Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: Arrow- season 1

I haven’t posted here in a couple of weeks, due to time constraints and not because I have nothing to say.  So now is time to make up for lost time.

I just finished watching season one of the TV series Arrow, which is regularly on the CW network, though I watched it on DVD. I’ll admit my main interest in watching the series is that Marc Guggenheim is a producer/developer of the show (with Andrew Kriesberg and Greg Berlanti), and he’s been an “internet friend” of mine for some time , seeing as how we’re both bug comic book geeks.  And I know, you’re thinking “a better friend wouldn’t have waited so long to watch his show”.  I’m very busy is all I can say in my defense.  Hopefully this review makes up for my tardiness.
Kirby Green Arrow
Arrow is an interpretation of the classic DC comics hero, Green Arrow.  I’ll admit to not being a huge Green Arrow fan, mostly due to my being more of a “Marvel” person. The Green Arrow comic I most proudly own is a collection of Jack Kirby Green Arrow comics from the 1950s.  Kirby’s Green Arrow isn’t incredibly remarkable, except that it’s Kirby and therefore awesome and very much worth buying and reading, and that it includes a retelling of Green Arrow’s origin.  I’ll summarize the origin: Green Arrow is rich guy Oliver Queen, who get marooned on an island and learns archery to keep himself alive.  Eventually he is rescued and become a costumed hero in a fictional DC city.  In the 50’s Green Arrow was just a Batman clone, really. He even had a teen sidekick (named Speedy for some reason), an arrow-car, and even an arrow-cave!

Arrow does a far better job with the concept than the above 19050’s comics.  Mega spoilers from this point on. Oliver Queen (Stephen Arnell)  is the lone survivor of a shipwreck that killed his Father.  He spent 5 years fighting all kinds of people on the island.  And he returns to civilization to right his father’s wrongs and bring justice to his hometown of Starling City.  The series switches from current events in Oliver’s mission to flashbacks about his survival on the island.  The series treats Oliver’s actions as realistically as possible.  He doesn’t have super-powers and the fighting sequences aren’t CGI.  Granted, they are a bit over-the-top, but they seem very possible, if unlikely.  For example, dodging machinegun fire while taking out bad guys with a bow seems very possible in the context of the show. Also part of the “realistic” approach is that the main character is never called “Green Arrow”; he’s “the vigilante” or “the hood”.

But the best aspect of Arrow is the character and their interaction.  Oliver wasn’t the best person before his time on the island, and he’s not the best at dealing with the people around him, including especially his own family, now that he’s back.  Many of the character he interacts with are interpretations of or have some other nod to characters from DC Comics.  The most important of these is Dinah Laurel Lance (Kate Cassidy), his ex-girlfriend based on long-time Green Arrow significant other Black Canary.  I also like the inclusion of Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) as a kid form the poor side of town and the Huntress, though I’m not too big on her being so twisted.  Having Oliver’s little sister (Willa Holland) be nicknamed Speedy is a nice touch, though I hope it doesn’t mean she’ll ever be fighting bad guys.
Oliver’s partner, the bodyguard Diggle (David Ramsey), is an excellent non-comic character that helps because it gives Oliver someone to talk to in his hideout.  A slight digression: For a while there, it seemed everyone was finding out Oliver’s secret though.  But I think it all worked out in the end. Finally I must mention the best part of this show: Felicity Smoak!  She is simply the BEST THING EVER!!  I love her character and her portrayl by Emily Bett Rickards is just absolutely perfect!!

Felicity Smoak (the greatest thing ever!)
Anyway, I’m totally hooked on this show and so is the rest of my family!  I’m planning on when to watch season two.  And see more of Felicity!!  Oh…and everyone else too, of course.

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