Sunday, March 13, 2016

Superhero Media: The Flash - Season 1

I cannot decide if The Flash is what Arrow is trying to be, or what it should have been from the start. Actually, scratch that, it's obvious to anyone that Arrow has always wanted to be a programme about Batman, but didn't get the rights. In contrast, The Flash is what it wanted to be from the outset; a programme about Barry Allen being The Flash. Unfortunately, Barry comes with his infamous "Rouges", such illustrious names as Captain Cold, Heatwave, Plastique, Professor Zoom and Weather Wizard. Poor Barry must figure out how being able to move almost faster than light can help him beat these terrible foes. Barry may not be quite as smart as people keep saying. What's great about The Flash is that we see Barry using his powers just to help out the people of Central City, getting cats out of trees, helping people across the road, that sort of thing. The kind of thing DCU heroes are known for; how about that old joke about Superman stopping to help someone pick up their dropped groceries? 

Like Arrow, Barry is supported by an ensemble cast, Cisco, Caitlin, Joe West and Dr Wells all know his identity and help him out in a manner that would make Spidey's head spin. This works when the writers decide to expand the team as well, Firestorm becomes a semi-regular, in addition to crossovers with the Arrow and Atom. There is a recurring motif of running, sometimes towards something, at other times away, hinting at a larger meaning behind Barry's powers, the resolution being that Professor Zoom may have created the Flash? It's not clear what the grand scheme is, but hopefully it gets resolved in seasons to come. For those who enjoy the comic references in Arrow, The Flash peppers them a bit quicker and much thicker, from Cisco's naming of villains to the last episode, which drops Rip Hunter, Jay Garrik, The Time Chasers, 52 and Earth Two all in about five minutes. 
When it comes down to brass tacks, I'd have to say that I prefer The Flash over Arrow, the action is more heroic, the plot is less convoluted and the romance is less in-your-face every episode. Put simply, The Flash is more of a superhero programme, and that's what I tune in for. Barely a single episode goes by without Barry suiting up and saving someone, or beating up a nasty "meta" with a power like exploding, because the Flash lacks the iconic Batman villains that Arrow routinely steals. What I've heard about season two sounds good, I'm sure I'll be checking it out soon. Until then, run Barry, from all your shitty villains.

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