For those of you who haven’t heard, the fastest man alive is coming to the small screen on the CW in a couple of weeks. Heroic efforts on the part of the costume designers have even produced a take on the costume that works in live action, something that I wasn’t sure would be possible considering his usual crimson onesie. But a thicker, slightly darker costume reduces the silliness considerably, and at least allows Grant Gustin to display more of his snappy style that he displayed during his part on Arrow last season. Aside from the Flash himself, villains Killer Frost and Professor Zoom solidify the show as a much more power-driven project than its green-hooded cousin, which grants some interesting opportunities for the growing DC universe that the CW is building. The creators have already shown their impressive knowledge of DC lore with the multitude of characters great and small in two seasons of Arrow, and I’m sure fans around the multiverse are looking forward to seeing how this could be applied to the Flash.
The first season is going to be one that establishes the new take on Barry Allen, perhaps the most famous Flash of the comic-verse, which seems to be an unorthodox blend of Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker. So far as we’ve seen, he combines an obsession with the supernatural cause of his parents’ deaths in his early childhood with a nerdy persona that is trying to work through the thick layer of friendzone over his relationship with childhood friend Iris West. The themes and tone at this point in time seem more than a little confused, what with the mixture of dark murderous themes with the bright quippy dialogue of Grant Gustin’s goofy take on a classically very light character. The opening episodes will have a lot of work to do to establish the tone of the show and solidify the character of Barry Allen. Knowing that the creators of Arrow are behind it definitely get my hopes up, as do all the possible uses of DC supervillains and superheroes alike. I’m very much looking forward to this rendition of one of my favorite superheroes, and definitely want to see the magic that they could work with either an investigation into the ever-fun Professor Zoom (or reverse-flash) or even the evolution of now-ally Caitlyn Snow into Killer Frost. The first episode hasn’t even come out yet and the plot threads are coming thick and fast.
What I hope for this season is the kind of work that Arrow has been doing, which comes with both a mastery of the world that they’re using and an understanding that the audience needs more than a simple hero vs. villain story. The Flash is a character that has a lot of personalities to choose from, even from within his own mythos. He has been dark detective and aloof joker, a figure of both irrepressible positivity and deep sadness. This presents a great deal of creative choice to the writers and opens up an enormous array of potential storylines. The easy part is deciding to do anything to the Flash that they want. The hard part is what’s between beginning and end. The audience needs to know how Barry Allen feels about crime-fighting, about how place as a hero. This is something that requires a lot of developing, but is also the most rewarding from a series standpoint. It’s how your audience comes to love the character both in terms of personal traits and in terms of where they stand in the greater genre. It’s a big responsibility, stepping into the ring with all the Flash fans out there. I’m excited to see if they can pull it off.
The Flash stars Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, John Wesley Shipp, Patrick Sabongui, Robbie Amell, William Sadler, Wentworth Miller, Kelly Frye, Clancy Brown, and Greg Finley.
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