TV MADNESS #21: ARROW

“Arrow” could become one of the CW’s strongest shows. If the pilot is any sign, this show is right on target.

Millionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) was lost at sea for five years. During that time he honed himself into a living weapon as he survived on that island. In that struggle he lost his father (Jamey Sheridan) and his girlfriend’s little sister.

Now he is back in Starling City where the world he left has become more corrupt and unrecognizable. His mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) has remarried Walter Steele (Colin Salmon). His kid sister Thea aka Speedy (Willa Holland) is getting in with the wrong crowd. His best friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) just wants to pick up where they left off with endless women and booze. And finally the girlfriend Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) hates his guts for letting her sister die during the accident. What is a Queen to do?

Now wearing a green hood, armed with a bow and his intense training regime, Oliver is going to reclaim the city and put back what once was. He’s not holding back and will go to the ends of the earth to bring justice to Starling City.

Amell is perfectly cast as this version of Oliver Queen. Sure he doesn’t have the trademark blonde goatee but how the whole Queen saga has been reshaped is really intriguing. Kinda like they did with the Superman mythos for Smallville. Amell could lighten up some for his playboy moments and develop that side of him more but really he did just get home. And the playboy persona is going to be the real mask.

I really liked Colin Donnell as Ollie’s best friend too. This actor doesn’t have a lot of credit behind him so this show could be a great fit to finally get him noticed. Willa Holland is perfect as the kid sister who has a troublemaker side. She’s done well with that persona in other CW shows. I really hope they have big plans for Susanna Thompson because there is something delicious there I know.

Katie Cassidy for me was the biggest wildcard. I am not sure I get her character yet. What is going to be her mission on the show? Is she Lois Lane or Lana Lang? Or hopefully something more. I have always been a fan of Cassidy but I just don’t get where her story is going to go. She is related to the show’s bible but really all she does in the pilot is confront Oliver twice. I hope there is more to her as the show develops. I hate to see Katie Cassidy reduced to the utter silliness of Kristin Kruek’s Lana Lang on Smallville.

Written by TV veterans Mark Guggenheim and Greg Berlanti, this show is really well crafted but why does the show feel so familar? The show has a lot of other TV shows to be thankful for because it gets its influence from at least a half dozen sources.

The obvious one is “Lost” as the show will most probably try to uncover what happened on the island in flashbacks. There will also be the comparisons to “Smallville” but only really as just a superhero origin story. This is dark and dramatic departure from Smallville and a CW show that doesn’t start with the main characters in high school.

For me the show that really stuck in my mind while watching the pilot was just how similar it is to ABC’s new hit TV series “Revenge”. Yes there is no hooded vigilante in that show (but there could be soon with Emily’s ninja training with Cary Hiroyuki-Tagawa). Emily uses a smokescreen (Emily/Amanda) or secret identity and is trying to get revenge for her father.

Oliver Queen is doing the same. He also has a list of offenders he must bring down with vengeance. By the pilot cliffhanger we also know that Susanna Thompson’s Moira could become the series Madeline Stowe.

As I watched the show I also had to note just how many references to the comics were involved in the show. The island origin was brilliantly brought to life in the show was also put into more detail in Green Arrow: Year One.

Oliver nicknaming his kid sister “Speedy” and then finding out Speedy is developing a drug problem. One of the classic DC storylines of the 1970s was Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy’s drug overdose in Green Lantern/Green Arrow, drawn by Neil Adams.

Next there is Tommy Merlyn, which refers to one of Green Arrow’s arch-nemeses Merlyn, another archer who likes to kill with a bow and frames Oliver Queen. Laurel Lance also refers to Green Arrow’s true love Black Canary. However is she actually going to become Black Canary or will a cousin/sister step in named Dinah at a later point. Finally also the pilot lays the groundwork for villains Deathstroke (his mask on the island), Walter Steele (his stepfather is also a villain), China White and Deadshot.

There is plenty going on in this series and it will be interesting to see where it goes as it matures. But it’s as perfect as a show can get for the CW.

GIVE IT: 6 episodes.

WATCH OR DVR: Watch it.

PILOT RATING:  4.5 out of 5

“ARROW” AIRS WEDNESDAY NIGHTS ON THE CW.

One thought on “TV MADNESS #21: ARROW

  1. “I hate to see Katie Cassidy reduced to the utter silliness of Kristin Kruek’s Lana Lang on Smallville.” – Loved that line!

    Great review. I too liked this pilot and think that this show will be a massive hit for CW.

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