Arrow | TV review
During Smallville's 10-year run on the CW, there was frequent chatter about other DC Comics characters—many of whom made appearances on the Superman series—spinning off into their TV shows, but little came of the hype. Now that Tom Welling and company have hung up the Man of Steel tights, the CW is looking to launch a new superhero series on the back of one of their lesser-known characters, Green Arrow (think Batman with a bow and arrow).
Billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was living a life of luxury and debauchery until an ill-fated yacht trip left him stranded alone on an island for five years. Rather than spend his time talking to a volleyball, he hardened over the years, surviving by molding himself into a weapon. After being rescued by a fishing boat, Oliver returns home to Starling City where his friends and family had all assumed he was dead. In the midst of working his way back into his old life, Oliver has a greater plan. Based on information he received from his father just before the boat accident, Oliver intends to rid Starling City of those that corrupt it by donning the vigilante persona of Arrow, a brooding, bow-wielding avenger. To protect those around him and keep his identity a secret, Oliver continues to don the party-boy persona that the people of the city knew so well.
The Arrow pilot will look remarkably familiar to anyone who recently re-watched Batman Begins. Amell's hero, however, has a ruthlessness about him that's surprising and captivating. He gives the impression that he left that island a wild animal and is clinging to his mission as way of staying sane, just barely keeping the mask of Oliver Queen on during the day. The fight scenes are visceral and exhilarating. The rest of the show, however, is a bit soft. The supporting cast takes a backseat to the introduction of the Arrow personality and thus, they all feel a bit stale. Katie Cassidy's Laurel Lance fills the love-interest slot as a do-gooder attorney and former girlfriend of Oliver's who found out he was cheating on her when her sister died in the boat accident. The character's soapy introduction gives little indication that she'll live up to her comic book alter-ego anytime soon. Oliver's strongest relationship is with his little sister, Thea (Willa Holland) who worshipped him as a child and has struggled in his absence. If Arrow could transfer some of that wildly kinetic energy in the action sequences into the rest of the show's storytelling, it would elevate the show significantly.
Arrow is good for some entertaining and frothy fun but still has room for improvement.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 7pm on CW.