The Flash Speeds to Success

By Nate Discavage, @DiscavageSavage

You can add one more superhero TV show to your fall lineup.  The Flash opened to rave reviews last Tuesday night on the CW.  This was the first time that the Flash appeared in live action since the 1990s TV show was prematurely cancelled to the dismay of superhero fans everywhere.

For some of the most diehard DC Comics fans, this is not the first time we have been introduced to Grant Gustin’s (Glee, 90210) portrayal of the Scarlet Speedster.  We first met the hero in the CW’s other superhero TV series Arrow.

After an unexplainable storage robbery in Arrow, Barry Allen from Central City arrives to try and help the investigation.  He is shrouded in mystery until the audience learns that Allen has been tracking down unexplainable crimes across the country in an attempt to solve his mother’s mysterious murder.  He returns to Central City and is struck by lightning after a new particle accelerator malfunctions.  Allen is in a coma at the end of Arrow’s second season.

The Flash opens with Allen’s mother’s murder. A young Allen is awoken to the sound of rumbling downstairs.  He rushes down to see his mother surrounded by red and yellow lights.  His father rushes down to help before the light shifts slightly, and Barry opens his eyes to find himself ten blocks from his house.

Fourteen years later, Allen has become a scientific genius and joins the forensics division of the police force so he can secretly try to discover who or what killed his mother.  After proving himself to the police, he is called on numerous occasions to assist the police department.

Shortly after the episode begins, we are shown the same scene from Arrow where Allen is struck by lightning and goes into a coma.  This time, however, we get to see when he wakes up.  Nine months have passed since the explosion, and Allen has been studied by a group of scientists.  His cells have been altered and his entire body now moves at a much faster rate enabling him to run at super speeds.

After Allen discovers his newfound powers, he decides to use them for good.  He travels to Starling City where he meets with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell)—the Green Arrow.  Queen instructs him to do what he thinks is right, so he can help save the people in Central City.

Allen soon finds out that he is not the only one who was given super powers by the explosion.  Another man’s intentions are not as keen as Allen’s as he uses his powers for his own personal gain.  Even after the villain is defeated, Allen and the scientists learn that the entire city has been exposed to the fallout from the explosion, and anybody could have new powers.

The biggest moment for comic book readers has to come at the end.  Without giving up too many details, director David Nutter (The X-Files, ER, Game of Thrones) dropped an Easter egg that could span as large as the Crisis on Infinite Earths.  To read more on that, check out (spoiler alert!): http://www.denofgeek.us/books-comics/the-flash/239939/what-the-flash-ending-means-for-dc-superhero-tv-and-movies.

The show’s series premiere was the most viewed pilot episode in CW history with 4.5 million viewers.  It was the most viewed episode of any CW show since Vampire Diaries in 2009.  After such a big debut, could this new spinoff surpass the original, Arrow, in popularity?  Only time will tell as DC continues to build upon their success on the small screen.

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