Ror Reviews: ARROW - 'Pilot'

The very first episode of Arrow aired on the CW last night, and seemed to be received well enough by fans. I had no real expectations for the show, but was I pleasantly surprised, or were my reservations warranted? Click for my take..

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By Mark "RorMachine" Cassidy - 10/11/2012
Douchebag socialite Oliver Queen winds up stranded on an island for 5 years, and returns a slightly less douchey killing machine. He then sets about cleaning up StarLING City (apparently Star City sounded too "comic booky") as the mysterious 'Arrow' (apparently GREEN Arrow - ah you get the idea), his vigilante alter-ego safely hidden by a...hood.



Arrow is pretty much everything I feared it would be - and then some. I remained optimistic when the show was first announced and we got a few details, and even though I didn't like that they were going the "no superpowers" route, I welcomed a slightly grittier comic book show to take over from the (mostly) underwhelming Smallville. But that's the problem:

Arrow is NOT gritty, it just thinks it is.

The CW seem to think that by having the hero kill, and splashing a few drops of blood here and there that they are going "dark", but behind it all it's still just glossy, hammy, fluff - with a workmanlike script and a bunch of graduates from the Joey Tribbiani school of "smell the fart" acting.

In fairness, Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen) and Katie Cassidy (Laurel Lance) come out okay, and as they are the leads I guess that's something to work with. But their dialog is so humdrum and unengaging that any chemistry they might have had is pretty much lost. Not a single member of the supporting cast rose anywhere above wretched for me I'm afraid.

One thing that I did like was the action. Amell flings himself about impressively, and when the arrows are flying and the guns are blasting the show does come alive - until someone opens their mouth again at least. Also, the overall structure of the show is a good one. I don't give a damn about anything happening in the present, but the island flashbacks - that will hopefully continue and reveal exactly what happened to Queen - are at least interesting.

I realize this was only the first episode, and I may come across a bit hard on it, but I ask you this question: If Arrow wasn't based on a comic book, and didn't happen to feature a hooded vigilante, would you tune in for the next episode? Because honestly, without those things, you might as well be watching ABC's Revenge.

If you are a big Smallville fan and don't mind the usual "CWisms" then you might be willing to give much of what annoyed me about Arrow a pass, in which case there will probably be a lot for you to enjoy here. I'm not, I do, and there wasn't.











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manymade1 - 10/11/2012, 4:40 AM
I completely forgot about it last night, but from what I heard from friends I didn't miss much.
BlackFlash - 10/11/2012, 4:40 AM
I watched this not expecting or hoping for anything, so for me it was a good show to watch.
ScRipt69 - 10/11/2012, 4:43 AM
Problem with USA shows, for all their production value, I think that all the actors and clothes are too polished, the screen shot above with all the main leads in action pose, they all look like CGI mupptes, everyone wears the finest clothes, no one is rough around the edges, to me it makes it unreal, 24 didn't have that, people seemed like real people but throughout Smallville it was just all perfect looking people in those silly poses, (and how everyone can hack computers irritates me) I know what the show will be like from the first image I saw, same vein as Wonder Woman, Smallville etc Why cant they make this work. (very early indeed but Im going out on a limb)
nikgrid - 10/11/2012, 4:46 AM
He KILLS a lot of people. That's not Green Arrow. [frick] the CW and [frick] Mark Guggenheim!
WallyWestNAM - 10/11/2012, 4:54 AM
ScRipt, good point, I wish that when our shows say that theyre going for "Real" or "gritty", that they would actually make it so. Not gritty for a film set, but actually make them look as banged up or dirty or un-hollywood as they would in real life.

As for Arrow I've yet to watch the pilot, but I was already unconvinced from the previews. I'm ok with the no superpowers, but they should have tried to go dark and brooding with a character who traditionally is an upbeat swashbuckler. He's not Daredevil, Oliver does not get to be both lol. He is Robin Hood, he is the dashing joke cracking hero. This show, all this revenge, punishment, "Oliver Queen is dead" bullshit? This prettyboy Punisher in a green hood with a bow and arrow. If Batman were a remorsless killer like the Punisher and did some cheesy narration like Frank, that is what this show would be.
WallyWestNAM - 10/11/2012, 4:55 AM
shouldn't*
Christuffer - 10/11/2012, 4:55 AM
I could have told you this a long time ago. Once they learn that the source material and the script are the keys to success, things like this show will be good.

Concepts like "mainstream" and "broader audience" are illusions. Fanboy superiority is an illusion. Making the show/movie "dark and gritty"? Also an illusion. It's all NOT REAL!
It's all about how you tell the story. They think that their ideas are good. They're wrong.
hellfire - 10/11/2012, 5:02 AM
One thing I like about American shows is that in the first half of season 1 the women start off looking fugly to natural and by the beginning of the second season they all end up looking hot with teeth that glow in the dark. Here in the UK it's the complete opposite! Will have to check out Arrow to see if there's any of this kind of acting




So that's why they kept going off to the corner of the room and stare at the ceiling, there's a [frick]ing camera up there
marvel72 - 10/11/2012, 5:04 AM
i'll wait for if & when the deathstroke episode airs,then i'm done with the show.
ironpool007 - 10/11/2012, 5:04 AM
I caught the last few minutes. I totally forgot about it before though. Hoprfully ill cat h a re run.
r0njeremy - 10/11/2012, 5:08 AM
This is not smallville , green arrow kills alot of people in the first episode, [frick] smallville and that weak version of it, this show is better , can't wait to see deathstroke kill and destroy starcity
MJPETTY7 - 10/11/2012, 5:09 AM
This show was so good, how can people say it's not? And for those who say "Green Arrow doesn't kill", wrong! Go read Longbow Hunters, Green Arrow Vol. 3, Justice League: A Cry For Justice, and watch the Smallville episode "Requiem". Oliver has killed before, it just hasn't been this apparent.

Regardless I really loved the pilot, I thought it had everything we needed and left us with enough questions to want more. Next weeks with China White looks good, and I can't wait for Deadshot the week after. And Deathstroke eventually...
blvdnoise - 10/11/2012, 5:14 AM
Doh! Meant to watch this. @Ror That closing statement was the highlight of this article. Well done sir.
djohnpi - 10/11/2012, 5:17 AM
Well it was good enough for me to catch the second one.
DrRockso - 10/11/2012, 5:26 AM
What a shame. At least we've had the awesome version on Justice League Unlimited.
charlie2094 - 10/11/2012, 5:30 AM
Good review, Just thought I'd weigh in. I'm more a Marvel guy (despite Lantern and Batman being my favourite characters) and have never read any Green Arrow outside of his inclusion in any Justice League stories.
I personally, really really enjoyed the pilot. I found the characters great, well directed action, good humour, good music, maybe not enough island background but that'll surely come later. For 45 minutes of TV, they done a brilliant job introducing a new cast of characters, back story, setting up future episodes IMO. It was very comparable to Batman Begins which is never a bad thing.
I do agree that I might not have been so interested in this show had it not been Green Arrow, but the same goes for most Superhero properties. I think that with future episodes, inclusion of China White, Deadshot, Deathstroke and more, this'll start feeling more like a comic book show. I personally look forward to the future episodes.
MrBrown1127 - 10/11/2012, 5:31 AM
I say it gets canceled by episode 3 smh
SuperSomething616 - 10/11/2012, 5:35 AM
AH dang it...it looked so good from the trailers!!! Well i'll still check it out...but least i wont be dissapointed now...cheers Ror ;) good review :)
StrangerX - 10/11/2012, 5:36 AM
I missed this, and I'm kinda pissed
Pooh - 10/11/2012, 5:37 AM
Looks like they've decided to make it a soap opera. I hope they _don't_ bring in the Teagues.

Katie Cassidy's character is nothing like the Dinah Lance from the comics. It's like they decided to replace Dinah Lance with Rachel from the Batman movies.

Looks like there's no love lost between Oliver Queen and Dinah. Dinah is even sleeping with his enemies.

There seems to be no joy in this show. It seems to be just one malcontent against the world.



Nick56 - 10/11/2012, 5:38 AM
I really enjoyed it. 100x better than Smallville
ArtisticErotic - 10/11/2012, 5:39 AM
I'm going to stay away from the show. Friends keep telling me it was terrible, others are saying it was good.

But honestly Superhero shows work best in animation, it's just the truth. There is a reason stuff like Batman TAS, Superman TAS, Batman Beyond etc did so well. Those shows fully embraced the superhero genre and since it was animated it was no holds bar.


The CW always gets it wrong, they take the properties of DC characters and try and make them something they are not. Birds of prey did it, Smallville did it and this show seems no better. I predict this show will last a season at most and be cancelled. I want to be happy for this I really do, but lets face it DC live action department is a joke.

Shadowelfz - 10/11/2012, 5:39 AM
What is it with CW and finding the biggest douches to put on their shows?
WallyWestNAM - 10/11/2012, 5:51 AM
Ok I stand corrected. I just finished the pilot and was pleasantly surprised. This is definitely not how I pictured Green Arrow, but it is a damn good take on the character; can't expect above average acting from most CW shows but Amel is pretty awesome, and I'm kinda liking Detective Lance. Overall, not bad, good even, makes Smallville obsolete. And this was just the intro, can't wait for Deadshot.
rebellion - 10/11/2012, 5:51 AM
''Arrow is NOT gritty, it just thinks it is.'' this.
superotherside - 10/11/2012, 5:52 AM
A little harsh, I think the acting was fine, considering it's a show, in fact I'd say it was better than most shows, but then perhaps I had my expectations so low it couldn't help to live up to them. I do agree on the dark, although I wasn't dissatisfied with tone, actually. So I didn't mind. To me the tone isn't like Nolan's Batman, it's more like Marvel's Iron Man. Which is fine IMO. IDK. I'm going to be watching it for at least a few more episodes.
RorMachine - 10/11/2012, 5:54 AM
"I think the acting was fine, considering it's a show, in fact I'd say it was better than most shows"

Sorry but, which shows are you watching? I've seen better acting on Days Of Our Lives.
mgeoff88 - 10/11/2012, 5:55 AM
I actually thought it was pretty good. I think the standouts of the cast were Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy. And they also had great chemistry together.
Stephen himself nailed it as Oliver Queen, well, the shows take on the character. He was able to interchange between the new and "old Oliver" when need be(to keep his cover intact). The action was great too.

There was some stuff that bugged me though. What his Dad did to save Oliver seemed very poorly written and rushed. I mean, really? That was so terribly written smh. Also, when Oliver killed that guy by snapping his neck, I was like, this isn't Smallville anymore. There's a whole different set of rules with Arrow, which makes it darker imo.

Another thing that bugged me was when Dinah's Dad(a high ranking police officer) raided Oliver's welcome home party and made a comment to Tommy Merlyn about him slipping women roofies. To me that came completely out of nowhere. I even rewinded my DVR to make sure I heard the dialogue right. Apparently, in the shows world, men that drug women and take advantage of them aren't tried and sentenced to jail? WTF! Did I miss something here? I get the writers want us to hate Tommy(mission accomplished), but that is poor writing. That makes no sense that a cop would have an exchange with a suspect like that(he knows Tommy drugs women...) and not arrest him.

I am tuning in next week, but the writers need to step it up big time!
JatevinM - 10/11/2012, 5:59 AM
Arrow was a good show that has alot of potential.
HellsHammer - 10/11/2012, 6:01 AM
I liked it.
BruceWayneNewton - 10/11/2012, 6:03 AM
The acting is a joke and there are times where it feels like Dawson's Creek (like smallville) a little too much. I do kind of like the story and don't mind Arrow killing a bunch of people. I'll give it another few episodes before I make up my mind.
dollstix - 10/11/2012, 6:05 AM
Unfortunately ...DC characters seem to be less 'filmic' than Marvel and I say this as a Brit that is a complete Dredd fan and is really sad that my American cousins didn't embrace it.
However, the Walking Dead and Game Of Thrones show that you can go truly to the roots and create great TV.
I think it's a good bet to remember that the TV execs are not us with a love and affinity with the genre, but bean counters that want syndication and numbers and that quite frankly, makes me sad.
i.e. Firefly etc etc
Stumblin - 10/11/2012, 6:08 AM
So far not a fan of the show, the pacing is weird to say the least. And god the dialogue was just awful, action scenes were great though but overall the acting and non existent chemistry is hurting the show. I did like the nod at the beginning for Deadshot.
KINGPEN266 - 10/11/2012, 6:12 AM
no no no people if u read the comicbooks then u know the storyline and acting was just terrible!They took so many liberties with the characters smh. speedy is green arrow sister?! merlin, olivers arch nemesis is bestfriend,like lex was on smallville and going after the same girl to cause future conflict?!! smh i seen it before i will give it till slade then if it doesnt get better im signing off
fortycals - 10/11/2012, 6:12 AM
Ive never been a fan of green arrow but i enjoyed the show enough to keep me tuned in. especialy since other than alphas super hero fair is light on tv these days.
TheRaven20 - 10/11/2012, 6:15 AM
I disagree. Thought it was well done!
Super12 - 10/11/2012, 6:16 AM
@superotherside - you are always the voice of reason my friend.

Seriously where is all this hate coming from? What did you guys expect? It's the CW and its a risky adaptation of a virtually unknown character and guess what, most critics loved it! The only place I hear grumblings is here. Look, no it's not gonna be everything you ever dreamed of but it is miles from how bad it could be. I thoroughly enjoyed it cause I has reasonable expectations, I suggest everyone do the same. It'll make the show a lot more enjoyable.
kirynthemighty - 10/11/2012, 6:17 AM
I would have to say I liked the action and combat stuff. The dialogue was atrocious yes, but that can be fixed hopefully. Some of the situations I didn't quite get however, like Dinah just all of a sudden flipping a 180 on Oliver and some of the interactions were just forced and awkward I think. I think it could get better, but if they don't fix the dialogue its not going to make it. I will just tune in the get my Cassidy fix
hellfire - 10/11/2012, 6:20 AM
Gotta say as far as your review is concerned I liked it and makes me want to see arrow that much more my only criticism is don't knock the Revenge.. far fetched, enjoyable and gets me shouting "o fa f*ck sake just shoot them!!!" at the tv. Knock it again and I'll go off for 10 years find my own Mr Miyagi .... o f*ck it who am I kidding I can't be arsed I'm too lazy for that.
ABLEE337 - 10/11/2012, 6:22 AM
Sounds more like the Punisher with a bow and arrow.
Green Arrow doesn't kill people, does he???
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