Because I am the Fairest Man Alive, I agreed to watch and review the newest CW show: Arrow, based on the DC Comics property: Green Arrow. After watching the pilot, I no longer felt like the fairest man alive, but rather, the dumbest for tying myself to this show for as long as it remains on the air, which, given Smallville’s proclivity for staying on the air about six years too long, does not bode well for me (as soon as anyone is possessed by a Kryptonite Witch, I’m out!).
Since you are reading this on a nerd blog, I’m not going to spend too much time explaining who ‘Arrow’ is because you should already know, but for those of you who don’t…Oliver Queen is a billionaire playboy who is marooned on an island for five years. Over those five years, he becomes an accomplished archer to aid in his survival (in the comics he uses his arrows to hunt tiny lizards, the only source of food on the island), and when he returns to civilization, he uses his survival and archery skills as Green Arrow to wage a silent and pointy war on crime. To learn more about Green Arrow, see if your local comic book store has Mike Grell’s The Long Bow Hunters or Kevin Smith’s run; it’s surprisingly good.
We open with the shot from Evil Dead where the unseen monster is racing through the forest. Nope. Wait. That is just some weird shaky cam to establish…I don’t know…Arrow’s ability to be weird and shaky during all moments of action. It turns out we are on the island. Oliver Queen shows up looking all Robinson Crusoe and he shoots a flaming arrow a ridiculous distance to ignite a fire, signaling a passing ship which gets him off the island. This all takes about eight seconds and within that eight seconds, there is a blink and you’ll miss it flash of an Orange/Dark Blue mask impaled on a pike with an arrow through the eyehole. A nod to Deathstroke and the first of MANY nerd whistles throughout the show.
As to the other nerd whistles, it’s actually kind of annoying every time a character namedrops someone from the comics because this is not Green Arrow; it is Arrow, based on Green Arrow. So, when his kid sister is nicknamed Speedy, it feels like a slap in the face…unless her veins are DRENCHED in heroin. His best friend is Tom Merlyn, you know, like the League of Assassins archer. Merlyn doesn’t have his Sad Wolverine stupid hair or a goatee, but it would be funny to me, if, as the show progresses, he slowly grew out the van dyke and his hair got progressively more ridiculous. And, finally, Oliver, before being marooned on the island, dated intrepid girl reporter, Dinah Laurel Lance. Great, Black Canary, one of the most bad-ass ladies in comics has been relegated to weepy former love interest and romantic foil. Does she have a sonic scream? Probably not.
The question I have for you if you are at all interested in this show and are a fan of The Green Arrow is: How many people can Green Arrow kill in his crime fighting quest before it becomes excessive? In this, the pilot episode, before he even puts on the hood, he kills three dudes by breaking their necks. Yes, they were dressed in scary skull masks, but he clearly says, “I must kill them to protect my secret.” What? No, no killing. Comic Green Arrow might shoot an arrow through a dude’s knee or shoulder, but the point is to incapacitate. TV’s Arrow is killing dudes left and right, like a less noisy Punisher, but it makes the character really REALLY hard to root for.
What I liked:
- The show looks great.
- Green Arrow leaping around is pretty cool…PARKOUR!
- Everyone on the show is pretty.
- There were a few surprising moments.
What I didn’t like:
- While pretty, everyone on the show is a piece of wood.
- The copious amounts of murder performed by the ‘hero’.
- While there were a few surprising moments, the other moments were taken from ‘How to write a TV pilot 101’.
- They call the city, Starling City, not Star City, a nerdy nit pick but c’mon, you left everything else the same, why change the city?
Tune in next week for more thoughts on nerdTV. There’ll be some Arrow news, Walking Dead, Comic Book Men, and who knows what else? (Probably just that stuff.)
David DeMarco is Joe Patrick’s boss at Legend Comics & Coffee. He is able to write this column because Joe Patrick does all the hard work at the shop, while Dave drinks coffee and goofs around. This is an arrangement that is acceptable to Dave.