I’m hooked. Into a show I never thought I’d watch but here we are. The Arrow has struck me down and pulled me in. I thank my love of comics for beseeching me to give this show a chance. One marathon session in and I decided a review would be proper because it’s shows like this that really spread via word of mouth. What I won’t do is compare it to the Green Arrow comics. It’s unfair and I hate that tendency. Print is print and the screen is the screen and the two will never be the same. I opted to review this on its own merits as an action drama and not check it against the comic’s canon for fallacy. If interested in the DC comic’s version of the Green Arrow please check that out, it’s a great character.
The narrative of the TV show centers around a young wealthy socialite named Oliver Queen who was marooned on an island where mysterious paramilitary exercises are occuring. After his father sacrificed himself so he could survive, Queen is alone and in despair. Through the help and guidance of a hooded archer who comes upon him, he returns to his home of Starling City. How he survives the island and returns home is told via very compelling flashback snippets. Something nefarious is going on on that island and the show does a great job dispensing it in bits.
The meat of the show takes place in Starling City, with Queen determined to get to the bottom of a city wide conspiracy he believes is tied to his father’s death. Donning the outfit, weaponry and training of his hooded mentor, he uses his financial means to become a targeted vigilante determined to expose the criminal ring that threatens the safety of the city. It’s very much in the vein of Bruce Wayne/Batman but it works very well even if it is ultimately derivative. The story telling is consistent and does a pretty good job of weaving in intricacy without rampant glaring holes. There is a noticeable attention to detail which is a significant strong point and the world feels very believable.
I need to make a distinction here. The acting is good. The dialogue, however, is shaky and that’s a script issue. When it comes to matters of the overarching criminal plots things hum along just fine with plenty of sharp wit and humor. When the story dips into the interpersonal family, friends and love drama is where things get clumsy. It seems that everyone is tortured and unrealistically self aware about it. The result is that many one on one exchanges become melodrama about dishonesty, distrust or abandonment. You know, sometimes I’m late for lunch because the toilet overflowed. Not because I have commitment issues tied to my parents’ divorce. If I never hear the line “I’m afraid to let you in” again I’ll be happy. On a side note, these are some gorgeous people on both sides of the coin. They’ve got me rethinking my workout regimen for sure.
Very, very good. Solid and crisp choreography on hand to hand stuff and the archery is shot with impact. Military movements are executed believably and the big action moments are popcorn viewing at its best. The scope works well when it is a claustrophobic tied-to-a-chair scene and equally so when it’s a big swat team rooftop engagement. Thankfully, this is the focus of the show and the drama is supplemental (in addition to being other kinds of mental).
As a fan of comics I like to give all movies and shows connected to them a shot. This one is melodrama at its best and I don’t know what segment of the population they are attempting to placate with the interpersonal pathos. However the action and flashbacks are stellar and despite tons of reasons to not love it I wound up hooked. This has a very Christopher Nolan Batman feel to it and the actors know how to deliver their lines even if they are often eye roll inducing. The archery just feels fresh and makes me wish it was featured more in other films and shows. Few weaponry is as poignant as a bow and arrow and the show’s creators make effective use of the imagery. Plus, it’s a bunch of beautiful, emotionally tortured people. What more could you ask for? No one is talking about this show at social gatherings, yet perusing through places like iTunes will show you that this is one of the most watched shows. Someone is watching. And this is one huge guilty pleasure.
Images via cwtv.com for review purposes