I don’t know about you, but I had a heck of a fun time last year watching The Flash TV series. I was most impressed with the show’s decision to go brighter and lighter than other superhero TV shows and movies.
The trend in superhero movies, ever since Christopher Nolan’s Batman at least, was to go darker and grittier. The show felt so refreshing after all those moody superhero stories, up to and including the CW’s other show Arrow.
But one thing I really liked is how grounded The Flash is in science. I feel like I’m getting smarter with each episode. Now, pretty much all of the main characters on the show are scientists, so it’s understandable that the show’s focus goes into the science.
While it’s true that Irish isn’t a scientist, and her father isn’t a scientist either, I still think that these characters are smarter for having a scientist like Barry Allen around. They must pick up something, right? Maybe I should try dating someone smart and absorbing their intelligence through osmosis!
But as far as understanding The Flash’s abilities, there are scientifically-grounded explanations for how the Flash’s body operates. His faster-healing has to do with his body doing pretty much everything faster. He has a ravenous appetite, although it’s only touched on a few times (Barry Allen goes on many dates, but he doesn’t seem to order six entrees, which I imagine he would).
Now I’ve always had a fantasy of taking tons of science courses online and becoming some kind of super-genius like the characters in the Flash. I could register with Mathlab, or take MIT’s open-course curriculum. But I feel like I’m already getting a lot smarter just from watching Flash.
For example, in an episode they discover that the Flash’s incredibly fast movements can actually dissipate the energy from tornadoes (there was a villain that could create them). These are the kinds of scientific problems and solutions that keep Flash grounded.
But how realistic is it all, exactly? I decided to investigate.
In one panel before the show premiered, executive producer Greg Berlanti says that the science is ‘mostly BS’ with a kernel of truth.
My might heart is breaking.
I knew things like the ‘speedforce‘ in Flash were made up concepts, but I didn’t know that the scientific solutions that the characters came up with were basically false. That’s too bad.
Although, since we’re a science-fiction website, it puts the Flash firmly in the ‘science fiction’ show category. I mean, what kind of definition of science fiction wouldn’t include something like this?