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Thursday, January 16, 2014 

New Flash TV series features diversity tactics, but what's worse is if it's built on Geoff Johns's ideas

I found some more news about the new planned series based on the Flash, and if this turns out to be the script they'll use, it certainly won't be like how a voice actor described Barry Allen earlier:
According to the leaked description, Iris West in the Flash TV universe will be Barry Allen’s sister of sorts. Iris West is described as an African-American in the 22 to 28 year age range. Her father, Detective West, took Barry in after his mother was murdered and his father was wrongly accused and imprisoned for her murder. Iris is also described as Barry’s mile a minute, fast-talking, quick-witted best friend. Barry has strong feelings for Iris, but she’s unaware of those feelings.
Let's focus first on what appears to be a diversity experiment, with the emphasis on changing a character's race/sexual orientation/skin color. A few years ago, I might've been okay with this, so long as it didn't affect the original comics. But now, the more I hear about ideas like this turning up, the more it begins to bother me. Is this really necessary? So far, we've had Heimdall's race changed in the Thor movie, Perry White's in Man of Steel, and now the Flash TV show looks like it's next. Even the comics have been suffering from this obsession, with James Robinson turning Alan Scott gay and Wildcat black, and let's not forget Miles Morales in Ultimate Spider-Man. What is so special or important about changing what was originally established? Do they really think the audience won't watch the programs or read the comics if they don't change the race/sexual orientation/skin color of certain protagonists? They must be pretty desperate, so much they simply won't stop to consider their writing efforts are poor.

Actually, what's really dismaying is their inability to create new characters who can fill the same roles they're remaking here. If they'd only think up some new ones who could come from all the different backgrounds they're using here, I wouldn't see the need to argue, and could even credit them more for being creative. (One positive about the 1990 Flash TV series was that it did feature a co-star of Latino descent whom I don't recall appearing in any DC output.) Changing the makeup of established characters as much as they do here only suggests there's editorial restrictions and mandates holding them back. So much for creative freedom, first in comics and then on television. Why do I get the vibe this premise was written up so they don't even have to create an interracial romance between the two foster family members?

But that's probably nothing compared to the background they're giving Barry in the current draft for this TV show, which loudly echoes the premise Geoff Johns first used with his new Reverse-Flash in 2004, and later forced onto Barry in Flash: Rebirth. That was so grimy in retrospect and it won't make much difference if TV Barry does retain an upbeat personality; the premise drawing from Johns's work is still a very bad fit for a show you'd figure will be marketed to family audiences. (Maybe the reason why the 1990 series failed was because the sex scene between Barry and Iris in the premiere episode troubled some parents who didn't think it was something young children should view.) Then again, maybe the producers have decided - much like the comic publishers - that they're not interested in younger audiences anymore, and that's why they're going down this grisly route.

If the planned TV show does turn to be anything like what Johns cooked up, I'll decidedly not be falling for it. Besides, like I've said before, these TV series all seem more interested in tossing in cameos for a lot of references to stuff that's appeared in the comics, and that's no way to craft a serious adventure on the small screen.

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There's a black version of The Top known as Turbine in the new Flash stories.

The token ethnic (or gay) characters are probably not going to appease the PC pressure groups, anyway. They will complain that the "diverse" characters are usually the secondary ones (Heimdall, Perry White), or relatively obscure ones (Wildcat, Alan Scott). As for the inability to create new characters to fill those roles, well, that's pretty much par for the course these days. The "creators" are parasites. They can't create their own characters or plots, so they just revise old characters and remake old scripts. Much of the stuff being published now is just overblown fanfic.

I actually have little issue with changes such as Heimdall or Perry White. One has to consider how blacks were "locked out" to a large degree in popular entertainment when most of the major characters were created. But when the diversophiles want to fundamentally alter something substantial -- like, say, having Johnny Storm be African-American -- only in the name of "diversity," that's when it gets silly, in my opinion

I guess I don't mind the changing of characters like Perry White and Heimdall, either. But I do mind when such changes are made for the sake of diversity, like trying to make the Human Torch be African-American. That's just beyond ridiculous. Diversity for diversity's sake is one of those things that annoys me about modern comics.

The point about comics being glorified fanfic is spot-on. DC's writers are told to write in fanfiction style. A lot of what the Big Two produce today comes across as nothing more than fanfic, and bad fanfiction (most fanfiction is terrible, anyways) at that.

The only thing worse than token characters are characters in blackface.

Yes, I said it.

Shows how creatively bankrupt so many of today's "creative" types are - they can't come up with compelling new minority characters. Was stupid when Millar did it in The Authority. Equally so now.

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