Every show needs a chance to do a little bit of spring cleaning, and this is what this March Makeovers article series is really all about. Sometimes, shows either fall into a rut, or are starting to focus on the wrong things. They get a tad messy, and even if you love them, they still need patching up.
For The Flash, one of the things that they really need to take a hard look at is their use of CGI as a means to tell the story. This is not a slight against any of their visual artists in the slightest — from Gorilla Grodd to King Shark, their creations are always wonderful. It’s amazing to see the amount of work that they’re able to pull off for the budget.
Yet, there’s still the issue that the budget isn’t nearly big enough for the stories they are trying to tell.
The Flash season 3 CGI woes
Let’s begin with Grodd, given that this is the story that just aired a matter of days ago. We entered “Attack on Central City” expecting a huge battle between Team Flash and the Gorilla City army. What we had instead was a few minutes of Solovar and Grodd fighting and then a lot of relationship angst and debates as to whether or not Barry should kill Grodd. The idea of the showdown was great, but on this particular occasion, the juice wasn’t worth the metaphorical squeeze. Part of the problem was that the showdown was so hyped and it was so small.
In general, the CW superhero universe has a problem with hype versus reality. Take, for example, the four-part crossover earlier this season that was really a three-part crossover with a cameo at the end of Supergirl. The shows should embrace sometimes a feeling that less is more, and focus on some of the characters that they have and the relationships that exist there. One of the problems that they run into there is that so much of the conflict between characters at the moment can be broken down into this:
1. Character keeps secret from other people, thinking that it will help “protect” them.
2. Secret comes out, and the fact that it was secret makes everything worse.
3. Eventually, two parties make up and everything starts to get better.
Another way the show can make some of their character-stories better is to emphasize different pairings and dynamics. Create a story that puts Cisco and Wally together, or one that Julian and Iris have to work on together. Maybe allow Barry to work more exclusive with H.R., or get Joe West to ask Caitlin Snow for some help. You need to mix things up, and emphasize relationships at times that aren’t just romantic ones. WestAllen is tremendous and their scenes together are great, but bringing more depth to non-romantic relationships only helps the romantic ones.
The Savitar issue
Like Grodd, Savitar is also a CGI creation and we wonder if the lack of appearances from his is tied in some way to the show’s budget. When you only have so much money, you have to be diplomatic with how much you use people. This is why, in retrospect, we probably would’ve preferred the Grodd two-parter be a one-parter since there was so much filler in there that wasn’t needed for the story.
With Savitar, we think that the show would benefit heavily at this point from just casting the character with an actor and then allowing us to see a little bit more of them. Wouldn’t it be funny if Savitar was a version of Julian from another Earth, and he was just getting other versions of himself to be his servant? Maybe that’s a theory that we will flesh out further at some other point, but the big concern that we have at present is largely that Savitar needs more love as a human character and a little less as an intimidating CGI monster. Casting him also means that we’d get to see more of him.
In the end, we do think that The Flash season 3 CGI work is wonderful, but if you can only afford so much of it, don’t stake so much of your story on it. In the first two seasons, the stories were more about betrayal, heartache, and personally-motivated battles. It feels time to explore more human dynamics.
What do you think can be done to improve The Flash season 3? Share your thoughts in the comments, and head over here to get some further news on the show. (Photo: The CW.)