Saving Television…in a Flash!


Yesterday I noticed that there were several reviews/blogs about the Flash pilot episode on the internet. I knew TV critics were given an advanced screening but after reading these reviews, it was clear that the episode was leaked and these reviews were by regular nerds. So, I rushed home, got the pilot episode and watched it right away. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a lot of fun to watch and it had a lot of magical moments. Here’s my spoiler-free review.

CGI Effects – 10/10

Let’s talk about the CGI effects first, since they were my biggest concern when I heard about TV show. As we all know, The Flash requires a great deal of CGI effects since he moves incredibly fast and his villains usually involve super powers. And let’s face it, TV budget is not the same as a movie budget. However, if you got to see the trailer, you would’ve caught glimpses of the CGI effects and in the actual episode, they’re just as good. Whether it be the Flash zooming down the road, huge explosions, or tornadoes destroying things – the CGI effects were flawless. It’s a 10/10 not because they were mind-blowing, but more importantly, they were done to the point where you can’t tell that they’re CGI effects. To me, that’s all I want from the effects. I hate it whenever I’m watching a movie or a TV show and it’s blatantly clear that something is fake because it pulls me out the experience immediately. In the pilot episode, that never happened. I can only hope that the quality of CGI effects remains this good throughout the entire season.

Acting 8/10

The Flash is on the CW and let’s face it, that TV network has an awful stigma attached to it – good looking but awful actors. I don’t watch all the shows on the CW, but I do watch Arrow and Supernatural and I can assure you – the actors are ridiculously good looking, but they’re not bad actors. Are they on the same level as Bryan Cranston? Obviously no, but they’re good. Now if you watch Arrow (if you don’t, you are missing out on damn good television!) then you would have seen Grant Gustin play Barry Allen (The Flash) in 1-2 episodes in season 2. He pretty much acts the same way in the pilot episode but obviously we got to see more of Gustin’s acting abilities since the entire episode is about him. I can tell you – he’s pretty damn good and he makes it so easy to sympathize, like, and admire Barry. He’s definitely not a bad ass like Batman or Arrow, he’s more of the geeky, low-self-esteem superhero that you can’t help but root for!

As for the other actors and characters like Iris West, Detective West, Harrison, Cisco, Caitlin, Clyde Mordon – none of them really stood out. Which isn’t a bad thing, because if they were awful – they would’ve stood out in my mind! The fact is, they’re not given a lot of screen time to really shine but that’s understandable since it is the pilot episode and it’s about Barry. I’m sure as the season progresses, we’ll get to know these characters a little more.

Costume – 8/10

It seems that most people have pretty neutral feelings towards the costume – they don’t hate it, but they don’t love it either. I personally like it (don’t love it, don’t hate it), and I’m pretty damn impressed that the show runners were quite faithful to the comicbook. They could’ve easily gone a more “realistic/grounded” approach and change his costume into something like…I don’t know…a red hoodie and sunglasses! But they didn’t! They went all-nerd on this costume and made a decent effort to explain why Barry wears the costume, as opposed to – he gets his powers and slaps on a costume just for the hell of it. The costume looks good in motion as opposed to still photos. I personally would’ve liked a brighter red than what they’ve used, but overall, the costume’s pretty cool .

Captain America 2 - easily the best of phase 2, maybe even phase 1

Why do I love and hate Smallville so much?!

Story – 7.5/10

This episode was very reminiscent of Sam Raimi’s Spiderman film in the sense that it was pretty straight forward and to put it simply, a lot fun! Barry Allen is a forensics assistant for the Central City police. Barry is clearly an intelligent person and the show does an phenomenal job at demonstrating this quality. In the pilot episode, you even get to see Barry help out with police investigations and it’s a lot of fun and just super cool to watch his train of thoughts progress from one clue to the next. I sincerely hope this remains consistent throughout the rest of the season.

Similar to other superheroes, Barry has a freak accident that gives him superpowers, and of course, a great tragedy that plays a huge part in terms of why he becomes a superhero. However, his transition from an ordinary forensics assistant to superhero felt a little rushed. Not in the sense that Barry gets his powers in 5 minutes and slaps on the costume and saves people in the next 2 minutes, but it felt like we didn’t get to spend a lot of time getting to know Barry as a person. This criticism is also a good thing because it shows just how likeable Barry is and I just wanted more time with him. I wasn’t just counting time until I see The Flash zoom by. I wanted to spend more time with Barry Allen as a person. The pilot episode should’ve been a 2 hour special, so we could have spent more time on character development for Barry and even for the secondary characters.

Like I said before, this episode really felt like a well-done but traditional superhero origins story with the freak accident, learning about the superpowers, and tragic history. So of course, there is a villain for The Flash to stop. I know a little bit about The Flash, but I don’t read Flash comic books so I’m not incredibly familiar with his rogues gallery. But apparently this villain is from his gallery so perhaps Flash fans will enjoy him. I personally found the villain incredibly 1-dimensional and cheesy. I wasn’t expecting a Two-Face villain story from the Dark Knight, but I was expecting something a little more complicated than just robbing banks.

The story does end in a very intriguing way with huge set ups for major storylines for the rest of the season. I thought I had some things figured out, but the ending threw me off so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how things unravel. There’s also a ton of DC easter eggs that I’m sure nerds will geek out on, but they do go by in a flash (I just had to!) so be careful not to miss them.

Captain America 2 - easily the best of phase 2, maybe even phase 1

Old school magic – but that’s a good thing!

Overall 7.5/10

The pilot episode was a lot fun and just full of traditional superhero magic and that’s not a bad thing! Even though these things have been done before, the pilot episode does them well and that’s what matters. Even though I don’t read The Flash comic books, I still got goosebumps and tingles down my spine whenever I saw The Flash zoom by. I especially got all tingly with Barry’s opening monologue where he says, “My name is Barry Allen and I am the fastest man alive.” Even with Oliver Queen’s sexy raspy voice, his opening monologues never gave me tingles down my spine. The story did feel a little rushed, but I understand it was due to time constraints. I’m more than confident that we’ll get to know all the characters a bit more with the rest of the season. It wasn’t perfect and I am a bit concerned about the show moving into Smallville’s freak-of-the-week format. Perhaps this isn’t a bad format and Smallville just did it poorly – only time will tell. Despite the very minor flaws in the pilot episode, I’m very excited to see the rest of season 1. The bar has been set quite high with Arrow being such an awesome comic book show, but I have no doubt that since it’s the same show runners in charge of The Flash, we’ll get the same or hopefully even better quality television. October 7 could not come any faster.

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