The Flash (2014) title card w/Lightning Bolt background

 


So this has become a favorite show, and if you know me you know I don’t much new TV these days. I first watched it because of the fact they had the star of the original show in it (more on that in a bit). But this show hooked me in and I admit I like it. My plan was to do a face-off with the old Flash series, but by the final episode I had come to realize there is no point. No matter what praise I give the old show, the new show is just better. New show wins. Instead I decided to do an overview of the first season and run through the stuff I think worked, and the stuff that maybe didn’t work as well.

 

Now before I begin two things to remember. Obviously I have not re-watched the older episodes so a lot of this is going by memory (though I did refresh my memory on YouTube). Forgive me if I miss a detail or get a fact wrong. Also, spoilers if you haven’t seen this show yet. I won’t give away the whole final episode but I will discuss it.

 

 

I tried to come about this a few different ways, and I decided the best way is to just do a run down of 15 various things in the series rather than break them down into categories like “Liked” or “Hated”.

 

 

 

1.Premise.

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If you don’t know this series is a spin-off of the successful series Arrow (which I don’t watch, more on that in a bit). In the pilot episode an advanced particle accelerator blows up causing, among other things, a lightning bolt which strikes Barry Allen and gives him super speed. He is helped by Dr.Wells who promises to help Barry learn to control his speed. Wells is the reason for the explosion. Barry was not the only person affected bu the radiation from the accelerator so they are to find the meta’s and help them. Also, when a young child Barry saw his mother killed. He has sworn to find out who killed her and framed his father all these years.

 

 

Ok, got all that? Yeah I left a lot of  stuff out but we’ll get to it. And the premise is very solid, which is a good start for a series.

 

 

 

Let’s discuss our main characters :

 

 

2.Barry Allen played by Grant Gustin
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This sounds weird, but if you forget the history of the character and all I liked Barry Allen here. You feel his excitement over his powers and the pain he feels wanting to find his mother’s murder. As the series went on he got more serious and I liked him more. At fist I didn’t like that Flash needed the help of his team, but they all grew on me. Aside from Wells they also work with two others named Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon. For the sake of space I will spare you their bio’s, but we’ll discuss them more in a bit. As I said this group worked well, their chemsitry just clicked.

 

 

However, I do have some complaints about this Barry Allen. Barry Allen is in the comics a smart police scientist, could you see this guy being a police scientist? Yeah I know he is supposed to be a forensic investigator in the show but we never even see him doing that job! Sometimes he comes off as a clueless kid (example of that below). Now that’s fine until you read the comic books and realize that is way off. So what about his Flash suit? Eh, it’s not all bad but at times it looks…silly. The Reverse Flash suit is pretty bad ass but we’ll talk about him in a bit.  John Wesley Shipp was the Flash in 1990 and he owned that role. He was fantastic and I had no problem believing he was Barry Allen. Was he perfect? No but he was more believable and his suit was freaking AWESOME. No shocker they brought him in as Barry’s father (more on this below). The Barry here is so lame-he moons over Iris like a kid, needs to be watched over by Joe like a kid, can’t commit to Linda Park…for some reason even though she clearly likes him, he makes a deal with Snart?? What?, and he practically gives his identity away every second. Like the episode where his father figures it out, long story short but Barry is so careless how could he not have figured it out? And Shipp out acts Grant Gustin like crazy in every scene they are in. I know I am being kind of hard on him it’s just sometimes I am not sure what Barry is, an immature kid or a responsible adult. But the scenes when you can feel the anguish over finding his mother’s killer work very well. And he is convincing when in costume,

 

 

Now I will admit I have never read the newer version of Barry that DC Comics has so maybe my comparison is our of date. And just because this Barry is no compairson to the comics doesn’t mean I hate the show or the character. I am open minded enough to accept new versions of characters as long as they are in some ways faithful to the original.

 

 

 

 

 

3.So, what about the supporting cast?
The Flash -- "Plastique" -- Image FLA105b_0373b -- Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon, and Candice Patton as Iris West -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.  The Flash -- "Flash vs. Arrow" -- Image FLA108c_0024b -- Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as The Flash and Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West -- Photo: Diyah Pera /The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
This may get some disagreement but at the start at least, Cisco was such a tool. Star Trek Voyager’s Harry Kim is looking at him and laughing! I can live with his naming the metahumans thing since it kind of helps explain why these guys have these weird names. But he is so annoying, and then the way he flips his switch into dead serious is almost jarring. It also annoys me how he conveniently is able to build literally anything. Though he did get better as the season progressed. I couldn’t get behind Joe either especially the way he was so overprotective of his clearly capable daughter. Thankfully this was resolved by season’s end. I didn’t mind the whole father relationship with Barry most of the time, though there were moments when it was to much. He was a good cop but there were times he bugged me. He could be real whiny at times, dude man up! The moment that most annoyed me was when Barry moved back in with him. Barry is an adult, right? Maybe I am being to harsh I just wasn’t the biggest fan of his character. So what about how I feel about Caitlin? I like her when she is in professional mode helping the team. But she is annoying at other times, especially when she is drooling over Barry. She had a storyline which I’ll get to but it’s clear she likes him. Like one episode about them going to a karaoke bar which was so boring and lame. They do have chemistry I just think they work better as friends. What about Eddie? He was a plot device, case closed. So you may wonder why I like this show if I bad talked the supporting cast. It’s because Flash needs them in this show. There’s no way he could operate without them (figuratively and literally). So as a group (including Wells) they are really awesome, their chemistry clicks and I enjoyed their scenes.  But when you look at them as individuals.yeah not so much.

 

 

 

 

 

#4.One Universe (aka Arrow Crossover’s)
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I don’t watch Arrow. I never have, when I watched the pilot to Flash that was my first exposure to this version of Barry Allen. A good spin-off should stand on its own and you shouldn’t have to see the original series. And this does that just fine. But I liked what DC is doing trying to make one universe with characters working together. The crossover’s for both series worked well and by the end of the season, I finally checked out a few episodes of Arrow (it’s Ok). The two cast’s mixed very well and it is nice to feel like these show’s share the same universe. Felicity is freaking awesome by the way! I loved her in the episodes she was in. So I may end up watching it more next season and yes, I am eagerly awaiting the next sequel series they are creating. Though the preview I saw has me….concerned (captain cold and heat wave? huh??). It’s so nice to finally see these characters of DC get treated seriously!

 

 

 

 

#5.Firestorm!!!
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Oh hell yes! I was a huge fan of the Firestorm comic in the 80’s, and never though I’d see a TV series tackle the character. And they did a great job respecting the history of the character while adding new things. The story went several episodes as we first thought Ronnie Raymond was perished. He was Caitlin’s boyfriend so that was where the drama came from. As time went on we discover he wad fused with Prof Martin Stein, and  when they had accepted their new persona and figured out how to make it work they went off to Pittsburgh (the comics were set there, I loved that reference!!). There’s really not much to say, yeah the powers aren’t quite the same but I love the character and he was awesome here. The story arc which explained his origin was developed slowly enough so we could follow it, and it payed off in the end. Oh and if you’re wondering what did I think about The Atom……Brandon Routh is still annoying.

 

 

 

 

#6.Remembering the 1990 Series

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As I said this was originally going to be a face-off with the old series. So, let’s talk about the old series. It came along in 1990 and CBS put in the dumbest time slot possible. Thursday’s at 8:30. Really? The show had a bigger problem. Batman had come out the summer before, and this show tried way to hard to emulate that movie. Even the theme song sounds like the same music. So the first few episodes were dark and creepy. Credit to the new series for not trying to a an Arrow clone.  The old series was also not helped by a lame supporting cast for the most part. By the time they lightened it up…it was to late. I did like this show, I have a soft spot in my heart for it. And the fact that they brought in the two good things, John Wesley Shipp and Amanda Pays, into the new series was awesome. Especially since Pays was playing the exact same character! Yeah she was kind of underused, but who cares I loved seeing her again.

 

 

The 90’s show did Captain Cold which was cool but to far removed from the original character. They also did Mirror Master which this new show hasn’t yet, but that episode was very boring. And most of their villains were stock and forgettable. There was only one villain they did a great job with, so great that the new series brought the actor back to reprise the role! Yep, Mark Hamill’s Trickster was awesome in the old show and he was fantastic in the new show. The new episode was not as good as the classic, but just seeing him in the role and clearly having a blast was so much fun. Oh, and there was another nod to the old series in that episode! When Trickster returned his target was Mayor Bellows. Officer Bellows was one of the comic relief characters from the old show (along with another character named Murphy), played by the exact same actor!! I had to smile when I saw that. There was no reason for the new show to acknowledge the old one, but I am glad they did.

 

 

 

 

 

#7.The Rogue’s

The-Flash-Gorilla-Grodd-Sewer-RevealThe-Flash-Preview-Revenge-of-the-Rogues-VIDEO

So the new series brought back Trickster which was awesome, but how did the new series handle the rest of the villains? Are you kidding! I couldn’t believe all the villains they culled from the comics! From Firestorm’s rogues gallery as well as Flash’s. Clock King? Captain Cold? Heat Wave? Golden Glider? Weather Wizard? Pied Piper? Rainbow Raider? Peek-a-boo?? Multiplex?? Heck even Everyman and Plastique who I had hardly heard of until they appeared in their episodes. There are even references to minor characters like Simon Stagg, Wade Eiling, and Killer Frost (How? I ain’t spoiling that one if you don’t know it). Oh and did I mention Grodd? THEY HAD GORILLA GRODD! Ok he was wasted but still! Heck, they even made Captain Boomerang bad ass. How do you do that? In the comics he was sillier than The Penguin! Yeah I know that was on Arrow but Flash was there too. I was very happy with the villains, staying true to the original characters while making them fresh, and the fight scenes were mostly all well handled. Good special effects and decent action. Unlike Smallville which always rushed their fight scenes for more character crap, this show was a lot more fair in giving their villains equal time.

 

 

Oh and I know Ra’s Al Ghul was in Arrow and that was…weird.

 

 

 

 

Oh hey, I forgot one…….

 

#8.Harrison Wells aka The Reverse Flash

The Flash -- "Fastest Man Alive" -- Image FLA102b_0132b -- Pictured: Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reservedthe-flash-reverse-flash-06

Speaking of villains, I saved this one for its own section. Despite all the rogues this was the main villain of the season. I was never a fan of Tom Cavanaugh. I never watched Ed and he was OK in Scrubs. He did a Christmas movie which was real bad. So I was never much of a fan. I loved him in this series. Harrison Wells was such a good character that I’m sad he became the villain. I think he worked as Barry’s mentor and the chemistry with the others was fantastic. We saw his character evolve and could see he really did enjoy working with the others. I can’t say enough about how much I liked his character. There was a lot of potential there. But alas he is the villain, and Cavanaugh does just as good a job being the evil Eobard Thawne. I never thought I would see Reverse Flash on TV and they really respected the character and did a great job with him. I mean he was freaking awesome, even scary at least in the beginning. I feel like I haven’t even come close to saying enough about how much I loved this character.

 

 

The closest the old show came to Reverse Flash was a cloning episode which is better off left undiscussed.

 

 

 

 

#9.Action/Special Effects
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Not to much to say here the effects were awesome and the action pretty decent. Not to much stands out for me, though one scene I loved happened when Ronnie Raymond let off a nuclear blast. Flash with Caitlin in his arms sped away to avoid the shock-wave, and barely made it only to discover there was no radiation. Because Ronnie absorbed it or whatever. It was a fantastic scene and one of the best openings of any episode this season. The fight between Arrow and Flash in their big crossover was pretty cool too, well done. The Gorilla Gross stuff was a little to CGI, admit was kind of a let down. The fight between Wells vs Flash, Firestorm, and Arrow was awesome but would have been better if it hadn’t been crammed into the last five minutes of an overstuffed episode.

 

 

 

 

 

#10.Smallville-itis
The Flash -- "Pilot" -- Image FLA101b_0360 -- Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Candice Patton as Iris West -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved
So what about Iris you may be wondering? I know some don’t like her. Well, I enjoy the actress Candice Patton and the character is pretty strong and independent. What I can’t stand is that unrequited romance crap. Why did we need that? I blame Smallville, ever since every superhero show has to have two people mooning after each other. And these moments always have to cut down on the action because they have to be crammed in (though Smallville was much worst I admit). It’s so Ross and Rachel that it almost drove me away from the show. First of all, the two have NO romantic chemsitry. And then the old cliche’s appear. He confesses his feelings, she retreats even though secretly she does love him, we get some fake out’s where she reveals her feelings but…nope never happened. Then he starts to date someone else which makes Iris jealous. The new girl dumps Barry because she realizes he loves Iris. Will they ever get together? Gag me! I did like that the series used Linda Park even if she was kind of wasted at the same time. And of course Iris has to be kept in the dark about Barry being The Flash, which makes no sense. It’s cliche. I am glad the creators even realized they could only do that so long because Iris did learn the truth. She is pissed at first but gets over it, and she said exactly what I would have said, that she could have been helping all this time instead of just being in the way! I did like the scene between Iris and Joe when they make peace, Joe admits he is just worries about her to much. And it’s when she does help that I really like her, she is a good character and works well with Caitlin.

 

 

There’s another thing in this series that could be a blatant Smallville rip off. The meta-villains in this series got their powers when the particle accelerator exploded. Kind of like the way the villains of Smallville got their powers during the meteor storm from the pilot episode of that series. It’s probably just a coincidence…

 

 

 

 

#11.The Worst Episode?
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They can’t all be perfect, and I wanted to single out one episode as being  one big flat let down. I think this one was universally hated. It was called “Rogue Time”. Ok here’s the set up…In the previous episode Weather Wizard kidnapped Joe and caused a massive typhoon. Meanwhile Cisco has learned the truth about Wells, who in turn killed Cisco! With no time Iris reveals she loved Barry, and he changes into the Flash in front of her. He races to disperse the typhoon and goes very fast…so fast he ends up in the day before!

 

Wow, what a setup! What happened next?? The Weather Wizard is put away instantly and the episode proceeds on a new story about Captain Cold. Barry tries to talk to Iris about her feelings, but without the life threatening danger she denies it again. Barry is an idiot in this scene! Wells has to explain this to him later, and how he could know get that? Barry, you WENT BACK IN TIME! What about the Cisco thing? He never dies though later he will have unexplained flashbacks to his death that make no sense (well ok they’re kind of explained). Now to be fair the story we get isn’t all bad as Captain Cold kidnaps Cisco and his brother, and forces Cisco to reveal Barry’s real identity. His real identity? Wow! What does Cold do with sixths info??

 

Nothing, he promises to keep his mouth shut. Yawn. Awful follow up and weak episode.

 

 

 

 

#12.Playing All Their Cards to Fast
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There was one thing that had me scratching my head. I commented that the storyline for the season was a good one and moved along well. But one thing that bugged me about this show is that they seemed to be real fast with their reveals. I mean they could have kept the Wells is Reverse Flash thing going for another season easily before it was boring. Why rush everything? Barry reveals his feelings for Iris real fast, and nothing at all comes of it! We learn Wells is Reverse Flash before the season is half over (and before we had a chance to really get to like this guy). Then the characters figure it out but we don’t care, we know already! The worst was when they showed the true secret of Wells and Reverse Flash (what is it? Nah I wont spoil that one!). It’s shown in flashbacks for almost no reason, just a few weeks before the characters themselves stumble onto the truth! It was quite a reveal but, really guys? Sometimes it’s fun to learn things with the characters! Heck even Iris finding out about Barry felt like it came faster than it needed to. Was there a reason that reveal came when it did? Maybe that’s just the way TV is today, viewers have short attention spans so you can’t drag things out to long and I am just used to things differently.  The good news is that while these reveals were rushed it didn’t spoil the show or hurt the storyline at all.

 

 

 

#13.Nitpicks
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Just a few quick things that didn’t really matter but bugged me anyway:

So in the pilot why was Barry’s father arrested? What was the evidence, besides teh fact he was thee at the same time?

The first few episodes Barry was called “The Streak”. That was stupid and thankfully this didn’t last. Why did it take so long for them to call him Flash? At least on Smallville calling Clark “The Blur” made a small amount of sense.

Did we need that narration at the beginning of each episode? We get it, you’re the fastest man alive and you’re going to find the person who killed you mom and framed your dad. What’s the intro going to be next season, “Hello I’m Adam prince of Eternia and defender of the secrets of Castle Greyskull. And this is Cringer, my fearless friend”

One of the dumbest moments came when Wells was finally revealed to be the villain to everyone. Wells comes in and threatens Cisco. Suddenly, it appears Joe has shot him! Wells falls to the floor and Barry is upset since he never admitted anything. Then we find out it wasn’t Wells, it was Everyman. Um,…. that makes no sense! Wells then finally reveals (from another location) he was the villain. And while that moment was chilling and well done the whole thing with Everyman was lame.  I get the feeling they just ran out of ideas there and chose the cop out.

 

 

 

 

 

14.The Final Episode of the Season
The Flash -- "Fast Enough" -- Image FLA123A_0159b -- Pictured (L-R): Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne, Candice Patton as Iris West, and Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.  The Flash -- "Fast Enough" -- Image FLA123A_0257b -- Pictured (L-R): Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, Robbie Amell as Ronnie, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon, Victor Garber as Professor Stein, and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

I already said it but SPOILERS if you still haven’t seen the episode

 

 

I wont lie, I looked forward to this season finale more than any finale in quite some time. How in the world can I talk about it without spoiling it? First of all, it didn’t disappoint. There were some slow moments but the ending was sure exciting. I wasn’t totally shocked by the twist about Barry’s mother. And I understood it, it made sense because Barry was able to get closure. I was shocked by how the Reverse Flash was finally destroyed, and no I won’t give anymore away than that. Let’s just say that it was a redemption of sorts for a character I never cared about. I know I gave Gustin a lot of grief here but he hit every note in this episode fantastically, great job. Some nice nods in this episode especially to the Jay Garrick Flash you had to love.Overall it was a satisfying conclusion to a great season. Will season 2 be just as good? Only time will tell anyway. The cliffhanger was only OK became you know everyone will be find next year (at he start anyway). Though there are a lot of questions left unanswered.

 

 

 

 

 

15.Final Thoughts?

51352606 First shots of actor Grant Gustin wearing his Flash costume on the set of 'The Flash' in Vancouver, Canada on March 11, 2014. Before filming his scene Grant hits his head on a camera boom. FameFlynet, Inc - Beverly Hills, CA, USA - +1 (818) 307-4813

This series really hooked me. And I wasn’t expecting it to. The characters were well done and the story line very strong. There was also plenty of action and lighter moments. The ending would appear to cause a giant paradox, but I’ll hold off on that until next fall and I see what happens next. If you think you’d like check out the re-runs, you wont be disappointed.

 

 

 

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Well folks I think that’s it for my run down. I really enjoyed this show, I will be getting the inevitable DVD release for Season One. The old series will always have a special place in my heart but the new series was a superhero show done RIGHT. In fact I almost wish I had done a regular weekly review of each episode for ME. Maybe next year.

By richb

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