‘The Flash’ Pilot: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

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The Flash Pilot Discussion The Flash Pilot: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

The success of Arrow didn’t just give Green Arrow life on the small screen – it’s helped usher in the first live-action take on The Flash in years. Now that the DC Comics speedster has had his first outing shown at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, fans have a better sense of how faithful, how promising, and how problematic aspects of the mythology may prove to be.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, we can give our opinions on the best or most surprising parts of the first episode, the parts that the showrunners will need to address in the future, and which aspects are downright disappointing. We’ll hold off on SPOILERS and easter eggs until the public has had the chance to see it – but for now, fans certainly have something to look forward to.

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The Good

The Flash Pilot Barry Allen Particle Accelorator 620x370 The Flash Pilot: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

It was clear that The CW had cast their Barry Allen wisely when Grant Gustin first appeared in the role on a crossover story with Arrow. He may not have been every comic fan’s ideal Allen, but had an easy demeanor that captured the spirit of the lovable loser-turned-superhero. In the pilot episode of his standalone series, the showrunners have kept the momentum going. But depicting Barry as somewhat of an underdog isn’t a massive challenge – and what fans will love is the priority given to Barry’s origin story.

Fans of the hero know that Barry’s path to crime-fighting began with the death of his mother, and The Flash keeps the foundation alive. In a pleasant surprise, the decision to cast former TV Flash John Wesley Shipp as his father pays massive dividends. Although his father – convicted of the murder of his wife – is largely absent from the comic series, the chemistry between Shipp and Gustin will open the door for the show’s writers to not only do justice to the tortured past of The Flash, but expand upon it.

The Flash Pilot Barry Allen in Costume 620x370 The Flash Pilot: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Human drama aside, the first mention of adapting The Flash to live-action led to questions centering on one issue: how to depict super-speed. Fortunately, the showrunners have decided to forego the Smallville approach of depicting heightened perception or simple motion blur. The extended trailer for the series showed that Barry’s powers granted him the chance to essentially slow time, but the gimmick is used sparingly. What viewers get instead is essentially taken right from the comics: The Flash is little more than a red blur (accented by lightning), with occasional close-ups on Barry’s face – avoiding the problem of showing him pumping arms and legs out of sync with his surroundings.

The effects are still not exactly above criticism, but by drawing inspiration from the source material, The CW has guaranteed that at least die-hard fans will be pleased (or relieved). Arrow fans will also be happy – provided they’re in the mood for a lighter side of The CW’s TV universe. It’s been revealed that Stephen Amell’s ‘Arrow’ has a brief cameo in the series’ pilot episode – and while it may not solve the problem of linking the two shows’ universes together (one dark and grim, the other more lighter and optimistic), it does show that Gustin’s Flash may just be able to bring out Oliver Queen’s softer side.

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The Bad

The Flash Pilot Wells Ramon Caitlin 620x370 The Flash Pilot: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

To make things clear: the wealth of secondary characters could turn out to be one of The Flash‘s strengths. But from the first episode, the showrunners have bitten off a serious chunk of character development and secondary arcs. The most promising of the group falls on the superhero side of Barry’s dual identity: the team of S.T.A.R. Labs scientists consisting of Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), and Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh).

It speaks to DC Comics’ Geoff Johns claim that The Flash would be the “most faithful DC adaptation yet” that these characters are all implied to be far more than background filler. A simple online search reveals that fact, but within the first episode, each of their potential arcs is established quite clearly; unfortunately, the delivery is not exactly graceful, with each fitting neatly into the ‘emotionally distant scientist’ or ‘fun-loving goofball.’ There is potential to grow, but fleshing these characters into more than stereotypes (while also explaining their connection to the likes of Firestorm) will be a tall order. Especially in a show that must also develop a superhero.

The Flash Pilot Dective West Iris West 620x370 The Flash Pilot: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

It’s clear just how safe the show’s writers have played it when it comes to the other side of Barry’s life: his adopted family of Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and his daughter, Iris (Candice Patton). The Law & Order alum returns to the role of detective as if he never left, but with Iris, the writers had a chance to play with audience expectations (since the comic books make the fate of their relationship quite clear). What the first episode delivers instead is a love interest who will be a little too blind to Barry’s feelings for some, and lays the foundation for a familiar dose of twenty-something romantic angst.

Hopefully the writers have a plan for making more out of the love triangle seen in the pilot, but with the confirmed appearance of an Arrow cast member potentially adding another love triangle to the mix, it would seem the romance angle of the show may not be its brightest spot.

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The Ugly

The Flash Pilot Weather Wizard Easter Egg The Flash Pilot: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

The low point of The Flash pilot is without a doubt the villain: a slightly re-imagined incarnation of comic book rogue ‘Weather Wizard.’ All the writers really needed was an antagonist possessing metahuman powers (delivered in the same event that grants Barry super-speed), and in the end, the audience isn’t treated to much more. Fans shouldn’t place too much significance on the character (this is a pilot episode, after all) but it shows that The Flash would be unwise to follow the same ‘monster of the week’ structure as Smallville.

Although the first episode sets the stage for such an approach, there are significant hints that Barry will be facing far larger threats than Central City’s new army of metahumans. The surprising lack of any real effort to ground the villain or his powers will turn off some viewers, but with Geoff Johns promising the show to be “the most faithful DC adapatation yet,” and Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) set to usher in the Rogues, there is reason to believe the villains will receive more time in the spotlight going forward.

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The Flash Producers Talk Season 1 The Flash Pilot: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

We’ll bring you more information and an official review of The Flash pilot as it becomes available to the public – but for now, what aspects of the show are you most excited for? Is there a part of our summary that has you worried? Stay tuned for more details, and share your thoughts in the comments.

The Flash premieres Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 @8pm on The CW.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on The Flash as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

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TAGS: Comic-Con 2014, flash, the flash

25 Comments

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  1. can’t wait to see this in the fall. i really hope for a positive turnout throughout it’s first episodes to get fans excited and into the show.

  2. The pilot is great, totally recommended. The good far and totally outweighs the bad.
    Grant Gustin proves to be an excellent choice as Barry.

  3. one of the lowest points though: ‘I think it chose you’ will get many eyes rolling (not a spoiler since it shows on the trailer but nonetheless…)

  4. The guy playing “Weather Wizard” was unbelievably awful. I’m not sure who owed him a favor by putting him in this pilot, but its a debt paid in full. He’s painful to listen to and was the only real drag on this pilot.

  5. I felt that Iris’s casting was one of the strong points, even if her complete blindness to Barry’s feelings was a bit of a stretch. It might have been better if she had been aware but pretended not to be to spare his feelings, or even simply to develop their sibling dynamic to the point where we would understand her not even considering that he might have feelings for her.

    • I agree!! I was like, What? You can’t tell the dude likes you? But hell I guess some people are oblivious!

  6. It was a good start to the series and my kids liked it too and it was fun to watch them get excited. Not a lot a shows on TV now a days that you can watch with your kids in the action genre.

    I look forward to a promising season and improvements. Can’t wait for the cross overs too and great easter egg with Grodd!

  7. No mention of the end scene? With the stuff on the front page news?

  8. Re: Weather Wizard, his brother is probably out there aswell, and will be the real weather wizard.
    Iris was annoying, but it was just a pilot, I’m not gonna condemn her character that quickly.
    The post credits scene… :D !!!
    The references were awesome, and the rest of the episode, Flash/Barry, his dad, Papa West, the 2 assistant kids, the guy in the weelchair, all great.

    So stoked for Flash and Arrow this fall.

  9. This looks….dumb. Maybe good background noise while I play crystal bloom on my iPad.

  10. Wally West is…..

  11. Lol seeing as to Young Justice comes to CW 2015 September I doubt that lol

  12. i can’t get over the size of the kids head

  13. Captain Cold should have been the main baddie.

  14. The teaser at the end was by far the best for me. Pilots can be rough to get through (remember 1990 Flash taking on a bike gang???), but the teaser goes to show the producers have big things in store for this series.

  15. The Gorilla Grodd easter egg was great.

    • Thanks for the unnecessary spoiler, loser.

  16. As a person that has never read a single Flash comic,and only knows him from the DC animated stuff,I thought the pilot was a pretty good start.

    Knowing what I know about The Flash,I was a bit concerned about how they would depict his speed,but I thought they did pretty good,and his costume isn’t nearly as corny looking as those first few images that were shown.

    In all,I think it’s a pretty good start for a character that I find incredibly hard to do in a live action form.

  17. Sorry, love Arrow, but this Flash pilot was pure teen s***!. It was very boring, and very silly!.

    • Same. I agree with the review made, but I was totally bored. I hope the second episode is more interesting.

  18. Exclusive: Watch The Flash S1E1 [Pilot] Series Premiere @ http://tiny.cc/386cnx

  19. I grew up in the 1960′s with the Earth One Barry Allen. The most memorable and significant of the Flash stories for me was the universe changing “Flash of Two Worlds” which altered the whole DC universe by bringing in the concept of alternate timelines where different versions of the Flash and the other DC superheroes such as the Justice Society of the 1940′s could all have team ups with the present DC mainstream characters of Earth One. The Rogues villain of the week stories were too boringly predictable and simplistic for me, but Zoom stood out because first of all he was a time traveler from the future altering the past which essentially is what every reboot of a super-hero origin story does. The high point of the episode for me was the headline from 2024 about a “Crisis” raising my hope the writers are going to bring in the alternate universe concept that DC went into the Dark Ages after giving up because it gave them such a convenient way to escape formulaic stories within continuity. I’d love to see crossovers into earlier alternate universes like Smallville, wouldn’t you?

  20. Incredibly how a show can be so uniformly bad.

  21. I had a lot of problems with the episode. Mainly, how they seemed to be using the Webb Spider-Man movies for inspiration more than the Flash. The pilot did not feel much like the Flash I know. That said, I was entertained and am willing to see if it smooths out in the coming episodes.

  22. Ummm think Barney the dino kid characters as supporting actors- yeh that annoying. The think of the Flash as Spider man,,,his mentor as Xavier from X-men,,, then each villain will be differing X-men type figures- the first being a male Storm. During its pilot the show has already demonstrated its pattern for up coming shows. So disappointing,, so obvious and so wont be watching any more.