Follow TV Tropes


Series / The Flash (1990)

Go To

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 scheduling by CBS (the Gulf War was also a factor). It was produced by Pet Fly Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

A second TV series based on the Flash started in 2014 and contains several homages to this show, like Shipp returning as Barry Allen's father, while Amanda Pays, Mark Hamill, and Alex Désert have occasionally reprised their roles as Tina McGee, the villainous Trickster and Julio Mendez respectively. It was eventually confirmed that this series takes place in an Alternate Universe to the newer one's own (the "Arrowverse") after its Barry travels through dimensions. In 2018, John Wesley Shipp's Barry would come back for the yearly Arrowverse crossover event, Elseworlds. This show's setting is now officially designated as Earth-90 within The Multiverse of the Arrowverse, after the year it was created, and received a Fully Absorbed Finale as part of Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019).

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.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • While Henry Allen never pulls a Face–Heel Turn, this version of him is very dismissive and unappreciative of Barry.
    • Both Captain Cold and the Trickster in the comics are bank robbers. Here, Cold's an assassin and the Trickster is a proto-version of Hamill's Joker.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Barry is blond in the comics; here, he sports brown hair.
    • Tina had black hair in the comics, but has brown hair here.
    • Iris is a redhead in the comics; here she is raven haired.
    • Much like her son, Nora Allen is blond in the comics but is a brunette in this show.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Jay Garrick becomes Jay Allen thanks to being Related in the Adaptation.
    • Captain Cold's last name is changed from Snart to Wynters (his first name is still Leonard, though).
  • Advertised Extra: Iris West was Put on a Bus after the pilot. Despite this, she's included in DVD releases for the show.
  • Age Lift: In the comics, Linda Park is the Love Interest of Wally West, Barry's Kid Sidekick and eventually successor as The Flash and Iris' nephew. Here, she appears older than Barry himself.
  • 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).
  • The Air Not There: The show at least made a nod towards realism in this regard; the first time Barry accidentally kicks into super-speed his clothes get shredded, and his eventual costume is made of experimental material which can resist the effect.
  • Alliterative Name: Sam Scudder, the Mirror Master.
  • Alternate Continuity: See the Alternate Universe entry below.
  • Alternate Self: An interesting case regarding a number of Arrowverse characters since they are played by different actors/actresses there, particularly the Allen family, Jay Garrick, Iris West, Linda Park, Leonard Snart, and Sam Scudder. So far, only five characters here are still played by the same actors there; Tina McGee, Julio Mendez, Anthony Bellows, James Jesse, and Zoey Clark. In Jesse's case, he also has a another counterpart on another Alternate Universe (dubbed "Earth-3") there.
    • John Wesley Shipp plays Barry Allen here, whereas he is played by Grant Gustin on at least two Earths (1 and 2) there. Shipp also plays their Earth-1 Henry Allen as well as their Earth-3 Jay Garrick, while their respective counterparts here are played by M. Emmet Walsh and Tim Thomerson.
    • Nora Allen is played by Priscilla Pointer here, but is played by Michelle Harrison there on at least two Earths (also 1 and 2).
    • Iris West is played by Paula Marshall here, but is played by Candice Patton on at least the same two Earths.
    • Here it is Leonard Wynters who becomes the supervillain Captain Cold and is played by Michael Champion. The Arrowverse has two Truer to the Text versions of Leonard Snart from their Earths 1 and X both played by Wentworth Miller.
    • Sam Scudder is played by David Cassidy here, but is played by Grey Damon on Arrowverse's Earth-1.
    • Linda Park is the second most complicated example after the male Allens above. In this universe she's played by Mariko Tse. The Earth-1 Arrowverse was originally played by Olivia Cheng before Malese Jow takes over. Jow also plays the 'Arrowverse'' Earth-2 version.
    • John Diggle from Arrowverse's Earth-1 has one here who is apparently a Green Lantern.
  • Alternate Timeline: Tons with The Flash (2014).
    • Barry is closer in age with both Tina McGee and James Jesse in this universe. In the Earth-1 Arrowverse, Barry is decades younger than Tina and James, who are instead closer in age to Barry's father.
    • Nora was murdered in that universe when Barry was really young.
    • There, Barry is the only child.
    • Linda Park is considerably older than Barry and his peers.
    • Courtney Whitmore was born on a much later time here, given that she's a young adult in 2018, whereas the one from Arrowverse's Earth-1 was a young adult during World War II.
  • Alternate Universe: Of The Flash (2014), as part of a greater DC TV multiverse called the Arrowverse, which takes place on Earth-Prime. This Flash series is eventually designated Earth-90.
  • Anti-Hero: The new Nightshade in "Deadly Nightshade".
  • Artificial Human: The titular cyborg in "Alpha."
  • Ascended Fangirl: Zoey Clark, who was a fan of James Jesse, offered herself up as a replacement for Megan Lockhart as Prank.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Trickster.
  • Badass Biker: Barry's late brother Jay was a patrol cop. Pike (Jay's former partner) and his gang are evil versions.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: This series' version of Captain Cold and Mirror Master.
  • Badass Long Coat: Captain Cold.
  • Bad Future: In one episode, Nicolas Pike sent the Flash ten years into the future where, during the Flash's absence from Central City, the criminal eventually took over the city and turned it into a dystopia, arresting anybody who resisted his authority. Fortunately, the Flash was sent back to his own time to prevent this future from ever happening.
  • 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.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Barry and Tina.
  • Berserk Button: Prematurely canceling a contract with Captain Cold is not a wise thing to do, especially because his offended feelings won't show openly.
  • Big Eater: Barry, by necessity due to his powers.
  • Blue Means Cold: Captain Cold wears a light blue shirt and tie and a dark blue suit and longcoat.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Both the Mirror Master and Ghost set up a laser that is slowly moving towards the Flash, then left the Flash, so he would have a chance to escape when no one was watching. Yes, it was cool.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Trickster does this to the Flash in his second appearance.
  • Bus Crash: The Monitor destroyed this world in late 2018, with Barry as the only confirmed survivor.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
    • This is Pike's attitude in the pilot, when Flash confronts him about Jay's murder.
    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.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Henry does love Barry but he blatantly favors Jay over him for being a patrol cop. When Henry complains about how Barry's not getting any closer to finding Hix with his forensic science, Barry has had enough and finally vents out his frustration with his father. Henry would then realize just how much of a douche he was to his son and the two would reconcile after they talk things out.
Barry Allen: Did you ever... for one single minute stop and think that I might get a little sick and tired of your endless criticism of me and my work?
  • Caltrops: The second Nightshade uses them to stop the Flash from pursuing him.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Nightshade was essentially a combination of The Shadow and The Green Hornet, with his outfit based on that of the Golden Age Sandman and sharing the same name as the superheroine.
  • 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.
  • Celebrity Paradox: An episode where Barry hangs out in a movie house shows a poster of Batman (1989). Aside from the fact that both this show and that film are based from characters owned by the same comic publishing company, they also share the same music composer.
  • Civvie Spandex: The supervillains sans The Trickster uses civilian attire, with both Captain Cold and Mirror Master actually wearing suits. Averted with Barry himself.
  • Clear Their Name: In "Beat the Clock", Barry and Julio work together to clear the name of a jazz musician on death row, falsely accused of murdering his wife. Turns out she was actually kidnapped and the whole plot was all set up by the jazz musician's own incredibly jealous brother.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Corrupt Cop: Pike used to be this.
  • Crapsack World: Central City as controlled by Nicolas Pike in 2001 in the episode "Flash Forward".
  • Create Your Own Villain: Inverted in the pilot, as Pike's murder of Jay is what motivates Barry to use his powers to fight crime. Also played straight twice, both times indirectly—Flash's existence motivates James Jesse, already a criminally psychotic Stalker with a Crush, to become the Trickster, a Stalker with a Crush with outlandish gadgets; and Flash's DNA is used (through a stolen blood sample) to create his not-quite-Evil Counterpart Pollux.
    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.
  • Crimefighting with Cash: The Deadly Nightshade turns out to be a wealthy philanthropist, who uses his wealth to build himself gadgets, which he uses to take care of the city's criminals, as a penance for his father being a mobster. Anticipating the Flash's interference, he even builds himself a Powered Armor that allows him to reach his speed.
  • Da Chief: Lt. Warren Garfield.
  • Damsel in Distress: Megan Lockhart in "The Trickster", though she defies the status.
    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).
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Lt. Garfield. An example from the episode "Captain Cold":
    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?
    Barry: Do you ever breathe?
    Terri: Yeah, that's another thing, I talk a lot.
    Barry: Oh, really? I hadn't noticed.
  • Death by Adaptation: Jay Allen, a re-imagined Jay Garrick, was killed-off as a Death by Origin Story for Barry.
  • 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.
  • Doppelmerger: While trying to evade a missile fired at him by Nicholas Pike, the Flash is transported ten years into the future where Pike has taken over Central City. The Flash then goes back to the exact moment just before the missile launch to stop it, then merges with his past self to deal with Pike.
  • 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 S.T.A.R. 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.
    • The mob boss in "Good Night, Central City".
  • Everyone Hates Mimes: there was a Running Gag with Mirror Master accidentally throwing out a hologram of a mime instead of the hologram he was looking for.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: The dog does not like the disguised Trickster, while nobody else can tell who he is.
  • 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.
    • Omega to the Terminator in "Alpha".
  • A Father to His Men: Pike. Averted when it shows he's willing to abandon them to save his own ass.
  • 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.
  • For Want Of A Nail: The differences between this universe and the Arrowverse are noticeable:
    • Characters' physical likeness, perhaps the most noticeable difference.
    • Characters being born in different generations.
    • Character occupations.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: The Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover serves as series finale for this show, at least for its main protagonist and Tina.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Nightshade, the Ghost, Mirror Master, and Deadly Nightshade.
  • Genre Savvy: In the pilot, Tina says if the government found out about Barry's abilities, they would try to cut him up to make more like him. Barry responds that she has read too many comic books.
  • 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.
  • Heat Wave: In a clever touch, Captain Cold makes his debut when Central City is sweltering in a unseasonal heat.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Barry has a dog, Earl.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Captain Cold's demise.
  • Hollywood Law: The line: "You're a police officer. You know it's illegal to wear a mask." From "Watching the Detectives", is not true in a broad sense. The Flash might have transgressed a number of laws (such breaking and entering), but wearing a mask is not in a general sense illegal, and the statement seems more Rule of Drama than rule of law.
  • Honor Before Reason: Captain Cold will finish a contract, even if the employer cuts the contract short without paying him.
  • Hollywood Hacking: In "The Ghost in the Machine", a hacker who has been a Human Popsicle for for more than thirty years is able to use hacking skills to take control of all electronics in Central City, and, of course, Everything is online. Even though he could only gain his training in computers at a time when computers were made with cathode ray tubes and programmed in Assembler, he had predicted modern silicon chip technology, and had learned to use this technology based on his prediction back in the 1950s. The unreal character of his skills made him able to pose a significant threat to the superpowered Flash.
  • Identical Son Barry is an identical version of Henry Allen in the Arrowverse. This implies that Barry is a near-identical twin of his father.
  • 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.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite the differences, certain things and events in this universe still align with those in the Arrowverse in one form or another;
    • Much like on Earth-1, Barry Allen is still The Flash, a forensic scientist for the CCPD, and got his Superhero Origin in a Freak Lab Accident involving a lightning.
    • Much like on Earth-1, he still ended up allying himself with S.T.A.R. Labs to fight crime after gaining his Super-Speed. His closest female ally there is also a widow scientist.
    • Much like on Earth-3, a character played by John Wesley Shipp is a heroic speedster called The Flash.
    • Much like on Earth-1, Barry's closest male friend is still a geeky non-Caucasian person.
    • Much like on Earths 1 and 2, Barry Allen and Iris West still ended up in a relationship.
    • Much like on Earth-1, a family member's death still becomes Barry's catalyst to be a superhero. For the matter, an older male family member of his still gets killed by a personal enemy.
    • Much like on Earth-1, Barry gets an Evil Knockoff with a blue Color Motif and Religious and Mythological Theme Naming who ended up fatally shot.
    • The supervillains. Sam Scudder is still the Mirror Master, James Jesse is still the Trickster with Zoey Clark as his partner Prank, and a man named Leonard is still Captain Cold, much like on Earth-1. Jesse is also the Trickster on Earth-3.
    • People's jobs. Much like on Earth-1, Tina McGee is still a scientist, Julio Mendez (at least in one Alternate Timeline there) still works for the CCPD, and Linda Park is still a reporter. Barry Allen is still CCPD's forensic scientist on Earths 1 and 2
    • S.T.A.R. Labs also exists on Arrowverse's Earths 1, 2, and 19.
    • On a meta example, John Wesley Shipp was still playing a member of the Allen family, while Tina McGee, Julio Mendez, Anthony Bellows, Zoey Clark, and James Jesse are still respectively played by Amanda Pays, Alex Désert, Vito D'Ambrosio, Corinne Behrer, and Mark Hamill.
  • The Informant: Fosnight, an ex-mobster and thief.
  • Internal Affairs: Jack Farrow in "Good Night, Central City".
  • Invisibility: Brian Gideon and his invisibility cloak.
  • It's All My Fault: In "Sins of the Father", Henry blames himself for getting his friend and former partner Pete involved, resulting in his death.
  • It's Personal: Garfield in "Shroud of Death", after the assassin shot his fiance.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: In "Pilot", Barry pulls his on one of the members, by scaring her that the "demon" Flash will come after Pike if she doesn't talk.
    • In "Fast Forward", after Flash foils Pike's missile launch and incapacitates him and his cohorts. He demands for Pike to confess to his crime of killing Jay and trying to pin the blame on him. When he refused, Flash activates the missile to shoot towards their location and demands again or they will all be blown up. Pike defiantly tries to call Flash's bluff, but his cohorts scream at him to confess everything, which he does.
  • 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!
  • Kill It with Ice: In this series, Captain Cold was a mercenary assassin whose freeze ray did just what you'd expect it to do; he also utilized freeze-bombs that did basically the same thing as the main ray (his original comics incarnation's freeze ray didn't kill people, merely put them in a sort of suspended animation with the freezing appearance as a side-effect, because he never killed unless the situation absolutely warranted it.)
  • Laughing Mad: The Trickster.
  • Loony Fan: Zoey Clark, a twisted fan and Monster Fan Girl of the Trickster who longs to become his lover and partner Prank due to seeing him as "the Ultimate Thrill." Even before meeting the Trickster, she constantly tried to fill her Thrill Seeker lust with week long parties, joyriding, shoplifting, arson, grand theft, and burglary in search of escalating thrill.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Played with: In "The Trickster" and "Tina is that you?" James Jesse plans to kill Megan because he loves her, after the Flash rescues her, Megan and the Barry have sex, creating Belligerent Sexual Tension with Tina. Jesse becomes the Trickster to Murder the Hypotenuse (kill the Flash). Jesse realizes that in addition to the Flash, Barry is dating Megan, and plans to kill him also. Jesse is arrested and Megan leaves town but in the next episode, Barry starts having nightmares about Tina trying to kill him. Then Barry goes on a blind date with Lisa, but Tina becomes Axe-Crazy and kidnaps Lisa. If Flash, Trickster and dream Tina were real people, there would be seven people in this relationship (as opposed to only 5), but it is still quite a geometric shape for just two episodes. With three women chasing him in two episodes, The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life was clearly averted.
  • Mad Love: Toy designer Jinx has this bad for the Trickster in his second appearance.
  • Manchild: Pollux.
  • Master of Disguise: The Trickster. In his titular debut episode, while infiltrating the police department, he is able to fool Barry and the other cops into thinking he's an FBI agent by putting on glasses, a fake mustache and skin-like wax on his nose and ears and tidying his hair. However, Megan takes one look at him and sees him for who he is immediately.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Captain Cold's Adaptation Name Change makes his real name from Leonard Snart to Leonard Wynters.
    • 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.
  • Menacing Mask: The Black Rose gang in "Tina, Is That You?" wear the feminine version of the clear mask cut at the bottom to cover just the top half of their faces along with black veils to enhance the disguise.
  • 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.
  • The Multiverse: This series was retroactively made an Alternate Universe to the Arrowverse, although this aspect wasn't tackled in the show itself until the Arrowverse's 2018 crossover, Elseworlds (2018).
  • Mundane Utility: Played with. Although Barry finds a number of practical uses for his speed, other instances backfire on him. In particular, on one occasion he tries to clean his apartment at super-speed moments before Iris arrives. The wake of his speed scatters debris far worse than the original mess and his dark-soled shoes leave skid marks all over his hardwood floors.
  • Musical Assassin: Flash does this in "Child's Play" where he defeats the Villain of the Week and his group by shredding on an electric guitar at lightning speed with all the speakers on full blast.
  • Mythology Gag: Several throughout the show's run:
    • Mentions of several Silver Age Flash villains (Professor Zoom and 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).
    • A reference to "the Hotel Infantino" (Carmine Infantino was another co-creator of the Silver Age Flash).
    • The appearance of a TV reporter named "Linda Park" (in the comics, Linda Park is the girlfriend — later wife — of Wally West, the modern Flash, and was originally a TV reporter).
    • A mention of "the intersection of Gardner and Fox" (Gardner Fox was the creator of the Silver Age Flash).
    • In The Pilot, Barry Allen's older brother was named Jay, another reference to Jay Garrick.
      • Also in the pilot, Tina has Barry run on a treadmill, a nod to the Cosmic Treadmill (a device he uses to travel through time and between dimensions).
      • Barry tells Tina she's "been reading too many comic books". Barry himself is a comic book fan of the Golden Age Flash.
    • In "Watching The Detectives", Tina mentions expecting a call from Dr. Carter Hall.
    • In "Honor Among Thieves", Barry said he loved museums. In the comics, the Flash gets a museum dedicated to him.
    • In "The Trickster", one person went as Superman at the costume party.
    • In "Flash Forward", The Resistance made a museum dedicated to the Flash.
    • In "Captain Cold", Barry calls Terry "Lois Lane".
    • In "Alpha", Fosnight asked Alpha if she was from the center of the earth.
    • In "Child's Play", there's a double feature for Superman: The Movie and Batman (1989).
    • In "Ghost in the Machine", the Ghost, asks his ex girlfriend to play "Mr. Sandman". The Ghost's archnemesis, Nightshade, is an Expy of the Golden Age Sandman, who has been given a Race Lift.
  • Never Recycle a Building: Just how many abandoned warehouses and run-down apartment complexes are there in Central City for criminals to exploit?
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: In "Flash Forward", the Flash is bumped ten years into the future by trying to outrun a heat-seeking missile launched at him by Nicholas Pike, to arrive in a world where Central City has been taken over by Pike. When that Flash is sent back in time, he encounters his past self at the point just before the missile launches and reprograms it to halt its launch, then merges with his past self to deal with Pike and send him behind bars again.
  • No Body Left Behind: Happens to Pollux when he died. All that was left was his suit.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Julio Mendez, who couldn't be more black.
  • 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.
  • Police Are Useless: Oy vey.
  • Power Incontinence: In the pilot episode, when Barry first accidentally launches into Super-Speed, he ends up miles from home with all his clothes reduced to shreds by the atmospheric friction.
  • The Power of Rock: Used to defeat the Villain of the Week in "Child's Play".
    • Which was also where, and how, Barry discovered his ability to vibrate through solid objects.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Several aspects of the comics' mythology were altered or mixed together for this series. For example, the Flash became a Composite Character of Barry Allen and Wally West—he was a police scientist (Barry's occupation) but had to eat huge quantities of food to sustain his powers (Wally's main weakness early in his role as the Scarlet Speedster). He was also limited to the speed Wally could run at the time, a little over the speed of sound.
  • Professional Killer: Captain Cold.
  • Promotion to Love Interest: Tina McGee gets more Ship Tease with Barry than Iris does.
  • Protagonist Title: Well, duh.
  • Pungeon Master: Captain Cold. Some examples:
    "Even you can't outrun the cold hand of death."
    "I'm here to take you to the Ice-capades."
    "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. He produces the man's still-living wife and removes the man from the chair at 11:59:59 PM.
  • Rage Breaking Point: In "Fast Forward", Barry was already seething when Pike, the murderer of his brother, had been set free on a technicality. Pike shows up at a restaurant and openly mocks Barry how he killed Jay and got away with it thanks to their justice system, causing Barry to angrily punch the bastard's face in.
  • The Rat: Fosnight, played by classic character actor Dick Miller.
  • Real Time is used in "Beat the Clock" (see Race Against the Clock).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "Captain Cold", Flash rips into wannabe reporter Terri Kronenberg when she complains about the titular villain's destruction of her photos that she'd taken of him earlier in the episode, disregarding the fact that the speedster had just saved her life:
    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.
  • Red Is Heroic: Guess who?
    • Conversely, Pollux, Barry's evil clone, wears a blue suit.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Jay Garrick, the first Flash, is re-imagined as Barry's older brother.
  • The Resistance: The Liberation Movement in "Flash Forward".
  • Rescue Sex: Barry has this with Megan when he saves her, in "The Trickster."
  • Ret-Canon: Shortly after the show's debut, Wally West began to use a costume similar to the one Barry used on the show.
  • Sanity Slippage: Harry Milgrim in "Good Night, Central City".
  • Secret Identity Apathy: The Trickster displays this attitude towards the Flash.
    "He is the mask. Without the mask he's nothing, bupkis, nada, zip! Just some boring, average, insignificant jerk nobody cares about, who'll die alone and forgotten watching game shows in an empty apartment...with cats."
  • Scary Black Man: Whisper in "Beat the Clock".
  • 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.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: A Running Gag is that whenever Barry reveals his secret identity to somebody, they are not the least bit surprised. They always suspected it was him. He just happened to confirm it.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: In "Flash Forward".
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "The Trial of the Trickster", the Trickster forced a band to play the Looney Tunes theme during his mock trial.
    • There are obvious ones with Batman and Superman playing at a local cinema.
    • At one point, the camera pans up to the full moon and a bolt of electricity flashes across it, in effect making a live-version of the Flash symbol. This is similar to Batman when Bats flies the Batwing vertically and pauses against the moon, forming the Batman symbol.
    • During a hospital scene in "Tina, Is That You?", a suitably British announcement can be heard over the PA system:
      PA: Dr. Baker to the fourth floor please.
  • Skyward Scream: Barry, while holding his brother's body.
  • 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 reveal Barry's secret identity 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.
  • Starter Villain: Pike. Though he comes back in "Flash Forward".
  • Super-Speed: Well, of course.
  • Taking the Bullet: Pollux does this to save Barry and Tina in "Twin Streaks".
  • That's All, Folks!: The Flash says this after beating the Trickster.
  • Those Two Guys: Officers Murphy and Bellows.
  • 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. As such, 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).
  • The Unreveal: Nightshade did not want to know who the Flash is in "Ghost in the Machine".
  • The Vamp: Megan Lockhart.
  • Trophy Room: The Flash Museum in "Flash Forward".
  • Two First Names: This being a DC Comics show and all. The Allens are the most obvious example.
  • 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.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: Nerve toxins are commonly referred to as WMDs. The nerve toxin in "Sight Unseen" which is able to take out all of Central City is a WMD.
  • 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.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Discussed in "Twin Streaks".
  • Would Hit a Girl: Most of the villains, but Trickster stands out in particular.
  • You Killed My Father:
    • Pike murders Jay Allen, Barry's older brother, in the pilot.
    • In "Shroud of Death", Garfield has Angel's father arrested and he was sentenced to death.
  • You're Insane!: What Barry Allen says to Nicolas Pike after he's seen what his nemesis has done to Central City during his ten-year absence through accidental time travel.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Warriors of Death mentioned in "Shroud of Death".


Video Example(s):


The Black Rose Gang

The Black Rose Gang rob a bank while wearing translucent half masks with veils.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / MenacingMask

Media sources: