There’s something missing from your life, and it’s probably a CW show. Protest all you like, but eventually you will give in. The CW is the frothy, pretty colored umbrella drink of television: mildly embarrassing, yet super delicious. Just try one and you’ll be hooked. Here’s a helpful guide to pick your poison.
In a lovely alphabetical coincidence, Arrow is actually one of the most legitimately enjoyable shows the CW has to offer. You can enjoy this superhero drama on the same “yay, spandex, masks, and capes!” level that apparently everyone in America enjoys (thanks, Avengers!) or on the nitpicky #truefan comic book level. Maybe you also enjoy never-ending backstory, complete with misty islands, barges, and terrible hairpieces. There’s a surprising lack of kissing by CW standards, but Arrow totally makes up for it with a strong female gaze in the form of Stephen Amell doing many, many shirtless exercises and sidekick Emily Bett Rickards making plenty of accidentally-on purpose innuendos about the aforementioned chest. (And arms. Oooh, arms).
Beauty and the Beast
It seems early in the list to admit this, but I can’t watch everything, you guys. I’M ONLY HUMAN. From the general knowledge I’ve picked up, this is more 1987 TV series than 1991 movie, so no talking candlesticks. Although that one dude kinda looks like Cogsworth, right? Kristin Kreuk is a cop that meets a mysterious dude with rage issues and basically just a big scar on his face. Because it is important that Beast is still hot. We are superficial here. Beauty and the Beast is for you if you like remakes (oops, that applies to practically everything on the list), romance (double oops), and supernatural drama. (It’s hard to write about things I don’t know, okay? Ignore this and move on.)
The Carrie Diaries
The target audience of The Carrie Diaries is a confusing group. If you were old enough to enjoy the original
Sex and the City, you are either considerably outside the CW’s demographic and a serious SJP devotee (oh, I’m sorry, were you a Miranda?) or you first enjoyed Sex and the City as a mere toddler. Either way, this prequel is full of plot continuity errors (Carrie has a sister?!) and 80s but not-really fashion. This is an easier version of the Mad Men “what is not historically accurate?” game and also more fun because if you see something you like, you can probably go get it at Forever 21.
Hart of Dixie
If you can get past Summer Roberts of The O.C. playing a medical doctor, this is your top pick. The town of Bluebell, Alabama is fairly Gilmore Girlsy in quaintness and quirky characters, as well as following the CW-mandate of incredibly frequent festivals, parties, masquerade balls, etc.
Hart of Dixie is genuinely pleasant to watch, will encourage you to step up your floral patterns and snappy pants/hats combos (But no more hot pants. Say no to hot pants.), and features a satisfying love...square? Quadrangle? I’m confused.
I’m sorry, but you can’t select this one unless you’ve finished the prerequisite The Vampire Diaries first. Unless you’re one of those unconscionable people that watch sequels first and generally go through life out of order? Okay, fine. You want to watch a show about vampires, but you prefer for them to be much, much older (Yay, infinite possibilities for period flashbacks...although, SPOILER, The Vampire Diaries has negotiated their own way around that.) and preferably with a mish-mash of British-Canadian-Australian-are-you-pretending-to-be-Southern-now? accents. And also siblings. Who doesn’t prefer familial drama to a good love triangle? (I kid. OF COURSE there are love triangles.) But maybe this is your show because vampires aren’t enough for you. You demand werewolves, witches, and whatsits. True Blood’s only on in the summer, after all, and you need supernatural being romance drama year-round. Less nudity though. Sorry.
Reign tells the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, so you really have to be up on your history if you want to be nitpicky about this one. In fact, if you’re the history nerd type, you may want to skip it entirely. I highly doubt that the queen and her ladies hit up Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie. What we have here is actually a descendant (ancestor?) of Gossip Girl, although this Queen B holds court a little more literally. There’s plenty of drama both romantic and political, although now we get to call it intrigue, because, hey, old-timey times. Besides that, this show is for you if you prefer your hot dudes to be mild to moderately hot instead of ridiculously hot. Because some people go for that?
Supernatural is a pretty confusing title, as it covers like 70% of The CW’s oeuvre. But go ahead, cover all your bases. Supernatural has nine seasons that tackle everything from your generic ghost to Lucifer and Death themselves. Death was a pretty nice dude, actually. I also highly, highly recommend if you are into overly invested sibling relationships and dudes crying big, manly tears. But only in serious situations. Like going to hell. Again.
The Tomorrow People
From the one and a half episodes I have seen, TTP is for you if you like Hayden Christenson’s movie Jumper. (I think?) Definitely some science-fiction-y teleportation business and possibly other science-fiction-y type powers as well. Maybe you have already viewed Arrow and grown so devoted to Stephen Amell that you feel obligated to watch TPP as it stars his baby cousin, Robbie, and they look kind of alike if you squint or have had enough wine. Maybe you haven’t gotten enough of Mark Pellegrino being the ultimate evil on every show ever and would like to see him be vaguely evil here. (I think?) I will also add a really out-there guess and assume this show is for you if you like love triangles with reasonably attractive people.
The Vampire Diaries
Arguably the CW’s flagship show and for good reason. It doesn’t really get cooking until the last four episodes of season one, but after that plotlines, hookups, breakups, evil twins, plethora of magical MacGuffins, deaths of any and all authority figures, etc. will go past like the speed of light. Trying to explain the plot out loud, or maybe even just in your brain, will always come out completely preposterous but manages to remain completely enjoyable upon viewing. There are also some legitimately good performances, particularly Nina Dobrev (Degrassi forevs) pulling double duty and teaching me how to spell doppelgänger. If you are still terribly confused, and you’ve reached the end of the list (oh no!) just pick this one. Trust me.
If you are ready to give The CW a try, but don’t want to slog through (nay, enjoy completely) a backlog of episodes (and really, don’t you have Netflix?) you can mark one of these upcoming shows on your calendar and start fresh with the rest of us.
Star-Crossed (February 17)
Roswell meets Brown v. Board. Aliens just want to go to high school with everyone else and maybe make out with some human girls. These aliens can be identified by their nifty face tattoos because little green dudes just aren’t that sexy.
The 100 (March 19)
The CW finally gets on the Hunger Games dystopia train. 100 kids have to go back to Earth to make sure it’s okey-dokes after some kind of disaster. So it’s Wall-E, but with attractive teenagers instead of adorable robots.