Remember that post about binge-watching I did not long ago?
So, I finally got back into catching up on my TV shows, and decided that it was time, since I’d finished with season 2 of Arrow, to start in on The Flash.
Starring Grant Gustin, Candace Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Carlos Valdez
Why talk about a show that is into its second season? Because I think it’s important to look at how shows are being put together, to look at what they’re doing, how they’re handling similar situations with different and diverse casts.
It is, more than anything, a look at the storytelling behind them, albeit through the more general lens of “is the show any good?”
After watching the CW develop Arrow over the course of two seasons, I was interested in how this was going to go. I wasn’t convinced Arrow was going to make it until about ten episodes into the first season, but then it finally found its feet for me. The character interplay (between Oliver, Diggle, Felicity, and Roy) and storytelling were a bit off, for me, but I was glad when it finally starting coming together.
Why am I talking about Arrow in a piece about The Flash? Because I think the show-runners took what they learned from Arrow and used it to make The Flash a more cohesive piece from the beginning, instead of lumbering through a half-season trying to figure out how the pieces were all going to fit together.
The most important thing they did, in my opinion, was to create a collaborative effort from the get-go. Not just in making sure the cast played well off of one another, but in making sure that those characters (Barry, Harrison, Cisco, Caitlin, and Joe) actually got to work together from the get go, both with and for Barry Allen.
Unlike Oliver Queen, Barry Allen has never been alone in dealing with his abilities. Sure, Barry can’t tell his foster father and friend, but he has a support team there to support him as the Flash. The Vigilante/Hood/Arrow was on his own for a long time, and that shaped him in ways that Barry Allen hasn’t had to deal with quite yet (where I’m at, anyway: season 1, episode 12).
As hard as it was for Oliver Queen/The Arrow to learn to trust other people and help him do his job, Barry Allen/The Flash has never been in that position, and is naturally curious and trustworthy enough to accept that help and that friendship from the crew at Star Labs when he awakens from his coma and discovers his powers.
The crossover between the two shows has also been a fun thing to watch. The Arrow gets to remind the Flash from time to time about what’s at stake in a “big picture” sense, whereas the Flash only sees that darkness in smaller-scale, immediate threat type situations. The rise of the Reverse Flash story-line is, perhaps, bringing some bigger picture awareness into Barry’s life, but still manages to keep it small and important to him on a personal level: Reverse Flash killed his mother, and Barry is dealing with that.
[Shadow note: I now that those of you watching the show in real time already know how this all plays out, but I’m not there yet, and I want to see if some of my own ideas pan out. So, sure, you could ruin it for me, but that would be kind of mean, so try to contain yourselves, please. We’re not savages here.]
So I hold out great hope as I continue on in this first season, watching a few episodes of it alternating with a few episodes of Arrow to keep everything even.
I have a sidebar set of ideas about the DC television universe(s), but I’ll save that for another post. For now, let me just say that I think the CW has done a great job with these two shows, and maybe one day I’ll catch up with the rest of the viewing world.
See you around the shadow.
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