Thursday, July 16, 2015

Quick Look: "The Flash"

Perhaps I should tag this "quick-ish look"?

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I love The Flash.

It has, in my opinion, been one of the breakout hits of the television season and I'm certainly happy it has.  While virtually all the other comics based shows on TV right now are dark and twisty, Flash has been (at least until recently) a burst of light.  Its lead is likeable and fun, the plots are straightforward and enjoyable, and the villains are funny.

The only misstep I can see is the show's insistence on sidelining one of its key characters.  It's the one part of a well handled show that's been handled poorly and I can't help but see parallels in the producers' previous outings: Smallville and Arrow.  When the main love interest is not also involved in the story they will frequently be cut for time or sidelined because they're being kept in the dark.  Smallville suffered from this with Lana Lang but managed to get around it because Lois (the real interest) comes in later and is eventually included in the secret.  With Arrow, they finally decided to let Katie Cassidy's Laurel in and let her suit up on her own...why did that take so long?  Even so, she's still being frequently sidelined. While I do feel the chemistry between Amell and Emily Bett Rickards' Felicity Smoak is more believable, I'm tired of Laurel's role being to stand places looking angry. She doesn't need to be the main love interest to be interesting, but keeping her away from the action is a tired cliche that's getting no one anywhere. But I digress.

For the Flash, of course, this character is Iris West.  Smart, interesting and sweet, Iris started off as a believable and worthy love interest and foil for our hero.  Over the course of the season, however, she has morphed into a sappy throwaway character for whom the men in her life seem to make all the decisions. Lip service is paid to Iris saving herself (she's shown beating Barry at boxing when they were kids, pre-superpowers) and she managed to stand up to no less than three super villains.  Yet even with these accomplishments, when it comes to the truth--a truth that could save her life--she is kept in the dark.

But let's not dwell too long on that because it is the one misstep in an otherwise fantastic season of television.  Kudos goes to a show that can manage to be both delightfully entertaining and silly (600lbs psychic gorilla) and heartfelt (anytime Barry and his Dad are in a room together). The show has lots of winks to the comic audience, while maintaining solid storytelling for those who don't know the history of these characters.  Ultimately it's fun, funny and I'm really looking forward to next season.

Oh and now that it's got some Emmy nominations I'd say it's a good time to check it out.  Summer IS the time for a good binge watch, is it not?

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