When I heard the CW was doing a Green Arrow series, but that it would not be a Smallville spinoff with Justin Hartley, I wasn’t sure what I thought about it. Smallville itself was pretty, uh, uneven the last couple seasons, but I liked Hartleys take on Green Arrow. I let the first three isodes of Arrow accumulate in the PVR, then watched them all last night. I will definitely be tuning in to the rest of the season.
The series is much darker and far more adult than Smallville was. It kind of reminds me of the difference in tone between Angel and Buffy, although, that may not be entirely fair, as Angel was true spinoff, and Arrow is an entirely new take on the Green Arrow character.
I don’t know how much of the character has been changed from the comic book, I was always more of a Marvel fan and have only been reading DC since their New 52 reboot. This Oliver Queens personality seem fairly different from the one on paper, but I actually prefer this one.
So the premise is this. Oliver Queen is kinda like a male Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. He’s on a yacht with his Dad, a bunch of servants and crew, plus his girlfriends sister (bad Oliver!). They hit bad weather, the yacht sinks, the only people to make it to a life raft are Oliver, his Dad and a guy with no lines who may or may not have been wearing a red shirt. As they are starving and dehydrating, Queen senior confess to his son that he isn’t the man he’s been pretending to be. His father and a bunch of other high profile people were bad people and did bad things (kind of reminds me of the Court of Owls storyline that recently ran in Batman) and he wants Oliver to survive, and try to right the wrongs he’s done. Mr. Queen then shoots the expendable crew member and himself. Five years later, Oliver makes it off the island with a little black book, containing the names of people he want’s to meet when he gets home, and some mad parcour skills.
So far I like this show for several reasons. First the writing is pretty tight. The dialog, characters and plots all work well. Second, the action is great, well choreographed and highly believeable. Best of all, they are doing mystery better than any show I’ve seen in a long time. We don’t know what happened to Oliver on that island, there are a LOT of secrets to uncover and unlike Fringe, Lost, Alias (notice a pattern here?) or the X-Files, I believe the people behind this show really have a grip on the backstory and that it will make sense. I could be wrong, but this is the feeling I get when watching Arrow.