: 4 out of 5
Pros: Engaging characters and a compelling story
Cons: A few subpar episodes and the island backstory
The Bottom Line:
Fresh take on Arrow
With characters you will like
Story that excites
"I Wear a Hood and Shoot Arrows into Bad
Guys. I Grade Complicated on a
Every May, it’s the same thing – I swear I am going to stick
only with the shows I already watch and not start any new ones. And every year when September and October
roll around, I start several new shows.
Of the shows I started in the fall of 2012, there was only one I watched
more than two or three episodes, and that was Arrow
I wasn’t super familiar with this DC Comic character before
I started watching the show. As a
result, I don’t know how much they have messed with the details of the
character. I do know they set things up
perfectly in the pilot, so this newbie could follow the character and the story
and hang on for the ride.
The story centers around Olive Queen (Stephen Amell). Five years ago, he vanished in a boating
accident and was presumed dead. In
reality, he washed up on the shore of an island and spent the years
surviving. Along the way, he honed his
skills as an archer.
Now that he is back in Sterling City
he is going to complete a mission. His
father, also on the boat, gave Oliver a journal before he died, telling Oliver
to take down these men who are abusing the citizens of Starling City
. And so Oliver uses his new archery skills to
do just that, putting fear in the hearts of these often rich and powerful men
with his alter ego, dubbed “The Hood” by the media.
Of course, his one man vigilante act is complicated by the
people who are now back in his life. His
mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) is now running Queen Consolidated, the family
business, with the help of her new husband Walter Steel (Colin Salmon). His sister Thea (Willa Holland) is partying
and getting into trouble much like Oliver did before he vanished. Then there’s his best friend Tommy Merlyn
(Colin Connell) and his ex-girlfriend Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy),
relationships made more complicated by romantic feelings long forgotten and a
blossoming love triangle. Well, and Laurel’s father,
Detective Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne) also wants to arrest The Hood.
But any good hero needs sidekicks, and Oliver has those,
too. Originally assigned as a body
guard, it's not long before veteran John Diggle (David Ramsey) is helping out
as much as he can. Part way through the
season, a third member of the team is added as computer expert Felicity Smoak
(Emily Bett Rickards) starts adding her expertise to the team.
While Oliver goes after the bad guys one at a time, he is
only partially aware of a growing conspiracy against the city. Will he be able to stop it?
What pulled me into this store from the get go is the
characters. By the time the pilot was
over, I felt they were real and were already showing depth. A few of the episodes didn’t play to this
strength, but for the most part, I spent an hour each week delving into the
lives of real characters.
Not to say the story isn’t strong. I was just as interested to find out how
Oliver would handle his latest problem or crisis or bad guy as I was in seeing
the characters grow and develop. Between
the two, this was an hour of can’t miss TV most weeks.
As I already mentioned, there were a few episodes where I
felt the characters were a little flat.
But if one week I didn’t care for the characters, the next week had me
completely back on board. It was a few episodes
along the way, but it does keep the season from being perfect.
Then there are the island flashbacks. Trust me, life for Oliver on the island for
those years was not boredom and loneliness.
Each week, we get flashbacks to his time there and a building story
there as well. While my roommate, who I
managed to hook on this show, loved this aspect of things, I wished we would
spend more time in the now. Maybe
between Lost and Once Upon a Time, I’m wearing out on the back story approach to TV
storytelling. Even so, I did begin to
get into even this aspect of the show by the end of the season.
The acting on the show is wonderful. All the actors nail their characters every
week, which is why I was pulled in by the characters so quickly. With all the drama, this isn’t some light
superhero show. Yes, there are some
light moments, but this is a serious drama with a superhero element to it. The actors capture that perfectly and bring
the right amount of seriousness to it.
Proving that this is more about the characters, this show
isn't as special effects heavy as some shows in the genre. However, when they do have effects, they are
great. There are plenty of stunts and
fights, and here the show shines.
The 23 episodes of the first season are being offered on DVD
and a Blu-Ray/DVD/Ultraviolet combo pack.
The shows themselves are in their native wide screen and full surround,
which isn't much of a surprise, which isn't a surprise. Also not a surprise is the inclusion of
deleted scenes and a gag reel. There are
three featurettes, one of the creation of the show that includes interviews
with the creators and cast, one of the stunts and fights of the show, and one
with highlights from the Paley Fest panel.
The show was a huge hit for the CW, but if you happen to be
one of those who has missed the boat, go get this set today and catch up before
season two starts. You’ll be done with
season one of Arrow
before you even
Season 1 Episodes:
2. Honor Thy Father
3. Lone Gunmen
4. An Innocent Man
7. Muse of Fire
9. Year's End
11. Trust But Verify
14. The Odyssey
16. Dead to Rights
17. The Huntress Returns
19. Unfinished Business
20. Home Invasion
21. The Undertaking
22. Darkness on the Edge of Town