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Review The Flash Season 1

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The Flash Season 1

I wasn’t too excited when I heard the news that The Flash was getting its own TV show. This has less to do with the memories of the horrid 1990 series and more to do with simply suffering from superhero overload. Comics, being the hot trend that they are, have invaded the big and small screen to the point that the product can’t help but eventually get diluted down to something much less than its origins. However, I must say I was more than pleasantly surprised at the show, especially once it got past the jitters of the first few episodes.

The key to a show like this is to have a strong lead that is surrounded by an even stronger supporting cast and for the most part that is what the Flash delivered. Grant Gustin, as Barry Allen/The Flash, has turned into a great fit for the lead in the show. He has just the right mix of naïve geekiness and superhero appeal to give the writers something they can use to continue to build the character. While he flailed around a bit in the first few episodes he has since found his groove and made the Barry Allen/Flash character enjoyable to watch.

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Probably even more important was the high quality and diverse supporting cast that surrounds Gustin on The Flash.  Danielle Panabaker as Dr. Caitlin Snow and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon have moved past their constant back and forth comedy routine to become an important part of the show. As members of S.T.A.R. Labs, the scientific facility that helps Barry Allen continually discover and harness his new powers as the Flash, they are key members of the show that look to have even bigger parts in the second season.

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Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West is Barry’s step dad and friend and manages to juggle his job as police officer and keeping Barry’s secret identity safe very well. A solid actor that turned in many good episodes in season one, especially some key and powerful moments with Gustin. I have left the best and worst of the actors to the end, mostly due to the fact that they have the biggest impact on not only Barry Allen/The Flash but moving forward into season two.

So let’s start with the best. There can be no doubt that Tom Cavanagh, playing Dr. Harrison Wells, stole many episodes this season. The good doctor went from important mentor and friend of Barry Allen’s to evil two faced son of a bitch who just happened to also be the Reverse Flash. Great actors do many things very well and Cavanagh commanded moments of some pivotal scenes with no words at all, just the steely eyed look that made you realize something was not firing on all cylinders in that brain of his.

However, while Cavanagh dazzled us, Candice Patton as Iris West continually dragged the show down like a human anchor. Daughter of Joe West, Iris is also good friends with Barry, who also has had a long-time crush on her. The writers continually kept putting her in key moments of episodes, giving her every chance to win us over as viewers.

This viewer was not impressed or amused.

Too many times scenes or plots cut back to the character of Iris, destroying momentum and really just making the show look bad. Now, heading into season two, there is word that her character will be taking on a bigger and more important role. I have my fingers crossed that something will change but my gut tells me otherwise.

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The other star of the show was the special effects. Initially this was also one of my main concerns, wondering how The CW network would be able to afford some solid effects and not turn the show into in essence, just a cheesy update of the 1990 version. Somehow they have found a way to make some fine effects that while not movie standards are still quite convincing for television. Thankfully, the show also managed to move past the meta human/monster of the week scenario ala The X-Files and have the show stand on its own two feet. Saying that, there were some fun guest stars, Captain Cold and Heatwave come to mind, as well as Gorilla Grodd. The Arrow/Flash crossover was inevitable and executed pretty well, but let’s hope that doesn’t become a regular thing.

The final episode of season one left a lot of questions hanging out there and for the most part, interesting ones that I look forward to watching play out. Unlike Arrow, The Flash is a much lighter show and while it does take a few walks on the dark side it does not live there, giving off a much bigger aura of hope and justice.

If you haven’t watched the first season of The Flash, do yourself a favor and make some time to do just that. It is a solid series with a lot of potential and you won’t be disappointed.

– Jeff Fountain

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