Review: Arrow - Season 1 / Cert: 15 / Director: Various / Screenplay: Various / Starring: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, John Barrowman, Colin Donnell / Release Date: September 23rd
After Smallville’s 10-season run came to an end, The CW looked at several options to replace it. Wonder Woman and Aquaman shows didn’t make it past the pilot stage, so it was left to Arrow to step up to the plate. Based on DC’s Green Arrow, aka Oliver Queen, Arrow looks to pay homage to the comic book history of the character whilst managing to create an identity of its own.
With the use of flashbacks, we are quickly brought up to speed with the story of Oliver Queen (Amell). As we join the series, we see Oliver returning to Starling City after being presumed dead for five years. Having been shipwrecked on an isolated island, the pompous, arrogant playboy that is Oliver Queen soon has to learn to survive against the elements, the island and a few choice inhabitants. Bringing things forward to the present day, the returning Oliver is a lot different to the one that most remember. Whilst still having to live up to the façade of the playboy lifestyle on the surface, deep down Oliver is a new man. On a mission to clean up all that is wrong with the city, Oliver becomes the bow-and-arrow-wielding vigilante that comes to be known as ‘The Hood.’
Armed with a list of wrongdoers, Oliver starts to attract the attention of both Starling City’s criminals and its police force. Along the way, Oliver makes various acquaintances, getting assistance from certain characters, and what happened to Oliver during his time on the island is slowly revealed; how the happy-go-lucky naive billionaire became the dark, brooding hooded vigilante who would be sure to win a few Bully tankards and a caravan on Bullseye. As Oliver’s path is revealed, so are secrets about his past. Family troubles, broken relationships and friendships, daddy issues, and internal conflict are just some of the problems that Oliver has to deal with.
Stephen Amell is great in the role of Oliver Queen, perfectly capturing the tone, attitude and emotions of the character during his journey towards hero status. The show feels raw, slick and organic, with all key players putting in impressive turns, including John Barrowman hamming it up as big bad, Malcolm Merlyn. Often labelled as Batman-lite, Green Arrow is given a very promising adaptation for the TV audience, with it being more than just an adequate replacement for Smallville. Arrow is very much its own creature, pulling enough from the comic book world to appease fans of the Emerald Archer, yet delivering enough quality to attract a new audience through a new medium. A nice collection of extras adds to the overall package, making this a timely refresher ahead of the October premiere of Season 2 of the show.
Extras: Three Featurettes / Deleted Scenes / Gag Reel