To preface this post, I'll start of by saying that I've really enjoyed my time with Star Trek Discovery so far.
The first two episodes feel like much more like a lead-in movie than the first two episodes of the show. They don't feature the titular ship at all, for example. They're obviously intended to be a double feature with a stunning hundred ship battle as the conclusion, though there is some tidying up at the end. The Klingon war-rhetoric did get a little tired by the end of the two episodes, but it wasn't enough to be offputting.
There were some inconsistencies with the background to the show. It felt weird that the Klingon leader stated that "we come in peace" is the federations battle cry, given that they haven't encountered one another often. On top of that, Michaels family was killed by Klingons, but at another point, we're told that the federation hasn't seen the Klingons at all for 100 years. I'm sure it works out - it just felt inconsistent.
As much as I enjoyed the episodes, I also had some concerns about how the rest of the series would be with them as an opening. Luckily, episode 3 changes the pace almost completely. The war that started in the first two episodes is no longer the focus, merely background noise to add emphasis to what they're doing outside of it.
We're no longer in the middle of the war - we're now on a scientific mission, and we even respond to the distress call of another ship out in space. It felt a lot more like Star Trek. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series a lot more now than I was this time last week.
That said, I still don't particularly care for the show being a prequel to TOS. Why can't we just have a 'new' show. I also don't care for Michael, the main character, being adopted by Sarek. I don't mind that she, a human, was raised on Vulcan. I don't mind that she went to their school. Her being raised by Sarek feels like a weird retcon that could have just... not been.
Iron Fist, the newest entry in the fantastic Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), was universally panned by critics, with a Metacritic score of 37 and not a single positive critic review.
The show was fairly slow and at points predictable, but the same could be said for Luke Cage. One review I read complains that the protagonist, Danny Rand, says things like "If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions". It's almost as if he spent the last 15 years in a Buddhist monastery.
There are also a lot of complaints about a white character having culturally appropriated abilities, as though somehow martial arts can't be taught to white people. One review complains that he, as a white man, lectures an Asian woman on how to channel her internal force. But it's okay that a Hispanic character taught her in the first place.
I understand that it's frustrating that there aren't any Asian heroes in the MCU, but panning a show for not having an Asian main character seems strange to me.
They also complain that Danny Rand is a boring character, using the name "Danny Bland". To a degree I can understand, but I also don't see how he's any less interesting than, say, Matt Murdock.
Now that I've complained about other reviews, I'll share some of my own thoughts for the show.
As I've already mentioned, the show is somewhat slow and predictable, but a slow pace isn't strictly a bad thing. It meanders somewhat with arcs that don't really go anywhere. Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. The story is in the journey and sometimes journeys have pointless detours.
The slower pacing actually felt better to me than the last 3 seasons of Netflix shows which I felt all had an extreme lull in the third quarter.
The fights are generally well choreographed, the exception being one in a moving truck that was a little stupid.
Superficially there are a lot of similarities between Iron Fist and the first season of Arrow. A rich son of a business owner 'died' on holiday many years ago and returns, taking over the business. The composition of friends he returns to is the same; one female and one male with a father who has come back from the dead.
A very minor complaint; Both Daredevil and Jessica Jones had entire scenes where subtitles were required, yet when we go to China in Iron Fist for pretty much a single scene everybody, including a street beggar, speaks English ("I wasn't always a beggar" - Oh, that explains it). It felt a bit strange.
I do have another complaint about the show, but it's about the very final scene so I won't mention it. It's very, very similar to the very final scene in Doctor Strange (which I also took issue with).
In all, I enjoyed the show. It's far from the failure the critics seem to suggest. And while it will feel all too familiar if you've seen Arrow, it's still definitely worth watching. The critical reviews are pretty much just wrong.
Season 4 has split it's 22 episodes into 3 story arcs, with one key link. The season also ties in loosely with the release of Doctor Strange, adding mysticism to the MCU.
The first arc, featuring the Ghost Rider, was widely praised for bringing the show back on track after a fairly bleak end to season 3. Personally, I felt that these episodes relied too much on the Ghost Rider and his family and I didn't feel any particular attachment to them. Robbie Reyes (Ghost Rider) didn't feel like a good fit for the team, so it was obvious that he wouldn't be sticking around for the long haul.