the most splendid character, but D'Arcy plays him perfectly well. As Edwin holds his wounded wife's hand, D'Arcy plays anguish with only his facial expression and the result is one of his best performances of the series.

Sadly, "The Edge Of Mystery" is not enough to sell the episode or Agent Carter . . . for Marvel fans or those who like television in general!

For other works with Damian O'Hare, please visit my reviews of:
Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Agent Carter - The Complete Second Season, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the final season of Agent Carter here!
Thanks!]

2/10

For other television reviews, please check out my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Fun And Flavorful (If Not True): Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls!


The Good: Good flavor, Inexpensive, Protective canister is nice
The Bad: Not truly coffee flavored, Very low on nutritional benefits
The Basics: Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are enjoyable, even if they are minimally flavored like anything remotely coffee flavored!


There are very few things that pop up at my local discount store repeatedly. We have a little store in my town that buys truckloads of merchandise - overstock, returns, and other oddities - sight unseen and then sells the products at awesomely low prices. And yet, despite the entirely variable nature of the rest of the inventory, the discount store continues to get in Snakkers Creme Filled Wafer Rolls. After several months of looking at the canisters, I finally picked up a few. My first experience with the brand is a canister of Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls!

Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls taste sweet and good, but not at all like anything even remotely coffee flavored!

Basics

Snakkers is the U.S. imprint of a Greek manufacturer with a long history. The Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls come in a metal canister that houses about fifty cookies. Each cookie is a 4 1/4" long by 3/8" in diameter tube. The wafer cookies are kept well-protected and outside removing the first cookie or two, the cookies seem to remain incredibly well-intact!

Ease Of Preparation

Eating Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls is not a real challenge, simply open the canister, pull out a tube and consume! Once one selects a cookie, all you have to do is stick it in your mouth and chew; there is nothing complicated or foreign about eating these cookies.

Taste

Opening the canister, the Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls emit a vaguely chocolatey aroma. The scent is very mild and not actually of coffee at all.

In the mouth, the Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are dry, then sweet. The Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls have a very sweet and sugary center between the wafer roll layers. The sweetness is a bit dry, much like the exterior and it is not at all unpleasant. It is, however, not at all coffee (or more subtly, espresso) flavored.

The Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls leave a fairly dry aftertaste in one's mouth after they are consumed.

Nutrition

Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are intended as a sweet snack, not a full meal. Four of these cookies (weighing 32 grams) represents a single serving and they are not at all nutritious. Made primarily of sugar, wheat flour and palm oil, these cookies are not at all an all-natural food product. The Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls were produced on equipment that forces them to add a disclaimer about peanuts, sesame seeds and tree nuts. Obviously anyone with a milk allergy should avoid them, though there are also allergy warnings for soy, egg, and wheat!

Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls have 160 calories for a single serving, 50 of which are from fat. A full serving represents 15% of one's RDA of saturated fat, though they are cholesterol-free. The Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are exceptionally low in sodium for a cookie, having only 35 mg (1% RDA) per serving. The Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls have 2 grams of protein, but no other real nutrients. As one who is working on getting heart-healthy, I wish they had been even a full gram of dietary fiber.

Storage/Cleanup

Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls are easy to care for and clean up. Unopened, they have a pretty decent shelf life. The canister we picked up a month ago had an expiration date of July 25, 2018. Kept sealed, I am sure they would have lasted at least that long. As cookies, they can leave crumbs, but because the cookies are found in a metal canister, they have little breakage until one bites into them and generates crumbs then!

Overall

Snakkers Espresso Creme Filled Wafer Rolls taste all right; they are fun, but they are not flavored at all like coffee. Between that and the low nutrition of these cookies, I am forced to rate them comparatively lowly. I enjoyed the canister, but I liked the crunch and sweetness; I was not consuming them and finding them to be a convincing coffee flavor for a cookie. As a result, these were fun, but less objectively good than I would like.

For other reviews of cookies, please check out my reviews of:
Keebler Fudge Sticks Jumbo Mint Wafer cookies
Chips Ahoy! Birthday Frosting Filled Cookies
Quaker Blueberry Stila Cookie Bars

4/10

For other food and drink reviews, please visit my Food And Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bringing The Fun Back To The DC Television Universe: "Raiders Of The Lost Art" Is Fun!


The Good: Awesome plot seeding, Good character development, Decent plot development
The Bad: Some strange character moments, Opts for fun for some moments that could have had real emotional resonance
The Basics: "Raiders Of The Lost Art" returns Rip Hunter and finally explains what might be happening with Mick Rory on Legends Of Tomorrow!


One of the pleasant surprises of the DC Television Universe has been Legends Of Tomorrow. While the dramatic nature of the temporal changes being done by Eobard Thawne and the Waverider crew in the second season all-but guarantees that the season will end up with either a nonsensical paradox or a season that is completely undone in the end, Legends Of Tomorrow has been pretty solidly entertaining. Returning from its winter hiatus, Legends Of Tomorrow delivers another pretty solid episode with "Raiders Of The Lost Art."

"Raiders Of The Lost Art" picks up after "The Chicago Way" (reviewed here!), which saw Eobard Thawne recruiting Malcolm Merlyn to his team of super-villains. "The Chicago Way" also hinted as to the location of Rip Hunter in time, which prepared the viewers for his return. "Raiders Of The Lost Art" is that return.

Six months ago, as the Waverider was going down, Rip Hunter had to escape in time and he grabs an artifact before abandoning ship. In the present, Stein walks in on Mick Rory talking to his hallucination of Snart and Rory begs him to help "fix" him. Dr. Heywood is awake, desperately trying to figure out what the amulets were that Thawne stole and Vixen puts together that they are a single artifact, which Heywood recognizes. In 1967, Hollywood, Malcolm Merlyn and Damien Darhk hunt for Rip Hunter, which causes an aberration that attracts the Waverider crew.

Tracking down Rip Hunter, who is working on a student thesis film, puts the Legends in direct conflict with Merlyn and Darhk. Hunter does not appear to recognize or remember the Legends and the conflict gets him arrested. Lance tasks Stein with impersonating a psychologist to spring Hunter from jail. Scanning Rip Hunter informs Lance that Hunter's brain has been temporally-altered. Shortly thereafter, the Waverider crew - notably Palmer and Heywood - start to lose their memories. Gideon realizes that when Darhk scared George Lucas, he left movie-making, which completely altered Palmer and Heywood's early influences! The Waverider crew works to inspire George Lucas, while unraveling the mysteries of Rip Hunter's altered memories and Mick Rory's hallucinations!

"Raiders Of The Lost Art" is a lot of fun both within the episode and outside it. References to the "Legion Of Doom" and the Super Friends do a convincing job of differentiating the DC Television Universe from any prior incarnation of it. That reference, however, opens an unfortunate can of worms; The Flash was in the Super Friends so how the Central City contingent of the DCTU never realized that is just terrible. That continuity problem is actually annoyingly significant when one steps outside the narrative.

At the other end of the spectrum, "Raiders Of The Lost Art" has a number of fun moments. Heywood's reference to Raiders Of The Lost Ark is fun, as is the fact that Rip Hunter is working with George Lucas in 1967! That completely sets up the plot and the idea of Lucas's films having such profound influences on two key members of the Legends team is pretty wonderful. Arthur Darvill's American accent is awesome and Doctor Who fans are likely to geek out at the mere sight of Darvill and Barrowman in the same scene!

Most fans of Legends Of Tomorrow will geek out at the preponderance of Star Wars references. It is only minimally disappointing that George Lucas (in the episode) actually uses the term "trash compactor," as opposed to allowing viewers to be thrilled by the influence the incident with the Legends had on his writing of A New Hope (reviewed here!). While the "Spear Of Destiny" macguffin is addressed within the narrative, it is tough to see how Legends Of Tomorrow will make the conceit work. That macguffin suddenly appeared to make Dr. Stein a believer in the supernatural and that undermines his character a little.

There are a few little character issues in "Raiders Of The Lost Art," the most notable of which is that Damien Darhk and Malcolm Merlyn get the drop on the Legends . . . with Vixen being unable to channel an animal before her amulet is taken from her?! That does not "read" as right.

At the other end of the spectrum, "Raiders Of The Lost Art" does a decent job of recalling that Mick Rory was Chronos and giving him some consequences to that. Victor Garber does a great deadpan when he reveals that Stein is doing brain surgery on Rory and the idea that the Time Masters truly messed with Rory's head is well-executed in "Raiders Of The Lost Art." Fortunately, the episode makes good use of Rory and the idea that he is suffering from real psychological effects for the loss of his best friend is compelling.

The villainy in "Raiders Of The Lost Art" is a bit over-the-top and it will truly only be justified if Darhk and Merlyn stop killing people during their temporal misadventures to stop creating Aberrations. That is to say that the two enforcers for Eobard Thawne (why isn't he doing his own work?!) now have a pretty clear pattern of altering time and drawing the attention of the Waverider crew. If they keep making that mistake, it is hard not to see them as ridiculous caricatures of villains.

But that is not a problem for "Raiders Of The Lost Art." "Raiders Of The Lost Art" finds a generally good balance between humor and developing the plot, seeding well the new elements into Thawne's evil machinations! It is enough to make viewers excited about the return of Legends Of Tomorrow!

For other mid-season premieres, please visit my reviews of:
"Supergirl Lives" - Supergirl
"Broken Promises" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
"Borrowing Problems From The Future" - The Flash

7/10

For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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