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The Flash: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray Review)

Flash S2The Flash was both my favorite new and overall show of the 2014-2015 season.  It triumphantly took the tired 20-23 episode season order and made it all count and be interesting again.  Truly embodying the symbol of hope the character has always been, the show really thrived off of an emotional and familial core.  It took a structure working for Arrow and brought in a different light and improved upon it.  The show had impressive effects and just a dynamite sense of purpose and stakes.  Its first season was so perfect that we at least had that to hold onto forever, no matter where it went in the future.  And I’m happy to say, the second season is pretty damn great too. The Flash stars Grant Gustin (Arrow, Glee), Candice Patton (The Game), Danielle Panabaker (Justified, Necessary Roughness), Carlos Valdes (Arrow) and Keiynan Lonsdale (Insurgent), with Tom Cavanagh (Ed, The Following), and Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order). Based on the characters from DC Comics, The Flash is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Supergirl, Blindspot, The Mysteries of Laura), Andrew Kreisberg (Arrow, Supergirl), Gabrielle Stanton (The Vampire Diaries), Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing (Spartacus, Black Sails) and Sarah Schechter (Arrow, The Mysteries of LauraSupergirl).

**Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.**

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Film 

Last season, the S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator exploded, creating a dark matter storm that struck forensic scientist Barry Allen — bestowing him with super-speed and making him the fastest man alive. But Barry wasn’t the only person who was given extraordinary abilities that night. The dark matter also created meta-humans — many of whom have wreaked havoc on the city. With the help of the S.T.A.R Labs team, Caitlin Snow, Cisco Ramon and Dr. Harrison Wells, Barry protects the people of Central City from these powerful new threats as The Flash. Following the defeat of Allen’s arch-nemesis Eobard Thawne (aka the Reverse-Flash), Team Flash must quickly turn their attention to the Singularity left swirling high above Central City, consuming everything in its path. Not only is the Singularity threatening the city with impending doom, but it’s also opened up a gateway to a parallel universe – a world where Barry Allen may not be the fastest man alive; but instead an unstoppable villain known as Zoom.

I don’t think Season 2 is as neat or clean as the first season and its conclusion may have not had the whallop of season 1, but it still works and is the BEST of all the DC shows by a big margin.  For 3/4 of the show’s second season, however, it was indeed keeping the pace with the inaugural run.  And the season’s villain, Zoom, at that time managed to go the incredible stretch of making himself even more of a menace and darker force than “Harrison Wells” Reverse Flash (which really, seemed a tall task that may never have been accomplished).  Helping that maybe, was my man Tony Todd providing the voice to the black costumed speedster.

Along the way with Flash season 2, our heroes get new challenges in life and new perspectives.  Also making things interesting is the Earth-2 multiverse dynamic that allows them to see different incarnations of themselves.  As always, the cast is great, but I want to point out one person that was the most improved player; Iris. Forever, Barry’s “meant to be” just came off as “the worst” on this show.  And I don’t find the fault in Candice Patton at all, more in the writing.  This season started turning her around and making her very very likable again, even if some of the stuff with her and Barry feels a hair forced.

New people also join the fold in season 2.  Wally West hops on board to eventually become Kid Flash (Season 3, baby!).  However, he’s a bit rough to get on board with.  He’s a tough pill to swallow at times, but I think he’s going to come around in the next season.  I was absolutely completely down with Patty Spivot.  She and Barry had a fun, goofy relationship.  But, writing constraints be damned, there was difficulty and her character only became an early/half season arc on the show.  A shame, because I was adoring her and behind her character’s personality, drive and motivations.

Another person that improved on the show was its star in the titular role, Grant Gustin.  The first season, he felt very midlevel in big role with plenty of anchors to keep him rock solid.  However, in season 2, he’s gotten much better and holds his own.  He even helps out others in moments (Like Keiynan Lonsdale).  The BIGGEST asset that Gustin keeps, though, is that he has so much chemistry with ANYBODY.  This is especially apparent with females.  You can really pair him with any female in the DC TV universe and you immediately want to see them start dating.  Its insane.  It started with Felicity on Arrow and more recently flipped to Cara on Supergirl.  The guy is just radiating with the ladies.

I’m sure there will be some that may have bigger problems with things I could overlook or didn’t take too much to heart in the second season, but overall, I think anyone will admit this show still has “it”.  I don’t think we are going to get it, but I’d really like to see a non-speedster main villain in the upcoming years on the show.  Yes, the show is all about the need for speed, but a different angle would be a nice change of course for the show and its challenges and stakes.  But, as big of a fan as I am (Apparently not as big as Kevin Smith who films himself crying while watching it) of the show, I think its safe to say that these people know what they’re doing (Unlike the film division over there at DC).

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Episodes

The Man Who Saved Central City

Flash of Two Worlds

Family of Rogues

The Fury of Firestorm

The Darkness and the Light

Enter Zoom

Gorilla Warfare

8a. Legends of Today (The Flash; 1st part of 2-hour crossover event)

8b. Legends of Yesterday (Arrow; 2nd part of 2-hour crossover event)

Running to Stand Still

Potential Energy

The Reverse-Flash Returns

Fast Lane

Welcome to Earth-2

Escape from Earth-2

King Shark

Trajectory

Flash Back

Versus Zoom

Back to Normal

Rupture

The Runaway Dinosaur

Invincible

The Race of His Life

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  

Depth:  Movements appear as a cross between natural and cinematic.  No blur, unless you count the quickness of the Flash.  A lot of the slowed down action/speed sequences look very 3D as there is good spacing and looseness between characters, objects, effects and environments

Black Levels:  No detail that wasn’t intended to be was hidden and there was no crushing witnessed. Blacks are inky and good.  They help with furthering the definition of characters, objects and environments.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are bold, and a bit more vivid and poppy at times compared to the Arrow series and more on par with Legends than it would be Supergirl.  Reds look very nice in this transfer, as well as yellows.  

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones primarily take on a natural look.  Facial detail is very high, making clear well rounded visions of cuts, scrapes, freckles, dimples, make-up pores and stubble.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish (Castillian) 2.0 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish (Castillian), Spanish (Latino), Dutch, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics:  In very similar and formulaic to the previous season and the other DC shows.  The speed scenes, car crashes and explosions all burst into your room with a crisp clarity and well rounded sense of uncompressed fun.  There is a good balance on of the vocals and effects at all times.  

Low Frequency Extension:  Engine hums, Flash’s bursting speed, guns, big ice blasters and action crashes get a nice thump from your sub woofer in a very good presentation.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Rear speakers tend be used for ambiance, but don’t count them out to surprise you during some action sequences and environments that are a bit more lively. The front three channels gloriously present the action and onscreen movements back and forth with great accuracy.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is crisp, clear and at the ideal placement in terms of volume.

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Extras 

The Flash: Complete Second Season comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of ever episode in the second season as well as an episode guide insert.

Disc 1

Barry and Iris: New Beginnings (HD, 7:35) – We see how the show has brought Barry and Iris love story to the screen and the possibility of new directions.  All the interviews feel like they are pre-season 2.

The Flash: Visual Effects: Follow The Flash In 360 (HD, 2:13) – The visual effects supervisor goes over the way they do things with having scanned Grant Gustin for use in CG scenes that was expensive for season 1, but pays for itself following.  Lots of pre-vis stuff here and some cool behind the curtains things.  The interviews were done before season 2 aired.

Whose Helmet Was That (HD, 4:23) – This goes over the introduction of Jay Garrick into the Flash universe, with a little history on the character and his comic origins, as well as the idea that they thought about putting him in season 1.

Rogues Gallery: One Cold Father, The Lewis Snart Story (HD, 4:13) – This one goes over Michael Ironside’s guest starring episode and the ideas in the episode with Andrew Kresiberg (executive producer).

Heart and Heart: The Story of Firestorm (HD, 4:49) – Goes over the introduction of the new Firestorm in episode 4, guided by the visual effects supervisor.

The Flash: Visual Effects: Earth 2 (HD, 2:38) – Talks about the relation of the writers and visual effects artists through discussion of the Earth 2 villains.  Excitement about Zoom is a lot of it.  Lots of animatics shown.

Cutting Teeth: The Flash Vs. King Shark (HD, 5:18) – This focuses on the King Shark episode, mainly from a visual effects perspective angle.  Shows how many people are involved in just one shot.

The Power of Dr. Light (HD, 5:43) – Andrew Kreisberg talks about their love of dopplegangers and bringing Linda Park back and changing the source material to make her Dr. Light.

Into The Breach: Designing Earth 2 (HD, 4:54) – Discusses the show’s jump into the mutliverse, how to approach the design and how to make it something for both hardcores and newcomers maybe not familiar with the comics.

Gag Reel (HD, 12:29) – Starts with the intro to the original Flash TV series, but done with the current cast.

Deleted Scenes

  • The Man Who Saved Central City (HD, 5:26) 
  • Family of Rogues (HD, 1:53) 
  • The Darkness and the Light (HD, 1:00) 

Disc 2

Behind the Story: The Chemistry of Emily and Grant Screen Test (HD, 6:54) – A whole featurette about the casting of Grant Gustin, featuring his screen test.  They felt if they could make someone work with Felicity on Arrow then he’s going to work on his own.

Grodd Lives! (HD, 6:51) – Goes over the return of Grodd and shows how he was created and fit into the story.

Star Crossed Hawks (HD, 11:20) – Same featurette that appeared on Arrow Season 4. Really surprising they’re copying this over.

Star Crossed Hawks: The Hunt for Vandal Savage (HD, 11:02) – Another copied featurette.  Surprisingly these weren’t even on the Legends of Tomorrow Blu-ray.

The Flash: Visual Effects: A Closer Look (HD, 2:51) – A brief little run through on some of the new effects challenges for the season (Hawkgirl, Grodd, King Shark).

Christmas in a Flash (HD, 4:36) – Focuses on the Christmas episode and bringing multiple rogues together to team up and mess up Christmas.

Deleted Scenes 

  • Gorilla Warfare (HD, :54) 
  • Running to Stand Still (HD, 2:28) 
  • Potential Energy (HD, 3:18)

Disc 3

2015 Paleyfest (HD, 29:54) – Team Flash meets the fans at the Paley Center.  Features the whole Q&A panel led by Aisha Tyler.

The Flash: 2015 Comic-Con Panel (HD, 15:04) – Ahh, there’s that intro.  Its the comic con panel from San Diego back in 2015 talking about this particular season.

The Flash: Visual Effects

  • Sticky Situations (HD, 2:18) – The visual effects supervisor talks about how they do big action sequences, like ones that include big vehicles (semis, helicopters) as well as the chases between speedsters.
  • Superheroes and Villains (HD, 3:05) – The visual effects supervisor goes over the effects and cool things with the new villains and heroes for season 2.

Deleted Scenes 

  • Welcome to Earth-2 (HD, 1:14)
  • King Shark (HD, 3:34)

Disc 4 

The Many Faces of Zoom (HD, 6:25) – Many talking heads talk about Zoom (including Tony Todd!), and how they kind of crafted their own version of him.  They go over how 3 people bring 1 character to life (Stunt man/actor/voice actor).

Chasing Flash: The Journey of Kevin Smith (HD, 51:40) – A full on documentary on Kevin Smith’s episode. Its a LOT of Kevin Smith talking.  Lots of insight on where he comes from, how he got onto the show, the way he directs and just overall a lot of Kevin Smith philosophy.

The Flash: Visual Effects: Everything Falls Apart (HD, 3:21) – The visual effects supervisor talks about the episode he directed and going big for the final episodes of the season.

Deleted Scenes 

  • Versus Zoom (HD, 1:40) 
  • Back to Normal (HD, :56) 
  • The Runaway Dinosaur (HD, 1:27) 

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Summary 

The Flash’s second season continues its run to being the best comic superhero show on TV.  Bringing in a new powerhouse villain and more supporting characters from the source material continue to build on Barry’s very fun world that we visit every week.  This Blu-ray is a noticeable step above last season’s as well as the other DC TV Blu-rays.  You can tell which one is the most popular by the over abundance of bonus material spanning over all 4 discs.  Only head scratcher is the repeating of bonus material here from the Arrow release.  I get them both having the crossover episodes but the featurettes is kinda weird (Especially since Flash has so much other stuff).  But, I guess some people don’t watch both, so it is beneficial in that regard.  Anyway, this is a must have.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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