Monday, April 6, 2015

Why You Should Check Out "The Flash"

A great TV show is usually not great right out of the gate. It takes a while to find its stride, to show its heart, and to leave us staring at the screen going "that was amazing!"

CW's "The Flash" is no exception. While fun from the beginning, it certainly didn't measure up to "Arrow"... until episode nine, "The Man in the Yellow Suit" really raised the stakes, and they keep climbing every week.

(and yes, I'm keeping this as spoiler free as I possibly can. Read on safely.)

Okay, so "The Fastest Man Alive" is a catchy tagline, but it doesn't really tell you much about the story. Why should we care? What makes this guy interesting? For a non-DC fan, I didn't know anything about the Flash other than that he was a favorite of Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory). I know you can make a speedster interesting, Marvel proved that with Quicksilver, but he's got a fascinating story being the son of Magneto. So what does the Flash (or at least, the Barry Allen version, as covered in this show) have going for him?

One night a little boy woke up to his mother's screams. He ran downstairs to find her surrounded by streaks of red and yellow lighting. "Barry, run!" she shouts at him, and suddenly he is out of the house and the next thing he knows, his father is being arrested for his mother's murder, and no one believes Barry's protestations that his mom was killed by the strange lighting.

Barry is raised by family friend Joe West, a cop, and grows up to be a forensic investigator with an unrequited crush on Joe's pretty daughter Iris. In his off time he works to build a case for his father's innocence, which seems like it is going no where, until the explosion of a super collider at the local S.T.A.R. Labs sends Barry into a coma for a year... from which he wakes up with the power to run super fast, vibrate through walls and even travel through time.

But he's not the only one who has been given super powers by the explosion, and he quickly finds himself teaming up with Joe (who is quite possibly the best father-figure on television right now), the mysterious Dr. Harrison Wells (also a victim of the explosion, though he lost his ability to walk instead of gaining powers), and super smart scientists Caitlin (you'll remember her from "Sky High") and Cisco (adorable wise-cracking sidekick) to fight evil and save lives.

Then another speedster arrives in town, one with ties to Barry's past... and his future?

Ugh. You guys. This show has just become so good. The first episodes were "oh that's nice" but then they really started throwing in gamechangers halfway through the season. Last week, Mark Hamill guest starred and not only was he fantastic, but there were great homages to his stints as both the voice of the Joker and then a brilliant Star Wars bit. And as awesome as that was, it was only the icing on the cake of everything that happened in that episode.

When the show started, it wasn't my primary priority for watching every week. Now it's clamoring for a top position, because it just keeps getting better and better... and better!

One thing to note - if you don't have a way to watch all the episodes from the beginning, I recommend holding off and bingewatching on Season 1 when it arrives on Netflix, then jumping into Season 2. Although the first half of the season is not as mindblowingly awesome as the second half, it still has a ton of crucial groundwork and you need to watch it together, in order.

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