Today we want to discuss the side characters aspect of the Arrowverse. We’ve done a lot of lists on the seasons, the shows, the main characters, and so on. We’ve never focused just on the side characters. Please note, this list will not contain the main villains as they’re not really “side” characters and were essential to the story of the main character.
Let’s start with the characters that never worked
This is just 10 characters that we feel never worked. This list could easily double but we want to discuss the ones that frustrated us more than others. Some characters like Rags, William, and Frost, were all in contention for the top 10. This isn’t any in particular order.
1. Evelyn Sharp (Atermis) – Arrow
When I first heard that Artemis was going to be joining the show I was excited. I watched her in Young Justice and she was a badass character. When she joined the show I did get that feeling however, the story revolving around her started slowly going downhill and then her ending was absolutely horrid. We didn’t even see her death on screen.
2. Curtis Holt (Mr. Terrific) – Arrow
I feel what ultimately let Curtis down was simply being a character on Arrow. Yes, he was extremely smart, and his overall character was very tech-oriented and would have done wonders on a show like The Flash or Legends of Tomorrow but they stuck him on a show where they literally had a female counterpart to him with them both being genius’s and extremely smart and handy with technology.
3. Felicity Smoak (Overwatch) – Arrow
Say what you will but Felicity is the absolute top. I know “Olicity” has a very particular fanbase that cares about the relationship between Oliver and Felicity but I couldn’t care less. Felicity is the reason the show went in the pan. The relationship side of things should’ve always been Oliver and Laurel. The Flash got it right with Barry and Iris so why couldn’t Arrow? An absolute shame and Felicity became a hugely more annoying character as time went on. Completely ripped off from Barbara Gordon in the Batman universe. I could write forever on how Felicity just simply didn’t work in Arrow but this article would be pages long.
4. Allegra Garcia – The Flash
There was next to no impact from Allegra at all during her run in The Flash. She even got fully dedicated episodes and even those weren’t enough to do anything for her character development. It’s a similar case to Dreamer in Supergirl where they completely dragged her ark out for no reason. She never gained full control or access to her powers and we barely even seen her use them. She even had a codename which was Accelerant. It comes to something when I never even knew that and I still don’t care.
5. Wally West (Kid Flash) – The Flash
Wally West unfortunately fell victim the bad writing, and lack of story, and was pushed to the side in favor of other side characters. He came into the show with the highest potential of being such a fantastic addition to the show but ended up being written off and basically forgotten about. Which is a shame. Even when he made the jump to Legends of Tomorrow, he was sort of under-used, especially for being a speedster.
6. Dinah Drake (Black Canary) – Arrow
This one still feels like a “we made a mistake killing Laurel so here’s Black Canary again“. It’s the constant whinging I can’t get over, it was laughably pathetic for large portions of her run in the show. In fairness, it was a character I never wanted in the first place and Dinah never did anything to change my perspective on that either. A poor side character.
7. James Olsen (Guardian) – Supergirl
James just did not cut it for me, especially as a hero. He was fantastic when the first season was premiering, he was there to help Kara and that’s it. The writers continued to push him wanting to be a hero and then when he did become Guardian, they pushed that on his sister too making James obsolete.
8. Brainiac – Supergirl
Now, Brainiac wasn’t a bad character he just didn’t truly work. They never capitalized on the fact he was a relative of the big bad Brainiac. This was a villain that could’ve taken Supergirl from being a very poor show to a good one in a single season. Brainiac got boring very quickly after his initial introduction into the show and should’ve done more than he did.
9. Chester Runk – The Flash
What went wrong with Chester was the simple fact he was brought into the show to be the new Cisco. It just couldn’t work that way. I think once Chester was brought into the show as a typical episode-only metahuman, it was fine. Bringing him back to be a full-time member of Team Flash was just bad.
10. Nia Nal (Dreamer) – Supergirl
A disaster of a character. I’m sorry, Dreamer just didn’t work yet she should’ve. The issue with Nia is she took far too long to gain control of her powers. She only did so AFTER the show had ended in a crossover with The Flash. It’s a shame because Nia had the potential to be a fantastic addition to the team and be a great character. It’s a problem with the writing more than anything, they needed to get to the point a lot quicker and they never did.
Now let’s look at 10 characters that did work
We’ve discussed 10 characters that never worked so let’s spin onto those that did work. This was another tough list as there are some honorable mentions such as Martian Manhunter, Laurel Lance, and Mon-El. These 10 though smashed their roles.
1. Thea Queen (Red Arrow) – Arrow
As with every good side character, Thea did have terrible moments but on the whole, she was great. I liked the build-up from being a teen in school to becoming a vigilante. I liked the twists and turns throughout her story and it made a lot of sense. She became an established member of the team quickly which is something I did really like. Thea is a character that could’ve easily handled a spin-off.
2. John Constantine – Various
I loved Constantine no matter where he was whether it was Legends or Arrow. He made an impact wherever he went. Matt Ryan portrayed the character beautifully on top of everything and I’m happy the showrunners brought him in. You knew it was going to be an intense episode when he showed up on Arrow.
3. Caitlin Snow – The Flash
Caitlin Snow worked perfectly, even the last character she became worked. We saw the evolution of Caitlin going from this friendly team member to this killer and back again. We saw her journey and it worked. She perfectly bounced off of Cisco. Their chemistry was unmatched.
4. John Diggle (Spartan) – Arrow
I think we can all agree on how important and how pivotal John Diggle was to the story of Arrow, and how important he was to the role and system of the Green Arrow. I have lost count of how many times Oliver would have died, been arrested, and more if it wasn’t for Diggle. The only thing that lets Diggle down is simply the wasted Green Lantern storyline.
5. Roy Harper (Arsenal) – Arrow
My only issue with Roy is that he shouldn’t have left when he did. I enjoyed the build-up for Roy even more so after being injected with the serum during season 3 which made him violently uncontrollable. He was the first side character after the original 3 that truly became a part of the team. He’s one of the few side characters in Arrow that could’ve handled his own spin-off show.
6. Alex Danvers (Sentinel) – Supergirl
Even before Kara became Supergirl, Alex decided to go and be an agent of the DEO to protect Kara. She was her own person before the main hero and that is what makes Alex a fantastic side character. Even in later seasons, she was written consistently well to the point she barely did anything wrong.
7. Winn Schott – Supergirl
The tech guy for Supergirl. When Winn left it fell apart. It’s a very similar circumstance to when Cisco left The Flash. Winn brought a lot of entertainment value and also felt like a valued member of the team. I enjoyed his presence in the show and I still hated the fact he left. I was torn between popping him of Mon-El on this list as when they both left, that’s when the show really went in the trash and never came back out.
8. Iris West-Allen – The Flash
Over the course of many seasons, Iris, unfortunately, got a ton of hate directed at the character and actor alike but no one can deny that she wasn’t a great side character. She would throw herself into any battle to protect the city, Barry, or anyone. She was badass whether you liked her or not. That’s just a fact.
9. Cisco Ramon (Vibe) – The Flash
Cisco Ramon. Where do we begin? Perhaps the best side character in The Flash by a country mile. He brought everything. The tech, the fight, the humor, the emotion – he was perfect. The show largely fell apart after he left as it left a huge void that Chester couldn’t fill. I was sad that he never returned in the finale as he was such an important character in the show.
10. Ray Palmer (The Atom) – Arrow & Legends of Tomorrow
Was Ray annoying at first? Of Course, but he grew into a great side character who learned a lot from the Green Arrow. Ray became a decent member of Team Arrow but ultimately went on to be a main hero in Legends of Tomorrow and became a better person, hero, and overall an important part of the timeline.