Progressing through Arrow

The wife and I just finished season 3 of Arrow. We’ve been alternating between watching episodes of Arrow and Flash, mostly using this handy guide that was put together by a friendly user on the web. Now that I’m a few seasons in, I wanted to share a couple brief thoughts on what I’m thinking of the series overall.

First, I really have enjoyed most of the villain storylines. Many of them are ripped right out of the comics, and it’s cool to see a real life interpretation of how a particular villain might look and act. This was CW’s first attempt at bringing forward a modern comic book TV show, and for the most part I think they have done a good job. However, when comparing Arrow to Flash, you can tell that this was their first attempt, and that’s where I find my biggest gripes.

Perhaps the biggest complaint I have about the show is that the character of Arrow bears little resemblance to the Green Arrow of the comic books, in terms of personality and demeanor. The Green Arrow of the comics is often snarky and sarcastic, the Arrow on TV is somber and morose. Oliver Queen was a rich playboy who acted as a type of Robin Hood character at night. The TV version is more akin to a Batman figure, brooding and wounded from the scars of life.

This brooding and wounded hero plays well for a while, but after 3 seasons, I’m longing for someone else. From everything I’ve heard it doesn’t really get much better in the next two seasons, but I’m going to hold out hope that at least now that there is a “Team Arrow” that perhaps some of the supporting characters can bring the show a bit more fun. But what I really want is for Arrow himself to lighten up a bit and take the giant stick out of his butt. I think in many ways the casting of Arrow could have been much different, and it feels like Flash had a bigger advantage in finding talent, both in terms of budget and pull. That’s the price that a show pays for being the first however.

Speaking of supporting cast, some of them have been my biggest highlights. In particular Felicity has been really enjoyable, and her random bursts of inappropriate statements are a hilarious juxtaposition with her character’s brilliance. One of my favorite lines was when she was on Flash with Ray Palmer and made the comment, “Yeah, it’s kind of like I’m dating Barry but in Oliver’s body. A sentence you will never repeat to anyone.” Her delivery of the lines, and horror as she realized what she said was spot on and hilarious.

Another character I’ve come to enjoy, mostly, is Captain Lance. I actually find it amazing how great of an American accent Paul Blackthorne can do, but most of all I appreciate his gritty down to earth nature. I found the resurgence of the alcoholism storyline in season 3 a bit forced, but I think he played it well. What I really appreciate though is how he plays a character, struggling to deal with his lack of control in this world with superheroes. These heroes can do such amazing things, and he’s often left cleaning up the mess. You can tell that he doesn’t like the situation, especially since these heroes have brought his family so much pain, but he’s not in a situation where he can change it. That makes his character one of the most real and grounded in the entire show.

I’m going to keep sticking it out with Arrow as long as it goes, and hopefully things will continue to get better. I do hope that CW eventually realizes that it would be good to let Arrow end and bring forward a new show, with the cast of Arrow just doing guest appearances on the other series. If they want to create another gritty crime comic, they could always pull out Nightwing. At least then they’d be openly acknowledging their desire for a Batman type hero, and they could embrace that more fully.

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