In the pilot of The CW's The Flash, Barry Allen got a red costume complete with lightning bolt emblem, battled the Weather Wizard and embraced the idea that he could be a hero. Just one episode later, he battled Multiplex, and we already know the first season of The Flash will also give us Captain Cold, Heatwave, Firestorm, Plastique, the General and Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash. All of that, coupled with easter eggs teasing everyone from Gorilla Grodd to Hal Jordan, makes for a show that's very keenly aware of where it came from.
But even fans who were expecting lots of comic-book craziness on The Flash might not have expected everything to develop this quickly. After all, Arrow didn't really get into that territory until its second season, and it took years for Smallville to really get into all of the Justice League implications of its story. So why is The Flash just going for it? According to DC Comics chief creative officer and The Flash executive producer Geoff Johns, it just felt like it was time for a comic-book show to go this far this fast.
"I felt like Smallville had shied away from the comic book stuff a little bit, but then as the seasons went on, obviously it got to that place. With Arrow it was more grounded, but it got to that place with Deathstroke, and it felt like it was the next step of comic book television shows," Johns said. "When we were doing Flash, it was like, 'You know what, he's going to have a red costume, he's going to be called The Flash, the world's going to know about him, we're going to do the Rogues, we're going to do Grodd.' There were pictures that were leaked online of Reverse-Flash. People were like, 'Oh, it's so soon!' Well, yeah, because this is our chance to do a Flash TV show. And if this is our chance to do a Flash TV show, we're going to put everything we can into it. And I don't mean shoving characters in there, but embracing what it is."
The show has definitely embraced its comic-book roots so far, particularly the superpower-heavy finales of episodes one and two, but for Johns there's another element of The Flash that also ties back to the comic-book version of the character: its relatively family-friendly lightness. The comic-book Flash is for all ages, and Johns believes the TV Flash should be too.
"The other thing I love about it is, my nieces can watch it. It's a superhero show that's for everybody. One of my favorite things about superheroes like Flash and Superman, and the more optimistic, bright heroes is that they are for everyone. One of the things we've tried to do with the show is, although there's violence and scares, we want to make sure that -- when I was a kid, I could watch Hulk and Wonder Woman. It's kind of a throwback show to those; for the whole family. I've heard a lot of people say, 'Oh, I get to watch it with my kids.' 'The whole family's watching it.' One of my friends in Chicago watched it, because their kids were watching it and liked it, and it's emotionally pretty complex, and the actors are great. We've been very fortunate so far."
What do you think? Is The Flash getting too comic-book too fast, or is it working for you?
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7C on The CW.