Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Arrow the TV Series

First of all - I have not read or seen any original Arrow material, this new TV show is my first exposure.

I watched the first episode of Arrow a couple weeks ago. I love superhero movies, TV shows and books. Could that be why I wasn't all that impressed by Arrow? There are so many similar storylines, I'm not grabbed by this one.

Starting a series with a man cheating on his girlfriend (with her sister) is boring to me. And he's supposed to be our hero? I don't see it.

He's cute, he's got that going for him but that's about it for me.

And his disguise is a hood? I guess that beats Superman but this show is presented as serious and moody.

However, I adore Paul Blackthorne, I loved him from the moment I started watching Dresden Files when it first aired on the SciFi Channel back in 2007. In this, he plays a cop, the father of the sisters the Arrow guy 'dated'. The one daughter is alive and well. The one that was cheating is now dead (sort of because she was cheating - karma, I guess). So the cop/dad is no more a fan of Oliver Queen (the Arrow guy) than I am.

I watched the second episode of Arrow and I'm still not hooked but I'll watch the third. I noticed the Arrow guy wears a mask of some sort over his eyes. It might be make up, I'm not sure, but at least he's attempting to blur his features.

The action is good and I enjoy the stunts and special effects. They're not overdone, which I like.

And Paul Blackthorne is in it. In case you missed that.

I think my only problem is that the show hasn't set itself apart from all the other shows, movies and books I've enjoyed throughout the years. If it had a humorous streak, I'd probably be hooked by now, regardless of the typical storyline.

I didn't like the end of the second episode when Oliver Queen (the Arrow guy) decides to adopt a billionaire playboy persona and show up drunk to a press conference/shopping mall opening or whatever it was. He embarrasses himself and his family just to let us know that his secret identity is actually Oliver Queen and that Arrow is his true self.

Been there, done that. Zorro is my favorite superhero in which the unmasked person is actually the disguise.

The books (written by Johnston McCulley in 1919) are a bit harsher than the Disney version (Zorro played by Guy Williams in1957) but both depicted the son of a rich man as a foppish, lazy, disinterested man. The TV show, having to keep the disguise longer than the original stories, had Don Diego reexamine his actions (or lack of) every so often and he had to face the scorn his friends, neighbors and bad guys threw on him when he wouldn't rise to the occasion.

He wouldn't fight. He wouldn't stand up for freedom or other people's rights.

The most difficult person to keep up the disguise with was his father - because the father accepted him no matter what. The disappointment would read clearly on his face (shame for his son) and be erased by fatherly acceptance. Sometimes he'd get mad and chew his son out for not standing up for justice. Other times he would just look at him sadly and quietly - you knew he wished his son was different but he wouldn't say it. And then the father would pick up his sword and go fight alone.

THAT is drama. THAT is gripping. THAT is what's missing in Arrow. I already don't like the hero because he cheated on his girlfriend. (Besides the obvious, I find myself wondering, if he can't keep his pants zipped, how am I s'posed to buy that he can clean up rampant corruption in his city?)

I'm supposed to like this guy, respect him, root for him, care what happens to him?

I guess Oliver Queen acting drunk in public didn't sit right with me because of his terrible back story. He watched his father shoot himself to save him. Then he had to carry and bury his own father and then lived on a deserted island for the next five years. That'll mess you up, I admit. But with such a heavy, heart-wrenching past, why go for the stupid drunk persona? I think the writers could have pulled me in if they made him carefree and disinterested because of his dark past. He'll eat ice cream instead of run his father's business. He'll play with the new iPad during meetings and laugh at inappropriate times just because he's not on that island. They could have played up the social-awkwardness his character might have (at least in the beginning) due to being alone for five years and now thrown into the public spotlight.

I'm not saying I don't like the show because I would have written it differently but I guess, as a writer myself, I'm miffed they're leaving all these wonderful paths untrodden upon. The writers seem to be skipping over the unique aspects of this superhero that does set him apart from all the others.

Batman watched his parents murdered before his very eyes. That's different from Superman, who was adopted and then raised by a loving farm couple.

Harry Dresden's parents' deaths are not what they at first seem - but you'll have to watch or read those to find out why. (Or do both, you wouldn't want to miss Paul Blackthorne.)

Arrow reads to me as drama for the sake of drama. Situations created for the sole purpose of shoving drama down our throats - instead of them creating situations in which drama would naturally follow.

Am I being too harsh on this fledgling show? Perhaps.

Unlike certain channels (ahem, SciFi, why the heck did you cancel Dresden Files after one season?), I'm willing to give Arrow a try.

I hear John Borrowman will be making an appearance. (He played Captain Jack Harkness in the new Doctor Who.)

I can't wait to see that!

And yes, I'll probably only keep watching because Paul Blackthorne is in it.

For now, that's enough.

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