Good day to you ladies and gentlemen, time for another TV review and today I’ll be giving my thoughts on the first season of Arrow. Now I’ve known about this show for AGES, but have not had the time to watch it because of my other TV commitments, but now that the show’s at a very high point of popularity and looks to be expanding with the third season later on this year, I thought I might as well jump in and see what the fuss what about.
The story can described as the following:
“After being marooned for five years on a remote island, billionaire Oliver Queen returns home with a mysterious agenda and a lethal set of new skills that he uses in a war on crime in this hard-hitting action series. After suffering unimaginable ordeals on the island, the Oliver returns to Starling City a new man — determined to right the wrongs of his father and sworn to bring justice to those who’ve corrupted his city. But Oliver finds his crusade complicated by his friends and family who are all affected by his return.”
While this show is about Oliver Queen’s quest for justice, at the same time really about lies and deceit. Deception is one the main themes that you take away from it, no one is clean-cut, someone always has a secret or is telling lies in some shape or form. This makes it hard to trust anyone’s judgment as someone you like could be someone else in disguise, and that applies to not only each of the characters in the show but for you as a viewer, your opinion on certain people begin to shift as the series progresses and more and more of the story and mystery is revealed. One of the main things I like about the show is that not one episode is the same, there is always something new to learn and when you think that one subject matter has come to a close in one episode, later on in the season it comes back in an unexpected way.
As for the cast they are all pretty good and there’s not really anyone that does a bad job.
Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/The Hood is great, Queen embodies everything that is great about modern superheroes, he’s cool, knows how to fight, is athletic and has a backstory and character traits that make him engaging. I like how Queen is very similar to Batman in the sense that he’s a man who operates on his own rules, is not trusted entirely by his own city and police force and believes he’s doing the right thing but can never always be in the right. Amell is cool, really aggressive and emotional and I love how much he puts into the character physically and mentally. Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance is lovely, she is the first of many gorgeous women in this show. Laurel is a very complicated character, she has a hard history to deal with when it comes to her family and with the reappearance of Oliver in her life things don’t get better as her hatred for him is high. However as the series progresses she changes a lot as she starts get into some of these dangerous situations, starts to reconnect with Oliver and gets closer to her father.
Colin Donnell is nice as Tommy Merlyn, he’s fun, lively, care-free, but also serious and very caring about the people he cares about. Oliver’s best friend and they have a lot of history together along with Laurel and this makes for an awkward yet hard to ignore love triangle. I do like this guy for the most part, but at times he’s very whiny and insecure. Willa Holland is another lovely lady who is good as Thea Queen. Thea is Oliver’s sister and she has a lot of layers and like Laurel is complicated. Thea loves her family, but finds it hard to connect with Oliver after he returns, hasn’t gotten over the loss of her father and can’t stand secrets being kept from her, all these things have led to a life of drinking, drugs and other things that have messed her up emotionally. Thea is cool, but because of her up and down emotions it is hard to like her for a consistent period of time. Susanna Thompson is good and interesting as Moira Queen. This is the mother of Oliver and Thea and she seems nice at first glance, but as the season continues you see there is some hidden depths to her character and she isn’t the nice, clean-cut person that she started out as.
David Ramsey is awesome as John Diggle, he is Oliver’s right-hand man who helps out with his quest for justice. Diggle is hardcore, funny, he can fight, has a great backstory and is the voice of reason at times.He’s the best kind of bodyguard and friend that one could ever have. Emily Bett Rickards is wonderful as Felicity Smoak. Felicity is this super strange, quirky and funny who is very good is very good with computers and helps Oliver and Diggle out on their missions. Paul Blackthorne is pretty good as Quentin Lance, at first he comes across as any other kind of hard-ass cop who believes in the law and hates rule-breakers like The Hood, in addition to that he’s te father of Laurel and had a hard time dealing with her death and blames Oliver for it. At first he’s just a unlikable asshole, but then he eventually becomes tolerable and kind of cool too. John Barrowman is really cool as Malcolm Merlyn, he’s the father of Tommy and like Moira he has a pretty dense and questionable history and the way Malcolm’s presence develops over the course of the season is nothing short of intriguing and badass. Manu Bennett is coolest guy ever as Slade Wilson. As soon as I heard this man’s name I knew I was in for something cool and the show doesn’t disappoint as he is every bit as cool, badass and interesting as I would have hoped even though they’d changed a few things about his comic book characteristics.
Colin Salmon as Walter Steele is pretty good too, at first it he is a bit hard to attach to because he is a person not part of the Queen family (by blood), however when you get to know him, learn his backstory and see what he gets up to, you learn that Walter is pretty important. Colton Haynes as Roy Harper is pretty interesting, this is another person who I know of from the comics and was instantly curious about how the show would interpret the character. Harper is born in a rough neighbourhood, he is a survivor and while he has good intentions, he can’t stay away from crime. Jessica De Gouw as Helena Bertinelli is really pretty and is also pretty badass too, I did not expect her character to be so interesting and engaging but I loved her contribution to this show. Celina Jade is another beautiful lady of the show who plays Shado, another woman who is a very skilled fighter and is also pretty smart too. Kelly Hu is both hot and deadly as China White and I loved her appearances in this show and lastly seeing Chin Han as Frank Chen was cool too.
The presentation of the show should also get a mention as it is very good for TV standards, luckily since Arrow doesn’t doesn’t require a large amount of special effects because it doesn’t deal with anything too heavily related to sci-fi, fantasy or other-worldly type of things. But when CGI is involved its pretty good for the most part and looks a lot better than some other shows that use it. What Arrow really excels in is the great cinematography used for its action scenes and sequences, using dynamic camera shots and having very good and atmospheric lighting and colours. Also the fight choreography needs to be mentioned too as it is very tight and gorgeous to look at and as a fan of hand-to-hand combat this was some good stuff for me, though at times the speed of the fights seemed a bit slow and some of the fights seemed a bit too choreographed and not very natural, but hey those are only minor nitpicks at best.
In conclusion the first season of Arrow is a very good show that approaches its superhero roots in a very different way, it approaches things in a very realistic manner, but also doesn’t shy away from elements that make a good superhero story worth telling. While I feel some episodes were a bit dull and the season could have been shortened a bit, there is a great number of stories to be told, wonderful acting from the cast involved and lovely amounts of action to keep you invest throughout.