How to Watch Arrowverse in Order | Every DC CW Show in Order

The universe that redefined DC Comics' presence on television, here's how to watch the Arrowverse in order.

by J.R. Waugh

Watch-Arrowverse-in-Order

The Arrowverse is a massive group of DC television properties that have collectively either had their entire run on the CW or were acquired/shown by the network as the years passed.   The Arrowverse interacts with other shows taking place in parallel universes during its numerous televised event stories as well, but the principal shows remain in the same universe.  It’s a massive, 710-episode (and counting) run and one of the most ambitious, critically-acclaimed shared universes on the medium.  Here’s our guide on How to Watch The Arrowverse: Every DC CW Show in Order!

How to Watch Arrowverse in Order | Every DC CW Show in Order

Given the massive slate of series, you’ll need to watch, the best recommendation is to approach it one season at a time, along with the corresponding shows that aired during that year.  The list goes as follows:

Arrowverse Season 1

Arrow-Season-1

  • Arrow Season 1: 23 Episodes

This season debuted Stephen Amell’s depiction of Oliver Queen as the Green Arrow, simply known as The Hood in the beginning.  This kicked off the entire Arrowverse, and the show was enormously popular and well-received at the time.  This made a star out of Amell and would go on for 8 seasons.  The watch order for this first season is plain and simple, before the bigger, bulkier years of the Arrowverse as it would come to be known.

Arrowverse Season 2

Arrowverse-Watch-Order-Arrow-Season-2

  • Arrow Season 2: 23 Episodes

The second season for the Arrowverse still only featured its namesake show, but this year we saw Oliver meet Barry Allen, which would make for a backdoor pilot of the Flash series which would debut in the following season.

Arrowverse Season 3

The-Flash-Season-1

  • The Flash Season 1: 23 Episodes
  • Arrow Season 3: 23 Episodes

This is the year where the number of shows in the universe begins to grow larger, with fans latching quickly onto Grant Gustin’s performance as Barry Allen, and viewers remarking on how light and fun the series was in comparison to the more serious tone of Arrow.  Particular highlights include the two characters trying to find a work-life balance as superheroes and civilians.  The Flash would go on to outlive Arrow as a series and is currently renewed for a 9th season.  This was also the beginning of a trend where Arrow, The Flash, and later, other shows would have a crossover after airing their first 7 or 8 episodes, so definitely watch The Flash e08 and then Arrow e08 in sequence.

Arrowverse Season 4

supergirl

  • The Flash Season 2: 23 Episodes
  • Arrow Season 4: 23 Episodes
  • Supergirl Season 1: 20 Episodes
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 1: 16 Episodes

It’s here that the Arrowverse is growing at an accelerated rate, with Supergirl originally debuting on CBS before being brought to the CW, and Legends of Tomorrow debuting in 2016 after everything else, featuring characters found across multiple series and genres to create a sort of “Doctor Who with superheroes” experience.  Vixen’s web series debuts before the beginning of this season.  Continuing the previous year’s trend, watch The Flash e08, then Arrow e08, for their crossover event.

Arrowverse Season 5

Legends-of-Tomorrow-Season-2

  • The Flash Season 3: 23 Episodes
  • Arrow Season 5: 23 Episodes
  • Supergirl Season 2: 22 Episodes
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 2: 17 Episodes

There is a significant crossover between these shows, “Invasion!” which is set during episode 8 for both The Flash and Arrow, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and it’s best you also watch Supergirl episode 8 beforehand.

Arrowverse Season 6

Arrowverse-Watch-Order-Earth-X-event

  • The Flash Season 4: 23 Episodes
  • Arrow Season 6: 23 Episodes
  • Supergirl Season 3: 23 Episodes
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 3: 18 Episodes
  • Black Lightning Season 1: 13 Episodes

This season introduces Black Lightning, for a 13-episode run.  His character does not interact with the others in any crossovers so there’s not any particular required position for his series to be watched.  The season’s crossover, Crisis on Earth-X, can be viewed in sequence from parts 1 to 4 by watching episode 8 of Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow in sequence.  Freedom Fighters: The Ray should be watched before this event as well, so his appearance in the crossover can be more appreciated.  This season would also reintroduce Matt Ryan as the live-action John Constantine into the Arrowverse, with his portrayal being a fan-favorite casting.

Arrowverse Season 7

Black-Lightning

  • The Flash Season 5: 22 Episodes
  • Arrow Season 7: 22 Episodes
  • Supergirl Season 4: 22 Episodes
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 4: 16 Episodes
  • Black Lightning Season 2: 16 Episodes

This season featured even greater expansion to the franchise, with the introduction of 2 DC mainstays: the denizens and defenders of Gotham and Metropolis.  This included the introduction of their first iteration of Batwoman and Lois Lane, and the crossover featured this season is Elseworlds, resulting in some crazy concepts and swapped roles for the actors.  The Elseworlds event takes place after the first 8 episodes of The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl in that order.

Arrowverse Season 8

Arrowverse-Watch-Order-Crisis-on-Infinite-Earths

  • The Flash Season 6: 19 Episodes
  • Arrow Season 8: 10 Episodes
  • Supergirl Season 5: 19 Episodes
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 5: 14 Episodes
  • Black Lightning Season 3: 16 Episodes
  • Batwoman Season 1: 20 Episodes

The most ambitious crossover event of the franchise to date took place during this season, Crisis on Infinite Earths.  An adaptation of the comic event of the same name, which helped popularize event series’ like it for years to come, this story was huge for the Arrowverse and served as the last season for Arrow as well.  This crossover is best viewed only if you’ve first watched Supergirl, Batwoman, Black Lightning, The Flash’s first 8 episodes, and Arrow’s first 7.  The best viewing order for this event then goes as follows: Supergirl e09, Batwoman e09, Black Lightning e09, The Flash e09, Arrow e08, and Legends of Tomorrow e08.  Stargirl debuts, is not part of the Arrowverse catalog, operating in its own, separate universe.

Arrowverse Season 9

Batwoman-Season-2

  • The Flash Season 7: 18 Episodes
  • Supergirl Season 6: 15 Episodes
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 6: 15 Episodes
  • Black Lightning Season 4: 13 Episodes
  • Batwoman Season 2: 18 Episodes

After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, this season features no major crossover.  Another CW series enters the fray, Superman & Lois, but is also later revealed to be in a separate universe to prevent too many messy plot threads.  Batwoman is recast, with a new character succeeding the original Batwoman, Kate Kane, originally played by Ruby Rose, with Javicia Leslie portraying Ryan Wilder instead.  Arrow is out of the picture, making The Flash the new most senior series and flagship title.  Supergirl and Black Lightning concluded their runs with this season as well, leaving Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman along with The Flash as the remainders.

Arrowverse Season 10

Arrowverse-Watch-Order-Flash-Armageddon

  • The Flash Season 8: 20 Episodes
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 7: 13 Episodes
  • Batwoman Season 3: 13 Episodes

This is the final season for Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow, leaving The Flash as the only surviving show and officially the longest-serving one, going into its 9th season in 2022.  The first 5 episodes of The Flash are the closest to a crossover feel for any of the shows.

Arrowverse Season 11

The-Flash

  • The Flash Season 9

This is where the Arrowverse stands now, as simplified in its watch order as it was in the first years.  Once a mighty franchise, it has splintered much like the DCEU into individual fragments for standalone storytelling.  There are many other great shows to watch in addition to The Flash, such as HBO Max’s offerings, including Peacemaker, Titans, Doom Patrol, and more.  And don’t sleep on Superman & Lois, which has become a favorite with the fans.

The Arrowverse is certainly winding down, but DC has shown no signs of outright stopping with its creative outputs.  It no longer has the same type of hold it had even a few years ago, but this franchise is a reminder that in many ways, DC has a particular hold over television and streaming to what the MCU has over feature films.  If you’ve made it through these shows, take a well-deserved rest, and consider getting into upcoming projects from DC in the future, such as the Green Lantern Corps, and more.  Shows belonging to the Arrowverse are viewable on Netflix and HBO Max.

This concludes our guide on How to Watch The Arrowverse: Every DC CW Show in Order!  For all things DC and other franchises in pop culture, come on by our entertainment column!

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