Batwoman, the latest entry into the CW’s stable of DC superhero shows, leaped to an impressive 1.8 million viewers last night, a solid start for a CW series and well above the ratings of any show that debuted last year on the network. The network continued to flex it’s girl power muscles as Season 5 of Supergirl followed with 1.3 million total viewers, a super increase over last year’s first episode.
Last season, the CW opened up the highly competitive Sunday night for original programming, where it often went up against the NFL’s Sunday Night Football and marquee series from the four major networks. Despite appearing on less affiliate stations than CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC, CW programming pulled impressive ratings numbers.
Batwoman’s ratings were generated by high interest for the series, mostly good reviews, but despite the best efforts of right wing trolls who poured into user-generated review sites like IMDB and the audience section of Rotten Tomatoes to trash the show. Contempt for Batwoman has been brewing among the comicsgate and 4chan crowds since last summer, when they comment bombed and down-voted the first full length trailer of the show because of the series’ upfront feminism and pro-LGBTQ stance. Similar hate campaigns were employed against Marvel’s Captain Marvel and Disney’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, two movies with strong female characters.
Both movies were critical and box office successes.
The technique of organized negative comment and down-vote bombing has it’s roots in online politics. Freeping, a process that got it’s name from the Free Republic, an early conservative message forum, involves stacking online poll results by directing people to a web poll; with the goal of intentionally biasing the results to support their particular point of view.