Well it didn’t take long for me to find a new favorite DC television show. After two seasons of Arrow and about a month of Gotham I can happily say The Flash was everything I hoped for when the show was announced. The pilot episode delivered on the promise of the show being “the fun show”, thanks to Grant Gustin’s great comedic range and the awesome visuals laced down by the special effects team.
The pilot episode stayed true to it’s comic book roots, as the creative team of Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Geoff Johns promised from the get go. This is a new superhero drama, and one that could not come at a better time with the serious tone of Gotham on Mondays and the “not as serious as it used to be” tone of Arrow on Wednesdays. One of the great things about The Flash is that half the work was already done for it thanks in part to Grant Gustin’s two episode stint on Arrow. He may not have been the general public’s first choice to play the Scarlet Speedster but you cannot deny that his personality is infectious and we can’t help but root for him the more we see him on the screen.
With two seasons of Arrow under their belt, the creative team has seamlessly laid down the blueprint to make The Flash successful, it felt like a hour long Flash mini-movie. They wisely spent a brief time getting the origin story out the way in case new viewers didn’t see the Arrow episodes and then transitioned into the tone of the show, which follows the “lovable dork with relationship problems” template. Where Arrow suffered with identity crisis in its first season, it doesn’t appear to be the case with The Flash.
One of the best things about The Flash is its great cast albeit Carlos Valdes’ Cisco Ramon, who I’m still not digging yet. The great addition of Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West sets up a great “Commissioner Gordon/Batman” type of feeling, but in a more fun sense. Some other actors who really shined in this episode was the original Flash, John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen’s indicted father and the deceptive Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells who seems to have a couple secrets that do not bode well for Barry.
Another highlight of this episode was the use of CGI that depicts Barry when he’s doing his running. It was not too much and didn’t seem totally unbelievable, it was a step up to me from the Smallville days. The scene where he first tested out his power at Ferris Aircraft, which was an awesome easter egg, was one of the coolest sequences to me.
Finally the cameo of Oliver Queen in the middle of the episode was what tied it all together. It’s really amazing to me how Green Arrow or simply “Arrow” has become the staple to the DC TV Universe. Him giving Barry just the speech he needed to hear, and his superhero name I might add, is everything we hoped for when we learned The Flash was spinning off of Arrow.
One of the disappointing things about the pilot episode was its massive under development of Weather Wizard. He’s one of the key characters in the supervillan group The Rogues and he is depicted as entirely one dimensional of this episode. This raises the questions of just how the show runners are going to deal with putting all these super powers on the screen but let’s hope they figure it out by the time they get to Captain Cold, a character they cannot afford to strike out on. The show has a great opportunity to set up other “metahumans” thanks to the particle accelerator but they need to stay true to the comics. They need to smartly build up to their own “Deathstroke” or “Malcom Merlyn” of the show.
One last thing they need to work on is trying to keep the secrets of the Flash mythos a secret. The game is to try to avoid predicability and it’s one they need to play well. The reveal of Harrison Wells being not paralyzed at the end of this episode was perhaps a bit too soon, but we’ll see how they play it.
The premiere episode of The Flash was a home-run for sure, and showed that’s completely capable of standing on its own feet without having to rely on the success of Arrow. Grant Gustin is coming into his own as Barry Allen and with the promise of an influx of complex supervillans, I can’t help but think the show is going to take off in a flash, sorry I couldn’t help myself.