I miss this take on Dinah and Ollie - the one where she’s grown and moved past him and made her peace with everything. Of course she still loves him, because he did mean a lot to her, and they had been through a lot together. At the same time, she’d grown past it. She loved him, but she wasn’t in love with him anymore. It was great character development and a wonderful way for Dinah to kind of complete the journey that Gail Simone had started for her when she took over writing duties on Birds of Prey. No more being kidnapped, no more being gagged, one of the world’s finest martial artists, a superhero in her own right. She was the bad-ass she was always meant to be.
And then the writers did away with all of it, because suddenly in Green Arrow/Black Canary, Dinah’s easily apprehended by a street thug and can’t find her way out of it. Dinah hasn’t been the same since then, no matter how much they change up continuity. It’s sad, because she’d finally realized her potential. She’d finally lived up to it, only to have it all taken away by people nostalgic for the past…none of which worked out well.
For those of you still in mourning over the death of Dinah Laurel Lance from the CW’s Arrow. I have some news, perhaps not new, but it is news. Dinah Laurel Lance lives on in DC Comics. Whether you purchase the books at your local shop, on Amazon or check them out from a local library here is a list of recommended graphic novels for all your Black Canary needs:
The Birds of Prey, vol 1
The Birds of Prey, vol 2
Birds of Prey, vol 1: Of Like Minds
Birds of Prey, vol 2: Sensei & Student
Birds of Prey, vol 3: Between Dark & Dawn
Birds of Prey, vol 4: The Battle Within
Birds of Prey, vol 5: Perfect Pitch
Birds of Prey, vol 6: Blood and Circuits
Birds of Prey, vol 7: Dead of Winter
Birds of Prey, vol 1: End Run (Brightest Day)
Black Canary & Zatanna: Bloodspell
Justice League of America: The Second Coming
Justice League of America: The Injustice League
Justice League of America: Worlds Collide
Green Arrow/Black Canary: Road to the Altar
Green Arrow/Black Canary: The Wedding Album
Green Arrow/Black Canary: Family Business
Black Canary, vol 1: Kicking and Screaming
That wraps up this list but if you need more great reads, be sure to check out Gail Simone’s Secret Six and Dwayne McDuffie’s Static. For those of you eager for Greg Rucka’s return to DC Comics. Be sure to check out Greg Rucka’s The Question & Gotham Central (and of course his Wonder Woman).
"JERICHO": (1.01) "Pilot - The First Seventeen Hours"
“JERICHO” RETROSPECT: (1.01) “Pilot: The First Seventeen Hours”
It took me quite a while to get over CBS’ cancellation of the 2006-2008 post-apocalypse series, “JERICHO”. Quite a while. But when I recently watched the series’ first episode, “Pilot: The Seventeen Hours”, my anger returned. Somewhat. After all, five years had past since the series’ cancellation. And I know it will never come back.
Oh well. I still have my DVD collection of all the episodes. Watching “Pilot: The Seventeen Hours” brought back good memories for me. The episode not introduced most or all of the players that would have a major role in the series’ saga. The episode and the story begins with the return of Jake Green to his hometown of Jericho, Kansas. Estranged from his family for five years, he only returns to to pay respect to his recently deceased grandfather and to claim the money left to him by the latter. Due to his estrangement with his father, Mayor Johnston Green and the latter’s refusal to hand over the money, Jake decides to leave town again. While driving away from Jericho, he witnesses the mushroom cloud of a nuclear bomb in the far distance before colliding with an oncoming car.
That mushroom cloud, also witnessed by Deputy Jimmy Taylor’s son and a few others. Mayor Green surmises that the bomb must have hit Denver, Colorado. However, his wife Gail learns from a local named Dale Turner that the latter’s mother was killed in Atlanta, Georgia - the location of second nuclear attack. Realizing that a school bus full of children and their teacher, Heather Lisinski, is missing; Mayor Green orders the sheriff and his deputies to find it. However, an injured Jake ends up finding the bus. He saves the life of a young girl and manages to drive the bus back to Jericho with an injured leg. Unfortunately for the sheriff and one deputy, they are killed by a group of convicts that managed to escape from a prison bus following the nuclear attack.
“Pilot: The First Seventeen Hours” struck me as a pretty good episode. It did not allow “JERICHO” to begin on a sensational note like many science-fiction/fantasy television series I have seen in the past decade. And perhaps that is a good thing. Most recent serial television shows that begin on a high note have great difficulty in maintaining such a high level of quality. I am not stating that the pilot episode for “JERICHO” was terrible. Not by a long shot. But I would not view it as among the series’ best episodes. Did “Pilot: The First Seventeen Hours” have any flaws? Well, some of the crowd scenes featuring the good citizens of Jericho struck me as overwrought and cliched. This is the episode that tried to introduce the idea of Jake Green and Heather Lisinski as a potential couple. While some fans bought the … uh, “chemistry” between the two. It did not work for me and the pair has always struck me more as siblings. The episode also introduced Lennie James as the mysterious Robert Hawkins. While the screenwriters did a good job in establishing Hawkins’ mysterious nature, I was not that impressed by the British-born James’ American accent.
Despite these flaws, I still enjoyed “Pilot: The First Seventeen Hours”. Not only did the episode did a solid job in introducing the series’ overall narrative, it also provided plenty of good action and mystery. Director Jon Turteltaub did a good job in handling such action scenes like the car accident that prevented Jake’s departure from Kansas and the escaped convicts’ murder of Jericho’s sheriff. And although I had some trouble with one or two crowd scenes - especially the one in which the town citizens nearly panicked over getting their hands on available supplies. But there were some dramatic scenes that I enjoyed; including Jake’s quarrel with his father and brother Eric, Jake saving the life of the young schoolgirl, Robert’s attempt to offer his help to the sheriff and the fire chief, Dale Turner’s revelation of a second nuclear explosion in Atlanta, and Jake’s uneasy reunion with his ex-girlfriend Emily Sullivan. Despite the resolution of the missing school bus plot line, “Pilot: The First Seventeen Hours” made sure that audiences knew that “JERICHO” would be a serial drama by leaving the following plot lines hanging:
*The escaped convicts *Emily Sullivan’s nighttime road trip to the pick up her fiancé from a nearby airport *The emergence of businessman Gray Anderson as a future political opponent for Johnston Green *The reason behind Robert Hawkins’ appearance in Jericho
Of these four plot lines, only one will be resolved by the following episode.
The performances in this episode seemed pretty rock solid. My only complaints are directed at the extras and minor characters who portrayed the citizens of Jericho. The main reason I found some of the crowd scenes overwrought was that I found the performances portraying the citizens over-the-top. I realize they were supposed to be portraying the citizens in a state of panic. I simply did not find their performances satisfying. However, Skeet Ulrich expertly set the tone as the show’s leading man. Lennie James injected that mysterious tone in his character right off the bat, even if I found his American accent a little shaky. Michael Gaston did a good job as Gray Anderson and I found Sprague Grayden’s portrayal of Heather Lisinski rather charming. But there were three performances that really impressed me. One came from Gerald McRaney, who gave a commanding, yet sardonic performance as mayor Jericho, Johnston Green. Another came from Pamela Reed, who seemed to be the heart and soul of this episode as the mayor’s wife, Gail Green. And the last impressive performance came from Erik Knudsen, who did an excellent job in setting up the complexities of the adolescent Dale Turner, one of the show’s most complex characters.
Although not as impressive as other pilots I have seen from recent science-fiction/fantasy television shows. As I had earlier stated, “Pilot: The First Seventeen Hours” is not terrible, nor mediocre. But it is not great. However, this is not a problem for me. I have never demanded that the pilot of a science-fiction/fantasy series blow me away. All I demand that it does a good job in setting up the series’ premise. And I believe that this pilot episode for “JERICHO” certainly accomplished this.