Categorised | US TV reviews

Tags |

Third-episode verdict: Arrow (The CW/Sky1)

Posted on October 25, 2012 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerArrow.jpgA Barrometer rating of 1

In the US: Wednesdays, 8/7c, The CW
In the UK: Mondays, 8pm, Sky1
In Canada: Wednesdays, 9pm, CTV2
in Australia: Nine Network. Air date to be confirmed

And we have another winner from the Fall 2012 season. Arrow, somewhat unpromisingly based on a comics strip character virtually no one has ever heard of and who isn't that much cop anyway, on a network with minimal viewers and that's been almost exclusively targeting young women with the likes of Gossip Girl and America's Next Top Model for years, has managed to turn in the closest we'll probably ever get to Batman Begins: The Series.

As I noted in my review of the first episode, the show has its flaws, not the least of which is its entire premise, for which we can blame the original comic - a millionaire playboy, Oliver Queen, running around town, redistributing wealth and fighting crime after learning survivalist skills on a near-deserted island, with only a bow and arrow as a weapon. It also has an embarrassing voiceover, which ruins from the outset almost any real sense that the show might have some decent writers behind it.

But so far, it's proven to be a remarkably good and tense watch. Stephen Amell is proving surprisingly charismatic as Oliver Queen, sometimes very Zen, sometimes very party boy, as the role needs it; it has excellent action sequences; the residual Smallville visual resemblance left behind by director David Nutter in the pilot episode has fortunately been exterminated; it has strong characters, both male and female, and it's doing well at developing its supporting cast; it's slowly dripping through back story and format, without descending into the formulaic; Dinah Lance, former Arrow girlfriend, and, judging by the third episode, still set to be the future Black Canary is being served well, as is Thea Queen, Oliver's sister; there are some genuinely exciting cliffhangers; and it's keeping most of the possible comic book implausibilities to a minimum.

True, some of them are still feeding through. Oliver Queen, stranded on an island for five years, not only has the physique of a protein-shake addict eating five whole chickens a day, but is somehow gifted with a computer hacker's ability to search police databases and do forensic analysis - yet still needs to go to IT support to recover data from a damaged computer. Comic book villains China White (Martial Law's Kelly Hu) and Deadshot (Michael Rowe) turned up in the second and third episodes respectively, with Hu having to endure a white wig while Rowe got wrist guns and a targeting monocle - while that's nothing compared to what their comic book characters have, it did somewhat ruin the show's attempts to be gritty and realistic. There's also the backstory involving Queen's mother, which is feeling a bit silly already.

We also have Paul Blackthorne, who while a decent enough actor in shows like The River, The Dresden Files and The Gates, here seems to be having trouble believing the whole thing, never quite immersing himself in the role - something Strictly Come Dancing's own Colin Salmon is managing to do marvellously as the Green Arrow's new step-dad.

But despite these failings, the show is just about as good as you're going to get from a comic book show on The CW, easily trumping Smallville and pulling off the almost unimaginable feat of making Green Arrow look cool.

One to watch, if you like a comic book action show with at least a bit of thought put into it.

Barrometer rating: 1. Of course, the Barrometer might be biased since John Barrowman's going to be a recurring star, starting from the fifth episode.

Related entries

  • January 26, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Backstrom, Young Drunk Punk, 19-2, Spiral and Galavant
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending January 26 2015
  • February 16, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Gallipoli, The Slap (US) and The Doctor Blake Mysteries
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending February 16 2015
  • February 2, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Gone Girl, Suits, Spiral, The Blacklist and The Americans
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending February 2 2015
  • February 9, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Hiding, Winter, One Man, Two Guvnors and Agent Carter
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending February 9 2015
  • February 23, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Hostages, The Odd Couple, X Company, Living With Models and Bosch
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending February 23 2015
  • March 30, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Bloodline, The Good Witch, 19-2 and Fortitude
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending March 30 2015
  • March 9, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Dig, Maximum Choppage, The Americans, Fortitude, 12 Monkeys and Vikings
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending March 9 2015
  • March 23, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Community, The Flash and 19-2
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending March 23 2015
  • April 13, 2015: What have you been watching? Including American Odyssey, Daredevil, Olympus and Silicon Valley
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending April 13 2015
  • April 20, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Game of Thrones, American Odyssey, The Flash and Community
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending April 20 2015
  • April 24, 2015: What have you been watching? Including John Wick, Vikings, The Americans, Arrow and The Blacklist
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending April 24 2015
  • May 1, 2015: What have you been watching? Including 8MMM Aboriginal Radio, Arrow, The Flash and Community
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending May 1 2015
  • May 15, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Birdman, The Blacklist, Arrow and American Crime
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending May 15 2015
  • May 8, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Wayward Pines, Community, Forever and American Odyssey
    A review of the TV and films I watched in the week ending May 8 2015
  • October 26, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Hamlet (NT Live/Barbican), Limitless and The Player,
    A review of the TV, films and theatre I saw in the week ending Friday 25 October 2015
  • October 30, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Medea (Almeida), The Beautiful Lie, The Player, Y Gwyll and Limitless
    A review of the TV, films and theatre I saw in the week ending Friday 30 October 2015
  • October 12, 2015: What have you been watching? Including The Martian, Arrow, The Flash and Continuum
    A review of the TV, films and theatre I saw in the week ending Monday 12 October 2015
  • October 16, 2015: What have you been watching? Including The Oresteia (Shakespeare's Globe), Y Gwyll and The Flash
    A review of the TV, films and theatre I saw in the week ending Friday 16 October 2015
  • November 6, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Legends, Dim Ond y Gwir, Arrow, 800 Words and Limitless
    A review of the TV, films and theatre I saw in the week ending Friday 6 November 2015
  • November 21, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Master of None, You're The Worst, Arrow, Doctor Who and Limitless
    A review of the TV I saw in the week ending Friday 20 November 2015
  • November 13, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Spectre, Master of None, Flesh and Bone, and You're The Worst
    A review of the TV, films and theatre I saw in the week ending Friday 13 November 2015
  • December 14, 2015: What have you been watching? Including Ash Vs Evil Dead, Arrow, The Flash, Legends, Supergirl and You're The Worst
    A review of the TV I saw in the week ending Friday 11 December 2015
  • December 4, 2015: What have you been watching? Including The Bridge, Arrow, The Flash, Legends and You're The Worst
    A review of the TV I saw in the week ending Friday 4 December 2015
  • January 23, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Room, Marvel's Agent Carter, Arrow and Endeavour
    The TV I watched in the week ending Friday 23rd January 2016
  • February 6, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Okkupert (Occupied), Lucifer and Marvel's Agent Carter
    The TV I watched in the week ending Saturday 6th February 2016
  • February 1, 2016: What have you been watching? Including The Magicians, The X-Files, Stan Lee's Lucky Man and Okkupert
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 1st February 2016
  • February 14, 2016: What have you been watching? Including The Man From UNCLE, Sicario
    The TV I watched in the week ending Saturday 12th February 2016
  • February 20, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Vinyl, Wanted and Vikings
    The TV I watched in the week ending Saturday 19th February 2016
  • March 4, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Ófærð (Trapped), The Shannara Chronicles, Lucifer and The X-Files
    The TV I watched in the two weeks ending Friday 4th March 2016
  • April 2, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Banshee, Blå Ögon (Blue Eyes), The Catch, Supergirl and The Americans
    The TV I watched in the week ending Saturday 2nd April 2016
  • April 15, 2016: What have you been watching? Including The Tunnel: Sabotage, 12 Monkeys and Scott Pilgrim vs The World
    The TV I watched in the week ending Friday 15th April 2016
  • May 9, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Marseille, Captain America: Civil War and The Americans
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 9th May 2016
  • May 23, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Lady Dynamite, Vis a Vis (Locked Up), Banshee and DC's Legends of Tomorrow
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 23rd May 2016
  • May 16, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Wolf Creek, Banshee, The Tunnel and Game of Thrones
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 16th May 2016
  • June 6, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Deadpool, The Americans and The Tunnel (Tunnel)
    The TV I watched in the fortnight ending Monday 6th June 2016
  • October 10, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Luke Cage, Arrow, The Flash and Westworld
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 10th October 2016
  • December 5, 2016: What have you been watching? Including פאודה (Fauda), Incorporated
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 5th December 2016

Read other posts about:

Allowable comments

You can leave just about any kind of comment you like. You can argue, suggest I am (or anyone else is) wrong, leaving general messages of love – anything. However, you absolutely can't leave messages that attack other commenters (or me), are simple variations of "your review sucks" or that are misogynistic, racist, homophobic, etc: your comment will either be edited or deleted and you'll be barred from leaving any further comments. We want to keep it civil here.

Spoilers

You can hide a spoiler by putting <spoiler> before it and </spoiler> after it. Hover over a spoiler to reveal it!

Featured Articles

The Bold Type

Journalism for people who can't read more than a Tweet