Which CW DC Shared Universe Show Should Be Your First?

List Rules
Fans of the shows only: vote up the CW DC Shared Universe shows that are the best starting point for someone who is totally unfamiliar with the TV universe.

What started as one show about Green Arrow back in 2012 has evolved into a multi-show universe with characters popping up in a number of different places and major series-wide crossovers every year. With all these intertwined shows running for a different number of seasons, it can be confusing for new viewers to know where to jump in on the fun. Sometimes weighing the pros and cons for each series when it comes to the importance to the overall CW Multiverse is the only way to figure out where to start for overall enjoyment.


  • 1
    219 VOTES

    Starring: Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch, Jordan Elsass, Alex Garfin, Wole Parks, Emmanuelle Chriqui

    Seasons: 1 (2021-Present)

    Pros: - Developed in part by HBO Max, which means the series has a higher budget than the rest of the Shared Universe shows.
              - It's fun seeing Superman and Lois also function as parents to two teenagers, especially when compared to previous versions of the characters.
              - Only one season means it's by far the easiest show to get caught up on.

    Cons: - This version of Superman and Lois have appeared in crossovers on other Shared Universe shows, but the show hasn't connected with any other series yet.

    219 votes
  • 2
    9 VOTES

    Starring: Brec Bassinger, Luke Wilson, Amy Smart, Yvette Monreal, Anjelika Washington, Cameron Gellman, Trae Romano

    Seasons: 2 (2020-Present)

    Pros: - The focus on high schoolers in a small Midwestern town is a refreshing change of pace.
              - Co-funded by HBO Max, so the series has a higher budget and sleeker look than some other Shared Universe shows.

    Cons: - Stargirl and her team have a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, but otherwise the series has yet to fully embrace the Shared Universe.

    9 votes
  • 3
    14 VOTES
    Arrow
    Photo: Arrow/CW

    Starring: Stephen Amell, David Ramsey, Katie Cassidy, Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland, Colton Haynes, Paul Blackthorne

    Seasons: 8 (2012-2020)

    Pros: Arrow is where it all started – hence the "Arrowverse" that has since evolved the CW DC Shared Universe – making it a pretty natural place to begin.
             - More than one show (The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow) spin directly out of Arrow, which adds a nice bit of context when you move on to other series.
             - Stephen Amell is excellent as Oliver Queen and, as the universe expands, he fills the mentor/leader role to the younger heroes equally well.
             - The fight choreography in the show is superb.

    Cons: - For viewers wanting to see the super-powered DC universe, this may not be the place to start. The show initially focuses on the more grounded, street-level elements of the DC landscape.
               -  In addition to a couple particularly weak seasons, the show is also the launchpad for other shows - so prepare for significant crossover.
               - The entire final season of the show deals with a major Arrowverse-wide crossover.

    14 votes
  • 4
    3 VOTES

    Black Lightning

    Starring: Cress Williams, Christine Adams, Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, Marvin 'Krondon' Jones III, James Remar

    Seasons: 4 (2017-2021)

    Pros: - A shorter episode count means less filler and more killer in Black Lightning.
              - It's refreshing to see a show about an older hero raising a family instead of another pretty 20-something just getting their powers.
              - Cress Williams is a force as the titular character.
              - Features one of the Arrowverse's best and most fleshed-out villain thanks to Marvin 'Krondon Jones III's Tobias Whale appearing in each season.

    Cons: - Only connects to the true CW DC Shared Universe during the major Crisis on Infinite Earths event in 2019 - so if you're wanting to feel the shared universe, this isn't the place to start.

    3 votes
  • 5
    14 VOTES

    Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Jesse Martin, Tom Cavanagh

    Seasons: 7 (2014-Present)

    Pros: - The Flash has been the most-watched of the Arrowverse shows pretty much from the moment it premiered.
              - As Arrow wound down, The Flash took over as the focal show for major crossovers and events.
              - The cast is great across the board, with Grant Gustin and Jesse Martin being constant standouts.
              - Despite a smaller budget, the show really pulls off impressive CGI battles, especially earlier in the show's run.

    Cons: - Hemorrhages cast members as it runs on and on.
               - Tends to copy/paste a different speedster villain for a number of seasons, which can seem repetitive.
               - Has begun to show some wear and tear in later seasons.

    14 votes
  • 6
    10 VOTES

    Starring: Melissa Benoist, Chyler Leigh, David Harewood, Mehcad Brooks, Katie McGrath, Jeremy Jordan, Jesse Rath, Nicole Maines

    Seasons: 6 (2015-2021)

    Pros: - The show's move from CBS to the CW after the first season dramatically improved the overall quality.
              - The series has a focus on drama and things other than your standard superhero fare.
              - Melissa Benoist is a stellar Kara Kent/Supergirl.

    Cons: - For much of the show's run, it technically takes place on a different Earth than the rest of the CW DC Shared Universe, so it feels removed at times.
               - Often lacks a good villain to truly threaten Kara.
               - Some episodes feel overly familiar at times, too strongly recalling other shows based around Kryptoninans.

    10 votes