The pilot for The Flash certainly lives up to its title. Not long after meeting Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), the show is off and running (honestly, there was no way around that), with Allen acquiring superpowers and everyone coming together to form a team. Gustin is charming and affable, completely believable in the role. Jesse L. Martin as Det. Joe West gives a fine performance as well. After playing a detective on Law & Order for nine years, he could do this in his sleep. Tom Cavanaugh as Dr. Harrison Wells, also does a fine job. A cameo by John Wesley Shipp, who played the Flash in the 90s, is a nice nod to the past.
The problems I had were not major ones; as an older person, I suppose I have to look beyond the fact that bioengineering experts and mechanical engineering geniuses look like high school freshmen. This is, after all, airing on the CW network (although Fitz and Simmons on Fox’s Agents Of SHIELD are guilty as charged as well). I also have to look past hipster speak and annoying youth culture as exemplified in dialogue such as, “Really?” I think this retort should have disappeared two years ago. Dialogue like, “You’re doing that thing where you’re not talking English?” Statements like this are always intoned as questions by young people. A reference to twerking. A dated shout out to Lady Gaga’s Pokerface.A stereotypical characterization of females wherein the girl is totally clueless and nonplussed about all things science-related (hence the necessity to have another female character who’s a whipsmart experienced scientist, although as I said, she looks like she has yet to be voted valedictorian).
Things start off a bit cringe-worthy with the script hitting us over the head with lame foreshadowing. Dialogue from Barry, who was bullied as a child not being “fast enough,” and “always running.” The low point is one of Flash’s support team shouting at him to “run, Barry run!” I thought the climactic scene was somewhat anti-climactic. I suppose I’ve never been much of a fan of speedsters because I’ve never found their power set to be all that interesting in terms of fighting villains. Although I did like Quicksilver from the Avengers comic…and Northstar and Aurora of Alpha Flight. Okay, so maybe I’m just not that big a fan of the Flash. But I think the show has potential if nothing more than for Grant Gustin’s ability to carry the show. There’s another great cameo which I will not reveal, which is disappointingly brief, but extremely “cool.”
I think the setup for the first season runs a risk of being too similar to Smallville, but as mentioned, there’s enough here to keep me coming back for at least a couple more episodes. It was lightweight fun, in contrast to the heavy gravitas of ArrowI gave up too early on Agents Of SHIELD and on Arrow; I now have both series programmed on my DVR. I think the Flash deserves the patience I didn’t afford those other shows. I won’t run out on it just yet.
Sorry about that. Oh, by the way: when you consider Batman (Gotham), Arrow and now The Flash, is it a pre-requisite for DC’s catalogue that parents must die in a superhero’s origin story?