The Arrowverse is home to one of the most popular superheroes of the 21st Century. The Flash, Green Arrow, Super Girl, Black Lightning and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow are one of the most watched TV Shows on the planet. It is equivalent to what MCU is on the big screen.
Marvel has had a tryst with TV shows as they released Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Agent Carter and then Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist culminating into ‘The Defenders” but these shows are nowhere close to what DC has achieved.
While Black Lightning is definitely considered non-canon in terms of the rest of The CW shows, the remaining 4 are considered by and large under the Arrowverse banner. Starting out with just the Arrow a few years back, several spin-offs have succeeded in enticing the audience just as easily.
The Flash was born off Arrow. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was born out of both Arrow and The Flash. Super Girl, which once belonged to another channel, was introduced to The CW’s Arrowverse soon after. And thus the Arrowverse with its ever-expanding superhero rosters and extremely popular crossover arcs and inside jokes were born.
It was in 2012 that Arrow Season 1 aired on The CW. The Flash came to being in 2014 on the same channel. Legends of Tomorrow were introduced to the general audience in 2016. CBS sold off the rights to Super Girl to The CW when the show failed to garner enough ratings after a disastrous season. And the latest being the ‘Black Lightning’ which is going strong.
For two years now, the CW is airing mega crossover of DC superhero shows where the major characters from all four shows (excluding Black Lightning) cross paths, come together, join forces to defeat the larger enemy which threatens the very existence of mankind.
In 2016, there were Dominators i.e alien species hell-bent on Earth’s destruction if their demands are not met. But Team Arrow, Team Flash, Supergirl, and Legends came together and fought them to the hilt.
In 2017, the CW crossover adapted “Crisis on Earth X” storyline in which a parallel world set in a pre-crisis multiverse where Nazis won the World war and now want to spread its rule, conquer other Earths to establish their dominion. The freedom fighters i.e allied countries were destroyed and now it’s up to DC Superheroes to save history and time. This was the synopsis released by the CW:
“Barry (guest star Grant Gustin) and Iris’s (guest star Candice Patton) wedding brings the gang together, but things go awry when villains from Earth-X attack the ceremony. All of the superheroes band together with help from their super friends like Citizen Cold (guest star Wentworth Miller), The Ray (guest star Russell Tovey), Felicity Smoak (guest star Emily Bett Rickards), and Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) to take on their most formidable villains yet. Earth’s mightiest heroes – Green Arrow (guest star Stephen Amell), Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), The Flash (guest star Grant Gustin) and White Canary (guest star Caity Lotz) – lead their teams into battle to save the world.”
While the channel does possess other comic book related TV Series like iZombie and Riverdale, the Arrowverse only includes the first four. Black Lightning is considered unconnected to the rest of the Arrowverse to avoid overcrowding the Arrowverse with more heroes than it can handle. It is still DC property and The CW’s primetime juggernaut though.
The CW president Mark Pedowitz had something interesting to say. Increasing number of superhero-related shows in recent history has made the superhero genre somewhat obsolete compared to the way they were revered back in the days of Arrow season 1 and 2.
The audience is starting to get bored by the small screen vigilantes and in order to maintain quality over quantity and not make the audience jump ship because of too much mediocrity, the number of Arrowverse shows have been limited to just four.
The CW President Mark Pedowitz says:
“The audience will tell you when the fatigue has set in. If you have a quality show or a fun show, the audience will stay with it.”
Up until now the only two shows that have been affected by this extreme decision are Legends of Tomorrow and Super Girl. After the fight with the second Worldkiller that is aiming to introduce new twists and turns to the season and leave it as a mid-season cliffhanger before the show takes its season break, Legends of Tomorrow are slated to own that time slot.
Super Girl will only come back after the mid-season break 9 weeks later. The Legends, in the meantime, will be left to their own devices to fight and destroy Mallus before he does something truly despicable.
The Arrow and The Flash are safe for now. The Arrow has already been renewed for a seventh season on its usual time slot. The Flash is showing no signs of slowing down. Several Rumors for a possible storyline for the next season of The Flash have been already making rounds.
One thing to take note of is that the CW is the most comic book themed network in the entire history of TV broadcasting. Apart from Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Super Girl and Black Lightning, it also airs iZombie and Riverdale.
In The CW Seed, The CW’s premier animation enterprise, Vixen, and Constantine are also comic book based series with The Ray being The CW’s latest addition.
The upcoming CW Seed animated show Freedom Fighters: The Ray, we will get to know more about evil versions of our favorite superheroes we saw in the mega-crossover. According to TVLine, the actor Russell Tovey (Quantico) is the voice of the character in the animated version as well as starred as one in live action. He has been described as :
“Raymond “Ray” Terrill was a reporter who discovered a group of government scientists working on a secret project to turn light into a weapon of mass destruction. But before he could report on his findings, the project head exposed Ray to a “genetic light bomb.” The bomb failed to kill him and instead gifted Ray with light-based powers. With these abilities, Ray realized he could go beyond reporting on injustice — he could take action to help stop it. Calling himself The Ray, he was recruited by Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters to fight violence and oppression wherever it exists.”
But The CW is much more than just superheroes and comic books. It has several other popular shows that also need attention. If the channel only focuses on the Arrowverse, then it aims to lose its rest of the non-comic-book fan base which is quite a lot of its audience and it can’t afford to lose them. This is surely a great decision on the part of the network to give due importance to a whole spectrum of fans.
For the first time in history, a network is taking steps so that it does not get stereotyped. The CW is supposed to be much more. It is good that it is acting like one. You know what they say – Better late than never. CHEERS!