I’ve been thinking about The Flash a lot lately. I’m not sure why a TV show I stopped watching years ago has become part of my daily rumination, but it has.
The Flash is coming to an end soon and with it, the end of the Arrowverse. On today’s internet, if you look up the Arrowverse, you’ll find lots of angry takes and dismissal of low-quality television, but when it first began it wasn’t so negative. It was wonderful to see decent, quality superhero television shows on broadcast TV. Folks forget, but it wasn’t that long ago that superhero movies were few and far between, and superhero television shows (especially good ones) even further.
I fell in love with Arrow. It was dark, brooding, and featured some fun action sequences. It got me excited for comic books again and I found myself exploring the lore of The Green Arrow more than ever before.
Not too long after Arrow debuted, The Flash was announced. I’ve always loved the character thanks to the 1990’s John Wesley Shipp show and the Justice League cartoon of the 90’s.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The darkness that was in Arrow wouldn’t fit in The Flash, and luckily, they didn’t force it. They allowed The Flash to become its own show, that was more light hearted and feel good. The Flash became a show about friends and family, coming together to fight evil and I loved that. It was hopeful and positive, the way I remembered comic books once being.
Sadly, the lack of direction and story planning quickly revealed itself as each season of The Flash seemed to be slightly lesser quality than the one before. The show was playful and energetic, but the lack of focus and the constant resetting of timelines really took away any impact any pivotal scenes the characters had. Who knew if they would remember some big revelation the next week if Barry went back in time, once more.
My Arrowverse watching slowed down once the crossover events began. As much as they excited me, I just wasn’t up to date on all the shows and felt a bit lost. As the shows embraced the chaos and the fandoms grew, I just didn’t have the time to keep up. And as quickly as Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl came into my life, they exited and were forgotten about.
Then for some reason, this week, The Flash came back to mind. I didn’t think about the special effects (impressive for TV at the time) or the big bads, I thought about Barry and Joe’s relationship. It snuck up on me several times in those first couple of seasons. I’d be sitting there, enjoying this goofy superhero show, and then I’d feel that lump in my throat. The show did an amazing job at showing a non-traditional family and it was able to make you feel part of it too.
I doubt I’ll ever go back and finish up The Flash. I think that time has passed in my life. For some reason, I just kind of forgot about it, but I’m glad it all came flooding back this week. The Flash helped me through some rough times and the characters deserved better stories than they received. The cast was incredible, and the guest stars were even better.
The Arrowverse was the last holdover from the 90’s, where television shows had 20+ episodes and most of the episodes were monster of the week with a loose arc covering the entire season. It’s a shame to see this sort of television die off, especially in a world here the options are becoming more limited. But maybe, The Flash and the Arrowverse are prime examples of people’s attention spans being too short to indulge in long seasons and maybe even the writers who seem incapable of writing a long-term storyline.