What's the Best Way to Binge-Watch the Entire DC/CW Universe?

Image: CW.
Image: CW.

Greeting, my Global Express Guaranteed packages of fun. Sorry “Postal Apocalypse” is a day late, but this time I did an extra extra-long version to make up for it—you get a free 50 percent more of my shenanigans! This week: The future of Batfleck! The future of Ghostbusters! The future of the Star Wars prequels! And I’m finally back to answering questions about where superheroes go to the bathroom.


Broken Arrowverse

Mike W.:

Greetings Postman! I had originally started watching the CW’s Arrow a few years ago when the first season debuted on Netflix, and continued with the second season when it was released (I prefer most shows in binge-watching form).

Friends who had watched the Arrow and Flash when they originally aired suggested that I start alternating episodes, because there were several crossover episodes throughout the season. I think that was good advice because some pieces of those crossovers may not have made sense taken out of the context of where both shows were at.

Now alternating between episodes of two shows wasn’t terrible. Occasionally I would forget to switch over and just hit “play next” and not realize my mistake until something regarding Flash happened on Arrow that hadn’t been mentioned yet in Flash, or vice versa. These spoilers, or even information that made no sense out of context bugged me every time!

The next set of seasons were released on Netflix, only this time the CW threw the Legends of Tomorrow in the mix as well! Alternating between three series at the same time seemed like a lot of work so I kept putting it off... only to have Supergirl get tossed into the crossover blender the season after that!

Is it worth watching all four shows concurrently for the crossover episodes? Bouncing back and forth seems like a lot of work, and I’m not sure if the order is consistent or if some shows missed episodes here and there , and if the ties between crossovers are important to each show then it seems like it might be frustrating if they were out of order. What do you suggest?

Honestly, as long as you account for the crossovers—and not even all of those—it can be reasonably uncomplicated for you to catch up. Sure, there’ll be a few references or asides to things that have happened in the other shows, but they’re few and far between, and never that important. Look, if they bug you they bug you, but trying to watch every episode of four TV series in the order they aired sounds like it would be infinitely more irritating. So I suggest trying this instead:

  • Arrow seasons one and two
  • Arrow season three, episodes 1-7
  • Flash season one, episodes 1-8 (episode 8 begins the first Arrow crossover)
  • Arrow season three, episodes 8-23 (episode 8 concludes it)
  • Flash season one, episodes 9-23
  • Arrow season four, episodes 1-7
  • Flash season two, episodes 1-8
  • Arrow season four, episodes 8-23 (same deal as Arrow s3 and Flash s1)
  • Flash season two, episodes 9-23
  • Legends of Tomorrow season one
  • Supergirl season one

Here’s where it gets a bit wackier, thanks to the “Invasion” crossover, and the Flash/Supergirl musical episode.

  • Arrow season five, episodes 1-7
  • Flash season three, episodes 1-7
  • Legends of Tomorrow season two, episode 1-6
  • Supergirl season two, episodes 1-8 (ep. 8 verrrrrry technically starts “Invasion”)
  • Flash season three, episode 8 (“Invasion” part two)
  • Arrow season five, episode 8 (“Invasion” part three)
  • Legends of Tomorrow season two, episode 7 (“Invasion” part four)
  • Arrow season five, episodes 9-23
  • Flash season three, episodes 8-16
  • Supergirl season two, episodes 8-16
  • Flash season three, episodes 17-23 (ep. 17 is the Flash/Supergirl musical)
  • Supergirl season two, episodes 17-22 (there’s no ep. 23)
  • Legends of Tomorrow season two, episodes 8-17

Since Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow are stand-alone after “Invasion,” it really doesn’t matter when you watch the rest of their seasons.


And yes, I recognize there’s technically a Flash/Supergirl crossover in seasons two and one, respectively, but it’s actually more of a cameo. Basically, the Flash shows up for an entire Supergirl episode; in the corresponding Flash episode, the Flash disappears for a couple of minutes while running around the multiverse; when he gets back to Earth-One he says, “Boy, that was weird!” or something. You 100 percent do not need to rearrange your viewing order to accommodate it, or anything else, in my opinion.


Let the Hate Flow Through You

Andrew M.:

Dear Mr. Postman, I have a habit of forming complicated non-binary opinions after reading a book or watching a movie. Instead of just loving or hating something and then either gushing or complaining for the next hour, I more often declare frankly whether I enjoyed it or not, and then want to talk about everything both positive and negative. This has led to me having a reputation among my friends as someone who “hates everything.” Anytime I see a movie, if I don’t totally love it, I’m attacked.

And if it sounds like I’m just a buzzkill, I’m not certain that’s the case, either. I’m often very positive, I just like full discussions where we can talk about what did and didn’t work. Sure, I can be negative (I didn’t enjoy Rogue One and actually fell asleep during it, while Flash throws me into a weekly blind rage), but not everything’s going to win you over.

This has even ruined some of my nerd interests. Despite being a huge fan, I fell completely out of Doctor Who and stopped watching years ago because any fans I met would get offended if the discussion got even a little gray. And it’s no fun to be in a fandom and not talk to anyone.

Am I too harsh on my media? Should I lie and pretend I love everything? Should I stop discussion altogether?


Andrew, this is a question close to my heart, as I too look at things with a critical eye and am frequently accused of being a hater (as are my coworkers, as is io9 as a whole). To be fair, I do hate many things, and I have often hated things professionally; however, anyone who reads io9 regularly and has object permanence should be able to see that all of us here love a lot more than we hate.

But once someone is convinced you’re a hater, it’s hard to shake the preconception. Say you and your friends watch Wonder Woman, and you find it flawless. Just perfect in every way. Your friends may be surprised at your opinion, but in a few weeks when you all watch Transformers: The Last Knight and point out it is senseless garbage, they’ll immediately call you a full-time hater again.


There’s not much you can do about this, unfortunately. Some people don’t understand thinking critically about art is really about understanding it fully, and gaining a deeper appreciation of it overall. They also don’t understand that even if you feel something has flaws, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t like it. The two aren’t mutually exclusive! (And since my opinions are broadcast to a wide audience, some of those people just want to have their own opinions validated, and feel attacked if I disagree, as if I’m calling them dumb. Then they attack me to make themselves feel better. I’m assuming your friends aren’t this bad.)

You just need to find friends who actually enjoy discussing the movie’s merits and flaws with you, and are secure enough that they can disagree with you without freaking out. They exist somewhere. At the very least, I feel totally confident in telling you that most io9 commenters on James Whitbrook’s Doctor Who coverage will agree with you that modern Doctor Who is not wholly without fault.


Image: Disney.
Image: Disney.

The Phantom Menace Pain

John H.:

Dear Mr Postman, how and when will Disney get around to fixing the Prequels? From a certain point of view, this has to happen. Those three movies are the dogs of the film franchise and they need to make a return on Disney’s investment. There’s no way The Mouse just lets them hang out, sucking in substantially less money than the other six.

First is the how – do they re-edit and make minimal reshoots? Hire one of the fan editors to use their ideas? Maybe fuse I and II together? Or maybe they declare the first three non-canon and start over?

Second is the when – wait until after George Lucas is one with the force? Until they run out of ideas for stand-alone movies? Wait a decade to build up nostalgia and demand?

Screwing around with Star Wars films is a time-honored tradition that Lucas himself started, so there’s really no reason not to. What’s your take?


Alas, you’ve begun with a false premise. While the prequels may make nominally less than the original trilogy—although nine times out of 10 you’re forced to buy all six Lucas movies at once, so it’s not actually much less—what they make is almost totally profit. Sure, there’s manufacturing costs and residuals to the cast and crew, but that’s built into the cost. Disney doesn’t have to touch a thing, and the prequels will continue to make a decent profit for them.

And there’s no reason to do anything to them when those resources would be better spent on churning out new Star Wars movies, each of which will probably make around a billion dollars. That’s a significantly better use of time and talent, with much higher returns. Basically, the prequels are profitable enough to keep, but not profitable enough to bother messing around with.


I also have a feeling that Lucas included a few legally-binding demands when he sold Star Wars to Disney, one of which could be “You can’t make any alterations to my Star Wars films,” which would be understandable if somewhat ironic. I also worry that he demanded Disney never release the non-Special Editions of the original trilogy, in revenge for all of us bitching so much about the prequels. I can’t know this for sure, but I am 100 percent certain that if Lucas had demanded these conditions before he sold them the franchise, Disney would have absolutely agreed to them.

Intentional Cowl

David O.:

Following on from the question about casting an old Batman at the start of a DC cinematic universe, do you think if the whole shebang went on long enough that we’d see a new non-Bruce Wayne Batman on the big screen?

Supposing he just gets too old or has one too many “Sad Affleck” moments to want to stick around, do you think WB would give us Damien, Terry, or even Dick under the cowl? Or do you think they’d sooner recast the part?


Affleck is totally gonna bolt long before WB is ready to reboot the DCEU. Since they’re trying to establish a continuity—and because trying to find someone to replace Affleck a la Kilmer and Clooney is a losing proposition—I’m betting that Affleck passes the cowl. Now, whether there’s actually a full Batman movie where this happens, or whether it happens in the first five minutes of the movie, or it happens offscreen before the film because Affleck is just so sick of this superhero bullshit depends on so many factors—Affleck, his contract, how fast WB manages to actually make these film—that it’s impossible to predict.

As for who he passes the cowl to, I’m calling it now: Damian Wayne. First of all, WB is planning on making a Nightwing movie; assuming this actually happens, they’ll want both Batman and Nightwing movie franchises. Meanwhile, Damian’s been Robin in the comics since 2009, and has been regularly showing up in DC’s animated movies and the very popular Injustice video games. He’s even in the recent animated Judas Contract movie, despite that being an adaptation of a Teen Titans tale from the ‘80s.


Basically, Damian has taken over the role of Robin in pop culture, and is more associated with the character than Dick Grayson or Jason Todd or Tim Drake at this point, and the DC live-action movies are much more interested in modern takes on these characters than any kind of legacy anyway. Also, tell me that “Batman has a kid he doesn’t know about who is raised by a league of assassins” isn’t the most DCEU thing you can think of. Ya can’t.

Image: Satellite of Love/Netflix.
Image: Satellite of Love/Netflix.

Movie Sign of the Times

James M.:

With the return of MST3K to Netflix it would seem that a lot of opportunities could arise for the series that were not possible before. Netflix has the rights to a host of movies and I would enjoy seeing Jonah and the bots’ take on Michael Bay’s TMNT or Prometheus.

Is this likely or should the Satellite of Love crew focus on older, more obscure pieces?


As an uber-fan, I want—nay, needMST3K to stick to older, cheesy movies. To me, it’s intrinsic to the show’s DNA, and watching the ‘Bots riff a big budget modern movie, no matter how terrible, would feel wrong. I know full well that Rifftrax does this for many big movies, including some genuine hits, and I love when they do it, and I love them, but I don’t think something like Prometheus would fit with MST3K’s low-fi, garage-built sensibilities.

Besides, the reason Rifftrax can do this is because they’re literally offering their own commentary track for the films. There’s absolutely no way Paramount or any major studio would consider licensing out their big films to MST3K for mocking.


A film would have to be so old and so terrible that giving it to Jonah and the ‘Bots would provide the maximum revenue stream, and it would still have to outweigh the shame of making a movie so bad it deserves to be put in the same league as Manos: The Hands of Fate, Monster A-Go-Go, the Coleman Francis trilogie, and the rest.

All that said, as time marches on, the revenue streams and hubris regarding these films will dwindle. Maybe in 2040, Crow and Tom Servo will be making fun of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, because it’ll feel as old and terrible as Starcrash seems now. But I imagine—and hope—that they won’t be running out of pre-1990 targets anytime soon.


Image: Sony.
Image: Sony.

Giving Up the Ghostbuster

Joe C.:

I think we can all agree that Ghostbusters 2016 was not a success. It did not make its money back, eliminating a sequel with this cast and crew. However, it wasn’t bad enough to kill the franchise. So I ask, where does Ghostbusters go from here?

Do they do another reboot with new characters again? A reboot with the original characters but recast? An animated movie is in the works, but word has been mum on that.

In my world of imaginary optimal outcomes, I would love to see a new GB cartoon. You get the original GBs back, add some new ones, make it take place after the video game (or GB2 for simplicity) and add adult humor. Some of the funniest moments in the original movie are the jokes that go over kids’ heads. Unfortunately an adult oriented GB cartoon won’t sell action figures, so that option’s probably off the table.

Right now this franchise is like a bunch of tangled Christmas lights; nobody knows how to untangle it, so fuck, why not just go out and buy a new set?


Well, that “new set of Christmas lights” is essentially what the movie reboot tried to be, and it didn’t work out. Rights holders Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd may be eager to try again, but studios like Sony won’t be. You can hope for any incarnation of the team you want, but unless Bill Murray agrees to star—which he absolutely won’t, as the last 30 years have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt—studios aren’t going to take a chance on a new movie for years, probably more than a decade.

A cartoon is more likely, but not by much. Cartoon Network and Disney XD are way more interested in making shows based on their own properties (e.g. Adventure Time and that Gumball show, and DuckTales and Marvel’s stuff respectively) because if they own it then they get the profits if it’s popular enough to sell DVDs and merchandise. Toys aren’t as much of a factor as they used to be, because basically only the biggest, most popular franchises sell action figures nowadays—which is the same reason why Pokémon and Transformers are cartoons owned by other companies that CN and Disney XD are willing to air.


But if Reitman and Aykroyd license out Ghostbusters as a kid’s cartoon, that’s going to kill the chance of a new movie, because studios will feel it can only be a cartoon. I know this isn’t logical, but I’m not pretending it is; studios want PG-13 movies, so Hollywood execs will instantly decide if Ghostbusters is right for kids’ cartoons, it can’t possibly right to make a $150 million movie about (and the last movie didn’t help).

Reitman and Aykroyd know this, and the movie is recent enough that I’m sure they still have hope of getting a new live-action film. Even if a network wanted it, I doubt they’d be willing to do a Ghostbusters cartoon for the foreseeable future.


Image: Lucasfilm.
Image: Lucasfilm.

I Only Meant to Stay a While


Dear Postman of the Future,

Although national anthems probably died in the societal collapse that you miraculously survived, I’m sure you vaguely remember some kind of patriotic ditty associated with sporting events and the like.

Here’s my question: suppose that Nerdom/Geekdom decided to declare itself an official something-or-other, and as part of the package, we had to choose one anthem for all us, to be played before every con, cruise, and filk concert for the rest of this century.

What would that anthem be? Is it a classical piece? Is it an instrumental mash-up of themes? Is it “I Ship It” ? What, in your notably nerdy opinion, could possible do the job?


Well, if nerd-dom declared its anthem it would either Luke’s theme from Star Wars, or “The Imperial March.” Just like when I called Star Wars the most quoted movie of all time, it also has the most instantly iconic and beloved music, and these are the two songs that the largest majority of nerds in the world would actually agree upon as a song to represent them as an entity. There’s no other music that comes close to be as universally accepted among our kind.

However, when I’m finally elected King of Nerds, I will be declaring “Twilight” by E.L.O. as the national nerd anthem, because it’s nerdy as hell, it’s catchy as shit, and has this amazing scifi music video:

That’s not an official music video, as you might suspect; it was the animated intro for the opening ceremony of a Japanese scifi n’ anime convention called Daicon IV, held back in 1983, which totally didn’t properly license the music but I assume were forgiven because it’s so amazing. Fun fact: The guys who made this went on to form Studio Gainax, including Evangelion creator/director Hideaki Anno.


Image: DC Comics.
Image: DC Comics.


Flash in the Bed Pan

Jason W.:

Dear postman,

You seem like a man who knows a thing or two about fictional characters’ bathroom habits. So does Iron Man pee in his suit or what? Similar question: Does Batman use the rooftops of Gotham as his own personal outhouse?


I am dead certain that Iron Man’s suit takes care of all his waste, and drops it surreptitiously when he flies around so no one notices. I am merely very confident Batman’s suit also accommodates his number ones and number twos, probably—and more than a little disgustingly—containing them until he gets back to the Batcave. However, it’s worth remembering that Bruce almost never eats or drinks, and probably takes some ultra-efficient vitamin of his own devising that gives him the energy he needs with producing little to no waste, so such a thing would very rarely need to be utilized.

If you doubt me, please remember that Kevin Smith did once retcon Batman’s origin—in continuity at the time, amazingly—that Batman pissed his pants at one point during his Year One. If the legendarily prepared Batman was too young to have thought about this potential problem then, he certainly addressed it afterward.


Guys! Thanks for all the great questions! You keep emailing the postman, I’ll keep trying to answer more, So send your questions, concerns, arguments that need settling, pleas for advice, and whatever else the heck you want to postman@io9.com!


Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.


John Cooley

I fully understand disliking the films, but some fans are really in their own little “bubble” of hatred when it comes to the Star Wars prequels.

Yes, here on the internet, at least on some portions of it, there’s a significant concentration of people who think the prequels are utterly shit movies. But the further out you go from the hardcore crazies, into the (gasp) real world of regular people and kids and their families who watch these movies on a regular basis, the worst you really find is sort of a blase apathy towards the prequels, and from the younger generations, even some admiration and affection.

All that to say- the prequels aren’t going anywhere. Disney isn’t going to hide from them because they don’t need to. There’s just no scenario in which they try and appease the wishes of a loud bunch of Gen-X’ers at the expense of their massive child/teen/millennial fanbase.