The 67th Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced tomorrow morning at some ungodly hour and of course we'll see The Good Wife, Modern Family, House of Cards, Kevin Spacey, Julianna Margulies and Louis C.K and all the other usual suspects on the list of nominees. But something is missing......
Arrow (CW), specifically Stephen Amell.
Yes, Stephen Amell is hot, I'm not blind. It’s just not the reason why I love Arrow or the reason why I think he deserves some Academy love.
Simply put Arrow is about a Superhero who wants to save his city, but mostly it’s about atonement. Oliver Queen was a horrible person. Not murderer horrible, but entitled spoiled brat horrible. He’s privileged and he has everything he could want without having to work for it. You know - a typical playboy. Then in a typical superhero fashion he tragically losses it all and change is forced upon him.
He returns to a world that thought he was dead a world that has moved on with the lasting impression of a billionaire party boy tragically lost at sea with his father. It's a world that he now sees with new more aware eyes. Almost gone is the playboy who only cared about himself, the rich kid who had his daddy to clean up all his messes. I say almost because the writers or maybe Stephen Amell do something great here, they don’t take away the old Oliver Queen completely. He’s still very much there; it’s just channeled into other areas and we see it come out in different situations. His character doesn’t just arrive back in town and after three episodes he’s either back to his old party ways or has completely turned a new leaf. That's not how life works, It’s a process, a process that only a great actor can show with authenticity. We see the journey; we see the struggle and the lapses.
Flashbacks are tricky they can either take away from the story or they can enhance it. In the case of Arrow it only enhance's it. We see this great handsome rich bro break. Through flashbacks we see Oliver Queen striped away, piece by piece inch by inch. Because of these flashbacks and Amell’s great acting we see Oliver realize that he's not as great as he thought he was, he sees that he's in fact, weak. You watch him fight to survive, you watch him grieve, you watch him realize that’s he’s not just this party boy and that he’s capable of more, and you see him come to terms with his new unpredictable situation. The audience is given a glimpse of how the new Oliver Queen was made and the damage it’s also done. Not just the physical damage but the emotional damage. At this point some showrunners and networks might have suggested they just hint at his path to atonement and get to the action and romance. I’m sure it would have been cheaper on production and easier for Amell to just play one character, thankfully Arrow does the opposite.
Amell essentially plays three different characters. Old spoiled Oliver, searching for his purpose and atonement Oliver, and The Green Arrow. None of these portrayals are lagging, all of them equally thoughtful and engaging. Amell plunges head first into this role and leaves no stone un-turned. If you look at some of your favorite characters on TV, you might see how different the character is in the first season or maybe the first episode, compared to how they are now or toward the end of the series. That’s not good. Somewhere along the way the actor decided to do a 180, maybe the studio/network gave notes and suggested they take a different approach, who knows. In Arrow's case, what you see in the first episode is what you get. That’s not to say the character(s) don’t evolve, they totally do but their essence their dare I say it, their soul stays the same. I know they’re not real, so they have no soul, but the core of who that character is stays the same no matter what is thrown at them. That’s good writing, that’s good acting.
I can’t say enough good things about this show and the actors. Even though it’s about a super rich, handsome Superhero it’s actually relatable to most. In the sense that it’s about the human condition. The struggles, the setbacks, the good the bad it’s all in there. We see these characters constant struggle with right and wrong. It’s not being glossed over or dealt with in one very special episode. We the audience are taken on the journey.
Its mind boggling to me that this show, specifically Stephen Amell isn’t given more recognition for his work. I could take this moment to talk badly about the actors who are always getting nominated for the more prestigious awards, but I won’t. I could NEVER in a million years do what actors do, and I respect the craft. That said, come on Hollywood! Give this man a Golden Globe, SAG, and Emmy nomination!!! He’s one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood and he’s actually good at what he does. While am I at it, can the show in general get some love too. The writers, grips, MAU, sound department, editors, hell even the PA’s, everyone deserves some recognition.
There is a chance he or the show will get nominated tomorrow, sadly those chances are slim. Still we should support the show and its team both behind and in front of the camera. What they do is not easy. I’ve been there and it’s frustrating when you don’t get the recognition from your peers or your community that you know you deserve. At the same time it’s so much more rewarding and heartwarming when you see fans so invested and dedicated to your work you almost forget about all the snubs. Almost…
For those who aren’t familiar with Arrow, I suggest you acquaint yourself with it before season 4 hits in the fall. Seasons one and two are available to stream on Netflix. Season 3 on Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant and Google Play.
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