When I heard that Vixen was getting her very own show, I was excited. A black superheroine getting her own show? On The CW no less? Score! I was a little put off by the fact that it was going to be a cartoon airing only on the network’s online platform, but I gamely pushed aside my misgivings.
But then I learned it was only going to be six episodes. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but okay. The network wanted it to run up until The Flash and Arrow premieres since they all share the same universe and Vixen is being used to introduce magic into that ‘verse. So fine…six episodes it is. And then I learned about a day or so before the August 25th series premiere that the show was going to be one 30 minute long episode broken up into six, five minute episodes.
To say I was highly disappointed is an understatement. While I’m glad Vixen got her own show, I think she deserves better than that. And that feeling only solidified after I watched the first episode. It was extremely short, clocking in at only four minutes and nineteen seconds, including the opening and ending credits. I barely got time to get into it before it was over.
To be fair, it starts out well enough. A lighter-skinned version of Vixen than the one I'm used to is being pursued by the Flash and Arrow (voiced by Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell) for a reason we don't yet know, and she’s besting them as only she could. She falls off the side of a building and as she freefalls, we go back three days before this chase takes place. This is where the episode goes sideways for me. Vixen’s first spoken lines are from behind bars. Yes, she's in jail. She’s bailed out by her foster father, a kind, understanding white gentleman who has come to her rescue even though she hadn't even called to let him know she was back in town.
After they have dinner, they are accosted at gunpoint by a group of young thugs. And by young thugs, I mean young, black thugs. I think there might have been one white guy there, but the camera pans over him so fast it’s hard to tell. The punk holding the gun tells her to hand over the necklace (the Tantu Totem that gives her her powers) and makes sure to call her a bitch for good measure.
As another noticeably darker-skinned punk grabs her from behind and clamps his hand over her mouth, punk #1 once again demands her necklace as he threatens to put a bullet in her eye. We get a close up of a scared-looking Vixen, and then…roll credits. Yup…it literally just ends. It was so abrupt and so jarring that it took me a few seconds to fully comprehend that it was over.
I’m pretty sure that cliffhanger ending was supposed to make me want more, but in all honesty, I was left feeling dissatisfied and disappointed. I'm still amazed at how many different stereotypes they were able to squeeze into a little over four minutes of screen time.
I sincerely hope it gets better, because Vixen deserves it. Hell, we deserve it. I'll watch the last five episodes, but it will be with zero enthusiasm and an epic side-eye.
***You can watch the episode here.