By: Autry Diaz
There’s an unspoken fact that holds true for most superhero shows on the block these days. Once the show starts, it will take a while for the actors to fall into their roles, and it takes even longer for writers to learn how to effectively communicate the show’s themes. For CW’s “Arrow,” it took a few months for the show to truly find its own unique niche. For others like “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” it took nearly an entire season for the show to come together and start pulling viewers in.
CW’s “The Flash,” however, manages to break this stereotype. It is unique in the sense that the show hit the ground running and never stopped. It took no time to develop, and it bettered itself in no time. It started strong and only continued to get better over the course of its 23-episode, seven-month first season.
“The Flash” is, without a doubt, the greatest superhero television show on the market right now. With the current selection of superhero-related shows being very limited, that may not be saying much, but with competitors like “Arrow,” “Supergirl” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on the rise, it means a heck of a lot more than it used to.
The first season of this series follows Barry Allen, an assistant forensic investigator. Allen was orphaned and then adopted early in his life after his father was wrongfully imprisoned following the mysterious, and unexplained, murder of his mother. The season begins with Allen being struck by lightning during an intense storm caused by a particle accelerator explosion that cloaks Central City in an unusual cloud of radiation.
After waking up from a nine-month coma, Allen quickly learns that he can move at superhuman speeds. He also learns that he wasn’t the only one who was gifted unique powers in the wake of the explosion, as several “metahumans” with powers of their own now run rampant throughout the city. Allen then uses his newfound power to fight crime and go on a hunt for his mother’s true killer.
Much of the success of “The Flash” can be traced back to the pre-existing DC universe laid out by CW’s “Arrow.” Originally a spinoff of this show, “Flash” took little to no time in establishing its universe. Not only did it not have to establish the setting of the show, it hardly even had to introduce the main character. Barry Allen, played by Grant Gustin, appeared during the second season of “Arrow” before he even dreamed of having the powers he would eventually obtain.
His appearance in “Arrow” culminates in the tragic accident that gave Allen his powers, and it created “The Flash.” By the time he got his own show, viewers already knew who Allen was, what made him tick and what drove him as a character. In addition, the show has a very light atmosphere. Allen himself is incredibly charming and funny, and the writers manage to find a perfect balance of comedy, action and adventure to give “The Flash” a unique feeling that attracts both comic book veterans and novices alike. All of these aspects helped “The Flash” race right out of the gate for a stellar first season.
It isn’t just the high-octane action sequences and fantastic special effects that make “The Flash” shine, however. Barry Allen is fortunate enough to be backed by a colorful supporting cast. Many of the plotlines in the first season, as well as many key points of drama or character development, revolve around Allen’s core group of friends and family.
Noteworthy characters from the supporting cast include Allen’s adoptive father and sister, Joe West (Jesse Martin) and Iris West (Candice Patton), respectively. Viewers are also quickly introduced to Allen’s new father figure and speedster mentor in Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). Additionally, there are Allen’s partners in metahuman catching, Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes).
Rounding out the core cast members is Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett), Allen’s partner from the Central City Police Department and good friend/occasional rival. All members of the cast manage to flow with and bounce off each other effortlessly, creating a unique, light-hearted environment that no other superhero show is currently capable of matching.
Overall, the first season of “The Flash” proves itself time and time again to be worthy of the hype surrounding it, and it is an absolute recommendation for anyone looking for a new show to speed through. With the extraordinary quality of content aired in its episodes, the fastest man alive might soon have to worry about outrunning his newest threat, the massive fan base rising along with one of the fastest-growing television series currently airing.