The CW is undeniably good at pumping out a formulaic show with a lot of fake personality that’s embarrassingly easy to binge-watch. I’m not proud of this, but I can admit that I watched both seasons of Arrow in the space of about two weeks. The sort of low-stakes yet constant peril makes it hard to keep from going, “Well, maybe just one more…”
In any event, it seemed only right that I give Arrow‘s new spin-off, The Flash, a try. I already knew going in that it was going to star the Disney-faced Grant Gustin who’d made a brief appearance as Barry Allen in a short arc last season. Whether or not Gustin could carry a whole show wasn’t of huge concern, given that Stephen Amell is a black hole of energy and they somehow managed to build a show around his dead-eyed portrayal of the world’s most boring survivalist, Oliver Queen.
Barry, at least, has a discernible personality and a bit of quirk, but where Arrow is a show built around a boring lead with a lot of goofy side-kicks, The Flash is effectively the opposite. And ultimately it’s a lot easier to love the show with the greater proportion of fun and funny characters. Nobody in the cast is anywhere near as bizarrely cheesy as the late Tommy Merlyn (I’ll never get over it), or a whirlwind of crazy like John Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn. The Flash just seems more sanitized and more tightly-wound than its source material.
I know, I know — it’s just the pilot. Give it a chance, right? But all of this surface criticism disguises my larger frustration: these shows would be so much more interesting if they were from some other perspective than the one we’re given ad nauseam: the tortured (but attractive) white dude with parental issues who’s just nerdy enough that he can’t get the girl he wants (for now), but not so nerdy that it’s impossible she won’t see his inner worth by the end of the season.
I’m so bored with it. So, so bored. If they wanted to do an Arrow spin-off, I’d happily watch a Sara Lance flashback show, but this is the same thing except with a guy who moves fast instead of a guy who’s good at shooting things with one of the most time-consuming and impractical weapons imaginable.
It’s a hard pass. Give me something new.