The Flash Series Premiere Review

The-Flash-TV-Show-Costume

CW’s The Flash 2014 TV Series: Spoiler Free Pilot Review

The opening scene to The Flash (8 pm, Tuesdays on CW) tells us exactly the kind of television show it is. It’s a fun, contemporary super hero series that asks the audience to believe that the impossible can be possible, if only for the next hour.

The Flash doesn’t set out to redefine the genre which is not a bad thing at all. The show embraces its comic book origins in a way that is accessible to new and old fans alike.

What sets The Flash apart from other comic book based shows such as Gotham, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and even Arrow is that its lead character has super powers. It’s refreshing that while the amazing feats of The Flash aka Barry Allen are not grounded in realism, his personality and emotional reactions feel genuine.

Tragedy at a young age may have shaped Barry’s life but it doesn’t define him. He’s far from a stoic, brooding vigilante and the tone of the show reflects that.

In addition to a super powered protagonist, the lighter tone gives it a different feel over its CW counterpart Arrow, the show it spun off from. Barry is ecstatic about his new-found powers and he’s doesn’t hold back from expressing himself. It’s hard not to get caught up in the exuberance of a hero who’ll shout “Yahoo!” at 396 mph.

The pilot shows us that Barry’s physics defying abilities didn’t turn him into an overnight (or more accurately 9 month coma) super hero. Even before he got his powers, Barry was a good-hearted person and a man of action. It’s just that he now has the means to make a significant difference.

Carrying almost every scene in the pilot, Grant Gustin’s performance is admirable as Barry Allen: forensic assistant by trade and the fastest man alive by a strike of lightning.

Gustin’s on-screen chemistry with Candice Patton as Iris West is instant and likeable. The “will they or won’t they” dynamic is over used but their quippy dialogue makes their scenes fun and engaging.

The Flash Grant Gustin and Candice Patton

The rest of the diverse supporting cast have readily identifiable personalities even if their names don’t catch on. The stand out actor is Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Wells, he delivers the scientific jargon with a natural ease and authority. Veteran actor Jesse L. Martin plays Detective Wells, his relationship with Barry Allen is pretty complicated since he’s not only the boss but a surrogate dad and father of Iris.

Danielle Panabaker as Dr. Caitlin Snow and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon are noticeably less seasoned actors, it may take several episodes to get a better handle on what they can bring to the sidekick role.

Director David Nutter, the guru behind the pilot of many successful shows like Supernatural and Arrow, establishes the framework from which subsequent episodes can hopefully live up to. Intricate stunt work, explosions, and special effects are jammed into an extremely quick-paced 42 minutes run time.

A minor quibble though is that while a series of well done flashbacks show us the back story instead of explaining it, there is a huge amount of information to take in. And as cool as the villain of the week is, they function more like a plot device to exemplify an aspect of our hero rather than a completely fleshed-out character on their own.

Yet nitpicks aside, the most impressive part of The Flash’s pilot is that it has heart and emotion. One of the final scenes in the pilot is surprisingly touching. If there’s any doubt that Grant Gustin is a capable lead actor, he clearly demonstrates a knack to convey heartfelt dialogue and empathy.

Although there are some flaws, The Flash is off to a good start. When a hero’s journey is mixed with as much hopefulness, drama and a strong central character it’ll be worth tuning in each week to see how far and fast it can go.

What do you think of The Flash so far? How do you compare it with other comic book TV shows?

Other Reviews You Might Like:

Justice League, Volume 1, Origins (The New 52) Review

Man Of Steel Movie Review: The Humanity of Superman

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on October 7, 2014, in Review, Television, The Flash and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. *This comment contains mild spoilers*

    I enjoyed the premiere. I didn’t care much for Barry when he was on Arrow, but he was good here. I’m glad Martin’s character found out almost right away about Barry’s powers because him doubting Barry was already annoying me! I really like that this will delve into superpowers because as you mentioned the other shows on now really don’t. I did think the meeting of Barry and Oliver was a little too corny with the “Cool” “Cool” bit though. Anyway, great review. Looking forward to seeing more of this show.

  2. I also liked Barry in this premiere more than on Arrow. Haha, yeah I get that there needs to be some tension between characters but after everything Martin’s character witnessed if he still doubted Barry it would have been hard to take. It’ll be interesting to see the different types of villains and how The Flash’s powers can be used in inventive ways. I thought the dialogue delivery between Barry and Oliver was a bit stilted, I liked the part about being chosen though. Thanks for checking out the post and commenting as always!

  3. Thought this was a great premiere and really liked the lead actor. I went into this thinking it would be campy but it turned out to be sort of gritty (opposite of Gotham – that turns out is campy vs. being gritty).
    Thought the premiere was a bit rushed since they packed in a lot of content, but the content was overall interesting. I hope they don’t do a villain of the week every time since that can get old really fast. Given this is a CW show the SFX were fairly decent, not spectacular, but I imagine their budget isn’t very large. It’s also nice to see a comic book show that can refer to super powers in their characters. Hoping to see what they have in store for other super powered characters.
    I don’t watch Arrow so didn’t see the tie in and I don’t know much about The Flash but am looking forward to future episodes of this show.

    • I agree the premiere was a bit rushed, considering in the first 15 mins alone you have his origin and childhood flashbacks. My guess is that Flash will follow the Arrow model and have a main villain for the season, along with villains of the week. The SFX worked for me, except maybe that hurricane could have been better. I hope the show will have fun with the super powers and the different story possibilities it can open up for them. I don’t know much about The Flash comic book stuff either, I think it helped that I was familiar with him in Arrow last season. From what I heard, there are a lot of easter eggs and clues in the pilot that hardcore fans have picked up on.

  4. Great review! I really enjoyed the pilot episode, and it definitely made me want to keep watching next week. I liked the lighter tone; while I’m a huge fan of Arrow and I think that show’s darker, grittier tone really serves the story well, I think a lighter tone is a good fit for the type of show The Flash is. I really liked the main character; he seemed likable and easy to relate to, despite having impressive super powers.

    • Thanks a lot! The pilot laid the groundwork really well and it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. I agree the different tones fit each show at the same time they can crossover and not feel out of place. When Barry was in Arrow I had some doubts if the actor/character could star in his own show but I like him in this premiere.

  5. Seems like I may be alone on this, but I wasn’t a fan of this pilot. I had similar feelings for the pilot of “Gotham”, but I felt like it tried to cram EVERYTHING into the first episode. I thought they could’ve fleshed out many more things about Barry pre-powers than they did, particularly on his mom’s death, the detective taking him in, and his friendship with Iris. I would’ve been fine with them ending the pilot with him gaining his abilities and give me some more to chew on with those character building elements.

    The tone of the show is fine, like you mentioned, being a little less serious than the likes of Arrow or Gotham. Even lighter in tone than I remember Smallville being. I do think Grant Gustin did a very nice job, I’m excited to see his acting on this show. And, for all the issues I have with the script I do think the last 10-15 minutes were good when he fought Martin and had that little pep talk from Dr. Wells.

    • I totally agree there is a tonne of stuff going on and it went by so fast. On my first viewing I noticed that a lot but on my rewatch it worked better for me.

      When the director did the Arrow pilot he wanted it to be two hours long but the network is against that. Not sure if you also watch Arrow, but it was helpful for me to become familiar with pre-powers Barry Allen before he got his own show. Good point about his mom’s death, – who killed her and why should be interesting to learn this season.

      I think Dr. Wells is an intriguing character, he knows a lot more than he’s letting on. Pilot vs Pilot, I enjoyed the Flash’s over Gotham’s. The Flash seems like it’s going to be more fun and doesn’t take it’s self too seriously.

  6. I didn’t know they remake Flash.
    I remember watching the series years ago…I forgot the name of the actors. I quite enjoy it that time. Now, i have passed the age of watching superheroes 😉

  7. My hubby wanted to see this so we both saw the pilot. I agree it’s off to a good start, though still very much CW-like which is tailored for young viewers/millennials which I’m not one, so the dialog still sound corny to me. I might watch it when I remember what day it’s on, but like other series in the same vein (Arrow, Gotham, etc), I probably tune out after several episodes.

    • I usually try to watch some new shows in the fall but once I start missing an episode or two, I drop the show. I’m already behind on Gotham. Hopefully I can keep up with The Flash … hehe. Yes it is very much a CW-like show aimed at a younger crowd, hopefully for the ratings the lighter tone/time slot might appeal to families too.

  8. Hey dude, just wanted to swing by and comment on this post since it was an important one that I wanted to comment on but only after I had seen the pilot episode. Obviously now having seen it, I would like to pass on my thoughts and start discussing things (you know. like the good old days with Agents of SHIELD haha).

    Anyways, I thought this was a solid start to this series, I like how different it is from Arrow in terms of its characters, tone and use of super-powered beings. The great thing I like about the episode, like you said, is that this show doesn’t shy away from its comic book origins and definitely feels like superhero-esque show, it has all the basic codes and conventions of a comic book superhero story, but it is done with just the right balance of charm, fiction and realism that it doesn’t feel old or cliche. I have noticed about this adaptation of The Flash is that is plays out very much like a Spider-Man tale would in the sense that the story especially after watching episode 2 recently. Barry is a character is very likeable and relatable, and even though he has powers, he has issues and demons from his past, and Grant Gustin is great in the title role, at first he was a bit iffy but now I can’t imagine anyone else in the role. I especially like the dynamic between him and Jesse L. Martin, that relationship I can see will be pivotal to the show.

    Can’t wait to see what other stuff this show will pull out of the bag. Good review yo. P.S. Sorry for the long-ass comment. 😛

    • Hey there, ahh yes the good old days with SHIELD! Btw, I’m liking season 2 quite a bit, if you ever start your episode reviews again I’ll be sure to check them out. 🙂

      One of the things that the Flash gets right from the start is the balance of the tone, super powers, comic book conventions and potentially good characters like you said. I guess when the lead character is in a red jumpsuit running around at super speed, they have to embrace it’s a comic book come to life on the small screen or it’ll come across as pretty lame haha.

      You’re totally right that the Flash plays out like a Spider-man tale, during episode 2 I thought the same thing. Even the slow motion bullet dodging reminded me of Spidey. From Gustin’s appearances on Arrow I wasn’t sold he could carry a show, I’m glad that when the story is built around him he takes it to another level. So far, the conflicts between Jesse L. Martin and Barry Allen are making sense character-wise and I’m glad that they resolve it at the end of each episode; if they drag it on for too long it wouldn’t be fun. Episode 2 ended on a great note for them.

      The premiere had so much going on and it made for lots for us to talk about it. Loving your long-ass comments heheh, keep them coming! 😀

  9. It was a good series premiere and a few episodes in the series is really taking shape, the mid-season finale was great, hope they make good use of the ‘Reverse Flash’ arc for as long as possible!

    • I’m loving the Reverse Flash arc and having a lot fun with the show. Totally agree on how great the mid-season finale was, let’s hope the rest of the season can keep going on strong. 🙂

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