Let me start by saying I have mixed feelings about The CW as a network. On the surface, the majority of their shows are shallow romantic dramas that feature bits of predictable comic relief, à la Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill. On the other hand, they have mastered the art of creating addicting television that often falls into the category of being a guilty pleasure. “The CW-verse”, their interpretations of classic DC superheroes, is no different. Shows like Arrow and The Flash have their fair share of flat writing and romantic tension that seems best suited for a pre-teen audience, but in the end, they’re really good shows. If anything, it’s that “CW style” that makes these shows good. I don’t think a series about The Flash could run for several seasons on a network like HBO. These are supposed to be characters that channel our inner adolescence, an age when superheroes were idols for many of us, and having a show that caters to any age group does this.
All that being said, The Flash debuted its third season Tuesday with the episode “Flashpoint”. Last season ended with Barry deciding to go back in time and prevent his mom’s death, something he failed to do in season one. This, however, causes the world to change and Barry is now living in an alternate timeline. His parents are alive but he’s no longer “The Flash” (he still has is powers though). Iris doesn’t know him, Cisco is a billionaire, Caitlin is a doctor, and Joe, who is no longer “family” to Barry, is an absent drunk who’s close to losing his job.
This new world that we are experiencing with Barry is based on DC’s 2011 comic mini-series of the same name. The shows one hour recap of the comic series has several changes from its original source material and most likely won’t please most hardcore comic fans. This doesn’t mean it was bad, though. I enjoyed seeing a shakeup in the story. Something that didn’t feel so procedural. It was nice seeing Barry truly happy for once, enjoying time with his parents. It was entertaining to see Cisco trade in his awkward nerdy self for one of a suave billionaire. But ultimately we knew it couldn’t last. Deep down Barry missed the relationships he once had and the world he once knew. He had to sit aside and watch “Kid Flash” (who turns out to be Wally) take his spot. And on top of it all, this new life was slowly becoming permanent, forcing him to give it up, even if that meant losing his parents again.
While this episode was refreshing, I would have liked to see the world of “Flashpoint” last more than one episode. Not only would it have kept the show fresh and interesting, but it also would have added more depth and emotion to the story of Barry and his parents. Ultimately, it felt rushed. The end of the episode, however, added a twist to the story that should keep this season interesting. The first season was good because it was exciting and new, and featured good writing. The second season, however, was stale at times. Hopefully, the twist coming this season will prevent another slump and give us the winning superhero show we’ve grown to enjoy.
Overall the season premiere of The Flash was solid. It had everything that’s made it a successful superhero series while also progressing the story of its title character. It gave viewers something fresh and left us wanting more. Season three looks to be on a winning track.