Review: ‘The Flash’: A television scavenger hunt for geeks

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Berlanti Productions, DC Comics, Warner Bros. Television

With its lighthearted nature and episodes full of comic book references, The CW’s “The Flash” appeals to both casual TV watchers and die-hard comic fans alike.

“The Flash” was originally hinted at in its parent show “Arrow” when character Barry Allen was featured in a string of episodes. For those not so well versed in comics, Barry Allen is the civilian name of the man who would become the comic book hero known as The Flash. These episodes were then followed by an announcement of a spin-off show based on Allen. On Tuesday, Oct. 7, the pilot for “The Flash” premiered, and fans were hooked.

The show follows the story of awkward yet brilliant forensic scientist Allen (Grant Gustin) and his vendetta to find the man who murdered his mother, thereby freeing his wrongfully accused father Henry (John Wesley Shipp, who played the original Flash in the 1991 iteration). All hope seems to be lost, but something changes. When a malfunction causes a newly developed particle accelerator to explode, Allen is struck by a bolt of red lighting sending him into a coma. Yet, when he wakes up nine months later, he finds he can run at extreme speeds. With these new powers and a team of scientists behind him, Allen helps to stop other super-powered criminals dubbed “metahumans” as well as search for his mother’s killer.

Other comic book characters include scientists Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), Francisco “Cisco” Ramon (Carlos Valdez), Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell), and detective Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett). Each of these characters represent the early forms of eventual superheroes and supervillains. The characters are known respectively as Killer Frost, Vibe, Firestorm, and The Reverse-Flash in the DC universe.

While it is still uncertain if any of these characters are part of an overhanging story arc or simply a nod to the DC fans, it is Thawne’s character that throws up the biggest red flag. This is because he introduces the possibility of The Reverse-Flash character, Barry Allen’s arch enemy throughout the comic books. While no one is entirely sure about how the story will include these characters later on, it leaves a lot for viewers to look forward to.

The amazing story is made even better by the great workmanship put into the show. While the acting from Gustin may appear awkward at first, it fits well with the overall comical theme of the show. The viewer often finds him/herself sympathizing with the issues he faces. For instance, the moments when Allen meets with his father in prison are both gut-wrenching and hopeful at the same time. The show also helps break the tension with various comical scenes. These help to provide a well written, diverse script.

Another sign of workmanship is the show’s attention to detail. As proof, over 25 Easter eggs can be found in the pilot episode. Each one was a reference to small details in the DC universe, such as companies and businesses. This makes it an even better experience for those die-hard comic fans.

While most new shows are often cancelled, “The Flash” appears to be one that will stick around. Its upbeat nature is sure to appeal to all audiences.

Our Rating: A

“The Flash” airs tuesdays on The CW and can be found on Hulu and The CW’s website the day after.