Let’s Talk Arrowverse – Cancellations

Well, folks, the news we’ve kinda been expecting for a while is now official: both Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow have been cancelled.

This is a huge blow. Not just because I loved one of those shows and enjoyed the other one a decent amount. Not just because neither of them got the chance, like past Arrowverse shows did, to create an episode meant to be the series finale. Not just because both ended on cliffhangers that, barring a crossover episode next season, will never be resolved. Not just because people spent years asking for Booster Gold to show up, only for him to be yanked away after one episode.

But because this seems like it’s signaling the end of the Arrowverse as a whole. Only The Flash and Superman & Lois will be back next season (there’s also been talk of a Justice U spinoff, but those plans feel distinctly straw-graspy), and most indications are that Season 9 will be The Flash‘s last. This whole multi-show, shared universe enterprise feels like it’s drawing to a close.

Ten years. It’s been ten years since Arrow premiered and began this whole thing, though few at the time could have predicted all that would come from that humble beginning. And ever since the end of Arrow, and the big celebration that was Crisis on Infinite Earths, it’s felt like the Arrowverse has been fading away. Now two shows have ended without so much as a warning, or a chance to prepare a sendoff …

For a while, we had something truly special, something weird and grand and clunky and marvelous, something that by conventions of TV logic, shouldn’t have been able to do as much as it did for as long as it did. These shows were far, far, far from perfect; I’ll admit, there were times when keeping up with some of them became a chore. But their spirit, charting the lives of hundreds of characters having adventures each week, occasionally teaming up in ways both big and small, blending action and comedy and drama, and not letting how silly and low-budget they were get in the way … they captured something great.

In the broader scheme of things, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is obviously the big, defining superhero franchise of the last decade. But for me, this will always be the era of the Arrowverse.

Oh, yeah, and there were a couple new episodes this week, weren’t there? Not everyone’s cancelled yet, baby!

The Flash episode was a decent outing. The story wasn’t so hot; we’re in try-to-hype-the-latest-threat-as-most-dire-thing-ever territory, even though, as Joe points out, Deathstorm is hardly the most insurmountable foe they’ve surmounted. Plus, Iris and the Still Force not being able to see her future … like, she keeps existing after that happens, so clearly she still has some future, so the worry seems overblown.

It’s the directing that saved this ep. What could have been garden variety Team-Flash-faces-bad-guy scenes were given this creepy, horror movie feel. The slow way Cecile opens her now jet-black eyes. The trippy jump cuts as Iris starts to disappear. The whirling fan blades Frost was thrown towards. Caitlin giving a full, unbridled scream as Deathstorm corners her. All these touches elevated the material and made the threats feel genuinely threatening for a change.

Plus, Barry running on lightning bolts while electric guitars wail on the soundtrack is the sort of big set piece it feels like we haven’t gotten in ages. And the scene where Caitlin mentions that Deathstorm wants her to be his “bride” … the shots of everyone’s befuddled reactions were just perfect.

On the Superman & Lois front, going to the Bizarro World made for one banger of an episode! We got some freaky goings on for the main plot, and a classic “yes, Superman is just that good a person” moment. But also, so much funny stuff!

When we came back from commercial to that “Bizarro Tal-Rho” title card with country-western music playing, and saw our Tal’s easy going doppelganger, I laughed out loud. They actually gave us the cube shaped Bizarro Earth! (and cube shaped sun and cube shaped billiard balls (which still make more sense than Battlestar Galactica‘s everything’s-an-octagon aesthetic)) Superheroes crafting their public image is always a good source of humor, and we got a nice dose of that here. And after so much media (including this show) has done the “alternate universe Superman is evil” thing, it was a treat seeing this episode go “alternate universe Superman is just kind of a douche”.

Though, anyone else find it odd that the Bizarro Universe and the Mirror Dimension both exist, and seem to be completely unrelated? Just like in the comics, Crisis on Infinite Earths taking the multiverse out of play just means writers start creating new alternate universes to play with.

Question of the Week: Would you like to see Legends or Batwoman get a sendoff-via-crossover next season? If so, what would you hope it to be?