4 Ways The CW Is Overplaying Its Superhero Hand

Superheroes to the right! Comic book adaptations to the left! And here we are, stuck in the middle with:


by Nick Cannata-Bowman

Over the last decade, we’ve seen comic book movies go from passing trends to a full-blown epidemic, acting as the tentpoles for just about every major studio. Both Warner/DC and Marvel have their next five years of films planned out, featuring just about every superhero you grew up with. That soon spilled over into the TV universe, with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and DC’s Arrow and Flash netting millions of viewers on a weekly basis.

Now though, DC’s pipeline of shows on The CW may be coming to a head. It all started when Arrow became one of the network’s most-watched shows in just a single season. Then they spun-off The Flash, and continued to see massive success. Naturally, their first reaction to this was to double-down, as all networks and studios do when presented with a well-liked superhero franchise. Plans are in motion now for yet another spin-off show featuring a gigantic superhero team-up starring upwards of seven heros from the Flash and Arrow universe. So when will enough be enough? We’re thinking that time is now for a number of reasons.

1. Eventually the well will dry up

So far, all The CW has seen is success, so naturally they’re not going to quit while they’re ahead. But at some point, they’re going to come up empty and topple the whole pyramid. Slyly introducing Barry Allen pre-Flash felt clever and well-done, and his spin-off felt earned. But introducing yet another spin-off featuring a smattering of various heroes and villains from both shows feels like an attempt to grow for the sake of growth. The Flash felt like a natural progression from a sister show in Arrow that had room to spread its wings elsewhere. Eventually though the bubble will burst and people will start feeling overwhelmed by the assault on their comic book sensibilities.

2. The seams are already starting to burst

Already we can feel the beginning of the end, with Arrow starting to feel more than a little crowded. The show started out as one man’s mission. Now, it features “Team Arrow,” with Oliver Queen’s collection of Arsenal, Black Canary (the second of her name since Caty Loitz’s character was killed off), John Diggle, and the effervescent Felicity Smoak. Brandon Routh’s Atom was also thrown into the equation this season, and now things are starting to feel more forced than organic. This of course is one of the driving forces behind spilling that over into the team-up series that will feature Arrow’s Atom, The Flash‘s Captain Cold, Firestorm, and Heat Wave, and new characters Hawk Girl, Rip Hunter, and an unspecified role played by Caty Loitz (since she’s supposed to be dead in the Arrow-verse).

Read it all