Okay, fights were fought, songs were sung, tears were shed… sometimes during the songs, don’t you dare judge me… let’s talk characters.
Best Guest Star
Everyone loves a good guest star, it’s why even the Emmys have awards for the people who strolled in for a handful of episodes, or even just one, and absolutely stole the show.
Here’s who did that.
Honourable Mentions: Vincent D’Onfrio proved he hasn’t lost a step as Kingpin in Hawkeye; Giancarlo Esposito is brilliant as always as Stan Edgar on The Boys; the brief finale cameos from Peacemaker were super fun; it’s always fun to see Mark Sheppard stop by Doom Patrol; and 90s Flash John Wesley Shipp played golden age Flash Jay Garrick on two shows this year, let’s keep that going, I love it every time.
Bronze: The Armageddon Crew, The Flash
The writers of The Flash miss the annual crossovers as much as we do, but COVID realities mean that actors can’t still easily pop between sets, so a proper crossover remains out of reach. So instead, the Flash producers looked back at past seasons, asked “Who doesn’t have a show right now,” and pulled out the rolodex to fill the opening arc of season eight with familiar faces to give it that classic crossover feel. And not just anyone, some old favourites that made the podium around these parts at least once. Brandon Routh was back as Ray Palmer/The Atom, Chyler Leigh basically strolled over right from the finale of Supergirl to bring Alex Danvers to Central City; Katherine McNamara gave us some follow-up on the cliffhanger from Mia Queen’s failed backdoor pilot; Damien and Nora Darhk show up, Damien’s never not fun. And on top of them, a flash-forward gave us Ryan Choi as the new Atom*; Javicia Leslie managed to sneak off the Batwoman set to make up for not getting to meet Superman last season; Cress Williams brings his gravitas to Black Lightning talking Barry out of a bad choice… there was always someone. Some fun old friend to help “Armageddon” feel epic.
(*That one felt a little “Come on we have to do it once before we shut this thing down, we can’t introduce Ryan Choi from the comics and do literally nothing worthwhile with him, we aren’t Zack Snyder.”)
Silver: The OGs, Legends of Tomorrow
I wanted one thing from the 100th episode of Legends of Tomorrow, a show whose cast has had so much turnover it’s barely recognizable from season one: the return of the OG Legends. And by the gods, they delivered. The Waverider’s AI, Gideon, has become human, and to help her time-computer mind transition to a human brain, two of the latest Legends have to accompany her on a trip through her memories to find her place as a human/time computer hybrid.
And it was a treat.
Sure there’s a few missing… Dominic Purcell had just left the show last season, and not necessarily on the best terms, so no Heat Wave… Matt Ryan had spent the hiatus growing a beard and changing his hair for his new character, so no John Constantine… I couldn’t tell you why they couldn’t squeeze in Hawkgirl or Amaya/Charlie… but other than those four they got everyone of note back. Yep, everyone of note.
Okay the gag was that I’m ignoring the fact that Mona Wu wasn’t there either because she wasn’t a good add to the cast and mercifully didn’t last long but I can see that some of you aren’t getting that so you know what let’s move on.
Gold: Paul Reiser as The Legend, The Boys
In the graphic novels of The Boys, The Legend was Billy Butcher’s source inside Vought American’s publishing empire, the guy who helped market the heroes through comics, and thus knows all the dirty secrets, and was pretty obviously modelled after Stan Lee. But The Boys as a TV show isn’t targeting comics in its satire, its going after the movies, hence all Vought heroes also being movie stars, so season three brought us The Legend as a Sleazy Hollywood Producer (based, it is said, on New Hollywood Era head of Paramount Robert Evans), and Paul Reiser slays it. He crushes every story of old-school Hollywood debauchery, his ongoing if not fully explained grudge with Butcher (doesn’t need much explaining, if you’ve met Butcher you probably have a beef with him), and his annoyance at having Soldier Boy back in his life. I hadn’t been sure The Legend was coming, but man he’s a value add to an ensemble firing on all cylinders.
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