Wednesday | 8:00 pm | The CW
The CW has pretty much been my spirit animal since its creation in 2006; I’ve devotedly watched pretty much everything they’ve had to offer. Each year has its good and bad (take 2009: it brought us The Vampire Diaries and TBL: The Beautiful Life) and I was expecting Arrow to be one of the more promising offerings this year. Depending on where your expectation level is, I think I was right, probably?
Arrow is a superhero origin story for Green Arrow, Oliver Queen. Oliver Queen was portrayed quite charmingly on Smallville for a number of seasons by Justin Hartley (who has now taken up residency on Emily Owens, M.D.), but this is not a continuation of that story. Instead, this Ollie (Stephen Amell) is newly rescued from an island in the South China Sea. His father gave up his life so his son could return to Starling City and right his wrongs, although it looks like many of the people in his life could be implicated in the crimes, including his mother and her new husband, and his best friend (who will apparently end up an arch-nemesis for Green Arrow). To clarify, I am a huge fan of superhero stories, but I am not a comic book nerd, so it takes a serious amount of Wikipedia work to understand the significance of some things. I will do my best, though.
Arrow was marketed as a darker take on the mythology, and I suppose that’s a little true – some parts of the pilot bring time a little more Dark Knight style realism. But the show really feels like Smallville with a mildly gritty veneer. The plot is easily predicable, the dialogue is adorably cliched, the villains (thus far) are balding buffoons that sprout impotent orders, etc. In any superhero tale, especially ones without the aid of legit superpowers, I’ve found, the willing suspension of disbelief must be at an all time high. Such as, the fact that a hood and a little green eye shadow can conceal your superhero identity, no matter how suspiciously timed his appearance and your reappearance are. JUST SAYING.
Still, despite the cheese, I felt the pilot largely succeeded. At least in being the kind of show that I will watch every week, gleefully yelling at the TV screen. This is mostly due to the crazy, physical performance from Stephen Amell. I don’t know how great of an actor he will really turn out to be, but it’s hard to care about the serious dialogue where in every other scene he’s (A) shirtless, or (B) bouncing around darkened warehouses like a ping-pong ball. In all seriousness, he completely sells the non-super super powers of Green Arrow, even if the tennis ball target practice was on the silly side.
I would also watch the show solely for the lovely and talented Katie Cassidy, who I have loved since being a teenaged babysitter traumatized by When a Stranger Calls, and single-handedly helped me make it through the whole season of Melrose Place 2.0. So that pretty much adds up to me watching lovingly created Youtube fanvids about their relationship, which is pretty, and also, attractive. Time well spent!
Long Term Prediction:
It’s a Tumblr kind of love, y’all. Expect graphics and perhaps fanmixes to follow.