It’s hard to believe it was just five years ago that The CW took a shot on a risky little show called Arrow. Now? Four out of five nights are anchored by a DC superhero series in prime time — and they’re already planning a four-show crossover this fall.
With The Flash and Arrow premiering this week, ahead of Supergirl’s CW debut and the return of Legends of Tomorrow next week, we wanted to take a spoiler-free peek at how the new seasons kick off for the most super-powered line-up ever conceived on television.
We’ve seen the premieres, and here’s our take on how the new seasons are shaking out (or at least as much as we can tell you):
The Flash (Tuesday, October 4)
The Flashpoint twist at the end of last season has hung heavy over the Flash’s return, and the premiere (titled “Flashpoint,” funny enough) absolutely pays it off. Barry Allen is living in a whole new world, where all his dreams are coming true … until they’re not. Every action has consequences, and Barry faces the sharp end of the stick not long after the season begins. The return of Eobard Thawne is a welcome addition, and the dynamic and relationship between Barry and Thawne is legit dynamite.
There have been pics and footage of Keiynan Lonsdale’s Kid-Flash kicking around for months, and even with all the build-up, his costumed intro lives up to the hype. We won’t spoil the exact circumstances, just to say Wally is having one heck of a fun time being The Flash. He even gets his own nemesis! We get to check out several alternate versions of Team Flash along the way, and along with Wally, alt-Cisco definitely steals the show.
But even though we all knew Flashpoint was coming, If you think you know how the start of this season is going to go, you’re probably wrong. The writers take some unexpected twists with the Flashpoint arc (with varying degrees of success), but it certainly sets up some interesting questions moving forward into the depth of Season 3. It might not be what fans expect, but it’s compelling nonetheless.
Arrow (Wednesday, October 5)
The granddaddy of them all heads into its fifth season, as producer Marc Guggenheim & Co. try to figure out how to keep the original DC series relevant. For the most part, they nail it. Last season ended with a ton of cliffhangers, and it really does feel like the pieces have been moved around the board (and some new pieces introduced) for the new season. Oliver is understandably in a rough place following the death of Laurel (and the retirement of pretty much his entire super-team). It’s a story that’s been explored in the past, and in this case it does sometimes fall into the old tropes, but adding in Oliver’s mayoral duties is a nice twist.
We get the germ of Oliver forming his new team, and some positively insane action beats (one of which will make Hawkeye blush). The addition of Walking Dead alum Chad L. Coleman is also a good direction, with an old-school face-bashing baddie to help reset the stakes after all the magic and insanity of last season. Oh, and out of every cast member still hanging around, Quentin Lance steals the show. Seriously, he’s actually exciting again. It’s been a few seasons since it was easy to get truly excited about Arrow, but Season 5 really feels like a much-needed refresh.
Arguably the best surprise? The flashback arc in Russia this season. The flashbacks last year were pretty much terrible, and we’re happy to report just one episode’s worth of flashback action in the premiere surpassed 22 episodes worth from last year. Rest assured, you’re probably not going to hate these.
Supergirl (Monday, October 10)
Reintroducing Supergirl to the CW audience after its first season on CBS was a tall order, but the Supergirl premiere is arguably the strongest episode of the bunch. It introduces one of the best versions of Superman we’ve seen in years, which turns out to be both a blessing and a curse. Tyler Hoechlin’s version of Clark Kent knocks it out of the park, and to that end, does steal some of the spotlight from Kara in her network debut. Despite that, Supergirl still certainly holds her own (the episode really is great). But man, Hoechlin is just so darn likable.
Outside of Supes, the episode does an excellent job of softly resetting the series and making it feel a bit more CW-y (and I mean that in a good way). The show was always a good tonal fit with The Flash, and they just lean a little harder into that. With its bright aesthetic and hopeful tone, Supergirl remains one of the most original and compelling entires in the genre.
Legends of Tomorrow (Thursday, October 13)
The first season of Legends was a mixed bag, dragging out some stories for far too long. But we have good news — it embraces the utterly absurd in Season 2 in the best possible way. It’s finally paying off on the potential of a wacky superhero team-up, and is leaning all the way into the Doctor Who-esque elements of the concept. Just with superheroes. The premiere picks up the story threads from the Season 1 finale, but does it with a framing device that keeps it interesting. We also get to see all kinds of different eras (this is a time travel show, after all). Oh, and the one-liners. So many one-liners.
If Flash and Supergirl are a bit too silly for you, then the new-look Legends may not be your bag. Because it’s nuts. Like, way nuttier than Season 1 (and you didn’t even think that was possible, right?). But if you’re looking for the most stupid-fun thing on television, set your DVR now. You won’t regret it.