One of the hidden gems of the fall TV season may turn out to be Arrow. It premiered on The CW on October 10th and I have to say I was very impressed.
Now, I can guess that you may have some reservations about this show since it is on The CW. I would like to point out that this network is the home of Supernatural and had been the home of Smallville. Knowing that these two shows originated here made me want to give Arrow a try. I also am a big fan of comic book inspired shows so there was no way that I wasn’t going to watch it. I have to support my stories.
Arrow is based on Green Arrow from DC Comics. The show opens with the rescue of Oliver Queen from an island where he has been surviving for the past five years. We learn that Oliver’s life prior to his going missing has been one of dissolute debauchery. his return to society is marked by a drive to make up for his misspent youth and righting the wrongs perpetrated by his father. Throughout the episode we are introduced both to the denizens of Starling City as well as the people that surround this modern day Robin Hood.
One of the things I enjoyed about Arrow is its darker tone. One of the ways this is shown is through the flashbacks. Each time we are taken back to the shipwreck, we are shown something horrible. Each one adds more to the logic behind Oliver Queen becoming a vigilante upon his return home. This darkness is shown again when Oliver and his friend are taken hostage. In true comic book style, he frees himself from restraints and defeats several well armed thugs. The difference here is that to protect his plan, he kills the kidnapper. It provides a nice shock to the system to see the hero do this and cements the dark tone going forward.
On top of this darker edge, the show has several other things that kept me interested. I am just a passing fan of Green Arrow but there were several characters that we are introduced to that I know from the comic book. His estranged ex-girlfriend is obviously Black Canary and his best friend is set up to be one of the villains from the comic. It was nice Easter egg for me to recognize these bits of fan service. The show also has a definite Christopher Nolan feel. The costume design has a grounded feel to it similar to the Dark Knight movies. In this same vein, he has not referred to himself as Arrow yet. Finally, the different plot seeds that have been set up throughout the first episode are very intriguing. I’m looking forward to more flashbacks to his time on the island as I enjoy that style of storytelling. The story-lines of his ex-girlfriend and sister are something I want to see play out as well as seeing where the plot twist at the end of the episode goes.
For me, this was a very solid premier. It gave me the origin of our hero, a reason to be interested in him, and interesting story that has me wanting more. I’m hoping that it continues in the same vein and avoids falling into the campiness that so easily haunts any superhero TV show.