Wednesday, January 13, 2016

TV Show Review: The (Green) Arrow

Title: The (Green) Arrow
Author: DC Comics
Release Date: 2012 (season 4 showing now)
Genre: action, adventure, superheroes, science fiction
My Rating: **
Official Rating: TV-14 (probably PG-13)
Age Group: 16+ or 18+

Oliver Queen and his father died on a yacht trip years ago, a rich teen cut down in his prime. Well, then there was Sara Lance, Oliver's girlfriend's sister, who snuck aboard at the last moment at Oliver's urging. But that's complicated.
So they died.
And then Oliver appears again, apparently not dead after all. And what happens with billionaires who disappear for a long time? They continue their playboy lives by day, and by night they turn into epic bad-guy-beating heroes who have crazy combat skills. Far be it for Oliver to do anything but live up to our expectations. Of course, he forms a team around himself, mostly consisting of cute tech genius Felicity Smoak but suplimented by friend John Diggle, former army man.
And while others come and go, ultimately it's up to these three to save the world of Starling City from the rather messed up crime lords.

Word of Warning
Please note that while I am not reviewing specific episodes (for the most part), I am commenting on trends the show carries. I will also do my best to comment on any problems that really stand out, even if they were only in one episode.
  • Comic book violence. Can get pretty graphic. People die a lot, to the point where you're numb against it.
  • Torture. Sometimes this is done by the bad guys, sometimes by Oliver.
  • Oliver is a playboy. Like, a lot. We get passionate kissing scenes and more than once a trip to the bedroom is implied. The only scene I can remember where we actually saw the characters in bed is in season 3 and is discrete as to what is shown, but there is no doubt what is going on.
  • Evil mentors. Deception. Dark themes (death, killing, manipulation, torture, etc).
  • Injuries. Blood, broken bones, etc. While painful, Oliver is somewhat superhuman in that he can take injuries pretty well (usually).
  • Drinking to the point of getting drunk.
  • There is a whole cult thing (the League of Shadows, I believe) where the people are very cruel. They have a Lazarus Pit which brings people back to life, but when they come back they're usually pretty messed up and go kind of crazy (having what is called a "bloodlust").
This list looks a lot shorter than that of The Flash, but there are a few reasons for that:
  1. This show has so many problems it's hard to be as specific as I was with the other show.
  2. I don't watch this one as closely or carefully as I do The Flash, partially because I don't like how its dark themes affect my thinking (not that I would do any of these things, just that it skews my view of the world).
  3. It's so dark there is no end to the problems.
  4. There are a lot more seasons here to deal with.

My Thoughts
I remember describing this show to Stacy when I first discovered it. I tried to give her the intro shpeel, but eventually, since it was identical to Batman, I reached for something else. How about Oliver's character and his relationships? Five minutes in and I had lost count of the girls I'd mentioned. And while Bruce Wayne is in love with Rachel but pretending with the girls he plays, it's super hard to figure out what Oliver is doing. The one thing we know is that he's in love with Felicity (spoiler alert really isn't necessary since this is so obvious), and she's in love with him.
So of course that never actually works out for them.

Oliver's problems with girls, as well as his inner darkness, it all just hits me the wrong way. Sure, I've enjoyed the series, since I usually enjoy a DC or Marvel story, but the enjoyment is usually in the moment and mixed with so much frustration and darkness that when I step back and actually think about it, I wonder why I watch in the first place.

It's dark, very dark, and just keeps getting darker. Oliver is no hero, just as Batman and Katniss aren't heroes. Oliver does try, but not hard enough.

1 comment:

grandma jane said...

Interesting that you suggest/say Batman and Katniss (presume from Hunger Games?) are not heroes. What then is your definition of hero?

What struck me when reading your posts of DC or Marvel characters is how much these characters are shaped be their childhood. Perhaps this is one of the few good realizations to be gained when viewing content such as this.

Thanks for suffering through this one for us ;-D) kidding of course, but your work here is very much appreciated!