Did you just finish all 12 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy? Are you waiting for the next season of Daredevil to arrive? With so much TV on the air, it’s nearly impossible to decide what to binge-watch next. As a self-diagnosed TV addict, I’m here to help. For the next few weeks, I will give you a recommendation of what shows you should binge-watch next based on each genre.
The first genre we’re going to explore is science-fiction/fantasy (sci-fi/fantasy). This is my personal favourite. Television can do many wondrous things, it can help us face reality or escape it, and sci-fi/fantasy does just that.
What should you watch first?
The Flash (2014 to present)
After witnessing his mother’s death under supernatural circumstances and his father’s wrongful conviction for her murder, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is taken in by Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and his daughter, Iris (Candice Patton). Barry becomes obsessed with solving the crime, eventually becoming a crime scene investigator. After a particle accelerator explodes, it causes a lightning storm that strikes Barry, sending him in to a coma. After nine months he wakes up with the power of super-speed. He decides to use his powers for good and protect his city under the alias, “The Flash.”
This is one of my favourite shows on TV right now. The Flash is a spin-off from Arrow, but I would argue that the former is far more superior. It has a much lighter tone than its mother show and it sticks to its comic book roots. What I love about The Flash is that it doesn’t want to stray from its comic book roots, unlike other DC comic book adaptations *cough* Arrow *cough* Smallville. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m a fan of both of those shows, but in the era of “dark, gritty, realistic” adaptations, this is a refreshing change of pace. By the end of the first season, we got to see The Flash battle a telepathic gorilla. That whole concept is totally and utterly ridiculous. It shouldn’t work, but it did. That is what makes the The Flash so enjoyable, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. At the beginning of the first season, the show struggled with that, but once it realized that it is at its best when it sticks to its source material, it makes for some excellent television.
The Flash is a lot fun and it’s also very heartwarming. Similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Flash focuses on a character with extraordinary abilities who stays grounded by the people around them. One of the key themes in The Flash is family and the idea of what it means to be a family. Barry Allen would not be The Flash if it weren’t for the relationships he has with his foster family and his friends at Star Labs; Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh). By far the strongest relationship on the show is the one Barry has with his foster dad, Joe West. Grant Gustin and Jesse L. Martin never fail to heighten the emotional levels on the show.
Another reason why The Flash is so strong is because it has a diverse cast with fully-realized characters. Four out of seven series regulars on the show are people of colour. More often than not, we don’t all get to see ourselves represented in the content we consume, especially in the sci-fi genre. One of the reasons I started watching The Flash was because of the producers’ decision to cast Candice Patton as Iris West, a badass reporter and Barry’s love interest. A canonically white character will be known to an entire generation as a black woman. That is huge, and Patton absolutely slays in the role. The Flash is one of many shows on TV that is pushing for diverse storytelling, and television is certainly making better strides when it comes to representation than movies, see: #OscarsSoWhite.
Watch this if you like:
Arrow, Smallville, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Orphan Black, Firefly, The X-Files, Teen Wolf
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW and on CTV in Canada.
You can catch up on http://www.ctv.ca/TheFlash.aspx
Do you have any suggestions for me? If so, feel free to leave a comment.