The Flash

2014-12-01_2211In The Six Million Dollar Man when Steve Austin was running at light speed in the 1970s the sequences were all filmed in slow-mo, aided by sound effects. But it worked a treat and we suspended disbelief.

In The Flash, Barry Allen gets a turbo-boost thanks to CGI, depicted as a blur with a fiery jetstream. The Flash also succeeds in what has emerged as a spirited comic book brought to life.

As a spin-off from Arrow, this series comes from the prolific Greg Beranti (Arrow, Brothers and Sisters, Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, Eli Stone, Dirty Sexy Money, No Ordinary Family).

The hero is Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), a boyish assistant forensic investigator for Central City Police Department. Think a youthful Dexter, ready to use his powers for good rather than evil.

There’s a dash of Batman DNA in the Flash universe, with Central City a lighter sibling of Gotham, and Barry having seen his mother die when he was just a boy. Now he has to right the wrong of his father being falsely accused of her murder.

But first there is some rescuing to be done, and thanks to a lightning bolt enhanced by a wayward science experiment from Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) he has super-speeds and a skin-tight suit to match. But it turns out he’s not the only kid with super-powers (perhaps just the only one with a conscience). There are baddies in Gotham, err Central City, and they all have their own CGI skills -which makes this kinda fun.

The emotional heart surrounds Barry’s affection for Iris West (Candice Patton), daughter of the wise and caring Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin). Like all good comic book heroes, Barry has to keep his secret from Iris, for fear of putting her at risk from less friendly ‘meta-humans.’

The Flash also harbours duplicitous characters and a hint of humour, carefully ticking all the genre boxes. Pleasingly, it bursts out with more confidence than recent siblings including Arrow and Gotham and reminds me of the fun of early episodes of Heroes and Smallville.

Pretty-boy Grant Gustin has none of the rippling pecs of Arrow’s Stephen Amell, yet he fulfils the role with surprising ease. Watch out for Tom Cavanagh, better known for the sitcom Ed, poised to have the most fun as Barry’s mentor.

Sometimes the dialogue is popcorn-like, but while other shows may feel cookie cutter, this one demonstrates a deeper understanding of the superhero genre without over-egging it.

The music by Blake Neely also is worth a mention, enhancing the show’s driving action scenes.

Adrenalin fun with its own sizzle.

The Flash premieres 7:30pm Wednesday on FOX8.

14 Comments:

  1. A dreadful piece of writing. It’s assembled from bits of stuff that’s been done better many times before, most of them from Smallville. You can see why Nine passed on it and Foxtel left it for non-ratings/summer.

    Dialogue that is cheese and predictable. Characters who deliver expositional rants describing their character bio.Jargon that anyone who did high school science would cringe at. So many things that make no sense what so ever.

    I know its targeted at adolescents but you can still do that with some style and intelligence. Still it and Scorpion demonstrate there is a large market for such nonsense.

    Hopefully once they get into the monster of week stories and the time travel element something interesting might happen.

  2. Liked it a fair bit. It was actually even lighter fare than I thought it would be. This was mainly due to Gustin & the 2 “scientist” associates being extremely – & arguably unrealistically in the case of the associates – young… At least ‘The 100’ gave a reason for the cast to be young.

    I also couldn’t get into the way Martin played the detective. I’m surprised he was a regular on ‘Law & Order’. It felt like a miscasting to me, but hopefully that’s just because he was a non-believer in practically everything in the pilot episode & he was just trying to play the doubting cynic.

    The Dr. Wells character also reminded me a bit too much (even in looks) to Malcolm Merlyn from ‘Arrow’.

    All this & I liked it. LOL.

  3. Pretty much Australian TV in a nutshell and the reason why a lot of people resort to ‘other means’ – this and Arrow shown on different channels and not concurrently

  4. With so many positive recviews it’s a shame nine threw away the opportunity to show it on FTA. And why havn’t they started showing season 3 of Arrow? They have no excuse now.

  5. Love The Flash! It’s a nice balance to Arrow, with a more interesting mythology at the moment and Barry is a much happier dude than Oliver! I just wish they would change the introduction, we know you are Barry Allen/Oliver Queen.

  6. Secret Squirrel

    Ah, ok. I wasn’t sure as my hyperbole detector only gave out a tiny ‘ping’. (I’d had to turn it down while reading the responses on motorsport forums reacting to Ford’s announcement to pull out of V8 Supercars at the end of next year).

  7. The relationship between Barry and iris is completely different to Oliver/Sarah/laurel so I wouldn’t read too much into the review.

    Great show though, along with Arrow.

    A shame they aren’t both on fox 8, fast tracked and being shown in sync.

  8. I’m loving this show right now! It’s definitely my absolute favourite series on tv at the moment. The whole cast is great and the episodes keep me coming back every week.

    I’m not too bothered by the Barry-Iris-Eddy love triangle, like I know some people are. To me, it’s a fun little sub-plot that will probably be sorted by the end of season 1, at least.

    I had never watched Arrow before this show but now I’m up to date and looking forward to the crossover ep this week (I’m totally Team Flash, btw) but I definitely think The Flash is better show than Arrow, personally. It took me a little while to get into Arrow but with The Flash I was instantly intrigued (but I think that was due to Barry Allen having the upper hand as they introduced him and set up Barry’s overall story really well in season 2 of Arrow).

  9. Looking forward to this show. Have seen some reviews suggesting it’s “fun” & light(er)-hearted nature very much works in its favour.

    One thing that got the alarm bells ringing from this review was: “The emotional heart surrounds Barry’s affection for Iris West (Candice Patton), daughter of the wise and caring Detective Joe West” On paper, that’s the exact same set-up as on ‘Arrow’ (twice over actually), so familiarity could become an issue.

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