By this point, it is rather common knowledge that the DCEU is in a bit of a pickle, but its sister franchise, the CW Arrowverse, has multiple TV shows, with many garnering critical acclaim, and some less so than others. But if we take a jog down Memory Lane, all the shows started from one: Arrow. Arrow is now on its fifth season, helmed by Stephen Amell, who plays Oliver Queen, who, after being marooned on a nearly-inhospitable island for five years, turns from a billionare playboy to a fearsome vigilante. The show also stars Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance, Emily Bett Rickards as Oliver Queen’s female version of Alfred Pennyworth, and David Ramsey as Oliver’s friend. All of the Arrow seasons are quite memorable, some for good reasons, and some for the wrong reasons. Also, they all have a sort of different style to them that you can notice.
To say the first season had a grungy, dark tone is an understatement. In the first season, the parts of the corruption in Starling City really are highlighted. As this is Oliver’s first outing as a vigilante, is still learning the ropes and indeed, we do see him get knocked around a few times. The best part of the show is the constant mystery and suspense. There is always an underlying tension in the show, which captures Oliver’s difficulties from being a vigilante perfectly. As the show builds up, more drama and tension rises. Another great thing about the show ar the small details. This show, after re-watching it, is actually pretty gory. There are some episodes that are downright unsettling, which just builds on the tension factor even more. The characters are fantastically written. We see Oliver’s transition from spoiled jerk to a vigilante who truly does want to save his city. Season 1 was solid and really did set a high standard for Season 2.
Season 2, if anything, just built on the tension and gore even more. The fight choreography is fantastic as ever and the drama just keeps getting better. Here, the casting for Deathstoke, the main villain was perfect. Manu Bennett captured the rage and complexities of the character brilliantly. The best thing about Seasons 1 and 2 are not just the tension, but the fact that not all characters are covered in plot armour. What that means is that the show is willing to drop several main characters, which really does build Oliver’s character more. But it’s not just Oliver’s character that we see develop; the show captures the drug abuse of Laurel Lance, the dark secrets and deeds Moira Queen has committed, and Thea Queen’s troubles with her family, specifically whether she can trust them. In essence, the show is like a Reacher book; hard to put down and a joy to watch/read. Even the villains, who were not just menacing and brutal, but could be sympathised with, had fantastic stories revolving around their character.
Now, by the time Season 3 rolled around, the Arrowverse was hitting its groove. The new Flash TV show had come out and was winning the hearts of many. Now before the Flash came around, Arrow was a pretty realistic show. It seemed as if the Flash was just going to boost the popularity and ratings of CW’s two TV shows. In actuality, it probably screwed Arrow over and put it down a well Arrow just can’t seem to dig 0ut of. What I mean by this is Arrow had gone from a dark, chilling tone where our hero fights real-life horrors: corruption, murders, crime. Now, the show has taken a mystical tone, with little realism. There are just somethings that are flat-out unexplained, like the Lazarus Pit that brings people back from the dead and grants eternal life. The story is inconsistent and Oliver Queen has no drama or tense moments in the show. As a result, Oliver Queen just has no character.
Season 3 received a lot of well-deserved hate. For a show that was meant to get into the groove, it completely derailed. Season 4 knew that it couldn’t undo the disasters it made; thus, they decided to stick with their guns. Arrow, at that point, couldn’t return to the sense of realism that it once held, so they decided to capture the mixed emotions Oliver has as he falls in love with Felicity while struggling to protect his city from a supernatural force named Damien Darhk, who is played brilliantly by Neal McDonough. Arrow 4 hasn’t quite gotten its groove back, the sense of addicting drama mixed with danger and tension that the show once held, but it does produce something relatively entertaining, with Neal McDonough constantly stealing the show with his brilliant acting, despite the less-than-stellar script. Ultimately, Arrow has a long way to go, but for what its worth, it does prove to be entertaining and it is going in the right direction.