My Review of ‘The Flash’ Season 1

flash
Image from sky.com

I tried watching ‘The Flash’ when it first debuted and my first impression wasn’t a good one. I’m not the biggest fan of ‘Arrow’, the show it spun off of, and thought The Flash sort of resembled 90210 with super powers. But recently my boys convinced me to give it another try and I needed something to watch when I was running on the treadmill so I gave it another go.

Boy am I glad I did.

The Flash is a good super hero television show and it gets better as it gathers momentum throughout season 1. It’s got all the elements of a comic book and the show does a good job of capturing that vibe. Yes, some of the acting is a little iffy but, for the most part, all of the principle characters are represented fairly well. In my opinion, this show is in a dead heat with Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’ as the best super hero show on TV. Here’s why:

  • You actually get The Flash. Unlike other shows (think Gotham or Smallville), The Flash, in full costume, is a staple of this show. It’s not ‘preteen flash’ or ‘flash before he was the flash’ – it’s The Flash. And he’s pretty cool.
  • It represents the comic book well. I’ve never followed The Flash in comic books closely other than being a fan of the Justice League, but this show seems to represent his comic book story line pretty well. I’m sure there’s some liberties taken with his main plots, but all the elements are there. There’s the Reverse Flash, alternate universes (especially as you move into season 2), time travel and all sorts of stuff Flash fans should remember from his comic book.
  • Each episode feels like a comic book. I don’t buy comic books very often any more (adulthood and responsible budgets have ruled out that aspect of discretionary spending), but this show makes me feel like I’m reading a comic book. Each episode stands alone pretty well and new super villains are introduced regularly, however, there are threads and plot lines that run throughout the season. For the most part, the writers do a good job of embracing the comic book vibe.
  • It’s family friendly. Unlike ‘Daredevil’ on Netflix, this show is pretty tame. There’s not a lot of cursing, sex, or uncomfortable elements to the show. The violence is comic book violence. I can watch the show with both eyes wide open unafraid of what I, or the family, might see next.
  • Watching The Flash develop his powers is cool. I enjoyed watching The Flash develop his powers and comfort with the ‘speed force’ throughout the season. He is slowly turning into The Flash, power wise, that can hold his own with Superman in the Justice League.
  • I can live with the acting. I particularly like the performance of Jessie L. Martin who plays Barry Allen’s father figure Joe West. Tom Cavanaugh also does a good job as Dr. Harrison Wells. None of the other actors are bad enough to distract from the show and Grant Gustin makes for a pretty good Flash.

If you watched the short-lived Flash show back in 1990, you can expect this one to be much better. All of season 2 is available on Netflix and season 2 in currently on the CW. If you are a fan of super hero stuff, do yourself a favor and don’t give up on the Flash.

Quit Changing the Characters of My Youth

From marvel-movies.wikia.com

First, Nick Fury was suddenly a black guy. That was cool. I mean, let’s face it, no one was that attached to Nick Fury anyway and Samuel L. Jackson managed to completely reinvent the character. Jackson made Fury credible enough to hang out with the likes of Captain American and the Hulk without being overshadowed. But this trend to “reinvent” the wheel is getting a little out of hand.

miles
from the comiclibrary.tumblr.com

I tried to read a Spider-Man comic the other day. Spidey was the first super hero I really identified with. I was five or six years old when I fell in love with the Amazing Spider-Man and his alter ego, Peter Parker. Pete was a guy I could identify with. He had school problems, work problems, girl problems, and family problems. Because he was a normal guy, his life sometimes sucked. And when he put on a mask things didn’t always get better. Sometimes he failed. But along the way he taught me a lot of stuff. For instance, he taught me that with great power comes great responsibility. And he taught me that sometimes the Hobgoblins of life are gonna knock you on your backside, but giving up isn’t an option. It’s how we respond to the obstacles in life that make us a hero. Peter Parker and Spider-Man are important to me. I grew up with him. But when I tried to read his book the other day, the Spider-man I love is gone. In one universe, he’s Doctor Octopus in Peter Parker’s body. If you think that’s weird, in the other universe he’s a black-hispanic kid named Miles Morales. Uh, what?

Look. I think it would be awesome to create a black hero of Puerto Rican descent. I mean really. We need more minority super heroes. I think it’s a wonderful idea. I could even support turning Doctor Octopus into a hero so readers can learn wonderful lessons about redemption and repentance and all that – the story lines could be deep, substantive and powerful.

But why can’t they do that while leaving Peter Parker alone? He’s my hero. Did they have to sacrifice him on the altar of change?

And it doesn’t stop with Peter Parker. At some point, Thor became a girl, Superman died, and Jim Gordon became the Batman.

What?

Thor_Goddess_of_Thunder_Character_Art.0
from polygon.com

Even minor characters are getting makeovers. I recently watched the debut episode of Supergirl and really enjoyed it, but I was somewhat confused as to why the Jimmy Olsen I know as a skinny, red-headed, pip-squeak is suddenly a large, muscular, hunky black guy. I mean really – how did that happen? Was there surgery involved?

There are even some people advocating that 007 himself should be gay and the Bond movies should do away with Bond girls. I’m sorry, but that would no longer be James Bond. He is a super spy with a fatal attraction to the opposite sex – that’s who he is! Furthermore, Spider-Man is Peter Parker, Thor’s a big, muscular dude, Superman is alive, the Batman is Bruce Wayne, and Jimmy Olsen is a pip-squeak!

Why don’t we go ahead and reinvent the Hulk as a pacifist?

I get that in some cases these changes reflect important progress and changes in our culture. I agree that we need more minority heroes for the youth of today to look up to. Super heroes should come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and ethnicities! All that is fine and dandy and necessary. But for some of us, these are established characters we have literally grown up with. These characters are important to us because someone, somewhere sat down at a typewriter or drawing board, engaged their creative gifts, and invented them.

Instead of reinventing established characters who are important, why not invent new characters. Do for this generation what Stan Lee, Ian Fleming, and others did for mine and quit screwing around with the characters of my youth.