“The following is a guest post by The Shamrock Show Mage.”
“I was born with one father, but that tragedy gave me two and I don’t think I can lose you.”
The popular DC Comics superhero The Flash comes to us in a TV show aired on the CW Network. For those not too familiar with The Flash and his abilities, he’s a hero who has super speed and is known as “The Fastest Man Alive.” He can also think and react at super speed, which allows him to be ahead of his nemesis. He gets his abilities one night when he’s struck by lighting, which is caused by a particle accelerator explosion. The explosion gives these amazing powers to him and also to others in the city. We see him battle the others who choose to use their newly obtained powers for evil. He’s able to be a few steps ahead of his competition for the most part until he faces a specific opponent (we’ll discuss later) who has the same abilities as him.
In season 1 we get introduced to Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) who is The Flash and how his past tragedies molded him into to become the person he is today. As a child, a man in a yellow suit (Reverse Flash) who looks like a blur murders Barry’s mother. We cannot see any facial details of the man due to the speed at which he’s traveling. Barry’s father is blamed for the murder which causes Barry to be taken in by his father’s friend, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin). Barry feels the emptiness of not having his parents with him during his childhood. Barry does grow up having Joe and his daughter Iris West (Candice Patton) as a family and we can see how much they mean to him during the season. At times Barry might lash out at Joe and tell him he’s not his real dad but Barry always ends up going back to Joe and apologizing once he calms down and realizes how much Joe did for him.
We see how the tragedy Barry suffers as a child hurt him in relationships with others as an adult. We get a glimpse at the emotions Barry keeps bottled up inside when he feels he’s failing in a few episodes. At times he feels like he should have prevented his mother from being murdered and he could have if he were fast enough as a child. Upon receiving his special powers he also receives hope that he is able to control his own destiny for once.
We see how he doesn’t fight crime alone. He has a team helping him understand his powers. This is where Caitlyn (Danielle Panabaker) comes in to help monitor his abilities and progress while they test how fast he can truly run. He also has Cisco (Carlos Valdes) build his suit and gadgets to help fight crime. Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) who was the scientist responsible for building the particle accelerator is the leader of the group and someone Barry looks up to as a father figure. This becomes his family and as we learn throughout the season this is what Barry desires more than anything else. He finally feels a sense of belonging when he’s out saving people and has a team (or family) helping guide him in his quest to discover his full potential.
Without giving away too many spoilers of the season, we see one of the main characters hiding a secret of betraying the team. We learn the motives they have and it’s revealed that this person is not who they pretend to be. This act hurts Barry greatly and nearly destroys the team. This person is revealed in the first half of the season and we are given the reason later on in the season. As the season progresses we are exposed to a few things that may seem impossible (time travel, for one) but these help explain a few things that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. During the season you will feel confused at times and question how what they’re showing you is even possible. When you have this reaction just trust me and keep watching the show because they will explain everything at the perfect time. I’ve recommended this show to a few people and I’ve gotten texts from each of them asking me questions about the cliffhangers. I told each of them the same thing and that is to be patient and all will be answered at the right time.
The 8-bit Review
The visuals of the show are awesome! Especially considering the fact that we’re dealing with a show airing on the CW network. Watching the show I was surprised countless times at how great the special effects were for a show on basic cable. The budget is obviously not the same as a big budget motion picture but it still is able to produce a high quality product. We see The Flash running through the streets or up buildings with the lighting surrounding him and the quality shocked me at first.
One particular villain that surprised me the most was King Shark. As you can guess by the name he’s a giant shark. When we’re first introduced to him and see him I was happy that the CGI wasn’t poor quality. We could enjoy the show without questioning or laughing at the villain while still remembering that we’re looking at a giant walking shark. The quality isn’t top notch either but it’s definitely better than expect for a TV show.
The audio is great for the show and it does a great job helping with the emotions the dialogue is portraying. Rating would be higher if I felt the audio was the determining factor of the greatness of the show. There is a few times where something sad is being revealed and the background music goes perfect to pull at your heart and makes you feel affected. Other times we see Barry running and trying to overcome a villain’s power and the music is there helping guide the emotions of the show. This helps me remain comfortable with the rating. The music does its job of emphasizing what’s going on in the show and tug at the audiences heart when necessary.
The show does a perfect job introducing us to the main characters and how they’re each vital to the story as a whole. We have Barry Allen (The Flash) and his group of friends/partners helping train and mold him. We get introduced to countless villains each episode and we do get a quick glimpse of who each villain was before they obtained their powers and why they want chose to use their powers for bad. The end of every episode leaves us with a cliffhanger with a villain plotting out something or we’re introduced to a new character. Either way the cliffhanger always make us excited to watch the next episode to see where the show was taking us next.
Binge Worthiness: 9/10
The question to this rating is how easy can you follow the show and get hooked on it, in order to make you want to binge watch the whole season. To answer that question I would say it’s extremely easy. From episode one the show grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. You get to see why Barry feels the need to help people with his newly obtained powers. My wife was never a fan of The Flash before the show but once I got her to watch the first episode she was hooked and wanted to watch the whole season. The only reason I’m not giving this category a perfect rating is because there are 23 episodes and each episode is 1 hour long. So in order to watch the whole season it can be time consuming and will take a few days or a weekend. The plus side is you won’t feel forced to keep watching after you start, you’ll actually be excited to watch every episode.
The main theme or message of the show is how even with the super powers Barry has he cannot be a hero alone. He needs the help of his family and friends to stay focused and reach new levels of his powers he wouldn’t be able to reach alone. The fact that Barry lost his mother as a kid and his father was sent to prison for the murder made Barry always have emptiness inside of him. He always longed for a family and with the team at STAR Labs and Joe West’s approval Barry feels the love he always wanted and needed. Family and love are what keeps Barry picking himself up when he feels like giving up.
The challenge is for Barry to stop each villain he faces every episode. His greatest challenge is when he faces The Reverse Flash who has the same abilities as him but is faster and stronger than him. Barry also finds out who really killed his mother and tries to defeat this person for taking his parents away from him. Having him confront this loss throughout the season is not easy but we see how it helps him grow as a person and hero.
The show definitely stands on its own even though there are other superhero shows on the CW and other networks. There are a couple crossover episodes where we see Arrow who has his own show come to help Barry with a villain. We see the two heroes interact with one another. I have seen a few episodes of other superhero shows on TV but The Flash definitely has a unique feel to it. We get the importance of family in the show and we also get some comedic relief, some closure for Barry, and lessons are taught about forgiveness. We get to see how family consists of the people who have the same blood as you but also people who are close enough to see us at our weakest and help you pick yourselves up.
My Personal Score: 8/10
I love this show for a few reasons. First would be The Flash is one of my favorite superheroes and secondly that I was not expecting the quality to be this great for a basic cable show. I feel attached to the characters and their mission. I watched the first episode out of curiosity and have been hooked ever since. I’ve seen all of seasons 1 and 2, and I cannot wait for season 3 to come out soon. It’s definitely a show I look forward to every week when new episodes come out and I enjoy discussing the episodes with friends weekly.
If you’re hesitant about investing the time into the show because of how long each season is I would say to watch the first episode and see what you think. I’m pretty sure you’ll be hooked from there. However, I will tell you that the show keeps getting better with each episode and season. We get introduced to different villains very often and it keeps the show new and exciting. You can binge watch the show on Netflix just try to not watch the whole thing in one day because you won’t get any sleep.
Aggregated Score: 8.4