The Flash Season Three on Blu-Ray is chocked full of information about music production, visual effects, and time travel!
Even people I know who don’t watch superhero shows watch “The Flash,” and the fact that this show has been able to supersede so many of people’s misconceptions about superheroes since it debuted back in 2014 is a testament to its quality. Season three has had clear ebbs and flows from my point of view (which you can clearly see in my reviews of the episodes in the CW/DC Weekly Roundups,) but that hasn’t affected my firm opinion that this is the best superhero show on cable television right now. So, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to explore The Flash: Season Three on Blu-Ray and tell you a little bit about the features available in the release and whether or not I’d recommend it for purchase.
The Blu-Ray is laid out pretty much exactly like Supergirl’s with Blake Neely’s now iconic music playing in the background. I was able to find two features on the first disc.
Villian School: The Flash Rogues
You can’t talk about the Flash without talking about his equally colorful antagonists “The Rogues.” This almost eight-minute video sees the Flash’s creative team (Executive Producer: Todd Helbing, Executive Producer: Andrew Kreisberg, Writer: David Kob) dissecting the use of villains in the series and what inspires the story utility of some villains over others. What I like about this dissection as opposed to Supergirl’s was that it separated the subjects by title cards. First, they talk about The Rival, then they talk about Mirror Master, and finally Doctor Alchemy. Each title has the team giving information that not only gives us a base idea of who they are talking about and how they factor into the Flash’s greater story, but also the philosophical ideas of what makes them effective in the context of the show. It was much shorter than I would have liked though. I can understand how as a feature it’s not meant to spoil anything from the show (It is on the first disc after all)
There’s also a deleted scene on here from Episode Four “The New Rogues” involving a bittersweet goodbye between Wally and Jesse, but it’s like a minute long so it doesn’t really need a paragraph written about it.
Allied: The Invasion Complex (The Flash)
This nearly ten-minute video is the first of a set of three different videos (The other two I imagine being on Arrow’s Season Five Blu-Ray and Legends of Tomorrow’s Season Two Blu-Ray.) Executive Producers from all three shows along with Comic Book Historian: Alan Kistler and Writer David Kob talk about how the “Invasion” storyline was carried out from concept to execution and what it means from a narrative perspective in the context of both TV shows and comics. This video essay really pulled me in as it touched on themes from the comics and the shows and how the Dominators emerged as being the antagonists of the “Invasion” storyline. Most of all though, it’s about how important Barry’s role is and how central to the stories of superheroes he is. Rather than just praising Barry though, it does take a serious and sometimes sobering look at the actions of his character during this last season, which I felt proved that the dimensions of Barry’s character are a central focus from the creative team behind the Flash. It’s obviously always worth it to have that perspective, but as a fan of the form and function of comics and the DC shows on the CW, I found this video to be very enlightening to not only how “Invasion” was pulled off but how valuable Barry is as a character.
Three deleted scenes this time! Well, the first one is probably the most entertaining. HR attempts to take notes on all the heroes during “Invasion” which irks Thea a bit. These two barely interacted at all during either show, so it was interesting to see how they would react to one another in a vacuum.
Rise of Gorilla City
This nine-minute documentary centers around the creation of Gorilla City from a VFX and creative perspective. This feature was a lot more about how they did it from a technical perspective so fans of visual effects and CGI are sure to enjoy this look at how the VFX team behind the Flash made Gorilla City come to life. Technically speaking, it’s an incredible feat for a TV show to produce such an extensively sustained visual effect, so it’s interesting to hear how important minute details, like how much dust should get kicked up in Solovar and Barry’s scuffle, were to maintaining the integrity of the visual effects within the context of the narrative.
The Flash: Hitting the Fast Note
This is a short four-minute video with snippets of interviews from the cast of the seventeenth episode of the season titled “Duet.” It also includes some fascinating technical information from the lead composer for all four of the DC/CW shows, Blake Neely, who talks specifically about the arrangement of the original song “Super Friend” from the episode. Seeing this dissection of the different moving pieces of “Duet” really made me appreciate the episode more than I did on my initial viewing.
The Flash: I’m Your Super-Friend
It’s a short video about the production and recording of the original song for the episode “Duet” titled “Super Friend.” It’s really just a fun playing of the song over a lot of behind the scenes angles and production moments. It’s an entertaining watch though.
Harmony in a Flash
This is one of the longest features in the set and focuses on Blake Neely’s composing, arranging, and designing of the score of the episode “Duet.” Blake Neely’s score is an ever-present aspect of all the DC comics shows on the CW, so I was thrilled that this set included an under the hood look at his creative process. Music appreciation fans will find this feature in particular extraordinarily enlightening as the level of depth presented here regarding technical aspects of composing as well as influences and constraints is a dynamic look at the process TV music, in particular, goes through before it ends up in the episode. It’s a cliché to say that I never knew how difficult a job it was, but watching this made me come away with (once again) much more appreciation for the nuts and bolts that go into making these shows work.
Synchronicity in a Flash
This is yet another video that explores the journey of Blake Neely’s score to the musical episode “Duet.” This one is a more specialized look at the recording of the music for the episode which is less conceptual and more about execution. This video, in particular, has a far more fly on the wall aspect as it features a lot of footage of the studio orchestral recording. Die-hards and fans of music production will love this, but at twenty-one minutes, it’s clear that most of this set is dominated by an overload of information on the production of “Duet.”
Two deleted scenes on this disc. One between Wally and Jesse from Episode fifteen “Wrath of Savitar” (Geez. Did they cut all of the scenes between those two?) and the other is a total of two scenes cut out of “Duet.” One probably cut for time involving Barry and his mom, and another one that’s actually really good involving HR attempting to motivate Wally.
The Flash: Comic-Con 2016 panel
Just like Supergirl, this set has a video of the 2016 Comic-Con panel regarding the production of season three of The Flash. Also like Supergirl, The Flash has a fantastic cast and it’s always worthwhile to see them outside of their respective personas. It’s funny to hear them talk about “Duet” and “Invasion” and drop little hints throughout the panel, but really it’s just as enjoyable to hear them interact and joke about even mundane topics. I personally enjoyed the Supergirl Comic-Con panel more, but for fans who didn’t get a chance to see the full thing last year, this is still an entertaining watch.
The Flash in Time: Time Travel in the Flash Universe
Strap in for this one! It’s a twenty-two-minute video about time-travel in not just the Flash TV show and comics but from a narrative and philosophical perspective. Honestly, this goes a lot deeper than I was expecting. They bring in author Phil Cousineau again for this one as well as Dr. Zvi Bern a professor of theoretical physics at UCLA. With a roster like that, this video gets into some pretty abstract and historical territory. Since science is such an important element of the show it’s not surprising that a feature would touch on it. What is surprising though is just how thoroughly the theme is laid out before the Flash even comes into it (which is at the 4:30 mark.) Then this video takes two paths. One: The video informs you of this history of time travel in the Flash comics by bringing up milestones like dimensional travel and the cosmic treadmill. Two: The video uses real science to explain and attempt to ground the theories behind the Flash’s powers. I’m not going to mince words, but this feature was shockingly informative! I don’t expect everyone to be interested in spending nearly half-an-hour of their life hearing experts and creatives dissecting The Flash from a realistic and narrative standpoint, but if you are a die-hard of sci-fi, comics, or science fact this is a must watch!
A Conversation with Andrew Kreisberg and Kevin Smith
This is the exact same feature that was on Supergirl. No change at all. Since they did that, I think I’ll do the same and just copy and paste my description from the Supergirl review.
This is a four-minute audio clip of Kevin Smith and Andrew Kreisberg, with some video of Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl scenes over it that talks a lot about the contrasts and comparisons with shows like Arrow and the Flash when it comes to Supergirl. There’s not a whole lot here, besides Kevin Smith’s well-documented discomfort with heavy special effects, but it’s only four minutes so I can’t really say you should avoid it. If anything though, I think it reinforces how cool the audio commentary for “Supergirl Lives” is.
Hey! Who doesn’t love Gag Reels!? Four minutes of silly dancing, flubbed lines, extreme profanity (all censored by the way, ) and suit antics. Really it’s just Grant Gustin acting like a total ham and everyone else riffing, joking, and playing pranks. It takes the stuffing out of some of the drama that happened in the season, so I definitely appreciated the light-hearted antics here.
Two deleted scenes on disc four. One from episode twenty which was a dramatic scene between Joe and Cecile which was pretty great until Barry’s goofy attempt to blend into the background; and two deleted scenes from episode twenty-three. One between Vibe and Killer Frost which doesn’t really add anything and a short exchange between Barry and Joe which is also sort of flat without the context.
Final Word: On the whole, The Flash Season Three Blu-Ray set came up heavier on content than Supergirl did. The only problem is that so much of it focused on the music of “Duet” that each of the videos involving “Duet” ended up recycling footage. They’re just little bits and pieces here and there, but considering how many milestones occurred in this season it was odd that the set leans so heavily on that one episode. Now the information that the videos provide about The Flash conceptually from comic to TV is clearly worth your time if you’re a fan, but I can not stress watching the “The Flash in Time: Time Travel in the Flash Universe” feature enough. It is hands down the best aspect of either set as it is informative from both an entertainment and educational perspective. On top of that, the look at the VFX is a clearly valuable feature that I feel was lacking in Supergirl. Technically the Flash Season Three Blu-Ray runs with the 1080p resolution in 16×9 with a 5.1 English audio track. There are also subtitles in English for the hearing impaired, French, and Spanish. Fans of the Flash both on screen and off-screen are likely to enjoy this impressive set. If you categorize yourself as a Flash fan and also appreciate visual effects or music production than that goes doubly so for you. The Flash Season Three is out on Blu-Ray right now. I’d highly recommend it as the definitive way to enjoy this acclaimed show.