Flash Gordon (2007 TV series)

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Flash Gordon (2007-2008) was a Syfy adaptation of the comic strip of the same name, incorporating material from previous adaptations. The plot follows Flash as he discovers a rift in space leading to the planet Mongo, ruled by an evil dictator who controls the planet's water supply.

The characters include:

  • Steven "Flash" Gordon (Eric Johnson), whose scientist father died in a mysterious accident.
  • Dale Arden (Gina Holden), a reporter and Flash's ex-girlfriend.
  • Dr. Hans Zarkov (Jody Racicot), Flash's father's eccentric research assistant.
  • Ming (John Ralston), ruler of Mongo (not officially called "The Merciless").
  • Baylin (Karen Cliche), a bounty hunter from Mongo (a new character introduced for the series).
  • Princess Aura (Anna van Hooft), Ming's daughter.

In the beginning, the show had a Monster of the Week format. After negative critical reactions, a mid-season Retool shifted the focus to a Mondo-based story arc. Despite this effort, Flash Gordon was canceled after one season, ending on a cliffhanger.

For the earlier live-action Flash Gordon series, see Flash Gordon 1954.


Tropes used in Flash Gordon (2007 TV series) include:
  • After the End: At least as far as Mongo is concerned; Mongo's original civilization collapsed, leaving Ming to rebuild.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The original Mongo civilization was highly advanced to the point where they could set up a massive mining operation on their moon and build two more moons as processing centers. This eventually led to their downfall. An accident resulted in the planet being showered with a toxic mineral, killing the vast majority of the population and contaminating nearly all water supplies. Only a few million who managed to escape to one of the moons survived before returning to the planet. The current Mongo people remember the day of the accident as the Sorrow, which is commemorated every year.
  • Adaptation Decay: Possibly the reason the show folded was due to the lack of Brian Blessed
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Ming controls Mongo's potable water supply.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: In the series finale, Ming dons a Patriot uniform and proceeds to kick Flash's ass.
    • Barin, the leader of the Verden, is also a pretty good fighter. Better than Flash, at any rate. He is played by Steve Bacic, after all.
  • Bling of War: Ming trades in the faux-Mandarin robes for a flashy military uniform in this version.
  • Chekhov MIA
  • Cardboard Prison: At least four times.
    • Lampshaded in an episode recap, which jokes that Ming's dungeon will be renamed "The Mongo Inn", "for its liberal check-out policy"
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ming is a dictator who absolutely despises Deviants and will order a newborn's execution if his DNA contains traces of deviancy. A later episode reveals that Ming himself is a Deviant.
  • Evil Chancellor: Rankol (later subject to a Heel Face Turn).
  • Evil Minions: Ming's Patriot Guards.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Flash himself, although he plays into it by continuing to search for his father once it's clear that Ming is intimidated by Flash's apparent fulfillment of prophecy. Even when Rankol tries to convince Flash that his father is already dead for his own protection so he'll give up and stay on Earth.
  • Mad Scientist: Zarkov, as usual, but this time he's also the Stalker with a Crush (which is how he got fired from government research). The resulting character is creepier than the sum of its parts. Rankol also plays with this trope which seems to be yet another layer in his Chessmaster strategy.
  • Monster of the Week: The original format of the show. Something would come through from Mongo, and Flash and the others would have to either kills it or send it back, while keeping it a secret from everybody else.
  • Mythology Gag: Sam Jones (the 1980s Flash) played a prisoner.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Jonathan Lloyd Walker for Gary Oldman.
  • Race Lift: The Ambiguously Asian Ming became 100% Caucasian.
  • Red Right Hand
  • Religion of Evil: Averted. The monks, who also secretly include Rankol, are actively working behind the scenes to undermine Ming's rule and assist Flash on multiple occasions.
  • Schizo-Tech: Mongo has managed to develop interdimensional travel without also developing ground transportation. Almost all travel on Mongo seems to be done on foot in this version. Good thing Flash is an Olympic-level distance runner.
    • Justified in that Ming does not want the people to have access to transportation that can be used against him. The few people who have automobiles are wealthy trade merchants.
      • Consider real-life communist nations. Only the wealthy and politically powerful had access to cars. While this policy certainly varied by nation, transportation was limited to the politically reliable (ministers) and when it was needed (police).
        • Even communist nations had buses and trains for the common masses, however. Ming's regime is deliberately inefficient.
  • Strawman News Media: Type 4. Both of the TV stations shown are obsessed with ratings and Dale’s attempts to promote the value of integrity are ignored. Dales competitor is the Hot Scoop.
    • Dale can drop completely off the grid for days at a time without filing a story, checking in with her editor, or even turning in an expense report, and nobody thinks this is unusual.
  • Too Dumb To Live: Joe Wylee, the police detective, attempts to expose Mongo’s existence without reliable evidence and is surprised when he is suspended. Later he steals a rift key to gather evidence and nearly dies on Mongo.
    • He never considers that his evidence will be viewed as a forgery. However, after traveling to Mongo he does say that he would not have believed the truth about the rift portals if he had not experienced it.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Ming actively tries to maintain his image as "the Benevolent Father", using propaganda campaigns, celebrations, grand public gestures, and other tools of a Third World dictator trying to look legit. He will give extra water to a sick girl, while ordering her father's execution with the same breath.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future is used in an episode where Flash must discredit a recording of a rift portal before the turns it into a nation wide story.