Warner Bros and DC Comics have gotten off to a slow start in the whole superhero movie craze. It's been 15 years and all they have really given us is a great Batman trilogy, a mediocre Superman movie, a mediocre Green Lantern movie... and before [Man of Steel](movie:15593) that was kinda it. However, since 2012, they have more than made up for it on television. Arrow has had 3 amazing seasons and has been renewed for a fourth, [The Flash](series:1068303) has had an amazing debut season and has been renewed for a second, we have Gotham and Constantine both in their inaugural seasons and next year has the potential of adding Supergirl, Titans and a Vixen animated series to the mix. I only include Vixen because it is set in the same universe as the other CW television series. Honestly, I actually prefer this to Marvel's 2 to 3 movies per year, and this is why.
Just from a single character standpoint, in a five year period (2002-2007) we got three two hour Spider-Man movies. Six hours of Spider-Man, spread out three to four years in between movies. Same with the X-Men. Counting the Wolverine solo movies, there has been a new X-Men movie once every two years. Now, after fifteen years that adds up, but Arrow gives us twenty-three hours of entertainment every single year. We don't have to wait two or three years to see what happens next. We get a new episode every week for seven months, and then at most we have a five month dry spell before the new season. When season three ends, there will be 69 episodes of [Arrow](series:720988) over three years. Compare that to four or five hours spread across two movies in that same three year time period. Even if you take the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and count it as a single franchise, that's ten movies from Iron Man to [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035). That's twenty-five hours of MCU since 2008, and that's just slightly more than one season of Arrow. After three seasons, and if you eliminate commercials, those 69 episodes equal 51.75 hours of Arrow over three years. Double what Marvel has given us in seven years. And that doesn't count Flash, [Gotham](series:1127075) or Constantine.
Back in the day, television was so low budget that it never could have kept up with big budget blockbusters in visuals or even storytelling. Since the turn of the 21st Century, however, that has just become not true anymore. Television storytelling has become much more cinematic and digital effects have become so much more affordable that what can be done visually on television can easily compete with what is being done in blockbuster cinema. And as far as storytelling goes, if you view a season as a single movie or narrative, which is how they are written really, you have twenty-three hours to develop your characters and tell your story as opposed to two and a half hours in a movie. You can tell more complex and compelling stories on television than you can in movies.
I look forward to Batman v Superman and the other movies DC and Warner Bros are finally going to start putting out. I don't want anyone to think that I am knocking movies at all, because I'm not. The movies are great. But I also want to sit down over a weekend and binge and if I want to watch Captain America, I get two movies, three if you count The Avengers, and it's over in an afternoon. If I'm on an Arrow binge, I can spend a weekend easily watching it and never run out, and pretty soon not even scratch the surface. Another distinct advantage to television over films is the sheer number of characters that can be introduced. The Flash is only halfway through its first season, and we've already been introduced to a fair amount of Flash's Rogues Gallery, with more on the way in the back end of the season. Compare that to one, maybe two villains in a film. History has already proven that any more than that is too many characters, especially if you have to tell the origins of all or most of them, like in Spider-Man 3. And then there are the guest stars that get to be brought in such as Huntress, Firestorm, the Atom and whoever else they decide to throw at us.
I'm constantly reading all over the Internet people complaining about DC focusing more on their television series than their movies, and this is absolutely true, but all I'm saying is that it isn't necessarily a bad thing. DC is getting their butt in gear on movies, with movies scheduled all the way out until the end of the decade. And that's a great thing, but think of all the hours of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Titans, Gotham and [Constantine](movie:874314) that we're going to be get until then and all the great hours of superhero greatness and all of the wonderful characters we'll be introduced to in that time. With movies and television combined, DC characters will soon have more hours of modern live action entertainment than Marvel has put out across every studio in the past fifteen years, and if you factor in the ten seasons and over 200 episodes of Smallville, they probably already have. The movies are coming, and they are going to be fantastic, but until then just remember, we do have a DC Universe on television that is always expanding, and that's pretty cool too.