Arrow is currently the best Arrowverse show

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You’ve got a friend in Flash

In the middle of Arrow’s second act, Barry Allen and his friends from Star Labs race onto the scene, familiarizing audiences with the scarlet speedster before piloting its own show the following season.  The Flash Season 1 side by side with Arrow Season 3 was beginning to look a lot like comic book crossover euphoria. The characters visit each other’s show with regularity. The Flash’s episodic villain of the week formula was not groundbreaking, but the lovable characters were growing on us all at rapid pace and the Reverse-Flash arc ended thrillingly.

On Arrow, the bout between Oliver and Ra’s al Ghul was one of the most memorable duels ever on TV, nevertheless, after two and half years of fantastic entertainment, the agile archer was slowly losing his footing. The third season culminated in yet another attack on Star City.

Repetition would unfortunately propagate into an unwanted component of the expanding Arrowverse. At this point in the series’ cycles, The Flash is fresh and Arrow is showing signs of aging.

The more the merrier

The following season, supporting characters from Arrow and Flash hop aboard the Waverider to form The Legends of Tomorrow. That show was propelled by a preluding gathering of the two founding series, where Vandal Savage is established as an immortal evil that the Legends need to travel through time to stop.

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Legends is the Arrowverse’s breeziest venture since it rarely takes itself seriously. Most of the enjoyment comes from the team’s time-traveling interactions – with the Old Man Ollie encounter being a highlight of its first season.

That same year Supergirl swoops in on CBS, initially distancing itself from other DC shows. That all changes when the Flash zips through a multiverse portal and becomes buddies with Kara. While the brightly lit Supergirl with its generally low stakes is navigating through its freshman year, The Flash is upping the ante with a fearsome foe, Zoom, and some surprising twists, even if it can’t quite top Season 1.

Meanwhile, Arrow has taken a turn for the worse. The once provocative past-present strategy is weighing the show down as the fourth flashback storyline plods along. And magic is now inexplicably a featured element in a show that thrived on its grounded grittiness. Damien Darhk is the mystical villain who threatens to blow up Star City (because no one has tried that before).

With four shows on the CW’s DC lineup, The Flash is clearly outpacing the rest of the super friends.

The following year Supergirl moves to CW and ceremoniously joins the Arrowverse. We get our first four-way crossover called Invasion! – a big attraction for the small screen DC League. But even better is the Flash/Supergirl musical duet. While Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh continue to be fine leads for the series, unfortunately the showrunners thought it would be a good idea to employ Teri Hatcher as the second season’s main antagonist.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 starts to go off the rails with its time traveling tropes and preposterous story ideas – George Lucas and J.R.R. Tolkien are important historical figures. Back in Central City Flash underuses its Flashpoint plot design and the fastest man alive faces off against a third speedster in three seasons.

Arrow struggles to keep from drowning in its timeline structure for its fifth and final year of flashbacks. The show actually learns from past mistakes and develops an intriguing backstory for Prometheus, who has a convincing dynamic with Green Arrow. Prometheus gets under Ollie’s skin like no other villain and focuses on tormenting the marksman rather than blowing up the city.

With Legends and Supergirl remaining as the B-list shows in the Arrowverse, that leaves Arrow and Flash as the heavy hitters, and after their respective seasons 5 and 3, Arrow was closing back in on The Flash’s lead.