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The CW’s Arrowverse Pilots Ranked From Worst To Best

I can probably best a lot of money that when The CW first launched Arrow back in October 2012 that it would span into multiple shows, heroes and crossovers…but it did. We’ve had some fantastic quality over the previous 8+ years now.

There has been a total of 7 shows, and each one had a fantastic Pilot episode that deserves the most attention and praise. So, today, we decided to look at each of the 7 shows and rank their Pilots from worst to best, and there can only be one winner.

We know people are die-hard fans of specific shows, so this is just our own opinions. We thought hard about how we were going to rank these Pilots, and which one we preferred the most.

7. Batwoman

The Batwoman Pilot was good, but that’s it. It wasn’t anything memorable or something that kicked in immediately which is what The CW tends to do with their shows. Batwoman actually took it’s time to get invested, especially during the opening few episodes.

A lot of people I spoke to watched the Pilot and then never came back to it. I understand it’s often difficult to try to persuade people to come back to the show because Batwoman really did have a strong first season.

The Pilot was slow, but it did gain traction towards the end with the final suit, and understanding just who Kate is and what she’s all about. In terms of ranking compared to the other Arrowverse shows – it does fall short, after all, nearly every show ahead has an incredibly memorable Pilot.

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6. Black Lightning

The pilot for Black Lightning set the tone for the entire first season and beyond that, a black superhero in a primarily black city who, when we first see him, has been doing the superhero gig for many, many years.

The pilot was fairly decent, it had its moments of important stuff like police stopping random black drivers, we get introduced to the Pierce family, which is the reason we get to see Black Lightning.

Although the pilot was fairly decent, it still didn’t have the “it factor” many of the other pilots for other DC shows quite had, I don’t know what it was but it just didn’t quite feel right, possibly because he was a hero slightly past his prime.

5. Supergirl

Supergirl had a fantastic season 1, and the Pilot was a great episode. However, for me personally, the reason why I rank this further up is that the first time I watched the Pilot, I ended up bored and turning it off.

It wasn’t until around 1 year later, it was the end of the usual seasons for CW and I wanted something new to watch, so I decided to give it another go and came to absolutely adore the first season. The Pilot was great once I actually sat and gave it a chance.

This episode also cemented Melissa Benoist’s place as Supergirl for many years before, as she played the role so perfectly in the Pilot and thereon after. It might be 5th, but this is a tough list after all.

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4. Legends of Tomorrow

The pilot of Legends compared to what it is now just seems like a thousand universes away. The pilot for Legends offered something truly spectacular, super serious yet had it’s “funny” moments.

The pilot for Legends offered something different to shows like Arrow or The Flash, It offered something insanely mad, a unique immortal villain or couldn’t do by any old means.

Let’s not forget how insanely well they wrote each character even down to “cameo” characters, it was literally perfect, this is why it stands out as one of the better pilot for the CW shows.

3. Arrow

The show turned me from a casual nerd to a hardcore nerd. Granted, I originally watched The Flash prior and became interested when Oliver Queen first showed up in The Flash. I never looked back. The Pilot had me instantly hooked, and I knew this show was going to be different, and it was.

We learn very quickly who Oliver Queen was and what he now is after spending 5 years on a remote island. Immediately, after returning home he gets to work with a list and the brutality of the show begins. He’s a completely different person, and the dark tone of the Pilot was felt through the rest of the season.

Because of this Pilot, I became a huge fan of Green Arrow, even owning comic books of the character, and whenever I see the name mentioned anywhere I get excited. For a Pilot to do that to me definitely deserves to be among the top 3 here, and it’s super close. Any of these top 3 could have easily been number 1, and it was incredibly close.

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2. The Flash

I remember the pilot to The Flash series leaked insanely early, that’s how I found out about it. I will admit I watched it when it leaks because of curiosity and I was instantly hooked on it for the simple that I only watched The Flash in an animated cartoon.

Throughout the pilot episode, we got introduced to this boy who’s trying to solve his mother’s murder, we got to see this play out as well in live-action. It was just done so well, they even introduced us to Iris, Cisco, and Caitlin, even introducing us to Harrison Wells.

The CGI and action were all superb, it truly felt like The Flash I had grown up on, watching the cartoon, playing with the action figures, and reading my older brother’s comics.

1. Superman & Lois

The most recent addition to The CW’s Arrowverse and one that we knew was coming for quite some time. It did NOT disappoint whatsoever. One of the reasons we ranked this top is that we know the lore of Superman by now. We don’t need to know it again, this episode did a great job in explaining the history and then moving straight on.

By the end of the Pilot, I knew every person’s name, which is always a huge positive from the first episode. I was literally glued to the screen and could barely look away. Every single character has been cast perfectly and done a wonderful job with their respective roles.

Tyler Hoechlin did an amazing job, and not only rocking one suit, we actually got to see him don the OG suit. Something we haven’t seen in so long now. The Pilot is up there as one of my favourite first episodes ever, and not just within The CW.

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Even Stephen Amell had his say on the Pilot…


There we have it, there’s our list. Why don’t you Tweet us at @_ComicUniverse and let us know your list? We would love to hear it.

Image credits: Batwoman, Black Lightning, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, The Flash & Superman & Lois — The CW — DC Comics

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Daniel Lewandowski

28 years old. Founder, and co-owner of Comic Universe. Journalist specializing in the Arrowverse shows, and the MCU. Creator of the Comic Universe website.

Phil Weaver

25 years old. One of the co-founders of Comic Universe. Specialising in comic book source material, especially DC.

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