SDCC '12: Pilot Review for CW's ARROW
Yesterday, I got a chance to catch the pilot episode of CW's Arrow. Some of the big glaring problems with Arrow can be deduced simply by watching its trailer. "A Green Arrow tv series aiming to be Batman Begins, and at times straight up copying and pasting sections of it?" Yeah, pretty much. There are some big surprises about the show, though that need some delving into.
First surprise: Arrow is violent!!!! The "hooded man" has no qualms about murdering people. He comes back to Star City with a clear cut path of vengeance, and he's not gonna let anyone stop him. They wanted to go dark, and they went as dark as a CW show is allowed to go! Very exciting stuff.
Second surprise: They had a great story to tell. Green Arrow is one of DC's most iconic characters, and from the panel afterwards, they plan on exploring many other DC characters throughout the show. They just rushed through his origin way too quickly. The Arrow pilot felt like a really long trailer or video summary for an entire season's worth of episodes. A lot of people watching the pilot kept thinking they were watching clips. When the show would cut to black for where the commercial breaks would be, the crowd would applaud, and then laugh when the show kept going.
The cast looks pretty solid. The biggest let down though is, NONE of these characters, not even the hero, is likable. There isn't enough time spent with any of the characters to help you understand or sympathize with them. With much of Arrow's backstory told through flashbacks, there's definitely room to explore these characters throughout the series, but the transitions in and out of the flashbacks were so clunky that they just became annoying.
Third surprise: There are some good twists. Too bad you're not familiar enough with the characters to be shocked by the twists. They have a big reveal at the end of the pilot that would have been a HUGE cliffhanger for the end of a season.
Arrow has some promise, but it somehow falls short by jumping the gun.
After a violent shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for five years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. When he returns home to Starling City, his devoted mother Moira, much-beloved sister Thea, and best friend Tommy welcome him home, but they sense Oliver has been changed by his ordeal on the island. While Oliver hides the truth about the man he’s become, he desperately wants to make amends for the actions he took as the boy he was. Most particularly, he seeks reconciliation with his former girlfriend, Laurel Lance. As Oliver reconnects with those closest to him, he secretly creates the persona of Arrow – a vigilante – to right the wrongs of his family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory. By day, Oliver plays the role of a wealthy, carefree and careless philanderer he used to be – flanked by his devoted chauffeur/bodyguard, John Diggle – while carefully concealing the secret identity he turns to under cover of darkness. However, Laurel’s father, Detective Quentin Lance, is determined to arrest the vigilante operating in his city. Meanwhile, Oliver’s own mother, Moira, knows much more about the deadly shipwreck than she has let on – and is more ruthless than he could ever imagine.