Total Nerd

The Best Shows In The Arrowverse  

Ranker TV
413 votes 97 voters 15 items

List Rules Vote up the series with the best stories and characters from DC Comics and The CW.

Counting for a large part of The CW's fall programming, the CW superhero shows that make up the "Arrowverse" offer something for everybody. The best CW Arrowverse shows don't just shine during crossover events but are solid watches throughout the season. The complete Arrowverse spans nine shows across three networks and almost 30 years. The titular Arrow, which premiered on The CW in 2012, gained a big enough audience to bring more new DC Comics shows and web series to The CW and CW Seed. Starring Stephen Amell from The CW's earlier series The Vampire Diaries as the billionaire playboy Oliver Queen, Arrow seemed to break the code for superhero TV shows that thrived.

The tendrils of the Arrowverse kept spreading and snagged Matt Ryan, who had portrayed Constantine on a one-season NBC series, as a guest star on Arrow and later Legends of Tomorrow, where he was finally cast as a series regular. But the multiverse is always expanding and John Wesley Shipp cemented the 1990 CBS series of The Flash in the Arrowverse beyond the glimpses of the multiverse in a 2016 episode by appearing as the Earth-90 Barry Allen in 2018. Even Supergirl started on CBS before moving to The CW for its second season and slowly becoming part of the Arrowverse.

With the 2019 "Crisis on Infinite Earths" event, even more shows were brought tangentially into the Multiverse, including not only Smallville but Lucifer and the 1966 Batman. Although they may not be part of the regular roster of CW DC shows, like the official New 52 Multiverse, their expanse influences the ongoing shows. The "Crisis" event even wrapped the Tim Burton Batman film (Earth-89) and the 2006 film Superman Returns (Earth-96) into the event, as well as Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman in multiple animated series, was seen on Earth-99.

From 2019's Batwoman to all the other DC Comics shows on The CW, each show contributes their own feel and characters to the Arrowverse. Vote up the shows that are the best part of The CW DC Multiverse.

Arrow is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Shows In The Arrowverse
Photo: Arrow/The CW

Developed to exist on its own, outside of any reference to the recently-ended Smallville (which had its own Green Arrow character), Arrow quickly became the highest rated CW show in five years.

Place in the Arrowverse Multiverse: Earth-1

Arrow (The CW, 2012) is an American superhero television series developed by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg, based on the DC Comics character. Five years after being stranded on a hostile island, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) returns home to fight the wrong doers as a secret vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrow. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Colin Donnell, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, + more

Premiered: 2012

Number of Seasons: 7

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The Flash is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Shows In The Arrowverse
Photo: The CW

The first spin-off after Arrow, introduced in what was supposed to be a back-door pilot (a regular pilot was ordered in addition), had the most watched and highest rated series premiere since The Vampire Diaries in 2009.

Place in the Arrowverse Multiverse: Earth-1

The Flash (The CW, 2014) is an American superhero television series developed by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Geoff Johns, based on the DC Comics character. CSI Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) gains super-human speed, which he uses to fight wrong doers, including others who have also gained superhuman abilities. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Rick Cosnett, Carlos Valdes, + more

Premiered: 2014

Number of Seasons: 5

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Legends of Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Shows In The Arrowverse
Photo: Legends of Tomorrow/The CW

The mid-season debut of Legends of Tomorrow added a fresh layer of complication to the Arrowverse, and showrunners soon needed to track characters and plots across the multiple series. By season two Legends became part of the yearly crossover event.

Place in the Arrowverse Multiverse: Earth-1

DC's Legends of Tomorrow (The CW, 2016) is an American superhero action-adventure television series spin-off from Arrow and The Flash, existing in the same fictional universe. Intending to stop him, he recruits a team consisting of Ray Palmer/The Atom (Brandon Routh), Sara Lance/White Canary (Caity Lotz), Martin Stein (Victor Garber), and Jefferson "Jax" Jackson (Franz Drameh), who together become the hero Firestorm, Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl, Carter Hall/Hawkman, Leonard Snart/Captain Cold, and Mick Rory/Heat Wave. ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Arthur Darvill, Caity Lotz, Franz Drameh, + more

Premiered: 2016

Number of Seasons: 4

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Smallville is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Shows In The Arrowverse
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

As part of the 2019 "Crisis On Infinite Earths" event, the Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman (Tom Welling) and Lois Lane (Erica Durance) of Smallville were approached at their farm to determine if he was one of the missing paragons needed to defeat the anti-monitor.

Place in the Arrowverse Multiverse: Earth-167

Smallville is an American television series developed by writer-producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, based on the DC Comics character Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The series, initially broadcast by The WB, premiered on October 16, 2001. After Smallville '​s fifth season, The WB and UPN merged to form The CW, the series' later United States broadcaster. Smallville, which ended its tenth and final season on May 13, 2011, follows Clark Kent in the fictional town of Smallville, Kansas, before he becomes known as Superman. The first four seasons focus on Clark and his friends in high school. After season five Smallville ventures into adult settings, eventually focusing on ...more on Wikipedia

Actors: Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Allison Mack

Premiered: 2001

Number of Seasons: 10

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