The Flash: The Complete Second Season
The Flash is, by my definition, the most successful superhero show currently airing. It captures the teamwork, the struggle, the adventure, the responsibility, and sometimes even the fun of having powers. (Although they still need to figure out just what to do with Iris West.)
The second season of the show ramped up what could be done with the character, compared to the first season, introducing the multiverse with the discovery of Earth-2, an alternate version of our planet and civilization. Jay Garrick and the evil supervillain Zoom came through a breach from that earth, setting up a season-long storyline and a motivation for the Flash to continue getting faster.
This is also the season where we got a new Firestorm, met Joe’s son Wally West, saw officer Patty Spivot help fight metahumans (and date Barry for a while), found out why Captain Cold turned out the way he did, and watched the return of Gorilla Grodd and the Trickster. This set contains all 23 episodes, plus the Legends of Tomorrow-launching Arrow crossover episode.
Since I assume most of you readers are already familiar with (and likely watching the series), I’m going to talk mostly about the extensive special features on this set. This is the most comprehensive set of extras on any of the DC shows coming out on disc before this coming fall TV season.
Overall, the message is that computer-generated effects have come a long way. The featurettes provided more information about how the show is made, and I found them satisfying in their explanations and insight. Several made me want to watch key episodes again.
There aren’t any commentaries (which seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur in general), just a ton of short featurettes. My biggest complaint was that the driving theme music on the ugly disc menus gave me a pounding headache. All the discs have a few deleted scenes each.
- Disc 1:
- “Barry and Iris: New Beginnings!” (7 1/2 minutes) covers the relationship between the two.
- “The Flash: Visual Effects: Follow the Flash in 360” (2 minutes) explains the totally CG characters and effects they’ve used.
- “Whose Helmet Was That?” (4 1/2 minutes) introduces Jay Garrick and the multiverse with Earth-2.
- “Rogues Gallery: One Cold Father, The Lewis Snart Story” (4 minutes) focuses on Captain Cold and his family.
- “Heart and Heat: The Story of Firestorm” (5 minutes) introduces the new Firestorm, Jefferson Jackson, concentrating mostly on how they make his hands and head flame.
- “The Flash: Visual Effects: Earth-2” (2 1/2 minutes) concentrates on the villains, mostly Zoom, as well as a little bit on the alternate Earth and Firestorm again.
- “Cutting Teeth: The Flash vs King Shark” (5 1/2 minutes) discusses why they use a digital double of an actor in difficult effect shots.
- “The Power of Dr. Light” (6 minutes) is about Linda Park’s Earth-2 villainous doppleganger.
- “Into the Breach: Designing Earth-2” (5 minutes) starts to get repetitive, but it’s the last featurette on this disc.
- The 12 1/2-minute gag reel has the usual silly faces, dancing, and people cracking up, but I believe that this cast has fun together.
- Disc 2:
- “Behind the Story: The Chemistry of Emily and Grant Screen Test” (7 minutes) talks about how Grant Gustin got the role and his first appearances on Arrow.
- “Grodd Lives!” (7 minutes) focuses on the visual effects needed for a giant evil gorilla.
- The two “Star Crossed Hawks” featurettes are also on the fourth season Arrow set.
- “The Flash: Visual Effects: A Closer Look” (3 minutes) talks more about the Hawk, Grodd, and King Shark effects.
- “Christmas in a Flash” (4 1/2 minutes) looks at the midseason finale Christmas episode, which was a supervillain team-up with Captain Cold, the Trickster, and Weather Wizard.
- Disc 3:
- 2015 PaleyFest appearance (30 minutes) with the cast and producers, hosted by Aisha Tyler, partway through season one. Really entertaining, particularly in the interplay among the cast.
- 2015 Comic-Con panel (15 minutes) has a different mix of cast members from the above (and they’re more casually dressed) and adds in Geoff Johns. They promote the then-upcoming second season and the appearances of Jay Garrick, Zoom, and Wally West.
- “The Flash: Visual Effects: Sticky Situations” (2 1/2 minutes) and “The Flash: Visual Effects: Superheroes & Villains” (3 minutes) cover a variety of treatments and approaches, including a flying villain, a molten tar monster, King Shark, Earth-2, and vehicle stunts.
- Disc 4:
- “The Many Faces of Zoom” (6 1/2 minutes) has the three actors that play him (and a bunch of co-producers) talk about this season’s evil mastermind, a dark mirror image of the hero. (The three are a face actor, a stunt actor, and a voice actor, which I hadn’t realized.)
- “Chasing Flash: The Journey of Kevin Smith“ is 52 minutes about the director and his experience helming the 21st episode. Those who are not fans of his personality may find it over-long and self-indulgent, but it’s an interesting portrait of what happens when a fan gets to follow his dreams. He says a few insightful things about how he’s changed over the years and how this experience was different from his films.
- “The Flash: Visual Effects: Everything Falls Apart” is 3 minutes showing what was filmed and then how it was enhanced with the lightning effects or other CGI.
(The studio provided a review copy.)