TVOvermind Round Table: The Flash Season 1

The Flash

One of the most successful new shows of the 2014-2015 television season has been The CW’s The Flash, and many of us here at TVOvermind have fallen in love with it as much as our readers have. As the season is now over, we at TVOvermind are back with our round table discussions for multiple TV shows that we cover on the site, and our first one is about the first season The Flash.

What have you enjoyed the most about this series in its first season, and what has surprised you the most, from your expectations of the series before you started watching to where it is now?

Andy Behbakht: One of the things that I brought up in my Flash piece last week was that the show doesn’t hold back the pure joy of embracing the superhero of it all. As someone who has been covering the series since day one, this show really has it all to the point where it’s my new Smallville: it has a terrific cast with an excellent leading man in Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, the stories we get to see are so well done and that comes from the [Flash] fact that this character has such a rich history in the DC Comics world that you can pull so much from it and adapt it into a great weekly television series. The mythology that it has behind it makes it more interesting to follow because with a villain like Reverse-Flash, you would have never thought right from the get-go how Harrison Wells was connected to Barry. I think my biggest surprise about this season is really how much these showrunners are letting The Flash just be a true superhero. We are still seeing multiple heroes on screen where certain creative teams just have the need of toning it down for odd reasons. With someone like The Flash, you should absolutely not lower the brightness that he carries, and that’s what I appreciate so much about the show.

Jasef Wisener: The Flash shocked me in that it really became one of my absolute favorite shows of the season. Plenty of things about the series are extremely enjoyable, but, for me, it really all just boils down to how fun the show is. There’s a lot of darkness in TV adaptations of comics, and that definitely has its time and place, but The Flash stood out to me because of its complete willingness to provide fun each and every week. The thing that surprised me the most, in a good way, was how completely the show has given itself over to the DC universe. Perhaps its because of the small steps Arrow took in its first season that I didn’t expect as much as we got so soon, but I think the show really benefited from how deep in the DC mythology it was willing to go.

Nick Hogan: As a general rule, I am a fan of comic book properties coming to television. I loved the cartoons when I was a kid, and I love the live action shows and films now. However, The Flash was never a character that I was particularly interested in. I was a fan of Arrow, so I decided to give the show a shot, and I was absolutely blown away. The visual effects, the acting, everything the show was doing it was doing very well. This show jumped from barely on my radar to my favorite show in no time at all.

Laura Schinner: The Flash did a lot of things right in its freshman season, from building relationships and friendships to providing stellar special effects and action sequences. But if I had to pick one thing I enjoyed the most, or more aptly one person, it would be Cisco. He has carried much of the comedy of the series, bringing the lighter tone to The Flash that we don’t often see on Arrow. Carlos Valdes has impressed me with his excellent comedic timing and ability to make even the most serious situations humorous. Not only that, but he can also bring the drama when necessary (like the 20 times they tried to kill off Cisco this season). This character really has it all, and I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble he can get into (and out of) next season.

Confession time: before watching Arrow and The Flash I had absolutely zero knowledge of the comic books. I still have very limited knowledge, other than the few tidbits I read on the internet. And I think it’s important that these shows can work not only for viewers who grew up with the comics, but for those who didn’t as well. So I didn’t really have any expectations going into the show, other than that Barry Allen was going to be his adorable self we saw in Arrow, only now with super speed. I’d say they did a good job of meeting both those expectations.

Randy Dankievitch: Of the many wonderful surprises the first season of The Flash offered us, the show’s understanding of patriarchal bonds gave it an important emotional undercurrent. Whether biological or surrogate, fatherhood is an ever-present theme – and in places some might not expect, like Harrison Wells’ relationship with Cisco, or by the same token, the Thawne family reunion we see in the season’s final episodes. Of course, the real treat of this comes with Barry and the three men who shape the hero he becomes; whether with Joe, Harrison, or Henry, The Flash was always exploring both sides of the father/son dynamic, giving unexpected depth to some of the show’s subtler explorations of masculinity.

Araceli Aviles: Arrow proved to be so successful, especially after its second season; it was hard for me to imagine anything that could live up to that hype, let alone surpass it. Barry Allen was impossible not to like from the moment he first appeared on-screen, but I didn’t expect to fall nearly as hard for the rest of The Flash characters. On every show there’s at least one character who gets under your skin in a bad way, but if there was ever a character on The Flash who did that, they wouldn’t stay there for very long. Every person in Barry Allen’s life has their own purpose, their own story, their own struggle and redemption. So I’d say what far surpassed my expectations of the show from this time last year was the emotional depth that was so well-blended in with the sci-fi elements.

Tiffany Chang:  I have enjoyed the many twists and turns that were incorporated into this fantastic series and that it keeps you out of the loop before the big reveal. I didn’t have a lot of expectations before I started watching, but what really surprised me was the fact that Dr. Wells was the Reverse Flash and that he could stand up and walk, even though he spent most of his time sitting in a wheelchair as he interacted with the rest of Team Flash. I was also shell-shocked that Barry was the one that created Gideon, the artificial intelligence supercomputer that Dr. Wells always speaks to towards the end of almost every episode.

Blaise Hopkins: I think that The Flash has done a great job with the characters this season. I had not seen Grant Gustin in anything prior to The Flash, but he was definitely the nicest surprise because of how well he did in the role. He is a great Barry Allen, and I don’t think anyone should or could have doubts about him going forward. However, when I mention the characters, I’m more speaking to all of the supporting roles. Cisco, Caitlin, Wells (Thawne), Eddie, Iris, and Joe have all been extremely well handled for the most part and incorporated very smoothly throughout the season. Each character was given a nice individual story with plenty of growth and opportunity going forward. I think that was the best surprise, because there wasn’t a character I really disliked. While Iris definitely had her annoying points, I still think that the show wrote her better than plenty of other female characters in recent TV history that I’ve absolutely hated.

Chris King: What I’ve enjoyed most about The Flash has been the show’s heart. This is a series that deals with time travel and features villains called Captain Cold and The Weather Wizard, but it was still able to remain grounded thanks to the great development of relationships between the series’ core characters. The reason why Barry’s goodbyes to everyone in the Season 1 finale worked so well is because we’ve seen him connect with each of these individuals in different ways. We know he remains in love with Iris and that he considers Joe a father, but he’s also created strong friendships with Cisco and Caitlin, and even a twisted father-son relationship with Wells. All of these connections grew and evolved over the course of Season 1 in an organic and natural way that paid off wonderfully in the season’s later episodes. There’s not a single character on this show that I dislike, and the bonds they share together make not only Barry but every single person on the series someone to root for.

And as for what surprised me the most, I would say that would be Cisco, who I thought was going to be the series’ weakest link after watching the pilot, but who ultimately became one of the very best characters on the show. The sense of fun that he interjects into every single scene he’s in is absolutely wonderful and something that became so essential to The Flash throughout its first season.

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