Sunday, October 14, 2012
Arrow (2012) TV Series
Review: Well, they got me. They hooked me into seeing where they're going with this thing. The strong cast really makes the premise soar in the new series on the CW. I wasn't really expecting too much, superhero TV series have a pretty poor track record. Not really a track record of being bad, more like a track record of mediocrity but this was anything but mediocre. That being said it still only gets a solid 3 out 5.
First off the stuff that I liked. The story is very well paced, shockers and plot points are drip feed to you at a pace that keeps your attention all the way to the plot bomb at the end. The whole cast is great but Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen is the stand out. As the lead character he has the hardest job of keeping things interesting. We have to spend the most time with him so it's important that he gives depth, likability and is interesting enough to carry the show. He certainly does all those things. He's good as the pre-wreck playboy with a sort of vapid entitled air and then delivers with a darker edge post-wreck. He does a great job playing the smart ass Oliver as well as the dark and serious Arrow. The supporting cast is pretty good, what we see of them, and deliver promises of more complex and rich performances as the show goes on. But just to give a shout out to them: Colin Salmon as Walter, the man to married Ollie's mother after the wreck, he has this sinister vibe that I'm sure will play well as we get deeper into the series. You just know he's either going to end up the big bad or a patsy. Susanna Thompson as Ollie's mom who drops the bomb on us at the end of the episode. Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn, Ollie's sleezy friend who also suspicious of Ollie. Willa Holland as Ollie's sister who also has an edge to her and promises to play a bigger part in the future. Katie Cassidy as Dinah Laurel Lance, the fair, law abiding lawyer who helps the helpless. Then finally there's Paul Blackthorne as Detective Lance, the cop who has it out for Ollie because Ollie screwed his family (literally in some cases).
I also enjoyed the action scenes. I love that they made Ollie a free runner, it gives the character a different feel and something interesting to watch during the chase scenes. His fighting style is a little MMA submission moves with a little bit of capoeria and some other random stuff to make it interesting. Just some random stuff now: The flashbacks to his time on the island are nice little interludes to give a break to the action as well as flesh out the main character a bit. I liked that he calls his sister Speedy, I hope that's foreshadowing a possible team up and not just a way of shoehorning in a comic reference that means nothing and goes nowhere. I would love to see that character pick up a bow and help her brother in his quest for redemption. I could see that being a really good story arc with an awesome build up to when he finally reveals everything to her and she forces him to accept her as a sidekick. Also the introduction to trick arrows in the form of the USB/Wi-Fi arrow.
As for what's bad? I don't really know. The thing I can put my finger on is Dinah Lance, who goes by Laurel. I don't like that she's a lawyer and not in any way resembling Black Canary. Maybe they'll introduce some kind of martial art background or something but right now she's kind of a lame love interest. I like how she's played, the actress does a good job with the character but she feels a little purposeless right now. You have her father, the Detective, acting as the foil for Arrow so it feels redundant to have another character doing things by the book on the right side of the law. I don't know, my hope is she eventually becomes the Black Canary. If she wasn't then they really should have made up a character instead of using an existing one. Now that actress and her character have to carry the burden of this previous character all the fans expect her to be. But other than that the premiere just was missing that "something". I don't know what it was but it just didn't have that "thing" that made me remember it after it was done. It didn't make me want to read a Green Arrow comic book or play with my Green Arrow action figure, it didn't stick with me after it was done. I watched it, I got excited at the parts I was supposed to get excited at, I rooted for who I was supposed to root for and I had a good time. Then it was over and I totally forgot about it other than a desire to see more episodes.
And I will watch more episodes, unless they screw up I'm in this until it's done or they do something stupid. There are just so many questions and episode 2 looks like they're bringing in super villains already. I've seen pictures of Deathstroke (who looks awesome) and we see Slade's mask on the island with an arrow in one eye. Why was that there? What kind of role will he play? How did Ollie learn all his moves? Who else did he encounter on that island? When we see his scars there are several telltale animal wounds (bites and stratches) but also what look to be bullet or knife wounds. Did he fend off pirates? Man hunters (the literal kind not the Green Lantern kind)? Where did he get his bow and arrows? Will his sister become his sidekick? Will we see The Question (that alone makes this worth watching)? I doubt we'll get Hal Jordan as Green Lantern (Ollie's frequent running buddy) but The Question (Ollie's other frequent running buddy) would fit right it. How cool would it be if some guy without a face show's up and starts crime blocking Ollie and then it's revealed to be Detective Lance? To me, pretty damn cool. I'll be watching this show and if you're a comic fan you should be watching it too. If Smallville can run for 10 god damn (Batman) seasons this should at least get 3. Don't let it go the way of The Cape, which was also a good show that deserved a fair shake but got canceled before a single season.