Daniel Kendi ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
DC Comics characters have had a long history on television. From Adam West’s Batman in the 1960’s to 2001’s Smallville, superheroes have been prominent on the small screen. The newest DC Comic hero to make his way to television is Green Arrow, in the CW’s new series Arrow. Arrow does a fantastic job of bringing a comic book character to a new audience and a new generation.
Arrow follows the story of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), a billionaire who winds up stranded on an island for five years after a shipwreck. The show opens with Oliver running across the island to alert a ship of his presence. This short segment highlights Oliver’s newfound skills of parkour and archery, while also giving viewers a nice hint at a villain for the series and gives Green Arrow fans a look at the character’s “classic” costume. The opening on the island is one of the visual highlights of the episode and a great introduction to the character. As viewers get to see Oliver in this vulnerable state before he was brought back to the “real” world.
The episode continues on to show Oliver arriving back home in Starling City and settling back into his life again. Here we are introduced to a few of his past relationships. After Oliver’s father’s death on the island his mother, Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson), has remarried, creating conflict between mother and son. We are also introduced to Oliver’s sister Thea (Willa Holland). Through her we learn what Oliver was like in the past and how much he has changed now. It’s interesting to see that his sister has become exactly what he used to be. Also the comic book reference of him calling her “Speedy” is very welcome. Next we are introduced to Oliver’s best friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) and his ex-girlfriend Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy). Merlyn is a nice supporting figure for Oliver, and it will be interesting to see how much he differs from his comic book counterpart. Laurel is one of the defining characters of Oliver’s personality and many of his decisions are inspired by her. While we do not know too much about their past, we learn some interesting things about his relationship with her family, especially her sister. Of all of the characters introduced, Oliver actually has the best relationship with his maid. The two of them get along very well and she is very much a mother figure to him.
While Oliver is getting used to his life again, he is also planning his new one. He creates the vigilante “Arrow” and uses this persona to take down the corrupt in his city. These moments are filled with fantastic action and character development. These segments also give viewers a look at the villains of the show, and the reasons why Oliver is hunting them. After watching the episode we are still not sure exactly why Oliver’s experience on the island inspired this new life. However, flashback sequences of the show foreshadow this information being revealed in the future. By the end of the episode, we are given a few interesting twists and left with enough to be intrigued to keep watching.
While I very much enjoyed this episode, there were a couple things that bothered me. While the acting in the show is good keep in mind that this is a CW show, and the romantic tension can be awkward at times. I also was annoyed by some changes from the comics. There was really no need to change the name of the city from “Star” to “Starling,” but that is really a minor thing. The same thing is evident for Laurel. In the comics she is known by her first name “Dinah”, not her middle name “Laurel.” There was really no reason to change this. If anything it separates the new fans from the comic book ones, which is a bad thing.
Arrow is a good start to a hopefully long run of Green Arrow on television. While I did have a few minor complaints with the show, the pilot left me satisfied and waiting for more. Fans of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy check out Arrow if you want more dark DC Comic action.
Arrow airs Wednesdays 8/7c on The CW.