Shadow & TV: Arrow Season One Review

As promised in our last episode of D Saint Radio, this is my review of first season of CW’s Arrow. Before I start, do not worry about spoilers if you are going to check out the show (which you should) because I won’t go into them. Alright, here we go.

 

For those that don’t know what the show is about: It’s basically Green Arrow’s Year One showing a young Oliver Queen return home after being shipwrecked on an  island for five years to clean up his city by getting rid of the people that have “failed this city”.

It’s been no secret that Batman is a hot item on the market with a slew of successful movies, games, cartoons and comics but The Dark Knight has never made it to the small screen after the 60’s Adam West shows. It wasn’t really a form of why but who which the who in this case was Warner Bros. not wanting to step on Nolan’s toes when it came to a live-action Batman. The closest TV got was a (failed) series called Birds of Prey which followed Bruce and Selina Kyle’s (i.e. Catwoman) daughter as she protected a Gotham City abandoned by Batman and that was…yeah, that exists.  After that was a small if-you-don’t-pay-attention-you’ll-miss-it mentioning of The Caped Crusader in one of the final episodes of Smallville.

And thus Arrow was born out of a need to tell a more gritty tale of  a DC hero without touching the Bat and you know what? It works. GA and Batman are just about the same: Both are f@#king rich, have to hide their true selves by acting like a rich bastard while moonlighting as a vigilantist that the police don’t like and must hunt. What makes Arrow a different breed of hero are the stories of both his return and of his memories of the island he was on that changed him. It also doesn’t hurt that this hero has no qualms about killing people that need to be killed. Add in some family ties and villains from the DCU and you got yourself a show.

What Works

The pacing for this show is nuts: not too fast for new people to check it out but not too slow for the people that have been following it from day one. I didn’t feel like any of episodes were just side steps for the writers to figure out what to do next and right off the bat you know what Oliver’s plan is instead of him trying to figure out what he is going to do. What you get is a story of a person getting his start as the hero of the city that feels organic. Speaking of pacing, the characters also work for this series. Oliver has to work with the fact that shit has changed not only for him but for his circle of family and friends over those 5 years away. Not only that but that same circle also sees that the Oliver they knew was left on that island. There are secrets to be had, feelings that have changed or stayed the same and hope that no one gets hurt from either of those things.

What doesn’t Work

This being the first season of a CW show, the acting is getting there. I would say that improves after the first half of the season (mostly because of a more focus on the story-arc of the season). It’s not bad but if you seen a CW show (or WB show) you know what I’m talking about. The other thing, and it’s just a small thing, is the gritty. Maybe it’s just me but I won’t mind having an episode where it’s a little light. I don’t mind it but too much grit can make people not crazy about it. Again, it’s fixed in the second half but still.

 

Conclusion

Arrow is a great show and I see why The CW renewed it for a second season. The Season finale ended in a way that has me curious about what is next for Star City and it’s hero. Not only that it leaves me with a few questions that I’m sure others have as well. If you have a chance, check it out.

CW’s Arrow Season One – 9/10

 

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