The CW’s Arrow: First Thoughts

Arrow premiered last night on The CW, thus marking a new era in superhero television shows. We now live in a post-Dark Knight and Avengers world, and shows introduced now will have some work ahead of them. Like it or not, many comic book nerds will hold everything comic related up to those high standards, from what I’ve read on message boards and comment pages.

This show is no exception.

Arrow follows the story of Oliver Queen, a trust fund baby turned crime fighter who is the sole survivor of a shipwreck that left him stranded on an island for five years. After signaling a passing fishing boat, Queen finds himself back in his native Starling City. But, those five years took their toll on Ollie, transforming his carefree life into a life of meaning and revenge. His new life will be devoted to saving Starling City from itself and from the problems his father had created.

Look, kids! See what getting stuck on an island for five years get you? A ripped physique and a penchant for crime fighting!

The writers jammed a lot into the first episode. Basically, they had to explain the origin of the Green Arrow and set up the season’s major plot points in 45 minutes or less. It moves so fast that I found myself questioning plot points, only to be given the answer a few minutes later. After about 15 or 20 minutes into the show, I found that I was being too critical and analytical too soon. So, I had to back off a little and just let myself enjoy enjoy the show.

** Note: I am no Green Arrow expert, so I can’t speak much for the comic. I’ve only read issue #0 of DC’s New 52 reboot and issue #1 of Kevin Smith’s run “Quiver”. When it comes to specifics, I am at the bottom of the expert list. **

From what I gathered from the commercials, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like his costume all that much. In promotional photos and posters, he looked more like Robin Hood than a bringer of justice and a server of ass kickings. When put into motion on the small screen, however, he looks more practical than peculiar. Well, all except for the green spray paint over his eyes. It was more befitting a drag queen than an Oliver Queen.

Cue the snare.

All-in-all, Arrow is still a little rough around the fletchings. I chalk that up to what I call the “First Episode Jitters”. There was a good bit of action, some stunning stunts and enough angry ex-girlfriends for you to shake a pointing finger-tipped arrow at, but the dialog did seem to get a little hokey in spots. However, I can see the writing and production getting better as the season rolls on (Don’t most shows get better when given a chance?). But, in my nerdiest heart of hearts, I have a fear that I may like this show out of necessity rather than out of a genuine love of the material.

In the world of comic books and live-action television shows, the two rarely seem to come together well. With the exceptions of Smallville, The Walking Dead and Adam West’s Batman, comic book shows usually don’t last but a season or two. So, when I am thrown some scraps in the way of a live-action comic book adaptation, my first instinct is to eat it and be thankful, no matter how bland or sour it may taste. Because, when pickings are slim, you don’t sit around and argue with the cook. And, when my nerd belly wants fed, a t-bone and a freezer-burnt cube steak start tasting pretty much the same.

Come on, Ollie, serve me up a prime cut.

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