ByThomas Cunningham IV, writer at
Pop-culture loving, comic book nerd who expresses his passion for critical thinking in a variety of topic areas.
Thomas Cunningham IV

DC has had decades of live action television translations. There have been triumphs like Wonder Woman, but more often we get "Lois and Clark," uneven seasons of "Smallville" and noble, but failed attempts like "Birds of Prey." On the other hand, the amazing animated translations of Batman and Justice League have confirmed that there are writers out there with the ability to tell legitimate stories of people with superpowers.

Nothing too spoilery below, but consider yourself warned.

The Flash does a solid job of retaining a lot of comic book canon while updating the story to tie in to the more "reality" based companion series "Arrow." That's not to say the pilot doesn't bend the rules in ways that will shock "purists." For starters, BARRY ALLEN ISN'T BLOND... and neither is Iris. In fact, she's Black... and a barrista... And her dad is played by veteran police procedural actor, Jesse L. Martin. This means Wally West would presumably be Black (or at least mixed) if and when he's introduced.

AND... Jesse L. Martin in the credits
AND... Jesse L. Martin in the credits

In keeping with the original comics, "Flash" plays up the humor a bit more than the "Arrow" and it works. After all, there are bound to be physical comedy moments when one discovers he can run faster than the speed of sound. They also drop in a Latino character who is mostly played for comic relief though he also supports team Flash by creating his uniform and monitoring his vital signs.

The origin story, teased in the finale of "Arrow" is also conveniently used to open the floodgates to creating other metahumans, at least in Flash's hometown. It seems that when STAR Labs particle accelerator exploded, unknown energies were released empowering at least one other member of the Flash's Rogues Gallery, the Weather Wizard. We are spared the Wizard's cheesy costume and instead get a blond, emo, farmer with a god complex.

Weather Wizard REALLY likes fog effects
Weather Wizard REALLY likes fog effects

The pilot also drops hints of future conflict with the introduction of Eddie "Eobard?" Thawne, a "pretty boy" detective who is the object of Iris' affection, much to Barry's consternation. It's likely that this love triangle will play out during the course of the season, with the possibility that Thawne will eventually be revealed as Reverse-Flash.

On the other hand, Dr. Harrison Wells exhibited some pretty tricky behavior in the denoument. Wells has access to information from the future... and he's faking his paralysis! Could he be one of Flash's enemies or is he attempting to steer Flash from some foretold tragedy?

The pilot also manages some real emotion, especially concerning the death of Barry's mom. Barry's father, played by TV's original live action Flash John Wesley Shipp, has been convicted of the murder and is wallowing in prison. After the accident, Barry gradually remembers more of the bizarre event and eventually recalls seeing the Reverse-Flash as the murderer. Detective West is highly skeptical, but comes around by the end of the pilot. He also becomes the sixth person to know about Barry's powers (STAR labs trio, Arrow, Weather Wizard and West). That's a lot of folks to know a hero's identity, but I guess Arrow opened the door to big back-up teams.

On the downside, it's hard to see how the tv-friendly romcom/action formula will work with the decidedly darker tone of the DC cinematic offerings like Dawn of Justice. Unlike Marvel, which has linked all their live action dramas (movies, TV, Netflix) into a cohesive whole, DC will have a tougher time based on this pilot. It's not impossible, but it would definitely feel like a stretch. Of course, there's quite a bit of time before Justice League hits screens, so they may work it out.

All in all, it was a satisfying, if light, introduction to the character. Things look good for the fastest man alive. Here's hoping he gets a nice long run on the small screen.


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