Category Archives: Exclusive

iReview | THE FLASH (Classic Series) – Episode 16 “Deadly Nightshade”

Heading into the 30th Anniversary of “The Classic” television series The Flash ventured into primetime superhero territory and proved that thrilling storytelling along with special effects yielding a legacy worth reexamining.

It’s nearly impossible now to imagine a primetime landscape that doesn’t encompass a series based on a superhero property or fantasy fiction. The CW relies on an entire interconnected “Arrowverse” that features many of DC Comics most prominent players, including The Flash. Just wrapping up its Fifth Season after celebrating a 100th episode and venturing into the crossover epic “Elseworlds”, Grant Gustin has protected Central City as its greatest hero, but recently ran into his 1990 alter-ego The Flash of Earth-90, 1990 that is.

On the heels of the success of Tim Burton’s Batman WB sought avenues to get many of its other DC properties off the ground, including a primetime hour-long live-action series based on one of its most enduring commodities. The Flash starred John Wesley Shipp and premiered on CBS in 1990, and took on a darker and more muscled up approach to the retelling of the superhero’s origin story. CSI investigator Barry Allen (Shipp) was expectedly struck by lightning and given his super speed, but he didn’t immediately run head first into the role as his city’s defender.

Though he’s returned to form in several incarnations on the 2014 reboot of The Flash, as Henry Allen, the “Golden Age” Flash/Jay Garrick, Shipp most recently suited up to bring his 1990 Flash, the Barry Allen of Earth-90 into the multiverse of the “Arrowverse”. A new threat is coming, a potential crisis that will test the mettle of our heroes — The Monitor has foreseen it, and he’s deemed our heroes worthy. The Flash of Earth-90 traversed the multiverse to warn his Earth-1 counterparts about The Monitor’s plan, but was “folded” away before he could join the fight.

John Wesley Shipp starred as The Flash in his CBS primetime series that premiered on September 20, 1990, almost 30 years ago, and ran for one season with total of 22 episodes. A critical hit, developed by Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo the series was for its time the most expensive live action series in production at WB, and just became a challenge to sustain; the network also kept moving the show’s dedicated time slot around. That made it a bit of a challenge for The Flash to maintain its audience. Ultimately the show was cancelled. The final episode aired on May 18, 1991.

Case File: “Deadly Nightshade”

In the 16th episode of the season, the socialite granddaughter of a wealthy publishing mogul, Felicia Kane (played by Jeri Ryan) is being held for ransom by an urban radical militia. While in the midst of negotiating her release with the Central City Police Department, the group’s hideout is attacked by a masked gunman using the name and the M.O. of the 50s era vigilante known as “Deadly Nightshade”. As the salvo of gunfire is heard on the police phone, CSI investigator Barry Allen (John Wesley Shipp) listens closely as Julio Mendez determines the location of the lair.

With the room momentarily distracted, Allen takes the opportunity to race to the scene of the crime in his alter ego as the Scarlet Speedster, The Flash. He arrives in time to survey the carnage and finds Ms. Kane is shock. Later, Rebecca Frost (Denise Crosby) a psychologist, determines that the actions of vigilantes, like Deadly Nightshade and The Flash are to blame for the rise in crimes and the victims, like Ms. Kane, get caught in the crossfire. Frost’s supervisor is Dr. Desmond Powell (Jason Bernard) and like Barry, he doesn’t necessarily agree with the good doctor’s assessment.

Powell has a unique insight into the matter; he was the original vigilante known as the Deadly Nightshade and doesn’t take it kindly to the threat of an imposter, Curtis Bohannan (Richard Burgi) who is determined to carry out his own vendetta. Bohannan intends on assuming the secret identity of Central City’s only hero and her intends on wearing a suit of armor to exact his form of justice. If he can take down The Flash, he will become unstoppable! The Flash and Powell team up, once again, to stop their common foe.

Best Parts

In classic comic-book fashion, the episode presents the brave and the bold pairing of the contemporary super speedster teaming up with his “Golden Age” mentor. Barry Allen first meets Desmond Powell’s alter ego in the episode “Ghost in the Machine” establishing that The Flash wasn’t Central City’s first costumed hero. Barry reveals his secret identity to Desmond in this adventure, suggesting that the two would have crossed paths again. Powell’s vigilante Deadly Nightshade appears to be pattered after an amalgamation of Golden Age DC Comics heroes.

The episode also begins to point in the direction that The Flash is being perceived as a “hero” — a crime fighter —  working alongside the CCPD, and is not the danger that Rebecca Frost suggests, but someone that might inspire hope. Shipp has often eluded to the dynamic changes his costume went through during the season, and it is most evident in this episode that certain modifications to the suit were made to make it appear more streamlined and proportioned to Shipp’s own physique. There’s even a scene where The Flash pulls the cowl back while in Powell secret hideout.

Besides spotlighting two Star Trek alumni; Denise Crosby and Jeri Ryan both make impressionable appearances in this episode, “Deadly Nightshade” reveals how much promise and potential there was in The Flash and the possibilities that might have been had the series gotten a Second Season. When The Flash of Earth-90 appears in the prologue to this past season’s crossover event “Elseworlds” he is the last man standing in what might have been an epic confrontation, but the battlefield is covered with costumed characters — a league that may have been in a Season 2.

John Wesley Shipp reprising his role as The Flash of Earth-90 in this season’s crossover event “Elseworlds”.

The Flash (Classic Series) | “Deadly Nightshade” (Season 1 | Episode 16) starring John Wesley Shipp, Amanda Pays and Alex Désert directed by Bruce Bilson written by John Francis Moore & Howard Chaykin and guest starring Jason Bernard with Richard Burgi and Denise Crosby. [Original Airdate: March 28, 1991]

The Flash (Classic Series) is available on the DC Universe subscription service and also on iTunes.

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Exclusive | GREG BERLANTI Receives the Founders Award from the International EMMYS® at event in NYC

The superstar producer of hit series The Flash, Arrow, Blindspot and surrounded by his closest colleagues and cast members of his shows receives one of the Television Academies highest honors at a gala event in New York City.

Super-producer Greg Berlanti has become synonymous with the televised DC universe. Since launching the hit Arrow based on the Green Arrow comic book hero, seven seasons ago on The CW, Berlanti and his production team have created a multiverse in primetime that have included a reimagining of The Flash and since introduced DC’s Legends of Tomorrow along with giving the Girl of Steel Supergirl an entire new audience to thrill to her adventures! 

The CW’s primetime landscape has since emerged the true blockbuster platform for DC heroes, often overshadowing their cinematic counterparts, consistently proving themselves a ratings hit. The CW primetime line-up has since expanded to include another DC hero Black Lightning now in its Second Season.

Over the course of his two decades in television Greg Berlanti has evolved into one of the industry’s most innovative creators determined to provide storylines that benefitted from realizing true-life examples of diversity and inclusion of all social representations. His DC adaptations have the most culturally diverse casts, given fans LGBTQ super heroes to relate to including the first transgender superhero in primetime, and demonstrated that comic book characters make for great entertainment so long as there is heart, humor to go along with the spectacle of it all.

John Wesley Shipp, star of the 1990 “The Flash” and Dawson’s Creek” returned to the superhero world in the 2014 reboot on The CW produced by Greg Berlanti.

The International Emmys® celebrated Greg Berlanti and honored the entertainment mogul with the Founders Award for his prolific career, that currently includes 14 series in production across multiple platforms including primetime television, subscription services like Netflix and the new DC Universe, and feature films. With his longtime colleague Julie Pleck (Dawson’s Creek and Roswell) presenting Berlanti with the award, the producer thanked his team of producers who not only work on The CW DCTV catalog, but also on hit series Blindside for NBC and Riverdale also on The CW.

Sullivan Stapleton (“Blindspot”) introduced Julie Pleck who presented Greg Berlanti with the Founders Award.

The evening was made all the more special with the presence of many of the casts of Berlanti’s productions who presented awards including John Wesley Shipp (from Dawson’s Creek and The Flash), Violett Beane (The Flash and God Friended Me), Sullivan Stapleton (Blindspot), Brandon Michael Hall and Javicia Leslie (God Friended Me). The 46th International Emmy® Awards Gala were held in New York City, at the Hilton New York in the heart of the city’s Theatre District.

Coming to a Town Near You | JOHN WESLEY SHIPP

Fans from around the world continue to find inspiration when meeting JOHN WESLEY SHIPP the only actor to have traversed the Golden Age and Silver Age of THE FLASH and still keeping step with the journey of the hero!

With a career that began with a stint in Daytime Dramas (and landed him two consecutive Emmy Award wins) and morphed into roles in the most critically acclaimed primetime series of their time, actor John Wesley Shipp has traveled the world and is still most well known for originating the role of CSI investigator Barry Allen on the 1990 CBS adventure The Flashbased on the DC Comics character.

He recently traveled to Peru as a guest to celebrate Día del Comic Festival 2018, the capital city of Lima’s own version of Comic-Con and received an overwhelming rock star reception, as more than 100,000 guests attended the event all eager to meet their hero and get a selfie with John. Among the multitude of events there were several Q&A sessions, one in particular was hosted outdoors. Over the weekend, John shook hands and answered questions about his time on The Flash.

Lightning struck twice for Shipp when in 2014 he was invited to join the cast of The CW’s The Flash a proper spin-off to the network’s other hit Arrow that introduced a primetime inundation of genre shows capitalizing on the DC universe of superheroes. John has had the unique experience of res-establishing himself within the mythology in the role of Henry Allen, the father of Barry Allen opposite Grant Gustin who has assumed the title role of the Scarlet Speedster.

At the conclusion of the Second Season, in a turn of events no one (including Shipp himself) had seen coming, Henry became the latest victim of the villainous Zoom who exacts his vendetta against Barry by hurting the ones he loves most, but the prisoner held captive in Zoom’s Earth-2 retreat was another speedster and a hero from Earth-3. That earth’s “Flash” in fact — Jay Garrick, and Henry Allen’s doppelgänger!

Shipp recently recurred again as Jay Garrick for Season Four’s speedster-heavy team-up episode “Enter Flashtime” written by series writer Sterling Gates which had Flash enlist the help of both Earth-2’s Jesse Quick (guest star Violett Beane) and Jay Garrick in order to keep a nuclear device from destroying Central City. The episode introduced a new super-power for our heroes and featured another glimpse into the enduring legacy of this iconic character.

Now in the running shoes of the veteran speedster, John Wesley Shipp is in the unique position of having portrayed the Golden Age version of The Flash, and his Silver Age counterpart, as well as the modern interpretation of the hero’s father Henry, and passing the baton not only into the worthy hands of Gustin, but also tipping his hat to the cinematic Flash played by Ezra Miller in the Justice League motion picture. It’s a legacy that Shipp is very proud to be a part of.

John Wesley Shipp will be making additional appearances through the summer and will be appearing Birmingham, UK for Showmasters Film & Comic ConJune 2 – 3 (filmandcomicconbirmingham.com) and the Greater Austin Comic-Conin Cedar Park, Texas, June 16 – 17 (greateraustincomiccon.com). Visit website for convention and ticket information.

Exclusive | On JUSTICE LEAGUE: If Rooftops Could Talk

Actor HOLT McCALLANY tussles with The Batman in the opening moments of the JUSTICE LEAGUE, but a lot of their brawl ended up on the cutting room floor including a mysterious ally that was lurking in the shadows!

Holt McCallany currently appearing in Netflix’s hit “MINDHUNTER” tussles with The Batman in the opening act of “JUSTICE LEAGUE”.

In the opening minutes of Justice League after the head-scratching moment featuring Superman sans-a-mustache, the audience is reintroduced to Gotham City’s Caped Crusader as Batman hunts the skyline of Gotham City. He comes across a poor soul, a burglar that thinks that perhaps its safe to stalk the rooftops of the fabled city, perhaps imagining that with the death of the Man of Steel, he’s likely to get away with the goods. Unfortunately for him, that’s just not the case and he comes to blows with the Dark Knight!

The actor playing that burglar goes uncredited in the final cast list, but is known famously as Holt McCallany whose work has made him synonymous with “tough guy” roles appearing in Fight Club, The Losers and currently appearing in the hit Netflix Original Series Mindhunter. Though he tussles for what appears like a hot minute with Ben Affleck’s Batman, the actor leaves an indelible impression when the hero inspires fear in him to summon one of the invading parademons, and heralding the dangers to come.

Though that scene sets up the chase for the scattered Mother Boxes that spell certain doom for the planet, McCallany revealed that there was much more going on that root top brawl than just a heist. In fact the actor suggested that much of what was shot for that opening scene ended up on the cutting room floor after Josh Whedon took over the reigns from original director Zack Snyder. In fact, another one of Batman’s rogues gallery of villains was also intended to be introduced in that moment which also included the enigmatic Cluemaster!

Cluemaster of course is best known as the father of Stephanie Brown, a vigilante ally of the Batman Family who has for a time even assumed the identity of Batgirl. Holt McCallany’s revelation gives more insight and ignites speculation of more of the world that Snyder was building with his original cut of the film. This of course adds more fuel to the fire that a “Director’s Cut” should be made available for the mass market, so that fans can get a deeper idea of the scope of Snyder’s vision for Justice League.

The film unfortunately did not entirely meet fan expectations, and in the wake of the success of Marvel Studios Black Panther and The Avengers: Infinity War it would seem that DC will have a lot of catching up to do to really capitalize on its film properties especially those that exist to inhabit a cinematic extended universe.

Justice League is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD download, as well as in 4K Ultra-HD formats.