The CW has announced that it is renewing seven of its current series for additional seasons; Arrow (Season 6), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Season 3), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (Season 3), The Flash (Season 4), Jane the Virgin (season 4), Supergirl (Season 3), and Supernatural (Season 13). Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour today, president of The CW, Mark Pedowitz, had the following to say; “Over the past several seasons, The CW has built a schedule of proven performers, from our lineup of DC superheroes, to critically acclaimed comedies, to sci-fi dramas. Early pickups of these seven series now allow our producers to plan ahead for next season, and gives us a solid base to build on for next season, with original scripted series to roll out all year long.”
The CW has yet to announce the lengths of each season, although it is probably a safe bet to assume that both Arrow and The Flash will be 23 episode seasons, the length of both series’ current and past seasons. Supergirl had a 20 episode first season, but The CW has yet to reveal how long Season Two will run for. That being said, we are confident, given both the nature of and reaction to the show, the Supergirl Season Three will be the full 23 episode length. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow received a 16 episode first season and was originally renewed for 12 episodes, now extended to 17. As such we’re not sure how many episodes of Legend’s we will get with Season Three, although the show has benefitted from tighter storylines that no doubt are a result of its shorter runs.
The network also announced that it will be releasing a new animated series of Constantine, following NBC’s unsuccessful live action series by the same name, and that it will be available on The CW Seed. Matt Ryan will be reprising his role as the snarky sorcerer, John Constantine, with Greg Berlanti producing the series. The CW also released concept art to go along with the announcement (see right).
The CW shows have gone (for the most part) from strength to strength. Arrow saw a weak Fourth Season, but so far at least the Fifth Season has righted the ship; with a gritty tone, intriguing villain, and less on-the-nose, poorly conceived, flashback sequences. The Flash’s focus on speedsters for their ‘big bads‘ is a little concerning, but the cast continues to deliver phenomenal performances. While Season Three has had a more dire tone, overall the show continues to remain entertaining from week-to-week. As for Legend’s of Tomorrow, Season Two has continued to re-define the show, swapping out certain characters such as Rip, for newer characters such as Captain Steel, pairing characters up differently to create new dynamics, and giving most of the cast their own personal challenges to face this season. All three have suffered a little from ‘villain of the week’ syndrome, but all-in-all the shows remain strong and continue to deliver.
Finally, there’s Supergirl, a show that suffered from a pretty horrendous first season on the CBS, with a focus on office romance over remaining true to characters’ history and delivering strong, compelling, and complex story-lines. That’s not to say the show was a total wreck; Melissa Benoist delivered great performances from week-to-week – carrying the show even at its lowest points, there were some interesting story threads with J’onn J’onzz and CADMUS, and Cat and Kara’s blooming friendship was a joy to watch. Even so, Season One, as a whole, failed to come to together; with lackluster villains, squandered story opportunities, and attempts to draw in an audience that traditionally didn’t care for comic book characters and their stories.
Thankfully, The CW seems to have saved the sinking ship that was Supergirl, with Season Two improving upon the first in every way. This season has seen the introduction of great new characters, such as Superman, Mon El (AKA Lar Gand) and Miss Martian. Furthermore, Season Two has found new places for characters such as Wynn – who is now working at the DEO, and James Olsen – who has begun his path towards becoming the hero Guardian, not to mention J’onn J’onzz playing a bigger part; both in terms of partnering with Supergirl, and exploring the character’s own storylines. Admittedly, some of this material and been more miss than hit, but it has been nice to see the cast branching out and feeling like more substantial elements of the show. Season Two also has more intriguing villains with Cyborg Superman and Lillian Luthor (Mother to Lex Luthor), and Lena Luthor potentially being set up as a future villain. Overall I’m loving Season Two of Supergirl, and given that this is The CW’s first crack at the whip, I can’t wait to see where they can take with the show in time.
There’s also the crossover event that took place towards the end of November, which was a critically a success, and even more so commercially, with The CW receiving the best ratings week in years with more than 2.3 million viewers tuning in for special episodes, not to mention viewership peaks for each of the seasons. The renewal of all four DC-centric shows hopefully means future-such crossovers will be on the table, with a Flash-Supergirl musical crossover already planned for later this year.
In terms of Constantine, there’s not much I can say, having not watched the season after it received some pretty terrible reviews. That said the character’s brief appearances in Arrow season four were great across the board, and so any opportunity for Matt Ryan to reprise the role — especially with The CW’s minds at the head — is a plus in my book.
All-in-all the future looks bright for Superheroes on The CW. For more on our thoughts about The CW DCTVU, the DC Cinematic Universe, The MARVEL Cinematic Universe, and other things comic book, superhero related, and even some things not related at all, be sure to check out Superhero Highlight Reel, our weekly, you guessed it, superhero podcast.