Year in Review: DC’s Arrowverse
Let’s take a look at what the DC’s TV universe has brought us this year. We have the addition of “Supergirl,” which switched over from CBS to the CW’s established Arrowverse line-up of “The Flash,” “Arrow,” and “The Legends of Tomorrow.” The shows started their new season in Mid-October and are currently on their mid-season winter break, this gives you time to catch up if you aren’t already watching. The line-up is must watch TV and not just because Supergirl brought Superman along with her in the first few episodes of the shows 2nd season (1st season on the CW) but because of the content the shows offer and how they are working on creating a cohesive continuity among them.
I would breakdown the current story arcs of each show but since they are on their mid-season break and I personally know people who are catching up to what has aired so far I won’t be posting too much detail on what is currently happening in the shows. Here is a quick rundown of each show and I’ll start off with Supergirl, Kara is still in her own universe and has to deal with a new threat from space after the CADMUS’ threat was addressed. The Flash is still dealing with the repercussions of changing the timeline and has seen a “not so bright” future. In the Arrow, Oliver is currently Mayor of Starling City and has a new vigilante to deal with in Starling City. The Legend of Tomorrow are still on a quest to find Rip Hunter and are dealing with The Legion of Doom creating time abnormalities.
The concept of a multiverse and time travel isn’t an easy task to take on in any type of media especially a TV show (RIP Heroes and Heroes Reborn), let alone intertwine them within a show and have that spread to the rest of the shows which take place in that universe. The fact that 2 shows deal with time travel and they have been able to maintain the continuity in the universe they’ve built is amazing!
It is really unprecedented to have a character actions on a current TV show affect another currently running TV shows storyline, let alone 2 to 3 shows simultaneously but the network really pulled it off this season. This year’s story arc of Flashpoint on “The Flash”, which is an event where The Flash travels back in time and changed events that in turn altered the timeline in the DC TV universe. His actions created subtle to not so subtle (IE Alien Invasion!!!) to changes within the timeline of 3 shows (not Supergirl since she is in a different universe). The way some of those changes have been addressed so far is quite remarkable. Each show already has a solid theme and concept running in their story arcs this season and to throw in a huge event which span across all 4 shows is pretty insane and it wasn’t even the mid-season finale!
It could have gone really bad for the CW if it wasn’t executed as well (thankfully it worked out!). The consequences of The Flash’s action lead on his show lead to the 4-show crossover event involving the alien race known as The Dominators invading Earth. Barry Allen and Co. couldn’t take on the threat by themselves so he set out on recruiting and building a team that consisted of Green Arrow and Co. from Starling City, the Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. It was awesome that the producers choose to stick with the way the Dominators looked in the comics, they were designed by none other than Todd Mcfarlane. A lot can be learned from how well the crossover event was executed, the story telling was spot on and refreshing with all the different characters interacting with one another, they involved each character to the story and used their individual and team strengths accordingly, to having it span seamlessly through 4 hours of television.
Yes, the DC TV universe has had its fair share of hiccups here and there throughout its run and some of the story arcs can go without ever being mentioned again *cough* Olicity *cough*. But to create and establish a universe within a show then creating successful spin-offs within the universe and having it work on many different levels is something even Marvel is currently trying accomplish with their slate of shows on Netflix. They are currently building up to “The Defenders” series and have various tie-ins to the MCU. Marvel also has strong TV content but I’ll leave that for another article.
I give the DC TV Universe/Arrowverse an 9 out of 10
In a year where we had two DC Cinematic Universe movies premier and both movies received a wickedly mixed reception and a majority of it coming before the films even premiered. To me the reception the movies received showed the frustration that DC fans have had throughout recent years with the exception of Nolan’s Batman trilogy (for some) and the direct-to-DVD animated features they’ve released. The route that the DC TV universe has taken is a reminder of what superhero content should be like on the big and small screen. It also doesn’t help that Marvel/Disney has been resetting the bar with each of their respective cinematic releases and especially this year with “Deadpool,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and “Dr. Strange.” Let’s just hope that the DC TV Universe continues to provide us with the quality content it has, even with a drop off of viewership and Arrow having some bumps throughout its run. I feel like we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg on what these shows are capable of presenting us.