CW v Netflix: Who Heroes Better
Over the past few years superheroes have been taking over everything. There was a time when you could only get your hero fix from comics or cartoons, but with the new rise of so many new properties being picked up, heroes are becoming a new norm. It started with movies, then it moved to television, and now it’s even been picked up by internet networks.
With all these options where does one go now to get their hero fix outside of comic books. Some might say Netflix, others will tell you the CW. So which of these networks really handles comics the best? That’s a loaded question because the CW was the founding company in making a successful hero drama based on a comic with Arrow. The success of Arrow showed that people want more comic based entertainment and some networks know how to deliver. ABC proved this when they made Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showing that people not only want hero shows but any comic book show if done right. Fox made an attempt at this formula with Gotham and despite a stellar cast the ratings for the show have made it difficult for Fox to continue airing it. In fact if this were anything not Batman related I think Fox would have axed this show already.
Wanting to expand on their show much like the comics do, the CW began airing the Flash after the positive fan reception of Barry Allen’s appearance on Arrow. The Flash directly ties into what is now the Arrowverse much in the way the major characters in comics books share respective universes. The next network to jump on the bandwagon was Netflix, with the show Daredevil. Daredevil quickly became a fan favorite like Arrow and proved to be quite the rival to the CW. Netflix didn’t stop there, shortly after Daredevil they released Jessica Jones which takes place in the same setting as Daredevil, so now we have two networks with unified comic book shows. This is where things start to get interesting.
The CW seeing no reason to stop, they quickly green light iZombie. A series based on the Vertigo title of the same name and printed by none other than DC. Shortly after they added another show to the Arrowverse family with Legends of Tomorrow, which is loosely based on the Black Canary comic. The CW now has four DC shows under its brand, three of which tie together, but do they stop there. Nope. CBS had attempted a show at the hero genre with Supergirl, but due to poor ratings(and writing, aaaand budgeting) the show was handed over to the CW which plans on tying it into the Arrowverse. That puts the CW at five comic shows four of which have to check with each other when writing up scripts.
The CW isn’t alone in it’s want to host more shows, as Netflix has also announced two spin-off series with The Punisher and Luke Cage, from Daredevil and Jessica Jones respectively. Netflix also announced that they’re going have Iron Fist as it’s own series too. These, much like the Arrowverse, all exist in the same universe. Now we’re left with each network having multiple tie-in shows. It seems like a lot to try and keep up with and this is where these networks differ.
The CW is going to have all of these shows running at the same time with all the shows tied together with crossover episodes. This to me seems like too much going on and I feel these shows might suffer the way Arrow has been suffering. For those of you who don’t follow the shows, Arrow has been a major disappointment me for and many other fans. This is due to the writers straying from the source material resulting in fans losing interest in the show. The Flash managed to stay close to the comics and has been highly received by both fans and critics. Legends of Tomorrow seemed to underperform compared to how Arrow and The Flash started out. It seems manage several series with interlocking stories is difficult to do while maintaining strong plots. This is going to be compounded when they include Supergirl to their lineup. Hopefully they’ll be able to handle this, because I would like to see a good cohesive universe in these shows.
So with Netflix adding three new shows to their line up, are they destined to stray from far from the source material. I don’t think so, because Netflix is putting Daredevil and Jessica Jones on hold and won’t have any episodes while they produce The Punisher, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist or the Beat Down Trio, as I am henceforth calling it. This approach to put their forerunner series on hold while moving out new ones is the best movie they could do. This allows the actors to get a break or branch out to do other projects while simultaneously allowing the writers to put together a solid story.
When it comes to the battle of these networks only time will tell, but I think Netflix is taking the right approach. I think the CW is overloading their network, and the shows are going to get diluted. I hope that isn’t the case but that’s what I fear may happen. Warner Bros have a notorious reputation for letting the executives have too much creative control and I can easily see that happening with the CW. Netflix is a relatively young network when it comes to producing television series so we’ll have to wait to see how their shows pan out, but I expect good things.