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Arrowverse: how to watch DC's CWverse in release or chronological order

Want to watch Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Black Lightning, Batwoman, and Legends of Tomorrow? Let us catch our breath; we'll tell you how

Image credit: Warner Bros.

The year was 2012, and the age of superheroes was just beginning. At the theaters, The Dark Knight Rises would bring to conclusion one of the best reviewed comic adadptations ever made, just as The Avengers would solidify a cinematic dynasty. But superhero comics weren't just happy with the big screen.

On October 10, a show called Arrow first made its way onto network The CW. Based on the DC Comics character of Green Arrow, the series would introduce a universe of heroes and villains that once only belonged on the page. Over the next few years, that universe would expand exponentially, growing into a project breathtaking in scope: The Arrowverse.

Over a decade later, Arrow and its superspawn have incorporated a litanty of DC Comics A to D-listers. If you're a fan of any of those characters, you might want to give the expanded universe a try, but not exactly know where to start.

Fortunately, Popverse has whipped together this Arrowverse watch order, in which we'll tell you exactly how to view the CW-produced metahuamn drama, as well as answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the franchise.

Let's begin with the most straightforward question, if not the simplest answer...

How to watch the Arrowverse in release order

Image credit: Warner Bros. Television

The Arrowverse stretches across two web series, six shows, eleven years on TV, and 723 episodes. That’s a lot of programming. So, what we’ve done to ease you into this sprawling megaverse is break it up by programming blocks. Each block corresponds to not one show, but one network TV season. And to make it even easier, we’ve noted in which years those seasons came out.

So go ahead and check out the Arrowverse in release order; categorized like so:

Block One: 2012-2013

Block Two: 2013-2014

Block Three: 2014-2015

Block Four: 2015-2016

Block Five: 2016-2017

Block Six: 2017-2018

Block Seven: 2018-2019

Block Eight: 2019-2020

Block Nine: 2020-2021

Block Ten: 2021-2022

Block Eleven: 2022-2023

How to watch the Arrowverse in chronological order

Image credit: Warner Bros. Television

The good thing about the Arrowverse is that it flows pretty linearly, time-wise. There’s no Yellowstone-style full-season prequels here. However, the consciencous viewer may find themselves wanting to work just a bit more of a timeline into their binge, especially considering that they affect each other as their stories progress.

So here’s what we’ll offer: a chronological watch order of the Arrowverse, organized around crossover episodes. We’ll tell you what you need to watch leading up to the crossover, which episodes make up the crossover, what to watch after, and then which shows aren’t part of a crossover for that block.

Block One: 2012-2013

  • Arrow Season 1

Block Two: 2013-2014

  • Arrow Season 2

Block Three: 2014-2015

  • The Flash Season 1, Episodes 1-7
  • Arrow Season 3, Episodes 1-7
  • Flash vs. Arrow - The Flash S1E8, Arrow S3E8
  • The Flash Season 1, Episodes 9-23
  • Arrow Season 3, Episodes 9-23

Block Four: 2015-2016

  • The Flash Season 2, Episodes 1-7
  • Arrow Season 4, Episodes 1-7
  • Heroes Join Forces - The Flash S2E8, Arrow S4E8
  • The Flash Season 2, Episodes 9-17
  • Arrow Season 4, Episodes 9-23
  • Supergirl Season 1, Episodes 1-17
  • World's Finest - Supergirl, S1E18
  • The Flash Season 2, Episodes 18-23
  • Supergirl Season 1, Episodes 19-20
  • Legends of Tomorrow Season 1
  • Vixen (web series) Season 1

Block Five: 2016-2017

  • The Flash Season 3, Episodes 1-7
  • Arrow Season 5, Episodes 1-7
  • Legends of Tomorrow Season 2, 1-6
  • Invasion! - The Flash S3E8, Arrow S5E8, Legends of Tomorrow S2E7
  • The Flash Season 3, Episodes 9-16
  • Arrow Season 5, Episodes 9-23
  • Legends of Tomorrow Season 2, Episodes 8-17
  • Supergirl Season 2, Episodes 1-15
  • Duet - The Flash, S3E17
  • The Flash Season 3, Episodes 18-23
  • Supergirl Season 2, Episodes 16-22
  • Vixen (web series) Season 2

Block Six: 2017-2018

  • Supergirl Season 3, Episodes 1-7
  • The Flash Season 4, Episodes 1-7
  • Legends of Tomorrow Season 3, Episodes 1-7
  • Arrow Season 6, Episodes 1-7
  • Crisis on Earth X - Supergirl S3E8, Arrow S6E8, The Flash S4E8, Legends of Tomorrow S3E8
  • Supergirl Season 3, Episodes 9-23
  • The Flash Season 4, Episodes 9-23
  • Legends of Tomorrow Season 3, Episodes 9-18
  • Arrow Season 6, Episodes 9-23
  • Black Lightning Season 1
  • Freedom Fighters: The Ray (web series) Season 1

Block Seven: 2018-2019

  • The Flash Season 5, Episodes 1-8
  • Supergirl Season 4, Episodes 1-8
  • Arrow Season 7, Episodes 1-8
  • Elseworlds - The Flash S5E9, Arrow S7E9, Supergirl S4E9
  • The Flash Season 5, Episodes 10-22
  • Supergirl Season 4, Episodes 10-22
  • Arrow Season 7, Episodes 10-22
  • Black Lightning Season 2
  • Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
  • Freedom Fighters: The Ray (web series) Season 2

Block Eight: 2019-2020

  • Supergirl Season 5, Episodes 1-8
  • Batwoman Season 1, Episodes 1-8
  • The Flash Season 6, Episodes 1-8
  • Arrow Season 8, Episodes 1-7
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths - Supergirl S5E9, Batwoman S1E9, The Flash S6E9, Arrow S8E8, Legends of Tomorrow TV Special (between S4 and S5)
  • Supergirl Season 5, Episodes 10-19
  • Batwoman Season 1, Episodes 10-20
  • The Flash Season 6, Episodes 10-19
  • Arrow Season 8, Episode 10
  • Legends of Tomorrow Season 5
  • Black Lightning Season 3

Block Nine: 2020-2021

  • Batwoman Season 2
  • Black Lightning Season 4
  • The Flash Season 7
  • Supergirl Season 6
  • Legends of Tomorrow Season 6

Block Ten: 2021-2022

  • Armageddon - The Flash Season 8, Episodes 1-5
  • The Flash Season 8, Episodes 6-20
  • Legends of Tomorrow Season 7
  • Batwoman Season 3

Block Eleven: 2022-2023

  • The Flash Season 9, Episodes 1-8
  • It's My Party and I'll Die If I Want To - The Flash Season 9, Episode 9
  • The Flash Season 9, Episodes 10-13

And before you ask: yes, we know that we didn’t list out the chronology of the Arrowverse’s time-traveling romp, DC's Legends of Tomorrow. That way lies madness.

How is the Arrowverse connected to the DCEU?

Image credit: Warner Bros. Television

By multiverse, of course! Technically, everything that falls under the DC Comics banner takes place in the same omniverse, including whatever’s been on the CW. Maybe the most memorable example of this was [spoilers!] in the fourth chapter of Crisis on Infinite Earths, when Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen came face to face with another Barry Allen, portrayed by Ezra Miller in the Zack Snyder-helmed DCEU.

Still, we should clarify that the Arrowverse is very much its own continuous reality, with no multiversal boundaries between the shows listed above (after Supergirl Season One, that is). So if you’re wondering where shows like Constantine or Superman & Lois are on these lists - that’s your answer. Like the DCEU, they have crossed paths with the Arrowverse, but it’s not their home reality.

Is Batman in the Arrowverse?

Image credit: Warner Bros. Television

For a web of shows that touched on a lot of DC Comics lore, the publisher’s most bankable character was largely absent. This could be because, at the time this universe was airing, Batman was too busy in the movies - during the Arrowverse’s run, Bruce Wayne appeared on the big screen six times.

That’s not to say the Dark Knight was entirely missing, however. Usually, the character’s presence came from mentions and relations, the most notable of these being Batwoman, the first season of which starred Kate Kane, Bruce's cousin. Bruce Wayne himself would eventually show up in Final Crisis on Infinite Earths, in which he was played by a very special actor. Kevin Conroy, who provided Batman’s voice for decades and is considered by many the definitive Dark Knight, donned a Kingdom Come-inspired exoskeleton to play a retired Batman.

Where can I watch the Arrowverse?

Image credit: Warner Bros. Television

Fortunately, you've got options if you're going to begin an Arrowverse watchathon. The first streaming service to check out is Netflix, which houses The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Black Lightning.

Obviously, there's one show missing from that list, plus both webseries. If you're looking to stick with just one streaming service for the entirety of your voyage into the Arrowverse, head to Max, where all of the shows listed above are currently streaming.

Is the Arrowverse over?

Image credit: Warner Bros. Television

Unfortunately, yes. 2023's season nine finale of The Flash marked not just the end of the show, but of the entire Arrowverse.

Why did all the Arrowverse shows end?

Image credit: Warner Bros. Television

That's a great question, and it has to do with the streaming question we asked above. You see, The CW was involved in a lucrative deal with Netflix for much of the Arrowverse's run. The shows were low-cost in production, but high-profit in their streaming distribution rights. In fact, we might owe the Arrowverse's existence partially to this fact; though some if its shows weren't as critically acclaimed as a network usually wants, the Netflix deal kept them from getting the axe.

However, this boon became bane when Warner Bros. entered their own champion into the streaming wars. Max (then known as HBO Max) became the go-to destination for DC Comics content, and in 2019, Warner Bros. and CBS Studios ended the Netflix deal. In April of 2022, the studio chose not to renew the lease on Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow, cancelling those series. With Arrow, Supergirl, and Black Lightning already wrapped, this cancellation would spell the doom of the Arrowverse.

And yet, like a politician's tweets or your embarrassing senior photos, things tend to stay on the internet. For now, you've got a whole world of caped crusaders, kooky cabals, and company-wide crossovers for your binging pleasure.

Enjoy.


Is the Arrowverse not enough for you? Wow, aren't you greedy. No worries, there are more superhero shows and movies on the way.

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