on October 28, 2005
One of television's overlooked gems! This show is yet another example of a network killing a promising offering by not letting it find an audience.
It was 1990. Pop culture was buzzing from the blockbuster success of Tim Burton's Batman. Star Trek: TNG was in its glory years. (X-Files and Lois and Clark were still three years off). CBS introduced this show in the fall. No problem, right? WRONG! CBS at the time had the rights to postseason baseball, and as a result, The Flash pinballed around the schedule, rarely appearing for consecutive weeks in the same time slot. It also didn't help that it was up against The Simpsons for part of its run. If they had waited until after baseball and parked this thing on a Friday night for a couple of years (ala Fox and The X-Files) it would have hit.
But alas, it was not to be. Even the head of CBS (Jeff Sagansky at the time, if memory serves) later apologized to John Wesley Shipp for mishandling the show. The viewing public mostly missed out on this top-shelf superhero adaptation which was faithful enough for the comic geeks (that'd be me), yet accessible enough for the casual viewer.
John Wesley Shipp played the character perfectly. Amanda Pays (of the also ahead-of-its-time Max Headroom) was a delight. Guests to look for: Richard Belzer, Mark Hamill, Jeri Ryan, Jeffry Combs. My favorite guest: the ever-reliable Jason Bernard as "The Nightshade." Watch his episodes, and you'll see how the creators of Batman: The Animated Series used Nightshade as an inspiration for "The Grey Ghost."
With Smallville, the Spiderman movies, and Batman Begins really showing us how a superhero might fit into the "real" world, you'll be amazed at how ahead of its time this series was. I think it's safe to say that until the debut of Smallville, The Flash was the best live-action superhero adaptation ever put on television. And if you're going to judge on faithfulness to source material, The Flash is still #1.
on February 7, 2006
I recently purchased "The Flash" on DVD, never seeing it before. But trust me, it's worth the risk. I actually had no problems with the DVDs. The packaging was poor, but the disks were fine. I'll rate each episode below out of five.
1. Pilot: The beginning of the saga, crime-lab expert Barry Allen gets into a serious accident involving lightning and chemicals. Soon, with the help of Tina from Star Labs, Barry learns to control his newfound powers, and must avenge his brother Jay Allen's death by taking on the evil ex-cop and self proclaimed leader of a new world named Pike. I really liked this episode. It really moved along a silly plot with ease. Pike, believe it or not, made out to be a good villain and may be on the top three TV Flash rogues list. Though Iris, Barry's girlfriend, was annoying, Tina was a perfect idea for an ally. 5/5
2. Out Of Control: The bodies of homeless people with altered DNA appear when Tina's old science pal shows up in Central City. Is there a connection? Well, it's very obvious, now isn't it. Anyways, this was another good episode of the show. I must say that the transformation scene of the mad doctor turning into a mutant was absolutely amazing. Even by today's standards, that looked great. Two thumbs WAY up. 5/5
3. Watching the Detectives: Barry's secret is found out by a crooked DA, now wanting to use this information to make the Flash do his bidding! This is one of the greatest superhero TV episodes ever made. It was so well executed. Not only does Barry now have(at the end) another ally that knows his identity and will never tell, but he also gets a new love life. 5/5
4. Honor Among Thieves: A group of individually talented thieves plan to steal the Mask of Rasputin. Now the Flash needs to stop them. This is, sadly, where the show goes downhill for a while. The plot is cliche, the new characters are uninteresting, and the idea is annoying to follow. The ending was good, which gives the episode a few points. 2/5
5. A psycho villain named Tracker uses the Flash to kidnap a girl that is the key to a trial that may cost a ruthless business man millions. How? Mind control, of course! This feature is pretty good. I thought Tracker was a cool baddie, and the Flash has more responsibility than before. 4/5
6. Sins of the Father: Barry's dad tries to be a cop again and catch a crook he caught twenty years ago named Hix. I was impressed by the originality and fun of this episode. 5/5
7. Child's Play: Evil hippies(I'm not joking) try to send a new type of drug to druggies everywhere.. But first, they must get some information from an orphan Barry is responsible for. This was the pits of "The Flash". Absolutely stupid. I mean, the Flash saying "gnarly" did for me right there. 1/5
8. Shroud of Death: A mysterious killer picks off people involved with a death sentence one by one. The killer? The daughter of the man put on death row. Not bad, if you ask me. There are better episodes, but there are worse. 3/5
9. Ghost in the Machine: An evil 50s villain named the Ghost comes out of a freezing chamber, now ready to destroy Central City. Only the combined powers of the Flash and the 50s hero Nightshade can take down the TV obsessed bad guy. I personally thought that the Nightshade was a good character and hero. Yeah, the Ghost was lame, but Nightshade was like a new age Zorro. 4/5
10. Sight Unseen: An invisible man terrorizes Star Labs, now with the Flash on pursuit. Frankly, I was bored to tears by this episode. IT was on the exact same note the whole time. I did like the concept, though. 2/5
11. Beat the Clock: A jazz musician framed for murder is now on trial. The Flash must find out as much as he can about the situation before time runs out. It was a nice compination of campiness and drama. 4/5
12. The Trickster: The first comic villain to appear on the show, James Jesse, a psychotic mass murderer and magician, believes that Megan Lockheart(from episode 3) is under a spell by the Flash and tries to kill the scarlet speedster as the Trickster. Mark Hamil was an excellent Trickster. I loved how he was like the Joker with a more childish mind. The final fight was awesome. 5/5
13. Tina, Is That You?: After an accident in Star Labs, Tina goes evil and joins the Black Rose Gang, a gang of ruthless women that are trying to kill the Flash. But as Tina as their leader, the Flash is in for a big surprise. It was pretty mediocre. Yeah, Tina was a dangerous enemy, but the others were useless. 3/5
14. Barry runs into a homeless mother that is running away from her evil crime running husband through the streets. Why? To protect her child. Now Allen steps in to help the mother and child get back on their feet while taking out an evil crime boss. I loved every second of it. The suspense, the drama, and action. One of the better episodes. 5/5
15. Fast Forward: Pike(from episode 1) is back out of jail. Now he threatens the USA in an attempt for take over. But when Flash goes through a hole in time, Barry finds himself in the future where Pike owns Central City with an iron fist. Now Barry must get back to his own time period to stop Pike from taking over. Though not as good as the pilot episode, a concept like that is hard to make even mediocre. So, I'll give it an even grade. 3/5
16. Deadly Nightshade: A new Nightshade is using bullets to clear the streets of scum and those around it. The Flash and the original Nightshade must stop this new Punisher/Batman mix Nightsade from going farther across the line than he already has. It was a good episode with a neat Punisher like idea. 5/5
17. Captain Cold: After long await, ol' frosty comes by Central City. A cold(pardon the pun) hearted asassin has a deal to kill the Flash. Though he beat the hero once, Barry comes back prepared, ready to fight Captain Cold in an ultimate showdown. Captain Cold is now one of my favorite DC on TV villains. He didn't look like much, but he was one heck of a but kicker. 5/5
18. Twin Streaks: An emotionally unstabled clone of Barry name Pollux rips the city in half, trying to find out who or what he is. The final fight is short yet kickass, and I loved how he was like an innocent Reverse Flash. Cool costume, too. 5/5
19. Done with Mirrors: Barry becomes Professor Zoom to track down a villain named Mirror Master. I personally did not like this episode. Mirror Master was cliche, the plot was drawn out, and the new characters were mixed up. 2/5
20. Good Night, Central City: A bum named Harry uses a machine that maked people automatically go to sleep on the city. Not only that, but Barry is framed for being a part of the crime! This episode was a lot better than I thought it would be. It held up very well. Top notch episode. 5/5
21. Alpha: A robot asassin, longing to be free, heads to Central City's night clubs, only to meet Barry Allen. Now the Flash must protect her from a currupted government and a Terminator ripoff cyborg. It was an alright episode. I couldn't stand that Terminator ripoff cyborg, though. 3/5
22. Trial of the Trickster: The series finale. The Trickster breaks out of jail with his new hot sidekick, Prank. And guess who is helping them. A brainwashed Flash! Can Megan Lockeart and Tina stop the Flash's psycho ways and bring him back to normal? I loved this episode so much. Though more episodes would've rocked, this, in some ways, was a good ending to a cool series. The Trickster once again stole the show. 5/5
Overall, this was a great series that any super hero fan should watch. The best live action TV superhero show to date(sorry, Smallville and Batman). Sure, there were a good bit of bad episodes, but the good ones more than make up for them. 4.5-5/5
on November 2, 2005
From the pages of DC Comics, the Scarlet Speedster dashes to the rescue in the live-action adventure series "The Flash". A freak laboratory accident gives police scientist Barry Allen (John Wesley Shipp, Dawson's Creek) the ability to move at incredible speeds. With the help of a fellow research scientist (Amanda Pays, Max Headroom), the fastest man alive known as the Flash uses his powers to clean up the streets of Central City from menacing criminals like the Trickster, Captain Cold, Mirror Master and much more. "The Flash" first aired on CBS in 1990. Due to strong network competition and constant preemptions of breaking Gulf War news coverage, the live-action series recieved weak ratings and only lasted one season. Despite its short-lived run, "The Flash" was a well produced adaptation of the popular comic book character. The series features some worthy storylines, cool visual effects and a great music score. It also includes guest stars like Richard Beltzer (Law & Order: SVU), Gloria Reuben (ER), David Cassidy (The Partridge Family), Jeri Ryan (Boston Public), Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle), Angela Bassett (The Score) and Mark Hamill (Star Wars).
Fans who have waited for the DVD release of the live-action DC Comics series will be somewhat disappointed with "The Flash: The Complete Series" 6-Disc Box Set. All 21 episodes are presented in their original full screen format. Its picture quality is simple but reasonably clear. Its 2.0 Dolby Digital sound is rather enjoyable. Unfortunately, this 6-Disc set doesn't include supplemental extras. Despite its unimpressive presentation, "The Flash" is a fine addition to any comic book fan's DVD collection and receives a "B-".
on January 24, 2006
DO NOT BUY THIS DVD SET RIGHT NOW...the first disc in the set WILL NOT play the entire pilot episode, and even Warner Bros admits it. Read on and you'll see who I talked too at Warner Bros about this !!!
I'm a huge fan of The Flash. Thus, I pre-ordered the set back in December and got it on January 11th. Kudos to Amazon for being so quick about getting it to me. Disc # 1, at 1 hr and 31 minutes into the Pilot episode, has problems. It actually freezes and locks-up my Philips DVP-642 dvd player I got here about 2 months ago. The only disc that player has a had a problem with! I ran a check on the disc 1 of that set with one of Nero's tools (software for burning) and it says that the file "VTS_01_4.VOB" is bad and that 1.82% of the disc is unreadable. If you have disc 1 and Nero, you might want to run a "file scan" and "surface scan" too. I suspect that either the media used to create the sets is bad, or the duplication equipment to create the sets.
In any case, on Sunday January 22nd at 10PM, I went online to www.amazon.com/returns there's a "Contact" link there, that says "Call Now". I figured for grins I'd click on it, and in about 2 seconds my phone rang. I explained the issue and within 2 days I had my 2nd set (bravo to Amazon cust. svc...wow!).
Ultimately, I found that the 2nd set had the same exact error on the 1st disc. I fast forwarded to 1 hr 31 min on the disc, and it locks-up my Philips dvd player, gets the dvd drive spinning endlessly in a loop, requiring the dvd player be unpowered to stop that. I ran the Nero check again, file "VTS_01_4.VOB" on the disc comes back as "read error" and again, exactly 1.82% of the disc tests as "unreadable" with Nero.
With 2 sets of this in a row bad, and the same error at the same exact spot, one can't blame Amazon. Thus I suspected Warner Bros. might have to recall this entire series, and/or fire the company responsible for creating the sets, as I believe there to be a major quality control issue that should've been caught, before this set hit retailers shelves.
UPDATE: Every year for over 10 yrs I kept hoping this series would be released, and I've waited too long for this series to come out, to let stupid playback issues go unresolved. So I called some lame Warner Bros cust. svc. number in Tampa, FL (800-364-6928) and they didn't know what to do about this. Next, I called Warner Bros in CA. (1-818-954-6000) about the issues everyone here, including myself, has with the disks in this set. I was initially ignored, so I found a website with email addresses for all the big shots at Warner (CEO, Pres, VP's, etc). I emailed them all about the issue, pointed them to the reviews here on Amazon with complaints about dvd playback, included screenshots of my test results, and Sherri Bogard (Sherri.Bogard@warnerbros.com) who handles "Defective DVD" issues for "Warner Home Video" emailed me within (2) hours stating:
"Warner Home Video is in the process of setting up a return program for this specific title (yes, we will be fixing the disc). Right now I do not have an estimated time frame, but as soon as I do, I will let you know".
I think that's about as close too a subtle admission of "yep, it doesn't work, we screwed up, and QC should've caught it before it hit retailers shelves" as any of us can hope for ;-)
You'd think WB would have some $8-$10/hr kid who sits in a room full of various dvd players in their offices, pops in discs one after another, and does nothing but look for playback/freezing issues on stuff like this, before its released. Or at least they have some kind of software or equipment to scan the disk. I now suspect they have neither, or they would've caught this. Hint to Warner Bros...have a room full of PC's with DVD burners in them, install Nero, and use the Nero tool called "CD Check". If WB had, they would've caught this!
If you own this set and you're frustrated about the "bad media" WB allowed this to be burned too, you might want to email Sherri and put your name on what's likely to become a long list of people like myself, needing a replacement for at least Disc 1. In the meantime, I'm going to do software tests on "file" and "surface structure" of the other disks in this set.
on January 1, 2006
Finally!!! Man, I've been waiting for this one for a long time. By far the greatest comic book superhero based television series ever. Smallville has it's moments and I do like the guest appearances of other comic characters from the DC Universe, but overall I haven't found enough there to keep me coming back regularly. The Flash on the other hand is pure, simple comic book fun. John Wesley Shipp was great as Barry Allen (the Flash I grew up with in the comics) and I can't say enough good things about Danny Elfman's theme. Every time I here it I get chills up my spine.
His justice is fast. And furious. Get ready for "The Flash - The Complete Series!" Developed by Danny Bilson & Paul De Meo (Viper) and a writing team headed by "Alien Nation" alums Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickel, and comic book scribes Howard Chaykin and John Francis Moore, CBS's "The Flash" was given a grimmer tone than its comic book source. Traditional comic book elements were told in a very straight manner. There's humor, but the show wasn't played for laughs as there is a lot of danger, violence, death, and redemption. The villains are twisted and bizarre. Most notably, Mark (Star Wars) Hamill as the Trickster, whose inspired performances would carry him to greater fame as the voice of the Joker in "Batman: The Animated Series." Central City is neon lit with a lot of art deco facades for a film noir look. Most of the show's music was scored by Shirley Walker (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm) with Danny (Batman) Elfman providing the rousing main title theme. The show also received solid support from John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen/The Flash, Amanda Pays as S.T.A.R. Labs scientist Tina McGee, and Alex Desert as Julio Mendez, Barry's lab partner. Not to mention the sinister Flash suit itself, a 10-pound wonder created by FX wizard Robert Short from a Dave (Rocketeer) Stevens design.
The Flash - The Complete Series is a 6-disc (1088 min.) set featuring all 21 episodes from the 1990-1991 season plus the 90 min. pilot. Despite the lack of extras, owning the complete series of this slick, well-produced comic book adaption is still highly recommended.
The Flash Pilot
01. Out of Control
02. Watching the Detectives
03. Honor Among Thieves
04. Double Vision
05. Sins of the Father
06. Child's Play
07. Shroud of Death
08. Ghost in the Machine
09. Sight Unseen
10. Beat the Clock
11. The Trickster
12. Tina, Is That You?
13. Be My Baby
14. Fast Forward
15. Deadly Nightshade
16. Captain Cold
17. Twin Streaks
18. Done With Mirrors
19. Goodnight, Central City
21. The Trial of the Trickster
***JUST AN UPDATE FOR THOSE WHO RECEIVED DEFECTIVE SETS***Warner has made good on their offer to replace the first defective disc if you received it. Go to TVONDVD.com for more information. Also, Warner has listed a phone # to contact them 1-800-891-1311. They will send out a self addressed stamped envelope so that the disc can be replaced. All of this is due to the efforts of Gord Lacey at TVONDVD.com.
"The Flash" benefited from witty performances, great optical effects and the atmospheric look of the show (borrowed from Tim Burton's "Batman"). The main flaw with the show was the lack of supervillains during the first half of the season. Luckily some of The Flash's colorful nemesis appeared during the second half of the season. I've read about some of the problems with the pilot and purchased this set with trepedation. I'm not sure if I lucked out (Warner Brothers still hasn't been able to pinpoint what the specific problem is with those discs that are defective). Luckily I had no problems with the pilot episode on the first disc. It didn't skip or freeze so I'm not sure if this is a regional problem with some discs made at certain plants. My guess is that these were made of faulty material. Warner is still trying to figure out the problem with the initial batch so if you're having problems run over to TVONDVD and let them know about it. They're trying to help Warner figure out what the problem is with the set.
Barry Allen (John Wesley Shipp) develops the ability to move at a supersonic speed after lightning strikes his lab and his body is covered in a mix of chemicals. The chemicals and lightning combine to change Allen on the subatomic level allowing him not only super speed but the ability to heal rapidly and pass through solid walls walls. When Barry's older brother Jay (in a tip of the hat to the original Flash from WWII)(Tim Thomerson)is murdered Barry swears revenge against the killer Pike who leads a motorcycle gang that has been terrorizing the city. The only person that knows his secret identity is Dr. Tina McGee (Amanda Pays)who helps monitor his changing condition (the Flash occasionally has bouts of weakness and exhaustion that occur inexplicably)and helps him fight crime.
While the pilot certainly looks atmospheric the show doesn't have the stylish direction and unusual camera angles of many other shows such as "Twin Peaks" that appeared at roughly the same time. The moody lighting on the show certainly added a nice distinctive look particularly when compared to other shows of the time. The writing varied from pedestrian to exceptional featuring work by comic book artist and writer Howard Chaykin (he did the comic book adaption of "Star Wars" among many others)on a number of episodes.
The image quality is pretty decent. The show had a dark look to it and the 90 minute pilot occasionally has some flecks and spots that occur also the images are occasionally soft as well but, on the whole, the show looks pretty good. The 21 episode season is packaged like the "Superman", "Wonder Woman", "Kung Fu" and "Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman" season sets in a fold out cardboard case with each disc sitting just on top of each other. The show sounds pretty good as well with dialog crisp and clear.
Sadly there are no extras with this set. Although this show never had the following of the popular "Lois & Clark" it still deserved a featurette on the making of the series, an interview or two (particularly in light of "The Flash" feature film that writer-director David Goyer is working on)or a commentary track.
It's a pity that "The Flash" wasn't given a second chance as the show improved with time. Later guest stars such as Mark Hamill, David Cassidy, Jeffrey Combs, Denise Crosby and others made the show more interesting as well. The show floundered as CBS moved it around with regularity and/or pre-empted it for updates on the Gulf War. Frankly given the great work that Warner has done on other TV series I'm a bit disappointed at the quality of the extras for this set. Still, I'm happy the show has finally shown up on DVD.
on January 22, 2006
I'm so sick of bad quality dvd's today. I own over 500 dvds and within the last 2 years have had 13 that froze up in certain spots. This one did the same. And to that person that said buy a better dvd player, I have 7. My 5 disk Sony is brand new and much more than $80. Freezes. My single disk Sony is 8 years old. Freezes. My brand new computer? Freezes. My portable RCA? Freezes. Both X-box's? Freezes. Playstation 2? Freezes. I returned this thing twice to Best Buy and it still freezes in the exact same spot every time. Approx 3 minutes before the end of the pilot. If you'll go to tvshowsondvd.com and look up the Flash, they'll tell you that Warner Bros is aware of the problem and is asking for people to let them know if their's is defective and what kind of players they are being played on. They are supposed to be working out a way to replace those disks. I hope soon because this really irritates me. Some of the ones I've had to take back? Season 1, Vol 1 of Masters of the Universe, Vol 1 of Superman the Animated Series (still skips after taking it back once), Spiderman 2, Bourne Identity, Smallville season 3, Kingdom Hospital (took back 3 times! 4 total sets and they all freeze 15 minutes before the end of the very last episode. 15 hours spent watching this show and I still can't see the last 15 minutes of it. I finally gave up.) I think the problem isn't the quality of the dvd player. The problem is lowest bidder. These companies are getting these disks manufactured by the lowest bidder and that, like most things made today, seriously hurts the quality.
The show it'self? I enjoyed it. I still enjoy it and laugh at the cheesy moments. They don't bother me. It was a fun show and I'm so happy it's on dvd. The lack of extras is kinda crappy and shows the studio only wanted the money this could make. Even if there were no deleted scenes and extra footage available, they could've at least put together a featurette on the show or something. Oh well.
This just in for the defective sets! If you have a defective disk 1, please call the Warner Bros number and select option 3. 1-800-891-1311. An operator will take your number and mailing address to send out a postage paid envelope to send the bad disk back to them in. They will get a replacement disk out to you.
on March 29, 2006
I decided to replace my "intial impressions" review with a better one after watching all the episodes of The Flash. Here are my comments:
- There were many more than I remember seeing. I think I saw about six when it originally aired, missing most because of the changing schedule, student life, and the used VCR that I was trying to set to a moving target.
- The content: Most of the series is shot on a set which has large murals and giant wall art, with excessive use of colors (must have been trendy for the 90's). But, you get used to that easily. The special effects are still very good considering a whole decade and a half have passed.
- The episodes are good stories, bringing out the diversity you'd expect in a comic book. If you compare this with the Batman (Michael Keaton onwards) the stories here have a broader scope even though some basic crimes remain the same (bank robberies, fur coat robberies, etc) much like the comics.
- The character of the Flash is very true to the comic books, but adds a tad more reality not unlike the recent Spider-man movies, at times. Of course, financial issues are not of the same magnitude, but there are other social, personal and health-related things that remind you that this is still an ordinary man gifted with powers and cursed with the responsibility. Sometimes I keep expecting Spider-man's reflexes and spider-sense in the Flash. But I'm sure Marvel has those patented :-)
- While there are no deleted scenes or other bonus materials the DVD's are well laid out with the episode names, and then the content guide is in the DVD as well. You can definitely pick out the episode you want to watch, even read a brief synopsis on the DVD case.
- Initially I thought my six-year-old would enjoy these, but the content is mature enough (say PG or PG-13) and the story/plots are interesting enough that my wife and I ended up watching the DVD's and she's not even a big comic book fan.
For any fan of comic book superheroes, this set is really worth getting. I wish they'd make another season or five, or even a movie.
Flash fans rejoice, the woefully underrated and short lived show is finally on DVD in all it's glory. Originally aired on CBS in 1990, the Flash boasted some impressive effects and set pieces, but thanks to a constantly shuffled time slot and coverage of the Gulf War, ratings went downward, and the series soon followed. However, the series did a lot right, namely casting John Wesley Shipp as police scientist Barry Allen who, through a scientific mishap, gains the ability to run at incredible speed and becomes the DC Comics icon. He is teamed up with a fellow scientist (Amanda Pays) as he takes on crooked cops and crooks alike, with the later part of the series introducing fan favorite villains including Captain Cold, the Mirror Master, and Mark Hamil as the looney Trickster. Had the show not been mishandled the way it was, this could have been something really special, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. What's really sad here however, is that Warner Bros. has decided not to included any Special Features at all in this DVD set, which is a crying shame to say the least.