I hardly ever watch the CW. For a while I wondered if they had gone off the air. Smallville just got plain boring for me after season two. The Arrow was the Dark Knight – not the quick-witted Oliver Queen I was hoping for. Then came The Flash. The Flash – ah, the Flash! Now that was something different. It was crisp, exciting, and refreshing. Hands-down it was a show that hit the mark from the first episode and upped the bar every step of the way. The first season was a hit – a massive hit.
Why did the Flash make for exciting viewing? Here’s my rundown.
It was visually a comic book. The Flash did something that only Marvel Studios could do – it tapped its true comic book roots. Most episodes told a good story, and at the end, gave us a tid-bit of a larger story arc. The individual stories were good on their own. It allowed people to join in on the fun in the middle of the season and not be lost. Unlike shows like Battlestar Galactica which was all about the uber story arc and if you missed an episode, you were lost. The Flash told good stand-alone stories and achieved on television what the Avengers did on the motion picture screen – it just dipped into the comic universe and pulled out neat characters and stories.
Arrow, Gotham, and other shows reinvented their characters, where the Flash really didn’t. The other shows make their characters dark and closer to real-life, as if that is possible. Not the Flash. In the first episode we got the red suit. The Flash producers were not afraid to give us what we wanted – a superhero show. Sure there was a supporting cast that didn’t quite fit the Flash mythos, yet after the first episode they seemed to be a well-rounded ensemble.
The visual effects are great. The Flash looks like I’ve always envisioned the Flash looking when he runs. The Flash also doesn’t try and gritty things up.
The writing rocked. This show is written like a comic book in many respects. There’s not a lot of pointless dialogue or scenes that don’t add to the story overall. Like a comic book, it keeps the stories tight and to the point. We got a lot of Flash’s Rogues Gallery of villains this season, which was something I was surprised and delighted to see. The writers also tackled some of the trickier and more complicated aspects of the DC universe (aka The Speed Force and time travel) and managed to present it simply. My grandson and I both watch the show. He’s five and he understands time travel, courtesy of The Flash.
Flash was not afraid of its roots. Only a few of us remember the old Flash series from the 1980’s. The writers included actors (John Wesley Shipp who played Flash in the old series came back as Barry’s father) and even characters (Mark Hammill as the Trickster). Hey, I love these nods to the old school.
Flash managed to surprise us. There were a few episodes where, frankly, I wasn’t sure how they were going to end. That’s a rarity on TV these days.
Flash’s uber-villian, the Reverse Flash, was devious and diabolical on new levels. Like he is in the comic books, Thawne is always a dozen steps ahead of Barry. He was brutal, vicious, and incredibly cunning. We usually don’t get villains like this on TV superhero series. Even Syler from Heroes was just a serial killer with powers. Thawne was an enemy worthy of a true hero. He upped Barry Allen’s game over and over.
The writers/producers have opened the door big-time for us. In the finale we saw Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash’s signature helmet spill out of the wormhole. “That’s my cue to leave…” This means we are going to get Earth 2 and other heroes. Also the inclusion of Arrow, Black Canary, Firestorm, Atom, (and eventually Vibe) means that like Marvel, these producers are willing to play with a good sized chunk of the DC universe. Courtesy of the Speed Force (which was also awesome to get introduced) we get alternate Earths, time travel, oodles of places to play.
So where does this leave us? We had a cliffhanger at the end that ranks right up there with Star Trek’s The Best of Both Worlds. Where are we? We’re sitting on our freaking hands waiting to see what happens next. #TheFlash