I Love “The Flash”…and I Want to Know Why

The FlashI love the television show “The Flash,” which I’m watching for the first time in reruns this summer. Yet I’m not sure exactly why I love it.

This past weekend, I was playing games at Gen Con, a big game convention in Indianapolis. While the people to my left at the table were trying to crack the code in Codenames, my team was talking about The Flash.

I should note here that the person who brought up The Flash was Supergirl. Like, someone who looked exactly like Supergirl on the new CBS show. This fact was even more awesome because Supergirl exists in the same universe as The Flash.

When she brought up the show, my first reaction was, “I love The Flash!” And then, “But…I don’t really know why. Why is it so awesome?”

Supergirl’s explanation was that the show wasted no time getting to the good stuff. I won’t spoil anything she said, though I’m only halfway through the season, so she didn’t spoil too much anyway. But the point was that the show doesn’t hold back, and it doesn’t waste time. The Flash becomes The Flash pretty much right away, even though the entire arc of the season is about him honing his powers.

I’ve thought about it some more, and after watching another great episode tonight, I have a few additional reasons why it’s so good:

  1. Levity: The Flash, while dealing with serious bad guys, isn’t dark or dismal. It’s fun, bright, and cheery. I want to be uplifted when I watch TV, and The Flash does that.
  2. Everyday Skills: I really love how The Flash applies his speedster skills in a variety of every day ways. He cleans the house quickly. He reads quickly. He can make his voice vibrate to hide his identity. Every week the writers come up with some new way for him to use his speed for little tasks and advantages.
  3. Logical Solutions to Interesting Problems: Most superheros skip over explanations for problems that should be caused by their abilities. Like, why doesn’t aren’t Superman’s clothes ruined when someone shoots him? His clothes aren’t bulletproof? Not so with The Flash. One example is that his metabolism works overdrive, so he needs to eat a LOT. They figure out a solution for that problem.
  4. Not Overly Focused on Secret Identity: The vast majority of superhero movies and TV shows are hugely focused on maintaining the hero’s secret identity. Remember at the end of the first Iron Man movie when Tony Stark stood up at the press conference and said, “I am Iron Man.” Remember how awesome that was? The Flash isn’t quite that extreme, but the writers don’t dwell on his secret identity. Some people know it, others don’t, no big deal.
  5. Episodic, but Lots of Ongoing Arcs: Most TV dramas are episodic. Something bad happens early on and they spend the rest of the episode fixing/solving it. It’s pretty rare that we see anything else–this is why The Wire was so good. The Flash is somewhat episodic, but it does a fantastic job with a number of ongoing arcs, some of which are plot-driven, others more character-driven.
  6. Special Effects: I can’t speak highly enough of the special effects in The Flash. They’re great. We’re not talking Avengers-level effects, but they’re great for television.
  7. I’m a Sprinter: This has nothing to do with the TV show, but I was a sprinter in high school, and my greatest skill in pretty much all sports is that I’m faster than everyone else. I love Dash in The Incredibles because of this, and I love The Flash for the same reason.

The list could go on, but those are the main reasons that come to mind. Also, I fully acknowledge that the show isn’t perfect. I literally fastforward through every scene about Barry talking about his unrequited love, because it’s really boring. I’m fine with a love story, but I want it to be someone he meets and falls for on the show, not before the show began.

But overall, it’s excellent. I was really missing out by not watching it last year, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of Season 1 brings.

Do you watch The Flash? Is there a bigger reason about why it’s so awesome that I’m missing?

6 thoughts on “I Love “The Flash”…and I Want to Know Why”

  1. I also love this show, and I think a big part of that is how Barry reacts to having superpowers. It’s a dream come true (partially I think this is Grant Gustin loving playing a superhero). There’s no angsty “I just want to be NORMAL” brooding which is refreshing.

    I agree with you about the love story stuff. It doesn’t ever really get that much better, just to warn you.

    Reply
    • Dawn: That’s a great observation–I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re completely right. Barry embraces his powers and has fun with them instead of brooding.

      Ugh. The love story continues? Maybe it’ll get better in season 2. If not, that’s what the fast-forward button is for. 🙂

      Reply
  2. I’ve enjoyed The Flash for some time – it’s generally light-hearted as comics go and the TV show captured that. It’s a pleasant change from the angsty and/or dark heroes on other recent shows. The special effects are pretty good. The stories are generally fun and show Barry growing in his use of his powers. My main issue is the way the writers portray the female leads. They seem to exist purely to pine for their boyfriends. The writing around them is pretty poor and makes them nearly one-dimensional.

    I’m not too crazy about how many people know Barry’s “secret” identity. It seems like someone new learns about it every show. It doesn’t really hurt the show, but makes the whole “don’t tell someone the secret so they’ll be safe” aspect more silly than believable.

    Still, I’m looking forward to Season 2 and am glad to see a show that seems to get it more right than wrong overall. The generally light tone makes it more pleasant. If they’d decided to go dark like many of the DC licenses, it wouldn’t have fit the tone of the comics and would feel “off” when watching.

    The easter eggs and nods to the prior Flash show are nice touches as well without overwhelming anything. 🙂

    Reply
    • That’s a really interesting observation about the women in the show. I’m only halfway through, so that hasn’t been the case for the scientist lady, but I could see that changing soon. Also, there’s the woman from Arrow who contributes some other stuff. But it does seem that all of them are written such that they’re main motivators are men. That could be improved in Season 2.

      Reply

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