"Flash Gordon" Been there done that too many times?
Catch it on the Sci Fi channel 9:00 P.M Fridays
A review of the Pilot, by Vincent Collins
Flash Gordon (Erich Johnson) is back and he is a different kind of Flash that most of us are used too. He has no space ship with sparks flying out of the back and he is much more of a normal kind of guy compared too the 1980s movie muscle bound he-man version.
The first episode starts out with our hero Flash winning a road race and having his ex girlfriend "Dale" (Gina Holden) from high school show up as a TV reporter covering his victory race. Flash is immediately brought down to regular guy status when he admits to his former love that he lives with his mom. But it's the start of the sexual tension between the two that remains for the rest of the show and I would guess the series.
Flash soon finds out he is being tailed by his scientist father's ex-assistant Dr. Zarkov. Flash finds out from Dr. Zarkov after roughing him up slightly about his father's secret work "The Portage Initiative". Flash also is suspicious by Dr. Zarkov's comments that his father who was supposed to have died in a fire 13 years ago may still be alive. Flash seems to have been bitten by the "where's my Dad bug" and he does not let go even at the stern urging of his mom.
At this point aliens start showing up in bowling alleys and mini marts, and Dale and Flash are on the case. The tension between Dale and Flash is heightened by the fact that Dale is engaged to a jerky cop who is instantly jealous of Flash. Flash and Dale track down Dr. Zarkov to get some answers concerning the small town alien visitors and are filled in with more details concerning his fathers work: the travel between dimensions by using a "Stargate" like portal. Soon Flash figures out why the aliens are here after they brainwash his mom. The aliens are looking for something called an "Imex". And now Flash is looking for his dad and we all know he's going to go to the place wherever the aliens are coming from.
After stripping a portal locator (or a "Stargate" finder if you will) from the alien robot soldier they killed for brainwashing Flash's mom, they go to a cornfield with the locator. Dale and Flash practically trip and fall into the found dimensional portal and Dale and Flash arrive and are instantly captured on "Mongo", by Ming the Merciless and his troops.
Ming the merciless is not as merciless looking as the usual Ming in fact he looks like Flashes older brother. Ming does like the ladies though and turns Dale into a concubine as soon as he can. Flash figures out Ming is no good after what started as a pleasant conversation turns into Flash getting carted away to be tortured for any knowledge he may have about the "Imex". At this point we still have no idea what the "Imex" is and all we know is that Ming wants it and Flash wants his Dad.
Flash is rescued on the torture table by a young lady who says she is a servant girl but is actually Ming's daughter on her own mission to find the "Imex". At this point Dale escapes right before Ming is about to have his way with her. A sexually frustrated Ming calls out all the troops and the three are on the run.
The conclusion of the story is much as expected. Ming's daughter shows her true colors and attempts to steal the "Imex" which had been on Flash's wrist for 13 years. An old Timex that was just a broken sentimental piece to him before he found out it could unleash all the power of the Universe somehow (we still don't know how). Flash cuts Ming's daughter and the sexy female bounty hunter (that looks weirdly like a younger version of Flash's mom) sent to retrieve the princess at the "Dimensional Portal" pass and regains the "Imex" and then pretends to destroy it. The pissed off Princess Aura jumps back home and is promptly sent to her room by Ming the Merciless who is fuming that the "Imex" is broken, but little does he know that the "Imex" is a Timex and you know what they say about Timex.
I felt throughout the hour and a half pilot that it seemed familiar. The characters were ok nothing jumped out at me. Even Ming the Merciless looked kind of "Ho Hum" to me. Special effects or Sci-Fi ideas seemed kind of copied from other series such as "Stargate" and seemed quite devoid of any cool new Sci-Fi concepts that makes Sci-Fi stimulating.
It seemed kind of 20-something also with the same feel as "Smallville" where Erich Johnson, "Flash" used to play a role. All in all I would say, "been there, saw that before,". Nothing seems new but it was better entertaining than having to watch "Big Brother" or some other kind of reality TV on Friday night. And maybe to someone who is new to Sci-Fi, the new version of "Flash Gordon" will be a new fresh experience. I'm going to give it another chance, and I did not hate it, but I fear I may forget to watch it again. It's just that kind of show.