CW showcased its big show on Tuesday, putting critic-favorite, highly-rated, and heavily-awaited The Flash on out television screens for the first time in the 1990 series. The Flash has the one thing that Gotham (FOX) does not: the ability to have some fun. And that will be the show’s biggest draw for the new television year.
The pilot was the most solid I’ve watched out of everything, including Gotham. It easily explains the origin story, of how Barry Allen 1) had his mother die of a mysterious speedy monster and how his father was accused and convicted of her murder, 2) got his powers from an explosion (from an invention of Harrison Wells) that makes him superhero fast, and 3) establishes his powers for good with Dr. Harrison Wells and 2 scientist, along with tracking down anyone else who also turned “metahuman”.
So yeah, jam-packed episode.
I have to start this article though by saying that Grant Gustin has stolen the show. He is incredibly convincing as Barry Allen, a snarky, smart, skinny young adult who works as a police forensic investigator. He’s very instinctive in his character, and it shows how much effort he went into preparing for the role. Gustin was the one and only choice they ever had to make to give this show a complete chance. But he can’t do it on his own; his supporting cast is just as important.
Bring in his father-at-heart, Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), who’s very protective of his own (including Barry). Barry works with him on police cases. It’s a very father-son relationship between the both of them, mainly since Barry grew up without parents (explained above), so Barry has an unlimited about of respect for the man. Barry is best friends with West’s daughter, Iris (Candice Patton). You can tell instantly that those characters have chemistry, and that has a lot to do with Gustin and Patton’s performances. Patton is charming as Iris, and nice to find a new young African-American actress. Barry and Iris are really close on the show, thus why Barry has a crush on her (I mean, of course he does). On the hero side of the pilot, Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells of S.T.A.R. labs, the man responsible for the explosion that caused Barry to become The Flash, was a good selection. Honestly, I wouldn’t have even thought of casting him. So good eyes there, producers. He was good in the pilot and got me on board. It was nice to see Danielle Panabaker again from her Disney days landing on the hero show, playing an emotionally-damaged Dr. Caitlin Snow, who lost her fiance in the blast. So the cast as a whole keeps the ship not only afloat, but speeding down the waters smoothly. I have to say, I was impressed on all accounts.
The plot was the easiest thing to follow. Barry, this regular guy who had an extraordinary tragedy happen to his family when he was younger, is given this gift of speed. It puts him in a coma for 9 months; but when he wakes up, he discovers upon it. It wasn’t 30 minutes of him figuring out what he could do or what was a good idea or not. He got the abilities, tested them out, and the show moved on. It was literally a minute long of him discovering his power, and I appreciated that. While the show is an hour long, there’s a lot to be done: introducing an entire cast, bringing up the origin story, turning the guy into a superhero, and THEN have a compelling story. This story involves Barry finding out he’s not the only “metahuman” created by the blast. His first enemy is a criminal who controls the weather (creating fog, rain, and tornadoes…apparently). It’s a simple criminal with a simple ability, and there was the not-too-simple task of ending his run of terror. But not without running (literally) to friend Oliver Queen, or Arrow (since this show is a spin-off) for some advice. So that was a nice touch of motivation. Ultimately, Barry did finally shut the “Weather Man” down, but it was while in front of Detective West, who’s (understandably) blown away by the events happening in front of him. West, however, worries his daughter won’t be safe and made Barry promise not to tell Iris about his abilities. Yeah, it’s the cliche superhero move. But it’s okay, it was convincing enough. The entire show is convincing, and not in the “this is CW” way. Actually, if you watch it, you’d think it came right out of ABC after Agents of SHIELD.
And that’ll be a beautiful thing, right? Watching The Flash at 8, then SHIELD at 9p. Superhero Tuesdays? You betcha.
The dialogue was a bit campy for me, but they’ll improve that over time hopefully. The hook for the rest of the series is incredibly interesting, with Barry promising his father he’ll find his mother’s killer and Dr. Wells, who’s handicapped in a wheelchair the whole episode, actually standing up in private quarters. So why pretend to be handicapped? And what will happen a decade from now, according to the futuristic paper stating The Flash disappears? I’m hooked in (and it was also pretty ballsy for the writers to predict they’ll be here a decade from now).
My only issue with the show is it could run into a problem with CW and Arrow. There’s already an established superhero show on the CW. Can they co-exist? Usually shows close to each other in premise don’t, especially networks that don’t garner that high of viewers in the first place. It might be a silly thing to think about, but it’d be interesting to keep track of. Historically saying, either The Flash will suffer, or Arrow will suffer. But I hope I’m wrong on both accounts.
For a pilot episode, the series has been kicked in the right direction. I seriously don’t have too many negative things to say. Solid supporting cast, great lead, and a good direction. CW may have a 2nd Smallville after all.
What did you guys think?
Next Episode: Commentary Review: The Flash (S1/E2)