Whereas the Arrow-verse previously told unique, intriguing stories, which were particularly placed around the lead character of a series, these shows now just share all of the same ideas. Where’s the original flare?
We’ve seen it time and time again throughout these last few seasons of Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, but especially with the current seasons, that these writers are lacking any of their own ideas and they all get together and create a list of plots for the upcoming TV season for all of them to take some twist on and integrate into their respective show.
From many a lead character in jail storyline to the gradual loss of memory, the Arrow-verse is no longer telling stories perfectly catered to their individual shows, but they’re telling sloppily-crafted, shared stories that we’re already seeing played out by other characters in the Arrow-verse.
First of all, being threatened and/or going to jail is the biggest offender of this terrible pattern during the most current season. Taking place on Arrow and The Flash, viewers saw both Oliver and Barry undergo a trial where they were represented by a close, authoritative woman in their lives, found guilty, and both (eventually) went to jail for their actions.
Granted, Oliver’s run with the law was for his crimes committed as the Green Arrow and Barry’s for the framed murder of Clifford DeVoe, but, nonetheless, it was as if viewers were watching the same stories play out with different characters. Barry spent his time in prison until being released, while Oliver will presumably be in prison when Arrow season 7 premieres and everyone can assume he’ll be released, too.
Meanwhile, on Supergirl and The Flash, we’re seeing two common threads. First, the battle for Harry Wells and M’yrnn J’onnz as they both dealt with different, but similar events concluding in the loss of their memories. Secondly, much like Killer Frost and the separate identity situation which disallows Caitlin from tapping into her frosty abilities, Sam’s separate identity within her body also prevents her from using these powers. (Though, we’ve seen Caitlin and Sam channeling their powers when they didn’t mean to, but we’re supposed to forget about those moments).
And, finally, let’s not forget the worst offender of all: the sonic scream. Originally supposed to be the enhanced ability of Dinah Laurel Lance AKA the Black Canary, this scream has now been given to every character within walking distance of Central City. Dinah Drake, Black Siren, Purity (and therefore Reign), and Izzy Bowen (and therefore Clifford DeVoe) each have had their own sonic scream during this TV season. Instead of creating new abilities (or showing unused powers) and getting original, the shows are all just copying each other and creating new characters with the scream that was supposed to belong to Laurel Lance.
Instead of creating new ideas and seeing them through, the writers of each DCTV show are hanging onto one another and coming up with simple, similar ideas for each of the stories to unfold as their seasons progress.
While Legends of Tomorrow is definitely a culprit, too, the blame falls heavily on Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl, all of which are telling the same stories at different times in different ways. Perhaps it’s the fault of having long, 22-episode seasons, but it’s also due to the lack of originality and creativity flowing through these shows. Now that they’re established and holding steady, risks aren’t being taken with the storytelling, which is exactly the opposite from what should happen.
With such a vast comic book history behind these characters, and some of them being original characters, the world is open to create imaginative, refreshing stories on every show, yet we’re seeing the same poignant, sluggish plot points used to shake the characters or develop them. Perhaps this is the fault of having the same set of writers and producers working on every show as ideas are stale, unoriginal, and boring, which is all the more reason to bring in fresh perspectives and comic book fans with a knowledge of these characters and the stories they’ve undergone in the comics.
Now that these shows are steady and surviving on their own, it’s the time for big risks and deviance in the norm. After all, anything is possible in the Arrow-verse, so if a mistake is made, it can always be rectified. (Still waiting for that Earth-1 Laurel Lance resurrection, though.)