Arrow is a TV series about the DC Superhero commonly known as Green Arrow. Oliver Queen is a young billionaire who likes to tie up young women…. Oh, wait, wrong story about a young billionaire. Actually, you could probably sell a 50 Shades of Green by mashing this vigilante superhero character with a light to medium BDSM setting – what am I thinking? There is no probability that this has not already happened in the juvenile cesspool that is fan fiction. Nevermind, back to my review.
Oliver Queen is a young billionaire by day and a buff, bow wielding vigilante by night. He spent 5 years marooned on a mysterious island after his father’s yacht was sabotaged and sunk. There, he learned a bewildering array of skills related to his survival. When he finally is rescued he comes back with a list of people his father told him were bad. His goal is to make these people right the wrongs they have perpetrated on Star City.
I liked the set up of a vigilante living a double life and trying to re-integrate into the modern world. A bit like Zorro meets Batman while being a fish out of water. I liked to see how the people who have all thought he was dead for the last 5 years come to accept the fact that he is alive, and come to adjust to having him around. There was the nice angle of this being about his redeeming his father’s legacy while at the same time redeeming himself from the person he used to be. The combination of this dual character arc and the interweaving stories really made me want to watch Arrow.
Also, I was interested in the superhero story. I like superheroes, even more so ones that have to deal with real world problems and situations like parents, friends, business, how to keep your secret hideout a secret…in addition to all this, the set up promised to see this from the ground floor. We get to see Arrow start out and make his inevitable mistakes as he learns what it takes to be a billionaire vigilante.
There was all this promise for this series. Then there was the reality.
First reality – there are no characters, only walking props. The characters don’t speak, they deliver lines. They don’t have any independent or lasting motivations other than to make whatever implausible plot point that needs to happen, happen. Arrow’s first sidekick/helper does nothing for three or four episodes other than show up in the secret hideout to act as an emotional or rational foil to Arrow’s on again off again brooding. He just shows up, in a suit, and slips right into the inner monolog to spout off inanities.
Second Reality – If you don’t have real characters, why have real dialog. Nobody talks to each other. They say things that they say, but they bear very little relation to what the other person said, or to what is going on around them. The sister character, Thea, thinks her mother is fooling around and she brings it up constantly for several episodes whether anyone if talking about mom, the stepfather, relationships, the morality of vigilante justice, global warming, or how did a trust fund poof survive for five years in the wilderness.
Third Reality – Without characters, or dialog, relationships that look remotely like the interpersonal or intimate interactions between higher primates are impossible. It’s like if you had to image how a society of lizards would relate to each other, then you just added random dialog and let people deliver the dialog then you would have the relationships in this series.
There are other things that are irritating, but compared to the bad really don’t qualify at bad. First, this series often looks like a bunch of kids playing dress up. Yes, billionaire would likely have more opportunities for fancy dress, but the women are putting on the ritz ever other episode. I would worry about a shiny fabric shortage, but the dresses are so short and the women so thin that isn’t likely a problem. Sitting down or getting out of a car without exposing yourself would be an issue though.
Secondly, Oliver Queen and his skills are implausible even by comic book standards. A pampered, spoiled rich boy spend 5 years on an island and manages to become an expert in Archery, MMA-style fighting, emergency medical treatment, Russian, Chinese, underworld criminal activity, and parkour. The problem is that you are never worried that he won’t succeed because his abilities are so wide ranging that he will always have a way to get out of it.
Initially, I was intrigued by the early set up. A changed person comes back and his to re-integrate into his old environment all while he has a very different purpose in life from the one he has before. That early promise has never been fulfilled. Quite the opposite. That early promise has been splattered with no dimension characters delivering moronic dialog in completely unbelievable situations. I’ve given this series 17 episodes to start showing some level of competence. It hasn’t and it’s showing no signs of doing so. Sorry Arrow, this one sided relationship is over.