The Flash

The+Flash

Andalib Samandari

The fastest man alive made his television debut in late 2014, and he hit the ground running with an action-packed new series. Historically, The Flash’s super-speed was difficult to replicate for either TV or the big screen, and filmmakers shied away from telling his story. (A 1990 Flash TV serial ran for a brief 8-month season, stopping short because of a staggering $1.6 million needed per episode.)

Now, the producers of the all-new series depict the superhero’s feats with more than the usual “blurring around.” They returned to his comic book roots, complete with the original costume and secret identity. “No sweat suits or strange code names; he will be The Flash,” one writer said.

The Flash’s story begins when lightning strikes forensic scientist Barry Allen in his lab. After a nine-month coma, he awakens in STAR Labs, who help him control his powers as he slowly discovers them. Eventually, he dons his crimson costume, prompting some Central City pundits to label him “The Red Streak.”

Director David Nutter does an exceptional job of telling Barry’s origin story, and quickly develops the plot into a compelling web of suspense. Nutter drops hints and teasers at every turn, with plenty of unresolved conflicts that may haunt Barry’s future. (As it turns out, The Flash may mysteriously disappear in 10 years – and the only one who knows is his boss.) There are plenty of reasons to keep viewers hooked.

Plot possibilities are a strong point for the show, but at times feel forced or artificial. A new villain shows up for the first five episodes, and for the most part, they drop dead in an hour despite Barry’s lack of experience. At the same time, his closest companions are tomfooling around at work, accidentally giving a villain the power to stop The Flash in his tracks. Luckily, this does not detract from the main storyline development, but makes the show feel even less serious than it already is.

Overall, the show is a strong addition to the new DC Universe TV shows (including its companion show, Arrow), with a driven plot, high-speed action and believable characters. Watch The Flash Tuesday nights at 8 on The CW.