My Aim Is True: Nine Reasons Why You Should Be Watching "Arrow"
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My Aim Is True: Nine Reasons Why You Should Be Watching "Arrow"

By TK | TV Reviews | April 5, 2013 | Comments ()


I have no idea what to make of my unhealthy addiction to the CW's "Arrow." Based on the comic book character, The Green Arrow, "Arrow" feels like it borrows -- and sometimes outright steals -- ideas from a dozen other concepts. A billionaire playboy named Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) disappears during an ocean journey, only to reappear five years later, scarred and damaged and with a newfound proficiency with a bow and arrow that he gained fighting for his life on a desert island. His father, who died on the journey, confessed his sins and made Oliver vow to try to take down the criminal element that afflicts Starling City, where the Queens make their home. Queen dons a costume and has nighttime adventures fighting crime with his trusty bow and arrow, makes a few allies and a lot of enemies.

I know, right? It sounds like absolute bunk. There have been so many terrible, terrible superhero-style TV shows in the last several years that this one seemed like it would be just another pig in the pen. At best, it would be "Smallville" without the superpowers, and given how awful that show could be, that's faint praise. At worse, we'd end up with another version of "The Cape" or worse, something akin to "Night Man."

And yet... there's a little more than meets the eye. "Arrow" isn't just a sort of Batman-meets-Hawkeye. It's actually more like Batman-meets-Hawkeye-meets-The Punisher. It's a pretty intense show at times, and it works for a number of reasons. It's fun, it's exciting, the storyline is solid and enjoyable, the cast is refreshingly diverse, and it's got nods-a-plenty to comic book nerds as well as a host of other genre fans. Yet despite that, it's also surprisingly not superhero-y. There are no super powers at all, no science lab accidents, no mutating whatevers. In fact, no one ever calls him "Green Arrow" or even "Arrow." He's simply known as "the hood," which is a nice touch and nod to realism.

Yes, you'll regularly be hip deep in cheese, and yes, the idea that a simple hoodie can somehow prevent anyone from recognizing you is preposterous, and yes, the occasional soap opera-level drama and character obstinacy gets occasionally annoying. But if you can work through those issues, you'll find some genuine joy is to be had. So here are the Ten Reasons You Should Be Watching "Arrow":

1) The stuntwork and fight choreography is surprisingly good for television.

2) The women in Starling City are absolutely stunning (and surprisingly diverse).


3) So much so that this is the "awkward, nerdy girl" (business attire has never looked so good).


She (Emily Beth Rickards) is also one of the best parts of the show.

4) Despite all of that, the beefcake is frequently much more on-display than the cheesecake (the show features little cleavage-and-undies, but plenty of sweaty man action).


5) The rogues gallery has been pretty terrific so far, with easily recognizable characters for fans of the comics.


6) Harry Dresden (Paul Blackthorne) is in it.

7) As is Captain Jack Harkness.

8) Not to mention an honest-to-god Borg Queen, a Cylon-loving traitor, and a time-traveling Farscape hero.


9) The violence isn't fooling around, either. I wasn't kidding about the Punisher comparison. The show is quite brutal at times, and it ain't the A-Team. Oliver Queen is basically Batman without the self-restraint.


BONUS: Episode 17 featured a guest appearance by DJ Steve Aoki. DANCE PARTY TIME.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Joe Fiore

    Calling him 'the hood' a not a 'nice touch'. It's stupid and annoying. They'd better start calling him Green Arrow soom

  • wonkeythemonkey

    Can someone please tell me at which episode this show stops sucking? I watched 3 or 4 of the first episodes and they were all absolutely terrible. And the terribleness came from the script, not the delivery!

    The first 1/3 of each episode was exposition to set up who the target of the week is, why we should care, and what convoluted explanation there is for Queen and his ex to both be investigating the same thing for completely separate reasons.

    When they finally get to the action, it's very much of the "why do we care" variety. We haven't had nearly enough time to get to know the villains, and we've only heard about the bad things they do -- it's all in the past and we don't get to see it.

    Then there is his sister, who seemed like a cool character at the very beginning, but turned into an unlikeable whiner in less than one episode.

    Finally, and most annoyingly, NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT. Especially the "banter" between Queen and his ex. They speak entirely in cliches, and there is SO MUCH TALKING. I think I might enjoy this show more one mute.

    So please, and I mean this sincerely, if this stuff gets better as the show goes on I'd like to know when. I might try jumping in at a later point, after the boring, BORING expository episodes finally end.

  • Green Lantern

    I realize I'm a little late to the commentary. Some of you know I've been in the hospital for the last week.

    Anyway I just wanted to chime in and basically say "yes" to all of the reasons listed above. Frankly I was all set to HATE "Arrow" because of the way it diverged from the Green Arrow legend. Yet the ways it does basically make sense, the cast all REALLY seem to be in to what they're doing (always a major plus), and consistently good story plus strong action sequences are ALWAYS welcome on my TV screen.

    Oh not to mention "anything superhero-y". So...yeah.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I have one quibble, and it is this--

    Paul Blackthorne was not Harry Dresden. He played a guy called Harry Dresden in a show that was only in very superficial terms based on the book series. He's Harry Dresden only slightly more than Sam Elliot is Travis McGee.

    Now, you get a faithful adaptation, maybe he had a shot. But personally, I think he was too old even back then for the role. At the start, Harry's probably not even 30. And because no one asked, dreamcasting for Dresden-- Christopher Gorham as Harry, Kristen Bell as Murphy, Matt Bomer as Thomas.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Well, the show, as awful as it was, made me read the novels. And no-one can deny that Blackthorne was the only good thing about it.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    These are both true things. I got the books recommended to me a little before the show, but I think I put off reading them until I had actually seen the show and sort of... like, really disliked the show, but felt the premise was promising and figured if the books were, as is the usual case, better, then they may very well be worth reading.

    But man, as much as I love the Dresden Files and Jim Butcher, those first three books? Massively unrepresentative of the average quality of the series and a huge barrier to entry. I think it took me most of a year before I finally broke through to Summer Knight.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Yeah, but I also like reading those (mostly) shitty paperbacks taking place in various RPG worlds. My crap threshold is pretty low because of that, so I didn't mind Butcher's first few novels.

  • Wembley

    The Smoak-show is my #1 reason.

    It offsets the increasingly annoying island sequences. I think they are taking a few pages from Lost (Twin Peaks i.e. just making up stuff each week without an overarching plot/plan.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I like it purely because I will find it endlessly hilarious when it turns out Oliver had been on the island alone for, like, two hours before he got rescued. Because I am convinced that is what's going to happen.

  • I'll have to take your word on it about the fight scenes. The brightness control on my computer can only go so high. But the scene where he was fighting a black panther in a coal mine at night sounded great!

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    I'm a pretty regular hetero male, but when Oliver Queen does that thing with the pull up bar, I definitely feel the heat.

  • NateMan

    Dude, watching him do that makes me wish I had like, ANY enthusiasm for working out.

  • You've failed to notice that River Song has made appearances on this show as well.

  • kasper

    It's really pretty amazing that this show works. The writing is absolutely awful at times and the acting can be pretty bad too.

    But somehow, the story is interesting enough and the violence entertaining enough that it works.

  • dagnabbit

    The show is really way better than it has any right to be. I love the fact that Arrow's mom is as slimy as they come and that the hero is often called out on his bull$h!+ (luv ya Digs).

    You forgot to mention Lau from The Dark Knight was in a few epidsodes to add to the nerd cred.

    Green Arrow has always been a Batman knock-off from the very beginning in the comic, basically Batman dressed as Robin Hood. He even had an Arrowcave and Arrowcar way back when. Hawkeye is the cheap knockoff, not the other way around.

  • Green Lantern

    Correctamundo, Dagnabbit. Kudos for throwing out the correction.

    Oh and let's not forget he had his own sidekick Speedy (aka Roy Harper, also seen on the show) to match Batman's Robin.

  • NynjaSquirrel

    Aww damnit, thanks for the spoilers...

  • Green Lantern

    Not spoilers. Comic book history.

  • Three_nineteen

    1) Biceps

    2) Triceps

    3) Delts

    4) Trapezius

    5) Lats

    6) Abs

    7) Forearms

    8) Quads

    9) Pecs

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I would rate pecs higher. I am mostly hetero, but... Yeah, they're hot.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I had to put the show on pause the first time they showed Diggle without his shirt. Holy mother of god.

  • lowercase_ryan

    The Huntress sucks though.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Yes, but-- Um, pretty?

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Yeah, I didn't like her much. Kelly Wu on the other hand...

  • Rochelle

    I like Arrow, but I must leave a 2 day cushion between watching Arrow and watching Justified. Otherwise I cry and marinate in self-loathing.

  • Mmmm, shirtless Diggle. Yeah, I know, they expect me to go for Oliver, but he's such a whiner and has trouble seeing past his own face (though I do like his batshit crazy vendetta that allows him to wreak havoc with little conscience - sort of like other billionaires, but with flair and a leather costume...). Diggle, on the other hand, is steady, reliable, dedicated, respectful and a delight to the eyes. Also, his voice is like a fluffy blanket, wrapped around me. You hear that voice, everything will be okay.

    They've made Felicity a series regular for next season, which is a step in the right direction. She has the best lipstick of anyone on TV right now. Someone in the makeup dept. loves that lady.

  • Green Lantern

    I had no doubt Felicity would be a regular. Good to know, actually.

    And yeah, I'd love to smear her great lipstick around. Rowf.

  • Superweed

    A little thing I like: For the establishing shots, they realized they don't actually have the money for a CGI cityscape a la Dark Knight, so they just cycle through shots of different downtowns (e.g., Boston, Philly, etc.) to keep it more realistic

  • ed newman

    I want to really like this show. I do. But the cheese is Velveeta thick and gooey, the season's main story lines and conspiracy are kinda boring, and the acting and dialogue is often atrocious. My 8-year-old boy loves it, and I will keep watching with him regardless, but I hope they can notch up the complexity so I can get to the point where I actually like it. Because I think there is hope for the show.

  • asherlev1

    Seriously. I'm almost disappointed with myself for not loving the show more, since my love John Barrowman is in it, but I literally barely got through the pilot. CHEESE.

  • SilverDeb

    The cops call him The Hood.

  • toblerone

    Shivakamini Somakandarkram!

    *Celina Jade is HOT!

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Guh. Totally. She better have made it off the island and into a slinky dress at a Starling City party very soon.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Love the show. I think it will get better too.

    Laurel bugs me for some reason. I think it's because I'm supposed to love her or something.

    You forgot to mention Seth Gabel from Fringe (I loved Linc) as the Count. He is set up for a kick-ass returning villain spot.

  • Mrcreosote

    They lost me this week. Someone bribes a building official and the cops are all over it...until it has nothing to do with the plot. Then they drop it. A main character just copped TO BRIBING A CITY OFFICIAL TO OPEN AN UNSAFE NIGHTCLUB AND THEY WERE FINE WITH IT, You kind of have to watch it, but everyone was casual like it was littering or not curbing your dog. This is a felony people. A felony. Also the Arrow "spares" main villians, but he kills scores of henchmen. Scores.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Eh. I see your point, but... Tommy and Oliver are both at least the sons of billionaires, and in Oliver's case he may genuinely be a billionaire in his own right (it's not really clear who has what purse strings around the Queen household), and Lance probably knows that they'll basically plead it out into some kind of community service and just fix the club, so why bother with the paperwork? They'll fix it now regardless. The guy is clearly burnt the fuck out in most ways and really only cares about catching killers, and maybe not even that, really, depending on the day.

    And then also it's pretty obvious Starling City is more corrupt than not, so it may actually be a completely not surprising, barely worth bothering with infraction for all practical purposes. But even as a serious offense, he knows the Queen and Merlyn fortunes would make it vanish.

    If anything bugged me more this week, it was that Oliver actually thought Tommy was somehow a drug manufacturing mastermind behind his back because... Oh, right, no reason. Ten grand probably isn't enough to set up a decent lab and then Tommy is... What's the word? Right, a dumbass who probably never took chemistry after high school. And also Tommy knows Oliver's the goddamn Batman Vigilante now, so you freaking know he'd have stopped that shit two weeks back. It was all contrived so he'd go running to Lionel Luthor and turn, like, bad-ish or whatever they're doing there.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    We call that "Washington DC". Just look up stories about Douglas Jemal.

    That shit happens for real here.

  • This is my favorite new show this year.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Whoa there, let's not be crazy. What about....

    Um. Right. Thin year. Carry on.

  • Tinkerville

    "The show features little cleavage-and-undies, but plenty of sweaty man action.."

    Yes, yes it does. And I, for one, thank them for it.

  • Pamela Franck

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  • Even Stevens

    Your #4 is my #1

  • BWeaves

    Soooooo Archer and Arrow aren't the same show, then?

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