Comic books appear to be the source material of choice for TV and film makers at the moment, and you can understand why, with the phenomenal success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, and Joss Whedon’s box office topping Avenger’s Assemble. But for every The Dark Knight there is inevitably a Green Lantern to show the perils of making a bad comic book adaptation.
Building on their success with the long running exploration of Clark Kent’s transformation from farm boy to superhero in Smallville, The CW has created Arrow following Green Arrow, one of DC comic’s lesser known heroes. Introduced to mainstream viewers in Smallville as the leader of The Justice League of America, and played by Justin Hartley to great effect, Oliver Queen is the typical billionaire playboy until he is stranded on a desert island for two years and emerges completely changed, with the desire to clean up the streets of Star City as his archer alter ego, The Green Arrow.
Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen is far grittier and darker than his Smallville counterpart, a welcome change as the show explores the realities of living on an abandoned island for years alone, surviving on whatever skills Queen could acquire. His motivations are clearer here in why he chooses to take on the Green Arrow persona, and I think that the plotlines so far have shown promise. The lead female in the show, Dinah ‘Laurel’ Lance is certainly engaging, played by Supernatural and Gossip Girl alum Katie Cassidy. It will be interesting to see how they develop her character throughout the rest of the show, considering who her comic book counterpart becomes. I won’t ruin this for those who don’t know the comics, but suffice to say that there is a lot of room for the character to grow, and Cassidy certainly has the acting ability to pull off this complex character.
I’d hazard a guess and say that comic book purists won’t be fond of the changes the creators of Arrow have made to Oliver Queen’s background. I’ll admit, when I saw that they had renamed the location city ‘Starling City’ rather than Star City I was a little miffed. Other elements, such as the survival of Moira Queen, Oliver’s mother who, in the comic books, dies along with her husband in a safari (and is incidentally called Laura) are sure to raise eyebrows. I know that watching the show for the first time I was a little bemused by these changes, and I suppose only time will tell if these changes will help or hinder the development of storylines.
Arrow has an exciting premise, engaging characters and had started off with two very interesting episodes.
Arrow is on Sky1 every Saturday at 10pm.