After much talk and hype, the first season of The CW’s Scarlet Speedster-centric show hits DVD and Blu-ray.
Having debuted in Season 2 of sister show Arrow, Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen gets the chance to take centre-stage here. Following on from what we saw during his few cameos in Arrow’s Starling City, we find Barry as one of several casualties after S.T.A.R. Labs’ particle accelerator unveiling goes horribly wrong. Finally waking from a coma, young Mr. Allen finds himself with new powers and abilities. As we’re along for the ride with a front row seat, we get to see Barry comes to terms with his gifts and learn to harness them as he becomes the Sultan of Speed, The Flash. Learning more and more about himself and his abilities with each passing episode, we join Barry as he juggles protecting Central City and harnessing his skills to find out who the mystery Man in the Yellow Suit is who killed his mother years before.
Simply put, The Flash was a breath of fresh air when it sped on to TV screens late last year. Whereas Arrow was coming off of its phenomenal second season, the Emerald Archer-focussed show largely has a more serious, darker tone. The Flash was a different beast altogether, with the first season of the show quickly becoming much-watch TV as the series remarkably managed to weave in and out of several different tones and story arcs whilst magnificently establishing and developing a whole host of characters. The show is a warm, vibrant example of what a superhero could and should be when in relation to a character who’s not always doom and gloom (damn you, Nolan and the “grounded in reality” fad!). Sometimes heroes are larger-than-life, are over-the-top, colourful, exciting and plain enjoyable (Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, take note). And it’s with this approach that The Flash managed to make itself one of the most engaging and enjoyable shows of the last year.
With care and precision, each and every member of The Flash’s cast seems an absolutely perfect fit for the televisual skin that they inhabit. Despite our initial reservations about some lad from Glee taking the show's titular role, Grant Gustin is a marvel as Barry Allen, encapsulating the many different elements of the character and managing to give him a sense of strength, vulnerability and likeability. Then the show fantastically extends its reach to give lavish attention to others, such as the S.T.A.R. Labs crew of Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), the stunningly-played father/son dynamics between Barry and father Henry (John Wesley Shipp) and Barry and the father-lite figure of Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), or even some of the villains-of-the-week and faces who appear that will be familiar to long-time DC comic book fans. The only slight gripe is the portrayal of Candice Patton’s Iris West, positioned as a love interest but yet often written as simply a stroppy, dull teen who Barry has no reason to have any semblance of interest in.
Still, even the so-so use of Iris doesn’t get in the way of The Flash making a huge mark with its debut season. Additionally, this release is only helped further by a fantastic selection of extras, with particular highlights being a featurette highlighting Mark Hamill’s brilliant Trickster and the chance to see Grant Gustin screen test opposite Arrow’s Emily Bett Rickards. In recent memory, there’s very few genre shows that have hit the ground running as impressively as The Flash. This is must-see TV, and here’s hoping the show has plenty of legs in it for years to come.
Special Features: Four featurettes / Grant Gustin screen test / Audio commentary / Gag reel / Deleted scenes
THE FLASH - SEASON 1 / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: GRANT GUSTIN, TOM CAVANAGH, JESSE L. MARTIN, DANIELLE PANABAKER, CARLOS VALDES, CANDICE PATTON, RICK COSNETT / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 21ST