Arrows And Flashes And Legends, Oh My




Confession time: I've been a bad internet writer-person.

Because of the inconsistent posting schedule?

No...

Because of the inconsistent way you respond to the trickle of comments left on your articles?

Well...

Because of the derogatory way in which you constantly refer to the scant-few loyal readers you have as masturbatory vagrants misappropriating public resources and facilities?

Wait...

Because of that video you posted on Reddit of that girl and an eel?

Now wait just a damn minute! To the first point, I have a life, and I don't get paid to do this, so give me a little leeway there. Second, I'm not being rude, sometimes I just forget that there are comments to reply to. Also, see point one. Third, that's just funny. And forth, it wasn't an eel, it was a knife-fish.

But, no, not any of that. No, for two years now, the kindly readers of this site have been making a request of me: watch Arrow. Review Arrow. Make me a grilled cheese (OK, that last one is just the voice in my head, but he reads the site too. He isn't a fan...). And I've been saying for two years, "OK, sure, when I have a moment." That was a lie. I had no intention of watching Arrow, and for one, ten year long reason: Smallville ruined it for me.

The Green Arrow is my favourite of the DC heroes, and the prospect of him having his own show should fill me with glee. Except that Smallville, that fetid quagmire of mediocrity, featured Oliver Queen extensively, and soured the patch for my liking. Setting aside the fact that Smallville just plain wasn't good, their version of Oliver Queen was not Oliver Queen; he was Bruce Wayne. Smallville couldn't get permission to use Bruce Wayne, so they settled for Oliver. Which actually makes sense, considering that from his conception, Oliver Queen has been a expy/rip-off of Batman anyway. But they didn't make him Oliver Queen, they wrote him as Batman, and just called him Oliver Queen.

So, when Arrow was announced on the heels of Smallville's conclusion, I couldn't be bothered. And so time has passed. And before I took my break last week, the CW released the trailer for their latest spin-off of Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, featuring all the members of the Justice League that would be lucky to make it as part of Justice League Detroit (and certainly never have to worry about conflicting with a big screen adaptation). And I watched it, and thought, "hey, this looks like it could be pretty fun. And that shot of all those archers charging through a tunnel looks pretty bad ass." So, with a week clear on my schedule, I decided to live up to the suggestions and I watched Arrow.

I'm still half a dozen episodes away from finishing the third season, and then I'll start in on Flash (which I had seen whole episodes of this past year, and wasn't overly taken with). And I have thoughts, and an announcement, after the jump.

  1. He's still fucking Batman. Even more so now. These three seasons have basically been slowly retelling Batman Begins, except they keep calling him Oliver Queen. At any time during an episode, if someone says the name "Oliver", "Ollie" or "Queen," mentally replace it with "Bruce" or "Wayne" and things change in no way. Felicity is Oracle, Diggle is Alfred, Laurel is literally any lady friend of Bruce's, including Dinah Lance, Roy is Robin, Thea is annoying... Again, this wouldn't bother me if it weren't so over the top obvious. The bulk of the villains have been Batman baddies (Deadshot, Ra's, Amanda Waller, Huntress, Firefly, Royal Flush Gang, etc. etc.), Starling City is next to Bludhaven apparently. The list goes on. The show quite vigorously wants to be a Batman series, and probably should be, because this Oliver Queen shares nothing in common with any other version of Oliver Queen.
  2. The first season is very good. The third, not so much. The first season had all the tell-tale signs of being aggressively plotted. It was tight, even the monster-of-the-week episodes had purpose, there was character development consistent throughout and it felt like it was building towards something. Since then, it has lapsed into heavy decompression, which befalls pretty much any serialized show that covers 23 episodes. But it has also fallen victim to the CW Stares. This is the overwrought, high soap opera style drama that involves character flip-flopping back and forth over the same drama again and again, usually while turning their backs on one another in the middle of conversations. Arrow carefully avoided this structure in season one, and has slipped into it progressively to the point that season three has felt a lot like Smallville in all the worst ways. And I'd give foldable money is Stephen Amell would look his costars in the eyes when he speaks to them instead of off in the middle distance over their shoulder.
  3. It is still a much more enjoyable show then Agents of SHIELD. For instance, I actually give a damn about any of these characters. And, the writing is usually better.
  4. I, and I expect so is everyone else, am in love with Felicity. It's a shame they stuck her in the girlfriend drama ball in season three, rather than have her stand as the moral voice of Team Arrow, but hopefully they can fix that. She also makes considerably more sense with Ray than with Oliver (coughBrucecough). 
  5. I really like Ray Palmer's characterization, and Brandon Routh deserves his own show (as does Caity Lotz), although the writers clearly have an emulation problem. Because much like how, rather than write a show about Oliver Queen, they wrote one about Bruce Wayne being called Oliver Queen, instead of bringing Ray Palmer into the show, they brought in Tony Stark and called him Ray Palmer. 
So, that is my quick and dirty review of the first two and 5/6th seasons of Arrow. And now the announcement. Because I'm still not certain if I'll be returning to Agents of SHIELD next season (right now I'm 90-10 for giving up on it), that leaves a season long gap in my schedule. And unlike Marvel's show, I actually look forward to watching the next episode of Arrow rather than begrudgingly accepting that I have to. But, I'm also quite looking forward to Legends of Tomorrow, and to CBS's Supergirl (even if I'm convinced that it'll get cancelled by the Eye before midseason). I don't know how I feel about the Flash yet, because I haven't started down that road.

But four new shows to review is beyond me. I'm one man, and as I mentioned before, I don't get paid to do this. So, I have decided that starting in the fall, I will review all of Greg Berlanti's DC television properties in one weekly reaction piece, likely towards the end of each week. I will be classing them under Arrow, as that was the parent series, and will likely refer to them as something trite like DCTVU, unless the internet has already come up with a better term.

So, confession time: you were right you library hobos. I should have done this last year. Next time you suggest something... who are we kidding, I'll probably do the same thing all over again.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

2 comments :

  1. 1. I've seen the internet call it #Berlanti-verse or #Berlantiverse, although your own choice is frankly better at distinguishing the DC stuff from Berlanti's other shows (http://www.thewrap.com/the-season-of-greg-berlanti-producer-leads-super-showrunner-pack-with-6-series/) that are not DC Comics based - as I don't think you mean to also include those other shows in your weekly review.

    2. Also, from what I understand, Legends is fulfilling an Agent Carter role, will have a shorter episode order than the rest, and will be televised between the two halves of Arrow/Flash.

    3. As a long-time fan (since the first episode of Continuum) who previously inquired about Arrow, thank you for taking this on.

    4. Yes, he's faux-Batman, but that doesn't mean that this show still isn't much better than Gotham. Arrow may not be the Green Arrow show you want, but its the Batman show you deserve.

    5. I know you don't get paid to do this, but I also know that if you had some system -- Paypal or whatever, in place for donations, I would have contributed a few times already, and I assume others would too. I save a decent amount of money on things like rent and high-speed internet access by virtue of my status as a library hobo, you know.

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  2. I agree totally with the soap opera drama characterization! However, I still haven't got through season 1 as it's all too mopey. I actually prefer flash as it takes itself a little less seriously.

    I admire your commitment to Agent's of shield but I cannot even watch a full episode anymore, I skip through it just to get the gist. This show is horrific, Agent Carter was a pleasure however.

    I agree with the chap above, some great analysis on this site!

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