What I'm Watching:

Arrow


Arrow.  Go watch it.  This very moment.  You have Netflix?  Great, season one is on there.  Get to it.  Don't have Netflix?  Steal your friends password.  Does it sound like I'm hyped for this show, because I am.  It's the perfect mix of Buffy-level drama but with some Dark Knight action bits.  Sure it gets a little hokey at times -- that V-Day episode, please shoot me -- but it still provides enough good to make those offences forgivable.

I just got completely caught up on the show last night and dear lord, does this show continue to amaze.  Season two is particularly strong but the last few episodes... holy jebus.  Pure insanity.  Don't worry though, I'm not going to get into massive spoilers.  That would be counterproductive; I'm trying to get you into the show, not ruin it for you.  So let's get into it.  The show is about Oliver Queen, who is shipwrecked on an island for five years, finally to be rescued and taken back to his home in Starling City.  Only something happened to Oliver on that island which makes him take up some nightly activities.  He soon becomes known as The Vigilante, and sets out on ridding the city of crime.  Basic comic book origin, right?

What's great about the show is it goes from Oliver's life on the island while stranded, to his life in present day.  So we get to see The Arrow in action fighting bad guys but also get to see how he got to be that man.  It keeps the show fresh and while I prefer the present day stuff over the flashbacks, it adds dimension to the various characters involved.  I've felt from the beginning that the problem will be that it's gonna be a lot for the writer's to accomplish a well-done evolution of the Oliver character to get him to the point he is at the beginning of the pilot when he's rescued.  So far though, the writers have done a good job with his training and psychological abuse to make the transition seamless.  Here's hoping they keep it up.

The strongest point is probably the lead, Stephen Amell.  This guy came out of nowhere and I'm glad he did.  Not sure if the show would work as well if it were someone well established in the role, so I'm happy with this casting choice.  Once Arrow ends, I'm sure this guy won't have any difficulty getting work.  Playing a character in two different periods of time, always separated by five years, is more taxing on an actor than one would think and Amell handles it with aplomb.  And seriously, that man in costume is exactly what I'd want a real-life superhero to look like.  Totally badass and yet completely maneuverable.

Outside of Felicity, who is potentially my favorite character on the show, there isn't really any good female characters.  Laurel is headstrong, stereotypical (until season two), and uneven. Thea is young, naive, and stupid.  Moira is manipulative, cold-hearted, and pretty cruel.  Meanwhile Felicity is smart, strong-willed, and speaks her mind.  If it weren't for her, I'd say women have a gripe with the writers of this show.  They tried to make up for it in season two with an added female character, but she's more or less Oliver-lite.  At least we have Felicity though.

TV action is rarely good, this is just a fact of life.  There are few fights happening in Buffy the Vampire Slayer that really left a mark.  They all look staged and weren't shot right.  Angel got things a little more right but still struggled to create a realistic and well shot fight scene.  Arrow fucking nails it.  There have been several times throughout my viewings that I audibly say "No fucking way!" or "Whaaaat!"  They're (obviously) staged, but they're staged to a degree that everything feels fluid and natural, not choreographed.  And the use of the bow and as a short-range combat weapon allows for some of the coolest actions beats of the series.  And let's talk about that bow for a second.  How.  Fucking.  Badass.  I want a bow to be used in every series from here on out.  Flash?  Bow and arrow.  Friday the 13th? Bow and arrow.  Fargo? Bow and arrow.  But seriously, coolest weapon ever.  If they used a bow to this degree of badassery in the Hunger Games, we'd have a new trend on our hands.

Both seasons have a Big Bad (to you non-Buffy watchers, this refers to the main villain of the season) and both times, the characters are superb.  Both actors can chew scenery with the best of them and it makes them more and more maniacal.  Notice how I'm not mentioning names?  That's how much I care that you go out and watch this show immediately.  Not even joking.  Stop reading this right now and go do it.  What?  Don't think it's gonna be good because it's a CW show?  Well fuck you, I watch it.  See that?  That's my style of writing.  I tell my reader not to read my stuff and then insult them.  Really drives up business.  Hire me?

Anyway, Arrow.  Get on the bandwagon, there's plenty of room.  I have been spouting this shows praises since the first episode I watched.  Want to know how many people I've actually gotten to watch the show?  Zero.  Yep, pretty staggering numbers.  It's just that type of show and I know it because I lived it.  I had no intention of watching this show and no matter how many good things I saw and who recommended it to me, I couldn't get past the CW label.  Once I did, I was amazed.  If you're into comics, watch this.  If you're into good TV shows, watch this.  If you just have a Wednesday night to kill, watch this.  Did I get my point across?  Okay good.

I'll talk to you in five years when you do watch the show.

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