There was a good chance that “The Flash” could have ended up as a completely disaster on The CW. A hero with super-speed is not a traditional hero that you see on TV and film, and his villains are for the most part, not that well known to mainstream fans.
Still, this is a show that really put its foot on the accelerator from the beginning both creatively and commercially, and never really let up. While there were some problems and obvious growing pains, the past few episodes of season 1 proved that this is a show heading in the right direction.
What worked – For one, great use of the superpowers. Barry Allen’s alter ego is a little campy at times, but the show really embraced this quality in making this a brighter, more upbeat show than “Arrow.” Grant Gustin is perfect for the lead role, and some of the other supporting characters are very strong. Jesse L. Martin scores big as Joe West, and Tom Cavanagh really brought the new character of Harrison Wells all sorts of depth. That’s great, given that he seems to be the Reverse Flash.
The best episodes to us were the ones that showed the STAR Labs and Central City PD working well together, and also where there were significant physical and mental adversaries. The past two of the season, “Flash v. Arrow” and “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” were beyond excellent. Now that we know more about Reverse Flash, early episodes also make more sense.
What didn’t – We know that the show really wants to sell Iris West as endgame for Barry, but there were times when it bordered on Sam Raimi “Spider-Man,” and others where it was just hokey and cheesy. 40% less of this subplot and its angst would have gone a long way.
Also, it took us some time to really get over Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon being so young, and yet occupying such important positions. These characters took a little time to find their footing, and there is still work to be done with them. The same goes for the villains; other than Reverse Flash and Captain Cold, how important are most of the people that we’ve seen so far? We barely remember the early foes.
Overall – A strong start for the series. Right now, “Arrow” is still superior in terms of acting, writing, and emotional impact, but “The Flash” should be pretty proud. Its first nine episodes may actually be better than the first nine of “Arrow” back when it started, and many stories felt similar to each other. Now, it just needs to take some of the stories and characters it has established, and bring them into overdrive. Midseason Grade: B+.
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