I’ve just completed my second shot at Arrow. The first try didn’t go so well. I got about five episodes in before I stopped and pretty much forgot about it. Why? I’m not entirely sure. I had just finished a Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire marathon, so I guess Arrow wasn’t what felt like a natural progression for me. I had been excited for the series but the opening episodes of the first season left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed. It has been my intention for a while now to return and watch the entire first season’s episodes consecutively with a fresh head, and man, am I glad I did. I was wrong. Arrow turned out to be a fiercely enjoyable caper.
First up, let’s take a look at the cast. Initially when I’d heard that Stephen Amell was starring I had to look him up, as I had no idea who he was. I had my doubts but after a few episodes I realised he had been perfectly cast. Jaysis, that bloke is in SHAPE. And not a CGI 6-pack in shape, not in a papier mâché abs way, but natural, true to body form, seriously FIT way. Not too big, enough muscle definition to portray strength, but not so much that it would hinder flexibility and movement. I was very impressed.
Katie Cassidy as the leading lady also tickled me, as I hadn’t really seen much of her since her all too brief stint in Supernatural. I liked her in that, and her demise in the show was the beginning of the end of Supernatural for me. Her Laurel Lance, the Lois Lane to Queen’s Green Arrow, plays well.
My next surprise was MI5 man and Strictly Come Dancing UK twinkle-toes, Colin Salmon. He pulls off stiff upper lippy yet noble Walter Steele perfectly. Hooray! That nice little bonus aside though, my ultimate shock appearance was of course, Manu Bennett. I’d had no idea he was in Arrow. Awesome.
At least in Arrow he could revert to his natural accent. Although at times he did sound like he was back in the arena. That’s okay though, I didn’t mind, he’s Crixus. He can do what he likes.
John Barrowman made an excellent nemesis. He was creepy and his zealotry was believable. Even though I realise that he had to go, I was almost sad after the final showdown between the two archers. Don’t judge me, I’m a sucker for a good bad guy.
There were so many other notable appearances and surprise guests that I enjoyed, probably too many to mention. Kelly Hu, as always, kicks arse, Brian Markinson’s (Caprica) untimely contribution, the beautiful Janina Gavankar (last seen by me dying a death in True Blood), and I cannot fail to note the also impressively buff David Ramsey as Diggle the talking conscience (Blue Bloods, Dexter) and Paul Blackthorne (24) as a convincing and conflicted Detective Quentin Lance.
My big MEH of the series goes to Susanna Thompson (the Borg Queen herself) and her bipolar Moira Queen, and her daughter Thea, played by (unknown to me, I’m not a fan of The O.C. and its ilk) Willa Holland, who I absolutely hated.
Aside from the above casting negatives, I thoroughly enjoyed the last few days in which I did little but watch Arrow, eat Danish pastries and occasionally sleep. The set-pieces and fight scenes were, on the whole, impressive, and it is obvious how much work went into them. I guess it helps that the majority of your cast are very physically fit and well able to throw a few karate chops and/or handle pointy weapons. The scenes on the island were my favourite parts; that back-story in no way followed the progression I thought it would. I loved that, as predictability in a hero franchise tends to irritate me.
If you’re a fan of the genre, a fan of kick-arse moves and people jumping off tall buildings, then you’ll like this. Maybe you’re missing the gaping hole that the likes of Smallville left in your soul (trust me, this is much better than Smallville). If you are then I’d recommend you give Arrow a whirl.
Arrow returns to our screens October 9th 2013, and amid news of The Flash, possibly Metamorpho and Summer “The Kiss of TV DEATH” Glau making appearances, I cannot wait.