After years of mockery and derision, The CW has developed into a surprisingly solid network. The CW isn’t just home to one of the most consistent interconnected superhero universes, the Arrowverse, though.
It also has one of the highest average qualities for its original programming, even if the ratings never match some of its broadcast competition. However, most impressively, The CW is the place to find some of the youngest, most talented and attractive up-and-coming stars in Hollywood.
By and large, The CW treats their talent right. The network gives them roles that show them off in the best light and truly utilize their talents. Like any actor or actress though, it took a long time to find that level of success.
No matter how much Grant Gustin, Gina Rodriquez, or Jared Padalecki shine on their respective shows, their résumé is full of other roles they’d rather we all forgot about.
There’s a plethora of roles in the past of The CW stars that should be locked away in the deepest hole. Some of them occured early in the respective star’s career and just show how much they’ve grown as an thespian.
Others, most of them in fact, are just terrible characters. It doesn’t matter whose playing them or how talented they are, there’s nothing there to elevate.
So, here are the 15 Embarrassing Roles CW Stars Want You to Forget.
15 Rose McIver - A Christmas Prince
It’s a blessing in disguise for Rose McIver that due to the make-up and hair on iZombie that she’s basically unrecognizable in any other role. This is especially true in A Christmas Prince.
A Christmas Prince is a very recently released movie but it still feels like a bygone a cheesier era. It's a terrible Hallmark movie that somehow was released as a Netflix Original.
A Christmas Prince is not totally unenjoyable. It’s clichéd, silly, and entirely predictable but also weirdly fun for how unabashedly conventional it ends up being. Yet it’s only because it's so bad that it ends up being at all good.
However fun A Christmas Prince might be to watch, it’s a terrible vehicle for Rose McIver. McIver is far and away the best actor in A Christmas Prince but it never comes across on-screen. She’s confused, awkward, and incredibly bland, which isn’t too dissimilar to A Christmas Prince itself.
14 Claire Holt - H20 Just Add Water
Claire Holt has been the unsung hero of two CW dramas, albeit playing the same character. Holt has played one of the most interesting members of the original family of vampires, Rebekah Mikaleson.
As a nearly immortal vampire Rebekah, Claire is funny, terrifying, and commanding. Yet one of her earliest roles was as a mermaid… kind of.
H20: Just Add Water is the Australian equivalent of every awful Disney Channel show. It centers around a group of pre-teens, including the character of Claire Holt, who get the powers of mermaids.
While this sounds like they get the chance to grow tails and splash around the ocean, the truth is a little different. They’re really more like witches with an emphasis on water magic.
The entire show is laughably bad with bizarre writing and stranger plotting. The show ends with quasi-mermaids stopping a deadly meteor, which would be hilarious if it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.
13 Gina Rodriguez - Go For It
The title alone is enough to write Jane the Virgin off as uninspired and hokey soap opera. Yet it happens to be one of the cleverest and rewarding shows on TV. Although Jane the Virgin isn’t a rating smash, the quality has allowed star Gina Rodriguez to move to bigger projects.
However, before she landed Jane the Virgin, Rodriquez struggled for a long time. She was in the background or occasionally played a very minor character. In 2011’s Go for It, Gina had a larger role than usual but not one that’s worth remembering.
Go for It is a knock-off version of Step Up, as a student is torn between her family and love of dancing. Rodriquez plays the main character’s “crazy” best friend, Gina. It’s a role lacking all subtly, intelligence, or interest. It's so far removed from the capable and charismatic Jane.
12 China Anne McClaine - How To Build a Better Boy
China Anne McClaine is one of the youngest stars on CW’s Black Lightning. Yet she also one of the longest résumés, having started work as a child actor on the Disney Channel.
McClaine’s Disney Channel filmography has been good for her career but it’s mostly been from awful to middling quality. Even so, the TV movie How to Build a Better Boy still stands out.
How to Build a Better Boy follows Gabby (McClaine) and Mae (Kelli Berglund) as two pretty, but because they’re smart and wear glasses, nerdy ostracized teens.
Due to a series of wacky incidents, they end making an AI boyfriend named Albert. It’s like Weird Science but terrible and only unintentionally funny.
Obviously How to Build a Better Boy starts off crazy but it only gets weirder as the government and military get involved. Eventually, though, the movie ends-- both inexplicably and predictability-- with the power of friendship.
11 Eliza Taylor - Christmas Inheritance
Rose McIver isn’t the only CW star who Netflix has trapped in a terrible Christmas movie. Eliza Taylor, the star of The 100, is unlucky enough to have the same fate.
On The 100, she leads a show that’s far better than it has to right to be. In Christmas Inheritance, however, Taylor plays a vain, silly romantic lead who somehow stumbles onto the true meaning of Christmas.
The role is a teensy bit challenging and allows Taylor to show off some of her comedic chops. Yet it’s downright bizarre to see the woman who brings the rough and tumble Clarke Griffin to life on The 100 play an airhead whose the heir to a gigantic fortune.
The whole movie is about as bland and boring as it’s possible to be; there’s no surprises, twists, or even mild interest to it. From start to finish, it’s exactly as expected: tedious.
10 Nina Dobrev - Flatliners
Since leaving The Vampire Diaries, Nina Dobrev has been carving out a nice movie career for herself. Yet even the hottest rising stars are able to star in a real stinker. They’re probably more likely. That’s exactly what happened with Dobrev in 2017’s remake of Flatliners.
Flatliners is the perfect subject for a remake, as the original is a cool concept that could’ve been done better. This remake, though, was a failure on almost every level.
The movie is just a terrible waste of its star-studded cast but especially Dobrev. Dobrev’s character consists of wearing a lab coat, looking scared, breathing heavily, and making out with Diego Luna.
It’s such a missed opportunity and it was, rightfully, ignored and abandoned upon release, making barely a whimper at the box office.
9 Katie Cassidy - Black Christmas
Katie Cassidy has become a bit of a darling for The CW. She’s been in everything from Arrow to Supernatural and even starred in the reboot of Melrose Place.
Yet before she found a semi-permanent home bouncing around the network, Cassidy found a niche for herself as the screaming girl in a horror movie. The one thing that can be said of Katie’s many horror movies roles is she was usually the lead.
Unfortunately, a lead actress can do very little to save a horror movie light on frights or thrills.
One of Katie Cassidy’s most unfortunate “scary” roles was in the movie Black Christmas. As a remake of a 1974 movie and inspired by a real life serial, Black Christmas desperately wants to be edgy but it’s not even close. Cassidy does her best but her character, Kelli, gives her almost nothing to build upon.
8 Stephen Amell – Hung
Stephen Amell’s filmography pre-Arrow is a long list of him playing hot dummies. He’s very much playboy Oliver Queen in everything he's done, much more than the damaged, interesting, and kick-butt Green Arrow. The biggest and most embarrassing doofus Amell played was in HBO’s Hung.
Hung was a confusing show. It wanted to both be a straight-up comedy and get serious about the life of its subject: a male street worker. Amell’s character, a rival gigolo named Jason, fit into the comedy angle of Hung but not in a particularly natural way.
As much as Arrow objectifies Oliver, Jason on Hung was far worse. He was nothing but a slab of man meat with an apparently large piece of anatomy. Jason was a paper-thin character that Stephen Amell could do very little to make charming.
7 Nick Zano - Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Nick Zano has finally found a show that properly uses his comedic talents on Legends of Tomorrow. However, the actor has been several projects that tried to be funny and totally failed. A huge comedic eyesore on Zano’s resume and Hollywood in general is Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
Zano didn’t even have the pleasure of being a voice of one of the infamous talking dogs in Beverly Hills Chihuahua. He's there in the flesh. Zano plays one of a group of shirtless hunks who the main human character, played Piper Perabo, meets in Mexico.
Zano’s role isn’t even as the main semi-clothless dude, but his friend. All Zano has to do is stand there and look good. Although with his very small role, Zano, mercifully, only appears in the first movie of the (shockingly) long trilogy.
6 Jared Padalecki - Young MacGyver
New life has been squeezed out of an old franchise with the current reboot series of MacGyver doing quite well on CBS. Yet that is hardly the first time that MacGyver has been restarted.
Before Jared Padalecki became Sam on Supernatural (and after he was Dean on Gilmore Girls), the actor was Clay MacGyver.
Clay was the young nephew of the original series’ hero and was meant to launch his own series. Yet for several reasons-- probably because it was incredibly boring and dull-- Young MacGyver fell through.
There was nothing swashbuckling or even mildly charismatic about Padalecki’s version of MacGyver, he was just a moody “teen.”
Unfortunately for the future Supernatural star, Young MacGyver wasn’t completely buried. The pilot was eventually released as a TV movie-- a TV movie that did nothing for anyone’s career.
5 Robbie Amell – Scooby-Doo The Adventure Begins!
Robbie Amell hasn’t been as successful as his cousin, Stephen, on The CW. He has been around a couple shows on the network, even headlining his own, in the short-lived The Tomorrow People. Before Robbie ever became Firestorm on The Flash, though, he was portraying another famous character: Fred Jones from Scooby-Doo.
Scooby-Doo The Adventure Begins! is meant to be taken as a origin story of the original Scooby Gang. It’s also quasi-related to the cinematic movies starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., and the rest.
Yet this version was released as a TV movie on Cartoon Network and couldn’t look less low-budget. Amell comes off looking the best, as he just has to wear a blue jacket, but the average Halloween store costume is better-looking than the rest of the cast.
Scooby-Doo has never been high brow, but The Mystery Begins! is lazy as it gets.
4 Tom Cavanagh - Yogi Bear
Robbie Amell isn’t the only actor whose had the misfortunate to star in a piss-poor live-action cartoon adaptation. Tom Cavanagh, one of the anchors of The Flash, also appeared in an update of a Hanna-Barbera property with 2010’s Yogi Bear.
If Cavanagh has played Yogi or Boo Boo, the movie probably wouldn’t have been better. It would’ve at least been a little less embarrassing for Cavanagh’s career. Sadly, the actor played the biggest human role in the movie and probably it’s most boring character: Ranger Smith.
Cavanagh was spared becoming a rubbery and unconvincing CGI character, but the role couldn’t have been more thankfulness.
Yogi Bear tried to spice things up by putting Ranger Smith in a romance with Anna Farris’ character but ultimately he was hollow and predictable straight man to the (very unfunny) Yogi.
3 Melissa Benoist - Homeland
Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers is the perfect marriage of character and actor on Supergirl. Benoist is a beacon of light and optimism. She’s taken her role as a female superhero and transitioned into being a feminist icon and leader. However, one of Benoist’s earliest role sends the exact opposite message as Supergirl.
When Benoist was much younger, before she even appeared on Glee, she had a very minor role on Homeland. This alone isn’t that bad. While Homeland is divisive, it has been praised, especially for is first season. Sadly, Benoist’s character is totally skeevy and uncomfortable.
Benoist appears as a woman “trying out” to join a harem. She doesn't wear clothing for the entire appearance, is evaluated purely on her looks, and is even groped at one point. It’s an insulting role for any young actress but especially for one that would become such a powerful female figure like Supergirl.
2 Grant Gustin - Affluenza
Grant Gustin is about as scary as a puppy and as threatening as a twig in gale force winds. Yet before he became the lovable Barry Allen on The Flash, he spent a lot of time playing preppy jerks.
Sebastian on Glee is the most infamous example but there was some cleverness and funny lines behind Sebastian. The same can’t be said of his character, Todd Goodman, in 2014’s Affluenza.
In the simplest terms, Affluenza is the millennial version of The Great Gatsby, yet lacking all the prose, imagery, and deep themes of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Affluenza boils down to a love triangle between Gustin’s character and Gregg Sulkin’s character over a girl who’s a Daisy from Great Gatsby analogue but even more unbearable.
It’s a total waste of Gustin (and Sulkin), as Affluenza has nothing original or thought-provoking to say besides money is bad and kids are jerks (sometimes).
1 Jensen Ackles - Wishbone
Anyone who grew up in the late '90s or early '00s and had access to public television probably watched Wishbone. The children’s show starring the dog of the same name, took classic literature and adapted it, usually with the terrier in one of the main roles.
It was goofy, fun, and terribly humiliating for any of the human actors in the show. One such actor was future Supernatural star, Jensen Ackles.
Long before he became Dean Winchester, a much younger Ackles appeared in one episode of the series. Ackles wasn’t in the retelling of the literary story but rather the other half of every Wishbone episode which occurred in the boring real world.
Ackles played Michael Duff, a charming teen, who Wishbone’s owner Joe was stupidly and weirdly jealous of and hated. It’s bizarre enough seeing the baby-faced Ackles, but Michael seemed to have no purpose. Joe’s a jerk to him and nothing comes of it.
Can you think of any more embarrassing roles of stars from The CW? Did we miss any? Sound off in the comments!