- Series: The Flash
- Season: 1
- Episodes: 23
- Discs: 5
- Cast: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Rick Cosnett, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin
- Network: CW (Warner Brothers Productions)
- DVD Format: Color, Widescreen
Of the three DC Comics television shows from last year, The Flash is the lightest, the most accessible, and the one I’d recommend to start younger children (10 and up) on the live-action DC Universe besides the wonderful DC Animated Universe. Which is most definitely not to say this is a show only for children. But whereas Gotham is extremely dark, and Arrow was also dark last season, The Flash is bright and fun, as it should be, if you know the comics, both the Silver Age Flash and the Modern Flash, Wally West. Grant Gustin is a breath of fresh air as Barry Allen – he’s bright, talented, but also warm, caring, full of heart, and brings his bright light to everything in the show, despite the character’s somewhat dark back story. As always, Barry is a police forensic scientist, in this version, Barry usually introduces himself as “a CSI for the Central City PD”. This isn’t a tie-in to the popular CSI franchise, but rather Barry describing his job in a way the people he meets will understand. When Barry was 11, his mother, Nora, was murdered, his father was accused, tried, and put in prison for life for the murder, and Barry became the foster son of Joe West, a Central City police officer. Joe and Barry developed a strong father-son bond, though Barry also still cares very much for his imprisoned father, Henry (John Wesley Shipp). This tragedy drives Barry to be the best CSI he can be. Then he’s struck by lighting during the particle accelerator accident, and when he wakes he has super speed. Thus, as the Flash, Barry is also driven to help others and solve crimes.
But the particle accelerator accident didn’t simply make Barry the Flash – it also transformed some others into “meta-humans”, people with powers. Although some meta-humans, like Barry are good, many use their new powers for criminal activities. So Barry, and his friends at S.T.A.R. Labs, Caitlyn, Cisco, and Dr. Wells, find, fight, and contain these new super-villains.
The first season of The Flash successfully weaves together Barry’s life: his job as a forensic scientist, his quest to help others as the Flash, his work with S.T.A.R. Labs to find and stop meta-humans, his relationship with his friends and family and how becoming the Flash does and doesn’t change things, and an arc-plot that’s so well-written you don’t really know where it’s going. Even if you’ve read The Flashpoint Paradox graphic novel or seen the Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox animated film based on the graphic novel, it’s still a question exactly how this particular version of the Flash will do the story. Because in anything based on at least DC Comics, each version of something will be slightly different – almost alternate universes. I enjoyed the development of the arc-plot.
The performances by the guest stars playing meta-humans and other villains, including one guest appearance by Mark Hamill as the Trickster are excellent. Amanda Pays also appears twice, again playing Dr. Tina McGee, now of Mercury Labs. There are other numerous characters who appear: Captain Cold, Weather Wizard, Golden Glider, Mist, Heat Wave, Grood, etc – and all of them work, even Grood manages to not be completely silly. CW also brings characters from Arrow to The Flash for visits (and vice versa) and did a crossover episode (unfortunately the Arrow half is not included on the DVD set – to see it you also need to buy Arrow Season 3, which I recommend). I like, very much, that Warner Brothers is slowly but surely building up DC on our television screens – this year adds Legends of Tomorrow on CW as a mid-season show, and Supergirl on CBS at the end of October. There were also rumors last year that TNT would be doing a live-action Teen Titans (possibly called Titans), but it seems to be stalled. I’d check at mid-season for an update. (By the way, feel free to follow me on Twitter @JackieOMoleski for updates, I retweet and post links to info about nearly anything DC Comics film and television-related that I happen to find.) But that CW/Warners is smart enough to not keep The Flash isolated, but integrate it into a larger whole not only makes the series itself seem bigger – but it feels more like the comics, where there were references to other DC cities, locations, and characters frequently – and they had “team-up” issues, and all the DC superheroes were part of the Justice League and worked together there as well as the most popular characters having their own books.
Again, The Flash is an excellent series. I enjoyed Year One very much, and I’m looking forward to year two. I highly recommend this show. I also recommend it for younger fans, ages 10 and up. The Flash is much lighter than Arrow, and much, much lighter than Gotham.