Flash Gordon: Sci Fi


"Comicbooks and -strips have survived their share of camp treatment over the years, though producers’ willingness to take such material seriously has improved markedly since Dino De Laurentiis’ misguided whack at ‘Flash Gordon’ in 1980, which remains most memorable for its Queen theme. Yet Sci Fi Channel’s contemporized series mostly ignores the intervening quarter century, serving up a 90-minute premiere replete with playful if dimwitted banter, dimension-breaching nonsense, and a cast seemingly plucked from Revlon commercials. Nostalgia might win out, but barring a last-minute rescue, this bit of fluff will be forgotten in a you-know-what."(Variety)"Flash Gordon, fantastic planet-hopping playboy of yesteryear, has been exhumed from eternity. But the new ‘Flash Gordon,’ concocted for the Sci Fi Channel (and premiering tonight), departs radically from the original Universal serials made in the 1930s. The ray guns and rocket ships lack a certain panache, or maybe elan, and there’s nary a sign of mangy old lizards tricked up to look like big scary monsters…. Attempting to reinvent and contemporize Alex Raymond’s comic-strip icon, Sci Fi has ‘humanized’ the dashing rascal by bringing his personal life to the forefront and demoting the amazing stuff to second fiddle."(THE WASHINGTON POST) "If you need a symbol for everything that’s wrong with Flash, John Ralston’s lifeless Ming will serve. Obviously, the traditional, insensitive quasi-Asian take on Ming would be a hard sell these days, but that doesn’t explain the transformation of Mongo’s once grandly flamboyant emperor into a penny-ante deluded dictator, and a dull one to boot." (USA TODAY) "Most of the special effects were not finished in the review copy, so it’s impossible to gauge whether they’ll be an improvement over Sci Fi’s typical strobe-light show. By the look of Flash’s wardrobe, however, the series is sparing every expense. Flash wears what looks like a cross between a track outfit and a Member’s Only jacket."(THE BOSTON HERALD)"The show, approximately the zillionth attempt to put Flash and his friends on the big or small screen, isn’t bad, particularly; it’s just not very, excuse me, flashy. Blame the source material, which is from a time when playing jacks was considered high entertainment… It’s early yet, of course. Maybe the series will find a consistent sense of humor akin to what we glimpse in the premiere in a scene in which Flash and friends defeat a Robocop-like space monster using kitchen implements. Maybe Anna Van Hooft, the high point of the opening episode as Aura, Ming’s sexy daughter, will be given more to do. But at first blush ‘Flash Gordon’ doesn’t seem as if it has the creativity to do for Flash what ‘Smallville’ did for Superman."( THE NEW YORK TIMES)"The show’s overall tone is less campy than the Flash Gordon movie, but it’s more mature, and entertaining, than the old "Battlestar Galactica" or "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" series."(New York Daily News)"For all the comic-book fans who can’t get enough of grown-ups carrying ray guns and discussing the destruction of planet Earth, pretty lame effects and super-stiff acting keep this from being really great camp."(Christian Science Monitor)"The whole story is over the top, but it’s mitigated by the sense of humor it has about its own broad elements. The acting is serviceable enough and–to Rosenthal’s credit in the pilot–surprisingly consistent. What the plotting lacks in cohesion and suspense, the production often compensates for in visual appeal."(Hollywood Reporter)"This contemporary remake is cheerfully B-movie cheesy–watch an alien attack a bowling alley–but also stubbornly flat, settling for cute when sublime camp would be preferred."(TV Guide)"As played by Johnson, this 21st Century Flash is likable enough, and the plot occasionally achieves a tick-tock level of efficiency, but there’s little else to recommend this series."(Chicago Tribune)"They’ve assembled a cast suffering a major charisma deficit and given them wooden, cliche-riddled dialogue to deliver."(Newark Star-Ledger)"Nobody seems to be having any fun here, not even lording-it-over-everybody Ming. You’d think next week’s second episode might be better, once all that exposition is out of the way, but you’d be wrong. It’s even more lifeless."(Newsday)"Flash Gordon is a victim of pedestrian scripting. Worse yet, the characters are forced to spout too much exposition that betrays what should be the characters’ natural reactions."(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)"I apologize to all the Flash Gordon fans around the world. I know I had nothing to do with this series , but it’s so horrible I somehow feel responsible - just by watching it."(New York Post)

Compiled by Sarah Outhwaite and Bryon Rudd