TV Series Review
Stop me if you've heard this story before: Billionaire playboy suffers massive personal tragedy … which turns him into a mask-wearing vigilante determined to protect his beloved hometown.
You have? Well, so surprise there. The superhero world is littered with crusading billionaire playboys—so much so that we have to wonder why Bill Gates wastes his money on charity work and hasn't started buying high-tech crime-fighting gear and domino masks. What's his problem? Does he have a bad back, perhaps?
No matter. The most popular moneyed do-gooder in the game today—or, more accurately, the most popular one who has a show on the CW network—is not Batman or Iron Man or even Mr. Gates, but Oliver Queen, a fellow known in comic book lore as the Green Arrow.
Arrow is an almost paint-by-numbers illustration of the life of a superhero … as interpreted by the youth-and-relationships-obsessed CW. That's not entirely a put-down. He is, after all, at least trying to do the right thing, which is more than we can say for the folks he's fighting.
It wasn't always so. Oliver was once the enfant terrible of Starling City's ludicrously wealthy and powerful Queen family. There never was a party he didn't like, a drink he didn't quaff or a girlfriend he didn't cheat on with her sister.
But his attitude begins to change after his father's ship wrecks, killing almost everyone on board and leaving young Oliver marooned on a mysterious island (its Chinese name translating to Purgatory). There he is taught belated lessons of right and wrong, of loyalty, of courage and (most importantly) how to shoot arrows really, really straight.
Fast-forward five years, and Oliver's back in town, determined to clean up Starling City as a hooded vigilante, toting around a quiverful of high-tech arrows to harass and occasionally kill evildoers. We see him live for the good of the city (as he sees it) rather than the next big party. He tries to be a better person to the folks in his life whom he might've hurt before. And he risks pretty much everything when he goes out to deal with all those desperados.
Batman would be aghast at Oliver's ethos, though, given the Dark Knight's no-killing creed. While Oliver's vigilante slayings aren't necessarily graphic, they're inherently disturbing. He's the show's hero, remember—a self-appointed avenging angel who's trying to make us all safer. But considering that his idea of making things "safer" is through assault and battery and the occasional murder … well, even Iron Man might get all high and mighty about that.
The show has other problems, too. CW loves its soapy plotlines, and Arrow is filled with suds. Relationships can get hot and steamy. Language, in between the twanging of bow strings, can be a bit rough.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen; Katie Cassidy as Dinah 'Laurel' Lance; Colin Donnell as Tommy Merlyn; David Ramsey as John Diggle; Willa Holland as Thea Queen; Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen; Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance; Colin Salmon as Walter Steele
Paul Asay Paul Asay