In this new article series, I’ll be showcasing genre shows you should be watching and non-genre shows that have major ties to science-fiction, fantasy or geek fandoms. It will contain mild spoilers for the series up to current. First up: The CW’s Arrow!
Network: The CW
Current Air Date: Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET
Seasons: One, renewed for Season Two in February 2013
- Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen
- Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance
- David Ramsey as John Diggle
- Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak
- Willa Holland as Thea Queen (her nickname is Speedy)
- Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen
- Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance
- Colton Haynes as Roy Harper
- Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson
- John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn
What It’s About:
Based on the DC comics character Green Arrow, the series follows billionaire playboy, Oliver Queen. Oliver was shipwrecked and stranded for five years on an island populated by hostile forces, while his family believed he had died in the accident. Upon returning home from the island and to fulfill his father’s dying wishes, he vows to right the wrongs of the Queen family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory. He creates the alter ego, The Hood, a green-hooded vigilante whose weapon of choice is a bow and arrows.
Created in the early 1940s by Mort Weisinger, Green Arrow has been a longstanding character from the DC stable and has experienced several revampings. The CW show is based on the Mike Grell version, a grittier and more urban tone than previous incarnations. The network has promised the introduction of no less than 11 other DC characters during the first season including Felicity Smoak, Merlyn, China White, Deathstroke, the Huntress, and Slade Wilson.
Arrow is produced and written by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg. David Nutter is also an executive producer and directed the pilot. Melissa Kellner Berman is co-executive producer.
Why You Should Watch:
Arrow is one of the best freshman series of the year among all shows that debuted in 2012. Unlike recent “based on a comic superhero” shows, it maintains a realistic feel without sacrificing the comics/graphic novel tone of the world and characters. Throw in great writing and directing plus the right cast, and one has a successful recipe for an entertaining hour of television. Arrow has the potential to fill the gap left by the ending of Smallville. Let’s face it — the cast isn’t hard on the eyes, either. Lots of eye candy for all genders. I give it a double 10 for the shirtless guy factor and the hot babe factor. The world is high-tech, so there’s eye candy for all the techies, too.
Each episode focuses on two storylines that relate to each other — one in present day with Oliver in Starling City and one during his five years on the island. The flashbacks are not just background story, but also relevant to Oliver’s present-day struggle. The journey with Oliver on the island makes us understand why he became The Hood. Everyone has secrets in Starling City. Those secrets come to light in often unexpected twists and turns, but ones that still make sense. The writers do a fantastic job on the balance between character relationships and the action. Many times shows of this type lean too heavily in one direction or the other. A great relational arc for the show is Oliver’s struggle over what he should do about his mother. When he does confront her as the vigilante, she pleads with him to spare her for her children’s sake. Oliver cannot bring himself to shoot his own mother even though he knows (or at least suspects) she’s involved with the bad guys.
The show’s characters are well-rounded, but the hallmark is the action. After all, it is a superhero story at its core, and that always means lots of action. One thing I love about the action is they have worked to keep the comic book style and flair, and our heroes sometimes appear to achieve the impossible.
John Barrowman as the sinister Malcolm Merlyn and the recent addition of Alex Kingston to the cast, plus other great guest stars, make Arrow worth a look. Great fight and action sequences, and the “special” arrows Oliver has stored in his quiver — from the exploding kind to the recording device kind — only add to the viewing pleasure. What will those arrows do next?
Why I Watch:
Arrow quickly rose to the top of our viewing list and has become a favorite show for the family. It’s one of those shows that pulls you in from the beginning. The creators didn’t try to do too much set-up in the beginning episodes. The pilot focuses on Oliver’s return to his family after the five years he spent surviving on the island. There are the hints that all was not as he claims during those five years. With his playboy reputation, Oliver struggles to strike a balance between who he once was and most people still think he is — the rich, spoiled playboy — and his newfound sense of purpose to right the wrongs done by his family as the hooded vigilante.
The only thing I hate about Arrow is the atrocious wig Stephen Amell wears as Oliver for the island sequences. It’s really bad.
I find the female characters refreshing and surprising. The women of Arrow are intelligent, capable, and some of them can and will beat anyone up who gets in their way (or has an underling at their disposal who can get the job done). My favorite is Felicity Smoak, a beautiful blonde who’s also one of the smartest people around. She also gets a lot of the great “zinger” lines. When she discovers Oliver is the vigilante, she quips: “Everything about you just became so unbelievably clear.” She updates his hideout computer system because the outdated equipment “hurts my heart”.
In fact, there isn’t a single character/actor I don’t like on the show. Stephen Amell is smokin’, both acting-wise and without his shirt. Did I already mention all the guys look good without their shirts? Emily Bett Ricketts is stellar as Felicity Smoak, and Susanna Thompson shines as Moira Queen, matriarch of the Queen family empire. Plus, it gives a wider audience the chance to discover the marvelous Manu Bennett (Spartacus) without paying for a premium channel. Plus, he’s a darn good actor. Yeah, he takes off his shirt, too. Then, there’s John Barrowman, super villain. Need I say more?