Editor’s Note: There has been major news recently about the CW’s Arrowverse of DC series. Firstly it was announced that the series Black Lightning would be ending after it’s fourth season, and then it was announced that Flash actors Tom Cavanagh (the various Wells-es) and Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramon) would be leaving the show. Legends of Tomorrow actor Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory/Heat Wave) also recently announced he would be leaving his show. And it was announced earlier in the year that Season 6 would be the end for Supergirl.
With all these shake-ups it’s a perfect time to do a ranking of the Arrowverse shows, and as a huge Arrowverse fan I thought Alice would be a perfect choice. So take it away Alice!
Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
We all have our favourite superheroes, and we may not always agree with how they are portrayed, but
one thing we can all agree on (hopefully) is that there’s something for everyone when it comes to the Arrowverse. But we cannot begin to talk about the Arrowverse until we establish the fact that one show started it all, and that’s CW’s Smallville. Smallville may not have always had even footing but it managed to achieve something that wasn’t explored yet on television. And it basically paved the way for the beginning of the creation of what fans (and the Powers That Be) affectionately now call the Arrowverse, which has brought our favourite DC superheroes to the small screen.
That being said, and with a Krypton-sized SPOILER ALERT, let’s up, up and away into my rankings for all 7 CW Arrowverse shows starting from the weakest and ending with the crème de la crème. And you will notice I haven’t included Stargirl as that show is yet to officially join the Arrowverse. Now to the ranking!
#7 Black Lightning
Premiering on January 16, 2018, Black Lightning is the story of a high school principal named Jefferson
Pierce who possesses the power over electricity. He used to be the vigilante known as Black Lightning
and the series begins with him being forced out of retirement due to the increased violence and crime in
his neighbourhood. Pierce is portrayed by actor Cress Williams of Prison Break and Close to Home. The
series is currently in its fourth and final season.
Black Lightning is a bit heavy on the dark, mature themes with high levels of violence, adult sexual
situations, and drug dealers which are all connected to racial profiling or dealing with issues related to
class. I personally think that it is one of the darkest DC Superhero shows onscreen of late and I
sometimes feel like the heavy content can be a bit bombarding at times, especially with the issues going
on in the world today.
However, Black Lightning officially became an extended part of the Arrowverse when the character
appeared in CW’s crossover event of Crisis on Infinite Earths when he was chosen to play his part in the
fight against the Anti-Monitor.
I feel as if the later seasons haven’t managed to be as engaging as the show’s first, and I thought that the character would have benefited by being more included into the Arrowverse than just merely becoming tacked on in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover without some sort of build-up to the character’s importance before the event.
Season 1 premiered in October 2019 with actress Ruby Rose being cast as Kate Kane. The show begins
rather sluggishly with Rose looking a bit awkward and green in her role. But then just like that, she hit her
stride and the series managed to capture its own audience with the interesting sister/villain dynamic
going on between Kate and Alice.
By the time the crossover occurs in Crisis on Infinite Earths and Batwoman was chosen to join the fight
against the Anti-Monitor, it came as no surprise that she was chosen as the Paragon of Courage. Her
brief team-up with Supergirl was an enjoyable pairing as well as Kate holding unto a piece of Kryptonite
as insurance just in case Supergirl decided to go rogue. It’s a decision that mirrors Batman’s relationship
with Superman in the comics.
However, the proverbial wrench was thrown when actress Ruby Rose stepped down from the role of
Batwoman at the end of Season 1. I became extremely disappointed, and it seemed to change the
rhythm and flow of the entire series for me. In Season 2 her replacement is actress Javicia Leslie who
steps in as Ryan Wilder and ends up donning Kate’s Batwoman suit sans the iconic red hair wig.
While her back story is interesting, the connection between the supporting characters is lacklustre to
me and just seems like a lot of fixing and making a juxtaposition of things in a way to try to keep the series going
as evenly as possible despite Rose’s untimely departure. Even though the current season isn’t done as
yet, I cannot see an extended future for the series. There are already rumours online that the show’s
Season 3 may be its last.
#5 Legends of Tomorrow
Legends of Tomorrow premiered back in January 2016 as a spin-off series featuring characters from
both Arrow and The Flash. Now I know that I may receive some flak for this one because I have
observed Legends makes it to at least the Top 3 of most people’s Arrowverse list.
However, I am going in brave here and say honestly Legends has gotten way too many characters and wacky storylines that make it difficult personally for me to follow. While the time-travelling element is a fun twist and grants the show an infinite number of possibilities, if you sit and really think about it the team has done a hell of a lot of destruction to certain historical events. And we have seen the dangers and repercussions of interfering with the timeline thanks to The Flash.
The fun factor of seeing them meet iconic and renowned people from the history books is sometimes swallowed up by the occasionally flighty behaviour of team members. The quippy comebacks and comedic atmosphere of its most recent seasons are way off-course and takes once dark, dramatic Arrowverse characters and turns them into the butt of everyone’s jokes. However, all their crossovers have been the absolute tops for me because the camaraderie between the Legends extends to their interactions with fellow Arrowverse superheroes.
Now don’t get me wrong; I still enjoy a good, fun, and gimmicky Legends episode but there must be
some sort of balance. The show has been much too inconsistent in order for me to be able to rank it any
higher. Sorry folks!
Beginning in October 2012, Arrow became the series that helped fans coin the term that we
affectionately use to describe the CW/DC Universe, the Arrowverse.
Actor Stephen Amell starred as the billionaire playboy-turned-vigilante Oliver Queen after having spent
five years (or so we thought at first) shipwrecked on the island of Lian Yu in the North China Sea. With the assistance of his friend and bodyguard John Diggle and love interest Felicity Smoak, Queen began operating as
the vigilante known firstly as The Hood, and then the Arrow, and finally Green Arrow.
The series ran for eight seasons before ending in January 2020. Although the series provided the
structure for the Arrowverse to blossom, the conflicting and brooding nature of the character of Oliver
Queen was a bit much at times, combined with the constant flashbacks of his many experiences in the
mysterious island of Lian Yu. The addition of Arrow’s offspring in the later seasons also threw me off because I found myself having zero interest in these characters.
However, I always admired the friendship between Oliver Queen and Barry Allen of The Flash. Theirs
would be the first ever successful crossover event in the Arrowverse sparking a mentorship of sorts, with
Queen giving useful and constructive criticism to Barry about what it takes to be a superhero, including
the ultimate sacrifice for the better of humanity. Queen’s distrust for aliens would also change after meeting
Supergirl in another crossover event known as “Invasion”.
During the Crisis event it would be Oliver who ended up making the above-mentioned ultimate sacrifice in order to save both Barry and Kara’s lives, as well as playing an integral part in the creation of the new universe after
the destruction of the Multiverse by the Anti-Monitor. Arrow holds this spot because although I wasn’t a
fan of the later seasons due to the development and changes of the supporting cast, it definitely
deserves a modicum of respect and recognition.
The Girl of Steel is one that remains near and dear to my heart. When Supergirl was added to the lineup
in 2015 I was there front and centre to see the red cape of Kara Zor-El grace the screen. Fresh-faced, bubbly, blue-eyed and eager Melissa Benoist took Supergirl by storm by embodying the character and making it her own. I can hardly see anyone else in that role. The series would go on to create and highlight many other strong female characters in its wake.
However, I would be the first to admit that something began to change with the series after its third
season. The show took a bit of a political and civil rights tilt to its main story in the fourth season which mirrored the social and political climate in the USA at the time. Two significant changes were occurring
at the same time, namely the debate on immigration laws and the transgender movement. Now while I had no
issues with the topics and understand for the most part what the show was trying to achieve by showing
solidarity, it became just too much of reality and not enough fiction. Plus, they took one of the strongest
female lead characters of the show Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) and reduced her to an emotional mess.
You can show one’s sensitive side without reducing the character’s emotional and physical
Things became equally messy when the writers made Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) go left instead
because she felt betrayed by Kara/Supergirl in Season 5. So, with the dwindling ratings they have
decided that the show would sadly end with Season 6 which is currently in session.
I’m not wholly impressed by the final season so far but I can see the marked effort in changing up the plot devices. And I’m still not too happy with how they are writing Alex Danvers, but there’s still a chance for redemption. Hopefully the Girl of Steel will get the ending that we can all hope for. But I will still say this—Melissa Benoist did one heck of job
and has sealed her place in the CW DC Superhero Hall of Fame in my humble opinion.
#2 Superman & Lois
Now I would never have expected this entry to have this high of a position in my rankings, but let’s just
call me utterly surprised because actor Tyler Hoechlin made me eat my words. Let me explain. When Hoechlin first
made his appearance in the Supergirl series I was not at all impressed. He felt diminutive and I closed off
my eyes at seeing his potential because I just had these fixed images of either Christopher Reeves or
Henry Cavill etched within my brain.
But I think for me the change came when all the external stimulus and distractions with all the other CW
heroes were removed and he got his spin-off series in Superman & Lois. The series cleverly jumps
ahead in the lives of the Kents after Crisis and the time jump now has Clark and Lois as the parents of two
teenaged boys. The family now finds themselves moving locations from the big city life of Metropolis
to small town, country life in Smallville. The adjustment is tough to say the least, and Clark has his own
troubles of being conflicted in trying to be more accessible to his family whilst still being Superman.
Not an easy task, especially when you have father-in-law who clearly cannot be trusted and a new villain
lurking about in Smallville.
You can see where the series has pulled out and dusted off some of the elements and plot devices used in CW’s Smallville series, but it works here even years later because Lois is the one going head-to-head with the billionaire (Lex Luthor is swapped for Morgan Edge).
The series is off to a promising start and after a brief hiatus due to Supergirl’s return with their final
season the show is back on the air on May 11. I am officially hooked by now and excited to see what’s
in store for the Man of Steel and his family. I see the great potential and the force is strong with this
one (wink wink Start Wars reference for all my homies out there).
#1 The Flash
Even though I though its previous season was the worst that I have seen since the show’s debut back in
2014, The Flash is still the strongest series of them all. It’s got the most going for it and has the most
heart! Get it? Barry is the Paragon of Love? You get it.
If you were to summarise The Flash in a nutshell, despite all the uneven periods and plot devices, you’ve
still got yourself a mighty solid series. Grant Gustin did for me what Melissa Benoist managed to do with
Supergirl—make me unable to see anyone else as The Flash. The dynamic between the cast members on
this is show is something out of this world. You can see how their real-life friendship transcends the
screen because they are extremely cohesive as Team Flash.
This is the one CW superhero show that has reduced me to literal tears because there is just something
about the way that these characters manage to get under your skin. It is hard to put into words.
They feel almost like an extended family of sorts and you tune in every week to check on them and see
how things are progressing. It’s that type of feeling that the series evokes and endears me to it. I don’t know if
other fans would have the same sentiment or if it’s just me.
The foundation still is and will always be with the West-Allen family dynamic. Even though Biris is
admittedly cheesy, it’s good cheese. You have that old fashioned “love will conquer all” element wedged
in there and we have time and time again borne witness to how these two always managed to conquer
their enemies because they possessed a greater power.
The Flash series had undergone a lot of changes and by the end of Season 7, it has been officially
confirmed that two of its major cast members (Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes) are leaving for good. Whilst I will be sad to see them go, I quite understand because everyone has been on the show for such a long time and it is inevitable that there will eventually be changes. The new additions are extremely likeable, and it would help make the transition easier.
The series is currently trying to move itself in a new direction while still adhering to their roots, and I can
see the marked effort being made to make up for last season’s messy fiasco. Let’s hope that The Flash can still hold unto its crown by end of this season after those big changes come into play. But for now, it’ll remain my numero uno!
So that’s my ranking. How would rank the CW DC shows? For more Arrowverse you can check out one of the following:
- For The Flash Mirrorverse Arc conclusion you can click here;
- For Supergirl Season 6 Premiere you can click here;
- For the Superman & Lois Premiere you can click here;
- and for All 8 Arrow Big Bads Ranked you can click here.
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook where you’ll get my reviews hot off the press. You can also find me on Instagram as alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For my extended bio you can click here.