Before I start my review I wanted to say a few words about how much this show means to me.
If you were to ask someone in the early 90s who their favourite Superhero was they would probably say Batman, Spiderman or Superman but if you were to ask an 11 year old me I would say The Flash in a fla…. sorry in an instant. This was due to the 1990s TV show starring John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen/The Flash.
In the UK we did not get to see the show until a year after it finished its run on US Television. My family had just got Sky TV in April 1992 and I was looking for something new to entertain me. On May 8th I found it and my life changed forever. Yellow lighting sparked across the screen and it grabbed my attention instantly. Over the next two hours I watched as Barry Allen went from being just an ordinary CSI to becoming the fastest man alive.
It’s because of this show, its wonderful cast and intriguing stories I became aware of a whole new world, a world of Superheroes, Comic books and later in life Conventions So thank you Flash you will always be my hero.
The first thing we notice is the wonderful music composed by Danny Elfman so it has a Batman ’89 feel to it. Another thing we notice is that Central City is not a safe place as a motorcycle gang (The Dark Riders) are taking over the streets. They blow up a bus and a police car. This gang is no joke and the police have no leads on who they are and why there are terrorising the city.
We first meet Barry at his brother, yes his brother Jay’s birthday party. They are joined by a very much alive Nora Allen and Henry Allen. Iris is there as Barry’s girlfriend but she won’t be around for long. Henry belittles Barry’s profession as a CSI, you see he feels that Jay is a “real cop” as he is the commander of the motorcycle division and is not sitting in a lab all day like Barry.
After a brief visit to a Dark Rider related crime scene Barry along his friend and co-worker Julio Mendez do some serious overtime at the lab as they try to find out anything they can about this gang. Barry seems determined to find answers I believe to prove to his father that he is just as useful as his brother. In the early hours of the morning Barry sends Julio home within minutes Barry is struck by lightning and covered in chemicals, I think you know where this is going. The next day Barry against his doctors wishes checks himself out and goes for breakfast with Iris where they have an argument, this relationship is not going to last.
We discover the Dark Riders are run by a man named Pike who appears to be worshipped like a cult leader by the rest of the gang. He is ruthless and slightly mad.
Barry starts to notice something is not right and after an unexpected visit to the beach he is called by Dr Tina McGee from S.T.A.R. Labs. Tina wants to run some advanced tests on Barry as his doctor asked Tina to help him. The tests reveal that Barry can run at least 347 miles per hour well that was his top speed before the treadmill exploded. They agree to keep his speed a secret as Tina fears that the government would take advantage of Barry’s new found abilities.
Iris decides to break with Barry because she thinks he is moving too fast and by that I mean in regards to their relationship not literally (if only she knew). He wants to get married but she wants to concentrate on her career as an artist first.
I take back what I said about Pike earlier he is not slightly mad he is a full on psychopath and a nut job. Pike and co attack Jay’s new anti Dark Rider taskforce outside CCPD. This angers Jay and he vows to bury them.
Thanks to Julio’s hard work they discover Pike is a member of the gang and Barry mentions that Pike was thrown off the police force years ago, oh and he was Jay’s former partner. Barry runs off to let Jay know. Unfortunately for Jay he and his taskforce are ambushed by the Dark Riders. Jay is murdered by Pike before Barry can get to him. I guess Pike did the burying rather than Jay.
Barry convinces Tina to help him take down Pike. She alters a red speed resistant suit adding a hood and gloves so Barry’s identity would be concealed. Barry wants one more thing added to the suit a yellow bolt of lightning.
Barry in his new costume takes out some of the Dark Riders but is stabbed in the process. Back at his apartment Barry is surprised to see Iris there. After hearing of Jay’s death she came back to see Barry and she wants to be with him again. After they spend the night together Barry discovers that his stab wound is almost fully healed.
Barry finds out that Pike is planning to break out all the inmates at the county jail. Barry as The Flash confronts Pike but starts to feel dizzy (a side effect of his speed). Pike takes advantage and beats The Flash down. Pike tries to make a getaway but The Flash recovers in time to stop Pike and ties him up for the police.
After this success Barry decides to continue his crusade against injustice as The Flash and be the hero Central City needs.
As with any TV pilot this episode had to be good otherwise there would be no series, thankfully it delivers big time. The general tone of the episode, the action sequences and the casting were all spot on. It’s just a shame that unlike the current iteration of The Flash tv show this did not get renewed for additional seasons as I feel the 90s Flash could of ran forever.