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Meet the Arrow Generation – The Kids Who Grew Up with the Arrowverse

With the news that The CW is canceling Batwoman and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, more than ever it feels like the Arrowverse is ending. Yet, starting with 2012’s Arrow, this small-budget TV shared universe is the most consistent and prolific live-action DC Comics universe for a generation of kids.

Since the marquee DC Comics characters were created in the late 1930s, there have been live-action versions of them. Kids in the early days had Superman and Batman serials at movie houses across the country. In the 1950s and 1960s, they had The Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves and Batman starring Adam West. But, by the 1980s, TV only got these characters for cartoons. Only in the past decade have the folks at Warner Bros. decided to unite these characters and others in a big cinematic universe. Inarguably, the DC Extended Universe did not quite live up to either the studios’ or fans’ expectations.

While all that was happening in Hollywood, up in Vancouver a team of storytellers led by powerhouse producer Greg Berlanti also got to work. By the time the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Cut was sitting on fans’ shelves, the Arrowverse had been born. On a small TV budget, Berlanti and company were able to do what the movie side of the house is still struggling to accomplish. They created a cohesive world with a shared continuity that felt lived-in and real, and is the closest thing to the way these characters interact in the comics that DC fans ever got.

Now, to be fair, Zack Snyder was making a big, blockbuster universe for mostly adult fans, and The Batman continues this trend on the box office. But even though they are complex, mythic characters enjoyable by all ages, kids really love superheroes. The CW is already a network that caters to pre-teen viewers, mostly young women, which meant these shows skewed more kid friendly. Counting animated tie-in series, the Arrowverse produced 43 seasons of television, each season running from 13 to 23 episodes. Their parents may have grown up on Christopher Reeve and Michael Keaton (and Val Kilmer and George Clooney), but the Arrow Generation grew up with the Arrowverse versions of these characters.

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