Season 1, Episode 1
Air Date: Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 8/7c on The CW
“My name is Barry Allen and I am the fastest man alive.” – Barry
I’ve been eagerly awaiting The Flash to premiere ever since Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) was introduced on The CW’s Arrow. His appearance allowed fans to get a feel for Gustin before the network dished out millions for a standalone series. Thankfully, he and his character were well received so The Flash is born…again.
Despite his introduction in the Arrow episode “The Scientist,” there isn’t a need to watch the episode before viewing “City of Heroes.” “The Scientist” merely serves as a prequel introducing Barry prior to becoming gifted with super speed, whereas “City of Heroes” is The Flash’s origin story.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, The Flash writers draw from what has worked on other superhero shows on The CW, using Smallville and Arrow as the foundation. The explanation of how Barry and the various villains get their powers feels very similar to how Smallville’s baddies were created. Many of the characters in “City of Heroes” feel familiar to the Arrow characters in that both heroes are in love with their childhood crush and their respective fathers are in law enforcement. This, combined with both new material and some of the original source material, provides a recognizable tone to everything rather than The Flash feeling like a brand new show.
What makes “City of Heroes” work is Gustin. He has a ‘gee whiz’ type of enthusiasm. He seems genuinely excited to have this role and that excitement makes The Flash enjoyable to watch. I never thought I would say this about a guy but simply watching Gustin’s eyes light up anytime Iris (Candice Patton) walks into the room or when he discovers his powers makes you cheer for him.
What surprised me about “City of Heroes” are some of the heartfelt moments between several characters. I truly enjoyed the scenes with Jesse L. Martin, who plays Detective Joe West. West raises Barry as one of his own following an incident involving Barry’s parents. The writers do a great job
creating a multilayered father/mentor relationship between West and Barry. It’s interesting watching their interactions change depending on what metaphorical hat West is wearing.
I admit I am a sucker for television crossovers of any kind. I even watched the recent The Simpsons/Family Guy crossover despite not having watched The Simpsons in years, let alone any episodes of Family Guy. There is just something fun about having two different shows merge into the same universe. While the Family Guy crossover was a one-time event, the producers of both Arrow and The Flash haven’t been shy in hinting the Green Arrow (Stephen Arnell) and the Flash will cross paths more than a few times throughout the season. While brief, Amell’s appearance as the Green Arrow in “City of Heroes” is an important one as he provides Barry with an inspiring message.
With phrases like “Run, Barry, run,” The Flash does have some dialogue that can be trying at times. The Flash’s special effects are inconsistent, making me wonder if the early shots were done on a minimal budget and then bumped up later when there was more cash flow.
The weakest part of “City of Heroes” is villain Clyde Mardon (Chad Rook). The audience never gets to know Clyde because the story is so focused on Barry and his newly discovered powers. With so many great DC villains to choose from, hopefully the writers will introduce some new characters that aren’t so one dimensional.
Because The Flash is based in the DC Comics universe, it’s easy to want to compare The Flash to Fox’s new series Gotham, but doing so would be like comparing apples to red balloons. Gotham is a gritty police procedural meant for a more mature audience whereas The Flash is a lighthearted, special effects driven drama for teens and young adults. Both series are entertaining in their own way, each adding their own page to the mythos of their comic book origins.
“City of Heroes” is an entertaining story that introduces The Flash to a new generation of viewers. Fans of the 1990 series of the same name will get a kick out of seeing who plays Barry’s biological father. The Flash is its own show but if you enjoy Arrow, you should have no trouble embracing The Flash, especially given their shared universe.
Tweet me @Staffaroadtrip or leave a comment below to let me know what you think about “City of Heroes.”
Tune in to the series premiere of The Flash on Tuesday, October 7 at 8/7c on The CW.
For more information on The Flash, visit the official Website.
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Photos ©2014 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved.
© 2014, Greg Staffa. All rights reserved.
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