by Ashley Binion
It’s now popular for pilots to be screened at San Diego Comic Con, in fact some of the shows with the most passionate fan bases, like Chuck, have gotten their start at the con. This year Arrow was shown to an electric Ballroom 20.
I am going to try and refrain from posting any spoilers about the pilot, but just in case…
Some may think this is a spinoff of the ever popular Smallville series that graced our TVs for 10 years, however, this isn’t the case. Arrow is the farthest thing from a Smallville spinoff. Instead, Arrow is a more grounded and darker take on DC’s Green Arrow in comparison to Justin Hartley’s character and portrayal during Smallville.
Inevitably, the comparisons will indeed come. It’s difficult to compare the two characters because they are just fundamentally different.
In contrast to Hartley’s Green Arrow who was comic relief and a sidekick to Tom Welling’s Clark Kent/Blur/Superman, Stephen Amell’s is much darker and much more brooding. I attribute this to the fact the hero is now no longer the sidekick but instead the leading man. This requires more depth and layers to be added to the character.
Amell’s performance in the pilot is exceptional and he fully embraces a character who attempts to deal with his demons by turning into a vigilante. Also, the chemistry between Amell and Katie Cassidy, who portrays Laurel Lance, is off the charts. I can’t wait for the day Cassidy, and her fictional counterpart Laurel, to get in on the action as hopefully Black Canary.
Many of the jokes and especially the fight scenes were received well. In particular, a joke about Twilight, received rousing laughter from the audience (and from me).
The only real problem I had with the pilot was some changes they made to the Green Arrow mythology. For example in the comics, Green Arrow hails from Star City, not Starling City (as it is portrayed in the show),
There are some winks and nods for those who are familiar with the Green Arrow mythology. Considering this is a pilot, there is a good amount of exposition for those who aren’t familiar with the hero’s mythology and want to enjoy the show as a separate entity.
Overall, it was a great start to a hopefully successful show.
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
Bonus! Arrow Panel Recap
Here are some tidbits that the producers and actors shared with us…
– China White, a villain in the comic Green Arrow: Year One, will appear in the first handful of episodes.
– They wanted Arrow’s outfit to look realistic, functional, and grounded when designing his costume. “Oliver is not wearing a costume,” stated executive producer Marc Guggenheim. “He’s wearing something that gives him a predatory advantage, that puts him back in the hunter mindset that he developed on the island.”
– When asked about when Cassidy/Laurel will become a woman of action executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said “Not as soon as you’d want, but a lot sooner than you think.”
– The workout scene featured in the pilot was inspired by Amell’s actual workout he was doing in order to prepare for the role.
– There was never really any discussion to make the show a Smallville spinoff.
Arrow premieres Wednesday October 10 at 8/7c.