Let me start off by saying this: the live-action exploits of Super Heroes on television have a long way to go. DC Comics and Marvel Comics have both had successful adaptations of their heroes in animated form that have appealed to younger and older generations alike. (DC’s current show Young Justice among them.) Part of the success and versatility of the animated format is a practically unlimited budget for action and sci-fi creatures, instead of bad CGI and monsters in cheap rubber suits that live-action often has. Arrow is very much a spiritual sequel to Smallville, with The CW seemingly shooting for the demographic of teens and young adults who love mysterious pretty boys and vampires. They know the fanboys will show up either way just to complain, it’s what we do. Whatever their strategy was, it worked. Wednesday night’s pilot gave CW the highest ratings they’ve seen in three years with 4 million viewers. I’m all for wider audiences taking interest in lesser known heroes, so overall Arrow’s premiere performance is a good thing; but man was that pilot mediocre as hell.
Stephen Amell plays Oliver Queen, who survived a shipwreck and has been stuck on a deserted island for five years with apparently nothing to do but sit-ups and shoot arrows. He is rescued and returns home to Star City errr, Starling City (forehead slap), where he has been presumed dead along with his father and side squeeze/girlfriend’s sister. Oliver’s mother has remarried and they live in Queen (Luthor) Mansion with his younger sister Thea. Much of the pilot is dedicated to Ollie’s family and friends getting concerned with the island man no longer being much of a bro and just want him to get up off of their junk. Oliver spends his free time doing cool steel mill workout routines, preparing to go all Robin Hood on the collective asses of the city’s wealthy and corrupt (Fat Cats, if you will.) When Oliver dons his hood and bow and becomes (Green) Arrow, the dude has some crazy jungle man skills, I must admit. And don’t you worry, he doesn’t just wear a hood to protect his identity, his got a face paint mask (because spirit gum masks chafe yo!) Also, for you fans of romance out there, we have Oliver’s romantic foil in the form of Dinah, I mean Laurell (forehead slap) Lance, played by Kate Cassidy (from Emmy nominated shows like Gossip Girl and 7th Heaven.)
Ok, I’ll try to ease up on our poor Emerald Archer a bit. I will say that Amell portrays a man on mission very well, but where’s the levity? Green Arrow isn’t supposed to be so serious all the time. Based on the pilot, this series will be a very loose interpretation of the character, barring a few name drops and an Easter egg that rhymes with Methstroke the Terminator. (Aside: Methstroke the Terminator would be an excellent direction for Breaking Bad’s final half of season 5, does anyone have Vince Gilligan’s number? This idea is ratings gold I tell you. – End of Aside.) The ratings for the premiere were outstanding for The CW, but I won’t be surprised at a steady decline in the following weeks. I might stick around for a while, but if Smallville is any indication, we might be seeing Oliver Queen’s quiver until 2023…but I kind of doubt it.
Final Grade: ★★ 2/5 Stars