This has been a banner season for the Arrowverse. After a fan favorite crossover event that satisfactorily improved on the last one, and then the strong release of Black Lightning, the CW’s arsenal of superhero shows has reached full maturity. This collection of memes gives a look at the growth of the televised universe over the past five years, bringing old characters and forgotten moments back to the fore. This scrapbook of Instagram grabs, director’s chairs and egregious selfies celebrates the syndication of comic books onto television and the candid snapshots along the way.
Viewing these characters out of their element can be a little bit unsettling. The production value and special effects on screen are so top notch that it can be jarring when it’s all stripped away. This holds a key juxtaposition however: many photos will feature a superhero in a bold, primary colored leather(ish) costume, sitting in the most unheroic of postures, interfacing with the most mundane objects. There’s a lesson about heroes being no different than the average person in there somewhere. Leave all of that behind and they’re still celebrities playing dress up, who fight fake bad guys, and sometimes they take breaks. That’s more than enough for 15 Behind the Scenes Arrowverse Memes.
15 BEHIND THE SCENES
Imagine the two pillars of the Arrowverse and all of the down time they have shooting their respective shows. Audiences at home see the finished product, Barry Allen and Oliver Queen (Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell) fighting bad guys and leading their teams through waves of victory and defeat. Behind the scenes, as this meme reveals, there’s a lot of room in between takes when these two heroes have nothing better to do than sit on the sidewalk and reflect on their journey.
While The CW has cracked the code to caped crusaders on the small screen, the Dark Knight has still remained conspicuously absent from the Arrowverse. Batman is a character inseparable from DC, so fans join the Green Arrow here in wondering where he’s been all this time. It’s no surprise that Batman still hasn’t come back to a live action television show since he left in the '60s, but never say never. Over on FOX, Gotham is telling their very own Bruce Wayne story, coming closer and closer to Batman: Year One.
Studio loyalties, TV vs. movie hierarchy, casting pressures, preserving the integrity of the property: there are a lot of bad reasons not to have a Batman show on television right now. But now that the premiere television consists of dark, slow burning, suspense driven stories, the Dark Knight would fit right in.
13 FAMILY PHOTO
If they can cast their fan-brains back to The Flash season one, audiences will look upon this meme fondly as they remember when Tom Cavanaugh’s Harrison Wells was from this Earth, and temporarily, Reverse-Flash.
Packed into Barry Allen’s show is the emphasis on family, it’s one of the largest distinctions separating it from Arrow and the other shows on the network. Harrison Wells, Joe, Iris, Wally, Jesse, and an ever expanding team keep Barry’s focus on holding his house together. There’s a deeper lesson at the root of the show’s more successful themes, advocating that family ties are stronger than super powers. Through all of the seasons of The Flash, they’ve argued that friendship and love will save the day more reliably than the Speed Force will.
12 WORK OUT REGIMEN
Another contrast between the two leading shows of the Arrowverse, is the physical difference between Flash and the Green Arrow. This meme puts its finger on an untapped source of story, the fact that only one of them is superpowered. Batman is the original mere mortal turned superhero, but Arrow tells a similar tale of a guy so consumed by guilt and obsession, that he decides to transform himself into the hero his city needs. Or maybe deserves.
Both shows are careful to spend plenty of time on the leadership styles of the two, but the powers and abilities have pretty much taken a backseat. In the latest seasons of both shows, their abilities are usually treated like old news rather than skill sets that require constant attention and study. How about more struggle around the speedforce? Maybe Oliver Queen could enter a Robin Hood style archery competition?
11 STRANDED WITH THIS GUY
This behind the scenes shot captures Amell and the actor behind Deathstroke, Manu Bennett, during some time in between takes just goofing around. It takes true professionals to be able to alternate between enjoying each other’s company off screen and slowly destroying their friendship when the cameras are rolling and they're in character.
Arrow’s five-years-on-an-island flashback was its first big breakthrough in defining Oliver’s background and explaining the trauma and life experience that made him into Star City’s first line of defense. For the seasons that featured Bennett’s Deathstroke, it also gave Queen and audiences a dynamically watchable friend, foil, and home base from which to begin this epic hero’s journey. This meme commemorates that beginning and reinforces the importance of a strong villain and story structure.
10 HEY GIRL
Ryan Gosling, eat your heart out. This candid shot of Grant Gustin practically wrote its own meme when it was posted on Instagram, it serves now to remind fans of just one of the many reasons Gustin was the right casting choice for Barry Allen. Gustin nails the integrity of Barry’s Flash, putting an honest face behind the mask. While other heroes battle their own demons, Barry Allen’s burden is just that he tries to do that right thing all the time.
Instead of reducing that to a Boy Scout, goody two-shoes cartoon character, Gustin has somehow injected life into that ideal. Team Flash is committed 100% to truth and justice, perpetuating the hope for a bright, light-hearted, scarlet speedster. He even specializes in cheesy pick up lines.
9 BOW AND ARROW
The Green Arrow, by contrast, is not bright or light hearted. Dark, with a heavy soul, best describes Oliver Queen. This meme skewers his infamous catchphrase with a children’s toy, but it can be taken as a comment on the show’s trajectory as well. As it closes its sixth season, Arrow has taken one of its darkest turns yet as this season has seen the dissolution of Team Arrow (as audiences knew it) and Oliver’s leadership being called into question.
If this show ever lightens up, or if Oliver can ever commit to cruelty free lifestyle, this show could take a turn, and this meme could take on a whole new meaning. Until then, Arrow will continue associating the finesse of archery with the brutality of beating the snot out of bad guys.
These two couples of the Arrowverse are now both newly wed, as of the latest crossover, "Crisis on Earth-X", but this meme sees all four characters waiting in frustration as their alter is being prepared for the screen. Some fans found the double wedding a little bit corny, and there are still some holdouts, shouting for the end of “Olicity”. For now, both series have the couples embarking on lives together, beginning a new phase in their character dynamics.
As the honeymoon phase wears off, both shows beware: introducing matrimony into the Arrowverse is a twist, that’s for sure, but the stories of these two couples should just be beginning, not wrapping up. Adult relationships aren’t boring, especially when these two heroes and their drama are involved, so here’s hoping The CW takes this opportunity to dip into more mature storylines.
7 SQUAD GOALS
The best memes aren’t just reserved for the stars of the Arrowverse, here are Wild Dog, Vibe, and Mr. Terrific, aka Rick Gonzalez, Carlos Valdez, and Echo Kellum, off set, hanging out beyond the show.
Even for fans tired of golden boy Flash and Arrow stories, the Arrowverse holds a lot of value in providing a venue for underutilized characters. Some of the biggest shocks and moments of most excitement are when these shows can surprise fans with characters they never thought they would see again in comic books, much less on television. In addition to the providence of casting these three guys in great roles on the show, give the Arrowverse some kudos for having the courage to take a chance on some heroes from the lower shelves.
In all of Star City, Digg and Felicity may be the only people Oliver really trusts and listens to, fans are eager to see how this trio can keep the team alive in season seven. Oliver’s relationship with Felicity has gone in a roller coaster around the show, the highlight of which is still her assumption of the role Overwatch, and her growth as a valued team member. The Oliver-Diggle dynamic is responsible for a lot of the show’s magic as well.
No one would really dare call Spartan the Arrow’s sidekick, but the two have been working and fighting together since the show began. This meme was clearly constructed from a photo taken at an actor’s panel from the Heroes and Villains Fan Fest, but if anyone deserves a roast, it’s Oliver Queen.
5 MID SEASON BREAK
Either the shows are getting a lot better or the seasons are getting a little bit longer. It could be both, but Iris West (played by Candice Patton) reflects a lot of fan’s frustrations in following the air schedules of Arrowverse series.
Staggered season premieres and finales are bound to vary from Legends of Tomorrow to Black Lightning to Supergirl, but the Mid-Winter break goes a step beyond, with all five shows now on the network taking different hiatus’ over the holiday break. Networks have schedules and production takes time and 20+ episodes per series, per season is nothing to sneer at, but there’s a little Candice Patton in every fan when shows leave audiences dangling on a cliff hanger for a month or more.
4 52 CUSTOM RINGTONES
That’s how good she is, folks, she can nap on the job. That’s also how busy she is; being National City’s #1 superhero and juggling her journalism career has already been the topic of several episodes. Work/life balance is particularly strenuous for Kara Danvers, considering her night job, but the series handles it so well that it just gives her another opportunity to be a role model.
Supergirl is one of the brightest of all the Arrowverse shows, both cinematically and tonally, but it doesn’t hesitate to struggle with issues in an emotionally literate fashion. The sisterhood of Kara and Alex is always going back and forth, the professional friendships of Winn, James Olsen, and Lena Luthor well founded, and the characters are full of individual ambition. Despite a quiet third season, Supergirl is developing a strong ensemble.
3 NICE THINGS
Harrison Wells and Zoom/Hunter Zolomon/Jay Garrick are using their behind the scenes identities: Tom Cavanaugh and Teddy Sears, in this Instagram photo, but the meme pretty much sums up the roller coaster of doppelgangers and mystery characters that took up season two.
Season two introduced Earth-2 to The Flash and the multiverse officially came to The CW for the first time. The faux Jay Garrick was actually Hunter Zolomon who eventually became Zoom, that’s how this photo can dare pair that helmet with that suit. Along with another Wells, season two brought a couple of great antagonists, the mystery of Zolomon’s identity, and, eventually, another member of the Flash family in the real Jay Garrick. And fans thought this was too many characters for Tom Cavanaugh to play.
2 GIDEON EXPLAINS BROADCASTING TO RIP HUNTER
If they did break the fourth wall on Legends, no one should be surprised. The Arrowverse’s most adventurous show has succeeded in upending the genre, creating the best on screen super team, and doing it all with the least amount of source material to work with. After centuries of the sci-fi genre, time travel has finally reached primetime television farce (in the US), Legends has distilled their time travel story a pretty simple premise that gets reiterated every few episodes, just in case.
In addition to treating their audience with respect, they’re doing better with their characters too. Sara Lance has developed as a great captain, Nathan and Vixen have been a great couple all season, Once Wally West and Zari develop a bit more, and the show learns a few more feelings, this far edge of the Arrowverse will get even stronger.
To bring it full circle, these two don’t do this often enough anymore. In the early seasons, Flash and Arrow would regularly rely on each other for advice to help each other along. Back then, Oliver had been a hardened specialist enforcing some kind of law for years, and Barry was brand new to his powers and responsibilities, the two shows crossed over often. Lest fans forget, it was his appearance on Arrow that got Flash his own show.
These days, both heroes have stumbled into a poor leadership spiral. Villain development and team building have overtaken both shows so heavily that Barry and Oliver aren’t managing to live in the present, resulting in some lapses in judgement. The two of them, just like everyone does sometimes, need to just sit back, and look up at the sky.