Fall TV preview: How close is The CW’s ‘Arrow’ to a bulls-eye?

As we near the start of the official fall TV season, we are going to be popping in with some more previews and general impressions from some of the shows you’ll be checking out this fall — including our take on the pilot episode and whether or not this is something worth getting hooked on.

As a fan of all things superhero, we are thrilled to really get things rolling now with a look at The CW’s ambitious “Arrow” — a show that the network obviously has a lot hanging on. The network has not had a hit new series arguably since “The Vampire Diaries,” and they’ve been without a member of the DC family since “Smallville” shut down in May 2010. This is a series that features a hero in the Green Arrow (minus the “green”) that is not as popular as Superman, but we actually think that this works in the character’s favor.

After watching the pilot (and without giving any major plot spoilers away), we actually think using a lesser-known superhero in a mainstream sense works out well here for The CW. “Arrow” comes on the air here with less baggage, and it delivers a product that everyone from diehard fans to casual viewers can enjoy. Yes, there are some changes from the source material — from the name of the city to even the hero himself (played by Stephen Arnell). However, there are all sorts of references scattered throughout the pilot to DC lore, and the pilot sets the stage well for some future characters including Black Canary (who is technically already present via Katie Cassidy) and Deadshot to appear.

While the writing may not really give us anything new with “Arrow” that we haven’t seen before, they do so much right that it really doesn’t matter. The action scenes work well while disguising the show’s smaller budget, and there is enough of a origin story here to make us invested in Arnell’s character (a strong leading man who has just enough vulnerability) along with some of the other characters. There’s also a few twists throughout the pilot that you may not see coming.

The final verdict – Given some of the choices made to darken up the hero a little bit, we went into “Arrow” a little worried that this was going to be another hero given the “Dark Knight” treatment just for the fun of it. However, what we had instead was a action-packed, funny, and thoroughly engaging pilot. We typically watch pilots with the understanding that there are still kinks to be worked out, and we typically ask ourselves one resounding question at the end — would we watch again? With “Arrow,” the answer is a resounding “yes.” Let’s just hope that it lasts longer than most of the network’s new shows from last season — only “Hart of Dixie” (which got better as the first season went along) is still standing from the crop.

If you want to check out the full fall schedule for The CW, be sure and visit the link here.

Photo: The CW

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