The CW was already on thin ice with many viewers after the fallout of the Supergirl series finale and by cancelling fan favorite DC shows such as Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow, but it’s now drawing more ire after axing even more popular series. The network, which is currently owned by both Warner Bros. TV and CBS TV Studios, announced an additional seven series would be cancelled with their current –for some of them, yet to be aired– seasons. This brings the total number of series cancelled at The CW this year to nine, which is over half of it’s current scripted television lineup. The cancelled shows include:
Legends of Tomorrow (2016-2022)
In the Dark (2019-2022)
Roswell, New Mexico (2019-2022)
If you noticed that the majority of these shows aren’t led by straight white male characters, then you’re paying attention. The justification depends on who you ask, but the blanket answer that has been given is that the network has a pending merger on it’s hands, it wasn’t sure it would be able to keep the lower-rated shows “profitable” if Warner Brothers wouldn’t fit the bill on the studio space. However, shows such as Riverdale (which had lower ratings than almost every show cancelled), Superman & Lois, Walker, and The Flash, were given a pass and renewed for yet another season.
It feels impossible that the network took into consideration optics such as actual viewership or social media presence for these shows. Batwoman, Roswell NM, and Legends of Tomorrow all had strong fanbases and would regularly trend on Twitter during their time slots. New series Naomi was just getting started with it’s world-building and exploring it’s greater connection to the Arrowverse, while The Flash, which has been way past it’s creative prime for years, is poised to limp through yet another season of recycled storylines and tired characters. Meanwhile, the cancellation of Legacies means the end of The Vampire Diaries franchise, which has been thriving for the past 13 years.
Batwoman did the unthinkable, by reinventing itself after losing it’s lead at the end of the first season and shifting the focus to the supporting characters, while introducing a new main character –all while not losing any integrity in the writing or acting on the series. The show would become one of the most diverse and entertaining superhero shows, not just on the network, but on television period over the course of it’s last two seasons.
Of course, none of these shows were informed of their impending doom, so their final seasons have already been filmed and there will be no way to wrap them up fittingly. This is a huge slap in the face to the crew members who are now all of a sudden without jobs, as well as the legion of fans of all the series who have invested years of their time to support the stars and the network. The true irony is that with a motto like “Dare to defy,” the network was awfully quick to drop everything to become a sellout, throwing away everything that had made it stand out from other networks for a fast buck.
I had previously hoped that whoever bought The CW would work hard to right the wrongs of the network committed over the years, but now I say burn it to the ground, salt the earth, and start over again.