Compared to the rest of broadcast television, the CW is a relatively young network. It launched in 2006 when the WB and UPN both shut down and merged much of their programming into a new venture. There is actually still one series running that made the move to that inaugural season of the CW - Supernatural.
The network has largely built its brand in genre television by expanding science fiction, action, and comic book based stories. These days, it’s best known for the Arrowverse and its many shows based on existing properties (like Riverdale and Nancy Drew). The CW is a network that relies on its audience to recognize its brands by creating expanding universes, spin-offs, and reboots. With dozens of shows over the years, it’s had a pretty diverse lineup.
All of its top ten series rate at at least a 7.7 out of 10 stars through IMDB, proving the young network has a good strategy.
10 Nikita (7.7)
Inspired by the French La Femme Nikita, the CW’s version of the show marked the third time the property had been adapted. Starring Maggie Q and Lyndsy Fonseca, the series brought old school spy antics mixed with modern technology to the network.
Maggie Q played the titular character, a woman who had been used by a secret organization, thinking she had been working for the good guys. When they punished her disobeying of orders by killing her boyfriend, she began planning her revenge, recruiting Fonseca’s Alex to infiltrate the group. It was a show of conspiracy theories, twists, and romance that fans couldn’t get enough of.
9 The 100 (7.7)
Inspired by The 100 books that were in development when the series launched, the show is set in a post apocalyptic world that doesn’t include zombies. It’s gearing up for its final season in 2020.
The 100 is definitely one of the most tragic series on the CW as it follows what’s left of humanity as they simply try to survive. Beginning on a space station before moving to a radiation soaked Earth and then into a whole new solar system, The 100 has kept its storylines fresh while still reminding the audience that the stakes are high and the characters aren’t guaranteed happy endings.
8 The Vampire Diaries (7.7)
The last of the series ranked at a 7.7 on this list, The Vampire Diaries isn’t actually the only show left with this ranking. Reaper and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend also came in at a 7.7 on IMDb, but fewer votes overall bumped them from the list. Of the series at a 7.7, The Vampire Diaries has seen the most internet feedback with more than 200,000 ratings on IMDb compiled to give its score.
The series began as the story of a teenage girl falling in love with a vampire, but it became one that explored humanity and emotion beyond romance. Expanding to include werewolves, witches, and a rich mythology, The Vampire Diaries spawned two sequel series for the network (so far).
7 Jane The Virgin (7.8)
One of only two series to get Emmy wins for the network (the other is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Jane The Virgin was a breath of fresh air. Amidst all of the action and comic book series on the CW, Jane brought comedy, family, and a Latin voice to the network.
Inspired by a telenovela, the series followed Jane as she was accidentally artificially inseminated by her doctor and everything that happened as a result. Even with murder mysteries and outlandish hijinks, the series still played true to life with an emotional center in its star Gina Rodriguez.
6 The Flash (7.8)
Surprisingly, The Flash is the only Arrowverse series to make it into the CW’s top ten. That might change after Arrow finishes airing its last season (it came in at 7.6), but for now, Barry Allen and his team at Star Labs have the top spot in the hearts of the audience and critics.
Like most of the networks superhero fare, the series gave the audience the title character’s origin story before delving into romance team-ups, and a fun rogue’s gallery. The focus on The Flash is the Allen-West family, which might be what sets it apart. That, and it’s love for jumping to other universes.
5 iZombie (7.9)
Inspired by the Vertigo graphic novel, iZombie turned the zombie craze on its head. Instead of humans living in ruins and escaping those who would eat their brains, they lived alongside zombies without even knowing.
The series focused on Liv, a young woman who fed her craving for brains by consuming those belonging to recent murder victims. Since she got pieces of their personality when she did, she would help solve their murders. It’s certainly an inspired take on the zombie idea, ending its successful run earlier this year.
4 Gilmore Girls (8.1)
Moving into the best of the best, Gilmore Girls is one of only two series on this list that got its start on another network before moving to the CW, and then, was recently revived for a streaming site.
Lorelei and Rory Gilmore lived in the fictional small town of Stars Hollow. More like best friends than mother and daughter most of the time, the series followed the two of them on their journey to own their own business (Lorelei) and get the education of their dreams (Rory). It was a show about growing up and realizing that dreams could change. Gilmore Girls was so beloved that Netflix brought it back for A Year In The Life.
3 The Originals (8.2)
The first of The Vampire Diaries spinoffs, The Originals leads off IMDb’s top three CW shows. Though The Vampire Diaries was responsible for creating the large fanbase for the series, The Originals was a show focused on familial bonds instead of romance.
Following the family of the first vampires, hence the name, as they lived in New Orleans in the modern day, The Originals saw many family members come and go, but its core of Klaus and his relationships with his family remained the same. Exploring magic, werewolf-vampire hybrids, and more, the series built on the mythology The Vampire Diaries created, giving the audience a fresh look at familiar characters.
2 Veronica Mars (8.3)
A wise cracking and street smart teenage detective, Veronica Mars was edgier than Nancy Drew in her day. She’s probably one of the biggest success stories to make it into the CW’s top 10.
Originally a UPN series, the final season of Veronica Mars aired on the CW. Though the network canceled the series while the title character was figuring out college life, fans united with Warner Bros. to crowdfund a movie ten years later. With fan interest never waning, Hulu revived the series for a fourth season this year.
1 Supernatural (8.4)
It’s probably not going to surprise many CW viewers that Supernatural has the top spot. The series is currently in its 15th (and final) season. Before the CW even began, Supernatural aired its first two seasons on the WB with a pair of brothers trying to track down their missing father.
While the show has expanded its mythology beyond demon hunting to include angels and other supernatural creatures, at its heart, Supernatural is always about the bond between the Winchester brothers - and fans love it for that.