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Series / Flash Gordon (2007)

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Flash Gordon (2007-2008) was a Sci-Fi Channel adaptation of the comic strip of the same name, incorporating material from previous adaptations. The plot follows Flash as he discovers a rift in space leading to the planet Mongo, ruled by an evil dictator who controls the planet's water supply.

The characters include:

  • Steven "Flash" Gordon (Eric Johnson (Actor)), whose scientist father supposedly died in a mysterious accident.
  • Dale Arden (Gina Holden), a reporter and Flash's ex-girlfriend.
  • Dr. Hans Zarkov (Jody Racicot), Flash's father's eccentric research assistant.
  • Ming (John Ralston), ruler of Mongo (not officially called "The Merciless").
  • Baylin (Karen Cliche), a bounty hunter from Mongo (a new character introduced for the series).
  • Princess Aura (Anna Van Hooft), Ming's daughter.

In the beginning, the show had a Monster of the Week format. After negative critical reactions, a mid-season retool shifted the focus to a Mongo-based story arc. Despite this effort, Flash Gordon was canceled after one season, ending on a cliffhanger, although most plotlines were resolved.

For the earlier live-action Flash Gordon series, see Flash Gordon (1954).

Provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Of a sort. By all appearances, "Flash" was his real name in the comic strip. Here it is a nickname with his given name being "Steven."
  • After the End: At least as far as Mongo is concerned; Mongo's original civilization collapsed, leaving Ming to rebuild.
  • Alien Among Us: Baylin.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The original Mongo civilization was highly advanced to the point where they could set up a massive mining operation on their moon and build two more moons as processing centers. This eventually led to their downfall. An accident resulted in the planet being showered with a toxic mineral, killing the vast majority of the population and contaminating nearly all water supplies. Only a few million who managed to escape to one of the moons survived before returning to the planet. The current Mongo people remember the day of the accident as the Sorrow, which is commemorated every year.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Ming controls Mongo's potable water supply.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • In the series finale, Ming dons a Patriot uniform and proceeds to kick Flash's ass.
    • Barin, the leader of the Verden, is also a pretty good fighter. Better than Flash, at any rate. He is played by Steve Bacic, after all.
  • Berserk Button: Never say "Ming the Merciless" in front of Ming. He might just prove you right.
  • Bling of War: Ming trades in the faux-Mandarin robes for a flashy military uniform in this version. The uniform isn't just for show, as he proves himself to be a capable fighter in the Grand Finale.
  • Casting Gag: Sam J. Jones, who played Flash in the 1980 film, plays Krebb in "Revelations".
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Flash's father.
  • Cardboard Prison: At least four times. Lampshaded in an episode recap, which jokes that Ming's dungeon will be renamed "The Mongo Inn", "for its liberal check-out policy".
  • Cool, Clear Water: Do not drink water on Mongo unless it comes from the planet's only clear source, unless you want to turn into a Deviant, a mutated mindless monster.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Joe Wylee is introduced as Dale's fiance, and he and Flash are suitably chilly to one another even before Joe goes off the deep end and dies in his attempt to find proof of Mongo.
  • Distressed Dude: The intro alone has at least four shots of our heroes captured.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ming is a dictator who absolutely despises Deviants and will order a newborn's execution if his DNA contains traces of deviancy. A later episode reveals that Ming himself is a Deviant.
  • Eating The Eyecandy: Flash does this to Baylin when he catches her taking an "oil bath". He stares until Dale pulls him away.
  • Eat the Bomb: Baylin neutralizes the alkaline components of a bomb using her highly acidic stomach acid. Even though the bomb didn't go off, they still used the standard burp gag common to the trope, minus the fireball that usually comes with it.
  • Enemy Mine: Flash and friends forge an alliance with the queen of Frigia, a polar region that has ice in quantities to jeopardize Ming's monopoly on potable water.
  • Evil Chancellor: Rankol (later subject to a Heel–Face Turn).
  • Evil Minions: Ming's Patriot Guards.
  • Fanservice: Baylin oiling her naked body in Flash's backyard. The camera lingers on her shapely legs and gives a few Side Boob shoots.
  • Fish out of Water: A lot of the comedy on the show comes from Baylin's reactions to Earth.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Flash himself, although he plays into it by continuing to search for his father once it's clear that Ming is intimidated by Flash's apparent fulfillment of prophecy. Even when Rankol tries to convince Flash that his father is already dead for his own protection so he'll give up and stay on Earth.
  • Klingon Promotion: Ming is disappointed with Aura when she doesn't do it when he's incapacitated. In his mind, this indicates she's not fit to rule.
  • Lady Land: The Omadrians are a female-only canton (with the only males being castrated to keep them docile) specializing in powerful herbal medicine. They are led by Aura's mother.
  • Leg Focus: When Baylin is taking an "oil bath" she's nude reclining on a chair and lifts her leg so she can clean it as if she were on a bathtub.
  • MacGuffin: The Imex is a portable information database that's the subject of the first two episodes.
  • Mad Scientist:
    • Zarkov, as usual, but this time he's also the Conspiracy Theorist (which is how he got fired from government research).
    • Rankol also plays with this trope which seems to be yet another layer in his Chessmaster strategy.
  • Mars Needs Water: The well of pure water that Ming controls as opposed to the polar ice that he doesn't is running out, so he intends to use the rifts to steal Earth's water. In one episode draining a whole lake.
  • Monster of the Week: The original format of the show. Something would come through from Mongo, and Flash and the others would have to either kills it or send it back, while keeping it a secret from everybody else.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Barin.
  • Ms. Fanservice: As with most Flash adaptations, Aura gets a heaping of fanservice, as do Baylin and Dale on occasion.
  • Mundane Utility: Ming's plan for the portal technology? Steal water from Earth.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: For most of the season, Flash, Dale and Zarkov all agree that they need to keep the rifts secret, since if the Earth authorities knew about them they'd start their own experiments and cause further damage to the fabric of space/time. Then, in the penultimate episode, Dale arbitrarily decides to go public with the news of an imminent invasion, which achieves nothing except attracting the attention of shady government types and forcing her and Flash's mother to go on the run.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Rather than being Fu Manchu in Space, Ming is modeled after Saddam Hussein, meaning he goes from East Asian to West Asian.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Flash invokes this scenario to make Aura think the Imex is destroyed.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: The body of a Patriot Guard accompanies our heroes back to Earth in one episode; to avoid suspicion this trope is invoked and Played for Laughs.
  • One-Way Visor: Ming's guards.
  • Organic Technology: A lot of Mongo tech is partially biological, such as the robots that explode into puddles of sludge when destroyed in the pilot, and the bomb Baylin ate.
  • Race Lift: The Ambiguously Asian Ming became 100% Caucasian.
  • Religion of Evil: Averted. The monks, who also secretly include Rankol, are actively working behind the scenes to undermine Ming's rule and assist Flash on multiple occasions.
  • Remake Cameo: Sam Jones (the 1980s Flash) played a prisoner.
  • Schizo Tech: Mongo has managed to develop interdimensional travel without also developing ground transportation. Almost all travel on Mongo seems to be done on foot in this version. Good thing Flash is an Olympic-level distance runner.
    • Justified in that Ming does not want the people to have access to transportation that can be used against him. The few people who have automobiles are wealthy trade merchants.
    • Also: Mongo has all kinds of advanced technology, including the above-mentioned interdimensional travel... but the ability to build water-treatment and purification plants has somehow eluded them?
    • Justified in that his portal technology was created by an earth physicist who first created it himself and sent himself to Mongo accidentally. Using this physicist Ming was able to recreate the portal technology, and possibly also make the sci-fi weapon technology he uses, but it's unsurprising that the scientist didn't invent cars or water treatment plants for him. Subverted in that the scientist did in fact invent a water treatment plant while there.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Baylin cleans herself with oil in the buff on Flash's backyard, uncaring of who sees her. Flash explains that since they don't access to clean water, they have to bathe themselves with oil.
  • Social Circle Filler: Nick appears in only 4 out of 21 episodes, one of them being the pilot.
  • Strawman News Media:
    • Both of the TV stations shown are obsessed with ratings and Dale's attempts to promote the value of integrity are ignored. Dale's competitor is the eye candy news piece.
    • Dale can drop completely off the grid for days at a time without filing a story, checking in with her editor, or even turning in an expense report, and nobody thinks this is unusual.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Ming actively tries to maintain his image as "the Benevolent Father", using propaganda campaigns, celebrations, grand public gestures, and other tools of a Third World dictator trying to look legit. He will give extra water to a sick girl, while ordering her father's execution with the same breath.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: Used in an episode where Flash must discredit a recording of a rift portal before he turns it into a nation wide story.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: After Ming is captured by La Résistance in the Grand Finale, he is being led to the gas chamber past his daughter and son. When asked if his own daughter would execute her father, she tearfully replies that it's necessary. His reply? "Finally, a daughter I can be proud of." He doesn't die.