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Over the decades, comic book superheroes have been adapted and readapted to both the motion picture screen and the television screen. The two most successfully adapted characters remain Superman and Batman, both of whom have repeatedly appeared in live action and animated form. Of course, the character of Wonder Woman also met with modest success in her own live action show on the small screen- and that show remains well regarded thanks to how well Lynda Carter filled out her red, white blue costume. Now, while Superman and Batman continue to remain at the top of the heap, it should also be pointed out that they tend to overshadow other popular DC universe superheroes like The Flash. However, back in 1990, the character of The Flash was finally deemed worthy to make the leap from the comic book page to the boob tube. Unfortunately, network television is a fickle beast, and this rather enjoyable television adaptation of the character, found itself coming to a dead stop after only a single season on the air.

The basic premise of THE FLASH follows (pre CSI) police forensic scientist Barry Allen (John Wesley Shipp), who becomes imbued with the ability to move at tremendous speed after a freak accident in which he is struck by lightning and bathed in chemicals. Using his newfound superhuman abilities to fight crime, Allen dons a special red costume designed to withstand his high velocity movement and becomes the superhero known as The Flash. THE FLASH also stars Amanda Pays as Star Laboratories scientist Tina McGee, who assist The Flash in his heroic endeavors. The cast of THE FLASH features Alex Désert, Paula Marshall, Biff Manard, Vito D'Ambrosio and Mike Genovese.

THE FLASH THE COMPLETE SERIES ($60) comes to DVD in a six-disc set that features the double length Pilot and the following twenty one episodes that were aired in the show’s first and only year on the air: Out Of Control, Watching The Detectives, Honor Among Thieves, Double Vision, Sins Of The Father, Child's Play, Shroud Of Death, Ghost In The Machine, Sight Unseen, Beat The Clock, The Trickster, Tina, Is That You?, Be My Baby, Fast Forward, Deadly Nightshade, Captain Cold, Twin Streaks, Done With Mirrors, Good Night, Central City, Alpha and The Trial Of The Trickster.

Warner Home Video has made the pilot and all twenty-one regular episodes that comprise THE FLASH THE COMPLETE SERIES available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Considering that this show is already fifteen years old, it looks pretty much like you’d expect for a early 1990’s television production; the levels of image sharpness and detail never approach theatrical level, but are generally solid enough. Sure, there are moments that appear somewhat soft, but again, nothing out of line for a television production of this vintage. Colors are a little variable, but are generally fairly vibrant, with pretty natural looking flesh tones. Blacks are accurate and whites are stable. Contrast is pretty much at the television level, plus shadow detail comes across as a bit murky. The film elements have some minor blemishes, but nothing too bad. Grain is noticeable, especially in darker sequences, although it is never excessive. Digital compression artifacts are generally well concealed.

All the episodes that comprise THE FLASH THE COMPLETE SERIES come with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtracks, which decode to standard surround in a modestly effective manner. As expected, the forward soundstage is completely dominant, with the rears adding a bit of ambience and musical fill. Channel separations across the front aren’t as pronounced as they are on newer tracks, but what do you expect from a television program mixed to the technical specs of the early 1990’s broadcasts. Dialogue is crisply rendered and is generally easy to understand, although occasionally, the music threatens to overpower it. No other language tracks are provided, but English, French and Spanish subtitles have been included. Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard episode selection and set up features. Unfortunately, no extra content has been included.

THE FLASH was a likable superhero based television series that wasn’t given the chance it deserved to find an audience. Warner’s DVD release is pretty solid, as far as the video and audio presentations are concerned. If you are a fan, you’ll want to speed down to your favorite DVD retailer and pick up a copy.



The Flash - The Complete Series (1990)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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