While DC’s movie arm dicks around with so-so films and clunky sequel titles, their TV branch seems to be doing something good. Arrow’s second season was significantly better than its first, and that magic seems to have rubbed off on the same-universe spinoff The Flash.
Barry Allen’s character was first introduced in Arrow in a backdoor pilot during the second season. It established him as a non-powered character who, after helping Oliver and co. with a difficult case, was struck by strange lightning and fell into a coma. These episodes (unlike some other backdoor pilots the CW has tried to sell) were well-received and now we get to have a whole new show about what happens after Barry wakes up to discover the lightning bolt has given him crazy speedster powers.
I’m really excited about this show because it seems like someone at DC has finally got the memo that all superhero stories don’t have to be grim. You can still deal with serious subject matter and character death and villainy while also finding joy in your newfound abilities, and The Flash looks like it’s nailed that concept.
One thing it has drawn from Arrow, it seems, is the hero support team being made up of a white lady and a PoC dude. While I can’t complain about the show having a diverse cast—Barry’s love interest, Iris, has even been racebent and is being played by a Black woman—it would be nice to see some of these characters outside a supporting role.
Other than that, the one thing I am concerned about is that the “my mother was killed by a mysterious force and my life has been centered around avenging her” storyline. It was lazy and fridge-y when Supernatural did it nine years ago, and I wish the CW had learned something since then. It’s especially annoying because in my extensive research into Barry’s character (read: I skimmed his Wikipedia page) there’s no mention of his mother ever being killed by a villain.
Let it be noted at this point that I have never read a single Flash comic. I am a blank slate for this show and no past experience with the character is coloring my opinions. That said, I’m really looking forward to it—it looks really fun, and I think that, in this step forward, DC has finally gotten the interlocking media universe thing right in a way their movie franchises are going to continue to struggle with. I’ll be tuning in come fall and I wish the show the best—especially because good ratings means we might eventually get a branch-off show about someone who isn’t a white dude.