The Flash was a 1990 live-action TV series based on the comic book character of the same name, starring John Wesley Shipp in the title role.Central City police scientist Barry Allen is caught in a freak lab accident involving a bolt of lightning and several random chemicals on a shelf; the bizarre combination alters his body chemistry, allowing him to move at incredible Super Speed. Shortly afterwards, his older brother Jay is murdered by notorious gang leader (and ex-cop) Nicholas Pike, prompting Barry to seek the aid of STAR Labs scientist Dr. Tina McGee in order to bring Pike and his gang to justice. To that end, Barry dons an experimental high-pressure diving suit, modified with lightning-bolt designs, and sets out on a one-man war on Pike, and eventually on crime in Central City as a whole.The series lasted for one season, 22 episodes in all, and was eventually canceled due to poor network time scheduling. It was produced by Warner Bros. in association with Pet Fly Productions.
Tropes present in this television series based on The Flash:
Abandoned Warehouse: The Nightshade's secret lair is located in one, as a heroic example. For a villainous example, the Trickster commandeers one as his own personal base of operations in his debut episode. See also Never Recycle a Building below.
Agent Scully: Officer Murphy refuses to believe the Flash exists, even after seeing the speedster running around a bus to defrost it right before his eyes. (In fact, his just missing the Flash so many times leads to HIM being suspected of being the hero in one episode).
Anti-Hero: The new Nightshade in "Deadly Nightshade".
Batman Gambit: A criminal mastermind gathers a team to supposedly steal a foreign treasure. While the police sit on the treasure, he sends them out to pick the city clean. As it turns out they're just distractions to pull the police away so he can steal the treasure.
The Flash: You made me when you killed my brother.
Pike: I've killed a lot of men's brothers.
The Trickster has this as well. He constantly reinvents himself, and disregards his past actions entirely once a new inspiration takes him. In his second appearance, Jesse is broken out of jail and even though Central City, the Flash, and his Harley Quinn-esque devotee are all prepared for the Trickster's return, he himself just dismisses the whole thing as another passing phase and prepares to do something new. He has to be convinced to care enough to put on the suit again.
Cassandra Truth: A toddler in an episode calls Barry "Flash" as she's begun talking. Fortunately, since she is a baby nobody takes her seriously.
Cloning Blues: Pollux was a clone of Barry Allen. He didn't take it very well when he found out.
Clothing Damage: Barry has to be careful about how fast he runs out of costume (or when carrying civilians) because the wind shear from super-speed will shred their clothes (and a lot more if he's really negligent).
Composite Character: Barry Allen's eating tendencies and connection with Tina McGee are all taken from Wally West's run as the Flash. The costume is based on Wally's subtly different one as well.
Continuity Nod: Some of the later episodes would reference events from earlier episodes. One example would be Nicholas Pike, the Big Bad of the pilot episode, returning for revenge in "Fast Forward." Also, in the same episode, Barry mentions what Nightshade had previously said to him.
Barry: Someone once told me the Flash would be forgotten in a few years. I never thought he'd end up in a museum.
Barry: Since I became the Flash, these eccentric criminals have been coming out of the woodwork. The Trackman, Ghost, Gideon, now this. Maybe I should hang it up. Megan: Stop blaming yourself. Blame society. Welcome to post-modern America.
Megan: I'm no damsel in distress! I'm a detective!
Darker and Edgier: Most of the episodes portrayed Central City in a manner more akin to Gotham City. Plus, the Flash wasn't afraid to kill (unlike his comic book counterpart, who only ever killed once out of desperation).
Okay, somebody call the coroner to pick this guy up before he melts...On the other hand, may be better to call the Good Humor Man.
Barry himself, at times. From the same episode:
Terri Kronenberg: All right, look. About the other night. I acted like a jerk. Well, I mean not so much a jerk as much as I was just pushy. All right, no, actually, to tell you the truth, I was a jerk. You know, but it's my job. It's just, I take it very seriously and it makes me a little aggressive sometimes. And I know that it's a problem and I've been working on it. I'm actually a lot better. You should have seen me before. Woo. It's a trait, it runs in my family, you know? So, what I'm trying to say here is that I'm sorry, okay?
Disability Superpower: In "Sight Unseen" a blind newspaper vendor's other senses are so sharp he's able to give the Flash a relatively detailed description of a murder. He would probably know that Barry was the Flash if someone referred to him by name during their talk.
Electric Torture: In the episode "Fast Forward", Barry Allen is transported ten years into the future where his brother's killer Nicolas Pike runs Central City. He uses an electric chair in the old STAR Labs to give whoever opposes him an electric lobotomy. However, when Nicolas had Barry strapped up to the chair and given a full measure of the chair's powers, it briefly restores Barry's superspeed allowing him to escape
Even Evil Has Standards: In the pilot, one of Pike's men tries to run off with his girlfriend when he fears Pike is crazy. But his girl ratted him out to Pike and killed him by tying him on a motorcycle with a bomb.
Evil-Detecting Dog: The dog does not like the disguised Trickster, while nobody else can tell who he is.
Executive Meddling: There was a constant shifting from one time-slot to another, eventually causing the show's cancellation after one season. Explained more fully on the show's Wikipedia page.
Expy: Pollux, Barry's clone in the episode "Twin Streaks," was essentially the show's Reverse-Flash. He also has roots in Speed Demon and the Blue Trinity, all early speedster foes of Wally West who got their powers via lab experimentation.
For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Happens in "The Trickster," where Barry goes to a police costume ball as his alter ego...and a number of the guests there are clad in similarly-colored costumes, since nobody knows what the real Flash looks like beyond the red-and-gold speed blur. Amusingly, Barry is told that his costume is bland.
Handy Cuffs: In his titular debut episode, the Trickster was handcuffed with his hands in front of him. While sitting in the middle of a police car with three officers, he grabbed a gun from one officer and shot all three dead. Oh, and Trickster is also an escape artist so he was out of the handcuffs seconds later.
I Lied: The mad scientist in "Out of Control" lied to everyone about growing up as a privileged rich kid. His parents were very poor, and was ashamed of his upbringing. To the point that he's disgusted with the poor.
Kangaroo Court: In "The Trial of the Trickster", the Trickster refers to his trial as one. He even set up his own later in the episode.
Kick the Dog: In "Twin Streaks," Pollux complains to his creator, Dr. Jason Brassell, that he doesn't know who his parents are, whether he's a good or bad person, or what his true identity is supposed to be. His creator's response?
Brassell: You're nothing. Absolutely nothing. A random accumulation of molecules grown in a lab. An experiment. A lab animal who at the moment is getting on my nerves!
Meaningful Name: In "Twin Streaks," Pollux is named after the Greek/Roman mythological figure; his creator notes as much when naming him. Pollux gives up his own life to save Barry at the end of the episode, just as his mythological namesake gave up part of his own immortality to save his brother.
Mistaken Identity: In "The Trickster", Officer Bellows thinks Officer Murphy is the Flash due to never seeing them together. He even has a chart of the Flash sightings with Murphy's patrol log. Barry and Megan humor this revelation.
The Mole: Gun shop owner Calligan for the Warriors of Freedom in "Shroud of Death". The leader's daughter Angel found out and killed him.
Mentions of several Silver Age Flash villains (Professor Zoom, Gorilla Grodd; neither actually appeared in the series, however).
A "Garrick Avenue" address (Jay Garrick was the alter ego of the Golden Age Flash).
While the series is ostensibly based on the adventures of the Silver Age Flash (Barry Allen), in "The Trickster" the villain creates a statue of the Flash which wears a winged helmet and winged boots, which were hallmarks of the uniform of the Golden Age Flash.
A mention of "Police captain Julius Schwartz" (Julius Schwartz was a legendary DC Comics editor and a co-creator of the Silver Age Flash).
Not Wearing Tights: Flash does, of course, because the red suit is resistant to friction but the villains, even the ones from the comic, mostly avoid their classic looks: Captain Cold wears a trenchcoat, Mirror Master wears a suit. Trickster is an exception, but then, he's crazy.
"You look pretty hot. I think I'd better cool you off."
Punny Name: Leonard Wynters, Captain Cold's real name in this series (in the comics, his real name is Leonard Snart, which...doesn't lend itself to cold puns).
Put on a Bus: Iris West, Barry's girlfriend, after the pilot.
Race Against the Clock: In "Beat the Clock," Flash has one hour to save an innocent man on death row for the murder of his wife. Made all the more intense because the episode's time was counted according to real-world time, including the commercial breaks.
Flash: I don't believe you! All you care about is your money and your career. You almost got us killed!
Terri: N-no, I-I-I didn't mean to—
Flash: You didn't mean to what? To be an unprincipled, manipulative brat who thinks the truth is something to be twisted to get what you want? If you really wanna be a good reporter, you have to learn to care about the truth. And about people.
Screwed by the Network: The series aired for only one season on CBS and had its time slot constantly changed before it was canned.
For example, at one point, this hour long drama was moved to air at 8:30 PM. To avoid competing with The Cosby Show and The Simpsons, as it had been.
Second Coming: The Flash became a Messianic Archetype when he was accidentally blasted ten years into the future where his brother's killer Nicholas Pike runs Central City as his personal kingdom and its citizens are looking for his return to set things right.
Secret Keeper: Tina, to Barry. Megan Lockhart and the Nightshade as well.
In "Deadly Nightshade", it is revealed that police captain Julius Schwartz knew the identity of Nightshade. It has now been revealed to the public.
Softspoken Sadist: Captain Cold always speaks in a very gentle, very pleasant voice - no matter what he's doing or who he's killing. He rarely shows any overt emotion and barely ever drops the polite way of speaking - the only time he does is when he's menacing a runaway witness, and even then his threats and gloating still very softspoken. It's highly unsettling, especially in situations where the audience is expecting him to lose his temper (which he never does, at least not visibly).
Split Personality: Happens to Tina in "Tina, Is That You?" Due to an experiment gone wrong, Tina becomes criminally aggressive and becomes the leader of a dangerous all-girl gang, and even threatens to use her knowledge of Barry's secret identity against him if he tries to interfere with her plans. Barry has to strap her to the machine that was part of the accident and get inside her mind to get her back to normal.
Thou Shall Not Kill: In "Watching the Detectives", a crooked DA who learned the Flash's identity tells him that the only way he would keep him from revealing to everyone is to kill him. However, he gets killed when his car exploded, rigged by the mob he was working for.
Time Travel: In "Fast Forward," the combination of him running at super-speed and the explosion from a homing missile somehow causes Flash to get sent ten years into a Bad Future.
The Unfavorite: In the pilot Barry was this for his father Henry, in stark contrast to his brother Jay; Henry always praised Jay's accomplishments as the leader of the local police department's major crime task force while dismissing Barry's work in the police lab. However, Barry never held it against Jay himself (and it helped that Jay supported Barry's lab-work).
Villain of the Week: Many of them were mostly normal mobsters. Among those who used costumes or special gimmicks: the Trickster, Sam "Mirror Master" Scudder, Captain Cold, the Ghost (archenemy of the hero Nightshade who utilized television broadcasts), the Deadly Nightshade (an Evil Counterpart to Nightshade), Brian Gideon (who used an invisibility cloak) and Pollux.
Weirdness Magnet: The Flash himself, apparently. Lampshaded by Lt. Garfield in "The Trickster."
Lt. Garfield: Costumed clown running rampant in my town? What next? It's like the Flash draws them out of the woodwork. Barry: Wait a minute. You think the Flash is responsible for the Trickster? Garfield: Circus suit, high media profile, works outside the law. Every loon in a three-mile radius has gotta have a case of costume envy.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Henry Allen, Barry's father and a former street cop, looks down on Barry's work as a scientist in the police lab, believing it to not be "real" police work.