We never thought a few years ago that we’d like a CW show as much as we love “Arrow,” but with everything that producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, the writing staff, and the cast led by Stephen Amell are doing, it’s impossible not to. This is a show that is everything that you would want from a superhero drama. Heck, it’s everything that you would want in a superhero movie. The first season was very good, but with the past nine episodes this has established itself as one of the best hero shows ever. It’s easily the greatest thing that has ever been created for The CW. (Full disclosure: We say this as someone who has been on a CW show in “Beauty and the Geek.”)
The shining stars – Where do you really start here? How about with Amell, for making Oliver Queen television’s Bruce Wayne. He’s so capable at flipping that switch between the party guy persona and being an intelligent businessman and great hero, and he makes you really want to root for him.
Then, add in there great performances from the supporting cast. David Ramsey has made Diggle the sort of character that you never want to see killed off, even if you’re constantly afraid of it. Meanwhile, you have Emily Bett Rickards lifting Felicity to the level of Oliver’s most-desired love interest over Laurel, Paul Blackthorne delivering the emotional punch as Quentin Lance, and then Manu Bennett and Kevin Alejandro serving as the great Big Bads at the moment in Slade and Brother Blood.
But the real hero for “Arrow” right now is the writing staff, who are making sure that no small story or one-episode villain is unimportant to the story. People like the Dollmaker and Count Vertigo have been appropriately brought back, and they have put other 22-episode series writers to shame with the consistency in mythology. They even recast Sarah Lance in a way that didn’t make you care, mostly because they made this version of the Canary really worth rooting for. The CW often gets some flak for bad writing, but not this time.
Also, the way that The Flash’s origin story was handled was absolutely brilliant.
What needs work – While none of them are necessarily awful, Laurel, Thea, and Roy are the three weakest characters for us on the show, and we worry in particular about what the fan community would do if Laurel / Oliver becomes a romantic item again. The only other issue that we really have to complain about is one moment from the season: Oliver sleeping with Isobel Rochev. The show has done a good job at getting away from the “we need shirtless men” mantra, and while we understand the intention behind this from the character standpoint (both trying to establish a sense of emotional power over the other), there could have been more done there and with the business side of Queen Consolidated.
Overall – You have to be truly the stuff of legends (i.e. the final season of “Breaking Bad”) to get the elusive A+ grade from us. But, “Arrow” season 2 so far still has plenty to be happy about. Great action, great storytelling, and performances that we believe. One last piece of praise that we’ll give for this is that we’ve actually enjoyed it more than about 95% of all the superhero movies that we’ve seen over the past ten years, and they have the budget and the big stars. Grade: A.
If you want to read even more entries in our Midseason Report Card series, we suggest just paying a visit over to the link here. We’ll have more here every day for the rest of the month.
Photo: The CW