With Try TV on Us, you can easily check out the first episodes of 28 TV shows without any risk. Today we’re having a look at one of the year’s most popular new shows: Arrow.
He wanders through the city, hiding in shadows and bringing justice to those who prey on the weak. Compelled by the death of his father to help to good citizens of his city, he has trained himself in martial arts, gymnastics and the art of detection. Billionaire playboy by day; masked vigilante by night. He’s not Batman, though – he’s Oliver Queen, the lead character in the latest TV superhero series Arrow.
The setup is somewhat familiar: the wastrel son of a wealthy industrialist is rescued after years of being stranded on a deserted island. We discover that he was in a shipwreck with his father (or more accurately, it was a luxury yacht-wreck). Before Daddy Warbucks dies on the life raft however, he tells his boy how he squandered his success and completely failed the city that he always intended to protect. He gave Oliver a list of names: each name is someone who has found success preying on the weak and poor people of Starling City.
Based on the long-running DC comic Green Arrow, this new series certainly isn’t the first TV show to be based on a graphic novel: but it does set itself apart from its predecessors by using Christopher Nolan’s grounded and gritty Dark Knight Trilogy as a template.
The series doesn’t even make much of an effort to hide its debt to Nolan, going so far as to lift part of his Batman backstory that sees our tortured boy-billionaire hero spend years training in a remote part of Asia. When he returns to his home city, he even discovers that his childhood friend/love interest has become an altruistic lawyer à la Rachel Dawes from Batman Begins!
In balancing action with the soap opera elements like family intrigue and corporate power-struggles, Arrow feels like a more propulsive series than the superhero TV shows that came before. In Smallville, a show that had plenty of its own merits, viewers were often frustrated by the need to make sure Clark Kent never actually became Superman: or else it would just become a different show. In Arrow, we see our main man in full superhero mode right from the very first episode: jumping over buildings with his parkour skills, taking on henchmen in hand-to-hand combat and pumping gangsters full of arrows. In fact, it features some of the best-choreographed action on TV:
Even Bruce Wayne was never cold enough to just go around snapping necks! And in case you hadn’t noticed: Arrow is somewhat of a beefcake. In just the first few episodes alone, the show contrives a ridiculous number of scenes in which Stephen Amell has to peel his shirt off and show off his freakish torso:
This isn’t The Wire or Breaking Bad or anything like that — but it doesn’t try to be either. Depending on how you want to phrase it, it’s either a guilty pleasure or the TV equivalent of comfort food: you know it’s not good for you, but you just can’t help yourself.