Can The CW Get ‘The Flash’ Right?

John Wesley Shipp, The FlashWarner Bros. Television

Following on the heels of the success of Arrow, there’s going to be a TV show centered around The Flash. What The CW’s youthful demographic might not recall is that there was a Flash on the air before, but was off before people could even blink.

So now there’s going to be a second go at the DC hero, and the producers are going to have to watch out for the traps that befell its previous iteration. The thing that is going to help it now is that there’s a huge boom on comic book properties: beyond all the Marvel movies, television has the likes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  and Arrow. It seems the right time for a Flash show, but it’s a tricky situation. With so many properties, we’re already running the risk of oversaturation, making the Flash a very quick casualty.

What the first show did was sink a huge amount of budget in costumes and special effects. The Flash costume itself for star John Wesley Shipp cost about $25,000. More support from the industry, which has exploded since the popularity of the first Iron Man movie, will help the budget this time around. Couple that with the technology being quantum leaps higher in terms of special effects, and things are looking up.

But more important is the telling of good stories. That seems like just common sense, but look at Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is hurt even more by its slow, plodding narrative than it is by its lack of superhero characters. The Flash has got to get off to a really fast start in terms of grabbing people’s interest (and yes, all these speed analogies are intentional). Otherwise this is a show that could join its predecessor as an occasional one season programming pick-up on the Syfy Channel.

We’re pretty sure that this show is at least going to get off to a good start, since Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen was already introduced on Arrow. As such, the fans of that program will be able to transition to this one without any kind of problem, and it ensures that we’re not going to have to get too bogged down in the whole origin story. Backstory is inevitable, but The Flash has the opportunity to start in the middle and then work from there in all directions.

And finally: The Flash must also stay true to its original tone. A fatal flaw of the first show is that it didn’t know if it wanted to be a comedy or a drama. 

The Flash has a chance to help DC get off the mat in its fight against Marvel and Disney, a pair of Goliaths ready to stomp on this David of a show while ago. There can be no missteps, though, or the fall down will be too fast for even a man as quick as the Flash to avoid.