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There were a lot of questions about the future of the show going into the Season 4 premiere of The CW’s Arrow, and one of the biggest regarded how it would do in the ratings. Although Arrow was the show to kick off a return to the primetime superhero genre, and although it has always had good ratings (for CW standards), it has consistently been behind The Flash in the ratings. Fortunately for fans of Oliver Queen and Co., it turns out that the Season 4 premiere achieved the highest premiere ratings for the show since the original series premiere back in 2012.
According to Variety, the Season 4 premiere – entitled “Green Arrow” – was viewed by 2.6 million people and earned a respectable 1.1 rating in the valuable adult 18 – 49 demographic. The good start to Season 4 is reassuring after the general decline in the ratings over the past three seasons. It hasn't been all bad news--three episodes of the twenty-three in Season 3 did manag to beat the numbers for the Season 4 premiere. This first upswing following the conclusion of the League of Assassins arc could indicate that viewers are more than willing to tune back in for fresh material.
Prior to the premiere, the press for the fourth season had some fans worried. Arrow seemed to take a backseat to The Flash in network promotion, and the trailers seemed to give away an awful lot of the big plot twists. The romantic bliss of Olicity, the Magneto helmet of John Diggle, the wiglessness of Black Canary, and a dabbling in mysticism for the first time were all prominently featured in the promos and there was some concern that longtime fans would be scared off by the changes.
As it happens, however, the overall balance of the premiere may serve as a reassurance to any doubters that the show will not be consumed by romance or masks or magic. “Green Arrow” was a good payoff to the finale of Season 3, and and it managed a pretty great – and admittedly slightly horrifying – “Gotcha!” in the final moments. The quick pacing characteristic of Arrow was handled well enough to set a tone that could really work for the fourth season if continued.
Whether it was to watch Oliver and Felicity making out without extenuating circumstances, Digg dealing with his PTBSD – that is, post-traumatic bro-stress disorder – following Oliver’s return, Speedy on the streets, Laurel quite literally defying gravity, the new suits galore, or everything altogether, Arrow scoring its highest ratings for the fourth season premiere since the first in 2012 is a promising sign for the future of the show. Who knows? Perhaps a hero more hopeful and less devoted to doom and gloom will be a bigger draw for viewers.
While Arrow was certainly not the highest rated overall show on Wednesday night, it did manage to beat out the Season 11 premiere of former CW juggernaut Supernatural.
Tune in on Wednesday nights on The CW at 8 p.m. ET to see if Arrow can keep up the great ratings.