Thursday, August 28, 2014

TV on DVD Review: Arrow - Season 2


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Action, strong story, characters
Cons: Flashbacks don’t really add much
The Bottom Line:
This action filled show
Grew the characters this year
For a strong season




"We Have to Work on Your Excuses."  "I Know."

After quickly getting addicted to the CW’s new superhero show Arrow, I couldn’t wait for season two to start.  Fortunately, it continued to build on the wonderful first season with more action and drama.

The show is based on the DC Comics character of Green Arrow.  Honestly, I know little about him outside of this series, but that’s okay.  What is here works so well I don’t need to know much more.

In the aftermath of the season one finale, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) returned to the island where he’d been stranded for five years.  However, it isn’t long before Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity (Emily Rett Rickards) head back there to track him down and get him to return to Starling City.  With his mother, Moyra (Susanna Thompson), in jail, it falls to him to run Queen Consolidated, and his return has come just in time since Isabel Rochev (guest star Summer Glau) has been brought in by the board and doesn’t seem to have the same vision for the future of the business as Oliver does.  Meanwhile his sister Thea (Willa Holland) is running the nightclub he started.

Unfortunately, Oliver’s return is just in time since someone has arrived in town with designs to destroy the city.  However, this time it is much more personal than Oliver knows.  Will he figure out the plot in time to stop it?  Who is behind everything?

Actually, the second season is even more complicated than this since I haven’t really talked about Roy (Colton Haynes), Thea’s boyfriend and Oliver’s secret apprentice in the justice business.  Then there’s the Lance family.  Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) has been demoted to patrol while Laurel (Katie Cassidy) has joined the DA’s office and is targeting the Vigilante (aka Oliver).  But the big surprise is the new superhero in town with some ties to Oliver’s time on the island.

Once again, those flashbacks to Oliver’s time on the island proved to be the weakness to the show.  They definitely tie in more to what happened this year, but I just don’t see the point of them most of the time and felt they slowed down the present day story.

However, the present day story more than makes up for any weakness.  You might have figured out that there are a ton of characters in this show, but that’s because there are tons of things happening.  There are some case of the week type episodes, but they are fewer this season, instead tying in much of what happens to the overall season arc or at least the character development.  The show is very suspenseful at times, too, with the characters facing overwhelming odds.  I had a hard time figuring out how they were going to succeed.

There is plenty of character growth here this season.  Just about everyone gets grow to a certain extent, and watching them deal with everything they are facing is incredible.

Which means all the actors have stepped up their game this season.  We might have one or two scenes that aren’t the best, but there wasn’t anything that threw me out of the show.  I especially love Felicity, who gets the funniest lines and some serious growth this season.

Because the show is more grounded in reality, it relies more on stunts than special effects, although both are handled perfectly when they appear.

As a fun note, they set up the CW’s new series The Flash with a couple episode guest spot early in the season.  I can’t wait for that show to appear this fall.

The second season is being released in the DVD only set and a Blu-Ray/DVD/UltraViolet combo set priced at only $10 more than the regular set.  Both sets feature all 23 episodes from season 2 in their native wide screen and full surround.  The sets also have the same extras, which include an episode commentary, deleted scenes, a gag reel, and three featurettes, one that chronicles Oliver's journey in the eyes of Starling City so far, one that looks at the action and special effects of the show, and one that focuses even more on the stunt work of the show.

Arrow is exactly what it sets out to be – a strong and fun superhero show.  You won’t be disappointed with season two at all.

Season 2 Episodes:
1. City of Heroes
2. Identity
3. Broken Dolls
4. Crucible
5. League of Assassins
6. Keep Your Enemies Closer
7. State Vs. Queen
8. The Scientist
9. Three Ghosts
10. Blast Radius
11. Blind Spot
12. Tremors
13. Heir to the Demon
14. Time of Death
15. The Promise
16. Suicide Squad
17. Birds of Prey
18. Deathstroke
19. The Man Under the Hood
20. Seeing Red
21. City of Blood
22. Streets of Fire
23. Unthinkable

This review is part of the 2014 Funny Pages Write-Off.

4 comments:

  1. I finally finished both seasons. It lives up to the hype. While they are certain things I would have steered clear, the majority of it is right on the money. Looking forward to when Season 3 starts really soon.

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    1. I wasn't sure if I would like it when season 1 started, but I quickly changed my mind. I'm glad I gave the show a chance.

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  2. Don't get the CW on Dish, but have been beige watching both seasons. Can't wait for season 3. Wish one of the big 3 networks would pick it up. Much better than Marvels Agents of shield.

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    1. Yes, this show runs circles around Agents of SHIELD. And be sure to start watching The Flash as well because it is just as good if not better.

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