Tony Black reviews The Art and Making of The Flash…
Given the wealth of information online about everything to do with media, what can tie-in ‘making of’ books truly give you in this day and age? The Art and Making of The Flash from blogger Abbie Bernstein seeks to address that question by providing what it hopes to be a comprehensive behind the scenes exploration of the WB’s hit TV series The Flash, all part of the small screen DC Comics universe also containing parent show Arrow, oddball sibling Legends of Tomorrow and unexpected sister Supergirl. Bernstein’s book arrives just in time for The Flash to return for its third season by covering the first two years of the series, but from the perspective not of narrative breakdowns, rather by looking at the myriad of characters on the show and the production side of how the series is made. If you’re looking for an episode guide, this ain’t for you. If you want a glossy browse through the world of Barry Allen, this may float your boat.
A foreword by executive producer and co-creator Greg Berlanti – the Kevin Feige of the TV DC universe in many respects–sets the stall in which he talks about the genesis of birthing The Flash out of the shadow of Arrow, attempting to craft a very different show, but his words are largely a love-in celebrating the cast & crew before Bernstein moves into looking at the original production steps taken to getting The Flash on air. The whole book is largely made up of quotes from the people involved, from Berlanti through to star Grant Gustin, all the way to VFX guys who put together the Speed Force effects etc… and this continues across the book. There’s not really much in the way of actual writing from Bernstein, and chances are you may well find plenty of these quotes regurgitated from other online sources if you look hard enough. It’s not a detailed breakdown of the show that will give you fascinating amounts of insight, certainly not from the production side.
The rest of the book is largely then made up of factual pieces about the characters in the show, from Barry & his allies working at S.T.A.R Labs and beyond, and the villains he faces across the first two seasons. Bernstein assumes you have seen all of those seasons so it’s spoiler central, but chances are anyone reading this book will already be a fan of the show. It then moves on to examining the variety of sets and props used on the show, with detailed images and schematics, plus the FX guys and model makers talking about how they put it all together; truthfully this is probably the most interesting area in the book, with a fair bit of time devoted to creating Gorilla Grodd for example. What writing, of course, exists on pages largely covered with images and glossy visuals connected to the show.
The book certainly looks the part as a coffee table piece, with plenty of photos from the show and a glossy presentation alongside, but The Art and Making of The Flash doesn’t have a massive much else to offer that you won’t find online or by watching DVD extras. It does give some insight into the production side of the show, and in many respects does what a tie-in piece should, but there’s nothing here for anyone who isn’t a devotee of the scarlet speedster.