The Flash – The Lighter Side of Super Hero Crime Fighting

Oliver, Diggle, Roy, Thea, Lance - Arrow, Barry, Cisco, Caitlin, Joe, Wells, Tricksters - The Flash

It seems that Hollywood has discovered comic books – or at least, has fully embraced them – considering the number of recent and current blockbuster movies and TV programs that are based on comic books! It is a good time to be a neek (nerd+geek)! Oh, sure, Superman, Spiderman and Batman have been around for a long time in movies and on TV. But their brethren and sistren (it’s a word, look it up!) have for the most part been neglected – until recently!

TV is now full of comic book based characters, some of them super heroes (Arrow, The Flash) and others just plain folks in extraordinary circumstances (The Walking Dead, iZombie). As with any TV show, the tone of each program is unique which actually is a very good thing. Who wants to see the same stuff over and over?

Because super heroes fight crime, the tone of these shows is expected to be serious – after all, they are a variant on a police drama and deal with pretty serious stuff. Of course, that is not to say that TV shows about fighting crime cannot have humor – consider Psych or Brooklyn 99 for instance!

But, from what I have observed up to now, super hero programs have all been pretty much dark in feel and deadly serious. Then along comes The Flash, and it is like the curtains were opened and the windows flung wide! Yes, The Flash fights crime and puts the criminals away, although not always into prison, but I digress. And, absolutely, people do die in The Flash, but for the most part the grittiness of for instance Arrow, is missing from The Flash.

For purposes of this article, please understand that I do not read the comic books, so I am talking strictly about what the TV show presents to the viewer. The lighter tone may be due to the source material, or to the writers of the show.

Hero ‘Tude

Oliver - Arrow, Barry - The Flash

Barry Allen is one of those people that brings sunshine to every day. He has an infectious personality and makes people smile. He also has a whimsical sense of humor. Like any super hero, he cares deeply about people and wants to help them. The difference is that he does it with a lopsided grin. Put a puppy in his arms and this could be a romantic comedy!

Compare him to Oliver Queen as the Arrow to see the antithesis of The Flash. Oliver is a tortured, brooding soul. He too cares deeply about helping people, but his circumstances are a bit different and the whole atmosphere of Arrow is dark. I mean, heck, even the show writers acknowledge it – on a recent crossover episode of The Flash which featured Felicity and Ray, Felicity commented on the fact she thought she was getting away from the brooding by coming to Central City! Barry was fretting over Dr. Wells and the role he played in the death of Barry’s mother. But, even in his fretting, he still did not even come close to Oliver’s preoccupation.

Team ‘Tude

Diggle and Roy - Arrow, Cisco - The Flash

Even the rest of the team on The Flash is mostly upbeat! There’s Cisco, a nerdy fan boy who loves to come up with names for super-villains. What’s not to love? He also is full of quips and asides – snarky in nature – that make the show fun! Despite the fact Dr. Wells has a shady and seemingly evil secret, he still comes across as a caring scientist. And of course there is Joe, who loves Barry like a father and is always there for him.

Contrast that with Arrow, which has a whole host of pensive, moody secondary characters – Thea, Diggle, Roy, Lance, and Laurel. The only characters with even the least bit of whimsy are Felicity and Ray – Ray being the most fun of all and most similar to Cisco.

Action ‘Tude

Thea - Arrow, Tricksters - The Flash

The Flash is so fast; it takes him no time at all to subdue most criminals. Now, granted, the arch-villains take more time to apprehend and put away, but the key word is put away, not kill, with a minimum of bloodshed and casualties.

On Arrow, I will grant that the death toll has dropped significantly since the first season where Oliver was bent on making the people that had betrayed the city pay for their crimes. But, despite that, the fights are much more intense and the death toll is still higher – or at least it seems that way since I will admit that I have not actually done a count for the two shows.

Show ‘Tude

Lance - Arrow, Caitlin, Cisco, Barry, Wells, Joe - The Flash

The Flash has an upbeat tone, and uses bright colors and lights to convey it to the audience. S.T.A.R. Labs is well lit, with no dark corners and that sterile white atmosphere of a hospital.

Compare this to The Walking Dead and Arrow and you will see darkness, drabness, and a general heavy atmosphere to the shows. Both shows seem to be filmed many times in darkness. The Lair on Arrow has a lot of dark corners, even when the lights are fully on!


To my mind, there is plenty of room for the two types of shows. After all, super heroes deal with criminals that mean to harm the innocents of society and there will be a cost associated with that in most cases. But, it is nice to have a lighter fare such as The Flash where the viewer is not continually bombarded with doom and gloom.

What do you think about the mien of The Flash? Is it too upbeat for you? Or do you enjoy the humor and lighter tone compared to some other shows? Let me know in the comments section below!