With the recent, and huge, success of Netflix and Marvel’s The Defenders, many TV and comic book fans out there have a lot to be excited about. In the movies, both Marvel and DC are putting their best and brightest characters onto the big screen in an all inclusive universe and now TV networks are doing the same. Over the years, Marvel has had hits like Iron Man, Captain America, and The Avengers (to name a few) that helped kick off their massive cinematic universe. And while DC has been slower to start, with their recent blockbusters Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman, they’re on their way to a full-fledged cinematic universe as well. But when it comes to TV, DC has been at an advantage, for once.
While many fans are excited with the recent Netflix invasion, it’s fair to say that this is one area that DC got right long before Marvel did. In a TV universe that is now affectionately known as the “Arrowverse,” DC started their TV universe long before Marvel even thought up theirs. Starting with Arrow, DC soon expanded their universe with The Flash, Supergirl, and The Legends of Tomorrow. This all inclusive universe has enjoyed great success and has actually included crossovers between all shows. However, although the Arrowverse enjoyed early success, fans and critics are now starting to switch off and turn to their Netflix rivals. With this list we look at 15 reasons why we agree with those few and unfortunately, in our opinion, it’s time to switch off from DC’s finest.
15. Time Travel And Speed
With our first entry we deal with one, or two, of the science side of the Arrowverse. Firstly, we must address The Flash’s speed. The fact is that within the series and universe of The Flash, the writers can’t seem to decide how fast he is. One moment he’s running around the city, chasing a bad guy or something like that, and he doesn’t seem to be moving that fast and then the very next scene he’s running fast enough to travel in time or crossing dimensions.
The other thing is time travel. In the more grounded Arrow TV show, time travel is seen as something that’s either not possible or is very difficult if not impossible. Yet within the same universe we have The Flash, who is constantly messing with time and also an entire TV show, The Legends of Tomorrow, who travel time as their job. The writers of each show need to get together and come up with some set ground rules.
14. Misuse Of Big Characters
One of the biggest problems that we have with the Arrowverse is their use, or misuse, of major comic book characters. We understand that the Arrowverse has a lot of history to try and include. After all, DC comics have been going for decades and have created some truly great characters, for which they use again and again and in many different storylines.
However, the Arrowverse seems to want to use all these characters as quick as possible and therefore rushes through characters and either kills them off or just gets rid of them. The Flash is very guilty of this as so many villains have been used as “villain of the week” that most of The Flash’s rogue gallery was used up within the first season and they never came back again. Even those lucky few characters that make multiple episodes are misused and disregarded to such an extent that they’re soon going to run out of characters to use.
13. Arrow And The Flash’s Core Cast Size
We’ve just mentioned in our previous entry that the Arrowverse likes to misuse some of DC’s biggest characters. Our next entry however focuses on the core cast of Arrow. The simple fact is that the main cast is getting far too big. Not only that but The Flash too is becoming guilty of this. The Legends of Tomorrow can get away with an ever growing cast and so far Supergirl seems to be keeping her core group’s numbers down, but The Flash and Arrow are getting carried away.
The strange thing is, from a comic book fan’s point of view, is that Green Arrow and The Flash are two big characters that always keep their “gang” down to a minimum. After all, they want to keep their identity a secret, especially the vigilante Green Arrow, who is often compared with Batman in regards to secrecy and the cast of Arrow is getting out of hand. Plus, is there anyone in Flash’s universe that doesn’t know he’s Barry Allen? It seems that everyone, even cameos, knows who The Flash is.
12. The Fight Scenes
Our next entry is a bit of an interesting one and it’s not really the Arrowverse’s fault but it is now becoming a big problem. When the Arrowverse first started with Arrow, the adventures, and fight scenes of the vigilante Green Arrow, were pretty decent. However, the longer the show has gone on, the lamer and more stupid the fight scenes have become. Even when we step away from Arrow and focus on either The Flash or The Legends of Tomorrow, their fight scenes have become laughable.
The problem seems to be that either the fight scenes are played more for fun, which is the case with The Flash, or they are just too choreographed that it looks like a group of people have gotten together for a dance rather than a fight. At the beginning this wasn’t too much of a problem but when you compared it to the likes of Netflix and Marvel’s Daredevil, which has superb and tight fight sequences, then Arrow and co just don’t come close.
11. The Relationships
It’s true that comic books are full of great and lasting romance’s, like Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson and Superman and Lois Lane to name the most famous. Even The Flash and The Green Arrow have had their relationships, The Flash and Iris West and Green Arrow and Black Canary, and each of those have been represented in some way on screen. So superheroes and romance go hand in hand.
However, within the Arrowverse there seems to be so many romances and each of them seem forced. Apart from the obvious two we’ve just mentioned, every character seems to have to fall in love for some reason. Every character within the Arrowverse has been in a relationship and none of them can really be justified. We know that the Arrowverse has a slightly younger audience than the Netflix/Marvel universe does, but that’s no excuse to keep pairing people off for the sake of it.
Our next entry may seem like a strange one but we think it’s quite a big and important one. These days, both in movies and on the small screen, it seems to be the right thing to make everything darker and gritty. We have no problem with that at all, after all, some of the best shows and movies out there use this idea as their guide. Even Arrow, when it first hit our screens, was praised for its dark and gritty take on The Green Arrow.
However, when The Flash raced onto our screens it was seen as a lighter and more family friendly addition to DC’s Arrowverse. For a long time, it was but then The Flash, seemingly from nowhere, started to tread the dark side of the comic books. Particularly in The Flash’s third season, the tone and style, and even the Flash himself, were a lot more darker and even more harrowing than it should have been.
9. Black Canary
We’ve already mentioned on this list just how badly the Arrowverse sometimes screws up DC’s greatest characters. Unfortunately, one of the worst they have messed with is Black Canary, so much so that she warrants an entry all to herself.
In the comic books, The Black Canary is a very important and much loved character, especially in regards to The Green Arrow. These two characters have been linked together for decades; through different dimensions, different timelines, and even death, these two characters have been intertwined. So far the Arrowverse has gone through Black Canary’s as if their lives depended on it. They are actually on their fourth, although it could be more by the time this article is done! That in itself is bad but none of the versions of this character has come close to capturing the essence of The Black Canary, which is slowly destroying the legacy of The Black Canary.
8. Oliver Queen
With our next entry, we focus on the main man himself and the very character that the entire Arrowverse is based around. When DC first wanted to put The Green Arrow at the heart of a TV show, a few people out there may have been surprised as The Green Arrow isn’t exactly DC’s most famous or even best hero. However, from the very beginning of Arrow, they proved those people wrong as they brought a gritty side to the character that was a great basis for a show.
Having said all of that, over the course of the seasons that Arrow has been on TV, the show has portrayed Oliver Queen to be the worst leading man around. Not only is he a pathological liar, but he is basically a moody teenager with the tantrums to match. Then of course there’s his “morality code” which seems to change more than his arrows do. Sometimes it’s fine to kill people, then it’s not, then he feels guilty and then he doesn’t.
7. Oliver’s Son
A lot of TV shows and movies out there are guilty of having characters that are purely there for plot purposes. We can understand this, especially in the superhero genre. After all, someone needs to be rescued right? That’s exactly the purpose of Oliver Queen’s son. More often than not we actually forget that he even has a son as he’s never really mentioned or seen, unless there needs to be a reason to get Green Arrow worked up, and then out pops his son for some emotional leverage.
Every time Oliver’s son is on screen, his name is William in case you’d forgotten, his sole purpose is to be rescued or to be used as an excuse or reason for The Green Arrow to use force, or even kill people. It’s all become too obvious now that if Oliver is going to have a son in the show, it would be nice of him to get some screen time in which his life wasn’t in danger.
6. They’re More Like Soap Operas
We’ve already mentioned on this list about the volume of relationships the characters in the Arrowverse have, and not just the amount but their lack of meaning or even purpose. The writers basically want everyone in some kind of relationship and they don’t really seem to think about or care who with. We’ve also mentioned the fight and action scenes within these shows as well and how they could really do with some work.
We think the main problem for these two points is that the writers seem to be trying to turn the Arrowverse into a soap opera. The action and the mythos of the characters and situation often take a back seat and the drama and melodrama is pushed to the foreground. We have no issue at all with having some drama thrown in with our action, but it should be an action show first and everything else second, not the other way around.
5. The Villains
We’ve already mentioned on this list just how badly the Arrowverse wastes such big DC characters. But for this entry we focus more on the villains and the problem the Arrowverse has with them. Firstly, we have to turn to The Flash and look at just how many great villains they have gone through already. In only three seasons they’ve either killed off villains after one episode or illegally imprisoned them in Star Labs, never to be seen again, which in itself poses a lot of questions to team Flash as they are supposed to be the good guys and yet they keep people locked up under their labs. A topic for another day we feel.
The other problem we have with the “villain of the week'” template that some of the Arrowverse shows adopt is that it makes every villain pretty much the same. They are all over the top, 2 dimensional copies of each other. Each of them tries to wise crack with the hero, there’s a bit of a fight, and then the hero wins. There’s no depth, complexity or even any real peril with most of these characters. They are just simply there to fill time and distract the hero for a moment until the season finale starts to build. DC have spent decades crafting great villains, why can’t the Arrowverse take advantage of that?
4. Mystery And Masked Characters
We’ve just mentioned the lack of vision when it comes to villains in the Arrowverse and just how badly they are ruining some truly great characters. With this entry we actually go one further, as the Arrowverse has seriously lost its way when it comes to its villains. So many times and across all of its shows, the Arrowverse has used the mysterious villain in a mask trick. A bad guy comes along and they are shrouded in mystery and the heroes spend the rest of the season trying to work this out. Arrow did this with Dark Archer and Prometheus, The Legends of Tomorrow did this with Chronos, and The Flash has done this every single season with Zoom, Reverse Flash, Alchemy, Savitar, and even Zoom’s masked prisoner.
While the concept of this idea is a good one, and some of them have worked, the fact is that the Arrowverse has done this so often that it has become so predictable and formulaic that it’s actually become boring. So much so that by the time the “big reveal” is shown, we really don’t care anymore and have already switched channels.
3. The Supergirl Conundrum
So our next entry isn’t actually the Arrowverse’s fault as such, it’s actually a problem that a lot of TV shows, movies, and comic books have when they have such an overpowered character in their team. DC have always struggled with the likes of Superman and Supergirl because at times they are shown to be so powerful that they render the other characters pointless really.
So when the Arrowverse was coming together, the writers suddenly realized their problem when they focused the universe on a normal man and then introduced a super powered alien into the same universe. Why wouldn’t Supergirl help The Green Arrow out more? And if she did, then what’s the point in having him? After all, she can do everything so much better and faster. They handled The Flash well within that universe and teamed him up with team Arrow to a pretty good effect but Supergirl would surely be too much. So what did they do? They put her and her life on a parallel Earth of course. While this isn’t a bad thing as such, it disjoints the Arrowverse a bit too much for our liking and actually makes the concept a bit confusing and overly complicated.
2. Too Many Speedsters
Ok, so we know that a TV show revolving entirely around a speedster is bound to involve more characters on the speedy side of comic books. After all, DC itself is full of characters that are fast and can even access the Speed Force, so it’s not surprising that a few of these characters will show up in Central City. However, the problem with The Flash is that they seem to focus on these speedsters and forget about the other characters in The Flash’s life.
Not only that, but they are flying through their characters at an alarming pace, even for someone like The Flash. We haven’t even reached season four yet and already The Flash has: Flash, obviously, Jay Garrick, Kid Flash, and Jesse Quick. Then of course we have the other end of the speedster scale with Zoom, Reverse Flash, and Savitar all coming and going from the show already. With the rate that The Flash is going through its speedsters, there’s going to be none left going forward.
1. Where’s The Crime Fighting?
The number one entry on our list of reasons to stop watching the Arrowverse and all of its shows, is simply where has the crime fighting gone? The answer to this question seems to be lost in time, or maybe the idea that these characters, especially The Flash and Green Arrow, and the fact that they are made to fight crime, is lost in Flash Point and when The Flash reset time, he forgot that these characters stop the bad guys and save their respective cities.
In the first season of both Arrow and The Flash, they seem to stick true to the characters’ roots and had them both fighting crime on the streets and stopping criminals. However, as time and the seasons have gone on, they have forgotten that crime fighting is what they do and what they were made to do. They now focus more on big season bad guys and revelations or time changing events and the crime fighting has just become a distraction to slow down the pace of the season so the heroes don’t work out the big “twist” too early. If the Arrowverse doesn’t fix this in their next seasons then this is a big enough reason to turn off than any other.
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