I used to watch the black-and-white series decades ago (yes, I grew up in a time warp), altho I apparently missed the cartoons both strip and animated, and apparently successfully confused Flash Gordon with Buck Rogers when it comes to the Very Foolish TV series starring Gil Gerard (probably making Flash's creators happy since that's what they were always tring to do: confuse people into thinking they were reading Buck Rogers). Altho now that I read a bit about this, I'm wondering how far back my confusion goes, since Buster Crabbe played BOTH Buck and Flash in the old serials. Goddess knows what all I originally saw; I'm clearly confused.
I am _not_ confused about seeing (large chunks of) the 1980ish movie _Flash Gordon_, and I similarly recollect having read a paperback adaptation of same (I was really starved for reading material at that age and would literally read anything that crossed my path).
Not that any of this matters since it is increasingly clear to me that everyone involved was ripping off E.E. "Doc" Smith and, presumably, other writers of pulp science fiction (specifically, the Skylark series).
It looks like the exec producers on the current series are a father and son team, and the story arc involves Gordon sr., with Zarkov, figuring out a way to travel through/across dimensions; Gordon sr. getting lost; Gordon jr. growing up and traveling through/across dimensions in search of dad but actually finding adventures and hot chicks. No rocket ships this time around, in other words -- more like Stargate travel. Probably an artifact of our profound disappointment with the reality of space travel. There are some worthwhile female characters (well, worthwhile in the context of the series): the bounty hunter, Ming's daughter. Mrs. Gordon is played largely for laughs, which is unfortunate, but OTOH, she's actually pretty emotionally supportive and sets good boundaries with her son. Dale is obnoxious, which is unfortunate.
The Smallville connections seem many, altho I think I only saw one episode. In particular, the acting style has carried over, at least to my eyes. This isn't a good thing, altho it isn't a disaster, either.
But here's my question based on the first two episodes: with all these women showing so much interest in our somewhat-shy hero Flash, is he metro, bi or gay? When he says things like, "I so did not see that coming", this inquiring mind wants to know. Are they going to give the Token Black Friend anything worth while, or continue to treat him as comic relief and drop him? I'd far rather see the former than the latter. Whatever else you do, don't watch this expecting Battlestar Galactica.