Tag Archives: The Flash

Ranking the Show That I Watch – 2015 Edition: 58-55

14 Mar

Four hour longs start us off, two CW, one Netflix, and one Amazon.

Intro here.

58. House of Cards – 2014: 42

House of Cards

I probably wouldn’t have watched this past season of House of Cards if I didn’t traditionally marathon it with friends. No show benefits from that binge watching more than House of Cards. It’s a fun activity as a group, but the more you think about the show, the more it all falls apart, and the dumber it is. The show makes so little sense that the best way to watch it is to finish it because you can think. The ridiculousness can be fun, and it legitimately was in the first season; the binge-watching advice was as much backhanded compliment as insult. Now it’s just, well, very bad. On top of the mess that the show is, there’s a sense that the show believe it’s more meaningful than it is which eats away at whatever fun the show has left. Whether I watch again this season will depend on whether my friends and I put aside a rainy day and beers for it; otherwise it’s probably not going to happen.

57. Arrow – 2014: Not Eligible

Arrow

Arrow is the darker and more dour companion to the happier-go-luckier The Flash, which we’ll see in a minute, and I have fairly similar thoughts on both shows.  The Flash’s first season was better than Arrow’s downer of a third season, but Arrow’s fourth season so far has been better than Flash’s second, half of the episodes of which seem like back door pilots for new series (mostly CW’s upcoming Legends of Tomorrow.) These shows aren’t necessarily and are only enjoyable on and off. They lean in super hard to obvious tropes and are incredibly predictable, and because there are 22 of them a year, have some of the worst pacing and are incredibly repetitive. More than almost any other show, I’ve watched I feel like I can read or fade in and out and not really miss much from these shows, and while that’s been useful when binging to catch up with these shows, that’s not a compliment. There are charms; the actors are generally competent, and there are good fight sequences and moments of clever snappy dialogue. Still, it’s not quite enough; I’d watch a couple of hour season recap of each if someone made it, but I’m not sure I can justify devoting the amount of time required to watch this show and the following one moving forward.

56. Flash – 2014: Not Eligible

Flash

I’d rather not write separate pieces for this and Arrow, but here we go. The Flash can be fun, and relative to Arrow, it’s lighter, and it’s best when it stays that way. There’s a lot of emo, a lot of angst, a season long big bad, but and it stays fun when it’s just on the right side of mediocre. The Flash and Arrow don’t crossover a lot but they almost crossover just enough and there’s not enough difference in quality that I want to watch one without the other, and that means that it’s 44 or so episodes a year, or zero, which is a big commitment for a pair of shows that would be somewhat more compelling with a small one. Great shows are for everyone; Flash (and Arrow) are only for relative comic fans.

55. The Man in the High Castle – 2014: Not Eligible

The Man in the High Castle

I really wanted to like The Man in the High Castle. It’s an alternate history, which is a genre unseen on TV; as a history buff, I was definitely interested and it’s based on a Philip K. Dick book which I have shamefully not read but is well-regarded by my friends who have. It’s one of the classic alternate history premises; what if the Nazis had won World War II? In this world, the Germans control the eastern half of the US and the Japanese the West, but there are resistance groups working deep underground, which our unknowing protagonists are introduced to within the run of the show. There’s so much I want to explore within this premise, and so many interesting questions which could be asked and presented. The problem, however, is that the characters aren’t great or really even good. It’s hard to feel anything for the protagonists and the world building and plot doesn’t come fast enough to make up for the lousy characters. I’d be interested in coming back to it if the next season got glowing notices, but I’m saddened by how hesitant I am to return.

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Fall 2014 Review: The Flash

8 Oct

The Flash

It’s hard, when you’re watching every fall TV debut in a relatively compressed preiod of time, to not instantly compare The Flash and Gotham, as the two comics-based new superhero shows to debut this season (Constantine is also based on a comic, but is less similar).

Gotham tries to be more and do more. It doesn’t know what it is, tries on several hats, and none of them really fit. There’s a fine line between fusion of genres and simple lack of direction, and Gotham falls distinctly on the latter end. The Flasth, on the other hand, doesn’t try to do too much. It’s ambition is restrained. However, it knows exactly what it is and what it wants to be, and for The Flash, that self-awareness and ability to pull back and do it rather than try for too much and do it more is a huge asset.

The Flash doesn’t break any barriers (except when The Flash breaks the sound barrier – JOKE). There’s nothing particularly new or novel. It’s hardly an absolute must watch. Yet, what it does, within its limited realm, it does quite well. It’s earnest, and smart, and pretty fun. It’s very comic book; there are villains, there are wacky origin stories, there are costumes and secret identities. It’s also very comic book in other ways; there’s uncomplicated and obvious love interests, big talk of power and responsibility, and complex and sometimes unnecessary webs of secrets and lies.

Theis can sound cliche, uninventive, and unoriginal, and sure, that wouldn’t be inaccurate. If you like comic books and superhero movies, though, you’ll enjoy The Flash, because, like Marvel seems to be good at with its movies, the creators behind The Flash (and Arrow, I hear, though I haven’t dug deep into that show just yet) just know how to craft a solid superhero show. Barry Allen is a likeable nerd who gets to play the social outcast, without pushing it too far (he’s not a Toby Maguire-as-Peter Park level nerd – remember nerds are at least somewhat cool these days). His father was convicted of murdering his mother, even though Barry saw that that wasn’t the case, but he doesn’t know what actually happened. Barry was raised by Law & Order’s Jesse L. Martin, who serves a mentor and a detective, who, after disbelieving Barry’s conspiracy theories about his mother’s death, changes his mind after seeing Barry’s powers. There’s a couple of young, cool scientists who steer Barry to be the best superhero he can be, and a head scientist, played by Ed’s Tom Cavanagh, who seems like a probably villain but whose motives remain mysteries.

There’s plenty of nods to the rich world of The Flash comics, which I’ve had to research or ask friends about, and there’s clearly a love and a respect for the comic, which comes through even to a notvce fan, and even when the characters aren’t adapted exactly as they are in the books.

It’s an easy, low-on-thinking, fun watch. It’s paced well. The show is serial enough to keep you wanting to watch week to week, but seems likely to have many self-contained weekly adventures, which, while you pretty much know how they’re going to end (Flash gets the bad guy), that’s okay because it’s a light and pleasant journey getting there.

Will I watch it again? Yes, I will. If you like superheroes and comics then I’ve got a feeling you’ll probably like The Flash. If you’re not already predisposed to like these things, it’s not worth a second glance.