"Arrow" Series Review and Recap

Review Robert Bernstein
10/25/2012 at 12:23PM

We brought in Robert Bernstein to write the rebuttal recap/review to Mandi Nowitz's. We're going to run with this for the rest of the season: Girl Reviewer/Guy Reviewer; New Viewer Reviewer/Comic Fan Reviewer. FUN!!!

Arrow Review (May contain spoilers)

I always wait to judge a new and potentially awesome show until I've seen the first three episodes.  Most people form judgment upon viewing just the first episode--but that is a mistake.  What if the first episode misses the mark, but the next few episodes are right on target; you've missed out on a good show.  It appears that the CW network (the worst network on television, in my opinion) has actually come through with a possible winner- Arrow.

For those that don't know, Arrow is a new show (airing Wednesdays on the CW) based on a DC Comics comic book that is about a billionaire playboy named Oliver Queen who was stranded on an island for five years after a shipwreck and decides if he were ever rescued that he would avenge people that have been wronged by rich businessmen.  Well, he was rescued--and avenge he will.

Arrow is written by Greg Berlanti, who has written for a very diverse background of shows such as Dawson's Creek, Everwood, Eli Stone and even Green Lantern and Wrath of the Titans.  At first glance, the Arrow story is very similar to Batman (billionaire playboy goes missing, returns and beats people up), but Arrow throws some curveballs.  Stephen Amell, whom plays the character of Oliver Queen/Arrow, does an excellent job portraying the hardships of returning to society after being stranded on an island.  Amell's acting stands out, in a good way--especially for a show on the CW.  Amell plays Arrow as a strong-silent type who doesn't let emotions stop him from stopping evil businessmen.  But how he knows that these men are evil is still a bit of a mystery.  What we do know is that Arrow has a small journal he took off his father's body after the father died.  When Oliver first took the book, it was blank.  However, now the book has a list of names in it, which Arrow crosses off as he kills them.  Oliver alludes to the fact that he got the list of names from his father, who told Oliver the bad things these men have done as he was dying in a lifeboat with Oliver after their yacht sunk. 

Of course, the CW wouldn't be carrying the show if it didn't have some sort of love triangle or scandal.  In Arrow, Oliver cheated on his girlfriend with her sister on that very same yacht that sank to the bottom of the ocean (can anyone say, “KARMA?”)--something Oliver had to live with while trying to survive on an island for five years.  Upon his return to the city, Oliver quickly learns that his ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance, has been sleeping with his best friend, Tommy Merlyn (Karma works that way).  This isn't the only scandal Oliver quickly uncovers, though.  His mother, Moira, has since married his father's former chief financial officer.

The Pilot was the best episode of the series, so far.  We see the creation of Arrow and his lair, which is in an old abandoned warehouse and he kills his first victim, Adam Hunt.  In Episode Two, we are introduced to an unknown hooded figure wielding a bow and arrow, which will eventually explain how Oliver Queen became Arrow.  Also in Episode Two, Arrow threatens Martin Somers into confessing his crimes.  Arrow records the confession and delivers it to the police.   We are also introduced to China White (another DC Comics character).  In Episode Three, we are introduced to Deadshot.  Also in Episode Three, Arrow is forced to reveal his identity to his bodyguard, Diggle, in order to save his life from Deadshot's poisoned bullet.  Viewers are probably wondering if Dig will be to Arrow what Alfred was to Batman. 

The show is doing many things right.  Comic book superheroes are definitely "in" right now.  It appears that writers are taking a more somber approach to Arrow, which lessens the cheesiness of a comic book hero.  Introducing other DC Comic characters keeps the story interesting.  Furthermore, and possibly most noteworthy, is the musical score.  The soundtrack to the show, so far, has been fantastic, sounding even epic at times.

Three episodes in, and it appears Arrow is gaining a small following (4.1 million viewers for the first episode).  The reviews are mixed; none great, but none terrible-with just about everyone comparing it to Batman as I am.  The target audience of the show is still a bit unclear.  Is the CW targeting 15-30 year old superhero fans, or 15-30 year old young women, as a typical CW show does?  While some aspects seem a little bit cliché, the show might be able to retain some viewers if he focuses a little more on the crime-fighting and a little less on the mushy-moments--or in Berlanti's case, a little more Green Lantern and a little less Dawson's Creek.