DC Comics might be struggling at the box office, but they’re killing it at home. When the first episode of Arrow aired in back in Fall of 2012, none of us could’ve imagined the CW’s take on the Green Arrow would not only last into a seventh year, but that it would spawn an entire industry of interconnected comic-based shows. But here we are: The CW has announced the renewal of all of its superhero shows and more for yet another season.
Arrow will of course be getting a seventh season, while Flash heads into a fifth season. Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, meanwhile, both head into season 4. Black Lightning escapes its freshman year as its picked up for a second season. Here’s fingers crossed that the show doesn’t hit a sophomore slump.
Just about every other CW show is getting picked back up, too, including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jane the Virgin, and Supernatural. Of course, my perfect beautiful Riverdale will return for season 3.
While people often discount the CW when talking about traditional networks (the “big three” are CBS, ABC, and NBC), the network has really done something amazing with the series of shows we call the “Arrowverse.” As I mentioned, DC continues to trip and stumble at the box office. Justice League turned out to be an even bigger disappointment than Batman v Superman, somehow. Half the movies can’t seem to keep a director or a script, and the ones in production are kind of all over the map. But its shows are almost universally successful, even when they’re not really that great (I’m looking at you, Flash season 3.).
Twice now, the network has rescued DC shows scuttled by other networks. The CW first picked up Supergirl when CBS didn’t get the performance it was hoping for from the show, and managed to keep the heart of the show intact. Now, the dark sorcerer John Constantine, he of NBC’s short-lived Constantine, will be joining the cast of Legends of Tomorrow as a regular in its 4th season. A cameo on Arrow a couple years back turned into a recurring role on Legends this year, and the chemistry between actor Matt Ryan and the Legends cast has been a blast each time he pops in. Meanwhile, Ryan will still have a dedicated show of sorts in the form of an upcoming animated show about the Constantine character on CW’s Seed streaming service.
Meanwhile, Marvel has it the other way around. The MCU actually seems to be getting better with age, if Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok are any indication. Meanwhile, Marvel shows are on ABC, Fox, FX, Netflix, Hulu, and even Freeform. They’re all separate beasts run by different people with varying tones. Netflix had a solid start, but has been struggling with its Marvel shows, while other networks’ Marvel shows vary equally widely.
It’s impressive that the CW is making five superhero shows work and keeping so many actors in the fold. Now it’s time to wonder if they won’t somehow incorporate Black Lightning into the Fall 2018 crossover that will somehow have to top the Arrowverse Justice League taking on Nazis from Earth-X, which is an absurd thing to get to say aloud.
Legends of Tomorrow is finishing its third season soon, while Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and Black Lightning are heading toward their spring finales. You can catch CW’s superhero shows on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings on The CW. I’ll leave a spot on the couch for you.