As soon as it was hinted at in the end-credits sequence from Iron Man back in 2008 that an Avengers film would be on its way, fans around the world were floored that such a thing would actually be happening. Superheroes had really made a turnaround since films like Batman & Robin or Blade: Trinity. It seemed as though these films were going to take themselves seriously, or know when to just make something fun. Then The Avengers was released in 2012, having fans and critics calling it one of the greatest superhero films of all time. Seeing all of those characters on-screen together for the first time was truly a marvel. However, like all great things, the more and more that you bank off a popular product, fatigue will always find a way of trickling in.
A Harmless Beginning
After the rejuvenation of the superhero brand with the #Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was without question that many studios would try and bank off of that as well. I personally never saw television going the same route at the films, but clearly I was wrong. When the first season of Arrow was released, I felt as though #DC and The CW were teaming up to recreate the love they received back in the day for the long-running show in Smallville. It was all well and good when that show was on television, but when The Flash first aired, having a cameo from Stephen Amell as Green Arrow, things became clear that they had a bigger vision.
Flash forward a couple of years and now we have four television shows in #Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and #LegendsOfTomorrow. Yes, all four are admittedly a lot of fun, but their re-watchability will diminish very quickly through the years.
Marvel And DC: Film Versus Television
Sure, an argument can be made that having a cameo from a pre-existing Marvel Cinematic Universe character could take away from the impact of the film he/she appears in, but seeing as only one or two major releases come out each year, it goes without saying that it would just put a smile on your face more than anything. Most people that watch The Flash also watch the other CW shows as well, so most people will not be bothered by a crossover episode. Having said that, being someone who has followed it from the very beginning and has enjoyed the crossovers quite a bit, it's hard to be frustrated with the fact that it's pretty jarring when you just want to re-watch one of the character's shows.
The major crossover event that occurred between all four shows last year, lead into each other seamlessly. So, say if you were to pick-up the Blu-ray of #TheFlash Season 2 and watch it from beginning to end. There would be one episode that randomly has characters from each and every character from the other shows, and the events of that episode conclude in another episode from one of the other shows throughout that season that make it almost essential to watch in order to fully understand what comes next.
That can be very confusing for someone who only likes The Flash, but not any of the other shows. This logic actually goes for every other one of the CW shows as well. The theatrical films have it easier because they are meant to bring people to the theater to witness a big team-up event. The television crossovers are cool, but ultimately diminish the show over time, especially when the crossovers will probably happen throughout every season.
Dodging A Bullet
For now, I think these crossovers are kept to a minimum enough that I feel they are more fun to watch than anything, but if these shows continue on for another five or six years and continuously make crossover events, the individual seasons of each show become less special due to the fact that you have to watch The Flash to see how a certain episode of Arrow concludes, or vice versa. I don't believe that television has hit its peak yet and I still believe it to be better than most films released theatrically nowadays. They have been dodging a bullet by not getting too crazy, but how long will that last? The DC television universe is only one example. Other shows are also beginning to follow suit, which is pretty scary in the overall scheme of things.
Will Repeat Viewings Start To Hurt These Shows?
To me, the television shows that revolve around paramedics, the police department, or fire fighters all cover the same material. I have never been a fan of this type of television, but it definitely has a large viewership. Recently, NBC decided to crossover their shows Chicago P.D., Law & Order: SVU and Chicago Fire to capitalize on the ever-growing trend. I don't personally watch these shows, but I feel as though it would be a much easier experience, due to the fact that these shows deal with different cases each week. This could play as more of a bigger case with more characters coming in to assist. While crossovers are more suited for superheroes, I personally feel crossovers should stick to television shows like this, and leave the big superhero crossover events to films like Justice League or The Avengers.
Taking Notes From 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'
A prime example of a crossover that is done subtly, yet perfect, was when Thanos appeared in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. For fans that had been following since 2012's The Avengers, it was clear that this specific moment was to connect the tissue in a very loose way. It was also done in such a way that it almost felt like it was introducing a new audience to him, not detracting from the core focus of the film any any way.
In the end, I will admit that I have fun watching every single crossover that has happened thus far, but I don't think it should be affecting the viewing experience of a single show, which is what I fear is slowly occurring.
Avoiding This In The Future
In the first season of Supergirl, The Flash appeared for one episode, but it was done in the absolute best way possible. It was set up in a way that Barry would travel through dimensions too far and end up in hers. This made it very easy to watch both shows. Traveling through time, Barry shows up to help out #Supergirl for an episode and then vanishes. That makes sense and doesn't detract from the rest of the season. It also made sense, because there were no events that would affect the character of Barry moving forward in The Flash. Unlike most of the crossover events, this one was done for pure fun, not affecting any big plot points moving forward. This is where I believe most of them should be, as far as a fair playing ground goes. Fun trumps overbearing plot holes any day of the week.
Do you agree that the crossovers may diminish each individual season throughout time and that they should be more simplified?