Whether they were fighting to save the future or for truth, justice and the American way or members of their own families, the heroes of the ARROWVERSE had an eventful season. The four shows that make up the CW’s superhero universe each had very personal battles. And the three core shows were sucked into a crossover that managed to screw with the very fabric of their realities.
I’ve been reviewing the four shows (I had to tap out on Black Lightning, which had its second season this year, due to a lack of time) all season, noting the highs and the lows of our heroes. Now that I’ve finally made it through the season finales, it’s time for the THIRD ANNUAL ARROWVERSE SEASON RANKINGS! In both the FIRST and SECOND seasonal rankings, Legends of Tomorrow took the top spot as my favorite Arrowverse show. Can they manage a three-peat?
It’s time to find out!
4 – Flash Season 5
After what was probably the strongest first season of any of the ARROWVERSE shows , I think FLASH has been the biggest overall disappointment since. Since I’ve been doing these rankings, the show has been consistently near the bottom of the list. It’s wildly upsetting, because I love so many members of the cast. Grant Gustin is a great lead as Barry Allen; Jesse L. Martin as Joe West gives the show so much heart; and the recent edition of Hartley Sawyer as Elongated Man Ralph Dibny adds fantastic comedic flare.
But the story choices leave me lacking.
After my little girl was born two years ago, anything having to do with fathers and daughters gets me. But this season, FLASH introduced Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future, Nora West-Allen… and she drove me nuts. I found her completely unlikable from the jump and I think the character actively damaged the show’s chemistry. Add in a weak season-long villain in Cicada and Cicada II, replaced in the season finale by the Reverse Flash, and a SEASON FINALE that was a real downer, and season 5 was another overall disappointment.
All Doll’d Up (Episode 5) – The villain Rag Doll is introduced here, and he’s one of the creepiest Rogues that Flash has faced in the show’s history.
King Shark vs. Gorilla Grodd (Episode 15) – I think the title says it all.
3 – Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
The king has been dethroned!
Of all the shows in the ARROWVERSE, this is the one that has been kind of moving away from the DC Comics universe source material. The show has still been a lot of fun this season, with more of a focus on the magical. At times this season, LEGENDS OF TOMORROW has felt more at home in Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse than within the time stream of the DCCW Universe.
The mystical bent of the season gave us more of Matt Ryan’s John Constantine, which was always a highlight. The back half of the season also gave us guest spots from Thomas Wilson (Biff Tannen from the BACK TO THE FUTURE movies) as Nate Heywood’s father. The season ended strong, with every character on the show getting important moments (which is more than I can say for all the other series), but the focus of the fourth season was less compelling than it had been in the past.
Lucha de Apuestas (Episode 9) – I always love episodes of TV that involve lucha libre.
Egg McGuffin (Episode 13) – The budding relationship between Nate and Zari gets kicked into high gear here, as Sara sends the two on a mission together to try and get some sparks to fly.
2 – ARROW Season 7
After the first part of the season wrapped, I really thought this was going to be in my top slot this time around. Everything was clicking on all cylinders and every episode of the show was better than the one before. But once the focus of the show shifted from Oliver Queen in prison, dealing with Ricardo Diaz, to adjusting to the news that he has a half-sister he had never heard of before, the quality didn’t keep up. Once it was revealed the show would end with a 10-episode 8th season, I was also bummed out by the flash-forwards to 2040, where Oliver’s kids needed to come together to save Felicity and Star City, because it meant that things don’t end well for our heroes.
Everything about the back half of the season was built to guarantee that Oliver, Felicity and their team weren’t going to have a happy ending. After spending so much time with these characters, knowing their futures are so bleak was a bummer, and it cast a shadow over the season as a whole, and kept the show out of the top spot. But the first half of the season was so good, it almost made up for it. Almost.
The Slabside Redemption (Episode 7) – The final showdown between Oliver Queen and Ricardo Diaz was so good, as Oliver manages to take down his long-time rival and is finally released from Slabside Penitentiary.
Spartan (Episode 19) – Ernie Hudson guest stars as John Diggle’s stepfather, who helps the team stop Oliver’s half-sister from using a military weapon to kill the residents of Star City.
1 – Supergirl Season 4
With the way the fourth season started, I would never have predicted that Supergirl would have been my favorite show this season. The first few episodes felt very preachy as they set up the premise: an anti-alien force in National City (and across the country) pushing for extra-terrestrials to be rounded up and eliminated gaining power and influence. The parallel to the immigration debate we experience every day was more than clear – they were beating it in as much as possible.
But after a few cringe-worthy episodes, the show course corrected and managed to focus on the story without using a sledgehammer to bang it home. We got a live-action version of MANCHESTER BLACK and members of his team, THE ELITE, as the leader got into a battle with the Martian Manhunter. And when Jon Cryer was finally introduced as Lex Luthor, everything went into high gear, leading to face-offs between Lex and his sister, Lex and Supergirl and Supergirl and her clone who was under Lex’s thrall.
Man of Steel (Episode 3) – The backstory to the season’s back-up antagonist, Ben Lockwood aka Agent Liberty, gave us an emotional story that did an amazing job explaining his motivations.
Bunker Hill (Episode 8) – Directed by Kevin Smith, the episode gives us a confrontation between Lockwood and Manchester Black.
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.
The Flash – 8.3 (Out of 10)
Legends of Tomorrow – 8.25
Arrow – 8.55
Supergirl – 7.5
That’s a pretty different result from what I got. I’m guessing Supergirl’s heavy-handed season-arc put a lot of people off. But I really enjoyed it, and that’s what’s important!
That’s it for the Arrowverse this season. When we come back in October, we’re going to be building to a Crisis! And the final episode of Arrow!