Based on the DC Comic superhero, The Flash, is now one of the hottest commodities on the CW. When I first heard The Flash was going to be the next superhero to be brought to life on the CW, I thought, "the CW's got their bad idea jeans on". When the promo was finally released, I'm not ashamed to say, my skepticism made a sharp pivot into genuine excitement.
Starring Grant Gustin as the title character, The Flash, premiered October 7, 2014 to record viewership, making it the second most watched series premier since the Vampire Diaries. The show didn't waste any time pushing Gustin's human character, Barry Allen, into his "metahuman" character, The Flash.
A brief and not too revealing snapshot for those on the cusp: When Barry Allen was a child, he witness his mother's unexplainable murder. His father was wrongfully accused and imprisoned and Barry was taken in by his father's best friend and detective, Joe West (played by Jesse L. Martin). Barry never stopped asserting that his father didn't kill his mother and vowed to someday prove it and set his father free. Flash forward (see what I did right there?), Barry is a forensic specialist for the same precinct as his foster father, Joe. Barry is scientist at heart, his idol, Dr. Harrison Wells (played by Tom Cavanaugh), hosts a public unveiling of his S.T.A.R. labs advanced particle accelerator. The particle accelerator malfunctions and bathes the city in huge amounts of radiation. A lightning storm is created by this malfunction and while at his forensic lab in the police station, Barry is struck by lightning and in a coma for nine months. He awakens to find himself under the care of now disgraced Dr. Wells at S.T.A.R. labs and that he discovers he is forever changed. This first season is about watching The Flash grow into his metahuman powers, usually furthering his abilities and discovering limits with the help of the various metahuman villain's that crop up as a result of the explosion of the particle accelerator.
The thing that works the most for me on this show is Gustin's portrayal of, The Flash. He's not your typical CW beef cake. He's skinny and his head's a little mushroom-y but it totally works. He's not just some guy that is given this incredible gift and suddenly he goes from um to YUM. He's still Barry. Even as The Flash, he's kind, thoughtful, flawed and vulnerable. I could be wrong, but there's something in Gustin's eyes that I don't think you can teach that adds to his performance. Much like The Flash can't depend on his speed alone, Gustin can't rely on those beautiful eyes and adorable smile. What can I say, he's just bringin it!
Surrounding Barry are his new friends and partners at S.T.A.R. labs. At the center, of course, is Dr. Wells who is now in a wheel chair since the explosion as well as his employees, bioengineer, Caitlin Snow (played by Danielle Panabaker) and mechanical engineer, Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes). The explosion devastated all of them in different ways and now they work together to not only help Barry and do damage control, but also heal each other in the process.
Veteran stage and screen actor, Jesse L. Martin as Detective West is a great fit. His presence lends a certain legitimacy to the show I'm not sure you get without him. As his father figure he's not only Barry's rock but also the touchstone to what's important when the complexities of Barry's new reality intrude and threaten to steer him off course. Iris West (played by Iris Paxton), Joe's daughter and best friend of Barry, is love that is just out of reach. She's in love with her father's partner, Eddie Thawne (played by Rick Cosnett). Not exactly a new plotline but I can forgive that. What I can't forgive, is Cosnett's line delivery. Look, I'm not saying that sounding gay is an actual thing, but if it were, he's nailing it and makes it practically impossible to believe he's got the hot's for Iris. REALLY distracting.
Show ingredients: Love, drama, super powers and cool villains with ridiculous names. It's completely nerd charged and as a member of that tribe, I say that with the utmost affection. As superhero shows go, it's no Buffy but still pretty well written and cast, with a ton of action making it entertaining; you've got nothing to lose with this show.