Saturday, November 3, 2012

Arrow (2012)

Developed by: Greg Berlanti (1), Marc Guggenheim, and Andrew Kreisberg

Network: The CW

Cast: Stephen Amell (2), Katie Cassidy (3), Colin Donnell, David Ramsey (4), Willa Holland (5), Susanna Thompson (6), and Paul Blackthorne.

Did you know? - Justin Hartley, the actor who played Green Arrow in Smallville, is actually starring in a new series this season as well. A medical drama called Emily Owens, M.D. featuring Mamie Gummer, Michael Rady, and Necar Zadegan.  Oh and Emily Owens, M.D., Arrow, and Beauty And The Beast are all airing on The CW. 

Superheroes. I never had a thing for them. I wasn’t into Batman, Spiderman, or any of the X-Men. If not for my love of television and film, I probably would have never discovered these superheroes. I can’t tell which superhero is under the Marvel universe and which go under the DC Comics banner. As such, my thoughts on the television series Arrow don’t take into consideration the superhero comic world but just, as it is – a television series. 

Everyone knows Batman and Gotham City. So basically in the TV series Arrow, the Batman-like character is in fact the Green Arrow, and instead of Gotham City, we have a very corrupt Starling City. Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell, gets stranded on an island for five years and when he is found and returns home to Starling City, he becomes the vigilante Green Arrow by night, and resumes his playboy character by day. Now there’s always a woman involved in things like this. Katie Cassidy plays Laurel Lance, Oliver’s ex girlfriend who is a lawyer. Nope she’s not his sidekick and neither is John Diggle, played by David Ramsey, although Diggle does take up his offer to help him clean house in Sterling City. There’s also Oliver’s sister Thea played by Willa Holland, his mum Moira who seems not quite innocent herself played by Susanna Thompson, and there’s Oliver’s best friend Tommy and Laurel’s father Quentin who is a Detective.

Now, it’s a superhero-themed series, so there’s lots of action, killing, and it’s almost like a case of the week type of thing going on. To be honest, I wonder how long is this hit list that Oliver’s got. Does he have enough to sustain more than one or two seasons? I never took to Smallville, so I can’t say I know how they managed to sustain 10 seasons without compromising the content or if it worked or didn’t work. To be honest, this is the first superhero-themed television series that I have taken an interest to. However, I have a very strong inclination to check out Smallville right now. 

Arrow also kinda reminded me of Kick-Ass. I guess it's because of what Aaron Johnson's character Dave says - "At some point in our lives we all wanna be a superhero" that made me think of the connection between Arrow and Kick-Ass, and I think this is what Oliver Queen thinks every day as the Green Arrow "With no power comes no responsibility. Except that wasn't true". Well, he sort of has power, not super powers, but still he has the means and ability to make a change and he cannot run away from that responsibility.

Now, the list of people Green Arrow is targeting makes the show seem a little procedural. However, I think its necessary and it works for the series. It gives us an insight to the world of the series as well as the various characters in the show. As of now, there have been just 4 episodes just like CW’s other new series Beauty And The Beast, which I love. And I think the network’s got a good thing here with Arrow, and I think they recognise that too and that’s why they’ve given the order for a full season. (Now I wish they’d just give the order for a full season for (Beauty And The Beast and Emily Owens, M.D.).

Let’s talk cast. The lead. Stephen Amell, is a really good actor, well that’s what I think anyway, based on what I’ve seen so far in the series. I think he does a really good job of pretending to be a playboy and when we get the behind the scenes look of him being worn down by living separate lives as Oliver Queen and as the Green Arrow, I can empathize with him. Kind of reminds me of Dexter, where the lead threads a very thin line between what is right and wrong in the eyes of the law and ethically. What he can do physically is also amazing! The stunt work, not the six-pack! Although don’t think I didn’t notice his hot bod too. I guess to have a BIG female fan base, you need a good looking and hot lead. Oh, and if you don’t already know, I am a sucker for all things related to archery, chess, and ice hockey. (PS: I love the bow Oliver Queen owns!)

The leading lady Katie Cassidy – there’s something about her that I haven’t warmed up to yet and I also haven’t quite put a finger on why yet. But, she’s a done a decent job as Laurel. Now, leading ladies in any series usually have a dual role as the romantic interest and the on screen sparks between Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy haven’t really exploded yet for me. I like their characters individually, and I love the way she holds her own but is still vulnerable at times. But, maybe the characters aren’t supposed to really spark together right now, that’s why I’m not really feeling it with regards to Oliver and Laurel. I can feel Oliver’s feelings for Laurel and his dilemma regarding her. I just don’t quite feel like Laurel feels the same way for Oliver. Well not yet I guess.

I love Diggle! He’s great as a moral compass for Oliver and I am so looking forward to more of their relationship in the series. And David Ramsey who plays Diggle does a fantastic job. I think the other two ladies on the series also deserve a mention because they are doing such an awesome job. In fact, considering it’s the Borg Queen herself (from the series Star Trek Voyager), I shouldn’t have been surprised at her role of not-so-innocent mum Moira.

I am looking forward to more of Arrow, and if you haven’t checked it out, please do so. Now the style, we find out more about Oliver’s 5 unexplained 5 years through lots of flashbacks. And it works, I’m glad they are doing it bit by bit. Feeding us enough information for us to follow the story and the current situation. It’s also a good way to keep drawing the audience to stay on for the next episode and the episode after that.


Episode 1: The first episode did a good job of drawing me into the story. Obviously, since I’m still watching it and it’s episode 4 already. I like that it clearly defines most of the characters so we know how the reappearance of Oliver affects all the people crucial to the story. And after this first episode, I am curious to find out how can a mother and wife have the heart to betray her husband and son. It makes me want to know more about this wrong Oliver has to right and how much Moira is involved with.

The book. The hit list.
Raisa: You are different. Not like you to read a book
Oliver: I’ve missed you Raisa.
Raisa: No kitchen on the island?
Oliver: No. No friends either. (takes the tray of food from Raisa) Hey, thank you. Do I really seem different?
Raisa: No, you’re still a good boy.
Oliver: Oh I think we both know I wasn’t.
Raisa: But a good heart.
Oliver: I hope so. I want to be the person you always told me I could be.

The Green Arrow in action. I really quite like
the camera angles and shots used in the series.
Another camera shot I really like.
I have a thing for the way our planet looks. It's so pretty.

Episode 2: “You don’t have to go outside the law to find justice.” Do you believe that? That is the recurring theme of Arrow. The Green Arrow is breaking the law to do good. Is he doing the right thing or wrong thing by doing what he’s doing? I have found the characters and relationships that is going to draw me further into the series. Diggle & Oliver, Oliver & his sister Thea, Oliver & Laurel.  More of Diggle’s personality and background is revealed in this episode and I like the dynamic between Oliver and Diggle. He is someone who ‘gets’ Oliver. And I think Oliver needs that.

"Home is a battlefield. Back home they’re all trying to ‘get you’. Get you to open up, be somebody you’re not sure you are anymore. Or I could be wrong. Maybe after 5 years alone, you’re not as messed up in the head as you have a right to be."
- John Diggle

I always wanted an older brother, someone like Oliver would have been perfect!
 Oh and don't you think Thea, played by Willa Holland, looks a little like Claire Forlani?
"Sometimes when I felt, whatever, I’d come here. About a month after the funeral, mum stopped going out. Pretty soon she stopped talking altogether. The house got so quiet, so I’d come here, to talk to you. I mean stupid stuff, like what I was doing that day, what boy I had a crush on, and then sometimes I’d ask you, beg you to find your way home to me. Now here you are. And the truth is, I felt closer to you when you were dead. Look I know it was hell where you were. But it was hell here too. You got to let me in Oli, you got to let someone in."
- Thea Queen

Okay, I kinda do want them to get back together.
And I love a man who can protect the woman he loves.
Oliver: I’m a jerk. Before the island I was a jerk. And now I’m just a, I’m a damaged jerk.
Laurel: What’s in the bag?
Oliver: I thought about many things on the island, but there was one thing that I thought about everyday. I actually dreamed about it. And I promised myself that if I ever got the chance to do it again, I’d do it with you. Eat ice cream.
I think Kelly Hu is an awesome actress, can't wait to see more of her in Arrow.

My favourite lines: “Oliver, you’re an adult, you can say ‘No’.” & “I didn’t know how painful it would be to keep my secrets.”

Episode 3: I love that this episode expands on the relationship between Diggle and Oliver. I think there’s a lot to be explored with the two of them. The fact that Oliver allows Diggle to see who he really is shows how much he values Diggle and how much he trusts him. In fact, from the time he asks Diggle’s opinion regarding the nightclub, it already shows that Oliver is beginning to value and trust Diggle. And when he tells Diggle to get his mother and sister out of the building during the chaos of the shooting, I knew. But what I did expect was that he would reveal himself so soon. After all it’s just episode 3. But on retrospect, it comes at a good time. Now that the entire exposition is over and done with, its time to start getting to down the business of weaving out the dirt bags of Starling City. Can’t wait for episode 4 to see how Diggle reacts to the knowledge of Oliver’s secret.

Oliver: You’re letting her play hooky?
Moira: When your sister gets like this it’s best to give her her space.
Oliver: She’s testing you.
Moira: Yes. Who’d she learn that from?
Oliver: Mum. When I was her age, you and dad let me get away with murder, looking back I could have used less space and more parenting.

Oliver: So, what do you think?
Diggle: Well I’m here to provide security, Sir, not a commentary.
Oliver: Oh come on Dig, do me a favour, speak freely, please.
Diggle: Well this is the Glades, right? Your rich white friends wouldn’t come to this neighbourhood on a bet.
Oliver: I am Oliver Queen, right? People would stand in line for 3 hours if I open a club.
Diggle: And no one who actually lives in the Glades would see a penny of those cover charges.
Oliver: If we make it a successful business, we can change the neighbourhood.
Diggle: I was wondering when we would get to that. The white knight swooping in to save the disenfranchise and all by his lonesome, with no help from anybody.
Oliver: Wow, you don’t think very much of me do you?
Diggle: No actually Sir, I have a very high regard for how perceptive you are, Sir.

My favourite lines: “So sweet of you to adopt two white boys, they need a good role model.”

Episode 4: My favourite episode so far. I really think with Diggle now on board and on his side, Oliver aka Green Arrow has a chance to save himself from going off the deep end. I have no doubt about how much good he can do for Starling City, but at what cost to himself? I think Diggle is the moral compass of this show. Both Diggle and Laurel represent what is good and pure. I also love how they’re started to develop a more positive relationship between Oliver and his sister Thea. She’s not a bad person, she’s just not had a good role model or a proper outlet for the past 5 years. Now since episode 3 I’ve taken notice of the character Felicity Smoaks, the IT personnel who rabbles when she’s nervous and barges into offices demanding answers. She’s funny! And an amazing actress. I hope to see more of Felicity Smoaks in the future but in a more active role in the series. This series is starting to hook me in…

"Do you remember when the people in this city helped each other? They can’t do that anymore because a group of people, people like my father, they see nothing wrong with raising themselves up by stepping on other people’s throats. It does need to stop and if it’s not gonna be the courts and it’s not gonna be the cops, then it’s gonna be me. And I hope you."
- Oliver Queen

She's so funny! Writers of Arrow, please give me more of Felicity Smoak!
Felicity: I’ve got one question. Why am I being fired?
Walter: Ms Smoak isn’t it?
Felicity: Yes. And I am without a doubt the single most valuable member of your technical division that’s including my so-called supervisor. Letting me go would be a major error for this company.
Walter: I agree, which is why you’re not being fired.
Felicity: I assumed when you brought me up here it was because (makes the action and sound of her throat being cut)
Walter: It’s because I wanted you to look into something for me. A variance of 2.6 million dollars on a failed investment from 3 years ago, it was authorized by my wife. I was hoping you could find out some of the details of the transaction for me.
Felicity: Find out?
Walter: Dig up, discreetly.
Felicity: I’m your girl. (walks away then turns back to face Walter) I mean I’m not your girl. I wasn’t making a pass at you. Thank you for not firing me.

Diggle: I miss feeling like I’m making a difference in the world.
Carly: Then get out of personal security and go do something you believe in.
Diggle: Yeah, what if it’s wrong?
Carly: John if you believe in something, how can it be wrong?

A new partnership, one that I'm going to enjoy and love watching.
Oliver: You here for the bodyguard position? Cos the new guy just quit.
Diggle: No I’m not. I’m here about the other position. Just to be clear, I’m not signing on to be a sidekick. But you’re right, fighting for this city needs to be done, and you’re gonna do this with or without me.
Oliver: Yup.
Diggle: But with me, there’ll be fewer casualties including you.
Oliver: Diggle I’m not looking for anybody to save me
Diggle: Maybe not, but you need someone just the same. You are fighting a war Queen, except you have no idea what war does to you, how it scrapes off little pieces of your soul. You need someone to remind you, of who you are, not this thing you’re becoming.

My favourite lines: “Second time tonight that a friend of mine has taken me to the woodshed, kind of tires me out.”, “I need to right the wrongs done by my family.” & “I think there’s too many people in this city who only care about themselves, people who are selfish. I think they need someone who cares about the lives of other people, someone like you.”

Episode 5: Moment of truth, do I like Arrow enough to follow it through to the end of the season? My answer is yes. It's not my favourite new series from this season's new kids on the block - my current favourite is Beauty And The Beast, but I do enjoy the show enough to put it on my to-watch list. My favourite scene in this episode actually had 3 lines that aren't really proper dialogue. It was when Diggle was in Oliver's Green Arrow office looking for the locator transponder GPS device. He went 'Wow' then 'Ouch' then 'Oh that's sweet.' LOL. That scene cracked me up. Boys and their toys. I also loved seeing Diggle in the hood as Green Arrow. It's obvious that today's episode is about what the cost of lying to everyone in your life and leading a double life. It also become clearer to me that almost everything Oliver does or says was planned. But of course, things don't always go according to plan. And I think Diggle is right, I think that while Oliver did plan everything, he didn't realise the extent of it all. Actually this whole show kind of reminds me of a complicated chess game. I also finally get a better picture of what Moira is about. I like how she's like a lioness protecting her cubs, although I am still baffled as to how she could have let the Queen's Gambit go down when her son and husband were on board. How could she be so protective of her family yet send them to certain death? She is one complicated woman. As for the attraction between Oliver and Laurel, I think this episode has set the tone for what's to come. In fact, I feel that until the day Laurel finds out about Oliver's true identity as the Green Arrow, there can never be anything more than attraction between them that is not acted upon. 


Oh that's sweet...
Oliver Queen: It doesn't have to be me in the hood.

Oliver: Why don't you hate me? You should.
Laurel: I did. For so long I did Oli. But after today I realised that I was so focused on what happened to my family that I didn't even stop and wonder what could have happened to you. I didn't know about the tortue or your scars. What happened to you on that island was far more than you deserved. And I was wrong that I didn't ask you before, but I'm asking you now. I need to know. I need to see.
Oliver: Are you sure?
Laurel: Yes. (Oliver lets Laurel see his scars) How did you survive this?
Oliver: There were times that I wanted to die. In the end, there was something I wanted more. 
"There were times that I wanted to die.
In the end, there was something I wanted more."

Moira: I've been the good solider. I've done everything you asked, but if any member of my family so much as gets a paper cut, I will burn your entire world to ashes.

Oliver: Do you want to know why I don't about what happened to me there? Because if people knew, if you knew, you'd see me differently. And not as some vigilante guy, as damaged. I don't sleep. I barely eat. I can barely sign my name let alone aim a bow and arrow.
Laurel: After last night, clearly we are still attracted to one another. Oliver, nothing can ever happen between us again.
Oliver: I know.

I foresee a great friendship and brotherhood happening between these two.
Diggle: So you lied to her, or maybe you just gave her a version of the truth.
Oliver: I told her what she needed to hear Diggle. She was too close.
Diggle: Sad thing is, I think you actually believe that. I think things didn't go down exactly as you planned. You didn't count on so many people having questions, doubting you. You didn't think about what happens when you lie, especially when you lie to the ones you love the most. When you were stuck on that island, plotting your grand plan to save the city, I don't think you stopped to consider the effect it would have on the people in your life, or how it might hurt them.
Oliver: You're wrong. I think about it all the time. And just to be clear, not being able to tell my family the truth, it doesn't hurt anyone worse than it hurts me.

My favourite quotes - "Breathe. Everything breathe. Breathe, aim, fire.", "Well you know us billionaire vigilantes, we do love our toys.& "Oliver I didn't think joining your crusade was ever gonna be risk free. I just don't like being played. Now you might have gotten used to lying to everyone else in your life, but I'm the one guy you don't lie to."

(1) Greg Berlanti has directed the film Life As We Know It (2010). He has produced the film Green Lantern (2011) and the television series Everwood (2002-2006), and Brothers & Sisters (2006-2011). He has also co-created the series No Ordinary Family (2010).

(2) Stephen Amell has acted in the television movie The Cutting Edge: Fire & Ice (2009). He has also guest starred in television series like Flashpoint, CSI: Miami, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Vampire Diaries, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 90210, Hung, New Girl, and Private Practice.

(3) Katie Cassidy has acted in films like Taken (2008), A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010), and Monte Carlo (2011). She also played Ella Simms on the television series Melrose Place (2009-2010), and had a recurring role in Gossip Girl as Juliet Sharp. She has also guest starred in television series like 7th Heaven, Supernatural, and New Girl.

(4) David Ramsey has acted in films like Pay It Forward (2000), and The Guardian (2002). He has also guest starred in television series like Ghost Whisperer, The West Wing, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Minds, Dexter, Castle, and Grey’s Anatomy. He has also played Al Druzinsky in the series Outlaw (2010).

(5) Willa Holland has acted in films like Garden Party (2008), Legion (2010), and Star Dogs (2011). She also had a recurring role in the television series The O.C. and guest starred in Gossip Girl.

(6) Susanna Thompson has acted as Karen Sammler in the television series Once And Again (1999-2000). She has also guest starred in television series like The X Files NYPD Blue, Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, Chicago Hope, Star Trek: Voyager, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Without A Trace, NCIS, and Cold Case.

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… Arrow has a lot to live up to if you’re a Smallville fan. However, I think that it has potential to be as successful. I need to remember that despite its seemingly procedural style, it is ultimately a action adventure drama with a story to tell. I’m still waiting to be hooked, all in, by the series but trust me, I’m definitely looking at the juicy bait and waiting to see if I’ll bite. 

* Series poster from Splash Page MTV & screen grabs from the show

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