Three Reasons I Stopped Watching The Flash on The CWJanuary 14, 2015
I really wanted to love this show, I truly did. The Flash is one of my favorite superheroes, and I’d pick to have his powers over any other characters. I have fond memories of Smallville up until the final season, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Arrow. The former aired on The WB and then The CW, while the latter currently airs there as well. My assumption was that the network understood the formula for such shows. Well, you know what they say about assumptions.
The Flash isn’t a 4 out of 10 or completely unwatchable. I just don’t think it holds up with the litany of other superhero-themed programs that are probably flooding your DVR. So, without further ado: the three biggest reasons why I stopped watching The Flash.
While Grant Gustin is a fabulous name for a comic book character, his portrayal of Barry Allen is lacking. Clearly, the show is designed to chronicle the characters evolution from an assistant police forensic investigator to a full-blown superhero. I am not against the premise, just the execution. Gustin comes across more as an immature teenager than a young adult trying to find his footing in the world. Nothing seems natural about Gustin’s portrayal of Barry Allen or his alter ego; there’s a lot of things that seem forced.
When you think about all the other protagonists that carry similar programs, Gustin just comes up short. He is certainly someone I can see on The CW, but not representing one of the flagship characters of DC Comics. It isn’t the fact that the opening of the show doesn’t feature him doing the salmon ladder shirtless. It really has nothing to do with him looking the part. It has everything to do with the fact that I never got done watching an episode and wished that I’d turn into the Flash. Superheros should captivate our imagination, Gustin’s portrayal of Barry Allen only makes me want to watch Arrow.
Second, the cast simply doesn’t have a lot of work with. Susanna Thompson (Moria Queen) absolutely nailed her role in Arrow, and brought emotional weight to the series. While John Wesley Shipp fulfills his role as Henry Allen nicely in the series, he simply highlights how little depth there is to every other character. Detective Joe West (portrayed by Jesse L. Martin) is the only other character that’s worth rooting for, and it’s just a matter of time before he’s killed off during a mid-season or season finale.
Every other character is just so easy to peg: Candice Patton (Iris West) won’t be interested in Barry until the last two seasons before the show ends, Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow) is clearly on the path for revenge, Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramon) is The CW at its finest in terms of producing a token smart kid, Rick Cosnett (Eddie Thawne) also represents a classic network device – good looking middle-aged guy who ends up being bad, and finally Tom Cavanagh (Dr. Harrison Wells) as the bad guy that pulled the strings the entire time. I’ll be honest, I know a fair amount about the characters, so you might think that it’s easy for me to pigeon hole each one. However, my wife, who is an avid fan of The CW, had never read anything about any of the characters and had them all pegged by episode two.
Lastly, the writing isn’t very good and that really ties into my first two points. The cast has very little to work with as the writing often struggles between an overly campy, almost childish tone, to one trying to evoke heart wrenching moments during a trip to a prison. I could barely stomach the scenes in which Iris and Eddie tried hiding their relationship from Joe while Barry was also trying to avoid being discovered by Iris. It reminded me of a 90’s sitcom, and not in a good way.
Revealing Wells as the bad guy in the first episode was a poor decision. Viewers were going to figure out that he was the bad guy. Why spoil it there? Using him as a mentor that eventually turns against Barry just seems lazy. Smallville and Arrow used a similar plot device, but it just seems misplaced here. Perhaps Eddie will be Professor Zoom at some point (I stopped watching after episode 4), but Wells is clearly the main villain at the moment. Again, The Flash isn’t the worst show on television, it just doesn’t stack up favorably against similar shows. The bar has been raised for superhero-themed programs, hopefully, The Flash – already approved for a second season – can find its footing as it currently isn’t keeping up with the competition.