Watch Flash Gordon (1936)
- 1 Season
Flash Gordon (1936) is an action-adventure science fiction television series based on a comic strip of the same name by Alex Raymond. The show follows the adventures of Flash Gordon (Buster Crabbe), an American polo player who is catapulted into a distant planet called Mongo along with two companions, Dale Arden (Jean Rogers) and Dr. Hans Zarkov (Frank Shannon).
Upon landing in Mongo, the trio is immediately confronted with dangerous and fantastical creatures, as well as the ruthless and power-hungry ruler of Mongo, Ming the Merciless (Charles Middleton). The show's plot revolves around Flash, Dale, and Zarkov's attempts to stop Ming and his nefarious schemes while navigating the treacherous landscapes of Mongo and uncovering the planet's secrets.
Buster Crabbe delivers a standout performance as the swashbuckling hero Flash Gordon, imbuing the character with a charming wit and physical prowess that make him a joy to watch on screen. Jean Rogers is similarly compelling as Dale Arden, bringing a plucky determination to the role that makes her much more than just a damsel in distress. Frank Shannon, as Dr. Hans Zarkov, serves as the trio's scientific advisor and brings a grounded intellect to the fantastical world of Mongo.
Perhaps the most memorable aspect of Flash Gordon (1936) is its imaginative world-building. The show's creators spared no expense in bringing the strange and diverse environments of Mongo to life, utilizing impressive practical effects and ambitious set designs to create a truly immersive viewing experience. From the lush forests of Arboria to the rocky deserts of Frigia, every location in the show feels distinct and lived-in.
Of course, no description of Flash Gordon (1936) would be complete without mentioning the show's iconic villain, Ming the Merciless. Charles Middleton brings a chilling malevolence to the role, portraying Ming as a tyrannical ruler with a god complex and an insatiable appetite for power. The character's all-black wardrobe and distinctive Fu Manchu-style mustache have since become fixtures of pop culture.
In addition to its impressive production values, Flash Gordon (1936) also features a lively and memorable soundtrack. Composer Charles Previn's score perfectly captures the adventurous spirit of the show, incorporating sweeping orchestral arrangements, tribal percussion, and even some piano jazz into its mix.
Of course, no show is perfect, and Flash Gordon (1936) does have its share of flaws. The show's writing can be somewhat simplistic at times, relying on broad strokes and archetypal characters rather than deep characterizations and complex themes. Additionally, some of the special effects and action sequences may seem dated or simplistic to modern audiences accustomed to more advanced CGI and stunt work.
However, these minor quibbles ultimately do little to detract from the overall enjoyment of watching Flash Gordon (1936). This seminal science fiction series remains a beloved classic to this day, thanks in no small part to the timeless appeal of its characters, the imaginative world-building, and the thrilling sense of adventure that permeates every episode. Whether you're a longtime fan or a newcomer to the world of Mongo, Flash Gordon (1936) is an absolute must-watch.