When you stop and take a look around at all of the glorious comic book shows that fill our televisions every week it’s hard to believe there was a time four years ago when there was just one superhero show on the air. The show that is responsible for all of this. Arrow.
While Green Arrow has never been a superhero synonymous with the likes of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash, he quickly rocketed to popularity when The CW debuted its adaptation of the Emerald Archer with Arrow starring real-life superhero Stephen Amell.
While it took some time for Arrow to find its groove – when they established the heart of the show with the Oliver, Diggle, and Felicity dynamic – it quickly evolved into one of television’s best shows regardless of its home on the often overlooked and dismissed CW. Arrow was able to bring a groundedness to the superhero genre that had not been seen before and was equally entertaining and action packed as it was full of heart. It was drawing the eyes of critics everywhere and receiving praise abound.
And from Arrow came the show’s first spinoff, The Flash in 2014, which quickly rocketed to success with the well-known hero that first made his debut on Arrow. Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow followed this year along with other comic book adaptations ranging from DC Comics to Marvel. We live in the dawn of the superhero/comic book television age, but sometimes people seem to forget that Arrow was the show that started it all. Namely The CW’s PR department and the show’s producers.
Since 2014, when The Flash was incorporated into the universe, we’ve seen Arrow used as a jump-off point for other superhero shows. We’ve seen characters used to prop up other characters that would soon go off to these other shows. And all the while there’s never proper acknowledgement or repayment of services rendered to Arrow.
Most recently it was announced on Wednesday that a much hyped about crossover would be taking place on Supergirl in March. Considering a Supergirl crossover with both Arrow and The Flash was discussed even before Supergirl‘s premiere, it sounded like it might happen. But no it wasn’t Arrow, the show that ultimately made Supergirl possible, but The Flash, which continues to get most of the attention of the network and producers. We get it, The Flash is a more prominent superhero, a lighter show and is the network’s No. 1-rated show, but why does it feel like Arrow is always getting the shaft? Oh, that’s because it is.
The Flash gets all of the hype – the promotion, the focus – while Arrow quietly continues to slay it on television relying on the show’s passionate fandom to do the network’s job and promote it. In fact, Arrow has far been the better of the two shows this season story wise and ratings wise (as it has seen an overall rise in ratings this season in comparison to The Flash), which just goes to show that Arrow doesn’t necessarily need the promotion to be successful. But it would be nice if the network gave the show the credit that it so clearly deserves but doesn’t receive enough of.
But where the network fails to promote Arrow the show’s fans have rallied to create their own buzz that is truly inspiring. The fans promote the show every week, through the season and during hiatus, keeping the discussion going even when the show is off the air. They have generated buzz for the show and teamed up together to win the show major awards, including MTV’s Ship of the Year.
So why won’t the network give Arrow the credit it deserves? Sometimes it feels like they’ve forgotten all about Arrow. And it’s been something that has been going on for a while, but after watching The Flash and Supergirl take center stage with this crossover announcement, it made me angry enough to feel the need to write this.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love The Flash and Supergirl and all of the other comic book shows out there. But when your favorite show – the show that made all of these other shows possible – is constantly being ignored — not by the press — but by those involved with the show it’s beyond frustrating as a fan. It’s especially frustrating this season as Arrow is having one of its best seasons yet.
And something that is less noticeable is when Arrow is brought up on The Flash sometimes it’s in a demeaning manner, as if The Flash producers – you know the same ones who produce Arrow – are the ones taking shot at the hero and the show that made The Flash possible. I understand that Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg always dreamed about making The Flash, but can we at least refrain from trashing Arrow in the process? It goes back to the argument that Barry Allen is a better hero than Oliver Queen, which is completely ridiculous. Just because he’s more lighthearted? That’d be like saying Jimmy Clausen is a better quarterback than Jay Cutler because he smiles more than Cutler does. It makes no sense. To make that judgment you need stats to back up your claim. Same applies with Oliver & Barry and Arrow & The Flash. It’s not about appearance it’s about results.
So I find myself sitting here wondering when Arrow will finally get the credit it deserves? But more than that I’m wondering if it will get that credit. Because despite the fandom outcry for more promotion of Arrow, The CW doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. And that’s incredibly frustrating as a fan that continues to promote the hell out of this show. The fans respect it, the actors respect it, so why won’t the network?