I should begin by saying that I'm relatively apathetic toward superhero fiction. I've seen a few of the movies (The Avengers, Iron Man, X-Men) and I watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I've never read any of the comics, I don't remember watching the cartoons as a kid, and my entire knowledge of the mythos and backstories comes from listening with half an ear as friends talk about it.
And I love The Flash.
For those who are unfamiliar with the premise, it's about a man named Barry Allen who, after being struck by lightning when a particle accelerator explodes nearby, wakes up to find he has superspeed (among other powers). Together with a team of scientists from S.T.A.R. Labs (Harrison Wells, Caitlin Snow, and Cisco Ramon) and a detective/Barry's father figure (Joe West), they save the world from other people with powers, who they call metahumans.
This show hits all the right buttons for me. The episode plots are exciting, and they don't drive away those of us who were mostly unfamiliar with The Flash before this show. They're taking the time to explain the characters' histories and relationships. If there are little nudges and winks to those who already know the series, I don't feel like everyone's getting it but me, and I don't feel like I'm missing out because I don't understand them.
Normally I'm not a huge fan of big series conspiracy arcs (who killed Beckett's mother in Castle, who is Red John in The Mentalist, etc.), but there's really no getting around them with a superhero show. They all have a driving force, and this is no different. When Barry was a little kid, his mother was killed by a superfast man in a yellow suit, and his father went to jail for her murder. But even this has been handled pretty well so far. While it's a huge underlying part of the series and the impetus for most of Barry's actions, the audience hasn't been sledgehammered with it much. And the bits of information we've been given have only served to whet my appetite rather than fill me up.
The characters are fantastic, every one of them. The more reviews I do, the more you'll come to understand just how important that is to me. I'll forgive just about any other sin if I like the characters enough, and The Flash nails it with almost everybody. The only one I could really do without is Iris, Joe's daughter and Barry's love interest. Otherwise, every week I find a different character to be the most interesting person on the show. And the dynamic between them, especially the familial bond between Barry and Joe, is developing beautifully.
For someone who seesawed on whether I was actually going to watch this series, it's really become must-see TV for me each week. In fact, I'm already looking forward to the next episode.The Flash airs at 8:00 on Tuesdays on the CW.