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San Diego Comic Con's Ballroom 20 premieres 'The Flash,' and 'Constantine'

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Comic-Con International taking place in San Diego kicked off Wednesday night with hordes of toy collectors, Cosplayers, and vast numbers of geeks entering the convention center at 6:00 PM as part of Preview Night. More than 130,000 convention-goers are expected with thousands more in support and exhibitors participating in the event running through Sunday. As part of the annual Geekfest, and for those not fighting each other over Mattel, Hasbro, and Lego exclusive toys for sale on the convention floor, is another well-known part of the convention happening upstairs in Ballroom 20. Traditionally several TV show’s host sneak previews showing off some of their Fall line-up exclusively for fans.
This year's first show from DC Entertainment and Warner Bros.'s "The Flash,” premiered to an excited crowd. The show based on DC characters originating from comics and more recently introduced in the extremely popular series “Arrow” and toted as a spin off series featured Grant Gustin as Barry Allen (aka The Flash) .
The second show scheduled to premier, “IZombie,” was cancelled. The event MC explained the show would not premiere due to the fact that several characters were recast, and assumed to be re-shooting the pilot episode. In it's place ran a cartoon from Cartoon Network called "Teen Titans Go!." The final show, was also from DC Entertainment and Warner Bros., “Constantine,” and also based on a popular DC comic book character. Fans may recall a earlier incarnation starring starring Keanu Reeves as a feature film.

Ballroom 20 traditionally holds about 2500 people but the room looked like it had perhaps just less than a thousand in attendance with many seats going empty. However, fans who did participate clapped and cheered during breaks between the show when commercials would normally air; especially more so, during the airing of “The Flash.”

Quick opinion of the show without spoiling it for the reader follows:

"The Flash" picks up with Barry getting medical attention for his injury that induced his special powers and learning about his abilities. Several key characters are introduced including Tom Cavanagh as character Harrison Wells. In the interest of moving the story along, and in consideration of it being a pilot episode, -which has a duty to introduce as many characters as writers can without over doing it (a delicate balance unless you are the writers of "Game Of Thrones") as its pilot episode, the overall story runs tightly and keeps interest levels high even when introducing new characters and back information. The episode's bad guy plays really well in the story with some unique powers that allow the studio to kick it up a notch with some fantastic special effects including a tornado that rips through a building very impressively. Overall rating of the first episode scores a B+ for character development, pace, special effects, and the appearance and short scene of Oliver Queen in Arrow costume (Stephen Amell) giving advice to Barry. The Flash’s costume looks amazing and well done.

Second show overall opinion: “Constantine,” did not do quite as well as “The Flash,” namely in character development. In consideration of pushing a story forward to keep the attention of the new viewer and generating interest to watch later episodes the show bumped and skipped ahead. Chief character, Constantine played by Matt Ryan, was impressively interesting emitting a dark and dynamic persona that could go places as the series unfolds. However, I predict his blonde hair will darken over upcoming episodes as it just did not work as part of the persona and character of the supernatural wielding demon fighter. Key elements including a Dr. Fate helmet appearing in the background set pieces could lead to some fascinating and fun story lines. However the episode did seem to fit a cookie cutter pattern somewhere between an episode of “Super Natural,” “Grim,” and the failed “Dresden Files,” which it mostly resembled. The episode warrants tuning in for #2 but it needs to take a breath and get us more involved in the motivations of the characters. Also, two actors from the TV Show “Lost” play key roles as well (Jeremy Davies and Harold Perrineau). This episode scores a B, but only because the actor Matt Ryan was well cast and with his British twang speaks to BBC type shows and hoping that the writing has lots of interesting places to take us.

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