So, somehow, the pilot to The Flash leaked. I, being weak, saw it. And to be honest, I’m now not entirely sure the leak wasn’t deliberate, because even four months out from its debut, the show’s surprisingly strong. Here’s a spoiler-free look.
It’s Pretty Accessible While Still Rich With Continuity Gags And Nods
The show itself is pretty solid across the board, but what stands out is that they’ve pulled off a delicate balancing act in the sense that you can watch the show knowing nothing about the Flash and still enjoy it, while the show is still filled with dozens of little nods and broader gags aimed at the fans.
The Effects Are Surprisingly Good For The CW
There are aspects of the effects that don’t click; Barry in close-up feels a little corny when he runs, although it comes off better than it did in the extended trailer. But by and large, the effects are quite good, the speed effects and the stunt work involved in them in particular. Somebody sat down and worked out how the two were going to mesh, and the result is a few surprisingly compelling setpieces.
Grant Gustin Kills It
Gustin has been the subject of some anxiety, but he works. Barry is a bit like ’60s-era Peter Parker here; nerdy, wanting to do the right thing, not entirely sure what the right thing is. The cast in general is pretty engaging, but Gustin is a good lead for this show.
The Comedy Is Variable
This is a much lighter show than Arrow, and honestly, the jokes tend to vary. Whenever it’s dealing with humor grounded in the show itself, like a police officer telling off Weather Wizard in a moment that has shades of Quentin Lance, it’s hilarious. Twerking jokes, not so much.
It’s A Little Too Closely Tied To Arrow
One aspect the pilot hopefully tones down is the fact that they really want to underline that, yes, this is in the same universe as Arrow. These are probably leftovers from the original plan of making a backdoor pilot out of an episode of Arrow, but it does get to be a little much. The pilot honestly doesn’t need it.
There Are A Lot More DC Characters Than You Think
Not to get into spoiler territory, but the characters we know about, and the show hasn’t been shy about dropping anvils about featuring major villains and heroes, is just the tip of the iceberg. The show’s final shot in particular makes it clear you can’t expect anybody to be who they say they are.
Overall, Really Good!
The pilot’s a bit more lighthearted than one might expect, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a show that actually strikes the balance between hardcore fan and casual viewer pretty well, and it’s also a solid, fun show on its own merits. It’s not absolutely perfect, but it’s a lot of fun and it makes me intensely curious to see what happens in episode two… and that’s what good TV is all about.