Several weeks into the new television season, there have already been several cancellations, schedule re-shuffles, successful launches, premiere delays, and NBC’s extraordinarily unexpected rise to the top of the ratings; a rise that was helped greatly by NBC’s new hit show Revolution. I’m a big fan of Revolution, and until a couple of days ago, I was ready to label it the best new network show of the season. However, that all changed this past weekend when I finally got around to watching the episodes of Arrow that I had piled up on my DVR.
Airing on The CW, Arrow tells the story of Oliver Queen, a wealthy playboy and socialite of the fictional Starling City, who is stranded on a remote island in the North China Sea after his father’s yacht sinks in a crushing storm. Five years later, he returns home and adopts an alter ego: a hooded vigilante sporting a bow and arrow who is determined to purge the evil out of his city. The series is a reimagining of DC Comics’ Green Arrow, a character that was recently featured on the show Smallville, but who has now been promoted to the starring role, complete with a new actor and an altered backstory. Keeping with the current popularity of superheroes, Arrow premiered to massive ratings for The CW, and along with Revolution has become one of the biggest hits of the season.
Arrow may not be groundbreaking television, but it has action, mystery, drama, romance, humour, a frequently shirtless star, and above all else, it is just plain fun. The show’s action scenes are exciting and engaging, and the superhero plot is complemented nicely with Oliver’s struggle to reintegrate himself into the lives of his family and friends after his five year absence. Oliver’s list of Starling City’s corrupt officials, politicians, and businessmen provides a handy supply of weekly villians, while the extent of his family’s involvement in the city’s corruption gives the series an overarching storyline that connects everything together. More importantly, so far the writers have managed to find the perfect balance between revealing enough information to keep the audience satisfied, while simultaneously holding back enough information to maintain the suspense and keep viewers anxiously awaiting the next episode.
At this point only three episodes have aired, but it only took the first one to convince me that this was a show worth my time and investment. The subsequent episodes have only reinforced this opinion, and when I discovered that The CW has already picked up Arrow for a full season, I was thrilled to know that this hugely entertaining series will at least last the year. Whether or not Arrow can maintain its entertainment value for an entire season remains to be seen, but given what I have watched so far, I know what I’ll be doing Wednesdays at eight for the foreseeable future.