Does the 90's Flash TV series hold up 20 years later?
How many of you remember 1990? Better yet, how many of you specifically remember watching The Flash in 1990? I do. Vividly. I remember watching the hour and a half long pilot with my mom the day it premiered. I remember recording it on VHS, and then setting the timer every week on the VCR to record the next episode. You know. Those timers that nobody could ever seem to set up properly? Yeah, this show was the reason I learned how to do that...and I was 8.
Hellz yeah it does!
Well recently I was sitting around feeling nostalgic, and decided to see if I can find a torrent for the complete series. And I did. A glorious copy. A damn near perfect DVD copy. And I made my wife sit down to watch the pilot with me. Or at least about half of the pilot. She found it cheesy and ridiculous and went to bed. But I SAY THEE NAY!!! I sat up and watched 5 more episodes, easily into the wee hours of the morning, and loved every waking minute of it. Yeah, its cheesy. Sure, its ridiculous. But its one of the best examples of a comic based, LIVE ACTION, tv series we have ever had. Its better than The Incredible Hulk, any of the Superman tv incarnations, and definitely better than Wonder Woman. Don't worry, fellow nerds, I'm not talking about the animated shows. That's a whole different ballgame.
The pilot is probably the best part of the 21 episode series. It actually feels fairly grounded in reality, given the character, and has the most believable bad guy out of the entire show. The rest of the bad guys tend to feel very gimmicky, but nevertheless, fun. We only get 3 traditional comic book villains through out the series. Captain Cold (ep 16: Captain Cold), Mirror Master (ep 18: Done With Mirrors), and of course, Mark Hamill's The Trickster (ep 11: The Trickster, and ep 21: Trial Of The Trickster), a roll that likely had a lot to do with his being cast as the voice of The Joker. He's easily the highlight of the entire series. I'm actually watching the first Trickster episode as I type this, and you can completely see the Joker resemblance in his portrayal. Aside from Pike and the three traditional villains, most of the bad guys are sad stand in's for the ones you would WANT to see. But like I said, they're still fun and entertaining most of the time. And in a show from 1990-91 about a guy who runs fast...its all still wonderful campy goodness, right down to the theme music, which sounds almost exactly like Tim Burton's Batman music. AND...they nailed the costume.
I have very few complaints about this show. The biggest one is the complete lack of training they gave John Wesley Shipp before filming began. When he actually fights people he looks like an 8 year old slap boxing his little brother. Nowadays in movies and shows, they give pretty extensive training in hand to hand combat of some kind, or multiple kinds, months in advance. The character of Barry Allen's long time girlfriend Iris is downplayed to the girlfriend in the pilot, who is really not even mentioned again through the rest of the show after that. Instead you get the British scientist Tina McGee (played by Amanda Pays) who plays flirty kissy face with Allen for the rest of the series. And there was no cool cameo's from other characters. Nightshade looked like Sandman, but thats about the closest we got.
But aside from those points, I haven't been able to stop watching. The fact that in those years, they were able to produce 21 episodes of a Flash tv series, but they have a problem with producing a single movie because "it cant just be about a guy who runs fast" really bugs me. BOOOOO! Flash is my favorite DC character next to Batman, much because of watching this show as a kid, and THAT'S the movie I want to see from DC. And if it didn't stop them in 1990, why should it stop them in 2012? Ba-humbug. I suggest you all find it, download it, and watch it again. You know...FOR FUN!
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