Ror Reviews: ARROW - 'Pilot'

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..

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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