DC on CW: Reviewing ‘SUPERGIRL,’ ‘THE FLASH,’ and ‘ARROW’

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The CW superhero shows have all wrapped their latest seasons. We have been recapping SUPERGIRL, THE FLASH, and ARROW weekly through the year. Now that the seasons have concluded, which show had the strongest season?

SUPERGIRL Season 3

SUPERGIRL had a mostly strong season. This season was consistent in tone and action, for the most part. However, the show stumbled when it returned from its late season hiatus. Whether it was lost momentum or confusion on where to go, the final episodes didn’t quite hit. Even though SUPERGIRL built up the season early on, it fumbled on the execution.

Most of the problems stemmed from Reign, this season’s big bad. Reign really didn’t work as a villain. There was so much about the villain’s goal and siblings that was confusing. It seems like the show couldn’t reconcile who was more important – making Reign frightening, or making Samantha a pivotal friend for the gang. Samantha had some touching moments, and Reign had some great fight scenes. But the show diluted both personalities by combining the two, which weakened the season.

Reign
Odette Annable as Reign, SUPERGIRL

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That said, there was more than enough compelling character development. Nearly every character had a strong arc throughout the season. Supergirl’s early “God vs Human” conflict was interesting, as was her struggle with Lena. Martian Manhunter’s relationship with his father led to some heartwarming moments. Alex had some of the best emotional beats, as she struggled to find emotional fulfillment.

SUPERGIRL’s third season promises to be different, and hopefully more consistent. Replacing Reign with an evil Russian Supergirl should be a compelling villain (hopefully she won’t be too similar to the Earth-X Nazi Supergirl). Since most of the season was strong, hopefully the show will learn from its pacing mistakes.

Weeks Won: 9 Weeks

Best Episode of the Season: In Search of Lost Time

Average Episode Rating: 6.91/10

THE FLASH Season 4

While THE FLASH has been running for four years, it’s only now hit its stride. Season four was undoubtedly the best season for the CW series. Moving beyond the well-trod Speedster-vs-Speedster conflict was a great choice. The series changed just enough of its standard formula to make a stand-out episode.

There was solid work done with the other side characters as well. Some of the strongest episodes hinged on Iris stepping up to the plate as a strategist. It was a great way to utilize her character outside of generic romance stuff. Likewise, Harry losing his intelligence also gave us some great moments. Tom Cavanagh’s performance stole the show in the season finale, marking a phenomenal send-off. Even Caitlin Snow had some interesting identity crisis material. So many of the characters got fulfilling story arcs, which made the season strong.

Flash
Hartley Sawyer as Ralph Dibney, THE FLASH

Along with the various old characters, there was a pleasant new addition. Ralph Dibny, a.k.a The Elongated Man, brought some fun new energy. The character was not always consistent, as his personality sometimes shifted between episodes. However, the character was enjoyable overall, and made a fine Kid Flash replacement.

The Thinker was also a welcome change of pace for the series. While The Thinker’s plans were often confusing and overly roundabout, he was truly intimidating. It was also interesting how he gave birth to some serviceable weekly villains, and semi-antagonist The Mechanic. The Thinker brought some welcome variety to THE FLASH.

This season was such an overall delight. Not every episode was perfect, and not every conflict was exciting. But there was so much in THE FLASH’s fourth season that was strong and emotional. With any luck, the series will continue this continued streak of excellence.

Weeks Won: 9.5 Weeks (WINNER)

Best Episode of the Season: We Are the Flash

Average Episode Rating: 7/10

ARROW Season 6

After six seasons on air, ARROW is showing signs of weakness. The show made a curious choice to take the focus off of Green Arrow. Shifting the story of the crusading vigilante to a new father drama really did not work. This may have been the season that puts ARROW at the bottom slot of the Arrowverse.

None of the characters have especially compelling storylines. Oliver, the titular Green Arrow, didn’t even get much action. The character spent too much time being a struggling mayor, and the title ‘ARROW’ felt like a misnomer. Diggle and Felicity get lost in Oliver’s generic storyline. The side characters were mostly given rehashes of their initial struggles. There really wasn’t a single hero that could hold the season on their shoulders.

ARROW also suffered from a severe lack of a strong villain. Even with a gaggle of baddies, none of them were all that fearsome. Black Siren and Vigilante, two returning villains, were rendered toothless, as the show turned them into more heroic heroes. Even Cayden James, the potentially biggest bad, was turned into a semi-bad dad before his demise. Diaz, meanwhile, failed to take his place as a truly intimidating figure. There was no villain that gave ARROW a good reason to fight for.

Arrow
The many villains of ARROW

The closest ARROW came to a strong story arc was with the two Team Arrow conflicts. The rift between Oliver and the various sidekicks was a great way to cause variety. However, once that rift happened, it quickly became stale. It’s as if ARROW knew this inter-team struggle was the closest thing to an exciting conflict for its characters. The Team Arrow Civil War started good, but didn’t last.

This season was truly disappointing. As the first and flagship CW superhero show, ARROW should’ve been stronger. Unfortunately, the series had neither an active hero, nor a strong antagonist. For a season that promised going “back to basics,” this season felt more like an example of everything currently wrong with the show. Too many metas, too much soap opera drama… will ARROW ever go back to form? Or are the days of the great Green Arrow gone?

Weeks Won: 4 Weeks

Best Episode of the Season: The Tie That Binds

Average Episode Rating: 6.68/10

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Jon Barr - TV Editor
Jon Barr is a comedian and TV Phanatic. Yeah, he meant to spell it that way. It's like the Philly Phanatic, like from Philadelphia, because he's from - you get it. He loves good TV & mocking bad TV. You can find him all over the web.

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