From before, I know I have said that I’m catching up on a plethora of television shows. Out of all the shows I caught up on: Luther, The League, Orphan Black, and American Horror Story, the show I was most hyped to be watching was Arrow. Of course some of these other shows are more acclaimed and might have more depth when written about, but being a DC fanboy, Arrow gets it’s own Banana Scoop post versus the consolidated reviews of all the shows I watched over this winter break that’ll be posted in a couple of weeks. So this post will generally cover the one and a half seasons I saw and includes the things I liked and the stories I’m very excited for. But first, a quick summary…
Oliver Queen was a spoiled son of a major CEO in Starling City. When he goes on a boat ride with his father, the ship gets capsized and Oliver ends up on an island where he is forced to survive for five years. Here, he learned tools of survival while being confronted with life threatening situations. When he is found and returned to Starling City, he is a new man, charged with a mission to cleanse his decaying city. To do this, he becomes a vigilante, inspiring fear into the criminals who have plagued Starling City for too long. However, Oliver’s past comes back to haunt him. His five years on the island include baggage that affects his family and work. How does he systematically take back his city? Watch Arrow on the CW to find out.
The Show is Procedural and Soap Opera-y, but the Island & Other Dark Elements Keeps it Engaging
I’ve heard this show be compared to Smallville, which was criticized for being a bit too much of a soap opera [mundane character plot lines like love triangles, mother/daughter drama, etc.], and I agree. There are certainly moments in the show which are a drag that take away from a particularly compelling aspect of the show. These are most prominent in the first half of the season. However, when the series begins to break procedure and become more serialized, Arrow really steps into it’s own as a compelling drama with some incredibly dark elements that you wouldn’t often see.
For example, each episode is riddled with flashbacks that go back to when Ollie is on the island where he goes through some of the tragedies he experienced. These tragedies often resonate with a theme of the episode, whether it be Ollie’s first kill or where he learned a certain skill set. Many of the tragedies he confronted on the island come back to haunt him and seeing these bridges made bring excitement to the viewer.
Having 20+ episodes a season, there are some episodes that are duller than others. Certain episodes are very procedural, introducing a villain, having Ollie lose the initial fight, and then Ollie having a second round, besting his opponent with learned knowledge. While these aren’t as great as the serialized parts, some of these one-time villains return in unexpecting and exciting ways.
Felicity Smoak is Incredible
Emily Bett Rickards plays Felicity Smoak, Oliver Queen’s assistant who occasionally [and lately regularly] helps him as the vigilante when it comes to technology and computers. She has some of the best written lines in the entire series, looping sexual innuendo and deadpan sarcasm. Unlike some of the other very pretty females in the cast, such as Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance and Willa Holland’s Thea Queen, Felicity isn’t subject to damsel in distress status, often volunteering to go to the front lines when Oliver can’t.
All the DC Comic References Make Me Squeal, Even If Some are Misplaced
This is where the DC fanboyism starts erupting. Arrow is definitely a show written by fans and for the fans of the DC Universe. There are references and one liners that directly relate to other super heroes and places that only exist. References to Coast City and Central City, homes to Green Lantern and The Flash, have been referenced numerous times. In addition, the writers pull for a range of characters from DC heroes in addition to their rogue galleries. Characters like Black Canary, Huntress, and Deadshot are all reoccurring characters and we’ve heard references to other big name DC super-villains like Ras al Ghul. For the super educated, characters like Roy Harper and Slade Wilson should be immediate red flags, as fans know that Roy Harper becomes Green Arrow’s ward, Speedy, and Slade Wilson is the real life alias for the infamous assassin, Deathstroke.
All these cool references must be taken with a grain of salt though. Certain DC characters have been used with alterations to their canon stories that can ‘upset’ the very hardcore. Solomon Grundy, who is known to be a very popular DC villain, was a fraction of what he is normally depicted as and has had his origin story rewritten. Other characters have had similar treatments, like Firefly, Huntress, and even Slade Wilson. All that being said, it’s not all a horrible thing if you have the self control to separate the source material and a television adaptation that loves the source material, as one should be understanding that it can’t truly follow everything word for word.
BARRY ALLEN GUISE. GUYS, BARRY ALLEN
Duh, the biggest DC reference is the introduction of Barry Allen, who is the Flash, before he was given his powers. Serving as a two episode cameo, Grant Gustin got the coveted role of the Flash. The CW took this as an opportunity to test for a soon to be Flash standalone television show. Personally, I flew head over heals for Gustin, who portrayed the eager and somewhat naive-childish interpretation of the Flash very well, and can’t wait for CW to green light the Flash television show.
Gearing up for an Incredible Second Half of Season 2
The half season and season finale are some of the most memorable episodes of the first season. Season 2 delivered the same memorable craziness and high-octane action with its midseason finale during the winter of 2013, which revealed the arch-villain for what appears to be the remainder of the spring season. The monologue condemning Arrow is haunting and chilling, one that gets you incredibly excited for what is in store for Oliver and his crew. The background for this particular arch-nemesis is incredible and has potential to create an incredible season finale.
The CW Has More Street Cred than I Previously Realized
So the CW is responsible for shows like Arrow, Supernatural, Veronica Mars, and Nikita, which all I’ve heard are great shows, if not for their cult statuses. And I can personally back that Arrow and Veronica Mars are incredible shows. With CW also looking into making the Flash, I’ve realized that AMC and FX aren’t the only cable networks with a good line up. That being said, if given the time, Supernatural seems like something I’d be really into…