By Troi Watts
DC Comics and Marvel Studios have been battling it out in an effort to dominate movie and TV screens. While Marvel has been working through a complex storyline in its movies, DC Comics has given more attention to certain superheroes in their various TV shows. You may have noticed that a certain DC show called Arrow has been the star of the DC Comics television line-up since 2012 and may be wondering: is it really worth the hype? I’d say, it depends…
Arrow, featured on the CW Network, focuses on the storyline of Oliver Queen, a.k.a. the Green Arrow. Billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was presumed dead after the family yacht was destroyed during a voyage to China. However, Oliver is found on an isolated island five years after the accident, alive and well. He’s not the same party-hard, forget-the-consequences Oliver Queen that disappeared, though; now he’s a man on a mission to save his hometown, Starling City, from the corruption of local criminals. Using a special set of skills he learned on the island, Oliver becomes Starling City’s first vigilante: the Arrow. But one particular question looms over his friends and family: what happened to Oliver on the island?
With a suspenseful, exciting plot like that, it seems like Arrow could do no wrong. Unfortunately, it seems like the writers hit a roadblock when deciding how to incorporate Oliver’s past and present storylines into a clear show. The show splices key events from Oliver’s time on the island with events happening in the present day. As the show progresses, the past events become key to finding out the motives and plans of Oliver’s enemies. Basically, current events on the show become a sort of déjà vu with Oliver’s past (with the exception of the first season, which was pretty original). This makes the show highly predictable, which is an even bigger problem because superhero shows are already predictable.
Despite repetitive plots, the show’s star, Stephen Amell, makes a convincing Oliver Queen. Amell seems to have a good understanding of Oliver’s inner struggle and difficulty coping with his return home. Amell’s body language, line delivery, look, and overall decent acting make up for some of the plot problems in Arrow. His supporting cast of Emily Bett Rickards and David Ramsey also add to the show’s great choice in casting. Both are strong, well-developed characters portrayed by very capable actors.
One character can bring down an entire show, though; Laurel Lance, who is played by Katie Cassidy, is the weakest character I’ve seen in all of Arrow’s five seasons. Katie Cassidy seems to do the best she can with what she’s given, so I blame the show’s writers. Laurel is whiny, weak, and rash (not like superhero-rash, but like annoying character who wants to do things her way-rash). It all adds up to me wanting to skip every scene she’s in, which is hard because she’s in a lot of them.
Fun fact: Arrow crosses over with almost all of the other DC shows (The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow). This can make for fun, more in-depth storylines, but can also be frustrating if you only want to watch one of these shows. During crossovers, certain details will be changed in every show participating, meaning viewers may feel left out of the loop and might not understand what’s happening in an episode after a crossover event.
Overall, Arrow is like any other superhero show. It has predictable moments and slight complications due to crossover episodes, but can also be really entertaining. Good acting and strong characters can make or break a show, and Arrow is working out thanks to its cast. All I can say is this: Arrow is one of those shows that you just have to try out for yourself.