The Flash Season 1 review: speeding to the top

Find out how DC’s Scarlet Speedster fares in Season 1 of The Flash

On the basis of his 2-episode guest appearance in Season 2 of Arrow, some may have questioned the decision to give Grant Gustin his own series. He was affable and nice, sure, but having been conditioned by Stephen Amell’s gritty and brooding Oliver Queen, we questioned whether these qualities were enough to carry a show.

As it turned out, any fears were thankfully unfounded, as The Flash‘s winning combination of happy-go-lucky and (relatively) low stakes proved to be a welcome tonic to its sister show.

While Arrow seemed to take a while to work out exactly what show it was, The Flash exhibits the benefits of two seasons worth of prior experience, nailing its colours to the mast with such aplomb that you just have to admire its ballsiness.

However, things are by no means straightforward. The central love triangle between Barry, Iris (Candice Patton) and Eddie (Rick Cosnett) doesn’t go the way you might expect, and sidekicks Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) both prove to have far more layers than their initial comedy-value status indicates.

Similarly, Tom Cavanagh is great, although it could be argued that the show shoots itself in the foot by revealing his true colours far too early. All the while we’re waiting for prior revelations to be denounced as red herrings, it ultimately turns out that the show was playing it straight all along, and that he really is just another comic-book villain delusions of grandeur and an axe to grind.

As for The Flash‘s rogues gallery – well, they’re a mixed bag. A large portion of the show is geared towards the eventual introduction of Gorilla Grodd (who is an admittedly impressive realisation on a TV budget), although meanwhile too much screen time is given to the likes of Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heatwave (Dominic Purcell) – neither of who really impress, which only serves to make us wonder how they managed to get put centre stage in the upcoming Legends Of Tomorrow.

Despite this, the future for The Flash looks promising on this evidence. Clearly written by the fans for the fans, there’s something for geeks of every era (Mark Hamill reprising his role as the Trickster is a particular highlight), and with time-travel and Earth 2 teased for larger roles up ahead, it looks like there’s more of this to come.

Anyone turned off by DC’s cinematic adventures could do with checking out The Flash – superheroes don’t need to be dark and gritty to be appealing, and here’s further proof to that effect.