Oh Arrow. Arrow, Arrow, Arrow.
You’ve had your moments, left me weak at the knees (this may or may not pertain to Stephen Amell), and gave me incredible emotional highs. Somewhere along the line, you’ve also become the bane of my existence.
I first discovered Arrow at the end of my first year at university. Incredibly bored in the final term, and faced with only a matter of weeks to get through, I turned to what I thought was a throwaway TV show, something I could binge watch in the background while I multitasked.
And painfully mistaken I was, for I was instantly captivated by the (at the time) fresh premise, along with a stellar cast of characters and Amell’s abs. I blitzed through the first two seasons of the show in next to no time at all, becoming an overnight fanboy of the Green Arrow.
The first two seasons of the show have practically anything I could’ve ever wanted from it. There’s intricate family drama, a great villain in Manu Bennett’s Deathstroke and even an awesome rendition of the Suicide Squad (before they were cool n’all).
And then there’s season 3. Was it the destined hangover from season 2? Perhaps, but there’s far too much to actively hate about the season that lacked direction and a focus. Matt Nable made for a downright weird villain, while Thea became EVEN MORE of a brat. Somehow.
And where we once had Ollie and his crusade against the corrupt of Starling City, we were now left with a painful romance between him and Felicity, Laurel forever falling out with whoever she pleased and a one-note Diggle (a one-note Diggle is never a good thing).
Arrow really took some tumbles over the past year or so, and it’s slightly hard to work out how the producers managed it. Are my positive opinions of the shows first two seasons linked to the fact that I binge watched them? I strongly believe binge watching a show masks some of it’s problems, so it’s definitely possible.
On the other hand, it’s impossible to deny that Arrow has undergone major changes to it’s creative formula fairly recently, switching up some of the things that made it work so well in the past. Whereas we used to have Ollie and Diggle up against the world, we’ve now got more vigilantes than I care to count (some of the buggers even take extended holiday whenever they feel like it).
Some of the things about the show are still the same, such as Captain Lance’s role, but in an America where things must evolve to keep an audience entertained or die, Arrow has surely felt the pressure to change. It just hasn’t made the correct choices in these changes.
The show has given an increased focus to things that ultimately don’t end up mattering (Thea, and anything relating to Thea), and detracted from some of the things that really had me gripped in the past, like the bromance between Ollie and Diggle and the motivations of the villain. I don’t have a clue what motivates Damien Dharke, and that’s incredibly frustrating.
But I cant stress enough how badly I want to love Arrow even in it’s current state. The show just keeps pushing me away, forcing me to endure hours upon hours of stuff I can’t possibly have any emotional attachment to (Christ, I’m starting to sound like David Cage).
There’s also the matter of the forced annual crossover with the Flash to contend with. Arrow has it’s own very distinctive tone, and I’ll admit that I’m largely drawn to the series because of it. However when you throw in a team that fire off quips like they’re a 90’s sitcom, the entire thing threatens to fall apart. The CW obviously has a lot of profit to gain from the crossover, but it’s increasingly damaging Arrow.
All in all, Arrow is a show that surprisingly suffers from change, rather than building on solid foundations like so many others have before it. A shame really, when you consider how many talented people are behind the creation of the show.