When "Arrow" comes out in the fall on The CW, the network and DC Comics have opportunities rarely shared in the past by the two companies under the Time Warner umbrella. While the two companies have come together for other shows before, the progression of the Green Arrow has advantages to set it apart from most of the other superhero shows from the network's past (including when the network was split between UPN and The WB). If the show succeeds, The CW and DC Comics could make the Green Arrow into a cash cow.
DC has teamed with Time Warner networks on over a dozen comic book-based animated shows and live-action shows such as "Smallville." Most of these projects were centered on Batman, Superman, the Justice League, or other top DC properties. "Teen Titans," which ran on The WB, The CW, and Cartoon Network was based on a team that had been established at DC, but was not as publically known as Batman and Superman. The long-running series sprouted toy lines and other types of merchandising, which put the logos and characters on shelves across the country and the same could come from "Arrow" if the show makes a significant impact in the ratings.
"Arrow" vs. other DC shows
Animated shows are traditionally geared toward younger audiences and some devout comic book fans, so the overall market for comic book-based animated shows has always been limited. "Smallville" had a soap opera feel to it, so that show was doomed to a limited audience, as well. Granted, the show had a healthy run, but it was never able to appeal to a large enough audience to make it a smash hit when compared to the hits on other primary networks. "Arrow," though, has the opportunity to blow the other DC shows out of the water.
The previews for "Arrow" do not have the soap opera feel or appear to be simply geared toward younger audiences. The drama and action have the chance of appealing to a wider audience and mimic comic book-based shows, such as "The Walking Dead" and "The Incredible Hulk," which became respected and successful mainstream shows. As long as The CW can keep the feel of the previews, "Arrow" will have a stronger chance than any of the other DC shows in recent history.
The comic book companies have done what they could over the last few years to raise second and third string comics stars to new heights. The overall success of the Iron Man property for Marvel is a testament to how a strong showing in the media (through the movies) can make a second string star into one of the hottest properties for a comic book brand. While DC faltered with "Green Lantern," it could recoup lost money by successfully bringing the Green Arrow to the first string of superheroes. Billions are made each year off of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, and "Arrow" could add the Green Arrow's name to the aforementioned list of DC cash cows.
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