A large duck (burger_eater) wrote,
A large duck

TV seasons on DVD

I never understood the appeal of watching a full season of a TV show on DVD. It seemed like a massive investment of time to (re-)watch something in a way it was not meant to be watched--one after another after another. I always thought it would be too concentrated and too repetitive.

Then I gave it a try.

I just watched the complete series of The Flash, which ran for one season in '90-'91. I'd enjoyed it (mostly) back then, but had missed a couple episodes, and no one has rerun it since. It seemed like a natural for Sci-Fi Channel, but whatever.

Watching it now, fifteen years later, I was struck by some things I didn't notice back then, namely how miscast Amanda Pays was in the role of scientist/platonic love interest/expository device Dr. Tina McGee. She looked profoundly uncomfortable trying to say the comic book sciobabble, and she never looked as threatened by Theme Criminals as the narrative seemed to warrant. Also, I suspect some agent or casting director had told her that her large eyes were her best feature, because she seems to be accentuating by looking permanently astonished.

And the hair is funny, the scenes are set-bound, The Flash looks too bulky for a super-fast hero, the suit began to show real wear-and-tear in the later episodes, some of the actors-stand-still-while-The-Flash-does-something-superfast bits didn't play quite right and so on and so forth.

The Flash steals an invisibility belt from one of the series' villains. Does he use it in his fight against crime? Does he give it to Dr. McGee so she can slip away from the queu of crooks stealing things from her lab? Heck, no. He just takes it apart to taunt one of the bad guys.

And you'd think Barry Allen and Tina McGee would have a nice, long talk about the importance of her calling him "Flash" rather than "Barry" when he's wearing the mask. Especially when they're in a public place and that week's villain has him at a disadvantage, at which point her concern is so great that she has to shout his name. It kinda defeats the purpose of the mask, after all.

But there's a lot to like about the show, too. First and foremost is that The Flash is just plain cool. Being able to think and move 500x faster than I do now pretty much tops my list of superpowers. Another thing they consistently got right was the way they cast the supporting characters, continuing and episodic. They hired people with real charm and gave them fun dialog. I don't know how many times I laughed at clever, revealing interactions between the characters. And it was just a teeny bit campy, just the right amount, IMO.

I also loved the giant mural art they started putting into all the sets. It looked great and gave the show a unique look. I also loved the Danny Elfman theme music. It was complex and fun at the same time.

I understand why the show was cancelled. It cost too much to make and too few people watched. It would have been a success now, 15 years later, if only because ratings expectations are lower and the cost to shoot it would be lower (although they *did* have a lot of locations). Still, it ain't gonna happen.

Personally, I would love to see an updated version of The Shadow as a TV series. Lamont Cranston's grandson, The Shadow's hypnotic powers, lots of gangsters and corrupt city leaders. I think it would be fun, affordable, and would avoid the pitfall of actors-in-spandex.

If you could develop a superhero TV series, what would it be? Characters from any medium welcome.
Tags: wasting time

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