“To understand what I’m about to tell you, you need to do something first. You need to believe in the impossible.” The first lines of CW’s The Flash sums up the pilot episode pretty nicely. In the opening scenes, we are immediately introduced to “The Flash," a super fast stream of red lighting bolting around the city, and then a scene from his past detailing a supernatural tragedy he witnessed as a child. From scientific explanations to twerking references, the first few minutes of The Flash let us know: This is going to be fun.
The Flash appeared in a few episodes of the hit CW series, “Arrow” last season. If the pilot holds true to the direction of the series, The Flash won’t be as dark as its sister show, and showcases a fun look at the superhero franchise. Led by Grant Gustin (Glee), The Flash is just super handsome and awkwardly charming crime scene investigator Barry Allen. He is instantly likeable, in a friend-zone kind of way. Allen’s dad is currently serving time for the mysterious death of his mother, but Allen maintains his dad’s innocence and frequently revisits the strange occurrences he witnessed right before her death. After a freak accident at S.T.A.R Labs, an energy blast endows Allen with super speed and healing.
Dr. Harrison Wells, (Tom Cavanaugh) the lead scientist and head honcho at S.T.A.R Labs (and the guy responsible for the freak accident that affected Allen), and his team of scientists, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Penabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) find Allen and commit to helping him hone his dazzling powers. During testing, Allen pushes his limits and exceeds their expectations – reaching over 300 mph.
Although Allen grew up without his parents, his adopted family includes the tough Detective Joe West (Jesse Martin) and his daughter Iris West (Candice Patton). Allen is desperately in love with Iris, but she can’t see past his innocent charm and their (sort of) brother/sister relationship. She has her eyes set on “Detective Pretty Boy."
While Allen learns the limits of his new powers, we learn that another person has been affected by the blast, and is not using his powers for good. This is Allen’s first test in using his powers to fight crime. Though the villain is just as powerful as him, it’s Allen’s penchant for quick thinking and justice that may ultimately help him win.
I’m not a huge comic book fan, so I am new to The Flash character and storyline. The most I know about him was that he made appearances in the old cartoon “Justice League." As a fan of action-packed television, I thought The Flash hit the mark. It was fun from beginning to end and Gustin’s boy next door charm shines in the pilot. It’s not gritty like Gotham nor is it as dark as Arrow. If you’re looking for that kind of franchise, you will want to skip this. The Flash is light-hearted and finds a bit of innocence in Allen’s relationship with Iris and Joe, and in his absolute awe in what his new powers mean.
There are some moments of pure sap and predictable banter but the show doesn’t suffer for it. If you were a fan of another CW hit, Smallville, you’ll recall the charm and appeal young Clark Kent had in the early season, it’s very similar to what we see in this pilot. There is no doubt this series will be a hit. The CW has all the right elements with this franchise: action, great effects and a diverse cast. Series creator Greg Berlanti (Arrow) knows how to make a series stick, and is perfect at the reigns of this super charged pilot. The Flash is certainly one to add to your watch list.