Friday, October 12, 2012

Thoughts on "Arrow" premiere: How to hit the mark with superhero TV

I don't often talk too much about shows on the CW Network or live-action superhero TV series. And I almost NEVER talk about Green Arrow.

Nothing against the character – I'm sure there are plenty of compelling arcs and he is a staple of DC Comics – but much like Hawkeye in The Avengers, there's something about a person whose superpower is archery that leaves me feeling uninterested.

Archery is not a superpower. What Green Arrow feels like an old-school sniper, which in its own right is awesome, but it just feels out of place.

However, just because a character's stories don't connect in one medium doesn't mean that the stories won't interest a person in another, and that is the case with the CW's "Arrow."

By effectively taking the gritty, realistic tone of "Batman Begins" and incorporating it into Green Arrow's origin, it creates a more down-to-earth portrayal of the hippie Robin Hood of the DC Universe.

Oliver Queen in this first episode is taken from a deserted island after being the only survivor of a shipwreck years before.

Now, a lot of things will be discussion worthy here. The first is that his father goes to great lengths to save him (not going into it here because it's SO crazy to see). The other is that Queen was cheating on his girlfriend with her sister, who also ends up dead in the immediate sinking.

The final part of the shipwrecked time is that while there, someone's mask is seen in the first 30 seconds that will make you mark out and ask "What the hell crazy island was this and why didn't that story get a series?"

I like how Queen in this one is on a mission to honor his father by exorcising the demons he caused for the city. It creates an immediate bucket list of criminals to expect.

Additionally, I have to give credit: Green Arrow is an intimidating mother-f****r. Besides Stephen Arnell's ridiculously buff physique, his costume is ominously camouflaged, the arrows are shot to kill (no Bat-code here), and it's all contrasted perfectly by his over-the-top rich douchebag front.

A few other points: His ex-girlfriend is Dinah Lance (Katie Cassidy), who in comics becomes Black Canary, so be ready. And Speedy in this continuity appears to be his sister (Willa Holland) rather than Roy Harper. Not sure of how I feel on that, but I guess the traditional Speedy origin would be too public for this Arrow's tastes. (At least it looks like they're keeping the drug undertone intact.)

The show has a little of a Smallville feel, but honestly looks more like an extended Dark Knight homage. Overall, it executes its goals well and I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes DC Comics-anything.

The show drew 4 million in its first week, so now would be a good time to get on board.

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1 comment:

  1. I love how different this show feels from Smallville, while still keeping a similar tone to it. This premiere was incredible and I can’t wait for the next episode, especially knowing that in a few more Deathstroke is going to be gracing our TV screens! My coworkers at DISH even watched it and they aren’t even big comic book fans like I am. I’m recording every episode of this first season with my Hopper so that I can re-watch it after it airs, because I’m sure I’ve missed some references so far. I can’t wait to see what may happen next and where this story is going to take us!