TV Runback – Arrow

Soooo we have those days where we catch up on a show. We missed the buzz. We become busy and forget an episode. Some of us are just plain old lazy. Thanks to the wonders of DVD box sets, Netflix, and the internet, more people are watching television shows than ever. This is what I’ve been catching up on.

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Editor Note: The last episode I have watched is Season 1, Episode 17: The Huntress Returns

Arrow is one of those shows that you never know how it’ll do. I mean Green Arrow? His own show? GREEN ARROW? He’s a B-list Justice Leaguer with no super powers. Sure, he’s got a great book, and it’s hard not to like the guy after seeing his appearances on Justice League Unlimited and Young Justice. He even hums his own theme music, Deadpool style.

But a TV show dedicated to Oliver Queen, Billionaire returning to save his city after being away for an extended time? And in that time, learning skills, hard lessons, and understanding the life of crime to better seek out those he’s hunting? Sounds all to familiar to a certain pointy eared detective…

Oh right...him.
Oh right…him.

Fun fact: Green Arrow was originally a hero designing to be analogue to Batman. The wealth, the gadgets, the sidekick, even becoming a symbol of the people’s hero, Robin Hood. However, Green Arrow became a voice of his own. A progressive-minded and down to earth type of hero, he’s thinking about the little guy while Superman trades blows with Mongul.

So with a history seeped in Batman influences, it’s hard to not like Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen and his war on Starling City’s underground. What’s making Arrow so good and so surprising is that a majority of television viewers are not up to date on Green Arrow’s history (myself included). Many comic book readers may know the classic Green Lantern/Green Arrow team-up, notably due to a shocking cover involving Speedy, Green Arrow’s sidekick.

However, Green Arrow’s lore spreads throughout several books and has a respectable amount of history for the show to dip into. Name’s like Slade Wilson, DeadShot, and Blüdhaven may ring a bell with Batman and Teen Titans fans, but how many people knew about Shado, Merlyn, or even Guillermo Barrera, aka Brutale?

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Am I the only one who looked this up?

The show is giving viewers both shout-outs to the comics, which help support a complex story, and surprises by introducing new characters and mixing them in with DC comics history. Who could have foreseen Diggle becoming an instrumental part of the team? Does not Detective Lance’s hunt on The Hood remind anyone else about James Gordon’s early years hunting down The Batman? Does no one else cringe when you hear Coast City and think that Green Lantern will team up with Queen one of these days?…. Only me?

The love life of our hero rivals that of Bruce Wayne’s. Of course when I hear Laurel ‘Dinah’ Lance, I can only think of…

That's love.
That’s love.

But even the on and off again Huntress and even new character, McKenna Hall, add a lot of complexity, as all of these love interests interact with both the Hood and Oliver. The relationships stay fresh and provide complex dynamics to powerful characters.

There are family changes that add chaos to Oliver’s ramped up world. His sister, Thea, being nicknamed Speedy by Oliver’s friends sets her up for comic inspired tragedy. This perspective is warped as she later finds a young delinquent, Roy Harper, who is Speedy/Red Arrow in the comics.. Green Arrow’s parents are probably the biggest change from comics to Television. Arrow puts Oliver’s dad at the forefront of every episode, with a list of names and a dedication to avenging a death. Oliver’s mom has mysterious motives throughout the first season, and we even see a step father thrown in. This differs greatly from the comics, as Oliver’s parents are attacked by lions and left to die due to Oliver’s hesitancy to help.

One of the greatest aspects of the show is the dichotomy of the island and present-time stories. “Shengcún.” Slade Wilson. Yao Fei. The life lessons mirroring the present day struggles bring a lot of believability and gritty-ness to the show that greatly enhances awareness of the character. Looking at the Nolan Baman Trilogy, we have a whole hour of the first movie dedicated to the origin. Arrow decides not to make the origin the first 5 episodes or so, but to disperse it throughout the season. It’s a well executed style that plays on misdirection and teaches you new things about our hooded vigilante at every turn.

From 0...
From 0…
to hero.
to hero.

There’s a lot to love and there’s a lot at stake in every episode of Arrow. With announcements online about new heroes like the Flash coming into the mix, I’m excited to finish the season and get caught up with season 2. I may be a year late, but with the buzz and payoff that Arrow gives in every episode, I’ll happily take my time enjoying the best thing from DC since Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy.

Memorable Quote: Oliver to Tommy: “My trust fund is your trust fund.”

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