Now that I’ve seen its long-delayed DVD set from Mill Creek Entertainment, I can say that, to my surprise, it’s not. Oh, it’s still not “good,” but it’s watchable in a minimal-investment, entertainment-as-wallpaper way.
The first step for interested parties is to remove any hopes that this small-screen Flash Gordon will be anything like the big-screen Flash Gordon of 1980. (I know this is tough, because lovers of that cult flick — myself included — are most inclined to check this out.) That Flash served as quarterback for the New York Jets, whereas this one (a bland Eric Johnson, TV’s Rookie Blue) is a track star, yet he still gets sucked into space — specifically, the planet Mongo, ruled by that ever-merciless Ming (John Ralston).
In these 22 episodes spread across four discs, Flash and friends easily warp back and forth between Earth and Mongo (“Did you bring the rift blaster?”), so the stakes don’t seem as high. Highest among said friends is Dale Arden (the lovely Gina Holden, Saw 3D), now a TV reporter and a newly engaged former flame of Flash’s. If you think the fires between them are extinguished, you may find the references to YouTube and the like hilarious.
Don’t expect greatness; do expect off-and-on fluff. For a better, slicker Syfy relaunch of a fellow King Features Syndicate comic-strip character, check out 2009’s The Phantom. —Rod Lott