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(UPDATED 1/12/17 TO INCLUDE ARROW S5, THE FLASH S3, SUPERGIRL S2, & LEGENDS OF TOMORROW S2 THROUGH MIDSEASON HIATUS)

“Do I have to watch Arrow before I can watch The Flash?”

“What order should I watch The Flash and Arrow?”

“Can I watch Legends of Tomorrow without watching Flash or Arrow?”

“When does Vixen take place?”

“Do I need to watch Arrow and The Flash to understand Constantine or Supergirl?”

For longtime Arrowverse fans, the answers to those questions may seem obvious. But to a lot of new viewers, catching up is a daunting proposition. The shows all share a universe and crossovers happen frequently, so which order should the shows be watched?

Keep in mind that you don’t strictly have to watch Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow in order to enjoy each show on its own (we’ll get to Supergirl and the other shows in a bit).

Looking at the ratings, it’s clear there are plenty of fans who choose to only watch The Flash or even Legends of Tomorrow without bothering with Arrow each week; the opposite is likely true, as well.

With that said, there are frequent crossovers between The Flash and Arrow, even if some of them are just slight mentions here and there. And Legends of Tomorrow brings together so many disparate characters and plotlines from both shows that to even discuss its premise without having seen Arrow or The Flash constitutes a gigantic pile of spoilers.

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So if you are interested in going back and watching all of the shows, what order should you choose?

Well, there are several schools of thought on the subject.

Arrow Before The Flash

On the question of whether to watch Arrow before you watch The Flash, it’s better to start with another question: do you plan to watch Arrow regardless or are you only interested in The Flash? If you intend to watch Arrow anyway, then you owe it to yourself to watch the first two seasons before starting on The Flash.

Sure, you could start The Flash and be mostly fine and pick up the Arrow pieces later, but you’ll get so much more out of it if you watch the setup that takes place on Arrow first.

In Order by Airdate

All right, now that we’ve established that you intend to watch all three shows, and you’ll begin with the first two seasons of Arrow, what do you do next? Season 3 of Arrow and Season 1 of The Flash aired concurrently, so what order should you watch them in?

The easiest answer is simply to watch them in the order they aired. The Flash airs on Tuesdays followed by Arrow on Wednesdays, so simply alternate back and forth, starting with The Flash premiere.

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“But…” you say. “When I’m binge-watching on Netflix it’s a royal pain to have to switch every other episode!”

You’re right, it is — especially with Netflix’s useful auto-play feature that begins the next episode whether you like it or not. To avoid confusion, you’re going to have to switch back-and-forth at least a little, but there are stretches where the two shows avoid referencing one another, and you can burn through a few in a row.

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  • Marysocontrary

    The only possible change I can think of might be in the placement of the second season of Vixen. They should announce when it’s going to be online at Comic Con.

    • Yep. I’m hoping to get an announcement at Comic-Con. Might have to wait until the episodes are actually out to figure out where the episodes take place. Katie Cassidy is supposed to appear as Laurel Lance, so it will obviously take place before the end of Arrow’s fourth season.

      • Marysocontrary

        And now they say ATOM and Firestorm will be in season 2.

  • Jr Forney

    According to this link, “All Star Team Up” happens after “Nana Parbot” cause Flash gets ahead of Arrow. http://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/86779/in-between-which-episodes-of-arrow-did-this-episode-of-flash-happen

    • Sorry! Just realized I never replied to this comment! ‘All-Star Team Up’ is a hard one to place. There is a continuity issue as the users on your link mention, but if you move it between ‘Nanda Parbot’ and ‘The Offer,’ it causes further issues. The bottom line seems to be that the writers just made a flub when they wrote that episode.

  • Cedric Anthony

    Had the most trouble with Oliver Queen’s appearance in Rogue Air. When did he have time to go help Barry Allen in Central City with everything going on in his show. Let alone get to chat with Ray Palmer about using nanite arrows on Reverse Flash.

    • ‘Rogue Air’ has never made any sense. Not only would Oliver not have had time to pop over to Central City, he very likely wouldn’t have even been allowed to leave Nanda Parbat at that point. It seems likely the producers just really wanted Ollie to show up in that episode and just said the hell with logistics.

      • Cedric Anthony

        But then Oliver asks Barry for a favor at the end. And we see what that favor is at the beginning of My Name Is Oliver Queen.

  • Jane143

    This was so PERFECT for me to binge before the new seasons start in October. I didn’t care about flipping back and forth. Thank you to Arrowverse for the Order!!

  • Joe Michael Lee

    Are you going to update this list as new episodes are released I found it incredibly helpful

    • Thanks, Joe! Yes, we will be updating the list to include the current seasons. It’s a little tricky to do on a week-by-week basis, but eventually we’ll get them posted.

      • Joe Michael Lee

        That’s great!! I’m still catching up at the moment so that’s fine!! Ita just good to know I searched everywhere for a good guide this is the best I’ve found thanks alot!!!

    • Alan Larimer

      Listed by air date, and kept up to date: http://flash-arrow-order.herokuapp.com/

  • Parker Williams

    SPOILER WARNING

    I think that Supergirl 1×18 “World’s Finest” should be placed before The Flash 2×18 “Versus Zoom” because in “Versus Zoom”, Harry shrinks the device on Barry’s chest and in “World’s Finest” it is still at its original size. Also in “Versus Zoom” Barry loses his speed and in “World’s Finest” he still has it.

    • Technically, ‘Worlds Finest’ takes place right in the middle of ‘Versus Zoom.’ When Barry tests out the tachyon device he returns through a breach and asks Cisco and Caitlin, “How long was I gone?” That was the moment Barry crossed over to Supergirl and then returned. We felt it made more sense to watch ‘Versus Zoom’ first, because then you see the setup and circumstances that led to Barry crossing over. Then when you watch ‘Worlds Finest,’ you know exactly what happened both before and after.

  • Sevenpenny

    Been looking for something like this…. Especially since Supergirl and Legends are also intertwined now….

    Would be nice if CW resurrected Constantine as well…. Ah well….

    • There’s still hope, but it does seem doubtful. Hopefully, they’ll bring him back for Arrow or Legends, at least.

  • Cath

    Hi, I’m new here and was wondering if anyone has a list of crossover episodes between Arrow, The Flash, Constantine and Supergirl please? TIA x

  • G.H.

    This list was very helpful guys, thank you so much!! If anyone is patient enough to wait for all the series become available on Netflix (usually by mid-October) it’s even more enjoyable.
    It also looks like the same IMDB user Koomy is updating the list on their end, so perhaps this will help out with that “week to week” difficulty you mentioned?

    • Hey, thanks for the kind words, G.H.! Koomy is updating week-by-week, but I’m playing cautious on our end. I’m afraid things could come out as we go that will lead to Koomy revising his list. I think I’ll wait until at least the winter break before I start listing the current seasons.

      • G.H.

        That actually sounds like a great idea, Barry! I hadn’t even thought about the risks of updating the list on just a weekly basis….especially since it’s usually complete by the time I get around to using it (as mentioned before, I wait until it’s all on Netflix).

        A big thank you again for all the amazing work that you do, Barry!!

        • You are most welcome!!!

          • G.H.

            Barry, just wanted to say hello and hope that you’re doing alright. I noticed that the list hadn’t been updated in a while and got a little worried that something may have happened to you.

            To the rest of you who are asking for an update list, Barry was already proactive enough to call out Koomy as the main source and it looks like Koomy has the most current update so, while waiting on Barry, maybe check it out on IMDB.

    • Alan Larimer

      Based on air date, and kept up to date: http://flash-arrow-order.herokuapp.com/

  • Eldiablo Evony

    Ask a simple answer and don’t get a simple reply, just assume people are watching all four and take it from there without the page of waffle, Doylums!

  • PP pp

    Thanks for the update (1/12/17). How often do you update?

    • You’re welcome! At the moment, we don’t have a set schedule. It makes the most sense to me to do it at the end of the each season and during the winter hiatus. If you try to do it on a week-by-week basis, you’ll run into problems. So we’ll probably have our next update in May when the current seasons end.

      • PP pp

        Thank you for the speedy reply. Your work here is appreciated.

      • Greg Smith

        Any timeframe for list update now that seasons have completed?

    • Alan Larimer

      Based on air date, but is up to date: http://flash-arrow-order.herokuapp.com/

  • PP pp

    Love this list, thank you

  • Alan Larimer
  • Lissandro

    anywhere I can get an updated list? Like after episode 9 (8 for LoT) of each series?

  • Sean Corcoran
  • Teresa Liberty McCarty

    Now that seasons 5/3/2/2 are all available me on Netflix, will we be getting an update soon? We are a family of bingers and have nearly caught up to the list as it currently stands. Help please!

    Byw, we love your list and have found it to be immensely helpful. Thank you!

  • Phillip Hill

    I see most of these comments are from 8 months ago…when are you updating the list. All seasons have been complete for sometime now, you stopped halfway between the A5,F3, LoT2, and S2.

  • David K. Metcalfe

    Hey there, I’m approaching the end of the list, and am wondering if you’ll be able to update soon? Thanks for all the hard work!

  • Jaxons MomandDad

    The Flash 2×01 should come before Arrow 4×01.

    There is an inference in Arrow 4×01 to Central City already giving the Flash Parades and in The Flash 2×02 Oliver Queen is seen on Tv in his “Green Arrow” speech and the broadcast states “yesterday”.

    Small points but the order should be Flash 2×01, Arrow 4×01, Flash 2×02.

  • Robert Town

    Is this list still being updated? I’ve been done with the current list for quite a while now and am anxious to finish out all the seasons. So far this is the best order I’ve seen and I dread the thought of switching to a different list with a potentially different order right in the middle of the respective seasons.

    • Hi Robert! I apologize — the staff and I have really reduced our output during the summer months, but we’re ramping up our coverage again as we approach the new seasons. As part of that push, I do plan to get this list updated asap, definitely before the end of this week, so keep your eyes peeled!

      • Robert Town

        Awesome! I can’t wait! Thanks so much for the quick response!