Arrow: All 8 Seasons, Ranked From Worst To Best

The CW’s Arrow not only gave Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) a major place in media once more but also gave birth to a larger DC franchise known as the Arrowverse. The final season focused primarily on setting up the recent Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover which had Oliver give his life to, literally, give birth to a new universe. With Amell’s iteration of the character exiting the franchise that consists of more than five shows, Arrow leaves behind a legacy that consists of 170 episodes to consume.

RELATED: 5 Most Shocking Arrow Moments (& 5 We Saw Coming)

While the Green Arrow adventures will live on through Mia Queen (Kat McNamara), the journey Oliver took is one that will be remembered forever in DC TV history. In the 8 seasons that the show was on for, Arrow went in various directions, and not every season of the show ranks on the same level.

Updated on August 12th, 2021 by Kevin Pantoja: The entire success of the Arrowverse relied on how well Arrow was received. Many fans agree that it got off to an impressive start before struggling in the middle years and picking back up a bit later on. That up and down history of the show makes it all the more interesting to look back upon which seasons were actually the best of the bunch. Is Arrow worth watching overall? The ranking of the seasons suggests steady entertainment throughout.

8 Season 4 (2015–16)

David Ramsey and Katie Cassidy in Arrow season 4

• Season 4 had 23 episodes

The fourth season was when Arrow tried to explore new territory to fit in more with the other shows in the Arrowverse. Given the nature of meta-humans, aliens, time travel, and magic all became a focal point in season 4 and Neal McDonough’s Damien Darhk became one of the more powerful villains that Team Arrow faced. This was also the year when the series tried to move away from the dark tone that Arrow began with.

But through a major dramatic turn for Oliver’s romance with Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) to the controversial death of Black Canary (Katie Cassidy), things got tangled by the end. The conclusion of the Darhk saga left Arrow on a bum note. Despite starting out strong, the second half of season 4 is where it fizzled with the show’s attempt at playing with magic.

7 Season 3 (2014–15)

• Season 3 had 23 episodes

As Arrow began to truly flesh out the Arrowverse, starting with The Flash, season 3 had Oliver deal with their version of the iconic Batman foe, Ra’s Al Ghul (Matt Nable). Starting with the dramatic death of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) to Oliver losing against Ra’s, the series ended up with its darkest season ever. The second half began a challenging arc for not just the leading hero, but the whole team as well.

In an effort to have Oliver seem like he had given in to Ra’s, the series amped up the drama to the point where it was emotionally exhausting week after week. The characterization of Ra’s also didn’t help a lot with Arrow not managing to portray as the formidable foe that he is known to be.

6 Season 6 (2017–18)

Arrow Roy Harper and Thea Queen Season 6

• Season 6 had 23 episodes

Season 6 of Arrow was one of the show’s most packed years. Following the fallout of the season 5 finale, things were still on a stable path for the series. One of the main themes for season 6 was Oliver having to sell the idea to Star City and the authorities that he wasn’t the Green Arrow. That year became a major one for Diggle (David Ramsey) who had to take up the mantle while suffering from the consequences of the previous season.

RELATED: 10 Most Hated Arrow Supporting Characters Of All Time

One of the bigger points of the second half of season 6 was the civil war within Team Arrow that resulted in two sides being created. This was also the year when the show tried something new by having a band of villains join forces against the heroes. The season gave Katie Cassidy’s Black Siren a bigger role as she began to explore if she truly was a villain or not and had one of the biggest endings, as Oliver not only revealed his secret to the world but also agreed to go to prison for his actions as a vigilante. With his team granted immunity and the FBI helping in stopping Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), Oliver’s decision became a massive game-changer.

5 Season 7 (2018–19)

Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak in Arrow season 7

• Season 6 had 22 episodes

Following his decision to reveal his identity as the Green Arrow to the world, season 7 was a breath of fresh air for Arrow. With Beth Schwartz taking over as showrunner, Arrow got to explore some new elements as a series. Not only did Oliver’s prison storyline get a compelling execution, but the flash-forwards to Star City 2040 were a surprising addition. Getting to explore the future with some of the current characters was refreshing while also getting to meet the next generation for Team Arrow.

With the introduction of a grown-up William (Ben Lewis), Arrow also pulled a twist as Felicity and Oliver’s daughter, Mia Smoak (Green Arrow II), got introduced, foreshadowing what was to come in 2019. As season 7 had the big element of family incorporated in the future, the present had Oliver discover that he had a half-sister: Emiko (Sea Shimooka). While that storyline was a mixed bag, seeing Oliver having to take on his own family was a neat direction for the show to go in. The season also concluded on an emotional note, with Felicity exiting the series and the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) confirming that Oliver would die in the coming Crisis.

4 Season 5 (2016–17)

• Season 5 had 23 episodes

Following two seasons that received mixed reviews, Arrow went through a soft reboot with season 5. Going back to the roots of what made the show so successful, season 5 was about legacy as well as creating new bonds. With a new version of Team Arrow created, Oliver also had to face one of the Arrowverse’s most intelligent villains in the form of Prometheus (Josh Segarra). But Adrian wasn’t like the other main baddies, as he was the result of Oliver’s own making from season 1.

Not only did Prometheus succeed in truly pushing Oliver as a hero, but the situation also gave Amell some of his best chances to shine as an actor that season. With Oliver adequately challenged, it made him have to explore himself internally, as Adrian kept messing with his head over and over again. After a solid build-up, the season finale ended on a literal bang with the ultimate showdown happening on Lian Yu, which got blown up as Adrian’s final surprise.

3 Season 1 (2012–13)

• Season 1 had 23 episodes

While all the seasons that followed had their own ups and downs, season 1 still holds up for setting Arrow off on the right track. The first year of the vigilante drama did solid work in world-building as it adapted the Green Arrow universe for the small screen. This was one of the few seasons where the flashbacks really nailed the objective of being captivating in terms of story.

RELATED: 10 Arrow Supporting Characters Who Deserved More Screen Time

Through the weekly cuts to the flashbacks, viewers got to follow Oliver’s origin story after being stranded on Lian Yu while seeing his first year as the Hood in Starling City. Season 1 also had one of the better big bads in the form of John Barrowman’s Malcolm Merlyn, a.k.a. the Dark Archer.

2 Season 2 (2013–14)

Manu Bennett as Deathstroke aka Slade Wilson on DCTV's Arrow

• Season 2 had 23 episodes

The second year of Arrow is, to this day, still recognized as one of the all-time strongest seasons of any DC series. After a strong first season that began its mythology, season 2 took the series to a new level. From the powerful story told in Oliver’s second year in flashbacks to it playing a crucial part in the present, the show was clearly excelling in many regards.

With Manu Bennett’s Deathstroke–Arrow‘s coolest villain–getting to unleash as a big bad to Oliver expanding his team, season 2 was constantly on a winning streak. It was also this season where the early hints of a larger universe started with the creative team prepping a Flash series with Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, who appeared in two episodes that year.

1 Season 8 (2019–20)

Crisis Infinite Earths Oliver Queen Green Arrow

• Season 8 had 10 episodes

The final 10 episodes make up the best season of Arrow. Benefiting from the short run, the eighth year was not only a strong finale but solid all around. The episodes prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover allowed Arrow to play the greatest hits, with fan-favorite characters returning while preparing for the Crisis.

The twist of bringing in Mia, William, and Conner from the future to 2019, allowed some amazing dynamics to happen. With a strong execution during the crossover, the end of season 8 went out on a powerful note. From a solid backdoor pilot for a Mia and the Canaries series (that sadly never came to fruition) to a top-notch series finale, the final season was hugely enjoyable from start to finish.

NEXT: The 5 Best Arrow Villains (& 5 Worst)

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