The fall television season is in full swing, and despite the usual amount of crap, there are actually a few bright spots this year.
This festering pile of banality is not one of them.
As I’ve mentioned before, the CW’s action drama Arrow is a particular standout, and deftly manages to pull off a real world gritty comic book story without the show feeling like stupid, soapy superhero saga.
Here are 5 reasons why Arrow is a new TV show to be exited about:
1) NO SUPERPOWERS
One of the coolest things about Arrow is that the producers have repeatedly mentioned they are taking the Batman Begins approach and grounding their show in a more realistic setting. No superpowers, no aliens, no magic — everything that occurs in Arrow could conceivably happen in the real world.
With the exception that one could grow a beard that fake. Seriously, it’s like his chin has pubes.
As a result, Oliver Queen’s amazing archery skills are not the only talents he develops during the five years he spends stranded on a (mostly) deserted island.
During this time he also trains to become a deadly martial artist and hones a powerful parkour-style of athleticism that allows him to scale walls, jump across rooftops and appear and disappear in a flash.
2) HE’S A HARDCORE DEATH-DEALING NECK-BREAKING VIGILANTE
While there may be similarities to The Dark Knight trilogy when it comes to Arrow’s gritty real-world take on superheroes, the new CW show couldn’t be more different when it comes to how its vigilante deals with the criminals he encounters.
Whereas Batman has a strict moral code that prohibits him from taking a life no matter how vile his foe may be, Arrow does not. As a result, he’s more than willing to kill the scum in his city by piercing their hearts with razor sharp arrowheads or brutally breaking their necks with his bare hands.
Snap. Crackle. Pop.
3) IT USES THE DC UNIVERSE PROPERLY
Since Green Arrow is a fixture in the DC Comics universe, producers of Arrow have the luxury of using other DCU characters as they continue to tell the story of their version of the Emerald Archer.
But because they are committed to realism, so far they have focused exclusively on adapting non-superpowered (and lesser known) characters from the DCU. However, what’s really exciting for comic book fans is that many of these characters are being adapted for live-action TV or film for the first time.
As a result, Arrow will soon be butting heads with deadly assassins (Deadshot), savage mercenaries (Deathstroke) and even fellow vigilantes (The Huntress).
Although Huntress should worry less about crimefighting and more about nip-slips.
Even though it’s just begun its run, Arrow has already eclipsed Smallville in making better use of the DCU stable. Whereas Arrow cleverly adapts these characters for their universe, the long running and terrible Smallville repeatedly shoehorned any character they could in their desperate attempts to grab ratings.
It also didn’t help they made them look like they were in a low budget porn.
4) IT USES FLASHBACKS IN A MEANINGFUL WAY
Again, we’re only a few episodes into Arrow, but so far the show is using the potentially risky narrative device of regular flashbacks both sparingly and brilliantly.
Unlike the bloated flashbacks in Lost that inevitably ran out of steam, the brief glimpses of the past in Arrow are not only eerily effective, but they also help viewers slowly piece together how Oliver Queen went from a douchebag playboy that was lost at sea to the focused crimefighter that returned home.
It also adds a welcome layer of mystery to the series, as the logistics of a journey from wealthy selfish d-bag to lethal altruistic crusader is one hell of a character arc.
5) HE’S NOT A DOUCHEBAG
This is (Green) Arrow in a badass yet functional costume on Arrow:
This is Green Arrow on Smallville in a douchey and non-functional BDSM leather daddy outfit: