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The Best Shows In The Arrowverse

Updated February 23, 2021 11.6k votes 1.8k voters 10.6k views19 items

List RulesVote 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 eighteen shows across three networks and over 50 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 "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), the 2011 Green Lantern (Earth 12), into the event, as well as Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman in multiple animated series, was seen on Earth-99. Even the DC Extended Universe films were included as Ezra Miller reprised his role as Barry Allen.

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.

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  • Arrow
    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, ending its eighth and final season shortly after the end of its final crossover event.

    Place in the Arrowverse Multiverse: Earth Prime, formerly Earth-1 pre-"Crisis" event.

    • Actors: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Colin Donnell, David Ramsey, Willa Holland
    • Premiered: 2012
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  • The Flash
    Photo: The Flash / 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 Prime, formerly Earth-1 pre-Crisis event.

    • Actors: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Rick Cosnett, Carlos Valdes
    • Premiered: 2014
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  • Legends of Tomorrow
    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 - though not all characters participate in each year's crossover.

    Place in the Arrowverse Multiverse: Earth Prime, formerly Earth-1 pre-"Crisis" event.

    • Actors: Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Arthur Darvill, Caity Lotz, Franz Drameh
    • Premiered: 2016
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  • Supergirl
    Photo: Supergirl / The CW

    Although interest had been expressed in the CBS Supergirl series sharing the same universe as Arrow, the show was kept separate. Due to its placement on Earth-38, Kara Danvers only appears in the general Earth-1 Arrowverse during crossover events.

    Place in the Arrowverse Multiverse: Earth Prime, formerly Earth-38 pre-"Crisis" event.

    • Actors: Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, Jeremy Jordan, David Harewood
    • Premiered: 2015
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