Crisis on Infinite Earths

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Available With:
Supergirl: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray, $44.98;
Batwoman: The Complete First Season Blu-ray, $44.98;
The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray, $44.98;
Arrow: The Complete Eighth Season Blu-ray, $29.98;
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray, $29.98;

Warner;
Sci-fi/Action;
Not rated;
Stars Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin, Melissa Benoist, Caity Lotz, Ruby Rose, Brandon Routh, Cress Williams, David Harewood, Tom Cavanagh, Tyler Hoechlin, John Cryer, Matt Ryan, David Ramsey, LaMonica Garrett.

Multiverses are all the rage nowadays.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe and the live-action DC movies are scrambling to introduce the concept in their upcoming blockbusters, filling the Internet with casting rumors of the return of previous versions of certain characters. And one reason they may be motivated to do so is how popular the idea proved in the CW Arrowverse’s big crossover event last season, Crisis on Infinite Earths, which brought together characters from six of the DC superhero shows and featured cameos from several more, and even referenced a few from the big screen.

The TV Crisis is based on a major DC Comics storyline from the mid-1980s, which redefined and modernized all the publication’s classic characters while seeking to streamline convoluted histories that went back decades. In doing so, characters encountered versions of themselves from parallel realities in an epic battle against a villain called the Anti-Monitor who was destroying entire universes.

The CW networks’ “Arrowverse” shows adopted the same basic premise. The series have been doing annual crossovers for a while, and have been laying the groundwork for Crisis on Infinite Earths for years.

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The crossover itself is structured like a miniseries, though each of the five parts are actually an episode from one of the participating series: part one is an episode of “Supergirl,” part two is an episode of “Batwoman,” part three is an episode of “The Flash,” part four is an episode of “Arrow,” and part five is an episode of “Legends of Tomorrow.” Though they use a unified Crisis title card instead of the individual show, the main credits still reflect the cast of that show. This is likely more a matter of contractual obligations, since it probably would have made more sense to produce the crossover as a separate production outside the purview of any of the shows. The fact that these are technically separate episodes of different series makes for some awkward distribution scenarios.

For home video, Warner has chosen to include a special bonus disc containing all five episodes and bonus materials with the relevant season Blu-ray releases of each of the series. It’s the same disc for every show, so “Arrowverse” fans who pick up the Blu-ray for each show will get it five times.

Since the individual parts are also episodes of the shows, they are also included with the regular episode runs for each show on disc. Since the miniseries version is exclusive to the Blu-ray, anyone wanting each part just on DVD has to buy each show’s separate season, and those don’t come with the special “Crisis” extras.

In years past, the crossovers on disc were handled a bit differently, with Warner including all crossover episodes on the Blu-ray for each show’s relevant season as part of the regular episode listings, so that they’ll come up in a “play all” binge.

Either way, it kind of points to a more common sense solution being to release the Crisis disc as a standalone miniseries, and not part of any of the shows’ seasons, but contracts are what they are.

The fact that these are individual episodes of each show makes for some messy plot developments in terms of where certain events happen in relation to what show they are technically happening on. Major life events affecting Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) happen on “Supergirl,” and not his own show, “Arrow.” However, “Arrow” does get a monumental cameo involving The Flash, rather than that bit of fan service actually happening on “The Flash.”

With the central conceit that every TV show and movie ever based on a DC Comics property exists alongside the others in a multiverse, producers have packed in cameos from a number of these other shows, in many cases offering a reunion or update for some of the characters. These range from quick glances at other current shows such as “Titans” and “Stargirl,” as well as drop-ins on the worlds of Superman Returns, the 1989 Batman movie, the 1960s “Batman” series, “Smallville,” the 1990 “Flash” TV show and even the recent Justice League movie.

It’s all in good fun for the fans of these characters who have been following them not just on the CW, but on the other shows as well, not to mention the original comics. The idea of using “Batman: The Animated Series” star Kevin Conroy to play a live-action version of an older Bruce Wayne is just a marvelous idea. As is putting Brandon Routh back in the Superman suit to play an older version of the character. Routh already plays the Atom in the Arrowverse, but physically he seems much more suited to play Superman now that he’s a bit older than he did in 2006, which he was a bit to thin for the part.

For comic book fans, the looks of Conroy’s Bruce Wayne and Routh’s older Superman borrow a lot of influence from the 1990s Kingdom Come miniseries.

Tom Welling also makes an appearance as the “Smallville” Clark Kent, and between him and Routh they just make the Arrowverse’s Superman, Tyler Hoechlin, seem way too undersized for the role.

In addition, Cress Williams shows up in a couple episodes to play Black Lightning from his own CW show. While “Black Lightning” doesn’t have one of the Crisis episodes, it did do its own prelude to Crisis episode similarly to the other participating shows. That episode isn’t included here, but it is available with the third season of “Black Lightning” which is available digitally now and coming to DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Archive Oct. 27.

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Nostalgia aside, Crisis does a lot to resolve several of the storylines from the various shows, not the least of which is to finally put Supergirl and Black Lightnine in the same universe as the other heroes (though that has raised its own plot problems as the shows have continued post-Crisis). It’s an ambitious piece of television that should satisfy fans of the series involved, but the various crossovers and nostalgia bait do a lot to distract from flaws that become apparent on subsequent rewatches.

Primarily, the quaintness of plotting that persists on the five main shows carries over here, and the dialogue can get a bit grating the more one hears it. In some instances the collective writing teams may have been in over their heads coordinating such a big production, as there are many attempts to cram in the supporting casts of the various shows in their series’ respective episodes with subplots that end up going nowhere or having no effect on the larger storyline. Some of these are excuses for cheap cameos, while others just seem like they are giving the characters busy work.

When these shows are syndicated to various stations and streaming services in the future and have to stand on their own, I can only imagine the confusion some viewers might having when encountering the crossover episodes in the middle of a binge and seeing partial storylines that have little to do with the rest of the show they’ve been watching. But, a happy fan is an informed fan, and they should know what they’re getting into with the Arrowverse to begin with.

The extras on the Crisis bonus disc are fun backgrounders typical of the kinds usually found on Blu-rays of DC-based content, particularly the DC Universe animated movies.

Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Architects Return” is a 12-minute featurette that reflects on the original comic book, featuring interviews with its original creators, plus a look at the new comic book tie-in created for the Arrowverse version.

“Crisis Management” is a 13-minute making-of featurette looking at how the five shows coordinated to bring the crossover together.

“Crisis Past and Present: Kevin Conroy Bat Legend” is a three-minute profile of Conroy and bringing him to play a live-action Batman for the first time.

“Crisis Past and Present: Superman vs. Superman” is a four-and-a-half-minute featurette about a showdown between Routh and Hoechlin for super-supremecy.

“Characters in Crisis: Pariah” is a four-minute video about turning Tom Cavanagh’s “Flash” character into the Pariah role from the original comic.

Finally, “Characters in Crisis: The Anti-Monitor” is a five-minute examination of the main villain of the story.

First Season of DC’s ‘Stargirl’ on Disc Sept. 29

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Stargirl: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Sept. 29.

The discs will include all 13 episodes from the first season of the superhero series. The Blu-ray will also include a digital copy of the season. Episodes will also be available for purchase through digital retailers.

Based on the DC Comics character created by Geoff Johns, “Stargirl” follows high school sophomore Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger), who tries to re-form the long-lost superhero group the Justice Society of America to battle a team of supervillains. She seeks guidance in her quest from her stepfather, Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson), the former sidekick to original JSA member Starman, whose cosmic staff gives Courtney her power.

The cast also includes Yvette Monreal, Anjelika Washington, Cameron Gellman, Trae Romano, Jake Austin Walker, Hunter Sansone, Meg DeLacy, Neil Jackson, Christopher James Baker and Amy Smart.

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The series is currently midway through airing its first season, with the season finale slated for August. Episodes debut Mondays on the DC Universe streaming service and are presented the next day on the CW network.

‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’ Season 5 on Disc Sept. 22

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fifth Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Sept. 22. All 15 episodes from the season will also be available through digital retailers.

The season finale airs on the CW June 2.

Based on DC Comics characters, “Legends of Tomorrow” follows a group of misfit heroes as they fight, talk, and sing their way through protecting history from aberrations, anomalies, and anything else that threatens to mess up the timeline. In the fifth season, evil figures from history are returning from hell to cause havoc, leading the Legends to round up the reanimated souls and uncovering a supernatural plot in which the fate of the world and the free will of mankind is at stake.

The cast includes Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Tala Ashe, Jes Macallan, Courtney Ford, Olivia Swann, Nick Zano and Dominic Purcell, plus Matt Ryan reprising his role as John Constantine.

Extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel and a “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Post Production Theater” featurette.

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The season began with the concluding chapter of the five-part “Crisis on Infinite Earth” crossover with other CW superhero series, completing the story from “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl” and “Batwoman.”

The Blu-ray edition will include a limited-edition bonus disc with all five “Crisis” episodes and six tie-in featurettes (the disc is also available with the concurrent Blu-ray seasons of the other shows involved in the crossover).

DC’s ‘Stargirl’ Top Rising Show, CW’s ‘Dynasty’ Top Binge on TV Time Charts

DC’s “Stargirl” was the top rising show and the CW’s “Dynasty” was the top binge on the TV Time charts for the week ended May 24.

“Stargirl,” based on the DC comics character, debuted on the DC Universe streaming service May 18 airing the following day on The CW. It follows a high school sophomore who discovers a cosmic staff.

Taking the silver on the rising chart was TNT’s “Snowpiercer,” which premiered May 17. The futuristic drama follows up on the graphic novel and the 2013 film from Bong Joon-ho (Best Picture Oscar winner Parasite). Seven years after the world becomes a frozen wasteland, the series follows the passengers of the Snowpiercer train while exploring class warfare and the politics of survival.

“Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series,” season two of which debuted May 22 on Netflix, came in at No. 3 on the rising show chart. The Canadian animated mockumentary TV series focuses on the misadventures of a group of trailer park residents, some of whom are ex-convicts, living in the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

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Top binge “Dynasty” is a reboot of the 1980s soap opera. It led perennial binges “Friends” and “The Office,” at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, on the binge chart.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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 Top Binge Shows Week Ended May 24 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Dynasty” (The CW) — 2.18%
  2. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.71%
  3. “The Office” (NBC) — 1.68%
  4. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.48%
  5. “Dead to Me” (Netflix) — 1.46%
  6. “Modern Family” (ABC) — 1.40%
  7. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.32%
  8. “The 100” (The CW) — 1.31%
  9. “How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC) — 1.28%
  10. “Skam Italia” (TIMvision) — 1.24%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended May 24 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Stargirl” (DC Universe) — 99.9%
  2. “Snowpiercer” (TNT) — 99.7%
  3. “Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series” (Netflix) — 96.4%
  4. “Selling Sunset” (Netflix) — 92.4%
  5. “Homecoming” (Amazon) — 88.1%
  6. “Super Dragon Ball Heroes” (YouTube) — 79.3%
  7. “Ex on the Beach” (MTV Brazil) — 79.1%
  8. “Inhuman Resources” (Arte) — 73.5%
  9. “Dynasty” (The CW) — 70.7%
  10. “Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj” (Netflix) — 65.4%

‘Supergirl’ Season 5 on Disc Sept. 8

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Supergirl: The Complete Fifth Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Sept. 8. The season’s 19 episodes are available now for digital purchase.

In the CW’s show’s fifth season, Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) confronts a shadowy organization called Leviathan, while National City becomes enthralled by an addictive new virtual reality program. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) returns as a global hero thanks to the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover with the CW’s other superhero shows.

The cast also includes Chyler Leigh, Katie McGrath, Jesse Rath, Nicole Maines, Azie Tesfai, Andrea Brooks, Julie Gonzalo, Staz Nair, Mehcad Brooks and David Harewood.

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Home video extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel and highlights from the DC TV 2019 San Diego Comic-Con panels.

The Blu-ray will also include a limited-edition bonus disc that includes all five “Crisis” crossover episodes, plus six “Crisis” featurettes.

‘The Flash’ Season 6 on Disc Aug. 25

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 25. The season’s 19 episodes are available now for digital purchase.

In its sixth season, the top-rated series on the CW finds its heroes dealing two villains: Bloodwork and Mirror Master, as the Flash (Grant Gustin) prepares for the potential sacrifice he must make in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover with the CW’s other superhero shows. After surviving Crisis, Flash learns he is losing his speed powers, and must find a way to restore them just as his wife, Iris (Candice Patton) finds herself trapped in a mirror universe.

The cast also includes Danielle Panabaker as Frost, Carlos Valdes as Vibe and Hartley Sawyer as Elongated Man, plus Danielle Nicolet, Efrat Dor, Tom Cavanagh and Jesse L. Martin.

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Home video extras include “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach — Noir,” a special version of the fifth episode with optional commentary by showrunner Eric Wallace. Other extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel and highlights from the DC TV 2019 San Diego Comic-Con panels.

The Blu-ray will also include a limited-edition bonus disc that includes all five “Crisis” crossover episodes, plus six “Crisis” featurettes.

‘Batwoman’ Season One on Disc Aug. 18

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Batwoman: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 18.

Ruby Rose stars as Kate Kane, who becomes Gotham City’s newest vigilante, Batwoman, to protect the city after the disappearance of Batman. The cousin of Bruce Wayne and daughter of the leader (Dougray Scott) of the city’s top private security firm, Kate discovers her long-lost sister is in fact alive, and now menaces the city as the supervillain Alice (Rachel Skarsten).

The cast also includes Meagan Tandy, Nicole Kang, Camrus Johnson and Elizabeth Anweis.

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“Batwoman” is a spinoff of the CW’s “Arrowverse” franchise that also includes “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “Legends of Tomorrow” and “Black Lightning.”

The Blu-ray and DVD editions will include all 20 episodes from the first season, plus deleted scenes, a gag reel, an “On the Set” featurette and highlights from DC TV’s San Diego Comic-Con 2019 panels.

In addition, the Blu-ray will include a bonus disc containing all five of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover episodes with the other Arrowverse shows, and six “Crisis” featurettes.

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The first 17 episodes of the season are currently available for digital purchase. The three remaining episodes will be available after airing on the CW in the next few weeks.

‘DC’s Stargirl’ Top New, ‘The 100’ Top Returning Show on TV Time Anticipated Series Chart for May

“DC’s Stargirl” was the most anticipated new show, while “The 100” was the top anticipated returning show on the TV Time chart for May.

“DC’s Stargirl,” based on the DC comics character, debuts on DC Universe May 18 and will air the following day on The CW. It follows a high school sophomore who discovers a cosmic staff.

The seventh and final season of dystopian drama and top returning show “The 100” premieres May 20 on The CW.

Taking the silver on the new show chart was TNT’s “Snowpiercer,” premiering May 17. The futuristic drama follows up on the graphic novel and the 2013 film from Bong Joon-ho (Best Picture Oscar winner Parasite). Seven years after the world becomes a frozen wasteland, the series follows the passengers of the Snowpiercer train while exploring class warfare and the politics of survival.

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Upcoming Netflix series took the third and fourth spots on the new show chart. “Hollywood” (No. 3) is a Ryan Murphy drama that follows a group of aspiring actors in post-World War II Los Angeles who try to make it big despite the entertainment industry’s unfair power dynamics. “Space Force” (No. 4), created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, is a workplace comedy centering on people tasked with establishing the sixth branch of the U.S. military — The United States Space Force.

Rounding out the new show chart at No. 5 was Amazon Prime’s sci-fi series “Upload,” which follows a young app developer who meets an early death in a future world where humans are able to “upload” themselves into their preferred choice of afterlife.

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Coming in at No. 2 on the returning show chart was Netflix’s black dramedy “Dead to Me,” season two of which premieres May 8. At No. 3 was ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” The series mounts its seventh and final season May 27. The fourth season of “Skam Italia” (No. 4) focuses on Sana, a second-generation Muslim Italian girl, as she faces new challenges, love interests, and the balance between Muslim values ​​and those of Italian society. All 10 episodes will be released May 15 via Netflix Italy and Timvision. Rounding out the top five returning shows was Netflix’s animated series “The Hollow,” season two of which hits screens May 8.

 

Most Anticipated New Shows for May:

  1. “DC’s Stargirl” (DC Universe) — May 18
  2. “Snowpiercer” (TNT) — May 17
  3. “Hollywood” (Netflix) — May 1
  4. “Space Force” (Netflix) — May 29
  5. “Upload” (Amazon Prime) — May 1

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for May:

  1. “The 100” (CW) — May 20
  2. “Dead to Me” (Netflix) — May 8
  3. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (ABC) — May 27
  4. “Skam Italia” (Netflix Italy/Timvision) — May 15
  5. “The Hollow” (Netflix) — May 8

‘Arrow’ Final Season on Disc April 28

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Arrow: The Eighth and Final Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD April 28 (order date March 24). Arrow: The Complete Series also will be available on Blu-ray and DVD the same day. All episodes from the series are currently available for digital sellthrough purchase.

The CW series debuted in 2012 as an adaptation of DC Comics’ Green Arrow character, a vigilante archer named Oliver Queen who fights corruption and injustice in Star City, with Stephen Amell in the title role.

The series eventually spawned the CW’s “Arrowverse,” which includes “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” “Supergirl,” “Batwoman” and “Black Lightning.”

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In the 10 episodes of the final season, Oliver joins forces with current allies and his family from the future to fight an intergalactic crisis that threatens to destroy the multiverse, culminating in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover with the other Arrowverse shows.

The cast in the final season also includes David Ramsey, Rick Gonzalez, Juliana Harkavy, Katherine McNamara, Ben Lewis, Joseph David-Jones and Katie Cassidy.

The ninth episode of the season, “Green Arrow & The Canaries,” serves as a backdoor pilot for an upcoming spinoff about Oliver’s daughter (McNamara) taking up his mission twenty years later with the help of the two Black Canaries (Cassidy and Harkavy).

Season eight Blu-ray and DVD extras include deleted scenes, the “Arrow: Hitting the Bullseye” retroactive documentary special, and highlights from the DC TV panels at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. The Blu-ray also contains a code redeemable for digital copies of the episodes.

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The Blu-ray for the eighth season (also contained in the complete-series Blu-ray set) will include a bonus disc containing the complete five-part “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover with episodes from “Supergirl,” “Batwoman,” “The Flash,” “Arrow” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.” Extras on the “Crisis” bonus disc include the featurettes “Crisis Past and Present: Kevin Conroy Bat Legend,” “Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Architects Return,” “Crisis Past and Present: Superman vs. Superman,” “Characters in Crisis: Pariah,” “Crisis Management” and “Character in Crisis: The Anti-Monitor.”

 

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Season Four on Disc Sept. 24

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fourth Season on Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 24 (order date Aug. 20).

The season deals with the Legends fighting the forces of magic and myth.

The cast includes Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Tala Ashe, Jes Macallan, Courtney Ford, Ramona Young, Nick Zano and Dominic Purcell. In addition, Matt Ryan reprises his role as the title character from “Constantine.”

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The Blu-ray and DVD includes all 16 episodes, plus deleted scenes, a gag reel, and the featurettes “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Legendary Storytelling” and “Post Production Theater.” The Blu-ray will include 1080p HD video with DTS-HD master audio for English 5.1.

The fourth season is currently available to own digitally, and a digital copy is included with the Blu-ray.