Despite being a bigger fan of heroes like Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, I’d always tap my brain to figure out what a live action movie or even a show would look like for The Flash. Now I was still very young at the time and only saw The Flash as a guy who ran really fa st which was the obvious opinion of most around my age at the time. It’s wasn’t a lot, but it was cool nonetheless. Growing older and discovering comics that included The Flash and all of his exploits made me realize that he’s much more than just a guy with fast feet. This just made me even more intrigued to see what the scarlet speedster could do with a prime time television spot. Don’t have to do it anymore as we are now four episodes into CW’s The Flash and it has been a joy to see. Read on to see why.
At a time where live action superhero shows are becoming more and more acceptable as a commodity for viewers, The Flash is not only a part of that new wave but it is at the head of it. The small screen version of this hero stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, a forensics scientist who gets struck by lightning after a storm mixes with an accident at Star Labs. After being in a coma for nine months Barry finds out that somethings not right… yadda yadda, becomes a superhero; you all know the rest. The formula for creating the Superhero may be static but what is dynamic is the character in the suit and the villains he faces.
What’s probably the biggest benefit this show has it its format. It’s almost the antithesis of its predecessor Arrow from which it shares the same continuity with. The show is far less gritty and while still actively trying to stay rooted in realism, has its own comic book charm that’s reasonable enough. It can get a bit carried away, but that’s much more the exception rather than the norm. The plot is also very simple. Working with a crew of scientists from S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry battles the typical Villain of the day with powers given to them in similar fashion to Barry while he tries to continue his daytime career. Its an easy concept to grasp and very workable for a first season
Unlike Gotham, easter eggs and the name drops are just that. Even if the characters may not be as recognizable as the more mainstream heroes subtle hints at future characters and plot lines are all that’s necessary. With that the focus of an episode isn’t shoved to the side by viewers because of all the easter eggs shoved in your face. Even seeing spots from characters like Ollie and Felicity from Arrow in this show make it a delight for fans of Arrow as they enjoy the benefits of seeing a shared universe. What this show benefits from the most is its heart. From the first episode when you see Barry have a moment with his father in jail to seeing Barry’s adoptive father Joe West (Jessie L. Martin) realizing the mistakes he made in dealing with Barry and his agenda to find out who framed his father for the murder of his mother, you get to see a depth of character and emotion seldom seen in much of any live action comic book adaptations,
While the show has many things to praise let’s not absolve it of its shortcomings. Let’s start with the fact that it’s still a CW show (yes that can be a bad thing). Whether the station produces good shows or bad, its target audience will still be teenagers and even young adults. Typically that is fine because they watch television too and as apart of that demographic I watch a bit of television. However, what seems to be this running theme in most, if not all of their shows is this angsty sort of vibe that characters seem to give off. Whether its the script (which often times it is) or the expressions and overall look of the characters, the end result always seems awkwardly executed and a bit unnerving to watch. In the most recent episode entitled “Going Rogue” there’s a date scene which sees Barry and Felicity on sort of a contrived double-date with Iris (Candice Patton) and her boyfriend Eddie (Rick Cosnett). I get what the writers were going for with the scene regarding the latter two but it just seemed a bit too much and too common an issue of what plagues other CW shows more than this one.
The Flash is largely what many like myself wanted from this and some other adaptations. A simple start to a complex character and a shared universe. Not a lot to gripe about concerning the show but it’s also not like the show is perfect. If I wanted to give it a grade I could but that wouldn’t be fair now would it, Show’s this new need time to develop and it’s worthy of that time. It’s done a lot of good things thus far and it looks like it will get the time to do more.
Verdict: Good show with even better potential. Look for more from this show and maybe even some more crossover episodes with Arrow.
+ A simple format for a slightly lesser known character
+ Good special effects and villains to combat the main characters
+ Nice portrayal of Barry Allen’s character
– Still has a bit of the angst and drama prevalent in most show on the CW
Watch The Flash Tuesday nights at 8PM Eastern/7PM Central on the CW