Big news from today’s Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour 2015, and not just big news relative to the size of the network presenting: The CW. Yes, the CW is an also ran of a network, churning out 10 hours of programming a week and basically being relegated to the a category so derogatory, it’s the only one to be given the term “netlet,” but they’re still churning our a lot of popular TV. They know what they’re doing and they’re doing it well, which is why they went hog wild this afternoon and renewed eight of its series, including the superheroic Arrow and The Flash. Speaking of which, if you love the world of the Emerald Archer and the Fastest Man Alive, then you might just be welcoming a third hour featuring the man with the Power of the Atom.
To get the straightforward news out of the way, yes, Arrow was renewed for season 4 and The Flash was renewed for season 2. Also renewed were The Vampire Diaries for season 7, The Originals, Reign and The 100 for season 3, Jane the Virgin for season 2, and Supernatural for an outstanding 11th season.
As to the more provocative news, the CW is considering another hour of super-heroism, regardless of where it might fit on an already packed schedule. Given the success of Arrow, and the even greater initial success of The Flash, the CW would have to be crazy to not consider the possibility of inflating the ranks of the Justice League on their air waves.
“You’d have to be judicious. Could there be another hour in that universe?” said CW President Mark Pedowitz (as reported by EW). “Possibly. That’s why we’re in preliminary discussion. [The show] has to stand on its own legs.”
From the sounds of it, those legs might belong to Brandon Routh, who joined Arrow at the beginning of this season as Ray Palmer, AKA: The Atom. Palmer has yet to become The Atom on the show, but that eventuality has been strongly hinted at in the show, including a reference to the white dwarf star material that makes The Atom, The Atom. “We’re in very early talks in a very general idea that we haven’t gone deeper on yet,” said Arrow and Flash mastermind Greg Berlanti.
As for The Atom himself, Routh, who was once himself Superman in Superman Returns, seems game for the possibility of weekly adventures as the man that can… Well, you know.
“With any character you bring on this show that’s a possibility, depending on how the fans react and the character is received and developed,” Routh told IGN. “You know they’ve shown with The Flash that just being a part of Arrow that it can work. It’s exciting. The sky’s the limit. DC and The CW have done a great job with the two shows and the platforms in terms being their own entities. What the future holds, who knows? But anything is a possibility.”
True words, but there must be practical considerations. First of all, those eight shows that the CW just renewed, which take up four-fifths of the CW schedule. And then there’s iZombie and The Messenger, and the third season of Beauty of the Beast, all of which have yet to go to air, and are awaiting space to be made. (iZombie will debut on Tuesdays starting in March after The Flash, once Supernatural moves to Wednesdays after The 100’s season comes to an end FYI.) There are also new episodes of reality shows like America’s Next Top Model and Whose Line is it Anyway? all of which have to go to air sometime. There’s also the possibility that the network will order more Hart of Dixie even though it’s supposed that this season will be its last. And by the way, did we mention that the CW is still interested in a Supernatural spin-off?
Also speaking of packed schedules, there’s Berlanti’s who right now is overseeing Arrow, Flash, The Mysteries of Laura and is currently developing the Supergirl series for CBS. It’s worth noting that Supergirl is looking likely to be part of the Arrow/Flash universe, so if The Atom gets made then that’s four hours of a complete DC Comics TV universe on the air. That’s a heady concept to wrap your head around, and would be a helluva lot of effort to co-ordinate. That’s not to say that it can’t happen, but it will be curious to see if the CW can make it happen.
And while we’re talking about it, what would an Atom TV series look like? Could the weekly adventures of a man that can shrink himself be done any kind of justice on a TV budget? Are there enough stories to make it worthwhile? There’s no doubt that the team on Arrow and The Flash have done a great job in making those shows, but both Green Arrow and Flash have been subject of ongoing series for years. When was the last time you read an Atom comic? I guess we’ll wait and see if this spin-off will become a reality because these are, wait for it, early days in the discussion.
We’ll have more news as it develops. The Flash returns January 20; Arrow returns January 21.