Comic-book heroes have gallantly returned to television this fall (also see "Gotham" post, Sept '14) with one rendered in a new incarnation and the other valiantly carrying on.
The Flash, aka Barry Allen, actually bolted his way onto television in the early '90s, on the heels of the Tim Burton Batman craze, with John Wesley Shipp in the title role, offering a darker ambiance than what generally graced its DC counterpart. (Incidentally, Shipp portrays Allen's father in this new version.)
CW's take stars Grant Gustin in the title role. It's also an offshoot of "Arrow" ("Green Arrow", damn it, to those of us who are traditionalists). As with the '90s version (and his comic-book '50s re-establishment), Allen is accidentally transformed via extraordinary scientific means, but unlike the original show, where a Soviet outfit was refurbished to streamline the Flash's flights, Gustin's is a high-tech, prototype firefighter outfit. All the same, his amazing quickness is, indeed, a breath of fresh air in a time where slow-poke indifference (and the perplexing exaltation of getting nothing done) has become a bizarre pastime. Allen truly wants to move on matters, right wrongs, save the day and hot damn--damn fast!
Above all, as with the prior television incarnation, this new Flash is lots of fun. As long as the plots dare to expand beyond just a few select, Central City locales (and hopefully give us some colorful villains, preferably lifted straight from DC's tried-and true mythology), it's bound to gain and sustain a loyal viewership. (The ending of the initial episode also insinuates some time-travel--oh, boy!)
On the returning side, Marvel's "Agents of SHIELD" re-enters ABC, commencing its much anticipated second season. Clark Gregg is once more in tip-top form as the mysteriously resurrected Agent Phil Coulson, as is his entire, intrepid band, even if the threat of some being revealed as HYDRA pawns remains an unsettling constant.
To wet our appetites, the opening episode treated us to an appearance by fan-favorite Lucy Lawless, and ongoing episodes will include Adrianne Palicki, whose "Wonder Woman" pilot was unjustly squashed by accursed NBC, seemingly for being too right wing. Nonetheless, it makes one wonder who else will eventually appear: perhaps another Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) resurgence or two?
Though some claim "SHIELD'"s first season started unevenly, it certainly became required viewing by Spring '14, when its plots corresponded with the wildly successful "Winter Soldier." In fact, Season 2 opens with a cool WWII flashback featuring Cap's pals. (Heck, I'd go for a series just based on them!)
Right now, SHIELD's agents are in full swing furtively fighting the dreaded HYDRA, but it also seems likely to offer plots insinuating "Avengers 2", and if it extends to a third season (as it most likely will), "Cap 3". These prelude connections alone should ensure avid watching, keeping the series fully stationed in its current hit mode.