While ABC, CBS and NBC are, of course, the best known and longest-standing American broadcast television networks, another, the CW Television Network (or ”The CW”), continues to make its mark with a growing cadre of original programming dramas and comedies – the former most notably in the superhero genre. And its successful arsenal continues to grow.
Not yet familiar with “The CW?” Wikipedia describes the network as “a limited liability joint venture between CBS Corporation, the former owners of the United Paramount Network (UPN) and the Warner Brothers Entertainment division of Time Warner, former majority owner of the WB Television Network.” As such, the “CW” is derived from CBS and Warner Brothers. Yet, it just as easily could be referred to as the “DC” – as in, DC Comics since the launch, three and a half years ago, of a little program that could called, “Arrow.” Thanks to clever writing and a healthy adherence to comic book and fandom lore and continuity, “Arrow,” named after the Green Arrow superhero archer, has become a runaway hit. Many, in fact, credit the show with putting the network on the map and keeping it there. And, the CW’s super geography is expanding.
Justice League partner “The Flash” spun off a year ago, while the stage is currently being set for yet another in “Legends of Tomorrow,” which will begin airing late next month and feature villains and heroes alike (including Firestorm and The Atom) spun off from both Flash and Arrow. In fact, in a two night, 2-part crossover this season, yet another iconic character that will star in ‘Legends’ was introduced in Hawkgirl. And, in what the producers of both programs excel at, yet another surprise character appeared out of the ether this week in Hawkman- for the first time ever (non-animated) in TV or movies.
Where Marvel has succeeded on the silver screen, DC continues to dominate on the boob tube (and we haven’t event mentioned CBS’s “Supergirl”). And, thus far, fans and funny paper novices alike are giving these heroes a collective thumbs up. Hopefully it is a lesson to those who have failed so miserably in recent years with corny send-ups of Green Hornet and Lone Ranger. In fact, Arrow and Flash have proven that super heroes can be handled with fun as well as reverence by properly understanding, respecting and marketing to the targeted viewing audience; giving them what they want and then some – up, up and away.