There's nothing more fun than seeing superheroes get together, whether they're teaming up to fight bad guys or facing off against one another. The CW's recent crossover of Arrow and The Flash mixed the best of both worlds by having the vigilantes of Starling and Central City work together to fight bad guys, one of whom happens to wield rage-inducing mind control - leading to some superhero-on-superhero action.
The team-up turned out to be worth the hype: a one-two punch of Oliver Queen and Barry Allen chasing down crooks, warring over whose approach to crime-fighting is better, and ultimately learning from one another in the process. It was also an opportunity to see their respective gangs getting together and exploring one another's secret hideouts (the Arrowcave is definitely a thing now).
Now the ratings are in, and it's clear that the team-up was a boost for both shows. Zap2It reports that part one of the crossover, "Flash vs. Arrow" earned The Flash its highest ratings since the premiere, and CBM adds that Arrow's episode "The Brave and the Bold" drew 3.9 million viewers (the second highest number ever, just behind the pilot episode) and a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49, which broke the series' ratings records.
It was strongly implied during the crossover that this could become a regular occurrence, and based on the results of the first experiment it looks like that would be good for both shows. Having a two-night crossover event once every season would give fans something to look forward to, and would also encourage fans of one show to stay caught up with the other. Showrunner Greg Berlanti has even hinted that his upcoming Supergirl show on CBS could crossover with the two CW shows as well.
There have been plenty of spinoffs and connected series before, but this is the first time we've really seen attempts to build consistent TV superhero universes that span many different shows. Between Berlanti's growing DC empire and the Marvel shows coming to ABC and Netflix, the next few years of television could be very interesting.
If nothing else, this result at least answers the burning question of who would win in a fight between the Arrow and the Flash. The answer: Everyone.
The Flash returns next Tuesday with "The Man in the Yellow Suit" @8pm on The CW. Arrow will air its midseason finale, "The Climb" next Wednesday @8pm on The CW.