Best of Comic TV 2019: We Begin!

Best Musical Number!

Last year I included this category out of amusement that enough characters burst into song to fill the category. This year it’s actually more competitive than Best Fight Scene. Who knew?

Well, here’s the best three.

Bronze: “I Surrender,” Legends of Tomorrow, “Séance and Sensibility”

“Wait, is this a Bollywood musical number?”

“You bet your ass it is.”

After over a year of repressing her emotions, something she learned in her time fighting ARGUS in one of the Arrowverse’s many possible dystopic futures, Zari Tomaz is wrestling with feelings for fellow Legend Nate Heywood. When she gets exposed to a love powder made from the ashes of the Hindu god of love (that made perfect sense, don’t give me that look), years of repressed feelings burst into song. Like they would. And soon she’s infected the entire Waverider, including Ray Palmer and Nora Darhk, whose relationship had been getting flirtier the past several episodes.

Given how often this bunch films music videos for fun between takes, this was inevitable.

(Honourable mention to “DC’s Puppets of Tomorrow,” the best of the alternate-timeline opening sequences from “Legends of To-Meow-Meow.”)

Silver: Dance Like Nobody’s Watching, The Umbrella Academy, “We Only See Each Other at Weddings and Funerals”

The beginning of The Umbrella Academy sees the five surviving Hargreeves siblings divided by time and circumstance, but forced back together when their adoptive father dies. The reunion does not go well, and they all retreat to their corners, at which point Luther (Number One, as their father named him), trying to be the leader his father arbitrarily chose him to be, tries the only thing he can think of… he puts on a record and cranks the volume. And one by one, each of the siblings puts aside their feelings and, in their own fashion, begins to dance. Whatever divides them, at this moment, despite being in different rooms, they’re briefly united. It is weirdly touching.

The broodiest one busts out the funkiest dance moves, including the Running Man. That’s great.

(Honourable mention to the top of that episode, in which we get a montage summarizing the characters’ lives to this point set to Lindsay Sterling’s Phantom of the Opera medley.)

Gold: “People Like Us,” Doom Patrol, “Danny Patrol”

Doom Patrol is weird is all of the very best ways.

For reasons that would actually make less sense if I tried to quickly explain them, a community of misfits is at risk, and the one thing keeping them safe requires the party at Peeping Tom’s Perpetual Cabaret to keep going… and it’s beginning to die. The Master of Ceremonies, Maura Lee Karupt (how good a drag name is that?) calls on Larry Trainor, known to comics fans as Negative Man, to step up for karaoke. Larry resists at first, but eventually takes the stage, inviting Maura to join him in Kelly Clarkson’s “People Like Us.” In a flash, Larry is transformed… his bandages replaced with a tuxedo, his burns healed… he’s his old self again, and the party is thriving, with him and Maura at the centre.

Of course it isn’t true. A smash cut reveals none of that just happened. But that just makes it more powerful… people like me LARRY, people like Larry, that’s what I– fine. People stuck in their own heads due to trauma, or depression, or anxiety… sometimes we do wish we could just shed our damage and join the party. It’s just never as simple as it looks from outside. (Don’t worry, Larry claims that microphone later in the episode.)

I’ve probably watched this a couple of dozen times by now.

Next Page: Who tugged our heartstrings the hardest?

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