Arrow Pilot Review
Starring: Stephen Amell, Emily Bett Rickards and Katie Cassidy
Running Time: 60mins
So when Arrow was first announced by the CW network I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. The station is known best for their cheesy teen dramas and that formula infected what could’ve been a great show in Smallville. I hated Smallville. Now I know it got better towards the end, but in the first few episodes they mashed in all the ‘One Tree Hill, Dawson’s Creek’ cheese that they could and in the process lost me forever. So with Arrow I was half expecting an eye rolling, groan inducing affair with a bit of action completed by a soundtrack from The Cranberries or Jack Johnson.
Thank you CW, because that’s not what we got at all. I was more than pleasantly surprised. The show starts of with our hero, Oliver Queen, being rescued from a deserted island after he was shipwrecked there five years ago. One thing I really dug here was the grungy beard and mustache look. We all know by the ads he’s a bit more clean cut than the Green Arrow from the comics, but this was a spot on nod to his comic counterpart. While on the island Oliver has trained himself to be a weapon he will use to fight the corruption that has overtaken his home city of Starling City. Once home Oliver embarks on his mission causing havoc for a local corrupt businessman all the while catching up with his friends and family.
The plot plays pretty straight forward, though there was a nice twist end. Along the way we get introduced to the cast of characters in Oliver’s life. A douche best friend named Tommy who was hooking up with Oliver’s ex, Laurel. His mom who is now married to what was his dad’s right hand man in Queen Consolidated, the source of the Queen’s vast fortune. His druggy sister who has the nickname of Speedy, the same code name used by Green Arrow’s sidekick in the comics who also had a nasty heroin habit. As well as a detective who is on the case trying to solve the mystery of the Hooded vigilante running through Starling City, who also happens to be Laurel’s dad. Laurel and her dad have a bone to pick with Oliver because on his fateful yachting adventure that led to his shipwreck was Sarah, Laurel’s sister who Oliver was secretly hooking up with. She died when the storm turned the Queen’s yacht over.
First and foremost, this is an action show(thank the heavens!). And some great action we get. Arrows and bullets are flying, we get some awesome fight scenes as well as Arrow jumping out of windows. The fight scenes here were top notch and some of the best I’ve seen on a TV show. My one complaint about the action is the use of parkour. Though I can’t really complain about it since its some of the best use of parkour I’ve seen since District B13, but it seems like every action show and movie has to have a character who uses parkour. But like I said, it was done really really well so I won’t actually complain about it, it’s more like an issue.
We also get clued in to Oliver’s motivations through the use of flashbacks of Oliver and his dad surviving the yacht sinking. His dad tells him that he’s actually not a good guy and wants Oliver to survive so he can go home and clean up their city. His dad goes out in one of the most shocking scenes in the show. There was also a really great scene with Oliver being jolted out of his sleep by his mom which leads to him unknowingly attacking her in a half asleep state. What I really liked though was that he was sleeping on the floor by an open window during a storm. He’s covered in rain. This shows us how his experiences on the island have left Oliver with some Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and sleeping that way was more natural and comforting to him than being in his warm, cozy luxurious bed. During the show Oliver is kidnapped, which doesn’t end well for his abductors. The twist at the end came in who was behind his abduction.
Overall this was a pretty strong debut. I will definitely be tuning in next week. A friend of mine stated he hopes it stays as strong 6-7 episodes in. With characters like Deadshot and Deathstroke still to be introduced I’m hoping for the same thing. However there were a few moments of cheese. Laurel decides to get over the death of her sister and give Oliver a chance, he then delivers the cliché Bruce Wayne-esque ‘I can’t get close to a woman because I will only hurt you’ speech, but I can forgive that as long as the cheese continues to be balanced out with a 90/10 good stuff to corny stuff ratio. My other problem was his costume. A hood that blocks 180 degrees of his visibility and face paint over his eyes instead of a mask. Really? That being said though this pilot delivers a good show and warrants a…
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
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Live in the US? Watch the pilot episode here for free online