The Vampire Diaries, the Arrowverse… Remember When The CW Ruled TV Fandoms?


The CW used to be the ideal network for soapy teen dramas, sci-fi vampires and werewolf series, and DC superhero shows.

Now, it’s a disappointing shell of those days.

The Vampire Diaries premiered back in 2009 and led to two additional spinoffs, while DC’s Arrow began in 2012 and also began a massive franchise.

The CW used to include soapy dramas or sci-fi series, such as Supernatural, which launched Jared Padalecki’s career.

The CW has only four original series left, and Superman & Lois will air its final season in the fall.

All American and All American: Homecoming are all on the bubble, while Walker was canceled. It seems like The CW has changed its’ identity, and it’s not favorable.

We long to return to those glory days when The CW ruled TV fandoms.

A Parting Hug? - Tall - Supernatural Season 14 Episode 13

The Vampire Diaries Franchise Made History

The Vampire Diaries made history when it premiered on September 10, 2009.

It garnered more viewers than any audience on The CW since it began in 2006. Due to those strong ratings, the series picked up a complete 22-episode series order only weeks later.

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The Vampire Diaries appealed to viewers because it combined teenage angst with supernatural and fantasy drama.

The central love triangle between Elena Gilbert and brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore had enough meaty material for several seasons.

Brothers and BFFs

But the series was so much more than that as the estranged brothers reconcile and eventually work together to protect Elena from other witches, werewolves, and vampires, including her doppelganger, Katherine Pierce.

The Vampire Diaries introduced the Mikaelson siblings, who became part of the first spinoff, The Originals.

The Originals were different because the Mikaelson siblings were the first vampires to exist.

Klaus detailed his desire to produce a hybrid child with vampire, witch, and werewolf roots on The Vampire Diaries, and the backdoor pilot, Hayley, announced she was pregnant with the first hybrid.

In Marcel’s area of the French Quarter, things were ruled with an iron fist, and the Mikaelson siblings banded together to protect each other and their children.

The End of the Line - The Originals Season 5 Episode 13

Throughout the series,  prophecies or mystical menaces interfere, and so does Hope’s magical abilities, which she struggles to control.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the final Vampire Diaries spinoff, Legacies, focused on Hope, who studied at the Salvadore School for the Young and Gifted.

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Viewers love these types of spinoffs when they get to watch the characters they watched grow up have their own show.

Watching Alaric act as a headmaster to his twins Lizzie and Josie was entertaining as they, Hope, and other teens learned to hone their skills.

It was like it had come full circle over 11 years.

Hope's Final Plan - Legacies Season 4 Episode 19

Greg Berlanti Created the Arrowverse, Based on DC Superheroes

When Arrow first premiered in October of 2012, it beat The Vampire Diaries’ previous ratings record-holder of 3.6 million viewers with 3.68 million viewers.

These two were top performers for The CW.

Audiences quickly fell in love with Stephen Amell’s version of Oliver Queen as he returned to Star City to exact vengeance on those listed in his father’s book.

Oliver Queen - Arrow Season 8 Episode 6

Amell’s Green Arrow differed significantly from Justin Hartley’s Green Arrow from Smallville, which ended in 2011.

This was an opportunity to showcase Oliver Queen’s business side and Green Arrow’s vigilante side, and the series excelled at this.

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Throughout the series, Oliver Queen had to balance his vigilante activities along with his friends’ involvement, especially when Tommy Merlyn and Sara Lance were killed.

Arrow launched several other superhero series.

Oliver and Barry Allen

Barry Allen even appeared on Arrow twice to test whether The Flash and Green Arrow meshed well together before The CW ordered an official pilot and series order in 2014.

It was interesting because while Green Arrow was mighty, The Flash had even more powers with his speed.

For the most part, Oliver and Barry were close friends and not rivals when they crossed over on each other’s shows.

Their series had many similarities since their allies and teams were the heart of the show as they assisted with missions. Arrow featured Oliver and Felicity as their central couple, while The Flash had Barry and Iris.

In 2016, The CW expanded the Arrowverse further by adding Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, which initially premiered on CBS.

Supergirl Season 6 Episode 20

Having so many superheroes in the same multiverse allowed the network the opportunity to feature crossovers, including “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” which featured many of the shows, including Black Lightening and Batwoman.

That crossover brought back Tom Welling and Erica Durance’s Clark and Lois while integrating the new versions of Superman and Lois, Tyler  Hoechlin, and Bitsie Tulloch.

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Superman & Lois is the last DC superhero series, but it will end soon.

It’s the end of an era.

Flying High - Superman & Lois

Supernatural Launched Jared Padalecki and Jenson Ackles’s Careers

While Supernatural began on The WB, most of its 15-year run occurred on The CW.

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles excelled at portraying brothers with a complicated relationship.

While people showed up to see what kind of evil the Winchesters would fight, the best part of the series was the emotional beats between the brothers.

They’ve both gone on to other shows. Jared has logged more time on The CW than any actor now that he also starred as Cordell Walker on Walker.

That was also canceled, so where will Jared end up next? His career with the CW looks to be over.

Talking to Captain James - Walker Season 3 Episode 4

Teen Shows Provided Soapy Drama

The CW has always provided soapy drama, from 90210 and Gossip Girl in the beginning to Dynasty, Riverdale, and All American in the more recent years.

Besides showcasing love triangles, catfights, addiction, and family drama, The CW was known for bringing back stars of the ’80s and ’90s as parents to entice viewers of all ages.

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Think of Luke Perry, Grant Show, Taye Diggs, and many others.

With all of the celebratory milestones that All American Season 6 has had, it’s sad to say goodbye, though most teen shows don’t last more than five or six seasons.

The CW has always been unique for combining teen, sci-fi, and superheroes.

Now that The CW canceled Walker and All American and All American: Homecoming is nearing cancellation, can the network survive?

Supporting Patience - All American

Where will we find these types of shows or relive these favorites on streaming?

What are your thoughts on the state of The CW?

Do you miss the Vampire Diaries franchise and the Arroverse?

What were your favorite shows on The CW?

We would love to hear your thoughts, so please share them below.

Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on X.

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