Arrow: Season 1 Review

channel: CW

creators: Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim & Andrew Kreisberg

starring: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy and Colin Donnell

genre: Action | Adventure | Comics

number of episodes: 23

first aired: October 10, 2012

It was about time somebody got closest to perfecting the formula. Finally we've reached the point that comic book shows don't have to be campy, that they don't have to follow TV procedural formulas of past and can accomplish the very notable feat of being faithful enough to its source material and at the same time actually enhance it further. This show isn't like "Smallville" and might not be as visceral as the "Dark Knight" trilogy. Yet it's the closest thing will get for now to superhero heaven on television.


Starling City is ruled by crooks of old compromised of mobsters & drug dealers and of new whom are the business tycoons. Ollie Queen (Stephen Amell) is born in to the world of the latter. In a world where corporations and their heads rule the city and make themselves believe that they are the do gooders. Ollie's father is one of those people and his sins will carry on to his family after his death in a boating accident off the Pacific Ocean. With him was his son Ollie. Who survived the accident, but was left stranded on a desert island.

After 5 years he is found and returned to his city changed forever from the playboy billionaire to a man with a mission. Having lived through atrocities and mayhem on the island. He will use those experiences and direct them to the people that left him stranded on that island and who have failed his city. He will become the vigilante known as Green Arrow and won't be intimidated by the elites power or cruel ways.

However while Ollie might be directing his vengeance on the guilty of the city. He will have some atoning to do himself. With his ex-girlfriend sister also dying on the boat accident and his friend and family haven't seeing him for years. All of which won't be as well the same people that he had left behind. 


Having already seen where comic book shows of that past have ended up, I wasn't particularly interested in giving "Arrow" a chance. Though insistence on the count of friend made me give the show a real chance and actually make me become a dedicated follower. As the show is highly entertaining, seldomy boring, never cheesy, very well budgeted, acted, produced and blood is shown, guns & knives are used and people die on camera. These are all grave changes to what comic book "hero" show could do and should have been able to do for years. 

Moving on we have to mention the "Arrow" himself Stephen Amell. The casting of the unknown Amell was perfect. The man can carry his action, drama and romance. He is such a good actor that in my opinion that if they ever did a "JLA" film and it has the "Green Arrow" in it. They would have to necessarily cast him in the role. Otherwise it be a darn shame.

With Amell, the rest of the cast are really a step up from other TV entertainment productions. They are not all well known, but they are equally capable and aren't out to steal the spotlight, but act as a group and make the show feel connected and genuine. Their is good chemistry and that is something many shows have difficulty of accomplishing, especially with their romances, subplots and minor characters.

Though the real characteristic of the show, that makes it never be boring, always providing variety and mystery. Is how each episode features half of the time the present day Green Arrow actions and vigilante activities and also what really happened to him on the island for 5 years the other half of the time. This creates in each episode a duality of action, suspense and curiosity. Each part being compromised of a wonderful plethora of characters, with double the story arcs, twists, action, locals and sentiment. So by the end of each episode nothing ever feels to have dragged too far or be too similar to the last episode, fight or villain. This can be especially be said for the last episodes of the season. As the show in the beginning was still trying to find it's footing.

We're the show reaches the point not so much of annoyance, but maybe silliness and incapability. Is with its production value and it's peculiar story and character creative choices. Some are minor complaints as its understandable because of the show being on a network such as the "CW" we're budgets are much smaller than cable channels as "HBO" or "AMC". Still its not enough in my opinion to lessen the fun or praise this show deserves.

Onwards to the real reason why I can't praise the show further. Is due to it's heavy similarity with other comic book characters of the "Punisher" and "Batman". The positive alone on this note. Is that with the "Punisher" resemblance he actually grows as a character with an arc unlike the "Punisher". The Batman/Bruce Wayne parallel is huge and maybe too much at times. The rich playboy, lost for years, highly trained, gadgets, tech geek assistant, love interest that happens to be a lawyer, inside help with the police, area of city that is super poor (Narrows-Glades) and it goes on. Once again this issue could be seen as minor. Due to the fact that I and many others still got my entertainment worth of great storytelling and action. Even with the tremendous amount similarities and parallels the two heroes have.

Regarding maybe the silliest element of the whole show is the "Windows", Win 8", "Surface" and general "Microsoft" advertisements that the show is riddled with. Personally they were distracting and overdone. It cant be every-time somebody uses their phone, tablet or computer that the first thing that pops out is a "Win 8" metro design interface. Not to mention the "Lenovo" advertisement on the computers and the Windows logos stuck on every computer as they were Macs. With these shameless plugs the best thing we can do is to celebrate them by engaging in a drinking game with the new season. A shot of any alcoholic drink of your choice, every time you see an advertisement on screen. Who's with me?


A truer superhero show than "Arrow" you won't find. It's action packed, it has constant romance threads left and right, twists and turns regarding the plot which you will not see coming and the added element of taking seriously it\s title character, world and origin. Without the serious take on the vigilante's activities of killing lots of people and his disturbing his time on the island. The show would have been merely a step up than "Lois & Clark" and on the same level probably with "Smallville". Thankfully that didn't happen.

Personal Rating:

4 Stars.jpg

review by Paulaner

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