The CW Arrowverse and myth-making, or the commodification of transmedia franchising
Keywords:The CW, DC comics, transmedia, convergence, superhero
AbstractThe CW’s influence over the American network television landscape has never ceased to grow since its creation in 2006. The network’s audience composition reflects The CW’s strategies to improve its original content as well as diversifying it, moving away from its image as a network for teenage girls. One of the key elements which has supported this shift was the development of the Arrowverse, a shared narrative space based on DC-inspired original series which provided the network with a fertile groundwork to build upon. The CW did not hesitate to capitalize on its not-so-newfound superhero brand to induce a circulation of myth, relying on these larger-than-life characters at the heart of American pop culture to fortify its cultural and historical bedrock and earn its seat along the rest of the Big 4. This paper aims to decipher how The CW pioneered new technology-based tools which ultimately changed the American media-industrial landscape of the early 2010s, putting these tools to the test with the network’s superhero series. It will thus also address how the Arrowverse set of characters has triggered cross-media and transmedia experimentations, how The CW stimulated rapport with its strong fan base, as well as how the network has been able to capitalize on the superhero genre’s evocative capacities.
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