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The Flash

I need to geek out about The Flash. We started watching the show with episode one, and after so much bleak and dark DC comic adaptations, The Flash is an absolute delight. It’s fun. It dives unapologetically into the comics universe, and doesn’t shy away from the more “out there” aspects. For example, one recent instance gives us a cameo of Grodd. That’s right, they added a superintelligent CGI gorilla to the show. And damn if it didn’t work.

I should say up front that the show isn’t perfect. I could do without Flash’s speed being a bit variable depending on the needs of the script. (He’s fast enough to pluck a bullet out of the air, but can’t circle around and take a gun from Captain Cold?) And they haven’t done a great job with their female characters. Barry’s mother is fridged in the first episode, and the other two women are significantly defined by their romantic relationships, unlike the rest of the cast.

Flash - My Bad

But there’s so much The Flash does right:

  • Barry and Joe: When Barry’s father was arrested for the murder of Barry’s mother, it was Detective Joe West who took Barry in. Now that Barry’s grown up, he and Joe have this amazing relationship of love and respect and communication and trust. Joe still looks out for Barry, but he also treats him like an adult. Joe finds out Barry’s secret in the first episode…and they geek out together over some of the things he can do. When Barry demonstrates how he can vibrate to disguise his face and voice, Joe just bursts out laughing. I love these two!
  • Cisco: Cicso Ramon and Dr. Caitlin Snow are employees at S.T.A.R. Labs, working for Dr. Harrison Wells. Cicso is the geek who shows up wearing T-shirts and builds freeze rays and so on, but part of his goofy charm is his need to nickname the various villains who show up from week to week. Comic book names can sound pretty ridiculous, but by turning it into just a thing Cisco does, it works. It also creates opportunities for banter with the other characters. Cisco is more than a two-dimensional geek, and gets to be a deeper character in some episodes, but he’s also just a lot of fun.
  • Dr. Wells: I love the ongoing mystery here. Tom Cavanaugh manages to give us a character who seems to be a villain, but how villainous is he, really? He’s got secrets and lies aplenty, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish his goals. And yet he has moments when you want to cheer him on, like the scene with Grodd at the end of episode 14.
  • Diversity: Central City’s police chief David Singh is an openly gay man. So is the villain the Pied Piper. Joe and Iris West are black. Cisco is Puerto Rican. The writers don’t make a big deal out of and of this; that’s just who the characters are. Could the show do better? Sure…I’d love to see some episodes pass the Bechdel Test. But as these things go, I think they’re doing pretty well.

Pied Piper

  • Other: The special effects work, which is impressive, given the small-screen budget. The music is great. They brought in John Wesley Shipp, star of the 90s Flash TV show, to play Barry’s father. He has wonderful crossovers with Oliver Queen from Arrow, in which Oliver shoots Barry in the back. As one does.

Short version: This show makes me happy. It’s right up there with The Librarians in terms of fun and entertainment.

What do the rest of you think?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.



( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
Really like the show, want to love it. But the whole "Every woman is unrequited love of/for" bit is annoying. That needs to get fixed. I'd like to see Caitlin develop more, outside of the boys. In fact she's got tonnes of space to do this, script-wise.

But yes. The second image of the walk of shame to the cells... Wayne and I died laughing. We had to hit pause.

And yes, it's nice to have a] the Anti-Smallville of superheroes (willing and wanting to use/explore his powers) and b] the FUN side of things. Like.. Barry geeks out over things, genuinely enjoys what he can do.

I mean what do some of these writers think? If I woke up with superpowers I'm fairly certain at some point I'd be all OVER the place going "cool! did you SEE that?!"
Mar. 2nd, 2015 05:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I *really* hope they fix that soon. They're doing so well in other areas, it's weird that they keep dropping the ball there.
(no subject) - mt_yvr - Mar. 2nd, 2015 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - nick_kaufmann - Mar. 2nd, 2015 08:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - taldragon - Mar. 2nd, 2015 08:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC)
We are loving it and props to Grant Gustin for making Barry someone you can root for. Though, yeah, get your act together folks on the female characters.

(Regarding The Librarians, we also enjoyed this but it took us a few episodes to tune into the tone - particularly as I'm a huge fan of Leverage by the same production team, which hits the ground running in a way The Librarians doesn't.)

We're now binge-watching the first season of Arrow which, while it doesn't have the goofy tone of The Flash, is actually also enjoyable.
Mar. 2nd, 2015 06:12 pm (UTC)
Librarians is one I suspect people will either love or hate. It's pulpy, cheesy fun, and that doesn't work for everyone. But I liked it, and I'm very interested to see what happens now that it's been renewed for another season.

Arrow is sitting on our pile of DVDs to watch. I'd tried it once before, and it didn't really work for me. But having seen the crossovers, I'll probably give it another shot.
(no subject) - bookzombie - Mar. 2nd, 2015 07:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lenora_rose - Mar. 3rd, 2015 03:54 am (UTC) - Expand
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Mar. 2nd, 2015 06:13 pm (UTC)
"And it's nice to finish an episode of anything on TV right now and feel upbeat."

Mar. 2nd, 2015 06:34 pm (UTC)
I love so much of it, especially since it is tonally so different from Arrow, (which I loved... until this season and some of the dumb, dumb, and dumb choices they seem to be making over there, but that is another rant).
My biggest issue was the whole *spoiler alert if you aren't caught up to about the second to last episode* Barry dating Linda debacle. I get the whole, it's funny to make him have to choose between his social life and superhero life, but the thing with the ghost pepper... creepy.
Mar. 2nd, 2015 07:20 pm (UTC)
I do like the show a lot, partly because I'm a long-time fan of the Flash in the comics (Wally West, though, not Barry). And the show has great father-son relationships in Barry & Joe and Barry & Henry.

But the shows handling of women does bug me, and I keep getting creeped out by the causal "oh, we'll keep the supervillains in boxes downstairs" -- the Flash and crew have their own prison that the police don't know about and that's supposed to be okay instead of icky?
Mar. 2nd, 2015 07:25 pm (UTC)
I've read that there's some backstory to the prison that got cut out of an episode. Basically, STAR worked with the police/Mayor/etc. on this, because they were the only ones who had the facilities to hold these prisoners. I guess it talked about food services and laundry and such.

But if so, I really wish they'd add it back. Because yeah...without more explanation, Secret Prison is creepy.
(no subject) - swan_tower - Mar. 2nd, 2015 07:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - yendi - Mar. 3rd, 2015 03:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2015 07:29 pm (UTC)
I like the fact that it's a cheerful contrast to Arrow . . . but I just haven't hooked on it. Part of the problem is that only a few of the characters and none of the women have any real depth; part is that I just do. not. buy. Caitlin and Cisco as genius scientists (they look like they're barely out of high school, and act that way, too); part of it is the concussion I give myself headdesking every time they open their mouths on the topic of science. And the complexity of the average "dilemma" Barry faces is often kind of paper-thin.

Which sounds really cranky, so I should add that I'm still enjoying the show enough that I'll finish out its first season. (For example, I love that Joe knows the truth.) After that, though, I doubt I'll watch the second.

Mar. 2nd, 2015 08:08 pm (UTC)
It might be my favorite new show. It's not dark and gritty, which is what turned me off to ARROW. It's fun and dares to let itself have moments of joy. I'm also enjoying AGENT CARTER and GOTHAM, although the latter could stand to lighten up a bit and embrace its own weirdness.
Mar. 2nd, 2015 08:10 pm (UTC)
I really hope Agent Carter gets a second season.

Haven't tried Gotham yet...
Mar. 2nd, 2015 08:28 pm (UTC)
I'm actually rather enjoying it, and I'm barely one for superheroes of any stripe, other than Watchmen (but then, Alan Moore is a coyote grade super-genius), Burton-era Batman, the 90s Rocketeer (which seems to've been all but forgotten by the studio, though not as thoroughly as Bablyon 5, or Cats Don't Dance), or indeed, the 90s Flash, again with a good deal of self-effacing humor.
Mar. 2nd, 2015 09:11 pm (UTC)
Love the show, and I have to give DC credit. They do TV shows well. (As opposed to most of their recent movie attempts.)

If you know the DCverse well enough, you should be anticipating some interesting developments with certain characters on the show. Anticipation is building. (Won't spoil it in case someone isn't familiar and wants to fun of surprise.)

They do need to add a few more female regulars, and I think that will help balance the show. Female characters are handled, in my opinion, somewhat better on Arrow, where you have a lot more women, and by virtue of having more women in speaking roles, you get women in a broader variety of roles. They aren't all defined by their love lives.

I will be curious to see how things go with the in development Supergirl. Will the ratios flip? Will it pull a Buffy? Really hoping it also does well.

I will comment on this about Arrow. When I dipped a toe in, I was a bit off put. When I binged it, I got hooked. I did the first two seasons in about a week each season, and really liked it. I do think that Arrow was a response to ten years of Smallville. Trying to really keep the show "grounded" in a more real world. As a fan of Smallville, I wasn't ready for Arrow when it launched, but a few years later, now I am.

The big shame is that Gotham is out there, but not really in the same "universe." I would love to see a Batman in this same universe. Maybe someday, but Gotham seems like it's doing well, so I don't think that's in the cards in the near future.
Mar. 2nd, 2015 09:14 pm (UTC)
Needs more Grodd. MORE GRODD!
Mar. 3rd, 2015 01:00 am (UTC)
I love this show unapologetically (except for the Bechtel Test fail), for pretty much the reasons you give. I watch Arrow, too, but it's sooooo grim.
Mar. 3rd, 2015 02:10 am (UTC)
I feel the same wayyyyy! I hate the hiatus though and I'm particularly protective of Cisco. I adore him. Tom is amazing as Wells.
Mar. 3rd, 2015 04:14 am (UTC)
I'm just saying, this is important:

 photo 10959703_851692818205351_7749371770914055924_n_zpsheugmhxl.jpg
Mar. 3rd, 2015 06:44 am (UTC)
I'm of mixed feelings about 'The Flash'.

It is good for the above points you mentioned, but ... first time viewing I'm on the edge of my seat, hating the commercials for breaking in (and thus, adding to the suspense, cause I need to know what happens next).
Second time viewing (re watching episodes), I feel more 'eh' about the entire thing.

Maybe I am subconsciously picking up on the fact that all the women seem to be sidekicks, added (mostly to be somebody's love interest) because the writers couldn't get away with an all-male cast, and had to add some of the cameo women from the Golden Age Comics.
Again, that's something you pointed out, already.

Or, (big issue, for me), it's the underground prison for meta/super powered villains. The ones the police have no idea about, the ones Dr. Harrison Wells has no reason to let the world know about - going so far as to allow them to kill each other off so long as Barry/The Flash isn't permanently injured - the ones Joe is afraid will rule the world if they ever get free and there is nobody there to stop them in their tracks.
The hidden jail, where the inhabitants are being illegally held.
That's my pet peeve about this show.

Well ....

the pet peeve I've noticed. There might be one or two other ones, but if they are there, it's not big enough for me to pick up on, consciously.

Overall, The Flash is much better done than the movies, (hated, no, loathed and despised 'The Green Lantern'), and it is something I can relax to, unlike The Arrow. (also a good show, but not one I enjoy. Too dark for my tastes. Didn't like Oliver Queen's vigilante 'take the law into my own hands and kill my enemies/those destroying my city' attitude in season one.

But, other than that, nothing to complain about.
Least, on topics related to Marvel Television shows.
Mar. 3rd, 2015 10:03 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, S2 of Arrow follow through on that whole "hey, you realize that whacking your enemies makes you a serial killer, right?" thing that (if I recall correctly) Tommy brings up in S1. Not to the point of Oliver turning himself in and being locked up forever -- but at least to the point of him working to capture bad guys and turn them over to the police, rather than just putting arrows through them. He's still a vigilante, and the show is still on the dark side . . . but the characters are aware of the ethical problems, and are addressing them piecemeal.

I'd like to see the same happen on The Flash, but I don't know if they're going to do it, given that it's hard to address those kinds of ethical problems and still maintain bubble-gum brightness.
(no subject) - jimhines - Mar. 3rd, 2015 12:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rose0mary - Mar. 12th, 2015 06:03 am (UTC) - Expand
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )


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