It’s achingly sincere and unapologetic about being its source material. It makes Smallville, Agents of Shield and Gotham seem ashamed of what they are.
There’s no winking in the show. It’s not ironic. There’s no arch comment on superheroes or comic books. There aren’t any overtly comedic characters to deflate its sense of purpose. The Flash’s heroism occurs without reluctance. He is simply a good and brave person who wants to do the right thing.
It’s strange how refreshing that is. After the gloom of the Dark Knight trilogy and the oppressive volume of Man of Steel, seeing a D.C. character be an uncomplicated do-gooder just kind of feels good. It harkens back to the simple joy of reading comic books as a kid. The good guys are good guys. Sometimes being a good guy is complicated because people think you’re a bad guy, like with Spider-Man or the X-Men, but the stories had simple moral codes overall. Everybody ended up doing the right thing for the most part.
I watched the pilot episode of The Flash with my computer open. I was only half paying attention to the show at first. Then I started googling character names. Pretty much every character on the show is comic based. Iris, the love interest has the same name as the Flash’s eventual wife in the comics. The Star Labs assistant played by the girl from Sky High has the same name as a comics villain. And judging by this tweet by the actress, that’s no coincidence. I could continue but honest to Zoom, it could be a spoiler.
I’ve watched super hero-based shows all my life and hey almost invariably only import the bare bones of the source material. Superman, Lois Lane and Lex Luthor will be ported over without Brainiac, Mr. Myxlplyx or Bizzaro. They’ll rename Bruce Banner David Banner and never mention Rick Jones, Betty Ross or the Abomination.
Smallville was the worst of them. The show never featured Clark Kent as Superman. But the show runners realized they could hype up an episode by distantly alluding to the comics. So viewers would get two minutes of an interpretation of a classic character talking to a guy in a blue and red shirt who had yet to learn to fly. The first season of Agents of Shield was littered with similar teases but with they’ve improved greatly in the second season, unapologetically featuring a comics-accurate Absorbing Man.
Speaking of Smallville’s aversion to show Superman being Superman: The Flash is having none of that. Barry Allen was in his stupid red suit running around like a lightning bolt moron by mid point of the first episode. It was glorious.
So I’m hooked, despite the blandly handsome lead actor, the cheesy thwarted love story, the flat dialogue and strangely rushed plotting. Don’t let me down, nerds!