TV SHOW: The Flash
SEASON/EPISODE: 1.01 ‘Pilot’
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Geoff Johns
When police forensic-expert Barry Allen is struck by lightning, he finds himself with super-speed abilities and with the help of the staff of STAR Labs, begins to learn exactly what he can do. But when a murderer reappears with the power to control the weather, Barry has to use his new found power to stop him, thus becoming the fastest man alive.
Well this was a very strong opening episode of CW’s The Flash, a spin-off from CW’s Arrow. And if the latter feels like a TV-scaled Thriller/Drama (like the Dark Knight), then The Flash feels more like a comic book brought to life and this makes both shows feel completely different from each other, though they have done a stellar job of expressing the fact that they exist in a shared universe.
At the start of the episode we are shown a flashback to Barry’s childhood which establishes his strong relationship with both his Mother and Father, it isn’t a long scene but does it job well enough. Then later that night we see young Barry witness his Mother’s murder via what looks like a lightening storm inside the family’s home.
Straight after that scene we are brought back to the present, where we are introduced (or reintroduced if you’ve been watching Arrow prior to this) to Barry as a young man and played by Grant Gustin and even though he looks rather young to be a police forensics expert, the actor does a great job in this episode of establishing Barry as a likeable guy who wants to do the right thing, while also being haunted by the ghosts of his past.
I especially like how show visualises Barry’s scientific mind at work as he does his job, as it reminds me of BBC’s Sherlock and I hope to see more of this in the series and not just him saving people.
Staying on that subject, the special effects are very well handled in this episode, looking really good for the pilot of a new show. That is a good sign for the future of this series (which I did feel was going to be a little more like Smallville in that respect) as Barry’s super-speed looks terrific and the storm effects (especially the Tornado in the final set-piece) looked very realistic considering the series TV-budget.
Since I really liked the main star, I should then mention the rest of the cast. They are all solid enough, and they all do get scenes with our hero. Though I feel I should mention that I really liked Tom Cavanagh as Professor Wells, since I have only seen the actor before in Scrubs, so I was pleasantly surprised to see him play a role that was very different than I was used to from the actor.
Now one of two weakest aspects of this episode for me was the episode’s villain, Clyde Mardon (or Weather Wizard as he is known in DC Comics). Because we never get to know the character beyond the scenes where he is either robbing banks or killing people, so he ultimately felt like a very by the numbers enemy.
The other aspect I did not really like was the situation between Barry and his best friend Iris West (played by Candice Patton), as watching this gave me Smallville déjà vu again (with the Hero being in love with a girl who doesn’t see him the same way and she ends up dating the jerk of the series). I really hope if that is where we are going that they don’t drag it out for longer than this single season, or better yet do something different with it (I did some homework, since I do not know that much about Flash’s comic book history and unfortunately she is his main love interest).
Ultimately though, I feel that this was a very strong pilot episode of what is a very promising show.