After Smallville and Arrowverse, Exactly When Did The CW Jump The Shark?

After Smallville and Arrowverse, Exactly When Did The CW Jump The Shark?
Image credit: The CW

Should the fans give up on The CW now, or continue giving it countless second chances?

When the news broke in August that The CW network was selling 75% of its shares to media giant Nexstar, everyone was shocked by the ambitious plan to make the network profitable by 2025.

Anyone who's watched the network long enough to remember its golden days in the '00s would raise an eyebrow in disbelief: for many, the CW became a prime example of the quick rise and even quicker fall.

Before it became the network it is today, The CW was a combination of WB and UPN, with each contributing its best programming.

The CW gained its audience of loyal fans, mostly teenagers, with shows like Gilmore Girls, American Next Top Model, Smallville, and Supernatural, which began a rise in popularity.

The decision to focus all content on a specific age demographic was made by Mark Pedowitz, the network's president, who took over in early 2011.

While The CW had previously relied heavily on young women's devotion to their favorite shows, the plan now was to bring more young male audiences to their screens.

This is how the notorious Arrowverse was born, giving a new blossom not only to the network but also to DC fans who were tired of the failed movie productions at the time.

The Arrow, being the first of many shows to unite the DC heroes on the CW in one universe, was the perfect contrast to the MCU heroes at the time.

After Smallville and Arrowverse, Exactly When Did The CW Jump The Shark? - image 1

The producers were able to make the characters both dark and admirable, adding layers to the story that some might say the "clean" MCU heroes lacked.

But when did everything go downhill?

While it seemed that The CW had created the perfect formula for attracting teenagers and young adults to fandoms so that they could just do it over and over again...they couldn't.

While some argue that the fandoms that gave the network its popularity were the reason for its downfall, others think that the content just got way too repetitive.

Both points might be fair, considering how fans basically murdered The 100 after a decision that was deemed wrong.

#BuryYourGays backfired and buried the show's ratings, with no season after the one they got the fan-favorite queer love interest killed off getting more than one million in average viewership.

The most recent and one of the most telling examples of The CW's decline would be Gotham Knights with a truly embarrassing 18% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a handful of very critical reviews.

"Gotham Knights just left no impression on us, which is deadly for any show, but especially one that's trying to be a Batman series without Batman," a review from Decider stated, uniting the masses' opinions.

What could have been (and should have been) another groundbreaking show in the DC Universe turned out to be one of The CW's worst performances ever.

With other staples like The Flash and Riverdale coming to an end, the question of whether the network can be saved is even more pressing.

Whether Nexstar will be able to lead The CW into a new era of success or bury the network once and for all remains to be seen.

The good news is that we will always have plenty of shows to return to when we get nostalgic and miss the days of really good young adult television.