Arrowverse will stream shows’ full seasons starting this fall

DC's Legends of Tomorrow -- "Hey World!" -- Image Number: LGN416a_0292br.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary, Nick Zano as Nate Heywood/Steel and Adam Tsekhman as Agent Gary Green -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Rember when the streaming options were just Netflix, and everything was simple? Things are a lot more complicated these days, even when they’re free. But there’s good news. While some CW shows will head to HBO Max, CW will stream the full seasons in their entirety on the CW app as they air, according to THR.

The Netflix problem

CW Netflix Breakup

For as long as we can remember, back to the days when our grandparents watched Netflix in sub-1080p resolutions uphill both ways in the snow, everything CW has ended up on Netflix. Flash, Riverdale, Arrow, and so on. This year, the network decided not to renew its contract with the streaming service for its newer shows.

What that means is that Netflix will still retain rights for streaming previous shows, such as those mentioned. Meanwhile, it’ll be up to the CW to decide what to do with new shows like Batwoman and Katy Keene. Those two will head to HBO Max for their extended streaming lives. Nancy Drew, meanwhile, will head to CBS All Access, of which WarnerMedia is part owner.

Where things get interesting is how the CW plans to handle mid-season streaming.

CW’s free streaming service

Previously, you could watch the most recent five episodes of any of the CW’s shows on the CW app or the CW website. That means if you got behind on a show, catching up could turn into a huge headache.

Starting with this season, the entire current season of each CW show will be available on and the CW App (available on platforms like Android, iOS, Roku, Xbox One, and more). That means that as the finale for Supergirl season 5 or Batwoman season 1 approaches, you can go back to episode 1 on the CW app and start at episode #1. The ad-supported service is free and doesn’t ask for so much as a login regardless of the platform you consume it on. The policy of putting the episode up a day after it airs is still in place.

Once the seasons end, the episodes will likely start to fall off so that shows can pop over to Netflix and HBO Max.

The breakup isn’t all bad

I’m not super thrilled that the CW is breaking up its interconnected universe of DC shows. It already did that with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) and Riverdale (CW/Netflix), and both shows have suffered for it. Now Katy Keene, also in the Archieverse, will be on yet a third network (CW/HBO Max). Getting them to crossover will be all but impossible at this point, I think.

The situation with the network’s slate of DC shows is a little less complicated. Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, and Supergirl air on the CW and stream on Netflix. Batwoman airs on CW and streams on HBO Max. There are no Netflix-exclusive shows in there. It’s another case of a network wanting a piece of the increasingly small streaming pie. The fact CW is doing away with that miserable “rolling five” policy and instead streaming the entire season eases the headache of all that.

Look forward to Batwoman and Supergirl premiering on Sunday, October 6 at 8 and 9pm EST. The Flash returns on Tuesday, October 8, at 8pm EST. Arrow returns on Tuesday, October 15 at 9pm EST. Black Lightning premiers on Monday, October 21 at 9pm EST. Legends of Tomorrow comes back in January 2020.