Author Topic: [TV Series] Arrow (SPOILERS S1-S4)  (Read 858 times)


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[TV Series] Arrow (SPOILERS S1-S4)
« on: October 13, 2016, 10:08:46 AM »
I've watched superhero TV shows in the past. They've always been pretty campy for the most part. Although Smallville was a decent show, it still delved probably way too far into soap opera-like drama for my tastes. That lingering taste in my mouth of superhero TV shows caused me to avoid the likes of Arrow and The Flash... but, my wife and I eventually gave Arrow a shot (and subsequently, The Flash).

Season 1
There are definitely elements of superhero "camp" that you'd expect, but for the most part, Arrow was a fairly gritty (relatively, at least) affair that often subverts your expectations. What made Season 1 excellent, in my mind, is that Oliver Queen is NOT a squeaky clean hero. He's actually kind of a piece of shit, and even though his motivation for being a "hero" is to right the wrongs of his (and his father's) past, many of his actions are based on his own selfishness. And although he is a skilled fighter, his inexperience does show at times, leading him into traps and foolish mistakes. He's impatient, he's violent, and seems at his most effective when giving in to pure rage. This is a superhero that not only isn't afraid to straight up murder people, but legitimately begins his superhero career as an assassin, hunting down the scum of Starling City and eradicating them from the Earth.

It's fucking awesome.

Of course, his ethics are called into question many times, so he's not just given a free pass to do what he does. Although he's the title character and for all intents an purposes, a "hero", much of the season actually criticizes his behavior and paints him more as a "necessary evil", which a big question mark behind the "necessary".

That's pretty intriguing.

The show does reek of Batman influences, it's undeniable. But, if there's never going to be a good Batman TV show (that isn't animated or from the 60's), might as well try to capture some of that feeling with another pretty bad ass rich dude superhero character.

The fight choreography is pretty great, too.

Season 2
While Season 1 felt like a fairly self-contained origin story, maybe alluding to the bigger superhero universe at atimes, S2 Jumps headfirst deep into comic book territory, introducing other Superheroes like Barry Allen/The Flash, Super Villains like Deathstroke and Villainous Organizations like The League of Assassins (or Shadows, depending on your cannon).

Although S2 is widely praised as the best season of Arrow, I felt that it became TOO campy for its own good, and it ratcheted up the soap opera drama by quite a bit. That's not to say it was a bad season; it was actually very good, very entertaining television. I just may be one of the few people that preferred the fairly simplified story line from Season 1, where everything seemed self-contained and not designed to set up the bigger universe.

S2 also really made me start questioning why, in every single TV action/drama, does everybody have to be related? It's just a cop-out to cement emotional attachment between characters, as if you can't feel someone is in true peril unless they're blood relatives or something. Anyway.

Season 2 is pretty good, and that's about where you should stop watching, because...

Season 3
...S3 goes downhill. Fast. It starts off alright, but if you thought S2 introduced too many plot lines, hold on to your ass because S3 is going to make your head spin. Worse is how they try to tie everything together, but still keep you guessing, leading to frustration because too many questions are asked and too few are answered. And when one question IS answered, the answer ends up just being an even bigger question.

Too many characters with too many side stories, forced love interests, forced drama, "even YOU can be a super hero", characters making bone headed decisions solely to advance the plot, plot holes you could drive the Titanic through, etc. Just not good writing. There is entertainment to be had, and some of the fight choreography is pretty good, but for the most part, S3 is just not that great.

If you decided to stick around and watch S3 despite my warning, then please heed THIS warning: Do not watch S4...

Season 4
...because S4 is a pile of garbage. Magic, yes, magic gets introduced. The villain is good. He's a really evil looking guy, intelligent, always a step ahead, seemingly unstoppable, but always stops just short of destroying those who pose a challenge to him for some reason. And he has a good sense of sarcastic humor that actually kinda makes me like him despite his evil ways...

...but the Oliver/Felicity romance feels incredibly fake, the flash back sequences are not entertaining or interesting, the element of magic completely ruins the show for me, and lessons learned by the characters over the past 3 seasons seem to be completely forgotten about.

It's frustrating to watch a great show descend into ridiculous bullshit, but alas, it is what has happened to Arrow.

Hopefully S5 will recover a bit.