With a new year upon us (good riddance 2016, hellooooo 2017!), it’s never too late to start making some resolutions for the new year. A new year is a chance to start over. It’s a clean slate. The things that went wrong in 2016 are now in the past. It’s time to look toward the future.
DC Comics has been reigning on The CW since 2012, but 2016 wasn’t a particular strong year for every DC show. There were highs and lows for Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. Whether it was starting 2016 low and going up or starting up and going down, the DC shows were far from perfect last year.
But with 2017 here and ready for us, it’s never too late to aim to do better in the new year. Here are five New Year’s resolutions that we think the producers and writers of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow should consider as we charge head-on into 2017.
1. Do right by your audience
When it’s all said and done, the success of these shows – and any television show, quite honestly – depends on how you treat your audience. If you give them a show that has the elements that they love, then they’re going to watch. If you don’t, then you’re going to notice a gradual decline in viewership. And unfortunately that’s something that every DC show (excluding Supergirl because it switched networks) has experienced this season. Now, there are a lot of factors that go into it. But simply said, these shows can do so much better by their audience. Some more than others. If you want to sustain a show you need to give the audience what you’ve promised them. Give them what you’ve been setting up in past seasons. Deliver on what you promised. And most importantly, don’t alienate a certain fan base intentionally. Your success depends on us, the viewers, so please treat us with respect.
2. Do right by your characters
If you quite frankly don’t give a damn to appease your audience, the least you can do is do right by the characters that you’ve written. That doesn’t mean don’t challenge them. By all means do challenge them. That’s how they evolve and grow into the characters they’re meant to be. That means ensure that they handle issues in a way that’s true to who they are. So don’t ignore a significant character flaw such as trust issues when it comes to a hero and a stranger. And don’t turn a hero into the villain of his own story. All four of these shows are in the very least their second season, which means that these writers and producers should have a pretty good idea who their core cast of characters are. Don’t confuse character development with character regression. Know your characters. Do right by your characters.
3. Capitalize on your strengths
All four of The CW’s DCTV shows have their unique and shared strengths. It’s one of the beauties of the Arrowverse. Each show has their own tone that makes each show fresh in this universe and appealing to its devoted audiences. Each of these shows – Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow – has had these strengths on display. While Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow have finally started capitalizing on their strengths, veterans Arrow and The Flash have regressed in that regard. You know your show. You know your audience. You know what gets them talking. You know what works. You know what doesn’t. So do what works. Write to your strengths. Let your characters thrive in those strengths. Hopefully Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow continue to deliver. And hopefully Arrow and The Flash can find that magic again.
4. Don’t be bogged down by comic book canon
Obviously there’s no denying that we wouldn’t have Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, or Legends of Tomorrow if it weren’t for the comics and the characters that inspired them. But one of the beauties of the Arrowverse has been how each show has managed to deliver its own unique spin to the well-known and lesser-known heroes and universes. Something that these shows established early on was that the comics were never a Bible; they were the starting point. It’s allowed the writers to really open up these comics and characters in a way that hasn’t been done before while also finding ways to pay homage to the comics. But it hasn’t been perfect. There have been times when it feels like the comics have weighed down these shows at some point. Whether it’s forcing certain storylines or getting carried away with creating moments for costumed heroes, there have been times when the comics have felt like a burden. These shows need to find that happy medium where they find the right moments to give us those comic book moments while also doing right by the television universe they’ve created.
5. Learn from your mistakes
This is perhaps the most important resolution these shows should follow. Mistakes don’t equal failure. But if you allow enough mistakes to happen without learning from them then failure is a possibility. Everyone makes mistakes. Every show makes mistakes. But the success comes in admitting that you made a mistake and correcting it. We saw Legends of Tomorrow do that for its second season after Marc Guggenheim admitted that they fell victim to their own narrative in season one. And now look at the show. It’s thriving in its strengths and is one of the better DCTV shows. You’re not going to get perfection all of the time. And when you make mistakes there are going to be people who criticize those mistakes. That’s what happens when you have millions watching your every move. But you need to take the criticism and improve where you went wrong. But most importantly, you need to be willing to admit that you made a mistake in the first place. If you can’t do that, you can’t fix what’s broken.
Here’s hoping that Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow continue to or start to abide by these resolutions!