Accurate Sci-Fi: DCU’s “The Flash”

Greetings all and happy Friday!


Keeping it relevant for #FlashFriday, I wanted to take today’s post to discuss the CW series “The Flash.” Sure, it’s been airing since 2014, but I’ve just recently started on it.

For anyone who doesn’t watch or know of the series, we follow Barry Allen, his foster father and associates in using all sorts of supernatural abilities and science gadgets to fight crime. Sounds like just another superhero show, right? To some extent, yes – though I have to say, the comradery among the main characters is something unique. Unlike the Avengers, who despite their undeniably neat powers, are all a bit scattered and in and out to really get a feel for that tight-knit dynamic, Barry and his team represent both excellent diversity and everyday human issues that somehow complement their paranormal experiences. Sure, they are ‘superheroes’, but they are also parents, siblings, children, cops, CSIs, doctors and engineers. Their roles in the show don’t start and stop with their powers and, indeed, most of them don’t even start out with any special talents – however, what they all have is a sense of resourcefulness.

The next aspect of “The Flash” that really captures my attention is the feasibility of the explanation for the show’s sci-fi element. Provided my preference for hard science fiction, I really admire when such TV series, film and books take the time for logical tech and phenomena. In this series, humans with special abilities are known as ‘metahumans’ (DCU term) and these talents stemmed from a particle accelator accident which released a plethora of dark matter. For those who aren’t familiar, dark matter is the material that comprises the majority of the universe yet which we know virtually nothing about. Personally, I think that taking liberties with this type of matter is a more clever way of tackling superpowers and scientific enigmas than, say, Vibranium which serves as the mystery cure-all technology source for “Black Panther” and largely the greater MCU. Moreover, the tech in “The Flash”, while occasionally sophisticated to a lofty degree, is typically impressively rationalized. By and large, various characters break down concepts in physics at a level that the lay viewer can understand, and the result is a rare treat of actually learning some real science while watching a fictional TV show.

For anyone who has watched “The Flash”, what are your thoughts on the show’s character development and attention to scientific details? For those who haven’t seen the series but have comments on other series that you think aptly explore realistic aspects of sci-fi tech, have at it!

For 2019 reading, check out sci-fi debut Apex Five!

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