THE FLASH: Pilot Review

Is CW's 'The Flash' worth all the hype surrounding it? I'm not sure it is.

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By rohan - 7/1/2014




It’s no secret The Flash Pilot leaked online, and everyone’s been trying to get a glimpse of what DCs greatest superhero to not have his own movie so far looks like on the smaller screen.

There are a lot of talking points, regarding the shows structure and characters, and a lot of discussion has been going on regarding the effects that will go into making Flash’s running sequences look great. Well the effects are great, you can rest assured. A lot of thought seems to have gone into how Barry will look when he’s zipping around at hazardous speeds.

The plot itself seemed rushed to me, with the creators trying to cover so many aspects of the story within the 45 minutes.

1.       Barry dealing with his new powers and coming to terms with it.
2.       His back story before the lightning, along with some mystery to his mother death.
3.       Introducing the audience to several main and fringe characters
4.       The formation of the team.
5.       Taking down his first bad guy.
6.       Hell, they even made time for Oliver Queen’s arrow to throw Barry some advice.

CW checked every formulaic element in the checklist with this pilot, from setting up potential episodic challenges for our hero and his new team to face every week, to a couple of underlying mysteries from Barry’s troubled past, and also secrets within the team itself.

It really does feel like a case of running before you can walk, which is extremely ironic. They could easily have spent the pilot familiarizing the audience with the characters, and closing it out with Barry realizing what has happened to him, or even have Barry go up against some small time thug. Instead it seems more mechanical. The characters seem to be ‘in the way’ things that the producers wanted to get out of the way to get to the ‘fun stuff’.

And this is sad, because they’ve managed to assemble a great cast here. The acting is all around much better than Arrow, which let’s be honest, has cringe worthy acting ever so often. Grant Gustin is great in character, and far surpasses Stephen Amell's acting chops(fitness is another story). I already feel like I am going to enjoy watching this tea m more than Arrow’s, which is a huge plus point for the show.

Sure, Seeing Barry dawn the suit, and fight his first baddie is great, and the climax is fitting, with some real scale to it as well. But I can’t help but wish there was more to it (or less if you look at it that way).

I’m certain we’re going to see a lot of fun moments in the coming episodes with Barry training and becoming adept with his powers, and that’s one thing to definitely look forward to. I’m also looking forward to seeing Barry interact with his team more, the chemistry between them looks great, and they seem to play off each other really well.

One thing I hope they work on is Barry’s motivation. From the pilot itself, it isn’t quite clear why he wants to protect and fight for Central city. Hopefully more light is shed on that during the course of the first season.

Given the familiarity the show has to its elder brother, this is that part where I inevitably compare Flash to Arrow, so here goes:

Everything that felt fresh about Arrow when it debuted, feels derivative here. The producers seemed to have adopted the approach that worked for Arrow too closely while creating Flash, which could lead to Flash seeming more like a spin off, or even a remake of sorts of Arrow. The elevator pitch for the show seems to have been “ ….Arrow, but lighter, with much better acting”.

I really hope that going forward the approach is markedly different, because where Oliver Queen’s Arrow has an array of weapons and skills at his disposal; Barry’s Flash is more like a one trick pony. Sure his speed itself sets up many interesting scenarios, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing Barry outrun sound, and who knows, maybe even touch light speeds on the show, but the onus is on the show runners to keep audiences interested.

Consider in contrast, a show like ‘Gotham’ set to debut later this year as well. Audiences are excited to see the origins of so many characters that they’ve come to know over the years. That itself is enough to keep audiences engaged for a few weeks at least. With Flash though, the next few episodes are going to play a very important role in determining whether audiences are going to be invested in the new set of characters here, or if they are content with ones they are already familiar with in Arrow.

In either case, I hope Usain Bolt doesn't watch the show, lest you see him trying to sabotage a particle accelerator.

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2 Comments
BlakeUsmcVet - 7/1/2014, 6:43 AM
Watched it the other day and liked it, can't wait for the season to start.
HecticHector - 7/3/2014, 7:35 AM
You raise some interesting points, but considering the huge expectations the creators had to live up to and the amount of material they've covered in the pilot, I think they did a terrific job.

Every pilot has its problems (they're trying to grasp as much attention as they can and that's tough), but I have no doubt this series will be amazing (and, no doubt, much better than 'Arrow' is).

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