I can’t believe I’ve made it this far into television blogging without talking about Arrow, which has, in its two short years on air, become the show I most look forward to watching every week. If you’re thinking Arrow — based on DC’s “Green Arrow” comics — is just another soapy CW genre show with bland acting by beautiful people, you would be wrong. Arrow is the story of billionaire playboy Oliver Queen who, after five tortuous years stranded on an island, returns with a vendetta against those who have ruined his hometown of Starling City. Here are five reasons you should be watching Arrow right now:
Superheroes done right: It’s been a while since primetime television has done a superhero show well. Often the lower budget of television leads to cheesy special effects and off-screen action sequences. But not so with Arrow. Somehow, the producers manage to pull off at least one spectacular sequence a week — whether it’s an intricately choreographed fight, stunning trick shots with Arrow’s bow, a big explosion or a thrilling car chase.
A genre-lover’s dream cast: The titular star Stephen Amell was a relative unknown before being cast as the Arrow / Oliver Queen. But the show is rounded out with supporting actors and recurring guests who are sure to be favorites of anyone who loves sci-fi / fantasy. Watch for Katie Cassidy, formerly Ruby from CW’s long-running Supernatural, as Laurel Lance, Oliver’s long lost love. And Paul Blackthorne, from the TV adaptation of the beloved Dresden Files novels, plays Laurel’s father — police detective Quentin Lance. Other recurring guests include John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood), Alex Kingston (Doctor Who) and Summer Glau (Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles).
Actual character development: One of the interesting things about Arrow is that it tells stories in two timelines — the main story is in present-day Starling City, as Oliver spends his evenings using bad guys for target practice. The second timeline is on the island where Oliver was marooned for five years, and be assured that this is no Castaway story. There was a lot more happening on that island than campfires and coconuts, and the unfolding story there helps shed light on how Oliver transitioned from a spoiled, self-involved rich kid into the present day’s hardened sharpshooter with his own moral code.
Girls who kick ass: Arrow may be Oliver’s show, but this vigilante is surrounded by women — both friend and foe — who are nuanced, tough characters not afraid to put Oliver in his place. Laurel Lance, her sister Sarah, Oliver’s sister Thea and his mother Moira all have their own interesting character arcs that don’t always revolve simply around their relationship with Oliver. And several of them have proven that they are just as courageous and tough as the show’s title character.
Stephen Amell’s abs: Well, this one is pretty self-explanatory.