DC Comics may still be trying to catch up with Marvel on the big screen, but when it comes to TV series, it is leading the way. Along with The CW’s current series Arrow and FOX’s new Gotham, as well as the long run of the former CW series Smallville, DC seems to have had a better sense of how to translate its classic creations to the small screen rather than in feature films at this point (though I’m sure they are hoping the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will change that), and that continues with the new series The Flash, which is a colorful and enjoyable adaptation of a classic DC hero.
The Flash is played by Grant Gustin (whose name itself sounds like a superhero alter ego) with a delightful sense of fun. Gustin began portraying Barry Allen, who becomes The Flash, last season on Arrow (that series’ star Stephen Amell returns the favor with a cameo in this series’ pilot and in ongoing episodes; and speaking of Amell, Stephen’s cousin Robbie will be playing Ronnie Raymond, one half of the hero known as Firestorm, on The Flash. In another casting note, old-schoolers may recognize recurring star John Wesley Shipp, who plays Barry’s father, as the actor who played The Flash in the ’90s CBS series).
In The Flash, we get to see the final event that fully transforms Barry into the hero of Central City — the same event that also happens to create nemeses like Gorilla Grodd (you’ll see a reference to him in the pilot), Weather Wizard (the main villain in the premiere) and Captain Cold (played by Wentworth Miller in a later episode).
“Everything right now is connected to a particle accelerator explosion,” says Gustin. “[The villains] all got their powers the same night I got my powers. It’s all tied in in a really interesting way.”
Gustin explains why that accident made Barry into a hero, where others went a different direction.
“If [Barry] wasn’t optimistic and full of hope,” Gustin thinks things might have turned out differently. “If this had happened to Bruce Wayne [Batman], he might have even become a bad guy, who knows?”
A similar sense of optimism also helped Gustin himself become The Flash.
“I’ve always kind of followed my passion,” he says, “and I think it’s why I’m lucky enough to get to play this role right now, and I think [Barry is] kind of overwhelmed at times by the powers he has, and it’s a little scary but it’s also exciting. And that’s kind of how I feel about doing the show, to be honest. It’s a little scary, but it’s mostly just exciting.”
When posed with the eternal comic-book question of who would win in a footrace, Superman or The Flash, Gustin stays true to his character.
“I love Superman, but at this point I’ve got to go for Flash. Because speed’s his power, so he’ll figure out a way to win.”
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET on The CW beginning Oct. 7. The series premiere encores Oct. 8 at 9pm ET, following the season premiere of Arrow.
Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved