In keeping with our new feature that we ran for the holidays (Cheers and Jeers) comes the first installment of resounding cheers for the new breakout hit TV series – Arrow, which currently runs every Wednesday at 8:00 on The CW Network. The emerald archer reigns supreme with a respectable 4 million + viewers for its debut. If you guys aren’t watching this show, then you should. What are you waiting for? You should immediately give it a go and just trust that you won’t be disappointed. Before word about a re-imagined (revisited, revamped, reworked, or re-whatever) Arrow got out, plenty of comic book and superhero fans were restless and still processing the ending of the epic 10 year run of another beloved series – Smallville. What next? Smallville hit so many milestones (both in the mythos and high production values) so just the thought of anything else coming after that or trying to fill its shoes was laughable. These things almost always get bungled in Hollywood or for the dreaded TV treatment.
Heated debates ensued online about the next viable franchise option for DC Comics/Warner Bros. and The CW to team up on. What property/character would DC Comics allow The CW to cultivate for TV? Everyone knew Bats was off the table, for many reasons. Aguaman – well need I say more? Been there, done that – epic fail!. Some were hoping for Bane, looking for something darker. Getting the perspective from the iconic supervillain would make for interesting writing and storytelling. But any realist knew it was a pipe dream. Hawkman – a potentially viable option. Green Lantern – could be brilliant, but would require a huge budget to do it right. Plus, there’s a potential conflict with the rumored new reboot of the movie franchise after Ryan Reynolds’ showing didn’t deliver as expected. The Flash – many speculated that The CW could do justice to a series built around the speedster. Personally, I was hoping for Wonder Woman. Since The Powers That Be can’t seem to get or allow Joss Whedon or Christopher Nolan to pen a silver screen version for the masses, then I would completely settle for a long running revamped TV series. I’m thankful that David E. Kelley’s dreadful version was DOA and never released to the public. Just the stills and dailies that were released were enough to convince me that NBC made the right decision to not move forward with the show. Now that Whedon has a very lucrative deal with Marvel to pen the another Avenger movie (the first movie was beyond amazing) and a few other things, DC is totally screwed. Ultimately, my Wonder Woman wish just might come true. In recent months there’s been a lot of talk that CW has a Wonder Woman project in the works (casting underway and shooting pilot so not super secret) with a working title: Amazon. Apparently, it’s supposed to be an origins story a la Smallville – featuring a young Diana and in the end it’s likely not to feature the hard hitting, crown and bracelets and lasso wearing Amazon Princess that we all know and love. Critics complain about passing the laugh test and all with featuring the costume in a “tights and flights” sort of way or in this case a skimpy top and bottom set, which I just don’t get because it’s 2013 and a sexy and classically updated costume can be done. Wonder Woman has several different variations of the costume already. The patriotic costume is iconic, just like Wonder Woman. I just don’t think you can do away with it. Anyway, back to Arrow.
I love to talk to any and everyone about this show. After the first 9 episodes I was officially hooked. When the show came back from winter hiatus, it continued to deliver depth and characterization that is rarely seen in a freshman show. Here’s my quick and dirty on the show:
Themes/Casting: When word got out that Arrow was given the green light, I was thrilled. About ten months ago, the first footage and teasers were starting to roll out and hit the web. I was immediately captured by the dark and provocative interpretation the network was taking. Arrow was getting a Batman Begins reboot, moving into Dark Knight territory. Serious in tone, some light elements (who isn’t slightly amused by the antics of billionaire playboys, even reformed ones), harsh realities abound, strife and searching for humanity in a conflicted character. Overall, the story would be dark, violent and EPIC. I was glad that the network decided to recast Oliver Queen, which was previously played by Justin Hartley on Smallville. Justin delivered a fine performance on Smallville, but I don’t think he has the gravitas or look (he’s just too damn pretty) to deliver a much darker Oliver Queen that is being portrayed by Stephen Amell. I also think it’s important for Arrow to set itself apart from Smallville, and it’s clear that the show creators have been successful in delivering a much different Green Arrow. Now that Stephen Amell is in the role, I can’t imagine anyone else as the emerald archer. I wasn’t familiar with Amell’s previous work, but I definitely like what I see on Arrow. Amell successfully presents a sort of broken and damaged Oliver Queen. I’m amazed that Amell can convey so much with his body language and movements, the tone of his voice and his facial expressions. It’s not an easy role to play because after all he has no super powers. So there is a fair amount of brilliant acting on Amell’s part because he really has to sell that he’s a threat and an imposing vigilante. The premise and setup of the show is brilliant in many respects. I love the fact that this version of Oliver does have to grapple with his humanity. He delivers his brand of justice and kills when necessary, not just for the sake of killing. Yes, he’s a vigilante and you could question his morality. But somehow you find yourself cheering him on during his dangerous missions to get the bad guys — even when he’s doing bad things himself.
Writing: With 17 episodes out of the gate, I remain blown away by what the writing team has been able to accomplish. Viewers are given multi-layered characters, a solid plot has already been established, and the overall story arc has enough legs to last at least 5 seasons.
Universe: Green Arrow will be challenged by some stellar foes with the ever expanding Rouges Gallery. These villains bring excitement and their brand of mayhem to a whole new level. It’s already so easy to get pulled into the world of Starling City. Arrow is a fun show to watch and even when you are visiting the grim parts of the city like The Glades, you can’t help but love it. The tone and structure of Starling City is very similar to Gotham and Metropolis.
Initially, I had a concern that the cast of characters was going to be too large. I didn’t want it to detract from the way from the story was being told. Luckily, the writing staff has been able to balance the role that each character must play to move the plot forward. Moira Queen really gets under your skin as the shady and powerful mom/business tycoon with what appears to be some sort of New World Order agenda. It’s all so cloak and dagger. Ollie’s step-father is Walter Steele and he brings just the right amount of affable nature to the family dynamics. He certainly manages the right amount of “a day late-and a dollar short”. Naturally, things don’t work out so well for him – or at least that remains to be seen. Thea is the bratty and annoying little sister that loses herself in partying, sex, drugs and booze. You know, the standard trope for spoiled kids from a wealthy family. She really does deliver this sort of general malaise about life in general. Seriously, this chick has some issues. John Diggle, Oliver’s former bodyguard turned sidekick, brings some reason to the table when Oliver can’t see past his drive to exact justice. It’s also nice that Diggle isn’t a physical liability. He can definitely get scrappy in a street fight. Tommy Merlyn is Ollie’s bestfriend and he plays the just this side of pathetic, loves to party, has parental issues, and needs to grow up kind of guy. I can easily see Tommy as a throw away character. Any other route that the writer’s might take would be highly predictable, but to leave him on his current path would be a shame. I really do hope that they have something unique in store for him. And last but certainly not least is Oliver’s love interest: Laurel Lance, which is played by Katie Cassidy. After the epic story/chemistry failure between the leads in (click the link to read my post) Beauty and the Beast, among other things, I had a real concern about the chemisty between the leads in Arrow. I’m pleased to say that Amell and Cassidy definitely deliver in the chemistry department. The viewer is thrown into their now awkward and cantankerous relationship in medias res. Oliver and Laurel have a tumultuous history, yet despite all of the drama that is implied and some revealed, you really do get the sense that these two are intense together. The viewer doesn’t get to witness their initial courtship, first kiss, first love scene, first anything because it’s all already happenend. Oliver and Laurel were already a couple when Oliver cheated on Laurel with her sister, and then he goes missing (presumed dead) for five years. They really do have a lot of unfinished business to deal with, and now that Oliver is a completely different person, the road back to each others arms won’t be all rainbows and sunshine. It’s fun to watch them dance around their issues and attraction for one another. After sharing one mind altering kiss, they headed for the hills (and other people), but I have a feeling that they will only be able to run for so long.
Arrow is one of my top 5 shows right now. I like all of the important stuff that the network delivers for my viewing pleasure, like the writing, acting, plot, violence, production values, etc., but I’m not ashamed to mention the beyond swoonworthy factor of Stephen Amell (move over Tom Welling — sorry love). **START RANT TO OBJECTIFY HERE** Amell is ridiculously hot, just so easy on the eyes and his body is…well let’s just go with sinful. It’s like being a kid in a candy store as I watch Amell episode after episode shirtless or working out. I can hardly contain my excitement. Am I too pathetic? Have you seen his million pack abs? Have you seen Amell on the dreaded salmon ladder? I mean it really is a crime that this show isn’t on a cable network. Then we could have a rating of TV-MADLSV. **END RANT HERE** So ladies get with it or you’ll miss out!. Seriously, peeps — just having a bit of fun.