The Flash Season 1 Review
The show is light and bright, takes on some serious issues but with a twinkle in its eye
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to dominate theatres, their foray into TV was inevitable, with shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter and Daredevil kicking off a plan to take over the airwaves as well. So you could be forgiven for thinking DC is getting lost in the maelstrom. However, this is not so, with hit shows such as Gotham, Constantine and the already established Arrow they are quietly but effectively establishing their own canon. It was, in fact, this latter series that gave rise to tonight’s series from a small cameo by Barry Allen, later to be known as the speedster himself: The Flash.
The Flash is the CW TV networks latest show starring Grant Gustin (as the titular character) and surrounding him are a wealth of talent that really bring out the chemistry between the characters, including Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin. The show is light and bright, takes on some serious issues but always with a twinkle in its eye meaning there is an overriding sense of fun to the proceedings despite some quite dark moments (such as Barry’s traumatic childhood). This sets it apart from its closest rivals (even on its own channel) – think more Guardians of the Galaxy than The Winter Soldier (or for a DC example, more Donner’s 1978 Superman than Man of Steel) – and this is what makes the show such a success.
Barry is a forensic scientist working for the police and a giant science nerd, that is until one fateful night he is struck by lightning and turned into a metahuman; his ability – speed. With his established pattern of friends and the scientist of STAR labs looking out for him, Barry dons the masked red, friction and heat resistant suit and uses his speed to fight crime and track down others affected by the labs particle accelerator accident. He is, The Flash. The pilot episode deals with the origin of The Flash and sticks pretty close to his ‘Silver Age’ transformation, though the Flashpoint Paradox does play a part and it is great to see this interwoven into this series – it gives Barry a suitable justification for his actions and a terrific drive to be better, creating real superhero motivation.
What marks The Flash out from its contemporary shows is the tone – whereas the current trend is to go dark (even DC’s own shows), Flash bucks this by going far lighter but with darker elements. This makes the show easy watching, suitable for everyone; the heady ideas and adult situations happily hold hands with the frivolous comedy elements that give the show an overall sense of fun. Initially a bit ‘monster of the week’ the show soon develops story arcs and continuing threads that nit the whole season together (think Buffy) leading to a-can’t-wait-until-next-season finale. With a terrific cast, excellent set design, a nod to the comics, pacing, textured storytelling and that overriding sense of fun, this new incarnation of The Flash is a real winner.
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