The Flash TV series Review (Pilot)
By Rob Jefchak
DC is making a big TV comeback this fall, with recent hits like “Arrow” and a whole slew of new wave comic book shows like “Gotham”, “Constantine” and yet to be seen “Supergirl” and “Teen Titans” shows for CBS and TNT respectively; DC is doing what they never could have done in films: making a name for themselves. Now another costumed hero is making a dash to the small screen, spinning off from the aforementioned “Arrow” is the fastest man alive: “The Flash.” Flash has appeared in many small, cameo like roles in previous DC shows like “Smallville” and “Arrow” but this is the first time since the 1990’s that Flash has headlined his own TV series.
This incarnation of the Scarlet speedster is Barry Allen (Grant Gustin); a forensics expert who helps the police solve crimes with his unique set of skills; particularly helping family friend Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin). Solving crimes and helping his friends out has always been part of Allen’s life, until a strange accident involving a particle accelerator created by Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) causes a lightning bolt to strike Allen and put him in a 9 month coma. Allen awakens to find he has new super speed like powers and dons the costumed persona of “The Flash”, with the help of Dr. Wells and his fellow lab associates Eddie Thawn (Eddie Cosnett) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker).
If I were to sum up this pilot episode in one word, it would be: good…not great but good (technically that’s 5 words but what the hell?) My knowledge of the Flash’s universe is nowhere near as expansive as I am with Marvel’s characters or Batman, I even know more about Superman than Flash and I can’t stand that Kryptonian bore. One thing I definitely appreciate more so in Flash’s show than “Smallville” is the welcomed sight of seeing characters don costumes and fight crimes like REAL super heroes that don’t beat around the teenage crybaby bush for 10 seasons without ever showing a hint of colored spandex until the damn series is over. Flash looks great, the costume and the effects do the character justice. His super powers are going to have plenty of well visualized areas to explore.
But what about the Flash HIMSELF…what about Barry? Truth be told, I've heard this pilot was very accurate to the Flash’s comic book roots…but I myself found the character of Allen AND his performer, Grant Gustin, to be staler than week old white bread. There is nothing truly unique or interesting about this guy based on performance so far, he seems awfully generic and only his super speedy powers seem to be his saving grace. There’s already a lot of future plot lines established, which is in fact quite interesting. You got the mysterious death of Allen’s mother, dealing with his dad falsely blamed for the crime, Dr. Wells unusual connections and the particle accelerator paving the way for a sea of mutant super villains (and possibly heroes) to crawl out of the comic book woodwork.
Part of me fears this accelerator plot line will just be another “freak of the week” story line generator that “Smallville” used and abused to death to the point I stopped watching the series altogether. The cast looks good…but they don’t seem to act THAT good and that’s a shame because I've seen a number of these actors before and they do decent work. The script mixes average acting with stiff-as-a-board-bad acting. The scenes tend to dictate a stronger tone but the unimaginative dialog drags you right into forgetfulville soon as you hear it. On the surface, “The Flash” looks and seems like it’s playing out at a good enough pace that you’re going to want to see more red blurry butt kicking. However, there’s far too many “Smallville” slip ups and I can only hope that future episodes escalate from good to great…or else I’ll be all too comfortable letting the “Flash” run out of my sight and mind altogether.