Trying to compare Arrow to Daredevil often feels like comparing apples to oranges. They may have similar subject matter but they’re clearly being made for vastly different audiences. Netflix is aiming for an adult drama while The CW is after a more teen-oriented viewership.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with The CW wanting to capture this demographic, but it has often felt as if the show’s material has never quite gelled with the network’s mandate. The result has been a mixed bag that’s started to feel less like a superhero show and more like a relationship drama.
Gone are the days when Oliver's betrayal of Slade Wilson led to an emotionally-charged war for the city. Now Arrow seems more focused on how Oliver and Felicity are handling their romantic life.
Conversely, Daredevil and to a lesser extent Jessica Jones, feel like the type of shows that Arrow should be, and the kind it still would be were it also on Netflix.
At a certain point, it becomes hard to completely blame the writers of Arrow for its recent failings when it’s clear that most of the audience complaining was never what The CW wanted in the first place.
So in an imagined scenario where another network with different fans in mind took over this property, there's more than a few changes that would be in store.
10. Less Filler Stories
Despite having 23 episodes a season to Netflix’s 13, Arrow still feels like it gets a lot less done every year. While there is always an over-arcing storyline in play, it’s often put on the back-burner in favour of smaller, one-off adventures. In particular, the middle of the seasons often feel inconsequential and full on villain-of-the-week episodes that don't do much for the overall narrative.
Conversely, Daredevil feels like a singular, extended story. There’s little filler to speak of and every hour is devoted to the core story of the season. Perhaps this is because the show is designed to be binge-watched, and so its flow and focus are noticeably better.
If Arrow was envisioned in a similar fashion, with a shortened, more streamlined episode order, it’s hard to argue that the quality wouldn’t increase monumentally. Quantity does not equal quality and while The CW is always going to want the most content possible, that has clearly come at the expense of the show’s ability to construct a consistently engaging narrative every week.