Every DC 'Arrowverse' Show, Ranked
The CW's lineup of DC Comics shows has exploded in recent years, growing with "Arrow" paving the way for everything from "The Flash" to "DC's Legends of Tomorrow." As we gear up for the debut of a new Batwoman series, here's how each of the five current series measures up so far.
"Supergirl" didn't technically start out as an Arrowverse series, but instead migrated over from CBS after a somewhat underwhelming first season. The series has definitely improved since jumping over to The CW, but it rarely experiences the same highs as its sibling shows. Most of "Supergirl's" woes boil down to plotting. The series routinely struggles to build compelling storylines that pay off in satisfying ways at the end of the season. Its roster of villains also leaves a lot to be desired, though Season 3 did see some improvement on that front thanks to Odette Annable's Reign. "Supergirl's main strength is and always has been its core cast of heroes. Melissa Benoist truly embodies the Girl of Steel, and Kara's relationship with adoptive sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) and father J'onn (David Harewood) gives the show all the emotional weight it could ever need. And while he appears far too rarely, Tyler Hoechlin is the best live-action Superman since Christopher Reeve.
"Arrow" is where this whole shared superhero universe started, so it'll always have a special place in our hearts for that reason alone. Unfortunately, "Arrow" has also often struggled to grow with the times. Most fans would agree that "Arrow" peaked fairly early on in Season 2, thanks to the terrific "Deathstroke" storyline. Since then, the show has regularly struggled to move forward and adapt to an increasingly universe where super-powers and magical beings have become the norm. The addition of several new characters to the "Team Arrow" lineup has hurt the show as much as it's helped in recent years. In short, "Arrow" remains the most inconsistent of the various Arrowverse shows. Every time it seems to settle into a groove, it eventually falls flat again. But given the dramatic fallout of Season 6, we're hoping 2018 is the year where "Arrow" gets back on track.
3. 'Black Lightning'
"Black Lightning" is the newest addition to the Arrowverse family. Some might argue it doesn't even qualify as an Arrowverse show given its lack of tangible connections to the rest. But it's still the brainchild of executive producer Greg Berlanti and still features many of those familiar hallmarks. And in many ways, its that separation from the rest of the Arrowverse line that gives "Black Lightning" its appeal. Not only is it the rare superhero series with a predominately African American cast, it explores real, pressing issues like institutionalized racism and police brutality in a way the rest of the Arrowverse has never really managed. The show is also anchored by a strong family dynamic, as it focuses both on Jefferson Pierce's (Cress Williams) return to the costumed life and the struggles facing his two daughters. "Black Lightning" is still a young series at this point, which is the only reason it didn't place higher on this list. There's no guarantee it won't eventually experience the same drop-off that "Arrow" and "The Flash" have in recent years. But as it stands right now, it's a vital addition to this growing superhero universe.
2. 'DC's Legends of Tomorrow'
Where the Justice League is comprised of the best and brightest heroes in the DC Universe, the Legends of Tomorrow are a more motley crew. This is a team made up of misfits, losers and oddballs that is tasked with the seemingly impossible chore of protecting time itself for those who would rewrite history for their own ends. The Legends fail as often as they succeed, and that's where the show finds its charm. Like most new series, "Legends" experienced some growing pains in its first season. But luckily, Season 2 really perfected the show's trademark blend of self-aware humor, wacky time travel antics and compelling character drama. This series can inspire fits of laughter or tears of sorrow, and often within the same episode. "Legends" isn't just the best Arrowverse show, it's a clear contender for the best superhero series on TV right now. Not bad for a group of C-Listers.
1. 'The Flash'
At its best, there's really no topping "The Flash." This series set the gold standard for the Arrowverse in its first season, offering fans a compelling mix of high-speed action, hilarious team banter and a deep dive into the tragic life of Barry Allen. Unfortunately, the series has been locked in a gradual downward trend ever since. Season 2 was great, but not quite as strong as the first. Season 3 only picked up in its final few months. And while Season 4 finally shook up the formula by focusing on a villain who wasn't a speedster for a change, the result was still one of the weakest Arrowverse seasons to date. Even at its worst, there's plenty to like about "The Flash." Grant Gustin makes for a terrific Barry Allen, and we'll never not get chills when we hear the words, "Run, Barry, run." Still, the series has a lot of catching up to do before it leads the race again.