When “The Flash” premieres in October on the CW, the network wants to make sure the Scarlet Speedster doesn’t blow by you too fast. The new series, a spinoff of sorts from DC Comics-based action drama “Arrow,” represents a significant investment of programming time for the oft-overlooked network.
The new television series starring Grant Gustin (“Glee”) as Barry Allen, a police scientist who becomes the fastest man alive, premieres Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. in what will be its regular Tuesday time slot. At 9 p.m. the next night, the first episode will get an encore airing following the Season 3 premiere of “Arrow.” “The Flash’s” second episode, airing Oct. 14, similarly receives a post-“Arrow” encore showing Oct. 15.
“The Flash” could sprint to success and eventually perform something like the previous long-running, DC-based “Smallville,” which chronicled Clark Kent before he was Superman and ended in 2011. But “The Flash” has some hurdles ahead: Tuesday at 8 p.m. is the domain of CBS’ hit “NCIS,” the most-watched drama in the U.S. — and NBC’s singing competition “The Voice.” The Wednesday 9 p.m. encores will run up against ABC’s smash comedy “Modern Family,” CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and NBC’s stalwart “Law & Order: SVU.”
Obstacles be damned, the CW is giving its young-skewing audience still more chances to meet (or get reacquainted with) the new kid on its programming block six days before his solo series starts. The network will be rerunning the two “Arrow” episodes from last season in which Gustin debuted as the not-yet-a-superhero Allen.
In those appearances, the character arrived from Central City to help investigate a mysterious robbery in Starling City, home to wealthy playboy / masked archer Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), for reasons not at first apparent. (While trying to figure it out, he got to enjoy a fun flirtation with Oliver’s ally Felicity.) The two introductory episodes will air back to back Oct. 1 beginning at 8 p.m.
“The Flash” is from Warner Bros. Television and executive producers Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and David Nutter, who shepherded “Arrow” to success. Nutter also directed the first episode, co-written by Berlanti, Kreisberg and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, whose bestseller-heavy comics-writing career includes a 2000-2005 run on “The Flash” and the major miniseries “The Flash: Rebirth” and “Flashpoint.”
The Barry Allen version of the Flash first appeared in 1956 and was a founding member of the Justice League of America. He has been the subject of a previous live-action TV series — the 1990 CBS series “The Flash,” which starred John Wesley Shipp. It’s unclear whether an iteration of the hero will feature in Warner Bros.’ recently announced “Justice League” feature film.
Though DC won’t have a superhero back on the big screen until 2016’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” it will soon have four live-action TV series. In addition to the CW’s “Arrow” and “The Flash,” NBC will have “Constantine,” and the Dark Knight’s hometown will be explored in “Gotham” on Fox, with the show focusing on the vigilante’s longtime establishment ally James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) in his pre-commissioner detective days and Bruce Wayne as a child as dangerous rogues rise.
Do you plan to run with “The Flash”? Let us know in the comments below.
[For the record, 4:48 p.m. Wednesday: An earlier version of this post said that there will be three live-action TV series based on DC characters. There will be four, including NBC’s “Constantine.” It also said “NCIS” is on ABC. It is on CBS.]
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