The CW Network broadcasts some of the most buzz-worthy shows around. Its range spans from superhero series to teen-skewed soaps and the odd comedy treasure. That’s The Flash and Supergirl to One Tree Hill and with a helping of Jane the Virgin on the side.
The network's thirteen-year back catalog boasts the likes of Gossip Girl, Smallville, and The Vampire Diaries, whilst their present line up is renowned for cheesy melodrama, sex and unreasonably attractive stars. Riverdale, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and Dynasty are all on the CW and have each accrued a global fanbase thanks to international distribution. And yet, as much as fans love CW shows, detractors come with fair ammunition and good reason to complain. Even diehard fans are known to have occasional love-hate relationships with the network’s programming. In other words, there is a lot wrong with even the biggest and brightest of the CW’s hits - no matter how much we all choose to ignore the blatant facts.
Here at Screen Rant, we’ve already listed the 20 Things That Make No Sense About CW Shows but these are issues that lurk deeper in their scripts and, by all accounts, should ruin them. Messed up plots, characters with dubious motivations and major plot holes that undermine arcs and stories may litter many a CW shows but still, for whatever reason, we ignore them and love each and all regardless.
So, here are 20 Things Wrong With CW Shows We All Chose To Ignore.
20 Black Lightning: The Less-Than Super Costume
Black Lightning is just latest CW’s superhero show to draw from DC comics, without actually existing in the same world of its TV and film predecessors. Well received by fans, the show combines the retired cop genre with superhero beats. Cress Williams plays the titular hero, who returns to vigilantism after nine years away to take on the criminal gang who have risen in his absence.
While there’s no doubt that Black Lightning is a credible hero, fans of the show have had to come to terms with the understanding that his suit is rubbish. Even accepting that an eye mask does not a disguise make, why on Earth-1 does Black Lightning strut around with a garish runway on his chest?
19 Supernatural: There’s No Jeopardy
Here’s a fun fact: Supernatural has been on television so long that when it began The CW didn’t even exist as a channel. Telling the tale of two brothers – Sam and Dean Winchester – and their never-ending battle to vanquish supernatural beings, the show originally made its 2005 debut on The WB. Fourteen seasons later, the network switch is basically all that’s changed.
In spite of all the things fans love about Supernatural, it’s hard for even the most faithful to not find it unfathomable that the show is still going strong. Just about every supernatural being imaginable has been thrown at the Sam and Dean but, no matter how big the threat or how often they die, there remains no doubt that they’ll survive in the end.
18 The 100: Dubious Radiation Rules
Accepting that our radiology expertise is limited, there’s something about the science behind The 100 that always feels a bit off. This is the show about a group of adolescent apocalypse survivors who return to Earth from the safety of their space station ninety-seven years after its nuclear devastation. On landing, they discover mutated survivors but learn that Earth is habitable once again. Phew.
The problem here is that it’s hard to believe that radiation levels could fall back within safe territory not even a century on from the apocalypse. To put this into context, in the Kass Morgan books the show is based on, the space humans waited a further two hundred years before making the trip.
17 Charmed: Accusations of ‘Colorism’
Oh, Charmed. This fault’s a case of mistaken identity more than anything but as CW brought it on themselves, it’s definitely a problem that must be ignored for the show to work.
A reboot of the eponymous show, which ran from 1998 to 2006, Charmed sought to shake up the original format and bring in some much-needed diversity. As such, the new Charmed was promoted as being led by three Latina women, with emphasis placed on their origins. As it transpired, only one of the three actors – Melonie Diaz – playing the central sisters comes from a Latina background. Perhaps this would have been a less significant problem had the show not so heavily hailed itself diverse in the first place. Who knows?
16 Jane the Virgin: That Season Three Time Jump
Whilst some have suggested that the time jump that pushed Jane the Virgin three years into the future midway through its third season did the show a favor, there’s room to argue too that the move was a major misstep. The declining viewing figures that have followed the twist into the show’s most recent season suggest the latter.
The problem the time jump highlighted – that had been so thoroughly ignored by fans before – was that Jane the Virgin is very superficial in its handling of real-world problems. Sure, the show’s always been fun but the moment something not so fun happened – namely: Michael’s death – it skipped the fallout and side-stepped vital character building progress along the way.
15 The Originals: The Whole Show is Based on a Plot Hole
A Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals managed five seasons before coming to an end last August. That’s quite the achievement for a show hinged on a huge plot hole. For those not in the know, the Originals are the family of vampires from which every other vampire descends. By the show’s own rules, the Originals are stronger, faster and generally more powerful than any other vampire in the world. They’re also indestructible.
So, what’s wrong with that? Seeing as the show would have been seriously boring if other vampires were no threat to the Originals, the showrunners had to regularly forget the power of their central characters and allow their foes to occasionally steal the other hand.
14 Riverdale: Cheryl and Jason’s Relationship
When it comes to seriously attractive teens being more than a little bit twisted, few shows deliver quite like Riverdale. Sometimes, though, Riverdale goes too far. If there’s one constant undercurrent bubbling in the show that needs to be ignored for viewers’ own sanities, it’s the hints of incest. This was particularly strong in the relationship of Cheryl and Jason, prior to the latter’s death.
Cheryl and Jason were the red-headed twins whose familial bond was unnervingly strong. When they weren’t holding hands, one could be found describing the other as their soulmate. No matter how many times the fan theory has been denied by the cast and crew, the evidence is strong.
13 Supergirl: Kara’s Actually Pretty Selfish
After its CBS debut, DC’s Supergirl channel switched to The CW from season two onwards. This is the show about Superman’s cousin Kara Danvers – aka Kara Zor-El – a fellow Krypton survivor on Earth. As great as Melissa Benoist is in the title role, it’s hard not to notice that Supergirl isn’t actually all that likable as a hero. She’s pretty selfish really.
Don’t believe us? Then you’ve successfully managed to ignore the time she was only prepared to prevent a plane from crashing when she realized her sister was on board and how she gradually guilt-tripped Mon-El into superheroism. Kara’s also way too trigger happy, when it comes to wiping out potential threats, for her own good.
12 Arrow: Too Much Verse, Not Enough Arrow
Back in 2012, Arrow launched as a standalone series and pretty much hit the bullseye. In the years since, however, the so-called Arrowverse has grown to include a further five shows, with each addition taking away from the main show’s appeal. These days, the crossover episodes are generally more entertaining than the regular episodes.
The problem is that - as fun as it is seeing Supergirl, The Flash and Green Arrow on screen together - Arrow's losing out. Crossover episodes pull in twice as many viewers as the main run, which comes across as dull and formulaic by comparison.
11 One Tree Hill: The Women Were Awful
Between 2003 and 2012, One Tree Hill aired 187 episodes, each soapy and a little bit daft. For millions of viewers across the world, the show was a peerless guilty pleasure but even beloved TV shows aren’t immune from faults and One Tree Hill had some real low points. Most of which revolved around its pretty awful female characters.
Hardly any of the show’s women escaped some form of ritualistic hate for their promiscuity or weight and that was just from each other. When they weren’t slapping one another, they were stressing over relationships and being saved by male characters. Sure, there was much to love about One Tree Hill but – looking back – viewers ignored a lot of misogyny.
10 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Title Troubles
Just eight episodes remain before Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ends once and for all. Although ratings have halved across the show’s four-season run, the remaining fans are going to miss it. But why have so many viewers deserted? With critics continuing to name Crazy Ex-Girlfriend one of the top shows around, it’s hard to be sure.
One likely reason Crazy Ex-Girlfriend never took off in the way it deserved is its own troubling title. Whilst the show’s aim has always been to skewer mental illness stereotypes, the title itself seems to reinforce them and suggests a very different show to the one it actually is. It’s a clever title in context but, on its own, it’s kind of off-putting.
9 Gossip Girl: Chuck’s Season Three Bar
Based on the books by Cecily von Ziegesar, Gossip Girl managed six seasons on The CW before its 2012 finale. Telling the story of rich teens in Manhattan, the show revolved around the writings of a gossip blogger. If nothing else, Gossip Girl helped propel Blake Lively to fame. The sharks the star would go on to face in The Shallows were nothing, however, compared to the ludicrous maelstroms of plotting in Gossip Girl.
Take the season three twist that saw Ed Westwick’s Chuck open a bar straight after graduating high school. Given that – aged eighteen – Chuck was too young to legally have anything in a bar, how he’s supposed to have secured the license to run one is anyone’s guess.
8 iZombie: Inconsistent Rules
iZombie launched on The CW just as TV’s recent craze for zombie shows was peaking. Whilst its longevity has proved substantially less significant than fellow brain guzzling series The Walking Dead, the show has nonetheless earned itself a loyal fan base. To reach such a level of dedication, however, viewers have had to let go of one particular flaw.
When it comes to the rules of being a zombie, it often seems like anything goes. Officially, the zombie virus is transmitted via bodily fluids and can be contracted through a scratch. Except, this apparently doesn’t apply to when Olivia kisses Major? Other inconsistencies include the variable ways brain eating effects Olivia and the process of curing a victim.
7 Smallville: Naff Production Values
It’s hard to be a superhero on television. Compared to the uber-budgets of cinematic offerings, small screen super-shows have a pittance to create worlds, powers, and villains from. Few shows have demonstrated this fatal weakness so clearly as Smallville did in its ten-year run. The more ambitious the show became in later seasons, the more evident it became that its budget was inadequate.
The same sets were used over and over again, the fighting was pretty unconvincing and the computer effects rarely looked better than phony. There were times the Smallville team did nail the look they were going for but these were few and far between. Ignore the effects if you still want to love the show.
6 Legends of Tomorrow: Serious Over-Plotting
Time travel always creates problems for long-running TV shows and Legends of Tomorrow is no exception. Juggling too many characters for clarity, the show adds to its own complexity by trying to give each one their own arcs, development, and twists. With too much constantly happening, the show has deformed since its 2016 debut into a creation that makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe look over-simplistic.
Legends of Tomorrow’s ambition is impressive but its scope has proved to be too much. Still, fans keep coming back for the characters they’ve grown to love and in the hope that they’ll be able to follow at least one or two storylines from beginning to end.
5 The Flash: Barry’s Not Quite Super
Whilst The Flash purports to be focused on its titular hero, fans of his DC comic series have good reason to be irked about The CW’s take on the character. Put simply, Barry’s powers in the show essentially begin and end with Flash being really fast…but not that fast unless he can find it in himself to go a little bit faster before the end of the episode.
As great as the show can be, it’s hard not to notice that Flash himself is a bit lame as heroes go. Of course, those who’ve never read the comics – in which Flash can travel in time and across dimensions – might not have noticed, explaining the ignorance.
4 Whose Line is it Anyway?: Colin Mochrie Hates Improvisation
Across two decades and three different television channels, Whose Line is it Anyway? has kept a pretty consistent format. The show, which started out on ABC, was adapted from a British version of the same name and sees Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady, and one guest star respond to topics with improvised characters, scenes, and songs. Every show is total ad lib.
One twist we all have to ignore though – including the show’s stars – is that Mochrie actually hates improvisational comedy. In an interview with The Big Issue, Mochrie complained that ‘there’s nothing worse than bad improv’ whilst the good stuff depresses him. Go figure. The real question, then, is why do it anyway?
3 The Vampire Diaries: Becoming a Vampire is Weirdly Complicated
Across its eight-season run, basically, every character in The Vampire Diaries wound up as a vampire at some point. Makes sense, given that the whole focus of the show is, well, vampires. Only, did you ever stop to think about how weirdly complicated the process of becoming a vampire was in the show? A bite alone didn’t cut it.
Once bitten, a human only became a vampire once they had consumed the blood of another human being. The process was called ‘transitioning’ and relied upon the would-be vampire having been sired by a vampire in the first place. To make the situation even more confusing, according to The Vampire Diaries, a transitioned vampire could reverse the process and return to being human. Huh?
2 Gilmore Girls: So Much Food Waste
Stats have it that around a third of all food produced for human consumption gets wasted every year. In Gilmore Girls, that rises to roughly ninety percent of food produced for the show. Seriously, the amount of food wasted by characters on the show was insane. Remember the time the Gilmores had a movie night, covered the table with junk food and ate almost none of it?
Whilst food waste can be found in many a TV show, Gilmore Girls was a serial offender. Speaking of cereal, who remembers the time Rory made herself a bowl, took two spoonful’s and left it to go and have a shower? Hard to ignore but viewers still somehow did.
1 Reign: Almost None of This is Accurate
It’s not hard to identify what’s wrong with Reign, The CW’s soapbox wildly inaccurate take on the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, but the consistent ratings the show drew in suggests that audiences didn’t care. If Josie Rourke’s new film – Mary Queen of Scots – has been accused of anachronism, it’s done so whilst still holding the series’ beer.
To round up some of the show’s most glaring faux pas, the clothes were absurd, the cast far too clean and the storylines essentially fictional. Reign made up characters, added magic, invented unlikely affairs and, to top it all off, suggested that the average sixteenth-century Frenchman spoke with an English accent. Game of Thrones suddenly looks like a documentary.
What CW shows do you dislike? Let us know in the comments!