ByMichael Patterson, writer at
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Michael Patterson

There's no denying that Arrow made history when it debuted on The CW back in 2012. It eventually unseated The Vampire Diaries as the network's most dominant show, and spawned three successful spin-off series'. Starring Stephen Amell as Arrow/Oliver Queen, the series single-handedly kick-started the network's era, and has been on the air for five years now.

However, the most recent installment of Arrow — "The Sin Eater" — hit a new series low in the ratings. The episode drew 1.54 million viewers and a 0.5 in the crucial 18-49 demographic. While lows should be expected of a show that has been on the air for five years, Season 5 has been plagued with the issue and continues to hit new series lows every few episodes.

Is This The Beginning Of The End For 'Arrow'?

Arrow's presence has been revolutionary for the network, but the low ratings have been cursing the show since its fourth season came to an end. And it all makes us wonder if the series low is just another sign that it's time for the Emerald Archer to hang up his bow and arrow for good?

"Arrow" has been a major part of the CW since its debut in 2012 [Credit: The CW]
"Arrow" has been a major part of the CW since its debut in 2012 [Credit: The CW]

Since the acclaimed first two seasons, the show has faced criticism as its third and fourth seasons were panned. While Season 5 managed to somewhat improve storylines, the fanbase never returned. The Season premiere "Legacy" garnered 1.87 million viewers — a new series low — before the second episode saw it rise to its previous series low of 1.94 million viewers. But the third episode — "A Matter Of Trust" — saw it hit a new low of 1.79 million viewers before the following episode rose to match the previous low of 1.87 million. Following that, the fifth episode dropped significantly to hit another series low of 1.61 million. The ratings would hold steady for remaining weeks, averaging around 1.85 million, except for "Invasion!" — the series' 100th episode and Arrow's installment in the major superhero crossover — which garnered a stunning 3.55 million .

However, the struggle recommenced when the show's controversial mid-season premiere dropped to 1.68 million viewers, with the follow-up episode rising to 1.91 million. It was here that the lows seemed to win, as it once again hit its series low of 1.61 million before rising a little to hit 1.66 million the following week. And that brings us to this week's episode, which once again saw a significant drop to 1.54 million viewers.

I hate to say it, but we can see a clear pattern here. No matter how many times the ratings rise, the show ends up hitting a new series low the following week. Former CW champ The Vampire Diaries had to run for six seasons and suddenly clash with ABC juggernaut Grey's Anatomy before it starting pulling in numbers like that, which means the ratings are down to content alone. And although Arrow has already been renewed for a sixth season, we have to ask ourselves if it should logically be coming back? After all, the parent show of the Arrow-verse now receives the fewest viewers.

Make no mistake about it, , and would not exist if Arrow never came along. But all of them have now exceeded the show in terms of critical acclaim and viewers, while the originator of the shared universe now lags behind them in all categories. Are the ratings a sign that it's time for Arrow to bow out once and for all?

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Can 'Arrow' Find A Way To Regain Its Following?

Perhaps all is not lost for our favorite bow-wielding vigilante. Remember, Arrow will return for a sixth season, and perhaps that is its chance to reignite the fanbase's desire to watch. After all, its declining ratings are merely a response to the questionable storylines featured in Season 3 and Season 4. Thus, the question is — can Arrow find a way to win back the fans that gave up on it?

While Season 3 was questionable, the fans quickly got over it and returned for Season 4. But it was the controversial fourth season that damaged Arrow — perhaps beyond repair. Season 4 saw the show's streetwise gritty roots traded in for magic and mysticism, while compelling characters and strong storylines were abandoned in favor of Oliver and Felicity soap opera dramatics. But no decision was as outcast as the creative team's decision to kill off the beloved Black Canary — Laurel Lance.

Backlash: Fans didn't react well to Black Canary's death on the show. [Credit: The CW]
Backlash: Fans didn't react well to Black Canary's death on the show. [Credit: The CW]

When Laurel was killed off, the show received an enormous amount of backlash and if you look carefully at the ratings, this was when the show began to lose all of its steam. The show has never recovered from Black Canary's death as it alienated the majority of their fanbase, and the showrunners have now even attempted to do some damage control by giving us a new Black Canary in Dinah "Tina" Drake. But as we have seen with the ratings, that wasn't enough to keep fans interested and in fact, it just alienated Laurel's fans even more.

While the show has made some major improvements since last season's far-fetched themes and dramatic storylines, there are still some major hindrances and discrepancies. Moreover, the fact that the show's executive producers are still standing by their decision to kill off Laurel Lance certainly doesn't do it any favors. If they really want to save the show from a future full of series lows, Wendy Mericle and Marc Guggenheim should return the series to its darker roots — there's still a whimsical feel to Season 5, maybe it's all the vigilantes — and most importantly, revive the Black Canary.

The real Black Canary might be the key to an "Arrow" ratings resurrection.
The real Black Canary might be the key to an "Arrow" ratings resurrection.

Arrow's ratings this week just highlight how far the Emerald Archer's show has fallen. Once the king of the CW, it now finds itself at the bottom of the Arrow-verse — a universe of shows that it was responsible for creating. With the consistently low ratings and criticism of the show's storylines, it makes us wonder if the series is truly unable to be saved, or if there's still light at the end of that emerald colored tunnel.

It's clear that fans weren't happy with the death of a beloved character in Season 4 and the show's soap-operatic storyline. While the show has moved on from them, the ratings are just proof that what's done is never done — what was done has damaged Arrow, maybe beyond repair.

Do you think Arrow will have a ratings resurrection? Let us know in the comments below!

(Source: Deadline)


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