Live-action superhero television shows haven't always had a successful time on television, whether it's budgetary limits of providing special effects (The Hulk, The Tick) or having plots and stories that are just plain dumb (Wonder Woman, Smallville).  Fortunately, The Flash manages to follow the comic storylines fairly closely, show terrific action, and have enthusiasm as well as heavy subjects.
As a boy, young Barry Allen saw something impossible -- a man dressed in yellow (who comic books fans will recognize as Reverse Flash), blurred and surrounded by lightning -- who killed his mother; his father Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp) was convicted of the killing, and Barry went to live with Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and his daughter Iris.

Years later, Barry (Grant Gustin) is a forensic scientist still out to clear his father's name, when something else impossible happens to him: He's struck by lightning.  Actually, he's struck by the energy from an accident caused by an experiment from scientists Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes),  Their experiment send a wave of energy that put Barry in a coma for nine years (along with killing several people in Central City, paralyzing Wells from the waist down, and the disappearance of Snow's fiancee).

When Barry comes out of the coma, he's now the fastest man on Earth.  With the help of the scientists, Barry becomes the Flash, determined to use his powers to help others, find Reverse Flash, and clear his father's name.  But the accident also created other metahumans (who Cisco liked to give nicknames to -- matching their comic book names), not to mention normal criminals with advanced weapons, like Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller).  Since The Flash airs on the CW, there's also got to be romantic angst: In this case, Barry has a crush on Iris (Candice Patton), but when he comes out of his coma, she's dating Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett), Joe West's partner.  Oh, and Dr. Wells can walk, has a newspaper from the year 2024 that says the Flash disappeared, is willing to kill anyone he thinks may interfere with Barry's future as the Flash -- and may be Reverse Flash.

As a comic book fan, I really enjoy The Flash.  Unlike far too many superhero shows and movies, this isn't bogged down by darkness and angst.  Instead, much like Dash in The Incredibles, the Flash seems to have a joy in the fun of pure speed (along with helping others).  The actors all do very well (especially Grant Gustin, who mixes concern and responsibility with the fun of being a superhero), the special effects work great for all the metahumans, and the mystery of what will happen next is intriguing.  I hope The Flash lasts on the CW/

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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