What 'Flash Gordon' Is About:
Flash Gordon is an ordinary young athlete caught up in extraordinary events, starting with an experiment gone wrong that killed Flash's scientist father when he was 13. But the legacy of that experiment resurfaces, along with his father's old assistant, Dr. Hans Zarkov. Flash seeks the advice of his ex-girlfriend, Dale Arden, but the three of them end up enmeshed in the machinations of a galactic tyrant named Ming.
• Season 1 Guide
Status of 'Flash Gordon':
Flash Gordon is no longer in production. It was shown on Sci Fi. It ran 1 season, for a total of 21 episodes, between Aug 10, 2007 and Feb 8, 2008. For current showtimes see Show Listings.
• Root for It To Get Better, or Delight in Its Failure?
Flash Gordon started out as a Depression-era comic strip, designed to compete with the popular Buck Rogers (1936). It was quickly converted into three film serials with swimmer Buster Crabbe (1936, 1938, and 1940); after the war came a live action television series starring Steve Holland (1954-55). An overbaked feature film was produced in 1980 by Dino Di Laurentiis starring Sam J. Jones. The conception has remained roughly the same: Flash is an ordinary guy (strong and fast but otherwise normal) who ends up, along with Dale and the erratic Zarkov, having to confront the destructive aggression of Ming the Merciless.
Key 'Flash Gordon' Characters:
Flash's origins as a jock have allowed various producers to capitalize on Flash's sex appeal (the hunky Buster Crabbe got many opportunities to show off his physique), and the new version starring a well-buffed Eric Johnson is no different. Sometimes, as neither Flash nor Dale is all that bright, and Zarkov is at least partially nuts, one's appreciation ends up being drawn to the crafty Ming almost by default. Since the repulsive anti-Asian racism that used to be applied to the visual depiction of Ming is now a thing of the past, it will be interesting to see whether a similar phenomenon occurs with the new series.
Flavor of 'Flash Gordon':
The look and tone is reminiscent of the Kevin Sorbo Hercules: frothy, action-adventure fun with wry byplay between the heroes, saucy love triangles, and gruff threats from the villains.
• Review: Flash Gordon Premiere
• From Ludicrous to Almost Good: Flash Gordon's Arc of Improvement