TV Review: Arrow Pilot

Showrunners:  Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti

Starring: Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Colin Salmon, and Paul Blackthorne

Plot: After being stranded on a dessert island for 5 years, Oliver Queen, billionaire heir and troublemaker, creates a vigilante alter ego to protect Starling City.


In my opinion, there are two kinds of shows at The CW. One kind is full of good looking people with cool jobs who think their relationship issues are the end of the world. The other kind is Supernatural, which despite having a cast of eye candy bromantic characters for internet shippers to write about, has been able to create an interesting action-packed long-arc television mythology. My hope for when The CW became interested in Green Arrow was that they take more inspiration from Supernatural than Smallville.

After watching the pilot, so far so decent. The show is obviously taking a very dark and gritty take on Green Arrow. While “dark” and “gritty” have become buzz words in superhero adaptations, it works for Arrow more so than most. Arrow’s lack of superpowers and street criminal rogue’s gallery has always been a little darker and grittier than the usual comic book flare. The action is fast and thrilling. The henchmen have some seriously poor aiming skills, but the rainstorm of bullets allows for Ollie to show just how agile and strong he has gotten over the course of 5 years stuck on the island. It is just too bad that this is the year of the archer, otherwise I would have considered Arrow’s weapon of choice to be unique creating a fresh fighting style.

I really love the composition of the show. Ollie’s time on the island will be filled in with flashbacks, which will most likely reflect the lessons and skills he puts into use back on dry land. It is an age old technique, but it is more tried and true than tired. There is a real attempt at portraying the city in not just violent disarray but also in socio-political disarray. It is framed by lead actor’s, Stephen Amell’s, voice over narration. It has a Dexter-like dryness and introspectiveness. It is a little too on the nose in some parts, but that is always a big flaw in many TV pilots. There is just so much information that needs to be condensed into a 40-ish minute network TV runtime.

Green Arrow

Stephen Amell as Green Arrow

The acting, unfortunately, could have used a lot of work. Stephen Amell holds up his character arc the best he could. He certainly doesn’t look out of place running on rooftops dodging bullets, but his sad, stoic hero borders on wooden. He throws enough little personality quirks to stop it from falling completely flat, and he seems like he is having fun when he puts on the fake playboy routine, like Bale’s Bruce Wayne. He seems to be best when interacting with his kid sister played by Willa Holland. Amell shows a lot of promise. I cannot say the same for the rest of the cast. Kate Cassidy as Laurel Lance (what should be Dinah) is a good looking lawyer working with a bunch of other good looking people. She reads her lines with enough enthusiasm to get by, but she isn’t really carrying any charisma with any of the cast, least of all, Amell. Ollie’s best friend, Tommy Merlyn, is played by Colin Donnell. He is pretty much the playboy that Ollie pretends to be. He is also the main instigator it seems for all of Ollie’s bad behavior. Between Lance and Merlyn, you can see CW’s fingerprints all over it. It is almost as if Ollie got pulled out of one of their usual shows and sent back in after going through Hell.

Arrow had a pretty good premise and a decent execution. It is still rough around the edges, but I think that is par for the course for TV pilots. I can see the potential the show has, and I really hope they get there. For now, I am definitely going to keep watching.

Rating: 7/10, mostly because I am feeling generous

DC Character Appearances:

Green Arrow/Oliver Queen – Played by Stephen Amell. He is our trusty protagonist.

Laurel Lance – Played by Kate Cassidy. Laurel Lance is actually Dinah Laurel Lance, the second Black Canary. Since they are using her middle name as her first name I am hoping for a cameo from the first Black Canary.

Tommy Merlyn – Played by Colin Donnell. In the new 52, Merlyn is a good friend of Ollie’s who gets hurt due to Ollie’s misbehavior. I would rather see the classic Merlyn, an assassin/mercenary who inspired Ollie to take up the bow and arrow during his trickshooter days.

Speedy – Played by Willa Holland. Speedy is actually Thea Queen, Ollie’s younger, troubled sister. His nickname for her is Speedy because she used to chase him around all the time when she was younger. She’s no Roy or Mia, but so far, her relationship with Ollie is the most natural.

Walter Steele – Played by Colin Salmon. Steele was the new CEO of Queen Industries. That seems to be the case here, but he is also a former friend of Ollie’s father as well as Ollie’s new stepfather.

Constantine Drakon – Played by Darren Shahlavi. Drakon is a European assassin that bumps heads with Ollie a bunch of times. He is played here by Shahlavi, who you might recognize as Kano from the Mortal Kombat webseries.

Deathstroke – One of the first images we see when the show starts is a black and orange mask with an arrow through one of the eye holes.

Other DC characters that are confirmed to be making an appearance are Deadshot, Huntress, China White, and the Royal Flush Gang.

Green Arrow Deathstroke

Honestly, this has me more excited than anything else