The Flash is about to enter a tricky time period in which fans will decide whether the show is past its prime or still worth the weekly watch. After all, when was the last time you said, "You know, the show was always good, but it really hit its stride in Season 6?" The Flash's new showrunner, Eric Wallace, is very aware that this is a make-or-break time for most TV shows, and he's approaching this new season with equal amounts of realism and optimism.
"Usually one of about two or three things happen in the sixth season of a hit show," Wallace said during a recent press screening of the season premiere. "[There's] snooze-ville, and it goes into cruise mode, and you know, no one really cares, but you kinda watch it because it's habit. You make your beans while you watch it, you eat it, no big deal. Or [there's the] crash and burn! 'Oh my! That used to be my favorite show, and I can't stand it anymore.'"
But then there's a third option, and it's what Wallace says the writers are going for. "We're not looking at this as Season 6 of a show," he explained. "We're looking at it as Season 1 of a show. I'm trying very hard, my staff's trying very hard, the cast and crew, everybody, to reward all of the fans who've been watching for five years."
That final option is a revitalization of everything fans loved about the show when it started, plus a new spin to take the show in a new direction. If all goes well, it will hopefully be enough to give the characters and the story a breath of fresh air and a much-needed new lease on life. One of the tactics Wallace has implemented to achieve this renaissance is the division of Season 6 into two separate and distinct arcs, which he refers to as graphic novels.
Rather than a season-long battle with a single villain, Barry's journey this year will feature two separate story arcs divided by the Arrowverse crossover event, Crisis on Infinite Earths. That means Team Flash's battle with Dr. Ramsey Rosso (Sendhil Ramamurthy), otherwise known as Bloodwork, will be a self-contained story that only consists of the eight episodes leading up to the crossover, so it has to come out swinging.
"[Bloodwork's] story begins, [and] it burns very hot," said Wallace. "By the time we get to 603, 604, we're in cuckoo town, essentially. I mean that in the best way because the story ends in 608. That's wrapped up. The end. We go to Crisis. Then, starting at 610, it's a brand new story — graphic novel number two."
Seeing as it's sometimes hard not ask why it always takes Barry so long to catch the season's big bad — filler episodes, that's why — this new change in format, which Wallace said gives the show a "new, fresh energy," might be just what the doctor ordered to give The Flash a few more years before we get the dreaded "final season" news.
The Flash premieres Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 8/7c on The CW.
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