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Ten Moments that Mattered: The CW's Shared #DCTV Universe

Ten Moments that Mattered: The CW's Shared #DCTV...

By Tim Beedle Thursday, December 29th, 2016

To make your mark on the future, it helps to take stock of where you’ve been. 2017 promises to be an exciting year for DC and its fans, but before we celebrate the new year, we thought we’d look back on 2016 and consider some of the places we’ve been. DC made some bold choices in the worlds of comics, film and TV, and many of them set our course for the months and years ahead. The past year was full of memorable moments, but some of these moments held real significance. Some of them really mattered. So as we do every year at this time, we thought we’d discuss a few of them. These are DCComics.com’s “Ten Moments that Mattered” for 2016.


True, The CW has had a shared #DCTV universe since The Flash debuted in 2014. However, that universe and its potential for remarkable storytelling grew by leaps and bounds this fall largely due to two things: Supergirl moving to The CW and The Flash’s take on the classic “Flashpoint” storyline.

With Supergirl the benefit is obvious—The CW picked up another DC hero to join its growing line up. Only this time, it was one who already had a dedicated viewership. While it’s true that Kara lives on a different Earth in the Multiverse, that’s hardly an obstacle and in fact may be an advantage. Supergirl has a much stronger power set than any of her fellow CW heroes, begging the question why she wouldn’t come to their aid when they’re facing extreme challenges (such as when Damien Darhk launched a massive nuclear attack on Arrow last season). Placing her on a different world allows the writers to skirt this problem while also giving them the luxury of bringing the heroes together when it’s appropriate.

And we hope it’s appropriate frequently. Kara harbors a sense of wonder and enthusiasm that the other heroes lack. The onscreen energy and chemistry between the characters is much different when she’s there among them. While the heart of The CW’s #DCTV Universe may be the relationship between Oliver and Barry, one could easily see Kara being added to the mix, forming a different—but no less exciting—take on the classic DC trinity.

Of course, Supergirl joining the lineup also broadened the canvas considerably. The CW’s shared universe now includes four uniquely diverse shows (five if you count CW Seed’s animated Vixen) with large casts that are capable of interacting with each other in surprising ways. We’re talking everything from unexpected cameo appearances to interconnected storylines to musical crossover episodes, like we’ll see later this season between Supergirl and the Flash.

This is something that became even clearer when Barry Allen altered the timeline earlier this season in “Flashpoint.” Not only did he change his reality, but the reality of the other shows. The thing is we don’t yet know the extent of how. For example, consider the midseason finale of Arrow. Is Laurel Lance back due to Barry’s timeline machinations or is it some other phenomenon? We won’t know until Arrow returns next year, but “Flashpoint” would seem to be one possible explanation.

It demonstrates the unparalleled opportunity The CW now has with these shows. Narrative threads can be woven into all four of them, blossoming in different ways, and ultimately resulting in the characters coming together in crossover episodes that will have more impact than ever before. It’s something that has long been done in the world of comics, and while other shows have come close, The CW’s four interconnected DC shows are primed to be the first to make good use of it on the small screen.

If you’re a comic book fan, this matters because shared continuity is as much a part of the experience as super powers and colorful villains, but it’s one that’s only recently made it to other media. We’ve certainly seen it in film, but The CW is the only network, at least for now, to have made such regular use of it on television, and this season’s changes suggest that it’s only going to get even better from here.

In other words, it may be the small screen, but the world just got a whole lot larger.
 

Be sure to check DCComics.com again tomorrow for another moment that mattered in 2016.

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