The CW hits target with ‘Arrow’ series premiere
Published: Friday, October 12, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 12, 2012 08:10
"Arrow," the latest in a string of superhero screen adaptations, premiered its first season Wednesday on The CW network. The new series is based on DC Comics’ character Green Arrow, but with some minor changes to the story.
The show follows character Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) as he returns home to Starling City after being shipwrecked on an island for five years and presumed dead. His father perished in the accident, as well as the sister of Queen’s then-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy).
Taking a turn from the comic’s storyline, the first episode introduced Queen’s mother, Moira (Susanna Thompson) and younger sister Thea (Willa Holland). The addition of these characters add a lot of emotional depth and grounding to Amell’s character and highlight the dramatic aspects of the show.
After returning home, Queen immediately steps back into his previous spoiled-rich-kid persona. He allows his friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) to throw him an elaborate "Welcome Home" party and admits to Lance his desire for debauchery. However, it is made evident to the viewer this isn’t Queen’s real personality anymore. In the various flashback scenes, as well as his personal relationship with his sister, Thea, we see that Queen has changed deeply from his former self.
And, of course, the most obvious clue of this transformation is Queen’s new habit of dressing in a green hood and face paint and taking down criminals.
We eventually learn, through a series of flashbacks, the reasons for this adopted vigilante persona.
While stranded on a life raft in the ocean, Queen’s father sacrificed himself and a fellow passenger to give his son the best chance at survival. His dying words to his son were, "Right my wrongs," which Queen apparently took very seriously.
The scenes featuring Amell as Green Arrow were by far my favorite of the episode. While his life as Oliver Queen felt a little too dramatic in the classic CW way, the scenes featuring him as Green Arrow stole the show. His character’s main weapon is his bow and arrow, but he also has extremely adept hand-to-hand combat skills, and no qualms about killing for the greater good.
My only complaint is many of the fight scenes leave a lot to the viewer’s imagination. I understand the network has certain limitations, but I would have really loved to see more of the action and less of the cut-aways.
The biggest question at this point is what happened to Queen while he was shipwrecked. The events on the island will be told throughout the season in the same gritty flashback style we saw in this first episode, slowly clueing us in on his mysterious transformation period.
There will be a strong distinction between the two stories – the island flashbacks and Queen’s present-day life – but the two arcs will mirror one another thematically. In the second episode, the flashbacks will begin with him stepping foot on the island for the first time.
It’s no secret the major draw of this series is its relationship to the comic books. And, according to an interview with show producers Andrew Kreisberg ("Warehouse 13," "Eli Stone") and Marc Guggenheim ("Green Lantern," "Eli Stone") on collider.com, we will be seeing a lot more references to the DC Comic universe.
China White will appear in the second episode. Jessica De Gouw is set to play Helena Bertinelli aka The Huntress, a darker version of Arrow who seeks revenge on her family for her father’s crime empire and will first appear in episode six.
Also in episode six will be The Royal Flush Gang, but with a more grounded approach than they take in the comics. "You’ll see with The Royal Flush Gang that the dynamic of the family and the iconography of the playing cards are going to be there without the supernatural bent," Kreisberg said.
A friend of Queen’s little sister, Thea, referred to her as "Speedy" in the premiere, but there haven’t been any confirmations about the character yet. Also set to play an unnamed character in the first season is John Barrowman, who has acted in "Doctor Who" and "Torchwoood."
However, if you’re getting your hopes up about any big-name DC characters in the first season, don’t get too excited.
Kreisberg said, "As much as we love bringing in the DC comics characters, it’s really important to us that this is really a show about Oliver Queen. When you get too close to the massively iconic characters, like Batman and Superman, you’re starting to suggest that there’s a bigger world outside of Starling City. For right now, we really want people to feel like Oliver Queen is the star of the show, because he is."
"Arrow" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW Network.