If you have any interest at all in the comic book superhero genre or action adventure shows, and you aren’t watching Arrow (The CW, Wednesdays at 8 EST), then what are you waiting for? Today I’m going to give you a list of reasons why you should watch. Now, I could slap down 27 gifs of Stephen Amell doing shirtless chin-ups and call it journalism, but I’d rather use my words.
The main reason you should watch Arrow is because of the chemistry of the three main characters: Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), John Diggle (David Ramsey), and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards). Oliver Queen a.k.a. “The Hood” or “The Vigilante” or “Arrow” is a billionaire playboy who was marooned on a very hostile island for five years before returning to Starling City and adopting his superhero alter ego. He is helped by John “Dig” Diggle, Oliver’s ex-military bodyguard who is also concerned with taking down the corrupt elite of the city. They are eventually joined by Felicity Smoak, a computer genius and IT tech at Queen industries who is really just a fantastic, non-cliche-ridden female character. She’s without question the smartest person on the show, and she shamelessly enjoys watching Oliver’s shirtless workouts. Some of the funniest moments (and the most touching) on the show happen between the three of them. (The banter between them is amazing.) At least once an episode I find myself saying, “Diggle is the best.”
Another reason you show watch Arrow is for the interesting interpretation of The Green Arrow comic-verse. There is a comic book feel to the show: a city in trouble, good guys vs. an endless stream of bad guys, moral dilemmas, ambiguity, and a lot of dramatic camera work and badass fight scenes. Plus, a lot of your favorite DC characters are here: Deadshot, Merlyn, Shado, Firefly, Count Vertigo, and (possibly) Deathstroke. Season two is promising a Black Canary story line, Brother Blood, Black Tiger, Sin, and Professor Ivo. The writers of the show are obviously genuine fans of the comic, and DC even introduced a weekly digital comic tie-in to the show written by two of the shows writers, Andrew Kreisberg and Andrew Guggenheim, that sometimes contains art by Mike Grell.
Reason three is for all of you Teen Wolf fans. Colton Haynes has a recurring role on the show playing Roy Harper. A thief and a petty criminal who was befriended by Oliver’s younger sister Thea. He becomes obsessed with “The Hood” and hero worships him from afar. Of course, Roy Harper in DC canon is Green Arrow’s teenage sidekick Speedy/Red Arrow, so it will be interesting to see how this relationship develops in this ‘verse. As of now, to Oliver, Roy is just a pest, but Roy’s concern for the poor, crime-filled area of Starling City (known as “The Glades”) is admirable. I’m looking forward to the development of his character hopefully as he adopts the Red Arrow persona.
Another worthy aspect of the show is the back story it slowly reveals about Oliver’s time marooned on the island and the development of his character. Before the shipwreck, Oliver was a over-privileged, self-absorbed playboy who was cheating on his girlfriend Laurel with her sister Sara. When you see flashbacks, he’s a naive rich kid who has never experienced an iota of suffering a day in his life. But every episode of the series you see how his experience on the island, where he is constantly under threat of death, turned him into this physically imposing fighter and justice crusader who is an ace shot with a bow and arrow. Stephen Amell plays all three versions of Oliver — pre-shipwreck, marooned on the island, and post-island — differently, so you can see the progression of Oliver and the profound affect of the island.
The fifth reason that makes the show worth watching is the anti-hero aspect of “The Hood.” Arrow is known as a vigilante. The law enforcement of Starling City considers “The Hood” to be a dangerous criminal who is taking “justice” — a justice they disagree with — into his own hands. He often targets the city’s wealthy and elite who have law enforcement in their pockets, so Arrow’s brand of justice is often considered extra undesirable by the people he believe he is helping. As a viewer, you sometimes wonder if Oliver is going about things in the best way, or targeting the right bad guys, and you get to see Oliver struggle with his own ethical dilemmas. It adds a layer of interest to the story line, because although you are always rooting for Oliver, he has to navigate a lot of gray areas.
The final reason you should watch Arrow, of course, is in the pictures I’ve peppered throughout this post. What can I say? I’m shallow.
Bonus: Two weeks ago, a new sci-fi show called The Tomorrow People aired on The CW after Arrow, based on a British TV series of the same name, that focuses on humans who have genetically evolved with the powers of telekinesis, telepathy, and teleportation. It stares Stephen Amell’s cousin Robbie, and is totally worthy of checking out.
Are you an Arrow fan? What do you like best about the show? What are you looking forward to this season? Do you ship Olicity?