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Remember when us DC fans had so much hope for this to be as big as the Netflix MCU. When Flash S1 and Arrow S2 were the highlights of our TV. DCEU was slowly becoming bad so we only had the TV shows to hold onto. Those were the good days.
Personally, I believe the Arrowverse has just gone into a shambles. With a few exceptions which aren't in the actual Arrowverse but are still made by CW (*cough* *cough* Black Lightning), this generation of Arrowverse is just a continuous stream of repetitive, dull stories, and stock characters. We've got about four plus shows in the Arrowverse. These consist of:
Arrow (Seven Seasons)
The Flash (Five Seasons)
Legends of Tomorrow (Four Seasons)
Supergirl (Four Seasons)
Black Lightning (Season Two)
Batwoman (Yet to Come)
As you can see a lot of seasons, a lot of characters and a lot of stories that have mixed with each other to create 'content' in context with The Arrowverse. Today I'm going to deconstruct their content and discover where it all went wrong.
This is my opinion and I hardly watch half of these shows anymore, but since I'm a detective now I feel like I can make educated opinions about these shows. What I'm never doing is wasting my life to restart watching the shows I've buried in my life.
Let's bring in the first suspect!
Me: Would you say you are the reason that the Arrowverse is slowing dying?
CW: We dare to defy the expectations of good Television
Me: Well that makes you as good as guilty.
In my opinion, I believe the CW is wholly to blame for the shitstorm the Arrowverse has become. I mean look a the stuff they vomited up, before the infamous Arrowverse.
The Supernatural Genre
The Romance Genre
The Weird Genre
Their final victim is the superhero genre. Like the DCEU they look up towards god MCU and see how much money it's bringing in. So they decide to infect the superhero genre next. However, what they do is take great comic icons like the Flash and just CW-ify it. (If you watch any CW show you'll know what I mean.)
1. a show with not that great acting and low budgets
2. Inconsistency in plot and theme.
Example: What shall we CW next?
Anything made by these soulless bunch is bound to be rubbish. OK, that may seem a bit harsh the content they have come out with has shown POTENTIAL at the very least, but then I don't know what happens in these boardroom meetings. They lose the integrity of their show by either being too experimental or just playing it too safe.
23 episodes are too long for any season of superhero television or drama. The only reason I believe a show should have 23 episodes is if it's a comedy. Comedies are non-linear and they have the appeal for the audience wanting more as they can passively engage with the stand-alone plot of the episode. The foundation of the audience's investment is through the comedy. That is why it isn't detrimental for the show to have 12-23 episodes because every episode is filler which has a purpose, to make the audience laugh.
The way the Arrowverse have played off 23 episodes was very creative at first. The 'Freak Of The Week' storyline with the 'Overarching Plot.' This formula of writing mirrors the likes of the famous British TV show Doctor Who. However, this formula is a double-edged sword as the freedom of creativity that it gives for the writers it can also trap them in a cycle of repetition.
Freak Of The Week
1. This formula showed potential in the first few seasons of all the Arrowverse shows. The audience is at first invested in these characters from either the source material or other means. So, they want to see these characters as much as possible giving the 23 episode length purpose.
2. We wanted to see our protagonists grow with the show, make different relationships, handle different problems so we can connect with them at a deeper level.
3. The source material gave the writers a foundation to stand on when writing each "freak." There are a lot of characters they can make stories around especially for the Flash and Arrow in it's start off as the audience wanted all these villains/heroes in live action.
The problem with this is that it can be very limiting in a way that the writers burn through characters way too fast or every "freak" feels the same at the end of the day. They either have similar motivations or have no thought put to them. They are just someone with powers or a gun and a mob that the hero needs to beat for this episode. The only depth put to them is a tragic backstory if they even bother to add that in and not enough time to develop them. Because, of this after a few seasons, it leads them into the trap of repetition because the writers are confused where to lead the characters next and if they do try something new how successful can they be with it not forgetting about their formula. How can the writers show the integral theme of family or separation? When the episodes are littered with useless filler and sub-plots the audience doesn't care about. This is where the appeal of the overarching plot comes into play to fill that hole.
1. The overarching plot device showed potential in the first few seasons as it is the set up for our protagonist main problem.
2. These villains are fleshed out in a way that makes us care for their plan to be stopped by the protagonist.
3. These villains are in a way a mirror of our protagonist or have opposing ideologies which the protagonist can't overlook and need to stop. It sets up a mystery of who the main villain is going to be? Who is the Dark Archer that is just as good as Oliver Queen in archery? Who is the speedster who killed Barry's mother in the past?
4. This engaged the audience as the intent paralleled the execution and the pay off was more than satisfactory for the audience.
The only problem with this is that the balance of intent and execution had to be done properly and as theses seasons went on the scales tipped to intent rather than execution. For example Devoe in Flash S4. The audience saw the intent of the villain but the execution was appalling. The same for Damien Dhark the audience saw the intent of the villain but again his execution left a lot to be desired.
These are the pitfalls of the Freak of the Week storyline with the Overarching plot the Arowverse is built upon.
Don't get me wrong. I like fanservice not as much as the next comic book nerd. However, the CW do it in a way they lose the integrity of the plot. They want to cram as much comic book easter eggs, references and teases and not in a way to advance the plot but just to service fans. Just a way to tease that they are in a comic book universe and the writers have read their comics. The amount of Batman references I have seen in the Arrowverse and it doesn't even make sense. Are they referring to the same Bruce? Do they know Bruce? Is Bruce in this universe or many? Below I have posted a YouTube video by The Black Lion of all the Batman references in the Arrowverse they are fun to watch but it just shows how this is the definition of 'filler' stuff we don't need to really invest into unless there is some kind of payoff.
This is fun to watch don't get me wrong but it actually has no purpose. This has become a problem in Flash Season 4 Episode 1 when Barry came out of the speed force. Which I'll be talking about in my Ultimate Flash Review. A good example of fanservice is Daredevil Season 1 where all the Kingpin and the others have a conversation about New York and Leland Owsley mentions the Avengers. This made sense as the events of the first Avengers happened affecting Hell's Kitchen and there is actual content for fans to watch if they wonder what Leland is talking about.
Romance in anything has to serve a purpose it shouldn't be done because there has to be a romance there.
Protagonist Love Interest
1. The love interest should show something the protagonist needs to complete themselves an aspect of personality that really draws the protagonist in.
2. The audience should root for the love interest and want an intimate relationship to happen so they can see a different side of the protagonist.
3. There should also be an obstacle that should prevent the two from getting together at first. So, when they do get together it is that more satisfying for the audience.
The writer has shown they can write engaging love interests and relationships. In a way that it is integral to the genre of the show. Since we are still in the superhero genre, not the romance genre if you want that you can watch Riverdale. However, lately, the relationships in some these shows have become so boring, one-note and predictable. Relationships should be complex and interesting. Not shallow and boring. That's how you invest the audience I should have been excited when Barry and Iris had their wedding in Season 4 because it's going to lead them to another level in their relationship. I was excited to see how they were going to develop now they have been married. Did they change? No one bit. I sometimes forget they are married unless someone mentions it to me. In fact, they are the most perfect married couple I have ever seen. Even Disney couples aren't as perfect as Barry and Iris. Everyone should take a page out their book. As for the other shows like Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow I can't even begin to tell you who is with who because I've disengaged with those shows and their plot. The only thing I can say about that is it's predictable.
So, if the love sub-plot of the protagonist bores you. Do the side characters have a more engaging romance subplot? Is it at least an engaging subplot at that? Nope. Nowadays side characters aren't even characters in the Arrowverse they are just plot devices or filler. They have problems but not ones that flesh out their characters completely or just seem predictable at worst case scenario. There is only one reason I can think of why this problem is here in the first case. TOO MANY SIDE CHARACTER!
Look how many there are! That's not even half! The writers have the problem juggling around too many characters at once trying to make subplots and engaging characters, but it's just impossible with the amount of characters in the show. We didn't need a Team Arrow or a Team Flash and even if we do have them. We don't need people being added to the mix every season. It's just too much. Can you believe they throw the characters they don't need in each show to the Legends cast? I find that insulting that icons like the Kid Flash are in Legends of Tomorrow. It doesn't make any sense in my opinion.
In conclusion the Arrowverse has shown so much potential but the writers ultimately tried catch lightning in a bottle while trying to create more at the same time and it has been damaging the appeal for the Arowverse bit by bit at the end of the day.
Thank you for reading!