We have come to expect too much from the superhero genre. It is now all about having that gritty, realistic character who will handle things… realistically. And it is that word, “realistic” that I feel is in fact killing these franchises as it is simply far too hard to achieve (unless you are Christopher Nolan).
The Show So Far
David Nutter introduced the Green Arrow from DC comics into this style of television back in 2012. He did it perfectly. From then on, other writers and directors who would work on the show built a whole new franchise around this character and the realism of how the modern world would take to a vigilante. Evidently, they don’t so much.
The bar was set with season one of Arrow. Perhaps they set it too high? We finally had a hero who… well he wasn’t a hero. He would go around killing those who were doing wrong. He felt the justice system was not punishment enough for these men. Fantastic. Psychotic, but kind of realistic.
And I mean realistic in the sense that the police department handled it with deep concern and urgency. They hunted him. There were no boundaries with “The Hood”, “The Arrow”. He was an unofficial hero, and an official bad ass. How on earth they surpassed the overall quality and story in season two is beyond me. But they did it.
Slade Wilson. Deathstroke. The ultimate bad guy. Evil to the core, driven by a pure hatred for Oliver and the love he had lost on Lian Yu. The fan favourite villain made season two of Arrow one of the most explosive and popular hero shows of all time. For many people (like me), it even stood up against any Marvel film to date.
Where it Started to Slip
I am still very unsure why the show took the turn that it did for season 3. The directors who had worked on Smallville were keen to take what they had done, but make it real. They said they wanted to “look at the humanity” of Oliver Queen. As Oliver does not have super powers they could connect to the audience through his true human nature, and stated that they wished to take a realistic look at the characters in this universe.
So what was with all of the mystical crap? Why is Constantine now in the show? What the hell did you have to throw in a Lazarus Pit for!? I almost gave up. I don’t have to remind you of the terrible story and feel to season three. But this was just the beginning of the shows demise.
Once the identity of the show had been tainted with magic and resurrection, it seemed like a great time to bring in Damien Darhk! Remember him? The most cringe worthy, cheesy ass hole of a bad guy since Venom in Spider-Man 3. I hated this series as much as the last and I won’t forgive the directors and writers for their utterly outrageous decision to “blow up the series”. Yeah. Take what everybody loves about your show, and rip it up. It’s working, the show is popular… nah scrap that we want something unoriginal.
I may have gone on a rant. I am not sorry. Season Five, Episode One. Legacy. Short sentences.
Firstly I would like to point out that the sleeves are back. We have a full suit and not a male stripper. That’s one big mistake fixed, lads (thumbs up emoji). We fist see the Green Arrow taking out Lonnie Machin in a building in a much more natural looking fight. Something else that needed fixing, great start!
Ollie killed Damien Darhk in the previous episode which led me to hope for a return to his darker cut throat methods. Well ladies and gentlemen, the Arrow is back! Ollie has lost his taste for the so called “right” path and has come to the conclusion that if somebody needs to be stopped, he had damn well better do it. I am not saying I agree with this method of sorting out a problem. Killing is bad. However for the sake of the fictional TV show we all know it works.
Just Going Backwards
Ollie has been left to it with only Felicity and Curtis to help him. I am glad that Thea is trying to be herself again. I was very into her during season one and two. Once Roy left and she took on the role of Speedy though I totally changed my mind. She became irritating and unrealistically skilled at archery and fighting (not so realistic then, huh?).
Diggle is also out. I stayed a fan of his right through and hope for a big return. It was nice to see him feature in the first episode, having him about so early sort of confirms this I suppose. So essentially it is back to basics for Oliver and that is what this show needed. A strip back.
Thea refuses to return as Speedy again after witnessing her brother kill a henchmen in order to escape captivity. She tells her brother:
“You are just going backwards”
It is not often an audience wishes for this in a TV series. Going backwards seems so negative, like you are losing any progress made with the story and characters. I want to forget the progress made since season two and go BACK to how things were. I appreciate certain events that came out of that time and how they effected the characters, but as for the style of the show and intention Oliver has as the Green Arrow? That can revert back to how it was.
A theme is developing with the CW superhero shows. A hero takes on a great responsibility. They meet somebody who can help them from a base. Gradually, people find out who they are and so by default have to join the team due to their constant aggravating until they get their way. Roy started it.
I am not looking forward to Vigilante 101 in this series. We have already had a whole show dedicated to bringing together a new team of heroes and forcing them to get along in Legends of Tomorrow. We don’t need another one of those. Improvements are clearly being made to get the show back to how it should be, however there are still concerns for me.
We already know the sort of character Curtis is. Honest, loyal and supposedly funny. Episode two introduces Rene and Evelyn Sharp to the mix and while I know nothing of these two yet I can only assume they won’t play by the rules, Ollie will get pissed off and continue to turn to Jon for advice until he finally comes to help out… resulting in his permanent return to the team. Let’s see how close I am later on.
All things said I do keep watching Arrow. I do love it. Mainly for what it was but it is still good fun. For now it seems, Season Five is off to a promising start. I am looking into starting a podcast. This may feature episode to episode analysis to save my posts for the real in depth, big moments. Look out for updates if you are interested in hearing more.