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Arrow, Season One (2012)

Not only are comic book heroes making a splash on the big screen, they’re not about to let their presence (or an opportunity) go unfulfilled on the small screen. Arrow is one of those series. Based off a DC Comics character, this show is a mash-up of multiple stories we’ve already seen… and somehow, it doesn’t seem to affect the influence this series has on an interested audience.  

The Queen family is not just prominently known as one of Starling City’s most wealthy they are the sort of family who are often splashed across the tabloids. Because of their well-known name, news of Oliver Queen’s return after being shipwrecked and presumed dead for five years is headline news. Being the lone survivor of a boating trip – that included his father and a friend, Oliver (Stephan Amell) returns to Starling City a different person – physically and mentally. When he left, he was a spoiled, out-of-control partier. Reuniting with his mother (Susanna Thompson) and sister, Thea (Willa Holland), Oliver puts on one face for the public life of the Queen family but at night, he becomes someone else.  

Before his father died, he gave Oliver a list that would allow him to right the wrongs he had made in business and a promise from his son that Oliver would tirelessly work to see these people destroyed. With that ammunition and armed with all he learned in fighting to survive on the island, Oliver creates a persona that leaves police hot on his trail as they attempt catching the “hood,” Starling City’s vigilante and puts him back into the arms of his old love, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy).  

There seems to be a growing demand for all things super hero/comic books lately. I can understand the Marvel flicks on the big screen but must confess the recent television series left me a bit baffled. That I didn’t expect. Now that they are actually residing on our television screens and no longer a mere rumor, I can safely say, bring it on! Needless to say, I don’t mind especially since amongst all the ploys and stops this pulls off to lure viewers on a superficial level, Arrow has more substance to it than merely using its young, attractive cast to draw in an audience. From a production angle, I was far more impressed than by some of Arrow's peers but nothing was more “fun” than the cool weaponry. As its title reveals, Oliver is an expert archer and there's something attractive about watching archery. Perhaps it’s because of my love of period drama that has previously featured a scene involving archery or maybe it was seeing Jeremy Renner be all awesome in The Avengers, either way, I like that being the weapon of choice for a hero. Like any good piece of fiction, this may stretch the accuracy of these aspects but the archery scenes look cool and Amell does a good job pulling off the confidence, all while convincing us he knows what he’s doing.  
Telling its story means that nearly every episode flashes back to a portion of time Oliver was on the island. This can be both distracting yet eye-opening. The difference in Oliver physically is believable – for once, and it was informative to learn why Oliver has grown up into the better man he returns as. Had we known him as the spoiled 20-something he was before the wreck, he certainly wouldn’t have been a hero to cheer on. Even now, some potential viewers may not be able to justify what it is Oliver does. If seeing him bring down (which usually consists of putting arrows in men) the wealthy or drug dealers isn’t a form of “justice” you appreciate than Arrow is probably not your sort of entertainment. However, anyone who is a fan of Marvel shouldn’t be bothered with this form of self-justice. Another thing that’s a joy to see is the relationship between Thea and Oliver. The little girl he once knew is no longer around and in her place is a rebel child who needs to know that Oliver is back and not going to disappear again. Some of the things writer’s do with the characters is really quite good; the set up suggests one thing only to reveal something different and for once I like the tease between Laurel and Oliver. Instead of being a couple who are always on the verge of getting back together (at least until three or so episodes from the end), they’re relationship is slowly defined by a tentative but sincere friendship.

As individual hour-long scripted stories, this isn’t badly written. As a collective, connecting plot, any viewer will be able to draw conclusions to multiple stories – everything from the short-lived Crusoe to Revenge or The Count of Monte Cristo. Another thing plays into is the constant forms of conflict that arise and threaten Oliver’s crusade. Like most network shows, it tries too hard to keep up the string of villains instead of using Oliver's one-time villain plots to take down the powerful as a means of conflict. That would work so much better in my opinion. Like with most shows, I overlook this since overall, I love Arrow. The chemistry between the cast is fabulous (including Digg! Who, I did neglectfully forget to mention) and it’s particularly fun to watch the evolution of the newest addition to the team in computer genius Felicity Smoak (Emily Brett Rickards).  

If I had to pick a favorite show from the 2012 season, Arrow would rank high on the list. It’s not something anyone should take too seriously and if you don’t, angst and all, it’s fun entertainment.   

(What to know: In the first episode we learn that a man cheated on his girlfriend with her sister [in a flashback, we see them together, her in only her underwear], there are scenes of unmarried couples lying in bed together – a pair of exes end up in bed together in the finale. Thea and her boyfriend are seen making out on the couch. Conversations tease of past relations and there is some innuendo. There is lots of violence – people shot in the head, men’s necks are snapped, arrows hit their targets and there are various instances of mental torture. A series of episodes revolves around a powerful drug. The show is rated TV14.)
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  1. Saw the pilot of this the other day -- it wasn't bad. :)

    1. Cool! I'm glad you didn't mind it. I thought the show borrowed a lot from previous "revenge" sagas, however it was fun, and both mom and I got quite caught up in it. :)

    2. Of course, I watched Oliver Queen for four seasons on Smallville, so it's a bit hard to warm up to this imposter. ;)

    3. LOL, I thought I remembered you talking about Oliver on Smallville and your interest being minimal in Arrow because of that. ;) Stephan is actually a good actor and since he's the first Oliver Queen I've met, I'm cool with it.

  2. Ohhh, now I've made the connection where your lovely recent headers' images are coming from. You have a great taste. ;) I just started watching the first few episodes of Arrow season one, and so far, it has been very enjoyable! Initially, I was kinda scared it was going to be one of those 'darker' shows (along the lines of "The Dark Knight" franchise). But with the direction the plot is headed at, the suspense, humour, and all around coolness, this is bound to be a new favourite series of mine. Plus the cast of characters is just plain awesome.

    PS-ish: looking forward to see Felicity join 'the A-team.' I knew the girl had potential!

    1. *HIGH FIVE*

      Yes, another fan. Glad you've discovered this isn't what you initially thought, Jemimah. It is indeed a nicely paced show and I *so* agree; the cast is AWESOME. ;) They work well together and as you say, the writer's do a nice job balancing that humor and suspense. It's officially one of my very favorite shows now.

      ...Felicity is awesome. I love her awkward-ness and cute personality - she's more relatable that way. :)

  3. AAAHHHH you had Arrow in your header and I didn't realize it? Having only recently become a fan, I'm thrilled to rediscover your review (which I had saved since your posts get emailed to me, knowing that someday I would watch it). Anyway. I sure enjoyed reading this now, when I only have three episodes left! :)

    1. ...I did indeed. It was the fall-ish one. I think. ;)

      I'm SO happy you're a fan too, Charity. The more, the merrier, right!? Plus I'm glad to know three episodes left, it's still entertaining. Hope after watching them, it's still a favorite!

    2. It is indeed still a favorite! I did the three last night, and then was broken-hearted to discover that my beloved Hulu only has episodes 5-9 of the current season. Since I find myself unable to watch them elsewhere online, I think I'll read synopsises of 1-4 and then just jump right in with 5...I can't wait for DVDs. xD

    3. Ooo! That's brave of you, Charity. I'd *have* to see those first four... but I hope you enjoy - and do let me know what you think. It'll be a long wait and oh, my! The first season cliffhanger was tough. ;)

  4. There were important things missed in 1-4, but I jumped in with 5 this afternoon (and 6) and am now in the middle of 7. Worth it. ;) Oh, and about Felicity and Oliver? Somewhere in 5, he sleeps with this random gal and Felicity kinda asks why and he says "Because sometimes it's easier to be in a relationship with someone you don't care about than someone you do." Not an exact quote, but they had a significant look then and yeah...I think he likes her. ;) YAY!

    1. Also. I took a moment to look at your profile page again - based on where you say you live, I think we can't be more than a few hours apart. I'm also smack in the middle of the US, with just a touch of eastern...just a touch. But. Yup. Well, I know it's less than eight hours apart, because of the time change. ;) But yeah! Random cool thing. ;)

    2. Despite the skip, I'm pleased you felt it was worth it, Charity. I'm anxious to see season 2 and love your comments/tweets about it. It's sound good but... ugh! Badly done, Oliver! I "know" he cares for Felicity as one of the team but I didn't figure out in S1 if he loved her. Hopefully their relationship will grow into more because that'd be... awesome; they're cute together. (And just so Oliver knows, it's NOT COOL to be in a relationship with someone they don't love/care for is NOT right... you can tell him that from me. ;D)

      ...funny you should randomly mention the distance between us because I kept meaning to ask if you wouldn't mind sharing your address when I was mailing out Christmas cards and, well... I just ran out of time. *sigh* Such is life. I think I did have it once for a giveaway but who knows if it's still in an email or long since been deleted. All this Midwest girl knows just now is it's FREEZING here today. Brr...!


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