Learning To Love Againon November 21, 2013
Do you live in or around Austin, TX? Come see me and Dave from Cyanide & Happiness and Randy from Something*Positive at Wizard World Austin this weekend (Saturday and Sunday only). We’ll be at the Dragon’s Lair booth #938 selling merch and doing sketches. Here’s some more info!
I absolutely refused to give Arrow a chance due to its unfortunate pedigree. Being a DC/Warner Bros super hero “reimagining” on The CW and starring nothing but underwear model gorgeous people set off all of my “DON’T WATCH! DON’T WATCH!” alarms. Then, in a moment of weakness, I watched the pilot on Netflix. 3 days later I had binged the entire first season. 3 days after that I was caught up on season 2 via Hulu and The CW app on my iPad (both horrific viewing experiences when compared to Netflix). I gotta say, I was wrong.
Arrow is super enjoyable. That is to say, it is CONSISTENT. If you like the pilot, you will like every subsequent episode just as much, and several you will like quite a bit more. Everything good and bad about Arrow is present from the word “Go” and it keeps a pretty even keel throughout. The stars are far better actors than you’d expect from the CW, the writing is above average for a super-soap, the writers are obviously not scrambling to fit a bunch of loose plot threads together (it feels like they actually have a plan, but leave room for new ideas), the FX are not cheesy, the cinematography is better than most cable action dramas and (something I was not expecting to notice or care about) the fight choreography is quite interesting. There’s a lot of close combat (it’s not all arrows from afar) and the producers have obviously spent some time developing a fighting style for the main characters that plays well on TV without being overblown or unrealistic.
All of that said, there are moments of soapy-cheese (usually between Oliver and Laurel), sometimes the villains or the guest stars are not on level with the core cast acting-wise (but rarely if ever Tom “Wait… does… Clark… smell… a fart… or… is… he… just… trying… to… convey… emooooootion?” Welling horrible), and… no, that’s about it. There just isn’t much to dislike about Arrow at all.
One of the aspects of Arrow that I’m particularly enjoying (something that Smallville failed miserably at), is how they are integrating characters from the wider DC universe in clever and subtle ways. They plant seeds episodes in advance for big character appearances in ways that would go totally unnoticed by non-nerds, but also won’t infuriate their core nerd audience. When they do introduce a larger than life character, they find a way to distill them down to their basic elements without totally reinventing them (since the Arrow-verse seems to be one without Metahumans or actual superpowers so far). I don’t want to get into specifics to avoid spoilers, but we are doing a SUPER SPOILERY THREAD over in the Fancy Bastard Facebook Group (newbies HERE and season 2 discussion HERE).
So, if you liked the idea of Smallville but wished it were 1000% less dumb, or 100% more like Batman Begins, I strongly recommend checking out Arrow. Season 1 is streamable on Netflix and Season 2 (which is about half-ish over) is available via Hulu (free version) and the CW streaming iOS app (though episodes are being removed as they get older). It feels good to enjoy a damn super hero on TV again.
Buying holiday type gifts for a special Harry Potter Fan? If you haven’t seen my wife’s Quidditch necklaces, you probably should is alls I’m sayin’.
HEY! CHECK THIS OUT!
I did an interview with Graphic Knowledge Magazine (Issue 2) (available here for iOS devices) about the origins of HE, the recent shift to storyline/character based comics, and the ups and downs of this weird job I have. I felt like I was super honest and there’s probably some good info in there for anyone looking to do their own thing for a living.