10 of the best shows from The CW's golden years

We still miss these shows from The CW.
The 100 -- "Etherea" -- Image Number: HU710A_0112r.jpg -- Pictured: Bob Morley as Bellamy -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The 100 -- "Etherea" -- Image Number: HU710A_0112r.jpg -- Pictured: Bob Morley as Bellamy -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved. /

The CW has gifted us with some quality programming during its golden years. When the network was still primarily owned by CBS and Warner Brothers and under the presidential leadership of Mark Pedowitz, quality was valued over quantity in the shows. The network cores paved the ground for impactful characters and immersive storytelling. As such, we saw ourselves in the characters and became more comfortable with our identities.

When Nextstar acquired The CW in 2022, the move resulted in the cancellation of many beloved shows, and the network cared more about the financial aspects than providing quality content. It was a difficult transition, as the network fans grew to love became a ghost of its former glory.

Walker, starring Jared Padalecki, and All American: Homecoming is The CW's latest cancellation victims. Two more are under the CBS/WB wing, which is no longer after four seasons. The Walker series finale will air later this month, hopefully giving fans a satisfying ending.

Since we're missing The CW's golden years' positive and emotional turbulence, we're looking back at ten of the best shows that made the honor.

10 shows from The CW's golden years

10 shows from the CW's golden years
The 100 -- "Anaconda" -- Image Number: HU713a_0041r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Lindsey Morgan as Raven, Shannon Kook as Jordan Green, Eliza Taylor as Clarke, Jarod Joseph as Miller and Jessica Harmon as Niylah -- Photo: Shane Harvey/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved. /

The 100 (2014-2020)

Creator: Jason Rothenberg

This post-apocalyptic was inspired by The 100 books written by Kass Morgan, while the TV production was created by Jason Rothenberg. However, with the exception of the characters, the show had little essence from the books, as it was a whole different landscape and story. But this often happens in the entertainment realm.

The 100 began innocuous, with 100 minor criminals (101 if you count Bellamy Blake (Bob Morley) just trying to survive after being dropped to earth. Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor) was made the de facto leader To calm the storms among one another and try to save her people. She made triumphs as well as mistakes. After all, she was trying to balance the world upon her 17-year-old shoulders, with her moral compass constantly spinning.

Over its seven seasons, The 100 delivered every possible emotion as we saw inhumane situations, the deaths of our favorite characters, and changing worlds. It wasn't the easiest show to watch because of these components, but at the same time, the well-rounded characters revolutionized TV, and the storylines kept the audience on edge. Nothing was off the table regarding the narratives, as nearly every subject, including mental health and environmental issues, has been covered.

Speaking of revolutionary characters, Clarke became the first bisexual lead on network TV, and her relationships with both Bellamy and Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) became iconic among fans. Bellamy has probably undergone the most character transformation, and despite making errors, he was right all along, which teaches us that you should never doubt his instincts.

The 100 did more than bright the characters and their pivoting stories into light; it additionally taught us the world isn't black and white, and finding the heart to forgive and allow redemption.

Where to watch: Netflix

10 shows from the cw golden years
Riverdale -- “Chapter One Hundred and Eighteen: DON'T WORRY, DARLING” -- Image Number: RVD701a_0716r -- Pictured (L - R): Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Madelaine Petsch as Cheryl Blossom, KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, Casey Cott as Kevin Keller and Nicholas Barasch as Juilian Blossom -- Photo: Michael Courtney/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Riverdale (2017-2023)

Creator: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Riverdale is based on the popular Archie Andrews comics, but unlike them, the series (was through the eyes of Archie's (KJ Apa) best friend, Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse). He interprets the world and life of the small town as a novel, with each episode having a chapter-related name and strange narratives. We got everything from cults to murder mysteries to even saving the town of Riverdale.

But Riverdale wasn't always known for these out-of-this-world storylines and arcs. The teen drama additionally crafted fan-favorite characters that heavily led with strong LGBTQ representation. Though being cliqued as Riverdale's "bad girl," Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) had a long-term relationship with her girlfriend, Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan), until the very end of season 7.

But everyone was focused on Betty Cooper (Lili Rhinehart) and her romance with Archie Andrews, and rightfully so, as they were Riverdale's "It" couple. In the last season, and set in the conservative 1950s, Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) were a "quad," and explore several sexual aspects in one another. In a time where even mentioning the term "sex" would cause apoplexy, Riverdale allowed it to be shown, as young people have a natural curiosity.

The series finale connected the overall theme of Riverdale, which was friendship and finding comfort in familiar places.

10 shows from the cw golden years
Supernatural -- "Carry On" -- Image Number: SN1520D_BTS_0563r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Behind the scenes with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles -- Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Supernatural (2005-2020)

Creator: Eric Kripke

Before Supernatural parked its place on The CW in 2006, it was part of the now-defunct network, The WB., known for its teen programming in the mid-1990s/early Y2K Era.

Supernatural was The CW's longest-running series, and during its fifteen-season course, it cultivated a massive fanbase that is still very active today. Its premise was centered on brothers Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) fighting against outer realm monsters, such as demons, vampires, spirits, and even God Himself, all to protect the towns the brothers stop in.

The drama was known for its special effects, engaging storylines, and scenic landscapes since it was primarily filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. It also skyrocketed the careers of Padalecki and Ackles, who were already familiar with The WB channel, as they had roles in previous series.

After the Supernatural finale (and 327 episodes) in October 2020, a spin-off titled The Winchesters premiered in 2022. It chronicled the story of John and Mary Winchester, the parents of Sam and Dean. Due to low ratings and Nextstar's acquisition, The Winchesters was canceled in 2023 after thirteen episodes.

Where to watch: Netflix

10 shows from the cw golden years
Warner Bros Entertainment at Comic-Con International 2013 - Day 3 / Handout/GettyImages

The Vampire Diaries (2009-2017)

Creators: Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec

At the peak of the renowned vampire craze, The CW bit into The Vampire Diaries, which starred Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder. In the show, a teenage girl named Elena (Dobrev) falls in love with two vampire brothers named Stefan (Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Somerhalder), creating one of TV's most well-known love triangles.

However, the brothers additionally served a broader purpose: protecting Elena from evil supernatural beings. Dobrev left the series at the end of season 6 but returned as a guest star in the series finale and reunited with Damon.

10 shows from the cw golden years
The Originals -- "'When the Saints Go Marching In" -- Image Number: OR513c_0232b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Daniel Gillies as Elijah and Joseph Morgan as Klaus -- Photo: Skip Bolen/The CW -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved. /

The Originals (2013-2018)

Creator: Julie Plec

A spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, The Originals focused on the Mikaelson family, vampires living in New Orleans. The three siblings, Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijah (Daniel Gillies), and Rebekah (Claire Holt), try to protect the ancient Lousiana city from evildoers and other supernatural forces.

Following the success of The Originals, a spin-off was created, and titled, Legacies. It ran for four seasons, from 2018-2022, and told the continuing story of Hope Mikaelson, the daughter of Klaus and his brief fling, Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin).

10 shows from CW golden years
iZombie -- "Bye, Zombies" -- Image Number: ZMB512c_0290b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Rose McIver as Liv and Rahul Kohli as Ravi -- Photo Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Creator: Rob Thomas

This fun procedural had an interesting twist in its storywriting as it attempted to shield its main topic of death. A coroner named Liv Moore (Rose McIver) happens to be a zombie. To get an idea of how the victims passed on, she becomes them by consuming part of their brains. Liv experiences a different life and grows an appreciation for the person who originally had it.

With her abilities, Liv was able to solve the victims' murders and questionable deaths.

Where to watch: Netflix

10 shows from the CW golden years
The CW Network's 2013 Upfront - Presentation / Kevin Mazur/GettyImages

Reign (2013-2017)

Creator: Laurie McCarthy

Reign unveiled a fictionalized account of Scotland's young Queen Mary (Adelaide Kane) and her marriage to King Frances II (Toby Regbo). As queen and king of France and Scotland, respectively, Mary and Frances dealt with religious warfare (standard in the 1500s) and feuding royal family members. It's a lot to deal with for a young girl, let alone a queen, but you reign with perseverance for the best of your country.

Reign additionally delivered some wonderful and gorgeous wardrobe choices that echoed the time period. Just seeing the gowns, crowns, and gentlemanly suits was worth watching.

Where. to watch: Prime

10 shows from the cw's golden years
Jane The Virgin -- "Chapter One Hundred" -- Image Number: JAV519a_0214.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Diane Guerrero as Lina and Gina Rodriguez as Jane -- Photo: Kevin Estrada/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Jane The Virgin (2014-2019)

Creator: Jenna Snyder Urman

Jane the Virgin is a delightful romantic dramedy that brought light in Gina Rodriguez, who portrayed the title character of Jane. After undergoing a routine checkup at her gynecologist's, Jane discovers that she was mistakenly artificially inseminated. Not wanting to get an abortion, since it's against her strict Catholic upbringing, Jane decided to raise the child herself, while balancing her budding writing career and relationships.

The show not only handled unexpected motherhood in a respectful format, but it realistically explored other tough topics, like immigration, health, and other life occurences.

Where to watch: Netflix

10 shows from the cw golden years
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend -- "I Need To Find My Frenemy" -- Image Number: CEG415b_0477.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Gabrielle Ruiz as Valencia, Rachel Bloom as Rebecca, Rachel Grate as Audra Levine, Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula and Vella Lovell as Heather -- Photo: Greg Gayne/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-2019)

Creator: Rachel Bloom

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend tells the tale of Rebecca, a woman who recently broke up with her boyfriend and moved to California to try to win him back. Her plans didn't go according, and she reflects on what she truly wanted and who she is as a person. Throughout the series, Rebecca gets into different yet hilarious scenarios, learning a few things about herself she didn't know before.

For its uniqueness, narratives, and comedic style, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend received plenty of accolades and awards, including Primetime Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a Critics Choice.

Where to watch: Netflix

10 shows from the CW golden years
The Flash -- “A New World, Part Four” -- Image Number: FLA913fg_0011r -- Pictured: Grant Gustin as The Flash -- Photo: The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

The Flash (2014-2023)

Creator: Greg Berlanti

The Flash is one of the DCU most popular characters among fans, so it was only natural to recreate a TV superhero show. Starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen aka The Flash, he takes on the crimes of Central City and uses his super high speed to his advantage to bring the criminals to justice. Over the course of nine seasons, we saw a diverse group of villains, and heroes joining Flash's league.

Where to watch: Netflix

All American: Homecoming canceled at The CW Network. dark. Next. all american homecoming