Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Fav thing this Year, Part One. ARROW.

Love it. The cast. The story. The plotting. The good guys and the bad guys and the guys inbetween. They even know how to make flashbacks exciting and relevant!

Firstly, let me point out I've come to this fairly late. I haven't quite finished Season One, so NO SPOILERS!

Okay, where to begin?

Firstly, I am a life-long DC fan. Going way, waaay back. I remember when Kurt Swan used to draw Superman. When the only Batman was Adam West. When Wonder Woman was Linda Carter in THAT outfit.

Yeah, before many of you were born.

So, Green Arrow, alias Oliver Queen. Now in the early days Ollie was a Batman-rip-off, a playboy billionaire with a lot of cool gadgets. Yes, the look was all Robin Hood but that was kinda that. Things changed with the legendary Denny O'Neil/Neil Adams phase which joined the Greenies (Arrow and Lantern) and made them beautiful, social and relevant. Probably one of the high points of the comic world. If you haven't ever seen them, dig them up. They will blow your mind.

Oh, and Ollie lost his fortune which gave him a new slant.

So, ARROW. How did it get it so right?

1. The Crew. Stephen Amell rocks in all sorts of ways. Charismatic and thoughtful and built like a superhero (yes, those training scenes and the insane amount of shirt-off moments. That should become a drinking game but then you'd be unconscious after every episode). Then the rest of the cast works seemlessly alongside. Not a Jar Jar amongst them. I also love the modern mix of characters. Caucasian, Hispanic, Afro-American. It's a natural blend of what a modern city contains. It's the little touches, like Colin Salmon playing the step-dad, that make Arrow 'feel' right. Top marks on that and avoiding tokenism. Again we shall discuss this more later.

2. Homage to the source material. The producers and writers have struck the right balance between the comics and striking a new path. This Arrow is hardcore and not a straight hero. He kills. His time on the island has damaged him. His singlemindness is tempered only by his family, both sister and mother (and we have a lot to say about Mom!) as well as his extended family of Felicity and Diggle, both who serve as his concious when he starts to lose it. It's a great story of a man's loss of his humanity.

The family needs a special mention. We're so used to lone heroes, the orphans and the like, that it's great (EPIC, even) to have siblings and parents and step-parents in the fold. It adds a whole new dimension to Ollie's story. In many ways this is the best 'twist' out of the lot.

3. The flashbacks. As a writer this is stuff you're warned about. Treat flashbacks with extreme caution. But in Arrow they expand the story beautifully and we always love to see Manu on the screen. He's Slade Wilson? ALL SORTS OF EPIC!

4. The look. High, HIGH production values. The Queen home. The city shots. The Arrow lair. Even the nightclub (must be very exclusive give how few people turn up!) work. Hooray for the guys and gals who've made Arrow so beautiful (and we're not just talking about Stephen's abs, but we could be). It;s the stuff you don't really notice except when it's missing.

5. The slow reveals. Just enough of a taste per episode to know there's more at work behind the scenes. Not enough to give the mystery away, but enough to keep you intrigued. Ollie's time on the island. The mother and Merlyn.

6. Great balance between 'hit of the week' and the bigger picture. Arrow's list is a great, simple plot device. It serves to provide the weekly goal (get rid of another name on the list) as well as creating a door to a bigger mystery (who's behind the list. What links them all). I love the elegance of it.

So, ARROW. I will come back to this again. Really rather EPIC.

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