The Flash returns from hiatus this week, so now is perfect time to look at the on-screen history of the Scarlet Speedster…
The Flash (1990-91)
Though he had appeared in a few cartoons in the decades beforehand – for instance, a recurring role on Super Friends – the first notable screen appearance of The Flash is this 1990 live-action series starring the character. John Wesley Shipp starred, with Mark Hamill featuring as recurring nemesis The Trickster. Danny Elfman provided the theme tune. Due to the show’s expensive budget, the show was canceled after one season of 22 episodes.
Justice League of America (1997)
The next attempt to bring The Flash to live-action was this, well, pretty woeful TV movie. It took the… unique approach of interspersing superhero action with The Office-like interviews to the camera. The JLA consisted of Martian Manhunter, The Flash, Green Lantern, The Atom, Fire and Ice. Ken Johnston featured as the Barry Allen version of The Flash. The movie was intended as a backdoor pilot for a series, but the reaction to it was overwhelmingly negative.
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited (2001-06)
The Flash was introduced to the DC Animated Universe in an episode of Superman, where he was voiced by Charlie Schlatter. For his starring role in Justice League, the character was played by Michael Rosenbaum (also Lex Luthor on Smallville). This version was Wally West, though elements of Barry Allen’s character were also used. The Flash was presented as the jokester and the heart of the team and is a firm fan favourite.
The Flash WB Show (2003)
With Smallville proving to be a success, The WB network looked to create a similar show around The Flash. Like the Superman prequel, it would have done away with superhero costumes. The idea was that it would a time travel show – The Flash would have jumped around history, saving the day when needed. Oddly, the character would have been depicted as a college graduate living in Gotham City, rather than his usual home of Central City.