Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On The Air: The Flash (2014)

Earlier, I had said that I thought this version of The Flash might be a little more light-hearted than the original series from 1990. For now, that isn't the case, and the exuberance of Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Grant Gustin), instead, can be chalked up to an adrenaline rush.

As was the case with the 1990 series, Allen is dark-haired, when he was always a blond in the comics. Meh, whatever. This time around, Allen has one singular obsession, that being finding whomever killed his mother when he was 11. Okay, so that's one thing this show has in common with studio stablemate Gotham over on Fox, a primary storyline that will drift during the course of the series as a driving force.

One big difference from the comics has to do with the West family. Comics fans know that Iris was Barry's long-suffering girlfriend, later wife. The casting department has rebooted Iris as an African American, likely an excuse to cast Jesse L. Martin (ex-Law & Order) as her father. That would not exactly preclude rebooting Wally West (Iris' nephew in the comics) the same way, as the casting of the controversial feature film reboot of Marvel's "Fantastic Four" has already taught us. Instead, The Wests took Barry in after his father, Henry (John Wesley Shipp, who played Barry in the earlier series), is sent to prison for his wife's death. As Iris acknowledges in the opener, she & Barry have grown up virtually as brother & sister, rather than as boyfriend and girlfriend. They are setting up someone else to be Barry's love interest, it would seem.

Anyway, the series opener details how Barry became the Flash in this incarnation. An experimental particle accelerator, designed by Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh, ex-Ed), explodes. A sudden surge of lightning strikes Barry, which Wells seems to think was, well, pre-destined. However, that same accident has also triggered a chain reaction of metahuman development. Comics fans will recognize this as the "Big Bang" in the pages of Static back in the 90's. That same explosion, then, will be the mutual cause of Barry's familiar Rogues, such as Heat Wave, Captain Cold, and tonight's opponent, the Weather Wizard, gaining their abilities. Barry undergoes training at S.T.A.R. Labs under Wells' supervision, aided by Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow, whom comics fans know as Vibe (New 52 version) and Killer Frost, respectively, though it's undetermined if they've been affected the same way via residual effect. Too early to tell. As Barry debuted on Arrow last season, the Emerald Archer (Stephen Amell) makes a cameo appearance in the opener. Before the season is out, we'll see other names familiar to comics fans, including Firestorm, the Nuclear Man (Robbie Amell, ex-The Tomorrow People), and, yes, there will be a more formal crossover with Arrow in due course.

One important detail. Barry can't reveal his powers to Iris, per an agreement made with her father, leaving her out of the loop. I have a feeling that won't last.

Edit: 10/28/15: Here's a long trailer for the first season:

I haven't seen Arrow yet, but I have an unopened season 1 DVD set to get to. This, actually, will be easier to digest, in my opinion.

Rating: B.

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