The Flash

Disclaimer: Doing things differently for some shows now because of personal time constraints. Binge-watched The Flash from its Pilot to the Winter Finale over two days. Previously, I had watched Arrow but did not make it through the first season, although from what I hear, Arrow has vastly improved.

Pilot: A very good pilot - did everything that a pilot is meant to do. Introduced the protagonist and the main cast, developed a potential long term (or at least a season-long) mystery, start the conflicts between various aspects of The Flash's life, and most importantly, not laden it with too much exposition. Trusting the audience to know enough on their own - which is important in a comic-book adaptation, especially of a more well-known hero. Grant Gustin was an interesting choice to play Barry Allen, but his dorkiness is adorable - a lot like New Girl's Jesse - and instantly a lot more relatable to the average audience. Especially as this is an origins story, it make sense for him to start off as such before he matures (both physically and mentally). Tom Cavanagh - missed him since the days of Ed - was sufficiently creepy and enigmatic as Dr Wells. All the other support cast/characters were also clearly developed with clear-cut roles which hopefully will evolve as the series proceeds.

Episode 2 - Episode 9 (Winter-Finale): 
It is a testament to the show's strength that I managed to binge through 8 episodes in 2 days (6 on the second to be precise), but of cause it has its weak points too.

The show is geared towards The CW's target audience (teens and young adults mainly) and it shows. Greg Berlanti is a great producer and he understands what a TV audience want. However, a lot of things are simplified and continuity is not the greatest strength of this show, and that is only within the first 9 episodes! Too many deus ex machina moments dilute the tension and stunts character development for the sake of plot development.

The metahuman-of-the-week format also has got to changed. How many super villains can you introduce to the mix, although it is a good way for us to see how The Flash's super-speed can adapt and change, a serialised comic story-telling can be much more enjoyable. See what happened to Marvel's Agents of SHIELD in season 2, when they serialised their overall story-telling (it is almost like as Whedon's Buffy).

I miss opening credits. Almost on every new shows. (That's one thing that American Horror Story got right through the years). That introduction VO by him was way too earnest and annoying - it was like a robotic Carrie from Sex and the City - but thankfully that was lost towards the end, hope it stayed away.

Gustin is a relatable leading man but his whining and over-enthusiastic urge to be a hero needs to stop and evolve, and, as they say in The Book of Mormon: man up! On the other hand, it is also his adorkiness that makes him stand out, so they have to find that balance. Most importantly, stop pining like a little puppy for Iris - thankfully, the winter finale finally addressed that issue head on.

Gustin and Emily Bett Rickards' Felicity had great chemistry and were highlights whenver she came on; much better than Gustin and Candice Patton's Iris (a poor man's Lois Lane). Not so much with Steven Amell's Oliver.

The love triangle between Barry, Iris and Eddie (Rick Cosnett) needs to be resolved soon and hopefully the winter finale will be the last of it. Eddie and Iris are cute together, although it looks like Eddie will slowly be getting more interesting.

The most interesting character at the moment is Cavenagh's Dr Wells. Good guy or villain? Seriously, too early to tell which way the showrunners are really heading towards. All his actions thus far could just be misdirections to the bigger arc. It will be a pity if Cavenagh is only here for one season. Barry still needs a mentor.

Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) are great as the sidekicks. Cisco - the token comic relief - was surprisingly not annoying but is now bordering on being boring. Caitlin, on the other hand, has a more interesting backstory but she is in danger of becoming overly mopey. They worked best as Barry's friends and confidantes.

It will be interesting to see how the show develop and who Reverse-Flash is going to turn out to be. Future-Eddie? Or Eddie's father? Or future Wells? Future Barry? I am almost sure there is a time travelling element involved. And that is sufficient  to keep its audience hooked until 2015.


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