The Flash vs Arrow
By Stephanie Cooke
Over the weekend I finished watching The Flash Season 2. This isn’t a review of the show and won’t contain any spoilers so if you aren’t caught up, don’t fret, I won’t ruin anything for you.
The Flash is one of my perfect examples of superhero TV. Somehow amidst all the darkness that DC insists on putting into their programming, The Flash is this wonderful beacon of hope as a character in the show and to viewers. Supergirl is in the same boat there after an absolutely delightful first season but we’ll save that for another article down the line.
I’ve been following Arrow since the first season and since then, I’ve wanted more for all the characters involved. I’ve given Arrow four seasons to win me over and while there are quite a number of episodes that I do enjoy, overall the tone of the show just leaves me feeling annoyed and empty. As of where I left off in Season 4, I no longer have an attachment to any of the characters. I don’t care what happens to them as it’s just variations of the same thing over and over and over again. I don’t want to rag on why I don’t personally enjoy Arrow but instead highlight why The Flash has utterly and completely won me over.
Grant Gustin was the perfect choice to portray Barry Allen aka The Flash. Without even having to act, Gustin embodies the character of Barry Allen perfectly and exudes an exceptional amount of charm and charisma. When Gustin is on screen, you can’t help but smile when he smiles and feel his pain when he’s feeling pain (the same thing happens with Melissa Benoist who plays Supergirl). You genuinely believe in Barry’s cause and what he’s trying to achieve as a person and subsequently as a hero. You root for him and even when things are looking bleak, you always believe that things will get better because that’s the kind of show that The Flash is. You WANT things to get better and you want to watch every episode to see Barry’s journey.
The supporting characters in The Flash are a delight too. While I initially had problems with Iris West as a character, the showrunners have worked on amending those issues and turning her character around for me and hopefully for other viewers as well. The cast is diverse and they’re given interesting arcs to play out alongside Barry and you (for the most part) are rooting for them too. Even villains like Captain Cold are more than just mindless rogues that the good go up against and it’s truly rewarding entertainment to consume.
Four seasons of Arrow haven’t made me feel even half as satisfied as two seasons of The Flash. The Flash keeps moving in new and interesting directions unlike Arrow which keeps finding ways to bring us back to that goddamn island over and over again like Lost 2.0.
There are too many TV shows that I want to consume at any given time and 22-episodes of a 45+ minute show that I don’t love is way too much time to devote. I’ve made the decision to drop Arrow from my viewing roster in favour of The Flash and also Supergirl, two shows that have proven over and over again that you don’t need darkness and angst for people to respond to it and find an audience.
I’m tired of shows that take themselves too seriously and especially when it comes to comic books. Comics are a wonderful medium that, yes, deal with serious subject matter, but they don’t have to always. Comics are endearingly also referred to as funnybooks and it’s ok to use them as a way of telling light-hearted stories as well.
I’m excited about the future of The Flash and where it goes and where it takes our characters. I will continue to support the shows like this as long as they keep making me feel for the characters and making me feel invested.