EPISODE REVIEW: Green Lantern: The Animated Series: "Beware my Power" (Episodes 1 and 2)

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Well, it's late and I'm cranky, and I'm feeling sorta' over-used and under-loved as it is, but pretty clearly no one else is gonna' do this, so I guess I'll review the premier.

PLAY BY PLAY

A Green Lantern gets killed by two Red Lanterns. Yeah, I don't know what they are either.

18 months later on Earth, Hal Jordan destroys a prototype fighter, saves a train, and puts the moves on Carol Ferris. None of this really amounts to anything, though, it's just sort of there. There's no real purpose to it. Then he flies off to Oa for a scene that has no purpose other than to let us know he's a lone wolf who plays by his own rules. While this is going on, the ring from the slain GL turns up.

Turns out he's a "Ranger Lantern," a group of lanterns that operate a billion light years away from the normal rangers, in a region that will take 18 months to get to at top speed. Hal and Kilowog steal an experimental ship and get there in about two minutes, then set about rescuing a Ranger Lantern who looks like a billygoat, kinda.

Billygoat was being attacked by the same two red lanterns we saw in the teaser, and in the process the experimental ship gets damaged and they can't make the engine work for 9 months or so. They take Billygoat to his homeworld, and there they Red Lanterns threaten to blow up the planet if the Green Lanterns aren't turned over to them.

The GLs attack, it's a fairly standard dustup, Billygoat dies, Hal stalemates the main bad guy, and Kilowog saves the population of the planet they were on at the time. Hal manages to capture one of the Red Lanterns who was suffering some guilt pangs.

The End

OBSERVATIONS

Meh.

It was pretty paint by the numbers, to be honest. In general terms it was pretty much exactly what I expected: kinda' uninspired tie-in to a movie that bombed, with some "Clone Wars" thrown in, 'cuz that's trendy now, all done with bland CGI. That's all true. What I didn't anticipate - and I give points for this - is that it's *not* another origin story (Thank God), nor is it a Hal on Earth series, nor a Corps Superhero Team Show, nor is it a 50/50 Space/Earth show. The premise is that Hal and Kilowog are stuck a berjillion light years from Earth and can't get home.

I kinda' like that. It's unexpected. It's a new focus. Granted, it totally bombed when Stargate Universe tried it over the last two years, but maybe these guys'll have better luck with it.

No. Freakin. Sinestro. Hooray! That alone makes me kinda' like the show.

I like the Red Lanterns. I don't actually know what they are, if they were created for this show, or if they exist in some other iteration of the DCU. What's intriguing is that it's implied their beef with the GLC is actually not entirely unjustified. Some bad stuff went down, and the Guardians have clearly been hushing it up.

I also like that there's an entire corps out there that the Green Lanterns knew nothing about, and the Guardians appear reticent to talk about it. They're not volunteering information.

One of my kids said "I think the Ranger Lanterns are intended as an early warning system for the Guardians, and nothing more." That makes sense.

I liked the division and manipulation on the Guardian council. Very Minbari. I also liekd that the Council may not be all sweetness and light (Or more likely they're just trying to cover up some past sin) The turncoat Red Lantern is blandly done, but conceptually interesting, particularly now that they have a prisoner they don't know what to do with.

("I'm going to call you...Todd" one of my kids said, in that last scene. It reminded him of SGA)

On the down side: Direction was uninspired. The plot was only 44 minutes long, but felt padded out considerably. Action sequences were dull. Music was not entirely bland, but culled a bit too obviously from several clear sources ("Oh, Japanese drums! This must be the Galactica scene!") Voice acting was adequate, but the cast felt small. Several actors were clearly holding down several roles. Nothing wrong with that, just unexpectedly obvious.

There's no nice way to say it: the animation was just lame. It's weak CGI, blandly designed, and kinda' clunky. They move awkwardly. Worse yet, Hal's design looks like it came straight out of The Incredibles. Character design, on the whole, did nothing for me. You can get away with these exaggerated V-shaped human designs in animation (Think Superman in the DCAU), but in the less-stylized CGI world where things have some depths and heft, it looks kinda' awkward from a lot of angles.

The bit about Hal's secret identity was pretty darn funny, though. We all laughed a lot at that.

So: in conclusion, I'm not slamming the show at all. It's neither great nor awful. In terms of quality, it's pretty much exactly what I expected. In terms of premise, it was different than I expected, which makes it slightly intriguing. This was a pretty uninspired and unmoving introduction, but a couple elements are set up here that might end up being interesting in the not-so-distant future.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

If they can stay awake.

PLEASE NOTE:
We're actually looking for someone to review this series regularly for Republibot. It's an unpaid position as a guest blogger, but your stuff will be read by thousands of people, and our site is a pretty good one to start with if you're looking to generate some web presence and online name recognition. If you think you may be interested in reviewing the show, please drop me a line at three@republibot.com

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