I like that it focuses on the central character, and the actor’s good. The soap opera elements in Arrow get annoying. These are shows about demigods. Give us demigods.
–my wife, watching The Flash.

Barry Allen awakes from his coma and hits the ground running.

Title: “City of Heroes”

Directed by David Nutter

Written by Geoff Johns and Andrew Kreisberg, with contributions from and characters created by Greg Berlanti, Gardner Fox, , Harry Lampert

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash
Candice Patton Candice Patton as Iris West
Rick Cosnett as Eddie Thawne
Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon
Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells
Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
Chad Rook as Clyde Mardon / Weather Wizard
John Wesley Shipp as Henry Allen
Michelle Harrison as Nora Allen
Patrick Sabongui as Captain David Singh
Al Sapienza as Detective Fred Chyre
Logan Williamsas Young Barry Allen
Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen / Arrow

Full cast and crew information may be found at the imdb


Barry Allen awakes from his coma and learns from his STAR-lab related support staff that he’s the fastest man alive. The same accident that created him has, however, created other meteor freaks metahumans, and they don’t necessarily share his altruism.

Allen also hopes to court Iris West and solve his mother’s murder. Iris has another suitor, however, while Allen has a deadly adversary, hiding in plain sight.

Low Point

Why did they have to graft parental-death angst and its related inspiration onto Barry Allen? He’s not Batman or Spider-man. He’s not even Green Arrow. Fortunately….

High Points

…the angsty additions haven’t overly harmed the fundamental character of Barry Allen. He remains, more or less, a good man who develops powers, and (1) uses them to fight crime, because he’s a good man, and not because of any vendetta or inner pain and (2) immediately embraces his powers, because they’re cool, and not a source of freakish self-pity. The scene with Oliver Queen in Starling City really emphasizes the fact: we have a show about a superhero, and not a grim vigilante.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 An adaptation can only be so original, and by now, every heroic fantasy series can’t help but recall others. This take on the Flash borrows elements from Arrow (the support staff), Spider-man (the opening scene and narration, parental death angst), Batman (parental death angst), Smallville (the hero’s arrival creates numerous potential villains) and Continuum (techie in regular contact through super-suit). The show also echoes a number of other pop culture narratives. I heard Obi-wan in an inspirational speech given to Barry (nicely undercut later, however) and Kirk in his question to the Weather Wizard: “Why would God need to rob banks?”

Effects: 5/6 Overall, the show has strong effects. A few elements seem artificial (the running streak, the secret lair at the end), but these might be viewed as comic-book stylizations.

Acting: 5/6 The show has a very strong lead, and the supporting actors, overall, do better than Arrow‘s cast.

Story: 5/6 The show succeeds here where Gotham thus far has failed. We have story arcs, subplots, and foreshadowing, but the episode retains a central focus. I hope they can maintain the approach.

Emotional Response: 5/6 The Flash has had the best debut of any of the recent superhero shows. First and foremost, it’s about an actual superhero.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6 The pilot does a pretty good job of balancing the artificiality of superhero tropes with a semblance of reality.

In total, “City of Heroes” receives 33/42

Additional Thoughts

My other Low Point might have been a reflection on DC/Warner’s wasted opportunity. Imagine, if you will, that Warner and DC knew what they were doing in their attempts to duplicate Marvel’s success at creating a cinematic universe (Yeah, buy just go with it). They have a successful Arrow series. They have a Gotham series that really needs work, but in which anything that does work would work better if it were about, you know, Batman. They now have a credible series about The Flash, the character who inaugurated the Silver Age.

Suppose they had tied these into a really good version of the Man of Steel movie. They would have had their universe without throwing all their Easter Eggs into one Superman v. Batman basket. Have the movie Superman do a couple of guest spots. Shorten a season or two to give the TV actors time to do a Justice League movie. This could have worked, just differently than Marvel’s.

Well, I’d like to think so.