*Review contains spoilers*
After ten years, the story of a young Clark Kent was wrapped up with Smallville. Now the CW, needed their next superhero to fill the void Clark Kent left. It may have seemed a strange choice; I know people who dismissed it right away when hearing that it was only about the Green Arrow. Now, it seems to have paid off, becoming a hit for the CW. I being a massive DC fan was excited just to be getting a new live action entity of some kind. It took me a few episodes to completely fall in love with this show, but now I am swooned.
When Arrow first started, it met with many problems, as most new series do. It felt like it was borrowing too much from past works like Nolan’s Batman trilogy and Lost. The mood, tone and the grounding of the character in reality, is inspired by Nolan (even the creators have admitted to it). The Island flashbacks, on the other hand were straight out of Lost. A mysterious island, with unknown inhabitants and things aren’t what they seem. Only thing missing was the smoke monster.
I always look at the first few episodes of a new show as a sort of training ground for the cast and crew to build and create their own unique voice for the show. It was inevitable that they would tread familiar ground at first. As this show went on, it began to ditch the horrible voice over work by the Arrow. The stilted on the nose dialogue went away as Oliver Queen gained a partner in John Diggle. The acting of all the actors at beginning was very lacking, with Stephen Amell not lacking the physique but lacking the presence of Oliver Queen and giving no distinction between Oliver’s playboy charm and a dark vigilante. Similar things could be said about the performances of Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance and Willa Holland’s Thea Queen, but all these actors have grown in their roles and began giving fine performances.
The relationships on this show were some of my favourite aspects. The Green Arrow in the comics was traditionally a loner but on the show they added a family and friends for Oliver to interact with. The interaction between John Diggle and Oliver gave the show many fun dialogues and even had scenes where Diggle put on the suit.Their relationship evolved from bodyguard to ally to friend. As their friendship grew you saw a softer side to these men, especially when this show emphasized all the muscle and tough exterior of the characters at the beginning.
Oliver’s relationship with his best friend Tommy Merlyn was great to watch and my favourite aspect of the show. Yes, it’s very reminiscent of the friendship between Peter Parker and Harry Osborne but as their relationship developed differences began to appear and I’m glad that the creators didn’t give in to cliches and created a unique relationship that turned predictability on its head. Especially at the end of season Tommy became the heart of this show and delivered the strongest performance amongst the cast.
The rest of the supporting cast is fine, not really any standout performances. You have Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) and Thea Queen (Willa Holland). They were all either hit or miss, sometimes giving great performances, sometimes failing to hit certain beats. I’m sure as the series continues, the actors will grow more into their roles, in turn giving more consistent performances. The only real disappointment was Helena Bertinelli, aka Huntress (Jessica De Gouw). She was a really unlikable character and was it was hard to sympathize with her at all. At least, the Arrow has a code of who he’ll kill, she’ll kill anyone to complete her own selfish vendetta.
When the season started out it was good, not great but as the show went on it and story lines began to converge on each other, the show just got stronger. The story starting out from a criminal of the week aspect to a full fledged mythos that ended on an even stronger note. Speaking of the criminal of the week, they were weak at the beginning. Many were easily forgettable, even someone like Deadshot when first appeared was lame; not even saying a word the entire episode. Although the writers dodged that by bringing him back and adding a backstory that connected Deadshot to Ollie’s partner Diggle.
The aspect of the show that was always great was the backstory on the island that Ollie was shipwrecked on. Filled with numerous plot twists, Slade Wilson (Manu Bennett), Shado (Celina Jade), and the pilot showing us a glimpse of how it all ends. This aspect of the story displayed the bond between Slade and Ollie and showed some of Oliver’s training to become the Arrow, or the hood, or the vigilante. The show needs to make up it’s mind on what to call him. I mean the papers have to agree on something.
Arrow started out as an okay, run of the mill TV drama and grew into a memorable TV show, offering clever plot twists, exciting action sequences, and characters and dynamics we can get in. There are a few problems that still persist and it can be inconsistent at times with it’s presentations but they are minor and could definitely improves in the next season. The finale left the show on an exciting note, leaving unanswered questions and destruction when it ended. I’m looking forward to this show returning and you should definitely check it out. If you find the early episodes cliched or ordinary I implore you to stick with it. It gets better and becomes into something memorable and one of the best shows currently on the CW.
Score: 8 out of 10