A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Barry's humble and altruistic nature makes him an easy hero to root for, especially when it comes to his lifelong quest to prove his father's innocence in the death of Barry's mom. The line between right and wrong is clear along the superhero storyline, but a few supporting characters' uncertain motives keep viewers guessing as to their real motives. Honesty, compassion, and selflessness are considered positive attributes, even though Barry's forced to keep his identity a secret even from those close to him.
Positive Role Models
Barry enjoys playing the role of a hero for all the right reasons. He's driven by a need for the truth and the impulse to help others but always consciously avoids becoming a vigilante the way some other heroes are. He demonstrates impressive self-control in keeping his identity a secret. Most other characters make their intentions -- whether good or bad -- obvious. Flash's cast boasts racial and ethnic diversity, although most of the main characters are white.
Violence & Scariness
Many sequences feature violence of both the traditional kind (gunfire, fistfights, muggings, and so on) and the superhero variety, which yields less blood and injury. The Flash's weapon is his speed, and he uses it to disrupt villains' plans more often than he physically harms them. Sometimes dead bodies are shown, particularly in flashbacks to Barry's childhood and his mother's death. Guns appear infrequently, but are generally used against supernatural enemies (such as giant rampaging monsters) rather than people.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There are romantic relationships between adults, including kissing and implied sexual contact. Characters are shown in bed together but no nudity.
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Occasionally "hell." Characters may use insulting language, calling each other such things as "lazy" or "sloppy."
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Products & Purchases
A crossover storyline involving Arrow may entice viewers to check out that CW show if they haven't already. The Flash is a character from DC Comics and is featured on many forms of merchandise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Flash is an action-adventure series inspired by a DC Comics character that's slightly less intense than its parent show, Arrow. There's still plenty of superhero-style conflict with a fair amount of more traditional violence (gunfire, car crashes, and a few dead bodies), but the Flash's power is speed, which he uses to escape danger, change events, or overpower villains' attempts at evil rather than to fight. Characters are killed suddenly; survivors are motivated to seek revenge. When the Flash's actions change historical timelines, some characters may have a "good" and "evil" version, which may confuse young viewers. There are hints at romantic involvement among adults and a tricky love triangle, but physical contact stops with kissing. Language is similarly limited ("hell" is as bad as it gets). The Flash's solid sense of right and wrong makes him a decent role model, despite the fact that he keeps secrets to protect his identity. A subplot follows his quest to learn the truth behind his mother's murder many years ago; repeated flashbacks show her death by mysterious forces in various timelines.
Is It Any Good?
With a lighter vibe and toned-down violence, this spin-off of fellow CW superhero show Arrow is suitable for younger viewers (and an easier sell to worried parents, too). Gustin appeared briefly in Arrow as Barry's alter-ego role as a crime-scene investigator, and Stephen Amell's Oliver Queen shows up in a few Flash episodes, too. The crossover between the two shows -- and the mentor/student relationship between the two heroes -- is tailor-made for Arrow fans, to be sure, but you don't have to know that backstory to fall in step with this one. What you do need is an appreciative imagination and a soft spot for a slightly awkward hero, more along the lines of bespectacled Clark Kent than the self-assured likes of a Bruce Wayne, for example. Barry adjusts to his new superpowers far more quickly than he does to the duality of his two identities, and masking his second identity further complicates matters with Iris, his longed-for love interest who's involved with someone else but soon becomes obsessed with the town's unidentified new superhero (and, in later seasons, becomes the pivot-point for a plotline that endangers Barry and those close to him).
That said, Barry's insecurities make him really likable and cause him to wrestle with matters others in his place might disregard. At one point, he even voices his concerns to Arrow's Oliver (Stephen Amell), vowing that as much as he wants to embrace his new identity as a hero, he never wants to be a vigilante. It's a nice element of humanity that helps ground him, makes the line between right and wrong pleasantly clear for viewers, and keeps the content from delving too far into the darker side of heroism. Overall, this is a fun pick for those who love a good superhero tale, and good whole-family watching.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.