Action Adventure

'The Flash: The Complete First Season' DVD Review: Fast, and furiously fun

September 23, 2015Ben MK

When it comes to movies, DC could arguably learn a thing or two from Marvel about building a shared universe around its comic book properties. However, the same can't be said for the television landscape, where DC has a leg up on the competition with shows like Arrow, The Flash and the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow. Now, just in time for the debut of its second season, comes the home video release of The Flash season one.

The story of forensic scientist Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), season one of The Flash centers on Barry's quest to find the man who murdered his mother, a crime for which his father (John Wesley Shipp) was unjustly imprisoned. Now, some 15 years after that fateful night, Barry suddenly finds himself capable of potentially righting the wrongs of his past, after a particle accelerator explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs endows him with the gift of lightning-fast super-speed. Aided by his adoptive father, Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), Joe's daughter, Iris (Candice Patton), and "Team Flash" — S.T.A.R. Labs CEO Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) — Barry works to harness the true potential of his new powers, all while donning the mantle of "The Flash" to defend his home, Central City, from a dangerous new breed of threat: the "metahumans."

More in the vein of Marvel's Spider-Man than fellow DC superhero Batman, The Flash features a tormented central protagonist, but it mixes it with a colorful assortment of classic villains (including Captain Cold and Gorilla Grodd), powerful allies (like The Atom and Firestorm) and recognizable guest stars (including Wentworth Miller, Brandon Routh, and Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill). The result is 23 episodes of some of the most genuinely fun superhero television out there, all of which can be found on Warner Bros' five-disc season one DVD set:

  • Pilot - A freak particle accelerator accident one stormy night gives Central City forensic scientist Barry Allen super-speed. When a metahuman (Chad Rook) who can control the weather strikes the city, it's time to put Barry's awesome new powers to the test.
  • Fastest Man Alive - After gunmen storm a university gathering and Barry passes out during the rescue, his teammates scramble to find out what's wrong. Even more wrong is a new threat: a revenge-seeking one-man army (Michael Christopher Smith) who can multiply himself.
  • Things You Can't Outrun - As the team investigates Kyle Nimbus (Anthony Carrigan), aka The Mist, who has toxic gas powers, they revisit the painful night of the accelerator explosion that killed Caitlin Snow's fiancé Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell). And The Mist's final target is too close to home: Joe West.
  • Going Rogue - After foiling a robbery, Barry identifies the perpetrator as Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) and is visited by Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards). When Snart obtains a stolen cold gun that could kill Flash, Barry faces Captain Cold in an epic fight.
  • Plastique - A downtown bomb blast, followed by an army takeover of its investigation by Gen. Wade Eiling (Clancy Brown), makes Team Flash suspicious. Enter Plastique, a newly minted supersoldier (Kelly Frye), who can detonate things simply by touching them.
  • The Flash is Born - Barry's school nemesis Tony Woodward, aka Girder (Greg Finley), can transform into girded steel, setting out on a crime rampage — and Iris West's blog gets her dangerously involved. Eddie Thawne starts asking questions Joe doesn't want answered.
  • Power Outage - He needs to feed: the highly charged metahuman Blackout (Michael Reventar) siphons all The Flash's electricity, draining him of his speed. Inside Central City PD, the Clock King (Robert Knepper) takes several people hostage, including Joe and Iris.
  • Flash vs. Arrow - The Arrow (Stephen Amell), Felicity and John Diggle (David Ramsey) are in town on a case involving a lethal boomerang. Team Flash tracks bandit Roy G. Bivolo (Paul Anthony), who can induce people into rage — including Barry, resulting in a Flash/Arrow showdown.
  • The Man in the Yellow Suit - Barry finally gets a crack at his mother's kiler, the Man in the Yellow Suit, aka Reverse-Flash. To set a trap, Mercury Labs technology is obtained from Dr. Christina McGee (Amanda Pays). Caitlin finds Ronnie... transformed.
  • Revenge of the Rogues - Fire and ice! When Capt. Cold returns with a hotheaded partner — Mick Rory, aka Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) — they double down on The Flash. Iris deals with the aftermath of Barry's confession, and Cisco Ramon makes the CCPD a timely new shield.
  • The Sound and the Fury - The prodigal one returns: Dr. Harrison Wells' former protégé Hartley Rathaway (Andy Mientus) — now able to manipulate sound waves — seeks revenge. Iris becomes a cub reporter and is paired with a resentful veteran (Roger Howarth).
  • Crazy For You - Cisco takes Hartley up on his dangerous offer as the team hunts Shawna Baez (Britne Oldford), who teleportation powers allow her to free jailed boyfriend Clay Parker (Micah Parker). Barry's dad Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp) makes inquiries and gets attacked by fellow inmates.
  • The Nuclear Man - Ronnie, aka Firestorm, attacks a physicist (Bill Dow), and the best way to track him is to find Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber), who worked on Project F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. Joe asks Cisco to help reinvestigate the murder of Nora Allen (Michelle Harrison).
  • Fallout - After the nuclear blast separates Ronnie and Stein, the two must decide if they are safer together or apart when Gen. Eiling zeroes in on Firestorm. Stein also gives Barry important information about time travel.
  • Out of Time - Mark Mardon (Liam McIntyre) seeks revenge for the death of his brother... with the same Weather Wizard powers as his sibling. Cisco's investigation of the Reverse-Flash leads to tragedy. And time is of the essence for Barry.
  • Rogue Time - Capt. Cold and Heat Wave are back — and now Snart's sister Lisa (Peyton List) amplifies the havoc, ensnaring Cisco and The Flash's identity in the bargain. Barry ruptures the time continuum and causes ripples in reality.
  • Tricksters - A copycat calling himself "The Trickster" (Devon Graye) goes on a bombing spree, and Barry and Joe meet with jailed original Trickster James Jesse (Mark Hamill). Things go from bad to worse when both villains unite and take Henry prisoner.
  • All Star Team Up - Felicity and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) seek help getting Ray's A.T.O.M. suit to work. Meanwhile, a young tech expert (Emily Kinney) wreaks havoc with her insect drones, and Barry asks Ray for help dealing with her.
  • Who is Harrison Wells? - While Joe and Cisco head to Starling City for answers about Dr. Wells from Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), Barry races to catch a metahuman who can transform into anyone he touches... including The Flash!
  • The Trap - The time vault revelations spur Team Flash to devise a trap for Wells, but their efforts put Cisco in grave danger. Eddie makes a decision regarding Iris, which unsettles Joe. Both initiatives face a dire reckoning.
  • Grodd Lives - "Fear me!" In addition to holding Eddie captive, Dr. Wells unleashes the meta-charged — and telepathic — Grodd on the city. Barry, Joe and Cisco head down into the sewers to catch him, but the giant gorilla gets the upper hand — and kidnaps Joe.
  • Rogue Air - Dangerous déjà vu! Wells reactivates the particle accelerator and the team has no choice but to move the captive metahumans. As time runs out, Barry must partner with a dubious ally: Capt. Cold. A rescued Eddie has a surprise for Iris.
  • Fast Enough - What will fixing the past do to the future? Wells presents a life-changing choice to Barry. But for The Flash and his comrades, it could be as much catastrophe as triumph. The need for speed has never been greater.

Flash fans will no doubt find their enjoyment of the show heightened by the quality of this DVD presentation, for the standard definition image boasts good clarity and detail, stable black levels and excellent coloring, terrifically bringing to life such hues as the signature red, yellow and blue of The Flash, Reverse-Flash and Captain Cold. Likewise, the accompanying Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack very capably recreates the show's superheroic soundstage, from the currents of air and the crackles of lightning generated by The Flash's supersonic movements, to more standard action effects like explosions and automatic gunfire.

Warner's season one DVD set includes the following special features (most of which can be found on discs four and five, with the exception of deleted scenes, which are spread across all five discs):

  • Pilot Commentary - Creators Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns provide an insightful and entertaining running commentary for the series' pilot episode, touching on such topics as Barry Allen's backstory, their original ideas for the pilot, the cast and their performances, the easter eggs and the visual effects.
  • Behind the Story: The Trickster Returns! (8:39) - Actors Mark Hamill and John Wesley Shipp talk about Hamill's return to The Flash universe as the villainous Trickster, including his costume, his backstory, his lair and his relationship with his protégé.
  • The Fastest Man Alive! (30:37) - A look inside the show, which has the cast and crew sharing their thoughts on what makes the character of Barry Allen and his alter ego, The Flash, so interesting, as well as comparing him to Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen, and talking about his powers, his allies, his enemies and his complicated relationships.
  • Creating the Blur (26:23) - A relatively in-depth piece about the show's visual effects, focusing on the VFX team's work to enhance the live-action footage, to create an all-digital version of The Flash and Central City, to create The Flash's trademark lightning blur, and to construct the fight sequences between The Flash and Reverse-Flash.
  • The Chemistry of Emily and Grant Screen Test (4:20) - Footage from Grant Gustin's screen test, as well as Grant Gustin & Emily Bett Rickards screen test, intercut with show clips and interview clips.
  • DC Comics Night at Comic-Con 2014 - Presenting Gotham, The Flash, Constantine and Arrow (29:29) - DC Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and the filmmakers and cast behind the DC television universe discuss their shows and answer questions from fans onstage at Comic-Con 2014.
  • Gag Reel (8:24) - Goofs, flubs and outtakes from the set of The Flash.
  • Deleted Scenes (36:23) - Twenty-five deleted scenes, from "Pilot," "Fastest Man Alive," "Things You Can't Outrun," "Power Outage," "The Man in the Yellow Suit," "Revenge of the Rogues," "The Sound and the Fury," "Crazy for You," "The Nuclear Man," "Fallout," "Rogue Time," "Tricksters," "The Trap," "Grodd Lives," "Rogue Air" and "Fast Enough."

The Flash: The Complete First Season is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of September 22nd, 2015. Episode synopses above provided courtesy of Warner Bros. The DVD features English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks. Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai. The total runtime is 16 Hrs. 19 Mins.

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