The Flash (TV series)

The Flash (TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = The Flash

caption = DVD Box Art for "The Flash: The Complete Series" from Warner Home Video.
format = Action, Science Fiction
camera =
picture_format =
runtime = 45 minutes
(60 with commercials)
creator = Danny Bilson
Paul De Meo
developer =
executive_producer =
starring = John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen/The Flash
Amanda Pays as Dr. Tina McGee
Alex Désert as Julio Mendez
Notable Guest Stars:
Mark Hamill as James Jesse/The Trickster
narrated =
opentheme = Danny Elfman
endtheme =
country = United States
network = CBS
first_aired = September 20, 1990
last_aired = May 18, 1991
num_seasons = 1
num_episodes = 22
website =
imdb_id = 0098798
tv_com_id = 970

"The Flash" is a 1990 American television series that starred John Wesley Shipp as the superhero, The Flash, and co-starred Amanda Pays. The series was developed from the DC Comics characters by the writing team of Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo, who called their company Pet Fly Productions. Composer Danny Elfman wrote the show’s title theme, and Stan Winston Studios created the costume. [ [ 1990 Pilot Closing Theme] ] [ [ 1990 Live Action Theme - RA] ] [ [ 1990 Live Action Theme - MP3] ]


The Flash's costume was designed and created by Robert Short, based upon the Barry Allen-era costume of the comics.

Executive producers Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo became the writers of the Flash comic book series beginning with "The Flash: Fastest Man Alive" #1 (2007), scripting a total of eight issues of the series' 13 issues. The series focused on Bart Allen, Barry's grandson. Another regular writer on the show was Howard Chaykin, who has written many comic book series in the past three decades.

In the original TV series broadcast, episodes 12 and 13 were shown out of sequence; episode 12 makes direct reference to events from episode 13.


The series' pilot episode features an accident in which Central City Police forensic scientist Barry Allen's crime lab is struck by lightning. Allen's electrified body is flung into and shatters a cabinet of chemicals, which are both electrified and forced to interact with each other and with his physiology when they come into physical contact with his body. He soon discovers with the help of S.T.A.R. Labs scientist Tina McGee that the accident has changed his body's metabolism and as a result he has gained the ability to move at superhuman speed. To avenge the murder of his brother, motorcycle police officer Jay, Barry demands that Tina modify a red S.T.A.R. Labs prototype deep sea diving suit, designed to withstand tremendous pressures, into his costume, to which she reluctantly complies. Thus, Barry Allen becomes The Flash.

Rogues Gallery and cancellation

The series initially had a dark and gritty tone, and focused on having The Flash confront decidedly human villains, like corrupt officials and mobsters. Midway through the show's run, however, a few of The Flash's familiar "Rogues Gallery" of colorful super-villains began making appearances.

The most famous Rogues in the series were The Trickster, played by Mark Hamill, and his sidekick Prank, played by Corinne Bohrer. This foreshadowed Hamill's subsequent success at playing The Joker in "." Hamill would later reprise the role of The Trickster on an episode of "Justice League Unlimited." Captain Cold, played by Michael Champion, and the Mirror Master, played by David Cassidy as a disgraced expert in holograms, also appeared in their own episodes. Although fans were pleased to see more DC character's inclusions in the series, the interpretations were radically different from the source material, with the exception of Hamill's Trickster. Captain Cold, for instance, was turned into an albino hitman who murdered his victims by literally freezing them to death, while the Mirror Master was little more than a common thug with a nickname.

Ultimately, these appearances were too little, too late to save the show, which struggled with a high per-episode price tag, stiff competition from NBC's strong Thursday night lineup and Fox, and frequent preemptions due to breaking coverage of the Persian Gulf War and NBA basketball games, resulting in low ratings, a fluctuating time slot which resulted a shift to Saturdays by the spring, and eventually, cancellation after a single season.

Recurring themes/running gags

The series had certain recurring themes/running gags, such as Barry secretly using his superhuman speed to his or others's benefit--both in and out of uniform--moving so fast as to be unseen, and the corresponding surprised reactions of others when things seemed to move or happen with no visible cause.

Another recurring theme was the fact that a side-effect of Barry's powers was a ravenous hunger, due to his body requiring food to replace the tremendous amount of energy he used at super-speed; he would often be shown consuming huge meals, as well as sneaking snacks whenever he could, sometimes at super-speed, such as consuming an entire tray of hors d'œuvres at a reception when no one was looking, or drinking an entire gallon jug of milk in less than five seconds, using enough suction to crush the jug when it emptied. In the "Flash" comic book series featuring Wally West, the same metabolic limitation was often portrayed in early issues.

Home video: VHS and DVD

For over a decade after the series was canceled, the only episodes commercially available were in three VHS "movies," two of which were compilations of similarly-themed episodes re-edited into a movie-length feature:

*"The Flash"--the movie-length pilot, which had been re-edited into two separate episodes after its initial complete airing
*"The Flash II: Revenge of The Trickster"--compilation of episodes "The Trickster" and "Trial of the Trickster," featuring Mark Hamill's turn as the titular villain
*"The Flash III: Deadly Nightshade"--compilation of episodes "Ghost In The Machine" and "Deadly Nightshade," where The Flash teams up with Nightshade (played by Jason Bernard), a now middle-aged costumed hero who was the protector of Central City in his youth. This third Flash VHS tape was only released in the United Kingdom (PAL format).

The complete series is now available as a DVD set, released by Warner Bros. on January 10, 2006. Many of the original releases of the set suffered from a flaw on Disc 1 which manifested just before the final segment of the episode "Pilot," causing the scene to skip or freeze, and ultimately caused a return to the disc's main menu before the final segment was completed. When the problem was discovered, Warner Bros. corrected the flaw and issued "fixed" versions of Disc 1 in exchange for the flawed versions.



*Episode 1 - "Pilot:" The origin of The Flash. An accident gives police crime lab expert Barry Allen awesome powers of speed, and he vows to use them to bring his brother's murderer to justice. But first, Allen must learn to control his sudden, remarkable talents. Dr. Christina "Tina" McGee, who works for S.T.A.R. Labs, helps him with this.

*Episode 2 - "Out Of Control:" He needs subjects for genetic-engineering research. Tina's former colleague is the main suspect when the bodies of murdered homeless people mysteriously disappear from crime scenes.

*Episode 3 - "Watching The Detectives:" A crooked D.A. discovers the crusader's civilian identity and uses that information to extort him into becoming his secret accomplice.

*Episode 4 - "Honor Among Thieves:" Guarding a priceless exhibit has the police stretched thin, a situation which a criminal mastermind exploits citywide with several thefts.

*Episode 5 - "Double Vision:" A mad scientist implants a device in the crusader's brain and gains remote control of his powers.

*Episode 6 - "Sins Of The Father:" Ex-cop Henry Allen dismisses Barry's modern police techniques until his son captures an escaped con targeting Henry.

*Episode 7 - "Child's Play:" A '60s drug icon who faked his own death and went into hiding reasserts himself by unleashing a new addictive designer drug on the world.

*Episode 8 - "Shroud Of Death:" Barry puts together bits of metal found at crime scenes and discovers that they form a neo-fascist group's medallion, with Lt. Garfield as the group's next target.

*Episode 9 - "Ghost In The Machine:" The Ghost controls the airwaves, tapping into video feeds just as he did back in 1955. The Nightshade, a crime-fighter of that era, resurfaces to fight him with The Flash joining him.

*Episode 10 - "Sight Unseen:" A criminal who has developed a cloaking device renders himself invisible and establishes a deadly vendetta endangering S.T.A.R. Labs and Central City.

*Episode 11 - "Beat The Clock:" The Flash must race against time and the electric chair to prove the innocence of a jazz saxophonist who was convicted of murdering his famous wife.

*Episode 12 - "Tina, Is That You?:" Tina embarks on a crime spree with an all-girl gang after a bio-feedback experiment yields disastrous results, and her first target is The Flash.

*Episode 13 - "The Trickster:" The hunter becomes the hunted as James Montgomery Jesse, a schizophrenic killer being pursued by Megan Lockhart, commences to stalk her instead. Inspired by The Flash, the criminal dons a flashy outfit and calls himself The Trickster.

*Episode 14 - "Be My Baby:" The Flash helps a mother protect her child against her dangerous husband, who wants the child only for its genetic potential.

*Episode 15 - "Fast Forward:" While pursuing his brother's killer The Flash is sent ten years into the future, where Nicholas Pike is the mayor of Central City and any mention of The Flash is against the law.

*Episode 16 - "Deadly Nightshade:" The Flash and The Nightshade team up once again to stop a murderous vigilante who has taken The Nightshade's name.

*Episode 17 - "Captain Cold:" On the hottest day of the year, four gangsters are found frozen to death. They are the victims of a notorious hitman known as Captain Cold, and his next target may be The Flash.

*Episode 18 - "Twin Streaks:" A scientist uses The Flash's blood to clone Barry Allen, and the clone decides to assume Barry's identity.

*Episode 19 - "Done With Mirrors:" Sam Scudder, a criminal genius who uses mirrors and holograms to commit his crimes hunts down his double-crossing partner, who has found refuge with one of her old high school friends--Barry Allen.

*Episode 20 - "Good Night, Central City:" When bodies begin disappearing from the police morgue and a gang of thieves start putting people to sleep, it falls to The Flash to save the victims and clear Barry Allen's name at the same time.

*Episode 21 - "Alpha:" A conscience-stricken android seeks The Flash's aid to avoid being programmed as the perfect assassin.

*Episode 22 - "The Trial Of The Trickster:" James Jesse is preparing to go on trial for the crimes of The Trickster, but with the help of his sidekick, Prank, and a brainwashing device, he soon enlists The Flash's assistance in passing judgement on Central City.

Comic book

A comic book tie-in special based on the TV series was published by DC Comics in 1991 titled "The Flash TV Special" #1 running at 76 pages, featured two stories (one story was written by John Byrne with art by Javier Saltares), a second story featuring a thief Kid Flash, plus a behind-the-scenes look on the making of the TV series with photos.

The thief Kid Flash may have been the impetus for "Smallville"'s version of the character. Kid Flash sported a leather jacket where he stored his prizes, including Flash's insignia.

Video game

A video game was released for Game Boy in 1991 by THQ, and was based on the TV series. It was released in the US and had a password system. A second game was programmed by Probe and released only in Europe for the Master System in 1993.

ee also

* "Birds of Prey"
* "Justice League of America"
* "Aquaman"


External links

* [ Episode Guide from]
* [ Crimson Lightning] - A blog featuring regular reviews of "The Flash" television series.
* [ Interview about the series with lead actor John Wesley Shipp]
* [ Pet Fly Podcast Page] including a downloadable commentary track, in which series developers Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo discuss the "Trial of the Trickster" episode
* [ The TV series on Hyperborea]

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