ARROW Premiere Review

Last Wednesday was the beginning of what The CW Television Network hopes to be a step into the moneymaking arena of comic book adaptions. Marvel has turned The Avengers into a billion-dollar franchise; perhaps DC Comics is looking to do the same with The Arrow. With various productions these days eventually culminating in a blockbuster hit, one can only assume that this new series is just the first step.

The Arrow is based on a long-time DC comic book character called The Green Arrow. He’s a lesser-known figure in the DC universe (unless you’re a comic book fan), which makes the decision to use him an interesting choice.

The story starts out with a cheesy voice-over by the main character, Oilver Queen. Oliver is played by Stephen Amell, a relatively unknown actor who’s been very active since his screen debut in 2004. Oliver’s narrative races through the events that led to his unfortunate, five-year stint as a castaway on a mysterious island. After being rescued, he begins re-acclimating to the billionaire-playboy-world he left behind.

The Green Arrow has naturally developed a burning hatred for a whole list of people, who must die. Thus begins his mission to right the wrongs of his father.

In the modern movie business, Hollywood is always locked in a struggle with storytellers. Executives pressure writers and directors to jump into the action, because in today’s market you have very little time to nab the attention of your viewers. Writers, on the other hand, prefer to set the tone with strong backstory, and paint an artful backdrop to their tale. Occasionally, these conflicting interests conspire to generate complete failure in episodic television. This is one of those times.

The origin story of the hero is implausible, given the realism they are trying to weave into the spirit of the show. At least when the Fantastic Four are bombarded by cosmic rays, the idea is so fantastical that you can easily suspend your disbelief. But when the writers say a rich boy’s big, expensive yacht gets lost in a storm and sinks, forcing the hero to become more than a man despite having led the silver-spoon life until this point — I don’t buy it. I also don’t believe that after five years of being a wildman, he’s able to transition back to life among humans almost overnight. Five years is enough time to lose much of one’s humanity, but Oliver Queen only seems to need a hot shower and a shave to become a billionaire playboy again!

Oliver’s alter-ego has yet to be given a name, which raises the question: will they ever actually call him “The Green Arrow”?

The acting is mediocre and the script is soft, but the show succeeds in one area: creating mystery about Oliver’s family and circumstances, his bow, the island, and many other facets. The first episode has left us asking many questions. Their only hope is to answer those questions and keep asking more, because they have little else to rely on in the way of quality.

2 out of 5 stars (so far)

Editor: Jeff Boehm.