A friendly little take on everyone’s favorite shared Superhero TV Universe (that isn’t on Netflix) and a breakdown of why at least once a week, I watch an episode from the CW’s DCTU Arrowverse and then promptly go take out my emotional aggression on a heavy bag at the gym…or light the nearest car on fire.
For those wondering, I actually really enjoy the CW slate of shows. Arrow & The Flash have been 2 of my favorite shows consistently over the last 5 years, Melissa Benoist’s take on the “Girl of Steel” has been charming and refreshing, and I even warmed up to Legends of Tomorrow…sort of, in a way. But for those who watch these shows week to week in an unbiased fashion, most can attest that there are plot lines, dialogue, and/or running trends throughout the programs that occasionally make you want to… well, kick a puppy, slap your grandmother, and then throw rocks through every window, in every house, in your neighborhood. So let’s commiserate together, shall we?
**SPOILERS FOR THE ARROWVERSE, BUT WHY ARE YOU READING THIS IF YOU AREN’T ALREADY CAUGHT UP! THAT’S JUST SILLY! BUT YEAH, SPOILERS**
The Ways the Arrowverse Ruins My Life on a Weekly Basis
7. There should be more musical episodes
Hahahahaha, lolololol, jkjk. I’m not serious. Listen, I love musicals, I love all of these cast members that took part in the crossover, and I would pay a bajillion dollars to see a Broadway show with Kara, Winn, Cisco, Barry, Malcolm, Joe West and Martin Stein, but that episode made noooooo sense, other than to say “hey! Look how talented our cast is!” We know already, now get back to telling us Iris is going to die soon! I honestly just put this on here to get your attention. Let’s get back to the (real) list!
Let’s see if you catch a pattern developing here, in regards to the “Big Bads” we’ve seen so far on The Flash:
The Flash Season 1: Evil Speedster, turns out to be a trusted confidant of Team STAR Labs
The Flash Season 2: Evil Speedster, turns out to be a trusted confidant of Team STAR Labs
The Flash Season 3: Evil Speedster, turns out to be…???
Now, I enjoyed the living hell out of both full seasons of The Flash, not minding at all that we got 2 evil speedsters in a row, each culminating with a “switcharoo” for a major member of the team. Once Savitar was revealed as Season 3’s “Big Bad,” I began to experience some hesitance to the process, especially with his identity still a secret. While I have my own theories on who Savitar is, if I happen to be right, it would mean another member of the team (albeit a variation from the future) is revealed as the villain, and I’m sorry, but 3 seasons in a row is a bit excessive. Rumor has it that Season 4’s year long antagonist will not be a speedster, and that is a refreshing turn. I love Barry and Wally, and Wells’ version of the Reverse Flash has been my favorite villain to date on the series, but its time to show that someone without super speed can royally screw up your life.
5. Time Travel, Time Shmavel
If The Flash, particularly season 3, has taught us anything, it is don’t time travel. No, really. Don’t do it. It royally pisses people off, people end up dead, characters turn all metahuman-y, and people’s daughters get turned into sons. Barry has received 472 lectures in the last year having to do with the consequences of time travel…yet…and I’ve stated this before, but it still drives me absolutely bats— crazy…why can the Legends of Tomorrow crew mess with time travel EVERY WEEK, never leaving the past as it was, yet there are no ramifications or consequences to their actions. None. Last we saw, the Legion of Doom succeeded in creating an apocalyptic future in which most of our heroes are dead, but shouldn’t that affect Arrow & The Flash, as they all exist on the same timeline/same Earth? I understand the difficulties in that, but Barry gets chided every 7 minutes about what he did, and he’s only created a few alternate timelines. The Legends, I’m guessing, are on their 57th one. Legends really has turned into a good show, but still! Does anyone have a PhD in time travel, or know a Doc Brown that I can run this by?
4. Hey, What Ever Happened to…..
Where is Deathstroke!? Captain Boomerang?! King Shark??? Damn your DCEU, Warner Brothers! I’m well aware of the character power struggle between the cinematic and television versions of the characters, but I would have lost my mind if Slade Wilson came back as the big bad for Season 6 of Arrow or the Flash had to deal with his Rogues Gallery throughout all of Season 4. These characters just…go away, even though they are some of the biggest villains in DC lore. I am NOT okay with this! Alright, I kind of am, because I STILL watch the shows, but I will write harsh words about it!
3. Fan Favorites
Do you ever have a character that you absolutely love, and then their character suddenly turns into an a–hole, and you don’t love them anymore? Hmmm, you must be watching Arrow or The Flash. Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow seem to have avoided this pitfall (for the most part) thus far, but the 2 former shows drive me up a f—ing wall with how often these “character metamorphoses” take place. Barry Allen is quite literally the greatest man on Earth, or the first 2 seasons of the Flash would have you believe. But season 3 said, “whoooaaaa, hold on there big fella,” as if in a 1940’s Western, and turned Barry into Central City’s biggest moron, with a side of “dickish” to match. We get it, Barry’s going through a lot, but you’re changing the very foundation of who Barry is and what makes him so damn likable. If you can’t root for your hero then, well, there goes the entire foundation of your show. The show also made Cisco an insufferable d-bag in Season 3 as well, but thankfully corrected their course. Felicity is such a ginormous example of this that she gets her own section (see: #1).
I will note, though, that the CWverse does use the reverse effect as well on their stable of characters. I hated Laurel through the first couple seasons of Arrow, but by the time of her death she was one of my favorites on the program. Same with Iris West. The writing and plot lines for her character in the inaugural season of The Flash were, as the kids say, “Garbage Town, USA,” but over the last season and a half, she has turned into the proverbial glue of that show, shining whenever she’s on screen. John Barrowman has always played his character, Malcolm Merlyn well, but I hated him (in the way you’re supposed to hate a villain) through the first season of Arrow. By season 3? My favorite character on the show. So I suppose the writers giveth, and the writers taketh away…
Side Note: Some might claim that Oliver Queen should be in the above list, but I say “nay!” My reasoning? Through his ups, downs & dozens of plot lines, Oliver Queen has always been an a–hole. His idiocy ebbs and flows, but his a–hole meter? Always in the red. And yes, I love him still.
2. Returning Characters…Sort of
So the word is out that Katie Cassidy will return to Arrow in Season 6 as a full season regular, but she’ll return as the divisive plot device known as Black Siren, Earth 2’s septum pierced doppelgänger of Laurel Lance, who at the time of this article is locked up within STAR Labs being rehabilitated. Last we saw of her, she was being used by Prometheus to screw with Team Arrow, but Oliver saw good inside of her. I can assume this will be the course she is set to journey throughout Season 6, but at the end of the day, she REALLY isn’t Dinah Laurel Lance. Not the one we tolerated, then hated, then loved through Seasons 1-5. This is my point: The writers make a decision that gets a poor reception from the masses -> The writers try to correct this move by bringing back said character, but in a different capacity -> Fans tell each other, “Ya know, I’m glad **insert character here** is back, but its just not the same.” -> Fans go cry in their bed, holding a picture of the original character, a la the animated Wolverine meme. And herein lies the problem. Laurel Lance, Leonard Snart, Henry Allen. All brought back, but with slight changes (or in completely different manners) that never quite live up to the original character they portrayed. Is that not a slight disservice to the original character?
Dear God, Arrow writers, what have you done? Season 1 introduced the world to a whip smart, sarcastic, beautiful young intern by the name of Felicity Smoak. Quickly becoming a fan favorite, she was a much needed optimistic light in the midst of Oliver’s consistent darkness. The viewers pined for her to get the man of her dreams, Mr. Queen. Then she got him….and the world as we knew it ceased to exist. Or, it existed, but in a new, crappy reality. The 2 season long dumpster fire known as “Olicity” not only threatened to derail an entire show, it turned the lovable IT girl with the 1,000,000 watt smile into one of the most poorly written characters on television. To quote, well, myself at least once a week while watching a CW Superhero program, “AHHH!! No real human would ever act like that!”(<— That goes for Oliver as well…and about 15 other characters). Felicity became intolerable, with snarky (see: back-handed) comments and horrible decision making; bitter, passive-aggressive and cold. Season 5 has been set to correct an awful lot that went wrong in the previous
s—storm seasons of Arrow, but Felicity has never truly returned to the character that so many came to love.
My point is… , let’s be honest, I don’t really have a point. I just used any of you that cared to venture down this far as my internet therapist, and for that I’m eternally grateful. I will continue to watch the CW stable of “super shows” and they will continue to drive me nuts, and I will continue to light neighborhood cars on fire and then blame Ray Palmer and James Olson. Cool? Alright, glad we’re still on the same page. **Internet high five!**
What do you think? What drives you cray cray? Let’s discuss below, K?
Lou Mattiuzzo is a full time teacher, full time father, full time husband & full time superhero enthusiast. Are you still reading this? Go read a book! Reading my “work” will not make you smarter, just more cynical and probably a little unhinged…but I thank you, anyway! Follow him @Sweetest_Lou
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