Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Flash: The Complete First Season Blu-ray review

Season 2 of The CW's The Flash is about to begin, and the best way to prepare for all of the new episodes - aside from reading the comics, of course - is by watching the first season all over again. Many of us love the show, but is the collection worth the cost? The short and simple answer: yes! If you want the longer answer, read on!
"Now run, Barry. Run!"
There's a fair amount of special features, but to me, the highlight is easily the commentary provided for the pilot episode. Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti, and Andrew Kreisberg not only sound like they're having a legitimately good time reflecting on the creation of the first episode and series as a whole, but they also share a lot of very interesting facts; everything from things that were cut to stories from the set are talked about. It's too bad there's only one commentary track from the trio - I would have loved to hear them talk about the finale - but it's a great and informative addition nonetheless. 

It should go without saying that the gag reel is adorable and hilarious, right? Sometimes these things run the risk of feeling cheesy - especially when goofy music is attached - but fans of the show know just how much levity is thrown into each episode and how well the cast can pull it off. Watching some of the silliness and slip-ups that occurred on the set kept me smiling and it's funny stuff. If you love the show, this will bring you some happiness.
It's okay to admit you cried.
The show is loaded with visual effects (or is it?) and there's a detailed special feature that puts that department in the spotlight. Seeing as this is such a critical part of the show, the people behind the VFX get plenty of time to talk about their process and educate by showing how some of the memorable shots - like the train rescue! - were tackled. All in all, it's definitely worthy of your time.

The collection managed to land a solid interview with Mark Hamill, the actor who reprised his role as the villain the Trickster. While it isn't the longest feature around, it is an amusing one that's full of footage and discussion about the Flash show from the '90s. Also included are several deleted scenes, a San Diego Comic-Con 2014 presentation, a feature called "the fastest man alive!" which consists of a lot of recap and discussion about character motives, and a feature that delves into Grant Gustin's screen test and why it was so important for him to have noticeable chemistry with Arrow's Emily Bett Rickards.

My fellow The Flash fans, the special features totally warrant watching. However, it would have been great to see one or two more insightful features. Something dedicated to just the Rogues or the excellent supporting cast has a lot of potential. An elaborate look at Reverse-Flash or even the show's countless easter eggs would have also been appreciated. Still, there's a lot to enjoy.
Pun 1 and Pun 2.
Obviously, the entire season is worth watching all over again. Sure, it has its noticeable flaws - like some villains lacking depth or major fluctuation of Barry's powers and how he acts in fights - but the criticism I have about the show is vastly overshadowed by all of the things I love so much about it. Several live-action comic book shows need some time before really finding out what works for them. For The Flash, it knew what it wanted to accomplish right from the pilot.

It's a show that can make you cry, laugh, and smile during the course of a single episode. It's never too dark, but it's never too silly, either. It's found a balance that works so well as it unleashes the perfect dose of character and comic book fun. The performances across the board are terrific (Jesse L. Martin deserves an unlimited amount of praise) and that makes these characters simply feel so much more human... and in Barry's case, metahuman. Sorry, that bad joke was just too tempting. The Flash gets you to care about its cast, totally embraces the source material (there's a telepathic gorilla AND time travel in the FIRST season; let that sink in!), and it always makes sure you're entertained.
Grant "Game Face" Gustin.
Did you also love the first season of The Flash? If so, buy this Blu-ray. It's really that simple, people. If there's no room in your budget, ask for it as a gift - the holidays are coming up, after all, I firmly believe that The Flash has one of the best debuts out of any live-action comic book series, and overall, it managed to keep doing what it does best throughout the entire season. Yeah, not every episode will blow you away, but each one is pretty much guaranteed to make you cheer, crack up, or even cry at some point. There's excellent worldbuilding throughout, the cast nails it every time, and there's just so much super-powered action and engaging drama. The show knows how to keep you emotionally invested and never lets go. The Flash had a great first season and it absolutely deserves a spot in your collection. By the time season 2 ends, I know I'm going to want to watch these episodes all over again.

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