Arrow was the first and my favorite of the shows that now make up the Arrowverse on the CW. When it debuted it was a much darker, realistic version of the Green Arrow than the CW fans had gotten a year prior on Smallville. Stephen Amell played a very damaged version of Oliver Queen rather than the rich playboy version we had been seeing with Justin Hartley. But the show has it’s detractors. Some said the series was more Batman than Green Arrow while others talked about how Oliver only had the one mode… angry loner that insisted his way was the only way.
Through the series six seasons, the show has grown. Bringing in new heroes and villains, definitely borrowing from the Batman universe… but you also have to remember that they do share a lot of villains in the comics and that Green Arrow was in a sense a Batman clone when he started… It wasn’t until Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams got him that he became the unique character he is today. The series did lose it’s way for a bit, and Amell is the first to point that out fourth seasons dive into the mystical took the show away from it’s strengths. But they recognized that and the fifth season was one of the best yet.
But if you are someone who likes the rest of the Arrowverse but can’t get into this show… try again now. Stephen Amell is turning in his best acting since the series began. The character is totally off balance now, trying to run the city as Mayor and connect with his son all while having walked away from being a vigilante. For a lot of years, Oliver seemed to have unshakable confidence because when he’s in the hood, he does. But the real world is something else and he accepts that he not only doesn’t know what he’s doing as a father… but he actively seeks help from those around him. He’s looking at the world as something more than just his mission to save the city. This tonal change for the character started last season and was most noticeable in the episode Spectre of the Gun, where Oliver had to deal with an issue that was something he couldn’t just shoot or kick.
Turning the hero mantle over to a best friend is not groundbreaking. It’s been done in comics many times… Iron Man and Green Lantern off the top of my head… but in doing it, the writers are getting to explore a different side of the Oliver Queen character and start to bring him closer to the one we see in the comics. A lot of what Greg Berlanti and his team do with the characters they work on is not just give us live-action versions, but give them a path to grow into those characters. And even into it’s sixth season, watching Oliver Queen become the Green Arrow is worth tuning in for.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9 PM on the CW.
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