On the Bubble: Arrow

Posted on November 7, 2012



Why am I watching? I was a big fan of Mike Grell’s run DC Comics’ Green Arrow comic book. I watched a lot of Smallville on the CW. So the CW adapting another DC Comics hero to the small screen attracted me.

I Watched It

Oliver Queen survives a shipwreck, spending five years on an isolated island. While there, he learns to use a bow and arrow to defend himself and to hunt for food.

When he returns to civilization, he finds that criminals, of all stripes, have overrun his city. He dons a disguise, takes up his bow and arrow, and goes for vengeance.


On the Bubble

There are some smart things going on here.

The CW seriously amped up the soap opera factor. When the ship sinks, Oliver is with his ex-girlfriend’s sister. The ship was sabotaged, in an attempt to kill Oliver, his father, and some of the other passengers. Oliver’s mother was behind the sabotage.

Oliver’s father killed another survivor and committed suicide to preserve Oliver’s life. Before killing himself, the senior Queen gave Ollie a notebook. In it were a list of industrialists guilty of any number of crimes . They’re Oliver’s first targets.

Paul Blackthorne plays the father of the Lance sisters (one deceased in the wreck Ollie survived, and one a public defender), and a police detective hunting the vigilante Green Arrow.

The CW made the cast younger. In the comics, Oliver Queen was an older man. In the TV show, Oliver is in his twenties.

Making Oliver a ne’er-do-well who sobers up and learns something about “real life” while on the island was smart. We all like stories about people turning their lives around.

Also in its favor is its casting. Stephen Amell plays Oliver Queen and he looks like he can do the things that we see on screen. The rest of the cast is pretty darn good. We’re big fans of UK actors Colin Salmon and Paul Blackthorne, so seeing them onscreen is a treat for me.

Still…After burning out on Smallville, and with the amount of soap opera they’re throwing at me, I can’t commit to Arrow yet. I don’t care how many parallels they try to draw with Hamlet (explicit in Ep. 3).


So far, the nods to the comic book have included Ollie’s ex-girlfriend, whose full name is Dinah Laurel Lance – making her the future Black Canary. Another nod to the comic books is the appearance of Deadshot in the third episode. There’s a visual reference to another DC Comics villain, Deathstroke, in the first episode.

It bodes ill that the series feels the need to borrow villains from Teen Titans and Batman rather than from Green Arrow’s villains.

Granted, the Green Arrow’s central rogues gallery is pretty weak. Brick? Clockwork King? The Rainbow Archer? Please. That said, they could have invented something new.

Strangely, Merlyn is one of Ollie’s buddies in the show. In the comic books, he was an archer idolized by young Oliver Queen and who eventually become a mercenary. Since the TV Merlyn is sleeping with Dinah, Ollie’s ex, there is some potential conflict built in there, no matter how calm they see about it now.

That said, even after four episodes, it’s too early to tell.

Then again, it’s two more episodes than I watched of Last Resort.


What comic book adaptations did you like, or despise, on the small screen?