I’ve been going back and forth about running this, because this thing won’t be out for a few MONTHS yet… but what the hell. I’m sure The Flash is going to be promoted at Comic-Con, and fans deserve some advance warning of what to expect – because why leave it up to the friggin’ CW’s marketing whizzes to decide how to convince people to watch it, when we can get more from somebody who’s actually watched it? Somebody like us?
I’m not going to watch it yet, because I still haven’t watched Arrow, and (since The Flash is set up as an Arrow spinoff) I want to catch up on that before this fall. But maybe this reader will convince you one way or the other.
Read on, if you dare…
OK, so I found out that the 1st (pilot) episode of THE FLASH TV series magically appeared online, and (like I’m sure thousands and thousands of others did) I decided not to wait until October and just watch it now. I was surprised by the video file being of such high quality – it makes me wonder, like some others have, whether this was an intentional leak. But I’ve gotta warn you guys: if every episode is going to be like this, this show’s gonna be in big trouble.
Or maybe not – this show is on The CW, home to plenty of shows featuring pretty young actors spouting hammy dialogue in illogical stories. So if you’re a regular CW watcher, or are ages 10-18 with no life experience or ability to think critically about how you spend your time, you might dig THE FLASH.
Here’s the thing: this one 45-minute story crams so much plot into a single episode that I barely got the chance to care about any of the characters or what happens to them. It’s like watching a Michael Bay movie if it had slightly more story between action scenes, and a few less explosions. But it’s equally illogical, and I’m not talking about the superpowers – that I can let go. Instead, police break into farmhouses without a warrant, a man is arrested for murder with no proof of how he killed his wife (or motive), a kid can walk right up to his mother’s corpse without a single cop noticing, a person can just run straight into the (world’s biggest) ER surgical ward before they’re stopped, the Flash keeps getting 3D objects added to his suit instead of painted on (yeah…that’s aerodynamic), it just goes on…
It wasn’t until I saw the credits that it made sense: the writers are the producers of the show. And they include the same person who screwed up the Green Lantern movie (no, not Ryan Reynolds), the same person who made DC Comics as badly written as 1992 Image Comics: Geoff Johns, DC’s Chief Creative Officer. If we need to see Barry Allen’s childhood, does it have to be a scene of him running – from bullies? If we need Easter eggs to hook the comics nerds watching, could there be something more subtle than a broken cage (that hasn’t been removed or fixed in 9 months? Really?) – with the only sign being GRODD in huge letters? (It’s Gorilla Grodd, the giant talking ape! Get it? GET IT?) If we need the black guy from LAW & ORDER, does he need a partner that looks just like his old partner on his old show? I can forgive one or two hacky moments, like if there’s no other way to deliver information than talking-head exposition, but once again, it just goes on and on…
It’s not that THE FLASH is bad. It’s just that it’s not good. The actors are, well, okay, and seem like they’re doing their best with their lame dialogue. Except one of the Flash’s new sidekicks, who always has a stupid chipmunk-faced smile on his stupid face. And the guy from ED – his whole “taking off and putting on his glasses” bit whenever we need to see him for more than a second or two gets old really fast. Just because Brad Pitt always looks good eating food doesn’t mean it works for everyone, dude…
The problem with pilot episodes like this is that they’re not really made for an audience of geeks like us GEEKIARY readers. Pilots are only designed to convince TV executives, who have no idea what good storytelling is, to decide whether a show gets on the air.
But now that we know they’re making more episodes, they really should go back and reshoot at least the scenes without special effects. (If it were up to me, they’d take out the part where a two-car crash somehow sets both cars on fire and makes an explosion – doesn’t anyone watch MYTHBUSTERS?) The story does set up a lot of stuff, and I have to assume the writing will get at least a bit better.
My predictions (SPOILERS): now that the first superpowered villain Flash has faced is already dead (yep, they actually kill off one of the Flash’s most well-known villains in the first episode – that actually happened), we’re going to see a new “supervillain” (or metahuman or whatever) every episode for the first half of the season (just like SMALLVILLE or AGENTS OF SHIELD). Iris West is going to find out Barry Allen is the Flash in the first season. Racist old comics nerds are going to complain about Iris West being black (and insist they’re not racist at the same time). Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash (who kills Barry’s mom and moves young Barry into the street so he doesn’t see) is going to keep appearing to set up events for Barry’s life (and it’s probably the guy from ED, since he knows at least something about the future). Comics nerds are, despite it being 2014, going to feel validated by seeing a reference to CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS on their TV screens (as if that somehow makes it any cooler). Some of those will be hipster nerds who will complain about people who watch the show not getting all of the comics references that will continue to be randomly dropped in without making the story any better (Linda Park, anybody?). (END SPOILERS)
So if you’re REALLY excited about THE FLASH, here’s my advice: DON’T watch it early. DON’T download it. You’ll have way too much time to watch just this one episode over and over, and (after noticing the Reverse-Flash a bit more in the flashback scene and think about what it’s setting up) it’s just going to get worse every time. If you want to like this show, if you plan to watch it every week – just wait until it airs in October so you’ll only have a week to obsess about this pilot episode until the next one airs and hopefully fixes all of the problems with this one (though I doubt it will – this is the CW).
That’s my mostly-spoiler-free review. Call me…
So what do you think? Are you going to wait a few more months for The Flash to air? Or do you plan to watch it now?
Author: Mike Hansen
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