In the second part of Elseworlds (a series of crossover episodes between the DC shows on the CW Network), Oliver Queen a.k.a the Green Arrow declared that he is the original Vigilante. While that would be very inaccurate from a comic book perspective, in the Arrowverse – the universe the CW Network has created for DC characters, it is very much true. Arrow’s Oliver Queen is the founding father of the Arrowverse, from which The Flash spun out off.
The Flash is a television show that tells the story of Barry Allen a.k.a The Flash as he navigates the complexities of his personal and superhero life. Barry got his superpowers after he was struck by lightning. Typically, lightning is a deadly energy force that is capable of killing any living thing it hits. In the Arrowverse, however, lightning is capable of giving human beings superhuman abilities when combined with the emissions of particle accelerators.
Since the character debuted on Arrow, Barry Allen has been infecting both comic book lovers and mainstream regular watchers with his charms. After meeting positive reviews on Arrow, the Barry Allen character was given his own show – The Flash. The show premiered in 2014 and has gone on to have five seasons, maintaining its popularity among comic book and mainstream fans. It was inducted into legendary entertainment publication, Rolling Stone’s 40 Best Science Fiction TV Shows of All Time in 2016.
Its status among audience has been due to the work of a production team that consists of Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Geoff Johns. Together, with Blake Neely who is primarily in charge of music in the show and others in the Arrowverse, they have created a show that has largely satisfied comic book fans worldwide. The Flash has the second most watched pilot episode of a CW show in history, coming second to the CW behemoth, The Vampire Diaries.
The show has featured different plots across its five seasons thus far, all of which has often revolved around Barry Allen’s abilities as a speedster and metahuman.
The first season of The Flash was an introduction to Barry Allen and how he got his powers through a combination of lightning and the S.T.A.R Labs particle accelerator. He spends the course of the season figuring out how to solve his father’s wrongful imprisonment and finding his mother’s real killer, the Reverse Flash.
After the introductory season, The Flash plot often revolved around his speed and other speedsters desire to beat him. The show’s 4th and 5th season takes a diversion from speedster villains and introduces non-speedster villains with personal and world ending motives.
With the help of members of Team Flash, including different doppelgangers of Harrison Wells, Barry Allen fights each villain, defeating them, often with its own unforeseen consequences.
Aside from the creative team behind the CW show, The Flash has benefited from a cast whose character portrayals of their various comic books versions have endeared fans to the show.
Here is a list of some of the major characters on the show, who have appeared in all or most of the show’s seasons or whose character arcs affected the show’s direction monumentally.
Grant Gustin – Barry Allen/The Flash
Grant Gustin plays the character the show is eponymously named after. Before he became the Flash, he was a socially awkward forensic investigator who worked for the Central City Police Department. For most of the show’s run so far, he has kept the job alongside his superhero responsibility with comical results. Before he started starring on The Flash, he appeared in two episodes of Arrow, as a visiting forensic investigator helping Oliver Queen solve a case. Since then, he has been the lead actor on The Flash.
Although he wasn’t exactly a famed actor before taking up the mantle of the famed speedster, he had previous experience on the popular FOX musical drama, Glee as Sebastian Smythe. He started as a professional actor in 2003 and has starred in a short list of film and television projects. He does, however, have the tendency of getting attached to a project for a long run, including The Flash which he has been contracted to since 2014. As the actor for a popular superhero, Grant Gustin’s portrayal has earned him multiple nominations from several pop culture Award organizations. He has gone on to win a few of them.
Candice Patton – Iris West
In The Flash lore, Barry Allen’s eternal love is Iris West just like most popular superheroes have iconic love interests – Superman has Lois Lane, Tony Stark has Pepper Potts, Batman has Alfred, etc. When Candice Patton was cast as the iconic love interest, there was a minor backlash from comic book fans due to her ethnicity. As an African American, her ethnicity is a significant change from the usual portrayal of the character in the majority of its iteration in history. However, her acting abilities and with the writers’ help in the first season of the show, Candice Patton was able to quell my skepticism and criticism about her portrayal of Iris West.
Written as a strong career-driven woman, Candice Patton portrayal was able to tap into the modern revolution of female characterization in cinema and TV, while incorporating it with the charm and chemistry the character has with Barry Allen. Her character portrayal that has earned her 8 award nominations.
Tom Cavanagh – Harrison Wells
Possibly the most important element of the show’s undying charm is Tom Cavanagh. The Canadian’s acting skills have been one of the most critical aspects of the show, allowing it to explore different storylines. Through the show’s incorporation of multiverse mythology, Tom Cavanagh has been able to play different versions of the character, Harrison Wells, giving him a chance to express his range as an actor in a show that is often criticized for its character work.
He started the first season of the show as the mentor of Barry Allen, helping him harness his speed. He was later revealed to be Barry Allen’s iconic enemy, Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne), a time-traveling speedster who murdered Barry Allen’s mother.
His popularity has kept him on the show, appearing as different doppelgangers of Harrison Wells across different timelines and multiverses. As one of the most experienced and talented actors on the show, he has also directed a few episodes, including the show’s significant 100th episode.
His filmography is one of the most extensive on the show, featuring past appearances in Broadway, and television shows like Scrubs, Ed, Royal Pains, The Following amongst many others.
Jesse L. Martin – Joe West
Another of the most experienced actors on the show, Jesse L. Martin is a vastly experienced actor who cut his teeth as an actor mostly in theatre. He began acting in 1993 after graduating from the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. On Broadway, he is known as the originator of a popular character in the theatre scene, Tom Collins for the play Rent.
He was cast as Joe West, the patriarch of Team Flash, the surrogate father of Barry Allen after his father was imprisoned for his mother’s death. He is a very capable police detective who is a part of Team Flash, a group of people who help The Flash fight crime in Central City.
Danielle Panabaker – Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost
Danielle Panabaker enjoys a position as one of the most beloved characters on The Flash. She plays a highly intelligent bioengineering expert who is discovered later to be in possession of metahuman abilities that causes her to be Killer Frost. After a brief period of villainy, she solidifies her place as a member of Team Flash.
Although she plays a supporting role on The Flash, Danielle Panabaker is another experienced actor on the show. The Flash isn’t her first superhero project, having starred in the 2005 film, Sky High. She has both experiences in film and television, like in Mr. Brooks alongside Kevin Costner. Her television credits include Mad Men, Family Guy, Grey’s Anatomy, Malcolm in the Middle, The Bernie Mac Show and Law & Order: LA
As a young actress, she was nominated for a few awards including the Best Performance in a TV series. In total, she has been nominated for seven awards and has won four of them.
Carlos Valdes – Cisco Ramon/Vibe
The self-appointed name-giver of The Flash’s villains, Carlos is a dual nationality actor who is both an American and Columbian citizen.
He started his career in theatre, in notable plays like High School Musical and The Wedding Singer. He was part of the Tony-nominated musical, Once in 2013.
He joined the Arrowverse in Arrow, which was also his television debut. He has been a main character for The Flash since the show’s beginning, playing an engineering genius who, together with the rest of Team Flash, helps Barry Allen fight crime in Central City and protect the world.
His character on the show is one of the show’s victims of poor character development but his wit and charm have helped maintain him as one of the show’s most beloved cast member. He became a superhero himself when he discovered he possessed metahuman abilities, adopting the moniker – Vibe.
Keiynan Lonsdale – Wally West/Kid Flash
Keiynan starred on the show as Joe West’s son who was born without his knowledge. He would later go on to develop superpowers like Barry Allen and eventually becoming Kid Flash.
He initially auditioned as Jefferson Jackson, a character on the show, but his audition impressed the producers enough and he was cast as Wally West, another speedster. He was mostly a recurring character on the show, eventually leaving the show in season four to join another spin-off show in the Arrowverse, Legends of Tomorrow.
Season 6 Release Date
Nothing has been said about a release date for The Flash season 6, but it is expected that the show will return in October 2019. The Flash always debuts its new season in October of every year, and until there’s a cancellation announcement before season 6 (which is highly unlikely), the sixth season is expected to follow suit.
How To Watch The Flash Online For Free
The Flash can be streamed on the CW app on any smart device. The app is available on any operating system and can be streamed by simply downloading the CW app and selecting the show.