Arrow Seasons 1 and 2 Review

Preface

  • Man, it has been a WHILE since we’ve done some TV talk here on My Movie Thoughts!
  • And there IS a reason for that.
  • Movies are great, they’re my favorite thing. Movies are also easy, they’re much less time-consuming.
  • TV takes a lot of time to watch. If I’m reviewing a bad movie, I just have to sit through for 90 minutes or two hours, then rant about it, and go back to the theater the next week to hopefully see something better.
  • With TV, I’m not gonna sit through something for 6-10 seasons if it’s mediocre just to do a review. (Unless that show is Parks and Rec, ohhhh burn!) Unless I hear great things and enjoy the first few episodes, then I’m not gonna spend my time on it, when I could be watching a bunch of movies or hanging out with my friends instead.
  • But…. There are still a few shows that I do watch on a week-by-week basis. The Walking Dead, and Better Call Saul.
  • Arrow hasn’t elevated to that category yet because I binged Seasons 1 and 2 during November of last year, and Season 3 was already about halfway over and I didn’t feel like catching up til it was on Netflix.
  • Well today, Season 3 is on Netflix, so here are my thoughts on a show that I DO definitely recommend you spend your time on!
    • I’ll start watching Season 3 tonight then immediately regret everything I’m about to say…

Season 1

  • So Arrow is a show that airs on the CW, and immediately you (and I initially) are like, okay I’m already out.
  • The CW is just this dumpy place for tween melodramas like Supernatural.
  • That’s what I thought too. Until I saw Arrow.
  • And Arrow follows this playboy billionaire figure who was lost and presumed dead on an island for 5 years.
  • But at the start of this show, he’s been found and he returns home from the island, but it’s time for him to start cleaning up his city and avenge those who do wrong. But he can’t do that as a billionaire playboy. He has to become the vigilante known as… GREEN ARROW.
  • I’ll say this: if there’s one main thing you notice about Season 1 of Arrow, it’s that they do borrow from Batman Begins a bit…
  • I actually think that helped the show a lot, but it is pretty noticeable.
  • Keeping that in mind, the tone for the show is dark and gritty, but it has a lot of energy to it.
  • Oliver Queen for instance.
  • Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, aka the Hood (cuz that’s what they call him in this season) is this smiling and happy guy on the outside, but this damaged individual on the inside.
  • Christian Bale played Bruce Wayne in a similar manner to this, but you could tell it was all the same character underneath.
  • Oliver Queen like flips a switch and becomes that happy guy, which is so cool to see! That’s what real people are like, they flip a switch and act differently in front of different people.
  • I’m not saying Stephen Amell is better than Christian Bale, cuz he’s not, but it was cool seeing that angle in a similar story. It separated Arrow more from Batman Begins, and showed the energy that Oliver Queen does have.
  • This show also does drama really well, and that’s especially present with characters like Laurel Lance, Tommy Merlyn, and Thea Queen.
  • Laurel is Oliver’s former love interest, but they also have some friction because of things that may or may not have happened regarding each of them.
  • (It’s hard not to spoil…)
  • At first Laurel just feels like this unimportant character, and there are hints of that as the show goes on, but when you need an important emotional moment between Oliver and another character, that character is going to be Laurel and you feel the emotion between the two of them.
  • Then you’ve got Tommy Merlyn, Oliver’s best friend.
  • Tommy could have been this complete up-on-himself, retro jerk but luckily he wasn’t.
  • Oliver and Tommy had an awesome bromance and their two personalities blended so well together.
  • Then we have Thea, who also brought the emotion. Thea is Oliver’s little sister and you see the conflict that she’s dealing with throughout the first few episodes of the first season. Her brother essentially came back from the dead. She’s gonna have some feelings about that.
  • Overall, the rest of the cast is great too. Moira Queen was a character that always came to play, so was Detective Lance. I loved both of their tie-ins with Tommy’s father.
  • The villain in this season was a really cool one too.
  • Diggle and Felicity were supporting characters that kinda helped Oliver on his crusade, and it was really fun getting to know them over the season. That way Season 2 could just get going and not need to do any boring developments of them.
  • Season 1 did the characters EXTREMELY well overall.
  • And that’s my thing about why this show is great.
    • Television is hard to do because it’s about spacing everything out and getting to know the characters over time.
    • Something like Breaking Bad did this expertly, and Arrow did it expertly also.
    • Not all of the main characters are main players in Episode 1, in fact some of them aren’t even in Episode 1!
    • The show knows when a new character should be introduced, it sets that character up, makes them memorable, and makes you care about them going forward.
    • That’s the reason I had a problem with The Flash. It just assumed that you knew all of the characters from the start.
    • Arrow exceled because the writers knew this was a property that few people knew about, so it broke down each aspect into terms that people could understand and would remember going forward.
  • Speaking of which, the writing of this season was fantastic too.
  • A lot of shows get off to a REALLY bumpy start, almost no pilots are good anymore.
  • But Arrow has a really solid first episode, or even first couple of episodes.
  • My issue with Season 1, though, is the pacing.
  • You guys have all heard me talk about Network Television Syndrome before, and this is a perfect example of it.
  • Now listen, there were a lot of episodic Arrow episodes that I LOVED.
  • Count Vertigo was awesome, I loved the Huntress.
  • But there were a few that just didn’t need to exist at all…
  • The first season was 23 episodes long and if they cut that down to 16 or 18, then it would have been perfect.
  • It just felt like there was some lingering time between episodes.
  • That was one of my few problems, and the other is that Laurel wasn’t always the MOST likable character in the world, I wished they just fleshed her out a little bit more early on.
  • It was a really good first season though, I loved getting to know each of these characters, I loved being put in Starling City, and it was just a really cool way to establish the universe going forward.
  • It really is just the most solid way to set up a show while still having it be entertaining. Good job Arrow!

Season 2

  • And Season 2 was just remarkable…
  • I have few flaws with Season 2 of Arrow.
  • Season 1 had its missteps. Even though the first few episodes were good, it still needed those first few episodes to understand where the show would go from there.
  • Season 2 was just plug and chug.
  • The show knew what it was doing, so it just did it again this season. And it somehow did it even better.
  • The first half of Season 2 was really cool cuz it dealt with the League of Assassins and the Canary (who was a really cool plot element to throw into the show), and Suicide Squad is slowly being formed.
    • Deadshot was one of the cooler parts of that first half.
  • And Season 2 Part 1 did really well with the subtle moments.
  • Probably my favorite episode of the show (though I need to re-watch cuz it’s been a little while…) is still when Oliver is at the Lances house for dinner, and it just shows how every character in the room is thinking differently. And it’s showing just how each of those characters thinks. And seeing that element of juxtaposition is incredible for something I originally perceived as just a dumb action show.
  • Honestly though, Season 2 Part 2 was great because of Deathstroke.
  • Deathstroke is one of those villains who is just incredible, and who you just want more of.
  • There wasn’t a TON of Deathstroke in Season 2, but the flashbacks help us see where both Oliver and Deathstroke are coming from in their fights.
  • And I loved Deathstroke so much because not only does he know Oliver, but he’s a smart guy.
  • He’s one of these guys who’s thinking twelve steps ahead and isn’t afraid to make a dirty move.
  • That puts him in direct contention with Oliver/Arrow, who spends the first two seasons finding his moral compass.
  • The action and the throwdowns between Green Arrow and Deathstroke are awesome, but they’re also these really intuitive psychological battles that are just ridiculously entertaining to watch be played out.
  • Season 2 brings back the characters that you love (I think I’m in love with Felicity by the way…), it makes these huge events very personal in an effective way, it’s smart, it’s bold, it’s emotional. (It will actually have you tearing up in a few places…)
  • And it’s one of the best “Season 2’s” that I’ve seen in a long while.
  • It’s not often that second season is actually better than a GREAT first season.
  • The only critique I need to make is about the character of Roy. He starts off as Thea’s love interest and then evolves into this apprentice to Oliver.
  • I thought the character was okay, but I wish he was just one or the other and not both…

In Conclusion

  • In Conclusion guys, I got so excited today when I found out that Arrow Season 3 is now on Netflix because I can’t wait to watch it.
  • Even if it isn’t as good as the first two seasons, those first two seasons developed these characters that I love and I can’t wait to see them all back in action again.
  • Season 1 did that setup really well, but still told its story effectively. It made you care about each character, and you even like the episodic moments.
  • Season 2 was absolutely phenomenal, and definitely solidified my love for the show. Deathstroke was a fantastic antagonist, he raised the stakes, and Season 2 just took what Season 1 did and put the best possible team of writers behind it.
  • Because this is one review, I’m gonna score both seasons together, but individually I’d say that Season 1 is Awesome and Worth Seeing Multiple Times (or binging on Netflix). And Season 2 is a 5/5.
  • But… In the solid mathematical scale factor that is my rating system, we’re gonna round up today, cuz I’m feeling optimistic!
  • Arrow Seasons 1 and 2 is… a 5/5.

***

So guys, those are my thoughts on Arrow Seasons 1 and 2! What are your guys thoughts on this show, and who’s your favorite character? Let me know in the comments down below, and as always, thanks for reading guys.

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