In the age of the superhero movie, what cannot be overlooked is the abundance of comic books you can see play out every single week on TV. The days of "Smallville" and the original "The Tick" are a thing of the past. Now superheroes reign supreme on the big and small screen.
Nowhere is that more evident than on The CW, which has gone from an angsty teen hideaway to the reigning home of superhero TV shows. Sure, lots of networks -- and streaming services -- have shows based on comic books, but what The CW has done is something special no other group has been able to pull off. As with Marvel's film division, The CW has created a shared universe of DC Comics superheroes.
The network currently has four different shows that exist in a shared universe, complete with regular crossovers and characters that jump from one series to another. When did this become the case, though? After all, before "Arrow" (currently in Season 5) premiered, the closest thing predecessor The WB had to a shared universe was "Smallville" and the failed "Aquaman" pilot.
Now executive producer Greg Berlanti has built a world that not only features The Flash, Green Arrow, Supergirl and the Legends of Tomorrow, but there are clear ties to the bigger DC universe and the myriad of characters it contains. Even Superman, arguably the greatest superhero of all time, has appeared.
When trying to pinpoint the exact moment The CW became a superhero juggernaut, there are plenty of contenders. There's a case to be made that the "Arrow" pilot made it all possible, or perhaps when Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) was introduced in Season 2. There's also "Supergirl" leaving CBS to join the lineup, and the Man of Steel himself making his debut to solidify just how massive what's happening is.
Truthfully, while each of these and so many more are incredible happenings that prove how exciting the world being created is, none of them are the moment that should be remembered as The CW reinventing itself as the home of superheroes.
That particular moment comes during the series premiere of "The Flash." As Barry acclimates to his new powers and the personal responsibility he feels to save the world, he gets advice from none other than his superfriend, the Arrow (Stephen Amell).
Unsure of himself and his abilities, Barry travels to Starling City to speak with his friend and for the first time in the history of what's since been dubbed the "Arrow"-verse, the Flash and the Arrow have a heart-to-heart about the lives of heroes and vigilantes.
This isn't Oliver Queen talking to nerdy scientist Barry Allen in "Arrow" Season 2. This isn't a crossover where the two join forces to fight a common evil. This is simply two superheroes relating to each other in a way nobody else could really understand. It's also the first real tease of the larger universe to come, with interactions between shows and characters happening regularly over the following seasons.
What's more though, it's the first time Oliver really acknowledges this world of heroes isn't just about him and his crew: It's about the larger world and those willing to step up to keep it safe. It's his advice to Barry to be something "better" than a vigilante that inspired him to truly become the Flash.
While there are many great "comic book moments" throughout the four DC shows currently airing on The CW, this simple meeting of two iconic superheroes on a rooftop was the first real look at what the network -- and those behind "Arrow" and "The Flash" -- have in mind. They weren't simply shows, but the beginning of a shared universe the likes of which had never been seen on TV before.
Now, in "Flash's" third season and "Arrow's" fifth, the universe continues to grow -- and with the multiverse, anything is truly possible. In a way, the size of The CW's superhero world is so great now that Barry and Oliver simply meeting on a rooftop almost seems quaint. After all, they're fighting aliens with Supergirl and the Legends now.
Still, that moment -- that image -- resonates, and made it clear, even then, there was something bigger at play. At this rate, the sky's the limit as to how big it can get.