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Arrow Season 1 DVD Review

Arrow Season 1 DVD

“Arrow” is a hit-and-miss comic book series.

In the 23 episode first season of “Arrow,” viewers are introduced to billionaire playboy Oliver Queen who masquerades as a vigilante hero known as the Green Arrow (although he is lamely called “The Hood” in this show). You see, after witnessing his father’s death and being shipwrecked on an island for 5 years, Oliver returns home to Starling City (it’s supposed to be Star City like in the comics) a changed man. Out of respect and honor to his father, Oliver Queen dons another persona (Green Arrow) in order to protect his family, fight corruption, and clean up the streets of Starling City. The first order of business for him is to target shady millionaire/billionaire businessmen from a list he has. Of course, there’s much more to the show than just that as there are plotlines that involve: Oliver’s mother (Moira) and sister (Thea) flashbacks to Oliver’s time on island, the police going after Green Arrow, Oliver opening a nightclub, Oliver’s friend (Tommy) Oliver’s bodyguard (John Diggle), Malcolm Merlyn (a businessman/the Dark Archer/Tommy’s father), the Vertigo drug (and Count Vertigo/The Count), Oliver’s former girlfriend Laurel (who will later become the Black Canary) and her father (Detective Quentin), Moira hiding secrets, gangs (and various criminal gang activities), a jewel thief named Dodger, a fellow vigilante known as The Savior, Felicity (Oliver’s IT tech), Walter (Moira’s new husband and CEO), a secret organization with a deadly plan called the Undertaking, a bomb, and much more.

After “Smallville” wrapped its 10 season run, the CW needed to fill that big scheduling gap. So, they decided to team up with DC Entertainment once again for a “Green Arrow centric series called “Arrow.” While the character of Green Arrow did appear on “Smallville” (played by the charming Justin Hartley), “Arrow” has no ties to that incarnation of the character. With that said, there’s no denying that “Arrow” is highly influenced by “Smallville.” Yes, “Arrow” is a much darker and more violent show (as it should be) than “Smallville,” but the formula and storytelling structures are more than a little reminiscent. Like “Smallville,” characters don’t trust the vigilante and characters know (and don’t know) who the Green Arrow is. There’s also plenty of standard CW drama involving relationships (you’ll know it when you see it). Thankfully, “Arrow” does manage to avoid some of the pitfalls that “Smallville.” For starters, “Arrow” doesn’t tease its viewers nor is it about a hero’s earlier years. “Arrow” is immediately about Green Arrow and it doesn’t waste any time getting to the action. In fact, the show’s action is easily one of the highlights here as the action set pieces and stuntwork are both exciting and well done for a TV series. Just look at Green Arrow’s encounters with Deadshot for reference.

Action aside, “Arrow” does have its fair share of problems. First and foremost, the series feels like a glorified cameo fest. While it’s nice to see characters from the comics like China White, the assassin Deadshot, a vengeful Huntress/Helena Bertinelli, Firefly, Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, the Royal Flush Gang, and Shado, the writers use them as a crutch far too often. Yes, the character appearances in “Smallville” were often the highlight of that series, but they tended to use them only every now and then (at least inititally). In “Arrow,” they just pile on the cameos to appease the fans. As a result, however, a lot of these characters are absolutely wasted like Firefly/Garfield Lynns and Ted Gaynor/Blackhawk. These characters deserved better than being throwaway characters for a single episode.

Another pivotal problem with “Arrow” is the characters. The reason a show like “Smallville” survived for so long was because the characters were likable. Aside from Malcolm (wonderfully played by “Torchwood” star John Barrowman), I can’t say I was drawn to any of the characters in “Arrow.” This is mostly due to the more grounded, humorless, Christopher Nolan “Batman” vibe of the show. Stephen Amell (who plays Oliver Queen/Green Arrow) is just a wooden, brooding bore for the most part. He doesn’t have the charm or personality that Justin Hartley had. Sure, he is convincing in action sequences and training montages, but that will only get you so far. Hopefully in future seasons, the writers will lay off on the soap operay dysfunctional family storylines and let the character be a bit more personable.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: Widescreen. How does it look? The dark cinematography style is effective for this series and it looks superb on DVD. It should be noted that season 1 of “Arrow” is also available on Blu-ray.

Audio Track: Dolby Digital 5.1. How does it sound? From the music to the action sequences, this track handles everything quite nicely.

Extras:
* Deleted scenes from episodes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 12, 17, 20, 21 and 23.
* A lame 2 1/2 minute gag reel.
* “Arrow: Fight School/Stunt School”- A nearly 19 minute look at some of the stunt work and fight training.
* “Arrow Comes Alive!”- A half hour featurette about the comic books, the TV adaptation, the Green Arrow character, the story arcs, etc. The best extra on the set.
* “Arrow: Cast And Creative Team At The 2013 Paleyfest”- Geoff Johns moderates this Q&A with Greg Berlanti, Stephen Amell, Andrew Kreisberg, Marc Guggenheim, David Ramsey, Katie Cassidy, and Susanna Thompson.

Overall Thoughts: “Arrow” is not the best televised superhero adaptation to come along, but you can do worse than watch this series. If you want to see more of “Arrow,” you can catch season 2 of the series on the CW channel.

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October 16, 2013 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , , , , , ,

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