The long-awaited premier of The Flash premiered tonight on the CW and got off to a solid start for a pilot. Pilots are usually tough to gauge a series because they tend to change along the way and sometimes the series differed from the pilot for various reasons. A few examples of pilots that are the rare knock you socks off for me were Pushing Daisies, Chuck, Fringe, Breaking Bad, and Smallville. So where does the Flash land? It was a very solid pilot and while not knock your socks off it’s one of the better pilots that I have seen in a while.
Here is the official trailer from the CW for the pilot of The Flash
Written by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, & Geoff Johns and Directed by David Nutter (who ironically directed the Smallville pilot) put together a nice set up to the series. The plot from the CW is,
Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) was just 11 years old when his mother was killed in a bizarre and terrifying incident and his father (John Wesley Shipp) was falsely convicted of the murder. With his life changed forever by the tragedy, Barry was taken in and raised by Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), the father of Barry’s best friend, Iris (Candice Patton). Now, Barry has become a brilliant, driven and endearingly geeky CSI investigator, whose determination to uncover the truth about his mother’s strange death leads him to follow-up on every unexplained urban legend and scientific advancement that comes along. Barry’s latest obsession is a cutting edge particle accelerator, created by visionary physicist Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and his S.T.A.R. Labs team members, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), who claim that this invention will bring about unimaginable advancements in power and medicine. However, something goes horribly wrong during the public unveiling, and when the devastating explosion causes a freak storm, many lives are lost and Barry is struck by lightning. After nine months in a coma, Barry awakens to find his life has changed once again – the accident has given him the power of super speed. Thrilled with his new powers, Barry learns how to control them with the help of Dr. Wells and his team. However, keeping his secret from his best friend Iris (Candice Patton) is proving to be harder than he thought, especially when Joe’s new partner, Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett), catches her eye. When another meta-human attacks the city, it’s time to put Barry’s new powers, and himself, to the test. David Nutter directed the episode with story by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns and teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns
The pilot was very well paced and did a nice balance of character development and action. One thing that base a show on is while I am watching it do I want to fiddle with my iPad? I found myself not once wanting to do anything but watch the show. This for me is a really good sign. There was a lot of story to cover in the pilot and while I already knew the comic origins of The Flash I wasn’t disappointed with the way that they handled the canon of the comics. While I’m sure that some comic fans with nitpick things about the pilot, there were no major elements that I found fault with.
The good news for fans of the comic is that the origin of The Flash is the same as the original silver age origin of getting struck by lightning and being doused with chemicals. He is considerable younger than The Flash usually is I didn’t think that was an issue either way. Grant Gustin did a perfectly fine job as Barry Allen and brought a fresh look and take for being so young. While the character is younger in this version of the show Gustin does look pretty young but his portrayal of Barry Allen showed promise. As with most pilots most of the supporting cast didn’t have a lot to do but they all did well taking that into consideration. The one standout in the pilot was Candice Patton as Iris (Allen) whom had really good chemistry with Gustin. When having a younger cast the producers wisely surround them with more seasoned actors like Cavanagh, Martin, and Shipp whom was The Flash in the previous 1990 television version.
Considering the budget restraints of television the look of the pilot was really good and I hope that it continues to look as nice as the pilot was. The visual effects were very good and the “Flash Vision” was very impressive. It was also nice that the pilot had a villain from the comics. Chad Rook is credited as Clyde Mardon comic fans know that he was the Weather Wizard and it was a nice nod. The ultimate question is can the show keep the momentum that the pilot delivers? Warner Bros. has a lot riding on this show being higher profile than Arrow was. The other question is will non comic book viewers tune into the show? The good thing about the pilot is that it’s very easy for non comic readers to understand and not be too inside for them.
Overall I found myself really enjoying the pilot and hope that the upcoming episodes are as good. The only thing that could hurt the show is that it turns into the “villain of the week” mode that even Smallville suffered from in the first half of the first season. As long as the writers keep the focus of the show on the characters and not necessarily the fantastical then I think there is a good chance that the show will find success.
There were a number of fun “Easter Eggs” in the pilot from the comics and alluding to the DC universe. The obvious on is the cameo of Stephen Amell who plays Green Arrow on Arrow who is in the pilot and there is going to be a crossover episode in this season. They also teased in the upcoming episodes Captain Cold as a villain.
Grodd on the cage in Star Labs refers to Gorilla Grodd from the comics. So is this just a inside joke or are there plans for Grodd to appear in the show. He is a pretty major Flash villain.
Ferris Air as in Carol Ferris from the Green Lantern universe. A possible hint that there may be more DC characters show up in the future of the show.
Quick eyed DC fans easily figured out who this was. For those who do not it’s The Reverse Flash AKA Professor Zoom
There is a whole lot going on in this newspaper from the future. There are two things from the comics in this, the original Crisis on Infinite Earths series from 1985 and it also alluded to the Flashpoint series from 2011 written by Johns. The other thing is the smaller headline of Wayne Tech/Queen Inc. merger complete. Does this mean that there could be a Dark Knight in the television DC universe at some point?