Episode 134: What The CW Gets Right with Superhero Shows


Last week, I talked about how the new CBS superhero show, Supergirl, isn’t really doing it for me. I could see some potential in the show but they just have to try to give us a show that seems to have more of a purpose than to just give us a show about Supergirl. They’re trying to play it safe that it’s not exciting anymore. This is in rather sharp contrast with the CW superhero shows, Arrow and The Flash.

In fact, I think this is one of these rare instances where a live-action comic book adaption worked really well for both general audiences and fans alike. Right now, both Arrow and The Flash are pulling in extremely high ratings and a lot of people love the show. And when they have a crossover event, it really feels like a big event and not just a marketing gimmick.

I guess you could say the CW did start the trend way back when they had Smallville… and when the CW was called the WB! It did last a good 10 seasons before finally being cancelled. Oddly enough, if I remember correctly, Smallville did have a different version of Green Arrow pop in. But that version pales in comparison to the Arrow that has his own television series!

At least the guy in the left is green?

At least the guy in the left is green?

But why does it seem like the CW has this weird monopoly when it comes to making good live-action television shows based on comics? The answer: it shouldn’t. It’s just that shows like Arrow and The Flash are written in such a way that they are good live-action television shows, period.

Both of the CW’s current superhero television programs have taken great liberties with the source material. Normally, that wouldn’t fly, especially with the die-hard comic book super-fanboy crowd, like making Barry Allen and Iris West adopted siblings and adding Felicity Smoak in Arrow. But somehow, The CW managed to make these changes accepted because, well, these changes made for a better show!

Rock those glasses!

Rock those glasses!

I think comic book fans as well as fans of good television have come to expect a whole lot more from mass media these days. Keeping things simple may have worked out during the early days but that kind of thinking just won’t fly in today’s way of thinking. Viewers just don’t want to see Supergirl flying all around the screen stopping bank robberies. Viewers want to see interesting characters with depth develop and grow as we get into episode into episode. Viewers want to see characters build relationships between each other and see these relationships evolve.

I’m not saying Arrow and The Flash are bulletproof shows. They both have a few problems here and there but those issues are generally forgotten in the grand scheme of things, especially when you take into account the amount of good the shows have. I do think Supergirl still has a chance of being a good show but my hope is waning. Besides, there’s still Legends of Tomorrow I have to care about in the future!

I'm pretty sure the CW will get Legends of Tomorrow right as well, though.

I’m pretty sure the CW will get Legends of Tomorrow right as well, though.

Speaking of older renditions of superhero teams, I started watching a couple of cartoons with the very basic premise. But starring the lesser known superheroes… most of the time. I’ll talk about my experience watching Justice League Unlimited next time!

What do you think of the current crop of superhero shows? Let me know in the comments section below!

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