Thursday, 15 October 2015

TV Thursday – Review: Flash, Season One

If you love Dr Who’s ‘wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff’ then you’re going to love Flash. Debuting on our screens last autumn, the show expands and enriches the DC universe already brought about by Arrow. Seen first as a clutzy but brilliant CSI on Arrow, Grant Gustin reprises his role as Barry Allan, the show depicting the character’s change from human to hero after a freak accident.

That being said, Flash doesn’t share all that many similarities with its parent show. Where as Arrow utilises a multi-stranded plotline of past and present, Flash tends to stick to a single timeline, with exception of a few flashbacks (No pun intended). That doesn’t mean however that Flash doesn’t tinker with time and I think if you’re a fan of figuring out the complete Arrow timeline you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the temporal twists and turns Flash throws at its audience. Things aren’t always how they at first seem to be. Minor comic book and series spoilers/hype ahead.

Twenty three episodes of heroic action packed fun await anyone who has not yet delved into season one, depicting life in Central City after a particle accelerator explosion alters the DNA structure not only of Barry but of others as well. Faced with newly developed super-speed and an array of meta-humans that the police force – including Barry’s foster father – are no match for, Barry must become The Flash and save the city he loves. That being said, he isn’t without help.

The incredible Tom Cavanagh plays Dr Harrison Wells, the scientist who invented the particle accelerator and who feels responsible for what has now befallen the city. After saving Barry’s life, Dr Wells dedicates himself to helping Barry control his powers and defend the city. But Dr Wells isn’t all he seems to be and one of the most interesting aspects of the first season is figuring out where exactly his loyalties and motives lie.

My personal favourite characters however were Cisco Ramon and Dr Caitlyn Snow, portrayed by Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker respectively. Barry may be the heart and Dr Wells the mind, but Cisco and Caitlyn are the soul of the show. From tough emotional scenes to injecting moments of light humor, the two not only aid Barry technologically in being The Flash, they also push him forward and pick him up when he falls.

Other fabulous characters include Joe West, Barry’s adoptive father who facilitates many highly charged, emotional scenes, and Firestorm, a meta-human who has explosive ties to the Star Labs team. Almost every character in the series is intriguing in their own way and brings something exciting to the episodes they appear in. Flash truly has an amazingly diverse and talented cast.

Grant Gustin portrays a wonderfully multi-faceted character that always wants to do the right thing but is sometimes swayed by his own feelings, beliefs and motives. To me though it is the characters that surround him and his world that make the show, filling it with diversity, humor and emotion and making every episode feel truly alive. Tension runs rampant in every episode because of these characters, each with their own story and all afflicted by mortality. The Flash may be safe from inescapable peril, being the titular character, but that doesn’t mean his friends and family are. Excitement and energy abound with every new character introduced, each one bringing a new and intriguing element to the show, regardless of whether you’re a die hard comic book fan or not. There are plenty of heart-wrenching, tear-jerking moments that make this series a true delight to watch. There is not a boring scene nor a moment wasted to be found; it is truly electrifying (Pun intended).

I personally think this is a series that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of whether you hoard comic books like there’s no tomorrow or have never picked one up before. If you are a hard core fan however there will be many elements and characters that will gain extra interest, and knowing some of the comic origins and plots makes me even more excited for the recently launched season two. Spoilers ahead.

It’s already been revealed that multi-universes are going to play a huge part in this season, and that the original Flash – Jay Garrick – is going to be assisting the Star Labs team with some new villains released by the singularity in last season’s finale. Personally I’m more interested with how this is going to affect and help develop Cisco. In the later half of last season it was revealed that Cisco is also a meta-human, with the ability to detect the vibrations between multiple timelines and universes. Simply put he could, with the right training, receive visions stretching between his own Central City and the earth Jay originates from, perhaps even further. Given Cisco’s reaction when he received the news, I’m interested to see how this knowledge plays out with the character and whether or not he embraces his new heroic destiny. Given everything seen in season one, I doubt it will be simple.

If you look closely enough, a flash of Killer Frost was also seen in last season’s finale when Barry was traveling through the speed-force. For those who don’t know, Killer Frost is the villainous alter-ego of Dr Caitlyn Snow. While Caitlyn has shown no signs of being meta-human and there have been no other hints to the fact – unlike with Cisco – I am very excited to see what may happen that could potentially activate any dormant powers in Caitlyn and turn her into the villain. It may not happen, but it is doubtful that the creators would put such an easter egg into the footage without it having any further meaning.

Those are just two of the many reasons why I will most avidly be tuning into Flash season two, airing at 8pm every Tuesday on Sky 1 in the UK. The first episode has just aired on October 13th.

Do you have any thoughts about Flash? Feel free to share them in the comments below, or on Twitter!

Holly @TheArtsShelf

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