Watch out Oliver Queen, there’s a new superhero in town – ladies and gentlemen, meet The Flash. Based on the popular DC Comics character, eleven-year-old Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) witnesses the murder of his mother by supernatural means and as a result, his father is convicted for her death. Taken in by Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and his family, Allen strives to solve his mother murder and free his father from prison, leading him to become Central City Police Department’s crime scene investigator.
Smart but awkward, Allen becomes obsessed with paranormal activity, anything to prove that his witness testimony of the events of his mother’s death – a ball of lightning killed his mother – was factual. When the public unveiling of Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) and STAR labs’ advanced particle accelerator goes awry, Allen gets struck by lightening and is sent into a nine-month long coma that, upon waking up, discovers that he has superhuman abilities including superhuman speed which allows him to run faster than light. Discovering that he’s not the only “metahuman”, Allen realises that his powers are meant to help an protect the people of Central City.
Throughout the series, lead actor Gustin is an undeniable breakout star. His goofy and charming appeal creates a likeable superhero, unlike Arrow’s Oliver Queen. Gustin shines in his first leading role, a natural Barry Allen and the show’s defining element. Allen’s legal guardian and surrogate father, West is lovingly paternal to both the speedster and his own daughter, Allen’s childhood crush, Iris (Candice Patton). Likewise, co-star Cavanaugh is intriguing as Allen’s kind but deceitful mentor. Amongst the wonderfully amusing STAR labs crew include Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), a sweet and brainy bioengineering expert and the witty Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), a mechanical engineer and frequent scene stealer.
What makes The Flash an energising and engaging new series is that it diverges from the dark and gritty series like Arrow and Gotham, creating a fun and adventurous quality that is revitalising to see on screen. The freshman series focuses on Allen’s character development whilst introducing new and complex villains such as Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) to create compelling action sequences.
With the success of The CW’s Arrow, the young network has spurred superhero mania. However, unlike the dark and ominous atmosphere of Arrow, The Flash is palpably warmer and lighter fare. More appealing, the series has been refreshingly entertaining with new and bright actors and enjoyable storylines. Blazing into our hearts, The Flash takes us for a fun and engaging ride – an eagerly anticipated wait for next season.