The Flash (2014 TV series)

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The Flash
TheFLASHlogo.png
Genre
Based on The characters from DC Comics
Developed by
Starring
Composer(s) Blake Neely
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 36 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
Editor(s)
Location(s) Vancouver, British Columbia
Cinematography
  • Glen Winter (pilot)
  • C. Kim Miles
  • Jeffrey C. Mygatt
  • Stewart Whelan
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 42–45 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original network The CW
Picture format HDTV 1080i
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release October 7, 2014 (2014-10-07) – present
Chronology
Related shows Arrowverse
External links
Official website
Production website

The Flash is an American television series developed by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns, airing on The CW. It is based on the DC Comics character Barry Allen / Flash, a costumed superhero crime-fighter with the power to move at superhuman speeds. It is a spin-off from Arrow. The series follows Allen, portrayed by Grant Gustin, a crime scene investigator who gains super-human speed, which he uses to fight criminals, including others who have also gained superhuman abilities.

Initially envisioned as a backdoor pilot, the positive reception Gustin received during two appearances as Barry on Arrow led to executives choosing to develop a full pilot to make use of a larger budget and help flesh out Barry's world in more detail. Colleen Atwood, costume designer for Arrow, was brought in to design the Flash's suit, which was modeled after the comic books. The creative team wanted to make sure that the Flash would resemble his comic book counterpart, and not simply be a poor imitation. The series is primarily filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The Flash premiered in North America on October 7, 2014, where the pilot became the second-most watched premiere in the history of The CW, after The Vampire Diaries in 2009. It has been well received by critics and audiences, and won the People's Choice Award for "Favorite New TV Drama" in 2014. On January 11, 2015, The CW renewed The Flash for a second season,[1] which premiered October 6, 2015.[2] The series, together with Arrow, has spun characters out to their own show, Legends of Tomorrow, which premiered on January 21, 2016.

Premise[edit]

After witnessing his mother's (Michelle Harrison) supernatural murder and his father's (John Wesley Shipp) wrongful conviction for the crime, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is taken in by Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and his family. Allen becomes a brilliant but socially awkward crime scene investigator for the Central City Police Department. His obsession with his tragic past causes him to become an outcast among his peers; he investigates cold cases, paranormal occurrences, and cutting-edge scientific advancements that may shed light on his mother's murder. No one believes his description of the crime—that a ball of lightning with the face of a man invaded their home that night—and Allen is fiercely driven to vindicate himself and to clear his father's name. Fourteen years after his mother's death, an advanced particle accelerator malfunctions during its public unveiling, bathing the city center with a previously unknown form of radiation during a severe thunderstorm. Allen is struck by lightning from the storm and doused with chemicals in his lab. Awakening after a nine-month coma, he discovers he has the ability to move at superhuman speeds. Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), the disgraced designer of the failed particle accelerator, describes Barry's special nature as "metahuman"; Allen soon discovers that he is not the only one who was changed by the radiation. Allen vows to use his gifts to protect Central City from the escalating violence of metahuman criminals. He is aided by a few close friends and associates who guard his secrets.[3]

Six months after the events of the first season, after a singularity event, the Flash is recognized as Central City's hero. Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears), the Flash from a parallel universe, visits Barry and warns him another speedster named Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd) is trying to eliminate everyone connected to the Speed Force throughout the multiverse. Jay, and later Harrison Wells' parallel universe counterpart, work to help Barry and his friends stop Zoom. Joe and his daughter, Iris (Candice Patton), struggle with their shared painful past related to their family, especially after the arrival of Iris's brother Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale), whom Francine West (Vanessa A. Williams) gave birth to shortly after abandoning her family.

Season Episodes Originally aired Nielsen ratings
First aired Last aired Rank Average viewership
(in millions)
1 23 October 7, 2014 (2014-10-07) May 19, 2015 (2015-05-19) 44 3.84[4]
2 23 October 6, 2015 (2015-10-06) TBA TBD TBD

Cast[edit]

A Central City assistant police forensic investigator. Moments after an explosion at the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator, Barry is struck by lightning in his laboratory and doused by chemicals affected by the accident. When he awakens from a nine-month coma, he has superhuman speed.[5] In September 2013, Grant Gustin was cast in the titular role.[5] Andy Mientus, who would eventually be cast as Hartley Rathaway, also auditioned for the role.[6] Gustin began researching the character during the audition process, and reading as many comics as possible. Gustin primarily focused on The New 52 series of comics, because he knew it would be difficult to read everything and he felt the New 52 was the closest to the show's "look and feel".[7] Gustin also portrays the Earth-2 version of the character, Barry Allen, who is not the Flash on this Earth.[8]
She is the daughter of Detective West and Barry Allen's best friend and longtime crush.[9] She works at Central City Picture News as a journalist.[10] Patton also portrays the Earth-2 version of the character, Iris West-Allen, who is a detective at the Central City Police Department.[8]
Named after the civilian identity of the DC Comics character Killer Frost. A highly intelligent bioengineering expert, Caitlin believed her fiancé, Ronnie Raymond,[11] was killed during the particle accelerator explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs,[12] until he returned part way through first season. Ronnie and Caitlin get married in the first season finale, "Fast Enough".[13] Panabaker also portrays the Earth-2 version of the character, Caitlin Snow / Killer Frost.[14][8]
A recent transfer to the Central City Police Department, Eddie's past is a mystery and he harbored a dark secret.[12] He is partner to Detective Joe West and Iris West's love interest. Cosnett left the series after the first season, following his character's sacrifice to wipe Eobard Thawne, his distant descendant, from history.[13]
  • Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon / Vibe: A mechanical engineering genius, Cisco is the youngest member of the team of scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs.[15] Valdes also portrays the Earth-2 version of the character, Cisco Ramon / Reverb.[8]
  • Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells:
The mind and money behind Central City's S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator, who becomes a pariah after the lab explodes.[16] He serves as a mentor to Barry Allen after he exhibits his powers, but Dr. Wells is keeping secrets from Barry, including his plans for the speedster. Wells is ultimately revealed to be the Reverse-Flash, but unlike Barry, his super speed requires periodic recharging.[17][18] Wells eventually reveals he is actually Eobard Thawne (played by Matt Letscher) in disguise, a distant relative of Eddie.[19] Kreisberg confirmed that Cavanagh would continue as a series regular for the second season,[20] despite his character being erased from existence in the first season finale.[13] Cavanagh portrays the Earth-2 version of Wells in season two.
  • Jesse L. Martin as Joe West: A police officer who acts as a surrogate father to Barry, after his mother's death and father's imprisonment, and who is the father of Iris[3][21] and Wally.[22] Martin also portrays the Earth-2 version of the character, a musician.[8]
  • Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West:
The son of Joe and brother of Iris, born without their knowledge after his mother left Central City.[22] The producers disliked the introduction of relatives of characters that were never previously mentioned, feeling it was "weird", and opted instead to introduce Wally as unknown even to his relatives. They also chose to make him Iris' brother, a departure from the comics where he was her nephew.[22] Speaking on Lonsdale's casting, Kreisberg explained that “Just like when we met Grant [Gustin] for the first time, we instantly knew Keiynan embodied all the heart and courage of a hero."[23]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On July 30, 2013, it was announced that Arrow co-creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, Arrow pilot director David Nutter, and DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns would develop a television series based on the Flash for The CW, and it would detail Barry Allen's origin.[24] Kreisberg revealed after the announcement that Allen would first appear as a recurring character on Arrow in three episodes of season two—all written by Berlanti, Kreisberg and Johns—and the last of the episodes would act as a backdoor pilot for the new show. Kreisberg added that Allen would be a forensic scientist and the introduction of his superpowers, as well as the reactions to this, will be very human and grounded. Johns stated that the character of the Flash in the show would resemble his comic book counterpart, complete with his trademark red costume, and not be a poor imitation. Kreisberg elaborated: "No sweat suits or strange code names; he will be The Flash." While researching the best way to depict the Flash's lightning speed, Johns stated it would not just be the standard "blurring around".[25]

Barry ultimately appeared twice in Arrow's second season, with the planned backdoor pilot cancelled in favor of a traditional pilot by The CW executives, who had been impressed by early cuts of Barry's first two episodes on Arrow. This allowed the creative team to flesh out Barry's story and his world on a bigger budget, as opposed to a backdoor pilot's constraint of incorporating characters from the parent show. The pilot was officially ordered on January 29, 2014, and was written by Berlanti, Kreisberg, and Johns, and directed by Nutter.[26][27] On May 8, 2014, The Flash was officially picked up as a series, with an initial order of 13 episodes.[28] Three more scripts were ordered in September 2014 following a positive response to newly completed episodes by executives,[29] while a back ten was ordered the next month for a full 23-episode season.[30]

With the commencement of production on the series' second season, former Arrow and Ugly Betty writer Gabrielle Stanton was promoted to executive producer and showrunner; after having served as consulting producer and writer on the first season's finale "Fast Enough".[31] However, it was later reported that Kreisberg would be returning to sole showrunner duties at an unspecified time.[32] That time was later proved to be at the start of 2016, "Potential Energy", when Stanton was no longer credited as being involved with the show.

Design[edit]

The costume was designed by Colleen Atwood, who also designed the costumes for Arrow.[33] It features a burgundy color scheme, a masked helmet, and gold accents throughout,[34] and went through multiple adjustments from the moment it was placed in computer renderings to the day of filming the pilot.[7] Primarily made of leather, the suit contains areas with a stretchable material to allow Gustin room to bend. According to Atwood "It was all about a costume that could sell speed, Grant [Gustin] was continually moving in the suit, so it had to be designed to make that all happen visually and functionally."[35] It initially took Gustin approximately 40 minutes to get into his costume, as the first cowl was prosthetic and had to be zipped and glued to his face. This was cut down to approximately 15 minutes by episode eight, when designers were able to develop a new cowl that easily slid over Gustin's face and locked into place.[7] Maya Mani replaced Atwood as the costume designer for the second season and made slight changes to the Flash costume, such as changing the color of his crest from yellow to white, being faithful to the Flash costume from the comics.[36]

Filming[edit]

Production on the pilot began in March 2014, with filming taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia;[37] additional filming for the series takes place in Portland, Oregon.[38] On how action sequences are shot for the series, compared to Arrow, Gustin said, "When [Arrow] shoot[s] action sequences, pretty much what you see is what you get and they're really doing everything. We do a lot of plate shots that are empty shots of the area we’re going to be in and then they’re putting us in later in post. I do a lot of the fighting. I don’t have to do it full speed and then they ramp it up and a lot of people have to freeze and I keep moving. Then I have to clear frame and step back into frame. It’s really tedious stuff that we have to do. On their's, they learn fight choreography and they shoot it from the perfect angles and what you see is what you get."[39]

Music[edit]

Arrow composer Blake Neely is the primary composer of the series, and was first hired in April 2014 to score the pilot.[40][41] He had previously composed a theme for Barry Allen which was featured in Arrow's season two episodes "The Scientist" and "Three Ghosts". The theme was titled "The Scientist" when it was released on the Arrow: Season 2 soundtrack. According to Neely, "It had to be different [from Arrow] ... but it also couldn't be so different that it couldn't fit in the Arrow universe, ... it had to be in a style that could hold hands with Arrow."[42] On December 18, 2014, WaterTower Music released a selection of music from The Flash/Arrow crossover episodes, as well as two bonus tracks from their respective 2014 midseason finales.[43] The first season, two-disc soundtrack was released on October 16, 2015.[44]

Sound design[edit]

The sound design for the show is handled by Mark Camperell. The sound effect for Barry is made up of elements of thunder, electricity, jets, fireballs, and various custom whooshes and impacts. Speaking about designing the sound for The Flash's ability, Mark says: "My approach for the sounds of The Flash’s ability was to editorially treat him like a really aggressively driven hot rod. This doesn’t mean that I used car sounds for him, though. What I mean is that when thinking about how to edit his sounds, I thought about it like cutting a car chase."[45]

Broadcast[edit]

The Flash was screened at the Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment panel at San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2014.[46] The series officially premiered on The CW on October 7, 2014, during the 2014–15 television season[47] and also premiered in Canada on the same night.[48] The second episode was screened at New York Comic Con on October 9, 2014, as a way to repay the viewers that watched the series' premiere episode.[49] The series premiered in the United Kingdom and Ireland on October 28, 2014,[50] and in Australia on December 3, 2014.[51]

Critical reception[edit]

Regarding Gustin's debut as Barry Allen in Arrow and the potential for a series, IGN's Jesse Schedeen stated his concern: "Gustin doesn't come across as leading man material. His awkward bumbling intertwining with Felicity's was cute, but rarely did I get the impression that this character could or should be given his own spinoff series."[52] Schedeen eventually warmed up to the character, however, once the "dorkiness and social awkwardness" were downplayed a bit and the emphasis was placed on "his keen scientific mind".[53]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 96% approval rating with an average rating of 7.4/10 based on 55 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "The Flash benefits from its purposefully light atmosphere, making it a superhero show uniquely geared toward genre fans as well as novices."[54] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 73 out of 100, based on 27 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[55] IGN's Eric Goldman and Joshua Yehl praised the show's premise and cast after viewing a press screening copy of the pilot. Goldman and Yehl favorably compared it to Arrow, stating that The Flash progresses with a confidence that Arrow did not get until later in the series.[56] Reviews for the series became increasingly positive as the season progressed, with the finale receiving critical acclaim. Noel Murray of the The A.V. Club gave the season a B+ overall, giving praise to the pacing of the plot, the performances of the cast and the special effects, and also pointing out the series' boldness to embrace its comic book influences, something that conventional superhero shows tend not to do.[57] Weekly episode reviewer Scott Von Doviak gave consistently high ratings to the season and awarded the season finale a perfect A grade, calling the episode "richly satisfying" and also commending the show for "[capturing] the essence of its source material in a fun, light-on-its-feet way that few other comic book adaptations have managed." He also gave high praise to the emotional value and performances of the cast, as well as the cliffhanger and multiple easter eggs found in the episode.[58] The second season of The Flash scored a Metacritic rating of 81 out of 100 indicating "universal acclaim".[59]

Ratings[edit]

The first episode of The Flash was watched by 4.8 million viewers and had a 1.9 18–49 demographic rating, making it The CW's most watched and highest rated series premiere since The Vampire Diaries in 2009. It also became The CW's second-most watched series premiere ever, behind 90210, and the third-highest rated in the 18–49 demographic.[60] Factoring Live + 7 day ratings, the pilot was watched by a total of 6.8 million viewers, becoming The CW's most-watched telecast and the highest-rated premiere among men 18–34 (2.5 rating). It broke the previous record for the most-watched telecast held by the cycle 8 finale of America's Next Top Model in 2007 (6.69 million). Additionally, across all platforms, including initiated streams on digital platforms and total unduplicated viewers on-air over two airings the week of October 7, 2014, the premiere was seen more than 13 million times.[61]

The Canadian premiere was watched by 3.11 million viewers, making it the most-watched broadcast that night and the second for that week.[62] In the United Kingdom, the premiere was the fourth highest-rated broadcast of the week and the eleventh of that month, with 1.53 million viewers.[63][64] The timeshifted version got 82,000 viewers.[65] The premiere in Australia was the most-watched broadcast on pay television, with 129,000 viewers tuning in.[66]

Digital comic[edit]

The Flash: Season Zero, written by Kreisberg, Brooke Eikmeier and Katherine Walczak, with art by Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur, is intended to take place between the pilot episode and episode 2. Kreisberg stated, "Barry will [already] be the Flash, he will have his team, everyone will be in that world, and we'll [sic] introducing a new set of villains that we won't be seeing on the TV show. It'll feel like the same heart, humor and spectacle that you get watching Flash." The comic will showcase the entire TV cast, plus new rogues, a group of circus performers who gained super powers as a result of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion. The group is led by Mr. Bliss, a character who first appeared in Starman. The comic launched digitally biweekly on September 8, 2014, with its first physical release featuring a collection of the digital releases, releasing on October 1.[67]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Recipient(s) Result Reference
2014 Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program Armen Kevorkian, James Baldanzi, Jeremy Jozwick, Andranik Taranyan Nominated [68]
Behind the Voice Actors Awards Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Guest Role - Action/Drama Morena Baccarin Nominated [69]
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Drama The Flash Won [70]
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Family TV Show The Flash Nominated [71]
Favorite TV Actor Grant Gustin Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Superhero Adaption Television Series The Flash Won [72]
Best Actor on Television Grant Gustin Nominated
Best Guest Star on Television Wentworth Miller Won
Leo Awards Best Dramatic Series The Flash Nominated [73]
Best Direction in a Dramatic Serie Glen Winter Nominated
Best Cinematography in a Dramatic Series C. Kim Miles Nominated
Best Visual Effects in a Dramatic Series For episode "Going Rogue" Won
Best Production Design in a Dramatic Series Tyler Bishop Harron Nominated
Best Make-Up in a Dramatic Series Tina Louise Teoli Nominated
Best Hairstyling in a Dramatic Series Sarah Koppes Nominated
Best Guest Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series Emily Bett Rickards Nominated
Publicists Awards Maxwell Weinberg Award - Television Bonanza Productions, Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television Nominated [74]
TCA Awards Outstanding New Program The Flash Nominated [75]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress - Fantasy/Sci-Fi Danielle Panabaker Nominated [76]
Choice TV - Breakout Star Grant Gustin Won [77]
Candice Patton Nominated
Choice TV - Chemistry Grant Gustin and Candice Patton Nominated
Choice TV - Liplock Grant Gustin and Candice Patton Nominated
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form For the episode "Pilot" Nominated [78]
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Special Visual Effects For episode "Grodd Lives" Nominated [79]
2016 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Family TV Show The Flash Pending [80]
Favorite Male TV Star - Family Show Grant Gustin Pending

Home release[edit]

Complete Season DVD/Blu-ray Release dates
Region 1/A Region 2/B Region 4/C
1 September 22, 2015[81] September 21, 2015[82] TBA

Arrowverse and the DC multiverse[edit]

Main article: Arrowverse

In January 2015, The CW president Mark Pedowitz announced the intention to do a Flash/Arrow crossover every season,[83] and The CW announced that an animated web-series, Vixen, featuring the DC heroine of the same name and set in the universe of Arrow and The Flash, would be debuting on CW Seed in late 2015.[84] The character is expected to make a live-action appearance on Arrow and/or The Flash as well.[85] The next month, it was reported that a spin-off series, which is described as a superhero team-up show, was in discussion by The CW for a possible 2015–16 midseason release. Berlanti and Kreisberg would executive produce alongside Guggenheim and Sarah Schechter. The potential series would be headlined by several recurring characters from both Arrow and The Flash, with the potential for other Arrow/Flash characters to cross over to the new series as well.[86][87] In May 2015, The CW officially picked up the series, titled DC's Legends of Tomorrow.[88]

The second season begins to explore the concept of the multiverse, by introducing Earth-2, which features doppelgängers of the inhabitants in the Arrowverse (or Earth-1), along with Jay Garrick, the Flash of Earth-2, and Zoom.[89] In the episode "Welcome to Earth-2", as Barry, Cisco and Harrison Wells of Earth-2 travel to Earth-2, glimpses of the multiverse are seen, including an image of Supergirl star Melissa Benoist as Supergirl and an image of John Wesley Shipp as the Flash from the 1990 television series, implying the two characters and their respective television series exist on alternate earths to the Arrowverse.[90][91] Additionally in February 2016, it was announced that Gustin would appear on the eighteenth episode of Supergirl, "Worlds Finest".[92]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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