Putting aside the comics, Arrow is a simple concept; a ripped guy gets marooned on a desert island, and eventually returns home to fight crime. The first two series were a lot of fun, with awesome fight choreography and great villains. However, despite being the forefather of the wave of superhero shows we’ve now got on TV, Arrow has seen a sad decline in quality over the last year or so; mostly because the good writers all apparently left to work on The Flash – the now-far superior show. It would be cheating to simply say ‘get better writers’, so here’s a few ways in which Arrow can get back to what it does best. Let’s start with the obvious…
1) Less Felicity…
Felicity. Good lord. Once a quirky and lovable character, Felicity’s relationship with Oliver Queen has become the most insufferable part of Arrow. The writer’s attempts to make her a ‘strong, independent woman’ have backfired completely, and she now comes across as hypocritical and whiny, with nearly every episode focusing on her emotions and some variation of “you lied to me!” It got stale a long time ago, and has been embarrassing to see a superhero show reduced to a cheap soap opera. In addition, it’s ridiculous to keep having Felicity save the day, whether it’s with her god-level hacking or her monologues to the villain about ‘the power of love’. The show is called Arrow, not Felicity & Friends. Speaking of which…
2) …More Arrow!
This is a show about the Green Arrow – one of DC’s longest running superheroes. So why are we being forced to watch Felicity’s mum’s relationship dramas? Does anyone actually care? I want to see the Green Arrow being a badass, dammit! It doesn’t help that Oliver seems unable to beat anyone in a hand-to-hand fight these days, and given that we rarely see him shoot any arrows, his role as the Emerald Archer is becoming a bit redundant. Let’s bring back the days of Daredevil-esque fight scenes, with Oliver taking on whole corridors of baddies alone; using trick arrows; solving mysteries. At the very least, adapt some more comic book storylines and cut out the painful romantic drama. The writers could even be really brave and kill off Felicity, giving him a motivation to go dark and vengeful…(yeah, it’ll never happen, but we can hope.)
3. End the flashbacks
The flashbacks to Oliver’s time stranded on the island, where we learn the Green Arrow’s origin story, used to be the best part of the show; it’s like if Tom Hanks had become a superhero in Cast Away! Now they’re just a bit rubbish, with a whole mystical theme and loads of pointless characters. Given that most of the flashback clips last less than a minute, it’s hard to remember – or care – what’s going on in the past. Yes, Arrow, we know he spent five years in hell; don’t make the viewer go through the same.
4. More DC characters
Finally, this is more of a personal one. Between Arrow and The Flash, little references to other things in the DC universe are a real treat for the fans, so more of those, please! In addition, characters like Constantine and Vixen turned up in the fourth season and they were great – so bring them back! The game-changer here would be Green Lantern – someone who both shows have quietly referenced before, and who had a famous comic book run with the Green Arrow in the 70s. Although his powers would be harder to show off on a TV budget, his apparent un-involvement in the upcoming Justice League film makes it an ideal time to introduce him into the show – and an awesome, iconic character like Green Lantern really could be Arrow’s trump card.
Arrow has never been Game of Thrones-quality television, but it did used to satisfy my weekly superhero fix. Now it’s just frustrating to watch – but not un-salvageable. The show definitely has more problems than the ones mentioned here, but if it can fix some of these main issues before the fifth season, I’ll definitely find my love for it again.
Arrow will return to Sky One later this year.