If positive early critical reactions and a tonally pitch-perfect trailer are any indication, the CW has another hit on its hands with its Arrow spinoff The Flash. Poised as an about-face in tone and atmosphere from Arrow‘s grimness, fans have so far had a mostly positive reception of what we’ve seen of the newly-powered Barry Allen (Grant Gustin).
The show will not bow for another few months, but CW is wasting no time in rolling out the PR machine, having already released a featurette focused on Barry’s new friends at S.T.A.R. labs, who care for Barry after he awakes from a lightning-induced coma with his super-speed abilities. Now, we have a second featurette centered around Barry’s relationship with his longtime best friend Iris West (Candice Patton), which you can watch above.
In the pre-New 52 comic book continuity, Iris West is Barry’s wife and the aunt of Barry’s successor as the Flash, Wally West. The DC rebooted universe retcons their relationship as platonic but “complicated,” and The Flash series appears to be using the New 52 version of Barry and Iris as a jumping off point.
As narrated by Candice Patton, Barry grew up with Iris when her detective father took Barry in following his mother’s death, for which his father was convicted and incarcerated. Iris may not be aware of Barry’s feelings for her, and his painfully awkward way of telling her doesn’t help, but the scene above teases what is likely to be a main sub-plot of the show.
A “will they or won’t they” subplot for two leads of a superhero show nudges The Flash into the campy terrain of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, at least on paper. It also reinforces the more lighthearted tone the CW wants for The Flash, but it also brings to mind some of the more teen-centric offerings the network is famous for (The Vampire Diaries, Beauty and the Beast).
Fans of Arrow and its terse, dark universe may know going into The Flash that they’re getting something lighter, but even with the well-cast leads in place, will the fluffier aspects of the show mesh with Barry Allen’s quest to solve his mother’s murder? We may have to wait until The Flash is a few episodes in to find out if such tonally-opposite arcs will work.
The Flash will air Tuesdays @8pm on The CW starting this fall.