TV on DVD: DC Comics Television

This year Warner Bros and DC Entertainment has unleashed a flurry of their banner television shows which should help ease the boredom of folks still in quarantine. With a lot of what’s been released, there are long awaited releases, and of course big releases of some of the biggest events of the year. COVID may have ground everything to a halt, but DC is still delivering on animated movies and season sets.

Officially on Blu-Ray, restored and uncut, Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection comes in a spiffy box set that embraces the inherent camp of the classic series. I imagine this box set was supposed to coincide with the release of “Wonder Woman: 1984” (pre-COVID) which is bittersweet in its way, but at least you can celebrate one of the most iconic superhero TV series of all time. Banner Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter is as dazzling as ever as the Amazonian Diana Prince who fights criminals and Nazis alongside Steve Trevor during World War II. On the side she battles evil in has alter ego as Wonder Woman.

“Wonder Woman” is a bit dated and clunky, but taken in its context, it garners surefire entertainment and camp value. Plus it’s hard to dislike the gorgeous Lynda Carter who adds depth to what could have been a one dimensional title role. The Complete Collection includes a commentary for the pilot episode, which features series star Lynda Carter and Douglas S. Cramer. Beauty, Brawn and Bulletproof Bracelets: A Wonder Woman Retrospective is a fun twenty one minutes archival featurette with looks back at Wonder Woman’s legacy and the influence of the series.

Revolutionizing a Classic: From Comic Book to Television is another eleven minutes archival piece documenting the adaptive process of the classic comic book to television. Lynda Carter offers a commentary on the episode My Teenage Idol is Missing,  And finally Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Feminist Icon a thirteen minutes archival featurette, with Lynda Carter thanking fans for “buying this DVD” as it begins, but with a number of interesting interviews with women expressing their appreciation for the character’s feminist attitudes.

Returning for a fifth new adventure on the CW/Berlanti universe is Melissa Benoist as the titular Supergirl. Supergirl: The Complete Fifth Season is now available on Blu-Ray and Digital for fans. This season comes in two phases, as it features pre and post-Crisis Supergirl facing new threats in National City. Along with addictive virtual reality technologies created by CatCo’s enigmatic new owner, Andrea Rojas, she also has to confront William Dev, Martian Malefic J’onzz, the organization Leviathan, and Lex Luthor, who returns with a vengeance to strike at Supergirl and her family.

There’s also the epic crossover event “Crisis on Infinite Earths” in its completion as Supergirl must team with an array of superheroes to help save their universe and stop the Monitor. This crossover is satisfying and sets up potential for more crossovers, and the upcoming Superman series.

Along with a slew of deleted scenes clocking in at almost a half hour, there’s the nearly hour long The Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2019,  which is a pastiche of all the CW DC shows’ panels at San Diego Comic Con 2019. This feature is on almost all the new releases. There’s also a Gag Reel for the season clocking in at seven minutes. On Bonus Disc Five, there’s the five episode crossover in its completion, the eleven minutes Crisis On Infinite Earths: The Architects Return, which feaures various individuals discussing the original ambitious comic book run that is the source for the crossover. They also go into how they crafted it to fit their universe while also keeping true to the spirit of the series.

Crisis Management is the eleven minutes sit down with the writers and showrunners as they discuss the collaboration of talents in front of and behind the camera. Crisis Past and Present: Kevin Conroy Bat Legend, focuses on the decision to bring animated Batman icon Kevin Conroy to be the live action elder Bruce Wayne in Crisis,  Crisis Past and Present: Superman vs. Superman focuses on Brandon Routh’s continuation of his Superman Returns man of steel, Characters in Crisis: Pariah talks about Pariah in the comic book arc and how they utilized it in this televised version of the story, and finally Characters in Crisis: The Anti-Monitor which talks about how the villain works in the Arrowverse.

Returning for the controversial sixth outing, The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season is now available, and features the group in the midst of big changes. Like other series this year, season six comes in two segments, with Iris fending off against a scientist who is anxious to beat death, and builds a power that allows him to feed on blood and control his victims with his own blood turning them in to virtual zombies.

Things go from bad to worse when Flash is possessed and turned in to an unwitting servant, forcing Team Flash to fight Barry. The release contains a Commentary by showrunner/executive producer Eric Wallace, for “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach – Noir,” as well as a black and white color timed version of the episode “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach: Noir” as well as over fifteen minutes of deleted scenes for various episodes.

There’s a Gag Reel for select episodes and finally The Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2019, the full Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover, Crisis On Infinite Earths: The Architects Return, Crisis Management, Crisis Past and Present: Kevin Conroy Bat Legend, Crisis Past and Present: Superman vs. Superman, Characters in Crisis: Pariah, and finally Characters in Crisis: The Anti-Monitor.

In the midst of the dark times of COVID, there came yet another Berlanti adaptation that thrived on hope and enthusiasm. Stargirl: The Complete First Season is a great new turn in the DC/CW universe exploring the legacy of the superhero, and the new generation of DC Superheroes that have to overcome their limitations in order to do battle with a new league of evil that threatens the world.

“Stargirl” is a great realization of an often overlooked DC superhero team, and casts some wonderful performers including Luke Wilson, Joe McHale, and Amy Smart, respectively.

Sadly, the season one release has zero extras, which might sadden fans of the blossoming superhero series. Hopefully season two brings a wealth of bells and whistles. I recommend the series based solely on the quality of the show, altogether. At the very least, there’s a digital copy of the season included. 

Finally, Batwoman: The Complete First Season is the controversial introduction of a new, different chapter in the Batman Universe. Rather than focusing on Batman, this series focuses on his cousin Cassandra Kane. She arrives in Gotham stunned at the sudden disappearance of Bruce Wayne, and decides to use his resources to dress up as the cunning Batwoman and fight crime.

What with Batman’s disappearance, Batwoman has her work cut out for her. “Batwoman” isn’t always great, but it’s a pretty good start to a very interesting take on the Batman lore. I don’t know how much weight this will have for fans though since Season Two is promising to be a complete reset with a brand new star playing Batwoman, as well as a brand new costume.

Included are eight minutes of deleted scenes, the aforementioned The Best of DC TV’s Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2019, the full Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover, Crisis On Infinite Earths: The Architects Return, Crisis Management, Crisis Past and Present: Kevin Conroy Bat Legend, Crisis Past and Present: Superman vs. Superman, Characters in Crisis: Pariah, and finally Characters in Crisis: The Anti-Monitor.

It’s great to note most of the releases from the Berlanti DC Shows include the full “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover. So if you missed it on TV, now’s a great time to see it in all its majesty!

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