DC’s CW TV shows are some of the strongest and most-beloved comic-book adaptations of all time. Arrow brought immense success by giving us a dark and gritty Green Arrow, and its success led to The Flash and eventually Legends of Tomorrow. All of these shows, more or less, started out strong, but over time have lost a bit of their luster. That’s putting it lightly too, since there are some aspects of the so-called Arrowverse that have gotten down-right frustrating, enough to make us want to quit it altogether! Maybe the world just got too big or the characters have gone through too much, but the quality of these shows has been steadily going down.
The worst part is that with every less-than-stellar season (or half-season), we are treated to interviews with the creators, teasers and trailers that promise the next season is going to be different, only to be disappointed by a further decline in quality. This is, of course, just an opinion, but when it’s all laid out, its not hard to find reasons why it’s time to forget about CW’s superhero programming. With each new season, it’s starting to seem like the Arrowverse shows are past their prime, and here are 15 reasons why you should drop them altogether.
15. WASTED CHARACTERS
One of the Arrowverse’s biggest problems is how villains in Arrow and The Flash, as well as other characters, are wasted. By wasted we mean that villains, who are cool character from the comics, are either killed or never heard from again. Heck, even the good guys from the comics used on both shows tend to be one-off. The Flash has killed most of their villains and Arrow has some really forgettable villains-of-the-week, wasting the cool comic characters they are based on.
While it’s understandable that CGI-heavy bad guys like Grodd or King Shark don’t make many appearances, it’s always disappointing when a cool villain or character never makes an appearance beyond their first. This is not to mention the fact that all the Arrowverse shows tend to lean more towards using and showcasing original characters created specifically for those shows.
14. FLASH’S VILLAIN PROBLEM
As we said, The Flash has a huge problem of killing villains. Nearly every recognizable member of The Flash’s classic comics rogues gallery is either dead or illegally incarcerated. Seriously, why doesn’t anyone ever talk about the fact that S.T.A.R. Labs houses an illegal prison for metahumans?! By no accounts is it stated that “The Pipeline” is sanctioned by the police, if they even know about it at all. Where do the police think all the metahumans go?
Let’s not forget just how inhumane those prisons are, too. There is no bathroom, no shown meals, the cells aren’t much bigger than the average person’s wingspan and there’s not even a place to sit! Seriously, why are the supposed “good guys” holding prisoners in beyond torturous conditions. If villains on The Flash aren’t being killed off in the episode they premier in, they’re shoved into the pipeline and forgotten.
13. THE POOR MAN’S JUSTICE LEAGUE
A bit different from the other shows, Legends of Tomorrow is a team series that follows the likes of The Atom, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, White Canary and others as they go on time-traveling adventures. Sounds fun enough, and it manages to keep up a fun pace most episodes, but something aways seems amiss with the show.
If we had to boil it down to one thing, it’s that LoT is essentially the poor man’s Justice League. The characters are either an obscure comic reference, a villain turned hero or an entirely original character. In other words, there’s not a lot of reason to care about the characters for both casual comic fans and fans of superhero television. The show manages to do a lot to make them interesting, but that’s not worth much when people don’t have interest in them in the first place.
12. TOO BIG TEAMS
Speaking of teams, one of the Arrowverse’s major faults is the ever-growing casts of each show. Teams are a strange concept for a character like Green Arrow; heck, the entire Arrowverse seems obsessed with ensembles, since The Flash has his own ever-growing posse — seriously, who doesn’t know he’s The Flash by now — and Legends boasts a HUGE cast of characters.
Now, some might think a big cast isn’t a bad thing, and for Legends of Tomorrow, they might be right. But, there’s no reason for Flash and Arrow to have a big supporting cast, especially not ones that were never friends to their characters in the comics. The only supporting cast members that made sense were Roy Harper, who was written off Arrow, and Wally West, who gets lost in the crowd of the S.T.A.R. Labs crew. the others just take attention away from where it is needed most.
11. HOPELESS ROMANTICS
Classic comic book romances like The Flash and Iris or Green Arrow and Black Canary have (or had in the case of Arrow) their onscreen representation in the Arrowverse, but the rest of the universe’s romances are, in a word, pretty lackluster. Heck, even Barry and Iris’ relationship has its fair share of face-palm moments. The romantic relationships on Arrow, The Flash and Legends come off as very “soap-opera” in their execution, the pairing of two characters often being arbitrary at best.
Remember on Arrow when Detective Lance and Felicity’s mom got together? Literally two characters with no reason to get together? Yeah, that’s basically every non-comics-canon pairing in the Arrowverse. The process very much seems like “are these two characters single? Yes? Well now they’re together” with little to no explanation why the like each other. Talk about hopeless romance!
10. FLASH IS JUST TOO FAST
No, we’re not talking about his actual speed… well, not exactly. What we’re trying to say is that the story and lore of The Flash moved a bit too fast. Very very early into the series, we were introduced to high-concept things like the speed force and speed-based time travel. The Flash has always been a bit of a sci-fi hero, but the speed force as a concept wasn’t introduced into the comics until 1994, 34 years after Barry Allen was introduced as the new Flash, and almost 10 years after Barry Allen died in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Obviously, the way comics change over time is a bit different than how TV shows develop, but that’s just the thing, The Flash didn’t build up to anything. The speed force and time travel came in way too early, and now they seem bland and overused; like there is nowhere left to run.
9. UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
This is perhaps one of the most frustrating things in the Arrowverse. While Legends doesn’t have as much of this, Arrow and The Flash have glaring, unanswered questions that are present in nearly every scene. Seriously, there’s a lot of missing information on these shows.
In terms of Arrow, since Oliver lost his family’s company and Felicity is no longer head of Palmer Industries, then who the hell is paying for the “Arrow cave”? And is it still located under that building being rented for his mayoral campaign? Further, how are any of the vigilantes on “Team Arrow” getting paid when they clearly don’t have day jobs. The same questions come from The Flash. How is S.T.A.R. Labs still running? If they’re somehow getting research grants, how does superheroing around count as scientific research? And who would fund an illegal superhuman prison?!
8. FIGHT SEQUENCES
The more we look at the fight sequences of the Arrowverse, the lamer they become. For one thing, both Arrow and Legends’ fight sequences are really dance-y. Nearly every fight sequence of both shows involves a huge crowd of people (usually enough bad guys to fight the too-big-teams) and hardly ever focus on one-on-one fights. Seriously, go through every Arrow fight sequence, you’ll find a lot of scenes where a bunch of people are moving, almost in unison, to very obvious choreography.
The Flash isn’t much better, since there are little-to-no fight sequences. Most early fights are fun enough, showcasing cool uses of the Flash’s speed, but now it’s become all about the Flash speeding to a spot, running around a bit, the lab team giving him science-y advice, then the bad guy is taken out. It has all just gotten so formulaic and boring.
7. FLASH’S DESCENT INTO DARKNESS
Arrow gave the world a darker, grittier take on Green Arrow, but it wasn’t for everyone. Luckily, The Flash arrived as a much lighter-toned and fun superhero show that anyone could enjoy. For the first season and a half, The Flash was a delightfully fun, “villain-of-the-week” superhero show that balanced action, drama and comedy perfectly. However, things started to take a turn near the end of the second season, and season three was significantly darker in tone and story.
During the latter half of the third season, the premise focuses entirely on preventing the future death of Iris. The small amount of crime-fighting is used for the purpose of finding out information on the future or as a means of preventing future events. The tone of this season weighs down the already dark premise, pulling the show away from its roots.
6. OLIVER QUEEN IS JUST THE WORST
Here’s a drinking game idea, every time Oliver Queen lies or hides the truth and says some version of “I was trying to protect you,” take a drink! Wait… No… Don’t actually do that — it could be dangerous. But seriously, how many times has Oliver done this? The man is a pathological liar, or at the very least he just keeps everything a secret until it gets someone hurt or killed.
It’s not just the lies, either. Oliver, along with most of the Arrow cast, has the emotional maturity of a moody teenager. He’s not someone who should be in charge of a team of vigilantes, and definitely shouldn’t be the mayor of Star City. And on that notion, how is Oliver still the Mayor when he’s missing half the time? Where does his staff think he goes when he’s missing from the office? Golfing?
5. “SOMETHING ELSE”
Speaking of Oliver, the narrated intro before every episode of Arrow usually contains some variation of “I became something else.” Later, some episodes would add “but I can’t be the killer I once was.” It was a good twist to add to the show that Oliver didn’t want to kill his enemies anymore, made even better by an episode where he was forced to kill someone. However, ever since that moment, Oliver has flip-flopped on this moral issue every couple of episodes.
It’s seriously starting to get hard to keep track of when Oliver does and doesn’t want to kill people, or if he’s even keeping track himself. Part of this is because, like The Flash, a lot of the “villain of the week” stories have been exchanged for bigger villain-centric stories. Plus, Ollie tells his team not to kill, making him the biggest hypocrite in the Arrowverse.
4. BARRY IS ALSO TERRIBLE
If we’re talking about lying, Barry isn’t much better than Oliver, but Barry is definitely a worse person. “But he’s a hero” you might say. True, The Flash saves people (though we hardly see any civilians in trouble, another weird thing about the Arrowverse), but Barry is kind of the worst person on the planet. Not only does he hide things from the people he loves, he also actively pined over his adopted sister, knowing full-well she was in a relationship.
And let’s not forget about all his time travel. As soon as Barry gained the ability to travel through time, he just went around changing things willy nilly, not caring about the horrific ripple effects he was having on the time stream. Only after creeping on Iris did Barry return time to “normal,” causing even more side effects.
The strongest element of these shows is the action (which, as we mentioned, needs some work), but it’s probably the smallest part of them. The action takes a back seat to the drama, and by drama, we mean melodrama. What’s the difference? Well, drama is more realistic, showing real reactions to real problems, while melodrama is usually unrealistic overreactions to unimportant, and rather petty issues. Sounds familiar, right?
Melodrama isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be done really well, but when it’s on a show like Arrow, it turns what should be a superhero show into a costume-clad soap opera. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a small part of these shows, but it seems like every episode has a melodramatic conflict which takes up so much of the runtime. Frankly, we’re getting tired of it.
2. REPETITIVE VILLAINS
For every season of The Flash and two of Arrow’s seasons, the “big bad” has been some mysterious masked figure. This is a good concept to work with, but the overuse of this kind of storytelling has gotten boring, stale and predictable. With nearly every one of these “big bads,” the masked villain is introduced at the same time that some new character/ally is brought into the fold of the good guys. Then, the mid-season finale reveals that, “surprise!” that new character they introduced? He’s also that new villain!
This kind of twist-reliant storytelling isn’t necessarily bad, and can work for at least a season for both shows, but it’s been taken too far. Every season of The Flash has used this twist and it’s just become intolerable to watch unfold. Hopefully, neither Arrow nor Flash will have yet another masked “big bad” in the upcoming seasons.
1. NO LONGER ABOUT CRIME-FIGHTING
The first season of Arrow was about Oliver Queen exposing corruption in the city, and the next two seasons mostly focused on crime-fighting leading up to a confrontation with the big-bad. The Flash followed suit, starting out as a villain-of-the-week show with overarching villain stories. However, as the seasons went on, the day-to-day crime fighting faded into the background of these shows. Yet again, Arrow and Flash start to seem less like superhero shows and more like melodramatic soap operas.
Season three of The Flash was about preventing Iris’ future death and season five of Arrow was about someone getting revenge on Oliver. Not exactly about superheroes and bad guys. Hopefully, the newest seasons of Arrow and Flash will get back to their roots like they promise they will, but if they don’t, we won’t blame you for dropping the Arrowverse altogether.
Will you be dropping the Arrowverse shows before the seasons begin? Let us know in the comments!
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