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'The Flash' review: CW's quasi-dull DC Comics superhero

John Wesley Shipp as Henry Allen in "The

John Wesley Shipp as Henry Allen in "The Flash." Credit: The CW / Jack Rowand

THE SHOW "The Flash"

WHEN | WHERE Tuesday night at 8 on CW/11

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) was 11 when his mother was killed by some freakish evil force. His father, Henry -- played by John Wesley Shipp, in a nice nod to CBS' 1990 version, starring Shipp as Barry -- is wrongly accused of her murder. As an adult and ace CSI specialist with the Starling City PD, Barry has one life goal: To free dad. Actually, make that two goals: To also get the beautiful Iris West (Candice Patton) to fall in love with him. Then one fateful day, the particle accelerator created by genius physicist Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) goes haywire, sending bolts of lightning over the city. Barry is struck by a bolt, and -- after emerging from a long coma -- discovers he has a superpower. He can run faster than any dude on the planet. Other people are changed too. Based on the DC Comics classic of the same name.

MY SAY The CW got off on the right foot -- no more feet puns, I promise -- by having David Nutter direct "The Flash" pilot. Superhero director Nutter (who also helmed the pilots for "Arrow" and "Smallville") not only knows the genre intimately but what's needed immediately: Backstory . . . emotional connection with hero . . . and action.

You'll get most of that tonight and more -- the "more" essentially being a very good-looking pilot. That leaves Gustin, which is where nagging doubts crop up. "Arrow" viewers already know him slightly, "Glee" fans know him more than that. As Sebastian Smythe, he was the bad boy rake with the quick wit and unsteady moral compass. He was interesting.

By contrast, Gustin's Allen is blue of eye and clear of conscience. Sweet and gentle, he's immensely likable but not particularly intriguing, unlike Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen or even Tom Welling's Clark Kent (at least in the later seasons of "Smallville.")

Aren't superheroes supposed to be wracked by existential angst -- lonely souls in an unfeeling world, where no one "gets" them or truly appreciates the vast importance of their unique gifts? Or have I just been watching too many "Amazing Spider-Man" sequels on Amazon Prime?

Gustin's Allen certainly has his melancholy moments, but they disperse as quickly as a summer shower. That's OK -- until you realize he's not only out to save the world, but save himself.

BOTTOM LINE Solid pilot, quasi-dull protagonist.


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