Fortunately for comicbook fans (or unfortunately, depending on your opinions about the “superhero burnout”), live action versions of their favourite characters are now everywhere. Walking Dead is shown on AMC, Gotham is shown on Fox, iZombie, Flash, Arrow and soon Legends of Tomorrow show on the CW, Constantine showed briefly on NBC, Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter show on ABC, Daredevil and soon Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders show on Netflix, Supergirl shows on CBS, plus so many other upcoming shows. That’s only the tv section. Meanwhile, our favourite comicbook characters from Marvel appear in 2 (soon to be 3) films a year, while DC is starting up its film universe. That puts many players in the liveaction comicbook field, but which one is the best. I’d probably say I have a slight Marvel preference, but I’m here to say that it’s the CW.
They have 3 shows from DC/Vertigo. Comicbook shows almost all year. This year will have 61 episodes in total. That’s just above 40 hours of live action comicbook material per year, most of it amazing. Of course, this isn’t counting iZombie season 2 (probably 13 episodes). Next year also adds Legends of Tomorrow onto that load of comicbook television. They’re like issues of a comicbook series, each episode usually having some new threat. This isn’t even considering the idea that Supergirl has a very high chance of crossing over as well.
The shows themselves are amazingly done, from Arrow to The Flash to iZombie, they’re some of the best in their particular genre. The acting in said shows is also phenomenal, with castmembers who are so actively into their characters that they play them to absolute perfection. There’s barely any castmembers on the CW shows that aren’t fully in the role and look like they’re having fun, while working hard filming almost all year, and filling in the remainder time with promotion (as well as voicing their characters in other mediums). These people include: Rose McIver, David Anders, Robert Buckley, Grant Gustin, Tom Cavanaugh, Candice Patton, Stephen Amell, John Barrowman, David Ramsey and Emily Bett Rickards among a massive group of others.
The shows aren’t afraid to introduce new heroes and villains that are iconic, but would normally not appear in live action (showcasing some of the scariest forces, like Ras Al Ghul), which include Green Arrow, Deathstroke, Vibe, Gorilla Grodd, The Atom, Black Canary, Speedy, Arsenal, Firestorm, Captain Cold, Reverse Flash, Captain Boomerang, Merlyn and soon Mr Terrific, Rip Hunter, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Jesse Quick, Vandal Savage, Jay Garrick, Anarky and Wally West, among others, as well as allusions to Batman and Green Lantern, and an original plan to include Blue Beetle.
The shows (probably with the exception of iZombie) stay true to the comics, but also play around with the mythos (thus keeping it surprising and fun). Part of that surprise comes from their ability to do the unthinkable, like in this infamous fight:
They also have an animated show on the way that looks like it’s going to be great, connecting the live action universe to it, the show being about the C-level hero Vixen, who would normally not get a chance to shine.
The CW do so much for fans as well. This is the main point. They always deliver what fans want, and they seem perfectly capable with handling it. These things they do for fans include, but aren’t limited to:
Everyone fell in love with Matt Ryan’s Constantine (on NBC) last year, but then the show got cancelled and fans were disheartened. But then suggestions of him coming to the CW came to light. Stephen Amell (being as active with fans as ever) fueled the fire as well and now Constantine is appearing on Arrow in the next season, possibly appearing as a regular character and maybe even getting his own show on CW, but the very idea of him even appearing once more is exciting enough.
While the previous season’s ‘Olicity’ (Oliver and Felicity as a couple) storyline was reviled because it focused too much on it, but it happened because fans wanted it. Felicity was supposed to be a VERY minor character in the first season, but started coming back because of popular opinion and because of her chemistry with Stephen Amell. Then fans started wanting them together, and they got what they wanted, with the promise that in this season, any problems arising from that storyline would be fixed for fans.
Talking about bringing back popular characters, Diggle has been getting more and more screentime and this is probably because he’s such a popular character and people wanted more. He even managed to make it into the comicbooks.
The character from the comicbooks. Everybody wanted him, but there would’ve been no way to let this witty and funny character have his own show, especially in the wake of the finale of the Dark Knight series. But with the recent success of The Flash, Green Arrow is set to arrive next season. Another things fans complained about is how much the Arrow was like Batman. This comes from the serious tone the show has, alongside borrowing of villains. Even though this can be excused as it happens in the comics all the time and we wouldn’t get to see these stories and characters adapted onscreen otherwise (although with Gotham getting a second season, Arrow might’ve trimmed down the Batman anyway), the showrunners went to change it as well. They’re taking a lighter tone and the new villain is HIVE (commonly a Teen Titans villain, like Deathstroke), further distancing themselves from Batman, like fans wanted.
Another thing coming from the comics. Starling City’s name is changing to Star City, like in the comics, which fans wanted.
When it was suggested that Ras Al Ghul would be appearing and when he was confirmed as the Season 3 villain, people wanted the magic behind the character to be delved into. They wanted Lazarus Pits. We hadn’t seen either in Ras Al Ghul’s only other live action appearance in the Dark Knight trilogy. That’s what we got. We got resurrections from the Pit, which is absolutely what fans wanted.
Sara Lance returns
Fans of Sara Lance were distraught when her character died in the show, but now it’s confirmed that she’ll be returning in her own team-up show, probably for the fans if anything.
Legends of Tomorrow
Talking about the team-up show, that reminds me. We’re getting a team-up show. Something of a massive scale. A storyline that could be done in a Justice League or Avengers film, but with the same volatility of a Suicide Squad film.
The shows are completely part of the comics universe. They have all the fictional cities of the comics and they use them amazingly.
Justice League/ Crossovers
We’re getting our own Justice League on the shows, evidenced by their crossover episodes, which should become a tradition now, making it more and more like the comics, while also giving reasons why certain characters can’t be in certain places, and having one or two characters moving to the other show briefly, really making a universe more connected than the MCU at this point.
More Tom Cavanaugh
People wanted more Tom Cavanaugh (and above is one of his stellar performances), and they’re getting more, even though his character is gone, he’s coming back purely because he’s so loved. Same with John Barrowman.
The shows are delving into realms which I don’t even think the films will ever delve into. We’re getting different realities and Earth-2 will be a major point in the next season.
The Flash suit and Green Arrow suit are becoming more and more like the comics and the constant changing, including that of the Arrow Cave and costuming different characters (like Diggle) is an evolution that even the films barely do (except with Iron Man and Captain America)
People assumed Atom was going to be an Iron Man ripoff and that he’d only be making references to his shrinking from the comics, but it’s been confirmed via clips that the Atom will be shrinking in Legends of Tomorrow.
I know I mentioned this, but I just want to reiterate: We…are….getting…Vandal…..Savage! Vandal Savage….in a quest through history….up against heavy hitters from the DC universe. This is the sort of thing reserved for movies. Thank you CW!
Plus, they do great things like this:
What I’m trying to say is, CW is doing something great with these characters. They’re not completely mishandling the characters, but they’re taking liberties and keeping it surprising. They’re also doing things which normally would only be suited for the comics. So to those of you hating on Arrow for its last season, it was mostly doing what fans wanted, because it wanted to be the best show for the fans. The next season looks to be correcting what went wrong, so even if you didn’t like Season 3, I hope you all tune in for Season 4, because it looks like it’s going to be a good one.
Thanks for reading!