Producers De-Dorkify 'Flash Gordon'
Producers De-Dorkify 'Flash Gordon'
Flash Gordon has gotten a major makeover for his television comeback.

In effort to veer away from classic comic book character's dorkish tendencies, producer Peter Hume has introduced more contemporary elements that have the new Flash Gordon wearing t-shirts and jeans, traveling via wormholes and exhibiting a sense of humor.

“It's hard to do the whole ‘gee-golly-gosh' version of Flash Gordon anymore without making him a dork,” Hume said.  “There's been a tendency in the last few years to play to the camp.  We want to avoid that.”

Hume also said it became important for them to humanize the character, and the result is a Flash Gordon who is more of a hero in training as he goes about the universe to fight imperialistic world conquerors.

“We aren't just going to alien worlds and dealing with alien issues,” actor Eric Johnson, who plays the sci-fi hero, said.  “We are going to alien worlds with alien issues and seeing how they relate to Earth.  In that way, (it makes) the allegory very real and relatable.”

Johnson, best known for playing Whitney Fordman on the CW's Smallville, said that he felt an instant connection with the character when he was trying out for the role.

“I knew when I started saying the words (in the audition), and it felt so natural to me,” Eric Johnson says.  “I never felt like that before.”

Fans of the original Flash Gordon need not worry about the changes, as Hume assured they constantly turn to the comic book series for reference and guidance.  For one, Ming the Merciless is still Flash's arch-rival.  For another, ray guns are still the weapon of choice.  For yet another, the Hawkmen will be making regular appearances in the television series.

“We very much go back to the canon for what we were looking for,” Hume said, later noting that one thing that will forever stay unchanged is the hair color of the sci-fi hero.

“He has to be blond,” Hume said.  “In fact, we had to lighten (Eric Johnson's naturally blond) hair.”

Flash Gordon airs on the Sci-Fi Channel every Friday night at 9pm.

-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Scripps Howard News Service
(Image Courtesy of SCI-FI Channel)