The Flash (1990 TV series)
by Robert Kanigher
|Developed by||Danny Bilson
Paul De Meo
|Written by||Danny Bilson
Paul De Meo
Gail Morgan Hickman
John Francis Moore
|Starring||John Wesley Shipp
|Theme music composer||Danny Elfman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Executive producer(s)||Danny Bilson
Paul De Meo
Gail Morgan Hickman
|Running time||45 minutes
(60 with commercials)
|Production company(s)||Pet Fly Productions
Warner Bros. Television
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Picture format||4:3 Standard|
|Original run||September 20, 1990 – May 18, 1991|
The Flash is a 1990 American television series that starred John Wesley Shipp as the superhero, the Flash (created by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert), and co-starred Amanda Pays. The series was developed from the DC Comics characters by the writing team of Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, and produced by their company, Pet Fly Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television. Composer Danny Elfman wrote the show’s title theme, and Stan Winston Studios built the costume.
Executive producers Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo later wrote several issues of the comic book series The Flash: Fastest Man Alive (2007), which focused on Bart Allen, Barry's grandson. Another regular writer on the show was Howard Chaykin, who had written and illustrated many comic book series prior to the television series, and afterward.
|John Wesley Shipp||Barry Allen/The Flash/Pollux||Main protagonist of the series. John Wesley Shipp also portrayed the Flash's "evil" clone, Pollux.|
|Amanda Pays||Dr. Christina "Tina" McGee||Scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs; main ally and potential love interest of Barry Allen/the Flash. Provides the Flash with experimental inventions to adapt & overcome his enemies.|
|Alex Désert||Julio Mendez||Central City PD (CCPD) scientist; Barry Allen's co-worker and close friend.|
Recurring roles and guest stars
|Mike Genovese||Lt. Warren Garfield||Lieutenant, CCPD; Barry and Julio's supervisor. Despite his gruff demeanor, Garfield actually cares for his men. It was Lt. Garfield who deduced the true identity of the Nightshade, Dr. Desmond Powell (see below), who has been a friend of Garfield for more than 30 years.|
|M. Emmet Walsh||Henry Allen||Sergeant, CCPD (retired); father of Barry and Jay Allen. Inspired his sons to join the police force.|
|Priscilla Pointer||Nora Allen||Mother of Barry and Jay Allen; volunteer at a shelter for single mothers.|
|Tim Thomerson||Jay Allen||Older brother of Barry Allen. Head of the CCPD Motorcycle Patrol Division; killed by his former police partner, Nicholas Pike.|
|Paula Marshall||Iris West||A computer graphics artist who is dating Barry Allen at the time he is transformed into the Flash without her knowledge. Barry wants to marry Iris, but she refuses, feeling that their relationship is moving too fast, and they break up. Iris later moves to Paris in order to make a new start in her life. She sends a letter to Barry in the second episode, but Julio burns it so as not to trouble him.|
|Richard Belzer||Joe Kline||WCCN TV news reporter, known as the "Voice of the City". Kline often does tabloid-style news stories about the Flash and his exploits.|
|Gloria Reuben||Sabrina||Julio's girlfriend. Constantly trying to set up Barry with blind dates.|
|Dick Miller||Fosnight||Police informant who provides Barry Allen with tips on criminals. Fosnight owes a "life debt" to Henry Allen, and extended that debt to his two sons as well.|
|Robert Shayne||Reg the News Stand Vendor||Reg was the owner of a news stand whom Barry Allen buys his daily newspaper from.|
|Mark Hamill||James Montgomery Jesse/The Trickster||Psychopathic and delusional mass murderer and con artist. Wanted for murder in six states. Obsessed with Megan Lockhart and kidnaps her to be his fantasy sidekick, Prank. Believing that Megan is under the influence of the Flash, the Trickster challenges him in order to be rid of his "evil spell". However, the Trickster fails and is arrested. He is sent to court, awaiting his verdict, when he is freed by Zoey Clark, who becomes the second Prank. As revenge, the Trickster captures the Flash and brainwashes him to do his bidding. The Trickster wreaks havoc upon Central City and puts the entire city on trial with the aid of his new partner. The Flash overcomes his programming and turns the tables on the Trickster, who is sent to an insane asylum.|
|Joyce Hyser||Megan Lockhart/Prank (1st)||Private investigator and repossession agent; becomes the Trickster's unwilling sidekick, Prank. Later helps Tina McGee stop the Trickster and the brainwashed Flash. Also becomes Barry Allen's love interest.|
|Corinne Bohrer||Zoey Clark/Prank (2nd)||Owner of Clarx Toys and a huge fan of the Trickster. Her obsession leads her to free him during his trial. Originally, the Trickster intends to retire his criminal life but Zoey seduces him back to his evil self and becomes the Trickster's true sidekick, Prank, which is what she always wanted. Prank uses her wealth to finance the Trickster's evil schemes, including the brainwashing of the Flash. The corrupted Flash becomes the Trickster's favored sidekick and she is locked out of her own toy store for complaining about it. Despite her best efforts, the Trickster has lost interest in Prank and ultimately boots her out of the getaway car that they are in, resulting in Prank's arrest.|
|Michael Champion||Leonard Wynters/Captain Cold||Infamous albino hitman known for freezing his victims to death with a nuclear-powered freeze gun. Captured by the Flash and arrested by CCPD pending trial, but later escapes using concealed freeze weapons. Killed by his own freeze ray when the Flash deflects the ray back at him.|
|Jeffrey Combs||Jimmy Swain||Mob boss who hires Captain Cold to eliminate his enemies, including the Flash. Since Captain Cold initially failed to kill the Flash, Swain refuses to pay Cold, who kills Swain with a freeze bomb and takes his money.|
|David Cassidy||Sam Scudder/Mirror Master||Professional thief who is an expert with mirrors and holography; steals a crystal from S.T.A.R. Labs and attempts to kill his ex-partner Stasia Masters, a high school girlfriend of Barry Allen. The Flash uses a high-powered spotlight to blind Scudder and drown out his illusions, allowing the Flash to capture him.|
|Biff Manard||Officer Michael Francis Murphy||CCPD patrol officer, partner of Bellows; does not believe the Flash is real because he has never witnessed the Flash. Murphy has served the CCPD for many years and is considering retirement.|
|Vito D'Ambrosio||Officer Tony Bellows||CCPD patrol officer, partner of Murphy; in the early episodes, Bellows notices whenever the Flash appears, Murphy is never around. Bellows accuses Murphy of being the Flash, until he sees Murphy and the Flash at the same time.|
|Michael Nader||Nicholas Pike||Disgraced former CCPD patrol officer who became a biker gang leader; in revenge, Pike murders Barry Allen's brother Jay Allen, who was once Pike's partner and the person who turned Pike in for corruption. Pike is captured by the Flash and put on trial, but is released on a technicality. Pike tries to kill the Flash, but his plan backfires and Pike is arrested again. In an alternate future timeline, Pike becomes the fascist Mayor of Central City, but is again defeated by the Flash before the hero returns to the present to avert Pike's younger counterpart's attempt for power.|
|Jason Bernard||Dr. Desmond Powell/Nightshade||1950s vigilante who captured criminals using tranquilizer darts. Blamed himself for the accidental "death" of the Ghost and gave up being a vigilante; later became a Doctor and Chief of Staff at Central City Hospital. When the Ghost reappears in 1990, Powell becomes Nightshade once again and teams up with the Flash to apprehend the Ghost. Later inspires the Deadly Nightshade; is framed for multiple counts of murder, but clears his name and captures the impostor. Makes his secret identity public and becomes a celebrity.|
|Anthony Starke||The Ghost||Megalomaniacal extortionist and electronics expert who uses television to eavesdrop on his victims and broadcast his demands. In 1955, Nightshade attempts to capture the Ghost, who threatened to blow up downtown Central City if he was not paid $1 million by the Mayor, but the Ghost fakes his death and seals himself in a "freeze chamber", set to awaken the Ghost in 1999. The equipment malfunctions and thaws out the Ghost in 1990; the Ghost and his crew steal electronics from a TV charity telethon and S.T.A.R. Labs, connect him to his computers, then threaten to shut down Central City's computer network, communications and power grid if he is not paid a $1 billion ransom, but he is captured by the Flash and Nightshade.|
|Lois Nettleton||Belle Crocker/The Ghostess||The Ghost's sidekick and girlfriend; is saved by the Nightshade after their hideout catches on fire. Thinking the Ghost has died, she gives up the life of crime and becomes a lounge singer. Thirty-five years later, she learns that the Ghost survived the fire and has not aged. While she initially welcomes him back into her life, she cannot handle the fact that he is still a young man and eventually leaves him, informing Nightshade of the Ghost's location. The young Belle Crocker is played by Sherrie Rose.|
|Richard Burgi||Curtis Bohannan/Deadly Nightshade||Philanthropist and son of mob boss Derek Bohannan, an enemy of Nightshade; decides to atone for his father's sins by becoming a vigilante resembling Nightshade, except the Deadly Nightshade wears red-glowing goggles and uses real bullets. The Deadly Nightshade guns down a terrorist group and several of Derek Bohannan's former mob associates before the Flash confronts him. Due to their similar appearances, the real Nightshade is framed for the murders. Using his wealth, Bohannan builds a high-tech lair inside his mansion and an advanced cybernetic exoskeleton, which gives Bohannan super-speed similar to the Flash. Bohannan challenges the Flash to a duel, but is defeated when the Flash uses superior tactics to trap Bohannan, who is then tranquilized by the original Nightshade and arrested by the police.|
|Jeri Ryan||Felicia Kane||A wealthy heiress kidnapped and held for ransom by pro-Guevara Marxist revolutionaries; rescued by the Deadly Nightshade, who ruthlessly guns down Kane's kidnappers, then freed by the Flash. Severely traumatized by her ordeal, Kane's testimony nevertheless clears the original Nightshade of any wrongdoing.|
|Denise Crosby||Dr. Rebecca Frost||A psychologist specializing in psychoanalyzing masked vigilantes such as the Flash, assigned to be Felicia Kane's psychiatrist. Briefly dated Barry Allen.|
|Bill Mumy||Roger Braintree||Eccentric but brilliant scientist who creates a sonic device capable of putting its targets into a deep slumber. Braintree's cousin, small-time hoodlum Harry Milgrim, steals the device and uses it in a crime spree until he is caught by the Flash.|
Other guest stars in minor roles include Jonathan Brandis as Terry Cohan, Bryan Cranston as Phillip Moses, Mark Dacascos as Osako, Robert O'Reilly as Victor Kelso, and Sven-Ole Thorsen as the android assassin Omega.
|The Flash (season 1)|
DVD cover art
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Original run||September 20, 1990– May 18, 1991|
|1||22||September 20, 1990||May 18, 1991||1990–1991|
The series' pilot episode features an accident in which Central City Police forensic scientist Barry Allen's crime lab is struck by lightning. Allen's electrified body is flung into and shatters a cabinet of chemicals, which are both electrified and forced to interact with each other and with his physiology when they come into physical contact with his body. He soon discovers, with the help of S.T.A.R. Labs scientist Tina McGee, that the accident has changed his body's metabolism and as a result he has gained the ability to move at superhuman speed. To avenge the murder of his brother, motorcycle police officer Jay (Tim Thomerson), Barry demands that Tina modify a red S.T.A.R. Labs prototype deep sea diving suit, designed to withstand tremendous pressures, into his costume, to which she reluctantly complies. Thus, Barry Allen becomes the Flash.
Film and television veteran Robert Shayne appeared in several episodes as the blind newsstand owner where Barry bought his papers. Shayne has achieved a level of stardom years earlier as Inspector Henderson on The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves. Shayne was by this time blind in real life and learned his lines by rehearsing with his wife until he memorized them.
The series initially had a dark and gritty tone, and focused on having the Flash confront decidedly human villains, like corrupt officials and mobsters. Midway through the show's run, however, a few of the Flash's familiar "Rogues Gallery" of colorful super-villains began making appearances.
Captain Cold, played by Michael Champion, and the Mirror Master, played by David Cassidy as a disgraced expert in holograms, also appeared in their own episodes. Although the series included DC characters, the interpretations were radically different from the source material, with the exception of Hamill's Trickster, though even he was altered somewhat - turned from a con-man and a largely benign criminal into a delusional mass murderer. Captain Cold, for instance, was turned into an albino hitman who murdered his victims by literally freezing them to death; while the Mirror Master was little more than a common thug with a nickname and advanced hologram technology.
List of episodes
|1||"Pilot"||September 20, 1990|
|The origin of the Flash. An accident gives police crime lab expert Barry Allen awesome powers of speed, and he vows to use them to bring his brother's murderer to justice. But first, Allen must learn to control his sudden, remarkable talents. Dr. Christina "Tina" McGee, who works for S.T.A.R. Labs, helps him with this.|
|2||"Out of Control"||September 27, 1990|
|Tina's former colleague is the main suspect when the bodies of murdered homeless people mysteriously disappear from crime scenes. He needs subjects for genetic-engineering research.|
|3||"Watching the Detectives"||October 18, 1990|
|A crooked D.A. discovers the Flash's civilian identity and uses that information to extort him into becoming his secret accomplice.|
|4||"Honor Among Thieves"||October 25, 1990|
|Guarding a priceless exhibit has the police stretched thin, a situation which a criminal mastermind exploits citywide with several thefts.|
|5||"Double Vision"||November 1, 1990|
|A mad scientist implants a device in the Flash's brain and gains remote control of his powers in order to stop a witness from testifying against a drug lord the scientist is working for.|
|6||"Sins of the Father"||November 8, 1990|
|Ex-cop Henry Allen dismisses Barry's modern police techniques until his son captures an escaped con targeting Henry.|
|7||"Child's Play"||November 15, 1990|
|A 1960s drug icon who faked his own death and went into hiding reasserts himself by unleashing a new addictive designer drug on the world.|
|8||"Shroud of Death"||November 29, 1990|
|Barry puts together bits of metal found at crime scenes and discovers that they form a neo-fascist group's medallion, with Lt. Garfield as the group's next target.|
|9||"Ghost in the Machine"||December 13, 1990|
|The Ghost controls the airwaves, tapping into video feeds just as he did back in 1955. The Nightshade, a crime-fighter of that era, resurfaces to fight him with the Flash joining him.|
|10||"Sight Unseen"||January 10, 1991|
|A criminal who has developed a cloaking device renders himself invisible and establishes a deadly vendetta endangering S.T.A.R. Labs and Central City.|
|11||"Beat the Clock"||January 31, 1991|
|The Flash must race against the clock and the electric chair in almost real time to prove the innocence of a jazz saxophonist who was convicted of murdering his famous wife.|
|12||"The Trickster"||February 7, 1991|
|The hunter becomes the hunted as James Montgomery Jesse, a schizophrenic killer being pursued by Megan Lockhart, commences to stalk her instead. Inspired by the Flash, the criminal dons a flashy outfit and calls himself the Trickster.|
|13||"Tina, Is That You?"||February 14, 1991|
|Tina embarks on a crime spree with an all-girl gang after a bio-feedback experiment yields disastrous results, and her first target is the Flash.|
|14||"Be My Baby"||February 21, 1991|
|The Flash helps a mother protect her child against her dangerous husband, who wants the child only for its genetic potential.|
|15||"Fast Forward"||February 27, 1991|
|While pursuing his brother's killer, the Flash is sent ten years into the future, where Nicholas Pike is the mayor of Central City and any mention of the Flash is against the law.|
|16||"Deadly Nightshade"||March 30, 1991|
|The Flash and the Nightshade team up once again to stop a murderous vigilante who has taken the Nightshade's name.|
|17||"Captain Cold"||April 6, 1991|
|On the hottest day of the year, four gangsters are found frozen to death. They are the victims of a notorious hitman known as Captain Cold, and his next target may be the Flash.|
|18||"Twin Streaks"||April 13, 1991|
|A scientist uses the Flash's blood to clone Barry Allen, and the clone decides to assume Barry's identity. Wearing a Blue version of the Flash suit, the clone is named "Pollux" after the Greek deity from legend.|
|19||"Done with Mirrors"||April 27, 1991|
|Sam Scudder, a criminal genius who uses mirrors and holograms to commit his crimes, hunts down his double-crossing partner, who has found refuge with one of her old high school friends — Barry Allen.|
|20||"Good Night, Central City"||May 4, 1991|
|When bodies begin disappearing from the police morgue and a gang of thieves start putting people to sleep, it falls to the Flash to save the victims and clear Barry Allen's name at the same time.|
|21||"Alpha"||May 11, 1991|
|A conscience-stricken android seeks the Flash's aid to avoid being programmed as the perfect assassin.|
|22||"The Trial of the Trickster"||May 18, 1991|
|James Jesse is preparing to go on trial for the crimes of the Trickster, but with the help of his sidekick, Prank, and a brainwashing device, he soon enlists the Flash's assistance in passing judgment on Central City.|
Several episodes were edited as three TV movies and released on VHS:
- The Flash (1990). The 2-hour pilot episode.
- The Flash II: Revenge of the Trickster (1991). Formed by the episodes “The Trickster” and “The Trial of the Trickster”.
- The Flash III: Deadly Nightshade (1991). Formed by the episodes “Ghost in the Machine” and “The Deadly Nightshade”.
Ultimately, the big-name appearances were too little too late to save the show, which struggled with a high per-episode price tag and stiff competition from NBC and Fox's strong Thursday night lineups. With the series' second episode, the one-hour program was shifted to the 8:30pm slot to avoid the media blitz caused by The Simpsons scheduled opposite The Cosby Show at 8:00. The unusual 8:30 slot did not work and the series floundered when moved to 9pm. The remaining episodes aired on Saturday nights where it faced cancellation after a single season. A brief attempt at rerunning the series in the summer on Fridays in hopes of finding an audience and reversing the cancellation also failed. Had the show continued, it was revealed the second season would have opened with the Flash's rogues teaming up to take down the hero.
A comic book tie-in special based on the TV series was published by DC Comics in 1991 titled The Flash TV Special #1, running at 76 pages. It features two stories, one written by John Byrne with art by Javier Saltares, and the second written by then-writer of the ongoing Flash title, Mark Waid featuring a thief Kid Flash; plus a behind-the-scenes look on the making of the TV series with photos.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (January 2011)|
A video game was released for Game Boy in 1991 by THQ, and was based on the TV series. It was released in the US and had a password system. A second game was programmed by Probe and released only in Europe for the Master System in 1993.
- "The Flash: The Complete Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- King, Susan (1990-09-19). "'Flash' Suits Up for a Sizzling TV Ratings Race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- "'The Flash' Is Sizzling". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- "Top 10 Comic to TV Adaptations". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
- "On CBS, the Flash Faces Toughest Foes Yet: 'Cosby' and 'Simpsons'". Chicago Tribune. 1990-08-30. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- Martin, Sue (1990-11-07). "High-Tech Flash-Forward". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- "The History of DC Comics on TV". IGN. Retrieved 2010-10-09.
- TV Guide. December 22–28, 1990. pg. 7
- Buck, Jerry (1990-12-21). "Actor Seeks Substance Under Hero's Surface". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- "Will CBS' Gee-whiz 'Flash' Shine More Than Once?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- "Watch Out, Flash! Here Comes... Bart?". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- "The Flash: The Fastest Show On Television". Comic Book Bin. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- Hofius, Jason; George Khoury (2010). Age Of TV Heroes: The Live-Action Adventures Of Your Favorite Comic Book Characters. TwoMorrows Publishing. ISBN 1-60549-010-5.
- "The Flash - Danny Elfman - Shirley Walker - Limited Edition". LA LA LAND RECORDS. Retrieved 2014-04-30.
- The Flash at the Internet Movie Database
- The Flash at TV.com
- The Flash II: Revenge of the Trickster at the Internet Movie Database
- Flash III: Deadly Nightshade at the Internet Movie Database
- Episode Guide from SciFi.com
- Crimson Lightning - A blog featuring regular reviews of The Flash television series.
- Interview about the series with lead actor John Wesley Shipp
- Pet Fly Podcast Page Including a downloadable commentary track in which series developers Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo discuss the "Trial of the Trickster" episode
- The TV series on Hyperborea