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The Flash live-action TV show


DSmith
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I was 7 in 1990, so I had very limited memory of the show, but remembered enjoying it at the time.

 

I've watched 5 episodes so far, and what stands out is that the villains leave a lot to be desired. John Wesley Shipp is likable as Flash, but the series wouldn't have made it to 22 episodes by today's television standards.

 

The Flash/Tina McGee relationship so far is very ambiguous. They like each other and spend time together as she studies his abilities effect on his body, but they don't play at an attraction yet, which should be there from the start. I don't know if it DOES go there, it seems natural it would, but I can't remember, and the episode descriptions in the box don't give it away.

 

His friend/sidekick Julio, played by Alex Desert, who I only really remember as the "other" teacher from Boy Meets World, is pretty ill-defined and is always talking about women and trying to hook Flash up on a date. He just doesn't add anything to the show, especially a personality.

 

The first episode's villain was Pike, a facially-scarred ex-cop played by Michael Nader (I think he started on Dynasty? But I know him from the soap All My Children) who kills Flash's brother. Episode 2's villain is a mad-scientist experimenting on homeless people and then turns the syringe on himself and becomes some weird version of the Hulk/Leader from Marvel with his skin pulsating and bulging all over. Campy.

 

Episode 3's villain is the crooked district attorney. Lame. Learns Flash's true identity and Blackmails Flash into cheating a casino. The best thing to come out of this episode was Private Investigator Megan Lockhart, who's the first character that really leapt off the screen to me, because she's got a personality. Funny disguises, questionable morals, interesting job that can fit into the concept of the show. From the looks of the other episode synopses she comes back, so I'm looking forward to her again.

 

Episode 4's villain was a criminal played by Ian Buchanan, another actor with a long soap opera history (General Hospital, Bold & Beautiful, All My Children, Port Charles), and from the show Twin Peaks. He's great, but the art history theft plot is weak.

 

Episode 5's villain is some guy with wiry implants in his face who puts a mind-control chip in Flash's brain and has him commit some crimes.

 

I'd think for a show with an unproven concept, they'd bring out Trickster and Captain Cold fairly quickly, but looks like I need to wait for episode 12 and 17 to see those villains... a long wait.

 

The Flash suit always looked like crushed velvet to me.

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A little more Flash trivia, cause y'know....I'm a geek.

 

The show was originally concieved as a super-team show called Unlimited Powers. The plot had the Flash (Barry Allen) leading a team of superbeings including Dr. Occult, Blok (yes, the stone guy from Legion of Superheroes) and a new character who was supposed to be Green Arrow's daughter. As for suits, they would wear street clothes (show takes place in a future where costumed heroes have been made illegal), with the Flash mostly runing around in grey sweats!

 

As usually happens in TV land, the concept was peared down, shuffled around, and reimagined before taking it's final form.

 

Then comes pilot season 1990. CBS was looking to make a big push to take the top network spot away from NBC (they were dead last for most of the eighties) so they made the unheard of move of buying every single script, pilot, presentation, or proposal that was put before them. Including The Flash.

 

Interesting.

 

Fortunately the final product was enjoyable. Glad they didn't go the plainclothes route. That's so lame IMO, especially for known heroes.

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I guess I was about 10 or 11 when the show came out but I've always been in to superheroes so I enjoyed it, good or bad. I have the series on DVD now and it's probably been a year since I watched it but I think I only got through the 1st disk and mostly remember the Pilot. I think I still enjoyed it a bit.

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I loved the show back then , and still enjoy it today. I contend that script-wise it is no weaker than the majority of Smallville episodes, and it would be a viable concept today. It unfortunately fell victim to the same Amanda Pays curse that laid waste to the surprisingly good Max Headroom. I was too young to have the hots for Linda Carter, and Margot Kidder didn't do anything for me, so Amanda and Marina Sirtis were my first fanboy crushes. Then there came Teri Hatcher, and Charisma Carpenter, and Lucy Lawless, and Summer Glau, and ............

 

...sorry, I got a little carried away there.

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God I loved that show. I was 18 when it originally aired. Despite serious competition (Cosby, The Simpsons, etc.), being bumped all over the schedule and preempted for everything from Basketball to Gulf War coverage it still maintained strong enough ratings to be renewed. Unfortunately, the network would'nt sign off on the bill for a second season.

 

FYI: The show used two Flash suits per episode, each of which cost 100,000.

 

They started with a spandex body-suit, glued foam-rubber muscles (sculpted and expanded from Shipp's own body) to that, and covered the whole thing in electro-static nylon which they sprayed on. Finally, the suit was painted red with an air-brushed black wash. They were hot, soaked up sweat like a sponge, and by the end of the day they would literally be disintegrating. The only parts not hand-made twice for every episode were the hard plastic parts (belt, logo, bands on gloves) which could be reused from episode to episode.

 

That's why you'll never see a Flash TV suit on ebay or at the Smithsonian.

That darn Gulf War...not only did it affect my life, but what would have been my favorite show at the time....

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