Yesterday, as I mentioned in my review of Aquaman, I had the some of the grandsons over. After we got home from the movies we played some games and had dinner but later on they got bored and not having much in the way of TV that they were interested in we let them use their parents’ Netflix account to stream a show they liked, “The Flash.” Wow. Now, I know that the WB is one of the worst networks for quality and the low budgets they work with mean that things like special effects and scripts and acting skill are brought down to a sad minimum, but I wasn’t prepared for just how bad it would be. In retrospect I’m a little ashamed at how much ranting I did while they were watching the show. As much as they share my love of mockery, I’m sure I must have been annoying to them. But to some extent it was justified.
The plot, such as it was, revolved around the Flash character and his friends and relatives protecting the inhabitants of Central City from the depredations of various random metahumans of which the Flash is one. Apparently, they were formed by some kind of nuclear incident involving a particle accelerator mishap. The particular episode involved an unfortunate individual called King Shark. He has a shark’s head but wears pants. He’s also about twenty feet tall so it’s not apparent where he shops for pants. He’s a really bad guy and sometimes eats people he doesn’t like but does it in such a slow fashion it’s not clear why they can’t just walk away from him. And despite his obvious evil nature, by the end of the show he is captured alive and once again incarcerated in an Olympic sized containment pool apparently being fed chum and awaiting medical treatment to turn his head human again. Most of the interaction with King Shark is the Flash running around him in circles while the shark head heaps verbal abuse on him.
By the above description you have probably identified the limited dramatic value of the action adventure available in the Flash series. However, these limitations pale in comparison to the real problem with the series, namely, the personal problems of the characters. Probably eighty percent of the air time consists of the various actors whining about their emotional problems. One character is sad about some dead spouse, another about the alienation of not being able to reveal his secret identity, another has feelings of inferiority because he has no super powers, another is worried that a character that doesn’t have super powers might develop them and become evil. The cast behaves like a whole high school full of neurotic teenagers which I assume is their target audience. If I’m being objective, the plots are no worse than what passed for story lines in the old Superman tv show from the 1950s that I watched as a kid. But the emotional immaturity and obnoxious insecurity of all the “good guys” in the stories is appalling. It may be a generational problem but to me this isn’t science fiction it’s a soap opera.