When it comes to American television network The CW, it would be fair to say that there are a whole host of shows that differ in quality.
Whether you’re looking at the Arrowverse, enjoying the Winchester brothers in Supernatural, or settling down to watch a different series entirely, there’s usually something for everybody on The CW, but that doesn’t mean every performance is as good as those that come both before and after it.
A number of actors and actresses have made household names of themselves thanks to their roles in shows on The CW, but it would seem there are just as many of them who have made an impression for all the wrong reasons, rather than cementing themselves as one of the most talented in their industry.
At times, the reasons for their lacklustre performances is down to sloppy and lazy writing, but at others they’ve got nobody to blame but themselves.
Then, of course, we have the performers who manage to light up the screen and steal the show every time we see them. Here, we take a look at both the terrible and amazing performances we see on The CW, in a number of different shows.
Most are from series still on the air, but we do have a couple of entries from (not so golden) oldies that have left a lasting impression.
With that said, here are the 8 Terrible Performances That Plague The CW (And 7 That Are Amazing).
15. Terrible: Marie Avgeropoulos as Octavia Blake
Marie Avgeropoulos has been praised for her portrayal of anger in the role of Octavia Blake in The 100. Unfortunately, when she tries to convey any other emotion, it looks as if she has a hard time on screen.
As one of the lead actors and indeed, portraying a leader within the fictional universe being explored, it’s hard to get behind Octavia and back the character whenever she steps up to the plate.
While her actions would suggest that she’s passionate about reaching her goals, what we see from Avgeropoulos leaves us questioning whether or not the actress behind the portrayal is really that invested in making the most out of her character.
When believability is low in a main character, there’s always the chance of the show crumbling around them.
14. Amazing: Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper
The Riverdale gang seem to get a lot of flak when it comes time to discussing their acting abilities, but we’d say that there are at least a couple of diamonds amongst the rough. One of those is actress Lili Reinhart, who takes on the iconic Archie Comics character Elizabeth “Betty” Cooper in the series.
Whether she’s portraying the “girl next door” version of Betty, or a darker and more brooding take on the character, Reinhart has proven time and again that she’s able to mould and reshape her performances in the role.
As Betty has evolved, so has Reinhart as an artist, and in Riverdale‘s second season particularly, we have seen her deliver some hugely memorable moments.
With that looking set to continue deep into the future, we can’t wait to see what’s around the corner for this rising star.
13. Terrible: Nick Zano as Nate Heywood aka Steel
When it was revealed that DC Comics hero Steel would be joining the cast of the Arrowverse’s Legends of Tomorrow as a series regular with Nick Zano tackling the role, there was an avid excitement amongst the fan base.
Unfortunately for them, it became all too clear very quickly that Zano, while being a talented actor in some of his former projects, just wasn’t the right man to truly deliver an iconic and memorable performance.
Though he hasn’t made the best impression with viewers, those working behind-the-scenes clearly rate Zano’s chances of changing public opinion.
He’s currently slated to stick with the show until the end of the current season at least, so Steel is somebody we may just have to learn to love. At least he’s allowing his goofier side to rise to the surface in Legends‘ third season.
12. Amazing: Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce
When the announcement came that Black Lightning would be providing a whole new superhero universe on The CW, many breathed a sigh of relief that the Arrowverse wouldn’t become too bogged down with multiple storylines in different cities and potential crossovers.
Allowed to cement itself as a juggernaut of the network in its own right, the series has already proven that it has more than enough going on to become a major success.
One of the actors responsible for such a positive outpouring of love for the show is Nafessa Williams, who takes on the role of the titular character’s daughter, Anissa Pierce.
Securing one of the very few roles in television as a queer person of color, the stakes were immediately high for Williams, but she’s done well to prove right away that she’s the right woman for the job.
11. Terrible: Malcolm Goodwin as Clive Babineaux
iZombie is certainly an interesting show built on a unique premise, but when one of the leads– namely Malcolm Goodwin in the role of Clive Babineaux– consistently fails to light a fire in the belly of viewers, there’s a constant lack of urgency and excitement in the scenes we’re watching go down.
One infamous scene sees Babineaux breaking the news that a man’s wife had been murdered. He delivers the line without any semblance of emotion and with a monotone that would have Keanu Reeves sounding like the most excited man on the planet.
Renewed for a fourth season that is now just a few weeks away from debuting, hopefully writers and show bosses have been working closely with Goodwin and the rest of the iZombie cast to ensure that compelling performances will be littered throughout the show. Otherwise, we don’t rate this one’s survival chances for much longer.
10. Amazing: John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn
One of the best aspects of the Arrowverse’s past has come with John Barrowman, who proved more than ever that he’s able to tackle any role when he slid into Arrow as the villainous Malcolm Merlyn.
In his real life, Barrowman has shown himself to be an infectious and loveable character, getting into mischief whenever he can but always sitting with a smile on his face.
He’s one with the fans and a major coup for any convention; a man who is sure to bring in the crowds. So, to see him exit the Arrowverse in 2017 was a bit of a hard pill to swallow.
His performances as Merlyn have always been unpredictable, due to his clear ability to mystify the viewers. Whether he’s up to no good or he’s genuinely fighting on the side of “good,” he’s someone we can’t take our eyes off of whenever he’s on screen.
9. Terrible: Mischa Barton as Sonja Stone
With one of the best looking casts in television, The Beautiful Life unfortunately turned out to be more style over substance. Mischa Barton led the series as Sonja Stone, and it became immediately apparent that she was a duck out of water in the role.
Though her performance wasn’t one that would stick in the mind for the right reasons, we’ve got to give Barton a little bit of room to breathe here, as the show was canceled before it was ever really given a chance to take off.
Still, one of the huge reasons for the early cancelation was of course because of a lack of connection between the characters on the show and the audience watching at home. The idea behind the series wasn’t a bad one, but the talent brought in to deliver the vision just wasn’t something that hit the right mark.
8. Amazing: Henry Ian Cusick as Marcus Kane
As a member of The 100‘s main cast ever since the show started, Henry Ian Cusick has impressed both viewers and those working on the show so much with his performance that he’s even been granted the opportunity to direct two episodes of the series.
Being cast amongst a bunch of characters that are much younger than you would be a challenge for anybody, but Cusick has proven that he was the perfect man for the job.
Rather than sticking out like a sore thumb, he’s integrated his way into the story being told effortlessly, captivating audiences and demanding the attention of everybody watching whenever he’s on screen.
7. Terrible: Emily Swallow as Amara aka The Darkness
Supernatural has had quite the variety of performances in its day (remember Paris Hilton’s guest appearance anyone?), but one that sticks out for all the wrong reasons came from Emily Swallow.
Taking on the role of Amara, also known as The Darkness, Swallow was required to give a passionate and enthused performance, but was swallowed by the material she was given.
Never truly stepping up to the plate, she left scenes that should have been unsettling feeling completely underwhelming. Rather than conveying emotion in her facial expressions, she looked confused more often than not and just left a bitter taste in the mouths of fans.
6. Amazing: Jesse L. Martin as Joe West
There are a number of fantastic performers in the world of The Flash– it is without a doubt the most talented roster of actors and actresses in the Arrowverse right now. One actor we have to highlight for his portrayal of Joe West however is the brilliant Jesse L. Martin.
When you’re just a regular guy surrounding by people with superpowers, it can be hard to stand out. Fortunately, Martin has had many an opportunity to show off his acting skills, in hugely emotional scenes with Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen.
As the man who raised Barry following the imprisonment of his father, Joe holds a special bond with one of the world’s fastest men, and it’s always something we’re excited to see explored in the show. Not enough good can be said about Martin’s performance in the series.
5. Terrible: Robbie Amell as Stephen Jameson
“Amell Wednesdays” almost became a thing when The Tomorrow People joined Arrow (led by Stephen Amell) on The CW, but for Robbie Amell, his own series was never something that was going to stand up.
Partly down to the lacklustre writing that failed to make much sense and partly due to the fact that the acting we saw throughout was never up to par, the show only lasted for a single season before being canceled.
Amell had the chance to prove he was simply given something bad to work with when he made his Arrowverse debut, but he’s consistently been someone viewers have failed to connect with.
4. Amazing: Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom
Back to Riverdale and we’re spotlighting yet another fantastic female performer. Madelaine Petsch, for anybody who has seen her YouTube channel, is an endearing and loveable young woman.
So, when you see her performances as Cheryl Blossom in the Archie Comics-inspired series, it’s hard to believe that she’s the same person bringing such a commanding presence to the role.
Dealing with a number of interesting plot points, such as the murder of her brother (by her father, no less), and being the victim of an attempted assault, Cheryl is more complicated than she would like to admit.
3. Terrible: Blake Lively as Serena van der Woodsen
Though Gossip Girl made a huge cultural impact, with wannabe bloggers setting up their own gossip blogs across America based on the lives of their school mates, some of the performances that we saw in the series would never stand the test of time.
Blake Lively for example was never anything more than just okay when acting as Serena van der Woodsen, but it was something we forgave at the time because of the compelling and addictive storytelling.
Fortunately, Lively made such a name for herself in the show that she’s managed to carve out a hugely successful career. While we wouldn’t say that she’s the best actress in the world, she’s definitely evolved and improved upon her performances in more recent projects.
2. Amazing: Misha Collins as Castiel
Though Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles give brilliant performances as Sam and Dean Winchester in Supernatural, Misha Collins has done a brilliant job of stealing the spotlight ever since making his debut as the angel Castiel.
Hailed by fans as one of the main reasons the show is still on the air, Collins has brought a gravitas to his performance in the show and proven that you don’t always have to be in the centre of the action to leave a lasting impact.
Emotion is always certain to come into play when Castiel is involved in a Supernatural scene. His acting is something that has resonated so widely with audiences that Collins has managed to pick up a pair of People’s Choice Awards– one for Favorite TV Bromance,which he shares with Padalecki and Ackles, and one for Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actor.
1. Terrible: Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor
Lena Luthor had all of the right ingredients to be one of the most interesting characters to come out of the Arrowverse’s Supergirl, so what went wrong?
While Katie McGrath sometimes did a good job of polishing this personality around the edges, her accent was something that viewers heard consistent and prominent shifts in. Coupling that with McGrath visibly looking bored at times on screen, there were always going to be problems.
As an Irish descendant, it’s easy to understand why McGrath’s vocal performance would have been all over the place, but surely if an American accent isn’t something this actress could nail down, somebody else should have been chosen?
McGrath’s casting looks to, again be another case of choosing style over substance. Hopefully her performance will develop into something a little more palatable as the third season of Supergirl rolls on.
Do you agree or disagree? Can you think of any other terrible or amazing performances in CW shows? Let us know in the comments!
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