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

Flash-Season 1Just in time for its second season, catch up with the #1 show on The CW as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC Entertainment release The Flash: The Complete First Seasonon Blu-rayTM and DVD on September 22, 2015. The Flash delivered the most-watched series premiere in The CW’s history, and original episodes averaged 6 million viewers weekly throughout the season. Fans that purchase the set will be able to watch all 23 electrifying episodes, plus three hours of extra content, including episode commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.  The Flash stars Grant Gustin (Arrow, Glee), Candice Patton (The Game), Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries), Danielle Panabaker (Justified, Necessary Roughness), Carlos Valdes (Arrow), 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, Brothers & Sisters, Everwood, The Mysteries of Laura), Andrew Kreisberg (Arrow, Fringe)Game of Thrones, TheX-FilesSarah Schechter (Arrow, The Mysteries of Laura, Pan) and David Nutter (Game of Thrones, The X-Files).

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Season 

Central City forensic investigator Barry Allen is, always charming and – as a result of a scientific experiment gone awry – now the fastest man alive! He’s The Flash!  With his life shadowed by his mother’s murder and his father wrongly convicted of the crime, Barry finds that his newfound power of super speed grants him the ability to move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel. Barry quickly discovers he’s not the only “metahuman” created by the explosive disaster – and not everyone is using their new powers for good. Now, to protect the innocent, Barry and his close friends who know his secret, race to combat evildoers in one astonishing adventure after another.

I came into The Flash before Arrow.  Not that I’m not a fan of the Green Arrow character, but I was someone who stuck with Smallville too long and thought that show was going to be more of the same.  The Flash is one of my favorite superheroes, so I was diving into this show regardless.  I was a big fan of the 90s TV show back when I was young, too.  It was through this doorway that I soon realized that this DC TV Universe was nothing like that of Smallville and the silly Aquaman pilot that they tried around the time.  This world was far more interesting, giving its shows a sort of hook and focusing much more on telling a great story.

Quickly, within the pilot episode of the show, I was amazed, blown away and hooked.  The show put its heart on its sleeve and went to work.  And for the DC Universe, this tone was very new, and very true to who The Flash is.  While it still maintains the urban take on everything, this show isn’t afraid to relish is some of the fantastic.  And what also makes this one different is that Barry Allen actually WANTS and LIKES being a super hero.  Its not a burden to him or his team.  Saving the day and trying to good in the world isn’t like a job or something bugging them, its something they’re happy and look forward to doing.  Helpers Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow also sit and basque in this moment of wonder as well.

Three big factors that add to the show’s weight are the veteran actors on the show.  Jesse L Martin is outstanding here bringing in the emotion and fatherly like figure to Barry and Iris (in her case ACTUAL fatherly).  Every scene with Martin ranges from touching to a sense of good virtue.  In a fair world, this man would walk away with an easy Emmy for his work.  But, this is A) a CW show and B) genre fair.  The season’s villain, played by Tom Cavanagh is equally magnificent.  He brings sagely wisdom from another side, but the whole season you’re wondering what he’s working towards.  And as the Reverse Flash, he’s very diabolical and watching him waiver between Dr. Harrison Wells and Eobard Thawne is impressive.  Rounding it out is the original TV Flash himself, John Wesley Shipp, who plays Barry’s dad.  He’s not given as much as the other two, but when he makes an appearance, he makes them count.  As a grown man, I’m not ashamed to say the three of these men provided many moments to get choked up to for reasons happy, sad or courageous throughout the 23 episodes.  Their work here is just brilliant, and if Cavanagh isn’t back as a regular next season, he will be missed.

One of the best things about the character of The Flash in the comics is that he has at least Top 5 in terms of a rogues gallery.  And they bring a lot of them here to play in this season, which equals just as much fun as they were on paper.  Topping them off was Captain Cold, played by Wentworth Miller, who was such a scene stealer this season and returned on multiple occasions.  They even paired him up with Prison Break co-star Dominic Purcell as Heat Wave.  Both will be spinning off into Legends of Tomorrow with The Atom and others early next year.  Because this show is such a fan of the original show, they brought back Mark Hamill as the Trickster in a gimmick that actually worked and turned the story to an interesting direction.  More villains lie ahead next season, and I’m super excited that not only are they bringing in Zoom, but Tony Todd will be voicing him!

This was easily my favorite new show last season, and quickly climbed up the ranks of fighting to be top dog.  I could not wait for Tuesday nights!  The Flash‘s first season is an incredible experience with fully formed, realized characters, adventures, consequences and heart.  People may be turned off from network television nowadays, but this show (Like some others) is living proof that it is still a big deal and still does produce a lot more quality than one might think.  And, as far as genre TV goes, this first season joins the likes of 24, Lost and Heroes in that rare stroke of absolute perfection in their inaugural outing.  Who knows what lies ahead for The Flash.  It sounds like they’re getting incredibly ambitious.  No matter, however, as we will always have this first season to look back on and admire.

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Episodes

Pilot

Fastest Man Alive

Things Your Can’t Outrun

Going Rogue

Plastique

The Flash s Born

Power Outage

Flash vs. Arrow

The Man In The Yellow Suit

Revenge Of he Rogues

The Sound And The Fury

Crazy or You

The Nuclear Man

Fallout

Out of Time

Rogue Time

Tricksters

All Star Team Up

Who is Harrison Wells?

The Trap

Grodd Lives

Rogue Air

Fast Enough

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  If you’re familiar with the Arrow Blu-ray sets, then you’ll know what to expect here.  The Flash features a top of the line picture, ripe with being sharp and plenty detailed.  The texture of Barry’s suit is visible by every little stitch almost.  It looks great.  Also impressive, is that the effects hold up and look every good considering the jump from HD television broadcast to Blu-ray.

Depth:  Dimensional work is pretty solid.  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.  Movements appear as a cross between natural and cinematic.  No blur, unless you count the quickness of the Flash.

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

Color Reproduction:  Reds look very nice in this transfer, as well as yellows.  The Reverse Flash costume looks absolutely gorgeous here.  Colors are bold, and a bit more vivid and poppy at times compared to the Arrow series.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones primarily take on a natural look.  Some episodes can vary on that (some dark alleyways take yellow tinge), but for the most part that’s what we have.  Facial detail is very high, making clear well rounded visions of cuts, scrapes, freckles, dimples, make-up pores and stubble.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 2.0 Dolby Digital, 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:  The Flash is an action oriented show, and as such, this 5.1 mix knows how to perfectly present it.  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.  Well done.

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:  The front three channels gloriously present the action and onscreen movements back and forth with great accuracy.  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.

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

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Extras 

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

Disc 1

Audio Commentary

  • Pilot – Executive Producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns from DC Comics

Deleted Scenes

  • Pilot (HD, 3:55)
  • Fastest Man Alive (HD, :33)
  • Things You Can’t Outrun (HD, :47)

Disc 2

Deleted Scenes

  • Power Outage (HD, 1:39) 
  • The Man in the Yellow Suit (HD, 2:57) 
  • Revenge of the Rogues (HD, 1:54) 
  • The Sound and the Fury (HD, 1:07) 
  • Crazy For You (HD, 2:00) 

Disc 3

Behind the Story: The Trickster Returns! (HD, 8:39) – Mark Hamill reflects on the character of The Trickster.  John Wesley Shipp also joins in to do discuss the run on the 90s TV show.

Deleted Scenes

  • The Nuclear Man (HD, 2:35) 
  • Fallout (HD, 1:00) 
  • Rogue Time (HD, 1:56) 
  • Tricksters (HD, 2:30) 

Disc 4

The Fastest Man Alive! (HD, 30:39) – How this hip, fresh characterization of the DC Comics hero i s every bit a direct descendant of the sci-fi generation from the 1950s.

Creating The Blur: The VFX Of The Flash (HD, 26:25) – A very in depth look at the effects work being done on the show.  Talks about they plan, how much time they get how many have to be done…there’s plenty.

The Chemistry Of Emily And Grant Screen Test (HD, 4:20) – The producers discusses the importance of the screen text and how they paired him up with Arrow actress Emily Bett Rickards.

DC Comics Night at Comic-Con 2014 Presenting Gotham, The Flash, Constantine and Arrow (HD, 29:31) – The full on DC TV panel at San Diego Comic Con in 2014 featuring the casts of every show on stage together.

Gag Reel (HD, 8:24)

Deleted Scenes

  • The Trap (HD, 2:06) 
  • Grodd Lives (HD, 2:38) 
  • Rogue Air (HD, 1:32)
  • Fast Enough (HD, 7:15) 

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Summary 

The Flash blew me away last season.  In this day and age, if you’re a show not on Sunday nights and you weren’t Justified, I usually get around to you at my own leisure, but The Flash broke me of that.  I would do the best I could to be free Tuesdays at 8 as to catch it as live as possible.  This was an absolutely perfect first season for a genre show.  Also perfect are the audio and video performances on this Blu-ray.  You’re also getting some solid good extras, similar to that of the other DC shows.  If you haven’t checked out The Flash, speed up and do so before this upcoming season (Which looks like its promising to go very big) starts up.

Flash-Season 1- Blu-ray

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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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