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Season One Wrap-Up

November 26, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s uncommon for television shows to maintain a high quality level for their entire run.  You either have the classic example of shows which start weak and round into shape once either the cast or creative team are tweaked (such as The Batman, where its horrible first few seasons were somewhat redeemed by Alan Burnett coming on-board and salvaging something in its later years) or, more commonly, a show will tail off as things move along. Looking back on this first season, what strikes me is that it certainly wasn’t as good as later seasons would be, but there were some good episodes that rose above the more mediocre ones.

Grades Revisited:

Looking back, I graded all the episodes just on pure feel after watching them a couple of times. While this produced one major artifact – Knight of Shadows got an A-, largely due to its placement in the middle of a relatively weak stretch of episodes, while Injustice for All only got a B+, likely since I’d watched World’s Finest immediately beforehand – I think I’d agree with most of the grades in retrospect. It’s unsurprising that the episode which felt most like a second-season episode, Enemy Below, tied for the highest grade of the season, as it’s one of the few to do an effective job of balancing the more silver-age feel that the producers were going for with the darker, more intense storytelling that would become a key part of the later parts of the series.

Although this season wasn’t directly effected by the infamous ban on Batman villains appearing on the show, it did feel like a way of building up bad guys for use later, which while not beneficial from an immediate quality standpoint certainly led to stronger episodes down the line. Vandal Savage, in particular, wasn’t much in his episode, but he’d return for two very strong shows in the second season, and Grodd would be a focal point of the final JLU season. Even Mongul, he of the reviled “War World”, would appear in an excellent episode down the line, although very little of the credit for that one would go to the production team.

Also, one of the real issues with the first season was finding a way to keep stories feeling “full” for their entire length. Certain stories – Paradise Lost comes immediately to mind – would probably have been good or even great had a bit more care been given to adding more plot into the running time. There also seemed to have been a bit of gun-shyness when it cames to characterising the newer team members, instead focusing on much more of a straightforward superhero show. That would drastically change in the second season, as the setup contained here was magnified tenfold.

Basically, this season felt very much like a 60s Justice League story for the most part – a lot of action, but not where you’d turn to if you wanted to learn anything about the lead characters.

That does change.

Distribution:

  • A-minus: Two (Enemy Below, Knight in Shadows)
  • B-plus: One (Injustice for All)
  • B: Two (Savage Time, Brave and the Bold)
  • B-Minus: One (In Blackest Knight)
  • C-plus: Two (Legends, Secret Origins)
  • C: One (Fury)
  • C-minus: Two (Paradise Lost, Metamorphosis)
  • D: One (War World)

We didn’t have minus grades in law school, so I don’t know what the season’s GPA would be, although my guess would be a C+.

Best Line of the Season: “Flash – stop heckling the supervillain!”

Moment of the Season: Has to be Aquaman’s self-amputation.

Best Debuting Character: Grodd was very well-realised even in his first episode, and unsurprisingly he’d turn into one of the biggest returning villains.

Justice League MVP: Although Batman was probably stronger, and though I didn’t like her two specifically-focused episodes, I thought Wonder Woman really got fleshed out by the time the season ended.

Weakest Leaguer: Hawkgirl got virtually no focus this season, mainly playing the part of “hit-things-with-mace-while-screaming-Lass” and delivering the infrequent funny line. It’s the animation equivalent of someone check-raising in Poker.

Neatest “in retrospect” point: Hawkgirl’s wings being revealed as organic, which meant she was Thanagarian.

Well, that’s it for now. There’s a bunch of stuff I want to get through before Season Two proper starts, so look for a weekend piece on The New Frontier and Legacy following early next week. Tomorrow, however, I need to set up the most obscure of the Justice League’s episodes… appearances.

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Categories: Wrap-Ups
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  1. November 29, 2009 at 11:50 am

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