I remember the day the first episode of Arrow aired, it filled me with the same kind of wonder that I had when I first watch Smallville years prior. The same if not more could be said when Barry Allen appeared on Arrow in a guest-starring role, with the intention being for him to get his own series down the line. When Legends of Tomorrow came out, I was cautiously optimistic, to see how a show compromised of side and villain characters from the other two shows would be; I wasn’t disappointed. Even when Supergirl came out, I loved every minute of the first season.
Then something happened, The shows I had once loved, weren’t what I remember them being any more, the spark that was once there was extinguished. So the question I want to ask today is what happened and is there hope left?
The Problem I believe is multi-faceted; it is hard to put down to just one thing. To get the obvious out of the way, every show has a decline in quality the longer it goes on; Arrow is going into its 8th season, and the Flash is going into its 6th; as a result, they aren’t going to be as good as they were in their respective primes. With the 20-24 episode mode of storytelling, all sources of inspiration are used and then used again, as there are only so many things these characters can do before things start to get stale. The creatives know this, so they make filler content, a fairly standard practice, to pad out the season. This content often takes away from the drama and the stakes of the overall season and gives us meaningless side stories that only really appeal to a small group of people. A little bit of filler can be a nice break, but the issue with the Arrowverse at this point is every other episode is like this.
Furthermore, and this is true for Marvel and the MCU as well, the stakes on the Arrowverse shows are incredibly low. We know characters are safe, they have plot armor so they can’t die, which shatters a lot of the tension in episodes. The worst is when the episode ends on a cliffhanger and, it is set up to look as though X character is going to die, but the drama doesn’t work because you know they won’t. Now, the Arrowverse has killed off characters before that is true, but never major ones, never your Barry Allens or, your Oliver Queens: instead it’s always a side character, and even then they come back, look at Sara Lance.
Whats-more, The Arrowverse shows just become the same in the end they all follow a pattern, I’m not saying this is a wrong, a lot of people like it, but it does take away from the originality of the shows themselves. A lot of the time it is just pretty people in rooms, having soap opera level drama, that most of the time goes nowhere and, is rather inconsequential. This can be found across all of the shows and, makes it hard to be able to tell one apart from the others.
Ultimately for me the shows, barring Legends of Tomorrow which still entertains me every week, have become stale and, the Arrowverse as a whole simply relies on spectacle to sell itself, see any number of the crossover specials for evidence, and again I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I’m just saying it is not what it once was.
Hopefully, the Arrowverse can recapture what made it great at some point in the future.
PS Constantine is the best part of the whole Arrowverse.