TV Review: Arrow

By
From the October 4, 2012 edition

Superheroes have replaced action heroes on the big screen, resulting in big business, but they haven’t duplicated that recent success on television. “Heroes,” “No Ordinary Family,” and “The Cape,” were huge disappointments. The CW aired one of the few successful superhero shows in “Smallville,” but the network’s latest venture, “Arrow,” isn’t there yet.

“Arrow” is a familiar hero story that’s decently executed, but nothing to get excited about. After a shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) gets stranded on a deserted island for five years until his rescue. Returning home to Starling City after presumed dead, Oliver hasn’t comeback the same person. He now wants to right the wrongs he and the wealthy have committed through, you guessed it, bow and arrow vigilantism.

If Arrow’s origin story sounds oddly familiar, it’s because you’re vaguely familiar with a character known as Batman. Oliver Queen is basically Bruce Wayne with a bow and arrow instead of “all those wonderful toys.” Green Arrow, the DC comic superhero “Arrow” is based on, was originally conceived in the 1940s as a Batman copycat.

“Arrow” isn’t terrible — even with some groan-worthy superhero clichés — and makes good use of a dark tone. The biggest grievance is the lack of originality. Besides the unavoidable Batman similarities, there are flashbacks and an island that reminds me of a wildly popular show every network has been desperate to recreate. Over time “Arrow” could evolve into its own beast, but I’m not too optimistic because the track record with superhero television isn’t great.