Recap: Barry Allen gets struck by lightning. Unlike last time instead of having to deal with a motorcycle gang, he has to face a weather control guy, so things are a bit more challenging this time.
Muggle (no spoilers) Musings
Shoving aside my vast array of useless knowledge, for this section I’ll be looking at the show as if I knew nothing about comics.
As a premiere this was a pretty good outing though at a lean hour it moves quickly (this and all following puns intended). We don’t learn much beyond the basics of who’s who and what’s where. While an ongoing arc has been set, it’s not the focus that it was in Arrow. So far it looks like this show will aim for a more episodic feel than the current trend of arcs in TV. While I do enjoy the arc style I must admit that episodic may fit Flash better. I do like how they’ve set up and established an ongoing source of foes for Flash to fight and think it makes a bit more sense than the meteor freaks that Smallville became infamous for.
Of course one can’t help but compare this show to the first run that started over twenty years ago. A lot of the steps with Barry discovering his speed are similar though this latest show does put its own spin on it. If I had any complaint about now vs then, it is the effects. Yes today’s effects are much improved and new!Barry has a lot less cringe worthy super-speed effects than classic!Barry, but… see because they knew that their effects were limited, the first show worked hard to fill in with other hints at his speed. For example, one of my favorite touches is that classic!Barry’s clothes start shredding and his shoes start melting when he hits top speed. Besides improving the feel of the show, that this was a guy running fast, it also created an organic, story-based reason for the Flash to don his costume (it could stand the speeds). With new!Barry we never see any signs that his wardrobe was under any stress. And while it’s neat to see his costume, on some mental level the audience has a sense of “just because” for him to wear it.
The actors all did a pretty good job though with a lot of ground to cover there’s not much time to really see them perform save for the closing bit where Barry visits his father in prison. Of course it was a hilarious (and good) meta-touch for John Wesley Shipp to be brought back as daddy Allen and I felt a real family heart more in his & Grant’s scene than with Grant and the Wests that were supposed to have raised him. It does make one wonder why Flash is going to be wearing a mask when so many just in the premiere (even the villain!) are going to find out his identity, but I do approve of Det. Joe West learning. I’m interested to see what the writers give James L Martin to work with on that.
And while I still say Grant Gustin looks a little too young to be a forensic expert (an intern maybe… studying under Joe West could have been an interesting set up), he does capture the feeling of fun that the Flash usually encapsulates. I’m still not thrilled they felt the need to give him tragedy in his backstory (an actual recent development in the comics) but we’ll see what they do with it and they’ve at least not taken the route of making Barry overly emo about it.
Here’s where I’d normally give the episode a rating, but I prefer to grade each show according to itself and so, without any other episodes to weigh against, I give Flash 2: episode 1 a stamp of: Recommended Must See.
Metahuman (spoilers) Musings
Oh man! As a long time Firestorm fan I’ve waited SO long for his new series!
Ok, sorry but you have to understand that we “match heads” have never had our hero on screen except in some cartoons, certainly not live action. We know Robbie Amell is coming on board as Firestorm, we’ve seen Caitlin Snow on both Arrow and now the premiere (she becomes Killer Frost, one of FS villains) and the “coming soon” commercial showed an obvious Multiplex (FS arch-nemesis). This is so very close to an actual Firestorm series that us fans are just beside ourselves with joy (seriously, click the link above for an intro on the hero from the Firestorm Fan site). Heck the very origin of Flash this time was tweaked just enough that Firestorm’s origin fits simultaneously in as well.
But when it comes to the ACTUAL hero of the show, a lot has changed in comics since the first Flash series long ago. For one thing while Barry had died in the comics, he recently came back to life. It was also revealed that, for someone who once had the most ordinary, boring backstory in comics, now his mother was murdered and dad framed. No that wasn’t missed in the first series, it was pretty accurate to Barry as a whole. No all this “changed” because a villain of the Flash traveled back in time to do so and now… actually I don’t know what’s happening now, I’ve lost track. The villain is, for all intents and purposes, “evil Flash” and it looks like the show is shaping up Harrison Wells to be the time traveling villain that’s trying to get Barry to “be better”. I’m curious how this will play out since for the muggle audience, this would be a big twist, whereas for those of us with comic knowledge, we (think) already know how it’s going to go.
Of course I loved all the touches that made it seem like a part of the larger DCU, like hanging out at Ferris Air (could we get a Green Lantern TV series? I still vote for Jensen Ackles as Hal Jordan) and they’ve thankfully kept Star Labs involved in both series. In truth I’d rather Warner Bros give up the Justice League movie efforts and concentrate on their excellent TV franchise building up to a huge, Justice League TV miniseries/movie.
But then I’d rather Firestorm get his own series too so we’ll see how that goes. 😀 I certainly like that this time the show seems set to embrace and enjoy the sillier, more fun aspect of comics a bit sooner than before. As a comic fan, I’m pretty pumped about the show and am looking forward to some great moments to come.