Remember the first season of The Flash when it was the most fun show on TV. That was only two years ago, but since then the Scarlet Speedster has been in a bit of a funk, frequently emulating the kind of soap opera stories of its darker parent show Arrow. The Flash isn’t supposed to be dark and brooding, and its excellent first year was an antidote to the kind of mopey, super-serious superhero stories that it was the antidote. So here are five ways to make The Flash fun again. Spoiler alert: Barry is the main problem.
5. Stop making everything Barry’s fault
A popular way of advancing the plot from season to season is that Barry makes a critical mistake that somehow creates the situation for the next big bad to challenge him. The black hole at the end of season one helped Zoom cross from Earth 2, Barry saving his mother and creating Flashpoint not only helped release Savitar, bit also allowed the Reverse Flash to try and escape being erased from existence in Legends of Tomorrow. Barry’s mistakes could open the door for some great stories about him wrestling with his God-like power, but instead everyone forgives because he’s such a good guy or something. If your main character never learns from his history of bad decisions, he is doomed, to repeat them.
4. Speaking of repeating: no more Speedsters
While Arrow sometimes seems a bit ridiculous for having so many bow and arrow totting villains, archery is a real-world skill that can be learned so that show can be forgiven for constantly going back to that well. On the other hand, super speed shouldn’t be this common. Seriously, the Speed Force is the most un-picky bundle of energy vortex (or whatever it is) if there are this many speedsters running about one town. Also, the Reverse Flash was the only Speedster villain that mattered. Zoom and Savitar are nothing but pale imitations of the Arrow verse’s greatest villain (when he’s played by Tom Cavanaugh of course), Constantly having Barry face off against another Speedster means that all he ever needs to do is get faster, The faster he gets though, the more the show runs ion circles.
3. The Flash has a great Rogues Gallery, use it.
Part of the reason The Flash use to be fun was the abundance of ridiculous villains that had distinctive personalities and powers that could challenge Barry. While Captain Cold and Heatwave have moved on to death and time travel respectively, there are still villains like Mark Hamill’s Trickster, the Pied Piper, and what about having another go at Mirror Master? Also sentient gorillas deserve better invasions.
2. No more of the team keeping secrets from each other
The Flash could really learn something from one of the CW’s other shows, Supernatural. In that show, the demon hunting brothers Sam and Dean always keep secrets from each other for some reason. This use to be a good way of creating conflict, but that was eight years ago. The Flash is only on season three and this move already feels played out. You can’t have realistic conflict when characters keeping secrets from each other seems nothing more than lazy writing. Also moments of betrayal have more impact if they don’t happen every week.
1. More theme episodes
With time travel, the Speed Force, and the Multiverse, the Flash has one of the most elastic premises of any TV show. The fact that it took them so long to do a musical episode defies belief. Said episode, while it could have used a few more original songs, was exactly the kind of fun watching The Flash used to be, and a strong argument for The Flash to lean into its more whimsical side more often. Anything is better than the misery sludge that season three, and, most of season two, has become.