New heroes and new villains joined the party as the CW expanded its roster of DC Comics television shows this season. Which shows delivered top-notch action? And which shows need some work heading into next season?
With the finale of Supergirl’s third season pushed back to the end of June to accommodate the new Black Lightning series, our rankings of the shows in the CW’s ARROWVERSE got delayed a little bit. But now that the Maid of Might finally saved the day, we can dive in to see what worked and what didn’t for the five shows.
Of course, including BLACK LIGHTNING in the rankings is a bit of a cheat. The new series isn’t officially part of the ARROWVERSE, as it made a point of standing on its own during its inaugural season. But heroes on other TV shows got name dropped over the course of the 13 episodes, so I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that whatever Earth Jefferson Pierce and his family are on, they will eventually get pulled in to a multiversal crossover to battle some baddies.
Of course, speaking of Jefferson Pierce, let’s kick off the 2017-2018 edition of our season rankings.
5 – Black Lightning Season 1
This is more of an incomplete for the freshman effort, as the show was really trying to find its footing this year. Much like LEGENDS OF TOMORROW‘s first season, BLACK LIGHTNING at times didn’t seem to know what kind of superhero show it was supposed to be. It tried to stand out by focusing on the hero’s family, their history and taking advantage of the Black Lives Matter movement. But too many twists and turns, and too many episodes without main antagonist Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III), made the season a bit of a slog to get through during its middle section. Introducing a shady government agency trying to cause havoc midway through the first season felt like too much, too soon. Though Cress Williams, a guy I’ve enjoyed in every role I’ve seen him in, is great as Jefferson Pierce. There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the show’s second season.
The Book of Little Black Lies – The ninth episode of the season really put the season back on track after a string of mediocre episodes, making it clear that this show isn’t just about Jefferson Pierce as Black Lightning, but his daughters who are gaining their own powers as well.
4 – The Flash Season 4
After a very disappointing third season, THE FLASH came back and corrected a lot of the problems that plagued the previous set of episodes. But even though Barry Allen came out on top on our inaugural POWER RANKINGS for the first half of the season, a weak big bad in The Thinker with an overly convoluted plot to hurt our heroes unfortunately slowed down a show with a lot of potential. The show wasn’t without its charms, though. The addition of Hartley Sawyer as Elongated Man Ralph Dibny and Danielle Nicolet as Joe West’s new love interest District Attorney Cecile Horton added many moments of levity that were badly missed.
Elongated Journey Into Night – Ralph Dibny’s introduction to THE FLASH, a corrupt former cop who doesn’t particularly like Barry Allen. We’re also introduced to Breacher, the father of Cisco’s love interest Gypsy, played by the awesome Danny Trejo in the first of a series of recurring appearances.
Enter Flashtime – Maybe one of the best episodes of the series as a whole, as Barry, Jesse Quick and Jay Garrick need to slow time down to a standstill to figure out how to deal with a nuclear bomb about to detonate in Central City.
3 – Arrow Season 6
Despite some frustration plot lines involving Team Arrow fracturing, and a very annoying character in Wild Dog Rene Ramirez, overall, ARROW offered a consistent high-quality story that flowed well from week-to-week. The season’s focus was split between two big bads. First was the misdirect, as hactivist Cayden James (Michael Emerson) gathered a group of villains to seek retribution on the Green Arrow for his part in the death of his son. But James himself was just a pawn to the real threat to Star City – drug lord Ricardo Diaz, the Dragon. Kirk Acevedo’s performance as Diaz just got better and better as the season progressed, providing a real threat to both Oliver and Star City.
Deathstroke Returns / Promises Kept – Manu Bennett returns to the ARROWVERSE for a two-parter where Slade asks Oliver for help in finding his son.
Docket No. 11-19-41-73 – Oliver is once again on trial for being the vigilante known as the Green Arrow, but the court case gets a little crazy as both Diaz and Team Arrow pull out all the stops to ensure their side wins.
2 – Supergirl Season 3
While I was disappointed the third season of SUPERGIRL didn’t feature a guest spot from her more famous cousin, it did delve more into Kryptonian history, as the efforts of a dark cult bring about a trio of superpowered women tasked with bringing about enough chaos and destruction to make Earth a new Krypton. This season, SUPERGIRL expanded their universe by bringing in the Legion of Superheroes and sending Kara to the remains of Argo City, the last living Kryptonian civilization. With an opponent with the strength of a Kryptonian, Supergirl was able to let loose, giving us some fun fight scenes. And with her opponent’s secret identity being one of her best friends, we got some added pathos.
Midvale – A fun flashback episode taking us back to Kara and her sister Alex growing up in the titular town, showing that the Danvers girls had the hearts of heroes from a young age.
Legion of Superheroes – With Supergirl in a coma after a confrontation with Reign, Mon-El brings in Brainiac 5 of the Legion, along with his wife, Saturn Girl, to try and help the team out.
1 – Legends of Tomorrow Season 3
The defending champion retains its title! In this latest season, the time-hopping defenders of history kept the momentum going, visiting different eras of time trying to fix the things they broke at the end of season 2 and battling Damian Darhk, who is using his daughter to channel a demon to cause wanton destruction. Along the way, they encountered Julius Caesar, Helen of Troy, P.T. Barnum, Elvis and a young Barack Obama. And don’t forget about Beebo! I didn’t think the show could top the craziness and fun of its previous season, but every episode made an attempt to be an enjoyable hour of television, covered in DC Comics Easter eggs and historical twists and turns.
Here I Go Again – New Legend Zari gets stuck in a time loop where the WAVERIDER continues to blow up until she can figure out the right way to solve the problem.
I, Ava – Captain Sara Lance’s new girlfriend, Ava Sharpe, is the head of the Time Bureau. But what she didn’t know is that she was a clone coming from a time populated with nothing but Ava clones.
My man Joe and I recapped every ARROWVERSE episode of the season, so you can relive every moment, not just the ones linked here.
Just for fun, I went to the Internet Movie Database and averaged out the episode ratings of each series to see how the overall populace that ranks things on IMDb compares to my rankings.
Legends of Tomorrow – 8.45 (out of 10)
Arrow – 8.30
Supergirl – 7.86
The Flash – 7.83
Black Lightning – 7.65
Well, I got a couple things right… But that’s the last ARROWVERSE post til the shows come back in October with new episodes!