I generally don’t comment upon ad campaigns for television shows, since I’m into reviewing shows, not promos. A skillful promo can be made for a crappy show, and the reverse is also true. (That first FOX promo for “Enlisted” was so bad it probably killed the show before it even aired.) Talking about a promo that originally aired over two months ago for programs that have since ended their respective seasons might seem odd at best and downright lazy at worst, but allow me this late exception all the same.
A few months ago, The CW offered up the following ad to promote the last arcs of both “The Flash” and “Arrow”. Rather than do a more traditional commercial (involving either clips of upcoming episodes or ominous, hard-to-parse imagery coupled with foreboding voiceovers), the network decided to offer up this instead.
Allow me to be the far-from-the-first to applaud the sheer stupidity of that.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m only partially sarcastic here. In and of itself, it’s a delightful cheesy DC Comics’ take on Super Smash Brothers. And far be it for me to begrudge anyone thinking this far outside the box when it comes to promotional material. Hell, it’s eight weeks later and I’m writing about it, so it must have done something right.
At the same time, as a lover of the fictional world these two shows have created, this is SUCH A WEIRD COMMERCIAL. The premise, if you tease it out, is that the conflicts between heroes and villains in the worlds of these two shows is performative. They don’t really hate each other, but pretend like they do in order to achieve catharsis inside a Thunderdome built in the basement of Palmer Technologies. Sure, R’as Al Ghul lives in Nanda Parbat, but he likes to fly to Starling City to get his inner Tyler Durden on whenever possible. Laurel Lance and Roy Harper normally hate Malcolm Merlyn, except when they fight on the set of The Scorpions’ “Rock You Like A Hurricane” video, in which case it’s all about the joy of athletic competition.
This is some seriously weird deconstruction, one that’s totally unintentional yet utterly addictive. It makes one wonder what other combinations you could put inside that chamber and have them duke it out. I tossed a few combos out on the latest episode of “Talking TV With Ryan And Ryan,” including Clarke/Lexa vs. R’as Al Ghul. (I assume they would kick the crap out of him while he kept insisting they become the Heir To The Demon, since that dude does NOT know how to take a hint.) But why stop at CW characters? Why not put all possible characters into the mix and let them “fight” in whatever way suits his or her personal style?
I want to here what combinations you’d like to see duke it out in the TV Thunderdome. Follow me @TVMcGee on Twitter, propose a scenario, and use the hashtag #TVThunderdome. I’ll collect suggestions and have them play out here on a periodic basis. Jon Snow versus Rogelio De La Vega? Raylan Givens versus Hannibal Lecter? Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren versus Vanessa Ives? I’m looking forward to what you suggest!